Aims And Objectives Of Commonwealth Of Nations Pdf

aims and objectives of commonwealth of nations pdf

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Critics have called the Commonwealth institutions outmoded and ineffective, and the group has at times drawn fire for its inconsistent response to human rights violations and antidemocratic governments. United Kingdom. International Organizations. In recent years, several countries without historic ties to the UK, such as Rwanda and Mozambique, have also joined. This association is distinct from the fifteen countries outside the UK in which the British Crown is still legally head of state.

The Commonwealth

Is there a role for machinery to promote and protect human rights which is neither universal, nor regional? The case of the Commonwealth of Nations, which originated in the British Empire but where the majority of members are now developing states, offers an insight into possibilities at both intergovernmental and nongovernmental levels. This article focuses on the way in which rules of membership for the Commonwealth have come to play a decisive part in defining it as an association of democracies and, more cautiously, as committed to human rights guarantees for citizens.

The progress has been uneven, driven by political crises, and limited by the small resources available to an intergovernmental Secretariat. Simultaneously, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, a strong nongovernmental body, based in New Delhi and initially launched as a coalition of London-based Commonwealth associations, has been coordinating international pressure on Commonwealth governments to live up to their declarations. It has also been running programmes of its own for the right to information, and accountable policing.

Human rights Commonwealth of Nations. The Commonwealth of Nations now consists of 54 states. Today, most would argue that its main political and economic aims lie in the fields of development, and governance. But it has gradually come to assume significance for the promotion and protection of the human rights of its some 2, million citizens over half of whom live in just one member state, India; more than 30 of its member states have populations of less than 1. This article aims to describe how a voluntary grouping, which is neither regional nor universal, is playing a role in this field, and how there intergovernmental and nongovernmental actors have been interacting.

The increasing involvement in human rights of the intergovernmental Commonwealth, whose political and economic secretariat is based in a former royal palace in London, has been slow and cautious. This secretariat was established in , a year before the two UN Covenants on political and civil rights and economic, social and cultural rights were adopted.

The Commonwealth matured as a post-colonial association simultaneously with two events. First, it coincided with the arrival of a developing states majority in the UN. Second, an international Cold War compromise, under which both the civil and political rights dear to the West and the economic and social rights promoted by the Soviet bloc, achieved parallel recognition with the maturing Commonwealth. But it was in , at a London summit, that the Commonwealth first took a stand for human rights.

Idi Amin, the barbarous dictator of Uganda, had threatened to attend. The cruelties of his regime had been widely reported, and diplomatic efforts had been exerted to prevent his arrival. But the Commonwealth Secretariat had no capacity to fulfil a human rights mandate. The collegial air about Commonwealth leaders, meeting every two years from countries where there were many human rights abuses, was not sympathetic to finger-pointing between them.

This scheme contrasted with the fact that newly independent states had set up their own judiciaries and were not keen on surrendering authority in such a sensitive and vulnerable area.

It was prohibited from performing any role in investigation or active protection. It was seen as assisting governments in their own efforts for promoting human rights. Secretariat staff at the time argued that their main rights-related work lay in the campaign to end discriminatory apartheid in South Africa, and the struggle for the development of the poorest countries and the improvement of the living conditions of its citizens.

The official Commonwealth made little progress for human rights in the s. In one year the HRU had no staff at all, and was seen as a football in a funding battle between the Secretariat and the governments which provided most of its finance — the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

However, this led to dissatisfaction among qualified Commonwealth nongovernmental bodies, which banded together to establish a Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative the CHRI, see below.

They were concerned by apparent inaction, which was giving the apartheid propagandists a field day. White South Africans tried to divert attacks on systemic inequality in their country by pointing to dictatorships and military regimes elsewhere in the Commonwealth, and especially in Africa. The context changed drastically after the fall of the Berlin Wall in , the collapse of the Soviet bloc, as well as after the release of Nelson Mandela in , which led to a negotiated end to South African apartheid.

The CHRI was at the forefront of a campaign to make the Commonwealth a more powerful tool for human rights. None of these initiatives were achieved. Nongovernmental activists were bitterly disappointed. What the Harare conference did agree upon, however, was more modest, what became known as the Harare Principles. In reviewing and renewing the positions taken at Singapore in , the heads of government agreed to uphold just and accountable government, the rule of law, and fundamental human rights.

Subsequently the then Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, has explained that the wording was designed to cover the varied presidential, parliamentary and federal systems which maintain a fully democratic spirit. The Singapore Declaration contained fine if vague sentiments, but they had been widely ignored. We therefore strive to promote in each of our countries those representative institutions and guarantees for personal freedom under the law which are our common heritage.

Nonetheless, the mid-nineties saw a major development for human rights in the Commonwealth, precipitated by a political crisis. The Nigerian military dictatorship, presided over by General Sani Abacha, caused an international furore in when it executed Ken Saro-Wiwa and other Ogoni leaders at the start of the Commonwealth summit in Auckland. Critics already doubted how a military regime, repressing all opposition, could continue to belong to an association professing the Harare Declaration.

