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Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference on the Rule of Law & Human Rights

Tuesday 24 January 2017 to Thursday 26 January 2017

Venue: Day 1: Marlborough House, London; Day 2: Attlee Suite, Houses of Parliament; Day 3: Macmillan Room, Houses of Parliament

CPA UK and the UK’s Joint Committee on Human Rights - in partnership with the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy - will host the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference on the Rule of Law and Human Rights, on Tuesday 24, Wednesday 25 and Thursday 26 January 2017.

It willl aim to increase knowledge and strengthen procedures and good practice for the parliamentary protection and realisation of the rule of law and human rights. Delegates will have the opportunity to examine the role of parliaments in ensuring the rule of law and universal human rights, as well as explore the functions of parliamentary human rights committees and the importance of developing and maintaining relationship with the executive, parliament, other committees and other national and international human rights organisations.

This three-day event is for members of Commonwealth Parliamentary Human Rights Committees and other Commonwealth parliamentarians with an interest in and experience of dealing with human rights and the rule of law.


Parliaments have a crucial role in ensuring the rule of law and human rights for all. Together with the executive and the judiciary, legislatures share a responsibility to entrench the rule of law and to implement the state’s obligations to protect and promote human rights. Elected by the people, they have a constitutional mandate to act as the guardian of human rights.

Legislatures are responsible for enacting the legal frameworks to promote and protect human rights at the national level. In some countries, they are also responsible for ratifying international human rights treaties which may then be read into domestic law. Legislatures also approve the national budget and through that process can ensure that human rights bodies are adequately resourced. They have a responsibility to ensure that sufficient funds are allocated to human rights bodies and programmes and to oversee the effective expenditure of these funds. Through their parliamentary committees and plenary debates and questions, legislatures also oversee and scrutinise the executive to ensure compliance with human rights obligations. Lastly, through their role as representatives of the public, parliamentarians can be active in engaging with human rights awareness-raising and finding out more about human rights challenges within the community.

This conference will build on the work done by The Westminster Consortium’s Parliaments and Democracy programme and the “Parliaments, the Rule of Law and Human Rights” research project run by the University of Oxford which first developed and then tested Principles and Guidelines on the Role of Parliaments in the Protection and Realisation of the Rule of Law and Human Rights.

For further information, please contact the conference team at

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