Urge all 52 Commonwealth countries to commit to ending modern slavery

Urge all 53 Commonwealth countries to commit to ending modern slavery

ALERT: READ UPDATE

We have a groundbreaking opportunity to encourage one of the largest intergovernmental associations in the world to take up the cause of modern slaveryand we need you to get involved.

The Commonwealth is a union of 53 countries around the world and is home to 2.2 billion people.1 While a third of the world’s population are Commonwealth citizens, according to the Global Slavery Index a staggering 55% of those currently enslaved reside in Commonwealth countries.2 This means that the Commonwealth is in a unique position to help significantly reduce slavery in the world.

CW Countries 3

Commonwealth countries

So far, the Commonwealth has not made a formal commitment to ending modern slavery. However, if it adopts a position, it will commit to putting time and resources towards tackling this problem. The Commonwealth Secretariat – the governing body coordinating efforts – would provide technical support and expert guidance to help member states develop effective responses and legislation. Therefore, this would be a huge step forward.

So how do we make this happen? In spring 2018, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will take place in the UK. At this conference, the Heads of each country decide on a mandate of issues to work on in union. This moment is our chance to shape the agenda and ensure modern slavery is prioritised.

Decisions on which topics are included in the next CHOGM start long before the conference itself. We’re working with our partner, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), to do this – but we need your help too. By showing the Commonwealth strong public support on ending modern slavery, we can persuade them to take up the cause.

Join our campaign and urge the Secretary-General and the 53 Heads of Government of the Commonwealth to promote the inclusion of modern slavery in CHOGM 2018.

Campaign updates

20 April 2018: Success! At the 2018 meeting in London, the Commonwealth Heads of Government announced their commitment to take effective measures to end modern slavery and human trafficking. Thanks to all Freedom United supporters, who have taken over 84,000 actions since the launch of the campaign, to show that there’s widespread global support for action. Click here to read paragraph 39 and the Commonwealth’s Communiqué in full.

April 2018: On a day when total actions reached over 80,000 across this campaign we handed in 64,767 petition signatures to the Assistant Secretary-General at the Commonwealth Secretariat.

October 2017: Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth, is reported to support all 52 Commonwealth countries passing modern slavery legislation in order to effectively tackle modern slavery and human trafficking. Read the full story here.

August 2017: Over 11,000 of our supporters wrote to the Malaysian Prime Minister, as the future Chair of the Commonwealth, to support the adoption of an anti-slavery agenda at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018.

March 2017: Prime Minister Muscat of Malta, the current Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth, shared this statement on modern slavery with us.

13 March 2017: To celebrate Commonwealth Day,  Freedom United supporters sent 6,325 messages to the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth asking her to make ending modern slavery a priority for the Commonwealth. Thank you to everyone who took part!

January 2016: Parliamentarians from across the Commonwealth attended a Commonwealth Conference on Human Rights, hosted by our partner, CHRI UK. Following the conference, this outcome statement, which includes the importance of tackling modern slavery, was issued.

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64 Comments on "Urge all 53 Commonwealth countries to commit to ending modern slavery"

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jan
Guest

Canada should be known to be the hypocritical democracy it is. …A charter that ignores and allows the demonization of poor and forever poverty has fundamental flaws.

Stuart Marshall
Guest

great news! Well Done!!!

Cornelia Bryant
Guest

Slavery and the suffering it causes should be no more.

Surya
Guest

Slavery is an uncivilised act.
Awake people and condemn it at grass root level it self.

Jennifer Edelman
Guest

As I see it, the reason all these things like slavery, trafficking, forced labour, debt issues etc occur, is because the basic wage is below a sustainable living level. Unless we make it illegal to pay people less than they can live on AND make sure that it is upheld, there will be no change – just more and more laws making some segment of it illegal, so all the money fighting it will end up in lawyers hands.

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Campaign Kit

Our partners in this campaign:

Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) is an independent, non-partisan, international non-governmental organisation, mandated to ensure the practical realisation of human rights in the countries of the Commonwealth.

CHRI's objectives are to promote awareness of and adherence to the Harare Commonwealth Declaration, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other internationally recognised human rights instruments, as well as domestic instruments supporting human rights in Commonwealth member states.

Rotarian Action Group Against Slavery

The Rotarian Action Group Against Slavery (RAGAS) is an independent action arm in the family of Rotary International. The Group’s aim are two-fold: to raise awareness of slavery and human trafficking and to take action to protect people against slavery and its consequences. RAGAS looks to provide information about, and promote ways for its members to engage and support anti-slavery and human trafficking projects, programmes and campaigns.

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