(Adv Regan Ahmed for Lawyersnjurists)
“The Commonwealth of Nations”
The theme at CHOGM 2011
“Building National Resilience, Building Global Resilience”.
Table of Content
|SL. No||Contents||Pg No|
|Letter of Transmittal||1|
|2.||Major Characteristics of the Commonwealth||4|
|3.||Some Important Statistics||5-6|
|4.||Historical Background of the Commonwealth4.1 Summarization of The History||7-11|
|5.||Aims & Objectives of the Commonwealth||11-12|
|6.||Members of the Commonwealth||12-13|
|7.||Structure of the Commonwealth||13-15|
|8.||Functions of the Commonwealth||15-17|
|9.||Implementation Procedure of the Commonwealth||17|
The Commonwealth of Nations
Flag of the Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental Organization of 54 independent member states (Fiji Under Suspension 8 December, 2006). They may however be classified into the following;
Ø 33 of these members are republics;
Ø 5 are national monarchies; &
Ø The rest, 16, are realms in which the Queen’s sovereign power is vested in Governors General.
CHOGM 2011 was held in Perth, Australia, from 28 to 30 October.
The member states cooperate within a framework of common values and goals, as outlined in the Singapore Declaration. These include the promotion of democracy, human rights, good governance, the rule of law, individual liberty, egalitarianism, free trade, multilateralism and world peace. The Commonwealth is not a political union, but an intergovernmental organization in which countries with diverse social, political and economic backgrounds are regarded as equal in status.
Most of these member states are former British colonies, or dependencies of these colonies with three exceptions, Mozambique (which was a Portuguese possession), Rwanda (which was a Belgian mandate) and Cameroon (which is a union of a French mandate and a British mandate) plus the United Kingdom itself. The head of the Commonwealth of Nations is Queen Elizabeth II. She also reigns as monarch directly in a number of states, known as Commonwealth realms.
2) Major Characteristics of the Commonwealth of Nations
? The Official language of all member nations of the Commonwealth is English.
? Member nations adopt some British values and ideas including the Common law.
? High Commissioners are exchanged between member nations of the Commonwealth.
? The British monarch is the head of the Commonwealth.
? Member nations participate in Commonwealth games and sports.
? There is co-operation among member-nations in the fields of science, law, medicine, international affairs, trade and finance.
? Members subscribe to personnel and funds for the Commonwealth Secretariat and other organs of the body.
3) Some Important Statistics
||Marlborough HouseLondon, UK|
|–||Head of the Commonwealth||Queen Elizabeth II(since 6 February 1952)|
|–||Secretary-General||Kamalesh Sharma(since 1 April 2008)|
|–||Chairperson-in-Office||Julia Gillard(since 28 October 2011)|
|–||Balfour Declaration||18 November 1926|
|–||Statute of Westminster||11 December 1931|
|–||London Declaration||28 April 1949|
|–||Total||31,462,574 km212,147,768 sq mi|
|–||2013 estimate||2.5 billion|
Headquarter Commonwealth of nations
4) Historical Background:
Towards the end of the nineteenth century changes began occurring in the old British Empire, as the colonies grew in independence. In 1867 Canada became a ‘dominion’, a self-governing nation considered equal with Britain rather than simply ruled by her. The phrase ‘Commonwealth of Nations’ was used to describe the new relationships between Britain and colonies by Lord Rosebury during a speech in Australia in 1884. More dominions followed: Australia in 1900, New Zealand in 1907, South Africa in 1910 and the Irish Free State in 1921.
In the aftermath of the First World War, the dominions sought a new definition of the relationship between themselves and Britain. At first the old ‘Conferences of Dominions’ and ‘Imperial Conferences’, begun in 1887 for discussion between the leaders of Britain and the dominions, were resurrected. Then, at the 1926 Conference, the Balfour Report was discussed, accepted and the following agreed status of dominions was concluded:
“They are autonomous Communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations.”
This declaration was made law by the 1931 Statute of Westminster and the British Commonwealth of Nations was created.
Development of the Commonwealth of Nations
After the Second World War, the shape of the British Empire began changing drastically. India gained independence in 1947, the new state of Pakistan was simultaneously created, and a wave of decolonisation followed which saw several colonies become independent and sovereign states.
