Since the inception of the Human Rights Council (HRC), the Easier Said Than Done (ESTD) series has reviewed Commonwealth member states’ performance at the HRC. The series provides a basis for evaluating Commonwealth countries’ engagement with the Council and considers if their voting behaviour in support of resolutions is consistent with their voluntary pledges and commitments to the HRC.

This edition of the ESTD Report authored by Mr Yashasvi Nain and Mr Sarthak Roy presents an analysis of the performance of seven Commonwealth member states during the 38th regular session of the HRC: Australia, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, South Africa and the United Kingdom. It addresses institutional and human rights concerns in the HRC and explains discrepancies in the behaviour of these countries. The report highlights the disparities between human rights promises made by Commonwealth members and the extent fulfilment at the national level.

During the launch of the report last week, at UN Geneva Australia and the United Kingdom said that they supported civil society review of the human rights records of Commonwealth countries at the UN Human Rights Council as a necessary though difficult task.

“It is good for all countries to be held accountable,” said Miriam Shearman, the British Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative to the HRC at Geneva, responding to a detailed scrutiny by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) on how seven Commonwealth countries and members of the HRC had voted in the council and how their pledges matched the record of implementation. The countries were the UK, Australia, Pakistan, Rwanda, South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria. “There must never be reprisals against human rights defenders,” Ambassador Sherman added.

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