Opinion on the Draft Commonwealth Charter 2012

Opinion of the Human Dignity Trust on the Draft Commonwealth Charter, concluding there is a lack of effective human rights protections pertaining to sexual orientation and gender identity in the Charter.

The Commonwealth leaders’ agreement to adopt the recommendation of the Eminent Persons Group for a Charter of the Commonwealth was reached at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2011.

As part of the process of consultation on the content of the Draft Charter, the Human Dignity Trust delivered an opinion. The opinion highlighted that the Draft Commonwealth Charter failed to include specific reference to sexual orientation or gender identity amongst the enumerated grounds protected by the Draft Charter’s equality and non-discrimination guarantees, nor any provision according privacy rights.

The opinion analyses the Draft Commonwealth Charter and core human rights instruments and standards that the Charter should reflect. It states that the absence of any explicit reference to sexual orientation/gender identity and right to privacy in the Draft Charter does not reflect the requirements of international human rights law or reflect more modern human rights instruments. The Human Dignity Trust concluded that this will ‘further undermine efforts to address discriminatory so-called “anti-sodomy” laws’ and that the Charter does not fully reflect the Commonwealth’s Values and Principles.

Download the opinion