Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) Report
Recently, a report was released by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) and an international anti-slavery organisation Walk Freeon the occasion of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.
• The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) is an independent, non-profit, international non-governmental organisation working in the area of human rights.
• In 1987, several Commonwealth professional associations founded CHRI, since there was little focus on human rights within the association of 53 nations although the Commonwealth provided member countries the basis of shared common legal system.
• Through its reports, research and advocacy, CHRI draws attention to the progress and setbacks to human rights in Commonwealth countries.
• CHRI promotes adherence to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Commonwealth Harare Principles and other internationally recognised human rights instruments, including domestic legislation supporting human rights in Commonwealth countries.
• In advocating for approaches and measures to prevent human rights abuses, CHRI addresses the Commonwealth Secretariat, the United Nations Human Rights Council members, civil society and the media on criminal justice concerns.
• It is headquartered in New Delhi, India, with offices in London, UK and Accra, Ghana.
• CHRI’s work is split into two core themes: Access to Information and Access to Justice, which includes Prison Reform, Police Reform, and advocacy on media rights and the South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN).
• CHRI additionally monitors the human rights situation across the Commonwealth through its International Advocacy and Programming (IAP) unit.
Commonwealth countries have made little progress towards their commitment to eradicate modern slavery by 2030, despite an estimated one in every 150 people in the Commonwealth living in conditions of modern slavery.
The report found that one-third of the Commonwealth countries had criminalised forced marriage, while 23 had not criminalised commercial sexual exploitation of children.
Out of 54 countries, only four engage with business to investigate supply chains, and all countries report gaps in victim assistance program.
None of the Asian countries in the group had implemented laws against forced labour in supply chain.
The report said India accounted for one-third of all child brides in the world.
India, like all other Commonwealth countries in Asia, had not ratified the International Labour Organisation’s 2011 Domestic Workers Convention or the 2014 Forced Labour Protocol.
Despite being the largest country in the region, India has the weakest response on national coordination, with no national coordinating body or National Action Plan in place.
Modern slavery is the severe exploitation of other people for personal or commercial gain. Modern slavery is all around us, but often just out of sight. People can become entrapped making our clothes, serving our food, picking our crops, working in factories, or working in houses as cooks, cleaners or nannies.
From the outside, it can look like a normal job. But people are being controlled – they can face violence or threats, be forced into inescapable debt, or have had their passport taken away and are being threatened with deportation.
40 million people are estimated to be trapped in modern slavery worldwide. 1 in 4 of them are children. Almost three quarters (71%) are women and girls.
Modern slavery takes many forms. The most common are:
o Human trafficking
o Forced labour
o Bonded labour
o Descent–based slavery
o Slavery of children
o Forced and early marriage