These executions, immediately denounced by President Mandela of South Africa and John Major, the British Prime Minister, seemed a snub to the association and to leaders which had appealed to General Abacha for clemency.

Mandela urged that the Nigerian regime be immediately expelled from the Commonwealth. The situation was fraught for the position of the current Secretary-General, Chief Anyaoku, who was himself Nigerian. If his country had been expelled he would almost certainly have had to resign. However, Chief Anyaoku and his staff, along with key governments, had already been considering how to provide the Harare Principles with teeth.

He put forward specific proposals, as did the British government. Four years after the Harare Declaration, it was being rebranded as a pioneering document for human rights. The Commonwealth leaders came up with a Millbrook programme, whose main feature was that governments in breach of the Harare rules could be suspended by a new committee of Foreign Ministers, called the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group CMAG.

The chief cause for suspension would be the unconstitutional overthrow of an elected civilian government. It was a move not precisely in favour of human rights, but against military coups. CMAG would then keep the suspended government under review, until it could recommend the return of the government to full membership after a transition to an elected administration.

Immediately, after the Auckland conference, three West African states ruled by the military — Nigeria, Sierra Leone and The Gambia — had their membership suspended. The fact that they were not actually expelled, but suspended from official Commonwealth meetings, meant that Chief Anyaoku did not have to resign.

One aspect resulting from these decisions was that the Commonwealth, a voluntary grouping often dismissed as a club lacking cohesion, or any ability to follow up with its high-flown principles, had now established minimum requirements. A government could lose its membership. This was a sanction not available to a universal body such as the United Nations, or a regional body like the Organisation of American States, where membership has always been automatic.

A voluntary club can be defined by its rules of membership. But what did suspension really mean, either for governments or their citizens? The Commonwealth is neither a rich, aid-giving organisation, nor a military alliance. Suspended governments did not appear to lose much. They were no longer invited to ministerial meetings, or eligible for technical assistance.

Suspension was an affront to their status, and became part of the evidence which could adversely affect their attraction to tourists and outside investors.

The arrival of CMAG as a rules committee helped change the way in which the Commonwealth was perceived internationally, even though it was clear that its Foreign Ministers tended to judge issues politically, rather than in exact human rights terms.

The example of a Commonwealth which refused membership to military leaders inspired the Organisation of African Unity OAU to introduce a ban on military presidents attending OAU summits at Algiers, in For human rights advocates, the arrival of CMAG provided a space for lobbying. But three issues were left open after To what extent could CMAG be made more effective for human rights? How far could the Commonwealth move from its new definition as an association of democracies to being a promoter of the rights of its citizens?

And what had been and would be the consequences for the citizens of Commonwealth countries whose governments were suspended from membership? It was obvious that there are many grievous human rights abuses in countries under civilian rule, and also that Commonwealth governments found it easier to ban military coups than to intervene in an expanding discourse of rights where there is substantial international machinery.

Fiji, where Commodore Frank Bainimarama took power in a coup in , was finally suspended from the Commonwealth in September over his refusal to call elections; this meant, for example, that its athletes and sports people became ineligible to compete in the Commonwealth Games, New Delhi in October Interestingly the Forum had been influenced by the Commonwealth in adopting an increasingly hostile position towards military coups, including the setting up of its own Ministerial Action Group at its Biketawa meeting in It has continued to stay clear of any process of investigation in member countries.

In the last two years, led by Dr Purna Sen who joined the Secretariat from Amnesty, it has published: best practice advice for governments and others on the Universal Periodic Review of human rights situations; a status report on human rights in member states; and reports on the rights of the child and the rights of disabled persons. But it has been unable to move into areas such as gay rights, and the rights of indigenous peoples, which are regarded as sensitive issues in member states.

This push-and-pull meant that, after , the leaders agreed to a slow process for CMAG intervention — except in the case of military coups; CMAG would only come into play after the Secretary-General had tried his good offices services, and consulted regional neighbours. He told the Commonwealth Human Rights Forum in that only governments which had already signed key UN covenants and conventions should be admitted to the Commonwealth in future.

It meant that egregious human rights abuse by a civilian government could also lead to the loss of Commonwealth membership. The fact that the Mugabe regime then withdrew in protest did not alter the significance of the precedent. Cameroon, most of which was a French colony prior to independence, joined the Commonwealth in Prior to that, a Commonwealth mission, led by Dr.

Kamal Hossain of Bangladesh, had warned that Cameroon was a semi-dictatorial regime with a dominant party and long-serving president, President Biya.

Cameroon was admitted to membership on the condition that there would be political and human rights improvements. But in spite of the efforts of senior Commonwealth representatives, and training workshops of various types, Cameroon still does not represent Commonwealth values and President Biya remains in power, 15 years after his country joined. The benefit to citizens of these official Commonwealth efforts may not seem great, especially when a government has been suspended.

During the 30 years that white-ruled South Africa was outside the Commonwealth there were considerable efforts, by Commonwealth governments and NGOs, to provide support and opportunities for the black majority. It is only in the last year, as a result of pressure from NGOs, that a London-based committee of Commonwealth bodies has received funding from the Commonwealth Foundation to provide support for civil society in Zimbabwe.