India provided an interesting test case: it desired to become a republic yet wanted to remain a member of the Commonwealth and this posed a fresh challenge to the entire concept. The question was Would Commonwealth membership only is for countries “owing an allegiance to the Crown” as the Balfour Report had stated? A conference of Commonwealth Prime Ministers in 1949 decided to revise this criterion where the latter wished to remain in the Commonwealth despite owing no “allegiance to the Crown”. The problem was solved by a conference of Commonwealth ministers called Declaration of London that same year, which concluded that sovereign nations could still be a part of the Commonwealth with no implied allegiance to Britain as long as they saw the Crown as “the symbol of the free association” of the Commonwealth. The name ‘British’ was also dropped from the title to better reflect the new arrangement. Many other colonies soon developed into their own republics, joining the Commonwealth as they did so, especially during the second half of the twentieth century as African and Asian nations became independent. New ground was broken in 1995, when Mozambique joined, despite never having been a British colony.
Commonwealth Heads Meeting
The London Declaration of 1949 was a milestone on the road to developing the modern Commonwealth. At the same time, the dropping of the word ‘British’ reflected the Commonwealth’s changing character.
With its commitment to racial equality and national sovereignty, joining the Commonwealth became a natural choice for many new nations that were emerging out of the decolonisation process of the 1950s and 1960s. Since then, the Commonwealth has grown in size and shape, expanding its reach and range of priorities. It is now involved in a wide spectrum of activities, all feeding the greater goals of good governance, respect for human rights, and peace and co-operation in the member countries and beyond.
In 1965, the leaders of the Commonwealth established the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, which became the association’s independent civil service, headed by a Secretary-General. A year later, the Commonwealth Foundation was launched to assist the growing number of Commonwealth professional associations and, subsequently, NGOs.
Two significant events in the history of the Commonwealth occurred in 1971. The first was the Singapore Declaration of Commonwealth Principles, which gave the association a formal code of ethics and committed members to improving human rights and seeking racial and economic justice. The second was the creation of the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation (CFTC), which advanced the idea of technical co-operation among developing countries.
Not every former British colony joined the Commonwealth, nor did every nation who joined stay in it. For instance Ireland withdrew in 1949, as did South Africa (under Commonwealth pressure to curb apartheid) and Pakistan (in 1961 and 1972 respectively) although they later rejoined. Zimbabwe left in 2003, again under political pressure to reform.
4.1 Summarization of the Historical Background of Commonwealth of Nations
1884: Lord Rosebery (later British PM) calls Empire a ‘Commonwealth of Nations’ whilst visiting Australia.
1887:First Colonial Conference for consultation between Britain and its colonies. This leads to Imperial Conferences between the UK and Prime Ministers of the self governing dominions.
1926: Imperial Conference: UK and its dominions agree they are “equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations.”
Regular Prime Ministers meetings become the forerunners of today’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings.
1930: First Commonwealth Games held in Hamilton, Canada.
1931: Statute of Westminster gives legal status to the independence of Australia, Canada, Irish Free State, Newfoundland, New Zealand and South Africa.
1949: Beginning of the Modern Commonwealth. India decides to become a republic. London Declaration allows republics to retain membership, acknowledging King George VI as Head of the Commonwealth.
1953:Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II who becomes Head of the Commonwealth.
1957:Ghana becomes independent and the first majority-ruled African Commonwealth member.
1960: Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan helps graduates study in other member countries.
1961:South Africa withdraws from the Commonwealth, after pressure from member states against its apartheid policies.
1965: Commonwealth Secretariat set up to administer Commonwealth economic and international affairs.
Commonwealth Foundation set up
Arnold Smith of Canada becomes the first Commonwealth Secretary-General.
1971: Singapore Declaration of Commonwealth Principles gives the association a set of ideals and agreed values.
Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation (CFTC) added to Secretariat, to put skills of member countries at each others disposal
1972:Pakistan withdraws from the Commonwealth over impending recognition of Bangladesh.
1975:Commonwealth begins to train 10,000 Namibian exiles in much-needed skills.
Shridath ‘Sonny’ Ramphal of Guyana becomes the second Commonwealth Secretary-General.
