Through the Geneva-based Commonwealth Small States Office, the Human Rights Unit provides support to Commonwealth Small States’ engagement with various international human rights mechanisms, including the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
The UPR is a State-driven human rights peer review process under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council. The Human Rights Unit assists Commonwealth Small States to:
- draft national reports, participate in the human rights peer-review process in Geneva, and to implement accepted recommendations;
- establish and/or strengthen relevant national mechanisms, which enable their effective participation during all stages of the review process;
- support the capacity building of government officials and other stakeholders such as the law enforcement and judicial authorities, parliamentarians and civil society; and
- share good practice, including at the regional and Pan-Commonwealth levels.
The Secretariat also provides support to Commonwealth Small States, which allows them to have fruitful and effective engagement with the UN human rights Treaty Bodies, including by submitting national reports and participating in the Geneva-based interactive dialogues.
The UN Human Rights Council’s High-Level segment, which takes place annually in Geneva, provides a unique opportunity for the Commonwealth through the Secretary-General to share information and influence the human rights global agenda.