While the doctrine that the Commonwealth is an association of peoples as well as states has developed, it is not always put into practice.

Indeed, the small Commonwealth Foundation, funded by governments to work for civil society, professional interaction and the arts, had earlier been ordered not to assist persons and organisations from a suspended Zimbabwe. There is also a risk that the sanction of membership suspension may lose its power if used too often. The question arises most sharply with Pakistan, which has the second largest population of Commonwealth countries, and a history of military dominance. Nonetheless, the official Commonwealth is still bound to the Harare Principles, even if their application remains unsatisfactory.

The Kampala summit, in November , adopted rules for the admission of new member states which, among other things, require them to be compliant with the Harare Principles. An investigation process led by the Commonwealth Secretariat and consultation with existing members, has to be completed before a new government can join. Compared with the European Union, whose accession conditions require changes to legislation guaranteeing the rights of minorities and other human rights, this process has been dangerously unspecific, as seen in the Rwanda case.

The issue was highlighted when, in November , Rwanda joined the Commonwealth. Rwanda, a Francophone country, had no previous constitutional link to Britain or any existing Commonwealth member.

The Commonwealth of Nations: Brexit and the Future of ‘Global Britain’

However, when the monarch dies, the successor to the crown does not automatically become Head of the Commonwealth. The position is symbolic: representing the free association of independent members. Sixteen members of the Commonwealth, known as Commonwealth realms, recognise the Queen as their head of state. The majority of members, thirty-one, are republics, and a further five have monarchs of different royal houses. Symbols The Commonwealth has adopted a number of symbols that represent the association of its members.


The instrument which sets out the Commonwealth's objectives is the The Commonwealth's current highest-priority aims are on the promotion of The land area of the Commonwealth nations is about 21% of the total world land area. enterprise of transformation of nation-building and international cooperation.


The Commonwealth of Nations

The body was formerly in the British Empire. Or have been protectorates in treaty relations with the crown, which associate in order to realise common interests and foster cooperation. Nigeria joined commonwealth in

The Commonwealth of Nations , generally known simply as the Commonwealth , [3] is a political association of 54 member states , almost all of which are former territories of the British Empire. The Commonwealth dates back to the first half of the 20th century with the decolonisation of the British Empire through increased self-governance of its territories. It was originally created as the British Commonwealth of Nations [6] through the Balfour Declaration at the Imperial Conference , and formalised by the United Kingdom through the Statute of Westminster in The current Commonwealth of Nations was formally constituted by the London Declaration in , which modernised the community and established the member states as "free and equal".

Is there a role for machinery to promote and protect human rights which is neither universal, nor regional? The case of the Commonwealth of Nations, which originated in the British Empire but where the majority of members are now developing states, offers an insight into possibilities at both intergovernmental and nongovernmental levels. This article focuses on the way in which rules of membership for the Commonwealth have come to play a decisive part in defining it as an association of democracies and, more cautiously, as committed to human rights guarantees for citizens. The progress has been uneven, driven by political crises, and limited by the small resources available to an intergovernmental Secretariat. Simultaneously, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, a strong nongovernmental body, based in New Delhi and initially launched as a coalition of London-based Commonwealth associations, has been coordinating international pressure on Commonwealth governments to live up to their declarations.

Commonwealth of Nations

Commonwealth , also called Commonwealth of Nations , formerly —49 British Commonwealth of Nations , a free association of sovereign states comprising the United Kingdom and a number of its former dependencies who have chosen to maintain ties of friendship and practical cooperation and who acknowledge the British monarch as symbolic head of their association. In the Commonwealth Secretariat was established in London to organize and coordinate Commonwealth activities. The Commonwealth is an association of countries across the world. The Commonwealth consists of 54 countries, including the United Kingdom. The British monarch is head of the Commonwealth.

В данный момент мы ничего не знаем про Северную Дакоту, кроме анонимного адреса. - Возможно, это приманка, - предположила Сьюзан. Стратмор вскинул брови. - С какой целью.

Сьюзан важно было ощущать свое старшинство. В ее обязанности в качестве главного криптографа входило поддерживать в шифровалке мирную атмосферу - воспитывать. Особенно таких, как Хейл, - зеленых и наивных. Сьюзан посмотрела на него и подумала о том, как жаль, что этот человек, талантливый и очень ценный для АНБ, не понимает важности дела, которым занимается агентство. - Грег, - сказала она, и голос ее зазвучал мягче, хотя далось ей это нелегко.

 - Вечером в субботу. - Нет, - сказала Мидж.  - Насколько я знаю Стратмора, это его дела.

About The Commonwealth

Сьюзан встретилась с ним взглядом и прикусила губу. - Ничего, - выдавила .

2 COMMENTS

Madeleine M.

REPLY

The Commonwealth, originally called the British Commonwealth of Nations, is an association of sovereign and independent states that formally made up the British Empire.

Mark S.

REPLY

However, the Commonwealth has no formal constitutional structure.

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