CPA Parliamentary Academy
News

Parliamentarians mark 75 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its impact on the Commonwealth

Every year on 10 December, the world celebrates Human Rights Day, marking the anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly adopting the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). In its preamble, the UDHR highlighted the “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”

In the decades since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948, human rights have become more recognised and more guaranteed across the globe. The UDHR has since served as the foundation for an expanding system of human rights protection that today focuses also on vulnerable groups such as persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and migrants.

The commitment to human rights is supported in the Commonwealth through the Commonwealth Charter and many Commonwealth Parliaments routinely highlight and debate international human rights issues.

The 2023 Human Rights Day theme is ‘Freedom, Equality and Justice for All’ with a commitment to ensuring respect for human rights and equality for all citizens, especially the marginalised and vulnerable who are often the first casualties in any erosion of human rights protections.   

The evolving role of Parliamentarians and of Parliaments is to ‘step up’ as key enablers of human rights and to act as a check and balance on the policies of the Executive. This important role of Parliament sitting as it does at the centre of a nation’s domestic and international affairs should not be overlooked or underestimated.

Recently, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association held a workshop with Parliamentarians and civil society groups on ‘The Commonwealth Charter: A Charter for all Human Rights, or just some?’ at the 66th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Ghana.

This workshop deliberated how Parliamentarians and civil society groups could promote and uphold human rights values in the Commonwealth with discussions highlighting gender equality, the protection of the rights of LGBT+, parliamentary capacity-building, disability and refugees’ rights. CPA Members were encouraged to promote human rights legislation and policies in their respective jurisdictions and the need to respect different cultural rights was also highlighted.

 

FROM THE CPA ARCHIVES: Read the CPA blogs with different perspectives on human rights in the Commonwealth:

 

-ENDS-

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association connects, develops, promotes and supports Parliamentarians and their staff to identify benchmarks of good governance and the implementation of the enduring values of the Commonwealth. The CPA is an international community of around 180 Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures working together to deepen the Commonwealth’s commitment to the highest standards of democratic governance.

For media enquiries, please contact communications@cpahq.org.

Related Resources

International Humanitarian Law Handbook

The Handbook has been developed in partnership with the British Red Cross to support Parliamentarians in promoting International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and ensuring its effective implementation. 

The Commonwealth Charter (CPA version)

The Commonwealth Charter is a document of the values and aspirations which unite the Commonwealth. It expresses the commitment of member states to the development of free and democratic societies and the promotion of peace and prosperity to improve the lives of all the people of the Commonwealth. The Charter also acknowledges the role of civil society in supporting the goals and values of the Commonwealth.

Commonwealth Latimer House Principles (CPA version)

The Commonwealth Latimer House Principles (officially titled: Commonwealth (Latimer House) Principles on the Three Branches of Government) highlight the importance of the separation of powers between the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary to ensure effective governance and democracy. 

The Global Human Rights Implementation Agenda: The role of national parliaments

This policy brief was published in 2018 by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Universal Rights Group, with support from the CPA. It maps and analyses contemporary debates, decisions, and initiatives focused on parliamentary engagement with the universal human rights system, and assesses the contribution of the Commonwealth to worldwide efforts to strengthen that engagement.

Latest News

CPA Secretary-General discusses the future of democracy and governance with Commonwealth students in London
News

CPA Secretary-General discusses the future of democracy and governance with Commonwealth students in London

The CPA co-hosted a colloquium on the theme of representative democracy for postgraduate students at Goodenough College in London.

Parliament of Kiribati undertakes CPA Democratic Benchmarks assessment to focus on parliamentary strengthening
News

Parliament of Kiribati undertakes CPA Democratic Benchmarks assessment to focus on parliamentary strengthening

A CPA delegation from CPA Australia Region visited Kiribati from 19 to 22 February 2024 to support the Parliament's self-assessment against the CPA Benchmarks.

Parliament of Maldives undertakes CPA Benchmarks self-assessment to focus on parliamentary strengthening and reform
News

Parliament of Maldives undertakes CPA Benchmarks self-assessment to focus on parliamentary strengthening and reform

A CPA delegation visited the Parliament from 12 to 16 February 2024 to support the self-assessment process.