Accra, Ghana
The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) is an independent non-governmental organisation created to ensure the practical realisation of human rights in the countries of the Commonwealth. We push for an adherence to the Commonwealth's Harare Principles and the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. CHRI was established in 1987 after several Commonwealth countries voiced their concern about a lack of focus on Human rights within the Commonwealth organization. CHRI currently has three offices; in Delhi, London and Accra. The Africa office was opened in Accra in 2001 and is at the forefront of the fight to uphold basic human freedoms in the region. We work in three main areas of human rights: Human Rights Advocacy; Access to justice and The Right to Information.

Friday, 24 June 2011

African Commonwealth Human Rights Weekly Update (18/06 - 24/06/2011)


Saturday 18/06: Tackling Tobacco in Lesotho

The Commonwealth made available its report “Taking up the challenge of non-communicable diseases in the commonwealth: 17 good-practice Case Studies”.

The report gives an insight into successful health initiatives undertaken by Commonwealth governments. One of the seventeen case studies was The Lesotho Network on Anti-Smoking.

In 2008 it was found that 11.8 per cent of boys and 7.5 per cent of girls aged 13–15 in Lesotho use tobacco and that 36.9 per cent of children live in a house where family members smoke in their presence.

The smoking and health programme, which costs US$50,000 a year, is aimed at reducing the numbers of smokers aged between 12 and 18. The programme involves 52 secondary and high schools. Each school is visited by a member of the Network and a teacher at each school is trained in anti-tobacco activities such as counselling. In addition over 2,000 ‘peer educators’ have been trained about tobacco issues.


Friday 24/06: Verdict due on Genocide Charge

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda is due to give its verdict on the case of Mrs Nyiramasuhuko, the first Rwandan woman charged with genocide. Mrs Nyiramasuhuko was Rwanda's minister for Family and Women's Development at the time of the genocide.

The prosecution accuses her of taking part in the government decision to create militias whose mission was to wipe out the Tutsi population as fast as possible. She is also accused of organising the kidnap and rape of Tutsi women and girls with her son, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, who was in his early 20s at the time.

The verdict is expected on the afternoon of Friday 24/06/2011.

South Africa

Wednesday 22/06: Michelle Obama urges African women to be at the forefront of change.

As part of her official visit to South Africa and Botswana Mrs Obama delivered a keynote speech to 70 young African women leaders about the need for women to be agents of change in Africa. The speech was given in the Regina Mundi church in Soweto, which was at the heart of the anti apartheid movement.

Mrs Obama said the successful fight against apartheid should inspire young people today and stated...
"You can be the generation that ends HIV/Aids in our time, the generation that fights not just the disease, but the stigma of the disease"

"You can be the generation that holds your leaders accountable for open, honest government at every level, government that stamps out corruption."


Wednesday 22/06: Mswati asks SA for a bail out.

King Mswati, Swaziland’s autocratic king, has been forced to turn to South Africa for funding as his government is facing a crippling deficit. The country was badly affected by the global financial crisis and the closure of the SAPPI Paper Pulp mill in Bhunya. As a result civil servants salaries have been slashed and plans for the King’s Silver Jubilee have reportedly been shelved.

Many activists in South Africa and Swaziland are opposed to a bail out because of the country’s poor democratic credentials.

Lucky Lukhele the spokesperson of the Swaziland Solidarity Network said, “Swaziland must be given a clean slate from which to begin, both politically and economically. The country’s citizens could not ask for more than that. The world should allow king’s Mswati’s reign to prove to be the dead end that it is, so that a new political dispensation can emerge from its ashes.”


  1. would anyone care to say what the think about Obama's visit?

  2. Update - Pauline Nyiramasuhuko has been convicted and sentenced to life in prison for her role in the genocide and the rape of Tutsi women and girls.