1977:Gleneagles Agreement starts apartheid South Africa’s sporting isolation.
1979: Lusaka Accord, the Commonwealth blueprint which lays out the path for Zimbabwe’s independence, agreed by heads of Government.
1980: Zimbabwe becomes independent after Lancaster House agreement; first time Commonwealth Observers monitor elections.
1981:Melbourne Declaration reinforces Commonwealth commitment to fairer economic deal for developing countries.
Commonwealth sets up a ‘Small States Office’ in New York, so that very small countries can take part in UN negotiations.
Commonwealth Action Group on Cyprus set up to assist UN security council efforts to resolve Cyprus problem.
1986:Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group visits Nelson Mandela in prison and sets out negotiating concept to end to apartheid in South Africa peacefully.
1987: Fiji’s membership of the Commonwealth lapses after it declares itself a republic following a military coup.
Commonwealth of Learning set up to provide better and internationally recognised education to all member states.
1989:Pakistan rejoins the Commonwealth after an absence of 17 years.
Langkawi Declaration on the Environment commits the Commonwealth to an active role in protecting natural balances and preventing environmental deterioration.
1990: Emeka Anyaoku of Nigeria becomes the third Commonwealth Secretary-General.
1991: Harare Commonwealth Declaration sets the associations priorities for the 1990s and beyond. Strengthened emphasis on Commonwealth contribution to democracy, human rights and equality.
1994: South Africa rejoins the Commonwealth following the end of apartheid.
1995: Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) set up by Commonwealth Heads of Government in New Zealand to deal with persistent and serious violators of the Commonwealth’s shared principles.
Military ruled Nigeria suspended from the Commonwealth after a ‘serious violation of the principles set out in the Harare Declaration’ (including the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa).
Mozambiqué becomes the first country with no colonial links to Britain to join the Commonwealth.
Predominantly Francophone Cameroon also joins.
1999: Commonwealth celebrates 50 years as a modern international association.
Pakistan suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth after the unconstitutional overthrow of the democratically elected Government.
2000: Don McKinnon of New Zealand becomes the fourth Commonwealth Secretary-General.
Following the overthrow of the elected government Fiji Islands suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth pending the restoration of democracy and the rule of law.
2002:Commonwealth Chairpersons’ Committee on Zimbabwe set up by CHOGM “to determine appropriate Commonwealth action on Zimbabwe” after a highly adverse report on the Presidential elections by Commonwealth observers.
Zimbabwe suspended from the Councils of the Commonwealth for one year with immediate effect after Committee meets on 19 March.
2003:Zimbabwe’s suspension extended to December 2003.
2004:Pakistan’s suspension from Commonwealth councils lifted.
‘Civil Paths to Peace’, the report of the Commonwealth Commission on Respect and Understanding, chaired by Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, was endorsed by Heads of Government.
It argues that the solution to conflicts within the Commonwealth should be rooted in the association’s agreed principles of human rights, democracy, gender equality, the rule of law and a transparent and accountable political culture.
2008: Kamalesh Sharma of India becomes fifth Commonwealth Secretary-General.
2009: Commonwealth celebrates 60th anniversary since the London Declaration was signed and the modern Commonwealth was born.
Following the decisions taken by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group on 31 July 2009, Fiji Islands was suspended from membership of the Commonwealth on 1 September 2009.
Rwanda becomes the 54th member of the Commonwealth. Leaders agreed to admit Rwanda as the 54th member on 28 November 2009 during their biennial summit in Trinidad and Tobago.
5.0 The Aims & Objectives of The Commonwealth
The Commonwealth has a secretariat to oversee its business, but no formal constitution or international laws. It does, however, have an ethical and moral code, first expressed in the ‘Singapore Declaration of Commonwealth Principles’, issued in 1971, by which members agree to operate, including aims of peace, democracy, liberty, equality and an end to racism and poverty. This was refined and expanded in the Harare Declaration of 1991 which is often considered to have “set the Commonwealth on a new course: that of promoting democracy and good governance, human rights and the rule of law, gender equality and sustainable economic and social development”. An action plan has since been produced to actively follow these declarations. Failure to adhere to these aims can, and has, resulted in a member being suspended, such as Pakistan from 1999 to 2004 and Fiji in 2006 after military coups.
