Today we celebrate and commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). To mark the anniversary, the Commonwealth has released a new publication entitled The Global Human Rights Implementation Agenda: the role of national parliaments, co-authored with the Universal Rights Group. It analyses contemporary debates, decisions and initiatives about parliamentary engagement with international human rights mechanisms and documents the contribution of the Commonwealth to global efforts to strengthen that engagement. It also provides a blueprint for Commonwealth parliamentarians to effectively engage on key human rights issues.
The UDHR set the international standard for the promotion and protection of human rights. But global success in standard-setting through the Declaration and the nine core international human rights treaties has not been matched by an implementation agenda from governments in member countries. The Commonwealth publication shows how parliamentarians can address this implementation gap and highlights some of the means by which parliamentarians can promote and protect human rights. It then provides an overview of Commonwealth activities to advance the role of parliamentarians in realising human rights, including regional seminars in partnership with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, capacity-building of parliamentary human rights champions, and advocacy.
The Commonwealth’s work to help parliamentarians promote human rights coincides with a broader international effort to develop a set of international guidelines on the protection of human rights by elected officials. In June, the UN Human Rights Council adopted draft Principles on Parliaments and Human Rights to provide countries with practical steps to implement human rights recommendations and strengthen the ability of parliaments to protect human rights.
The latest issue of The Parliamentarian commemorates and celebrates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and includes an article about the Commonwealth’s work in this area. Read it here.
Download The Global Human Rights Implementation Agenda: the role of national parliaments here.