Canadian Human Rights Commission

Canadian Human Rights Commission

December 16, 2009 12:00 ET

Canadian Human Rights Commission Elected Chair of the Commonwealth Forum of National Human Rights Institutions

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwrie - Dec. 16, 2009) - The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) was elected Chair of the Commonwealth Forum of National Human Rights Institutions at its recent meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

"The Canadian Human Rights Commission looks forward to working with Forum members to facilitate networking and the sharing of best practices," said CHRC Deputy Chief Commissioner David Langtry. "Our mandate will be to promote greater collaboration among NationaI Human Rights Institutions in order to advance thematic human rights priorities."

The theme of the last meeting, held in November 2009, was climate change and human rights. Discussions focussed on the human rights implications of climate change, including its impact on people's right to food, to housing, to health and to work. The Forum brought together institutions from 24 Commonwealth countries, and international partner institutions including the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The Commonwealth Forum of National Human Rights Institutions was established in February 2007. The CHRC term as chair is for a period of two years.

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BACKGROUNDER - Commonwealth Forum of National Human Rights Institutions

In February 2007, members at the Commonwealth Conference of National Human Rights Institutions agreed to establish a Forum of Commonwealth NHRIs. Underpinning the Conference was the fact that while individual Commonwealth NHRIs meet and share information on an ad hoc basis, no distinct forum existed for their interaction, as a collective, with Commonwealth Heads of Government.

In 2007, Uganda was the first National Human Rights Commission to chair the Forum.

The idea behind the Forum is to ensure that shared values, information and experiences are reflected and channelled into a single formal mechanism which will in turn increase interactions between institutions and governments and raise standards of human rights protection.

The Commonwealth Forum of National Human Rights Institutions encompasses the following range of functions:

- to be an inclusive Forum for networking and sharing of experiences, information and knowledge among Commonwealth NHRIs;

- to promote and facilitate the exchange of ideas and expertise on improving the performance, capacity and independence of NHRIs in the Commonwealth, especially those confronting difficulties to function effectively within their resources or to comply with international standards;

- to promote and facilitate partnership between Commonwealth NHRIs themselves and between Commonwealth NHRIs and bilateral and international donors and agencies, including for the purposes of seeking funding opportunities for the Forum;

- to facilitate the process towards establishment, where conditions are right, of NHRIs in member countries presently lacking these, by drawing on and facilitating the advice and support of Commonwealth NHRIs to the national consultative and other processes preceding any such development;

- to gather and disseminate information of interest to Commonwealth NHRIs on a systematic basis;

- to allow for collective (consensus-based) expressions of support, encouragement or concern , in relation to particular events and developments in individual Commonwealth NHRIs from time to time, for the better defense and promotion of human rights; and

- to coordinate and articulate the development of common positions on issues affecting Commonwealth NHRIs.

Contact Information

  • Canadian Human Rights Commission