A paramount concern of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) is the prevalence of contemporary forms of slavery across the Commonwealth. Since 2016, CHRI has been advocating for the Commonwealth to commit itself towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Target 8.7, to ‘take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.’
CHRI’s research work on SDG 8.7 has thus far resulted in the publication of two reports. In April 2018, during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in the United Kingdom, CHRI launched its report Creating an Effective Coalition to Achieve SDG 8.7. The report cemented CHRI’s commitment to working towards SDG 8.7 – taking effective measures to eradicate all contemporary forms of slavery – and called upon the Heads of Commonwealth Governments to do the same. In December 2018, CHRI launched its second report The Commonwealth Roadmap to SDG 8.7 at the House of Lords in the UK. CHRI is also working in partnership with the Walk Free Foundation on the creation of a Commonwealth Portal of Indicators that will inform a report to be launched at the next CHOGM in Rwanda in June 2020.
“55% of people living in Modern Slavery reside in the Commonwealth” – Global Slavery Index
The Commonwealth 8.7 Network has been established in response to this. The network aims to facilitate partnership between local, grassroots NGOs that work to combat contemporary forms of slavery in their own Commonwealth countries. The Commonwealth 8.7 Network is designed to be a membership-based network, which will serve as a knowledge-sharing platform for country-specific and thematic information and best practice across the Commonwealth. The network already has a membership of over 60 NGOs from all five regions of the Commonwealth.
It will provide;
- a mechanism for NGOs from across the Commonwealth to connect with one another on SDG 8.7 issues
- support for holding national governments and international bodies accountable for commitments made to SDG 8.7
- a platform for network members to prepare collective and effective advocacy strategies