During its July 2011 Meeting in Sydney, Commonwealth Law Ministers and Senior Officials considered two papers that had been prepared by the Institute.
The first paper was the result of a study commissioned by the Secretariat, setting out the Commonwealth and international human rights legal standards in relation to pre-trial detention activities by the police and prison authorities. The scope of the research encompassed the key stages of the pre-trial police investigation and prison use, including police arrest and investigation methods, and conditions of pre-trial detention. This enabled a clarification of the current minimum human rights standards in relation to pre-trial procedures, and provided recommendations to be considered by Member States, including recommendations on international obligations and national laws, as well as practical recommendations. The Ministers took note of the paper which was deemed suitable for publication.
The second paper consisted of a briefing note on climate change and its impact on security and survival. It identified key security issues for the populations of the Commonwealth, in particular the risks of human rights violations. Inadequate legal frameworks with regard to both climate change induced migration and access to natural resources, whether at the national, regional and international level, pose significant threat to the security and stability of Member States. In addition to recommending continuing efforts within the UNFCCC framework, the paper contained other recommendations, such as the need to develop cooperation mechanisms to respond to the existing inadequate legal frameworks. All of the recommendations present in this paper were well received by the Ministers. As a result, they resolved, among other things, to "mandate the Commonwealth Secretariat to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the adequacy of such legal frameworks as are currently applicable to populations displaced due to climate change both within states and between states and access to vital natural resources." Note that this paper will be published shortly in the Commonwealth Law Bulletin.
The Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting CommuniquÃ© 2011 is available here: http://www.thecommonwealth.org/document/177370/238332/clmm_2011.htm