6.0 Members of Commonwealth
Today, there are 53 independent members of the Commonwealth. 16 have Queen Elizabeth II as head of state, including the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and realms in the Caribbean and in the Pacific, 32 are republics and 5 have their own monarchies.
*Following the decisions taken by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group the nation of Fiji has been suspended due to the coup’ d’ etat 31 July 2009, Fiji was suspended from membership of the Commonwealth on 1 September 2009
7.0 Structure of Commonwealth
HM Queen Elizabeth II is Head of the Commonwealth. Kamalesh Sharma, current Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, is the principal global advocate for the Commonwealth and Chief Executive of the Secretariat.
There are three intergovernmental organizations:
· Commonwealth Foundation – helps civil society organisations promote democracy, development and cultural understanding;
· Commonwealth heads of general meeting – assemble to discuss matters of mutual interest.
8.0 Functions Performed by the Commonwealth of Nations
1) Democracy and Consensus Building:
To build stronger democratic institutions and processes across the Commonwealth. Democratic processes include regular holding of elections. Key democratic institutions include election management bodies and parliaments. The aim is to achieve this by providing training and technical assistance and sending teams of observers to countries elections by invitation.
2) Economic Development:
The Secretariat aims to strengthen policies and systems that support economic growth in the member countries. The Commonwealth help member countries take advantage of opportunities for economic growth and improve their ability to manage their economic development in the long-term.
The Secretariat is mandated by Commonwealth Ministers of Education and Commonwealth Heads of Government to continue focusing on the EFA Six action areas which are to accelerate:
· the achievement of Universal Primary Education;
· elimination of gender disparities in education;
· improvement of quality in education;
· use of Distance Learning to overcome barriers;
· support to education in difficult circumstances; and
· The mitigation of the impact of HIV & AIDS on education.
4) Environment and Climate Change:
It works with Commonwealth countries and regions to assist them manage their environment and natural resources, and address the impacts of climate change, so that growth and development are both sustainable and equitable.
It also conducts researches and analysis, share policy experiences, help build interational consensus and provide practical assistance to build skills and institutions.
It works in four key areas:
- Climate Change
- Natural Resources Management
- Environmental Governance
- Urbanisation in the Commonwealth
5) Gender Equality:
The Commonwealth Secretariat is a leader in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. It plays a key role in challenging issues such as women’s leadership and representation in politics and peace building processes, gender responsive budgeting, women’s access to finance and improvement of women’s rights to land and other resources through the law.
6) Good Offices for Peace:
To support democracy and peace the Secretariat works with Commonwealth countries to improve the political atmosphere when conflict or tensions emerge. It helps to consolidate and strengthen public confidence in government institutions. The Commonwealth also promotes the upholding of democracy and good governance by public and civil society organizations.
The Commonwealth of Nations strengthens the delivery of health care in Commonwealth countries by supporting the development and implementation of national and regional policies and strategies.
8) Rule of Law:
The administration of justice is fundamental in all democratic societies. It help in improving it by working with courts, correctional services, police forces and other bodies central to delivering justice. The primary objective is to support Commonwealth countries in upholding the rule of law. It works with member countries to develop legal, judicial and constitutional reform and strengthen both legal and regulatory frameworks. It also assists in the negotiation of international and regional agreements which impact on human and economic and development.
Sport is a key part of the Commonwealth’s identity. Commonwealth Heads of Government have recognized the benefits of physical activity and the importance of sport as an effective instrument for social and economic development.
Commonwealth Sports Ministers Meetings (CSMM) are held every two years, in the margins of the Commonwealth Games and the Summer Olympic & Paralympic Games, to increase Commonwealth collaboration in this important area.
The Secretariat aims to give young people an opportunity, or access to achieve their aims and ambitions. This is done by creating and supporting the conditions under which they can act on their own behalf, and on their own terms, rather than at the direction of others. Commonwealth Youth agency focuses on youth in a systematic and decentralized youth governance structure conducted through our four Regional Centres which are located in Zambia, Guyana, Chandigarh and Honiara.
11) Public Sector Development:
The Commonwealth helps member governments improve their ability to run public services and work with public institutions to strengthen their delivery of key responsibilities.
The Commonwealth’s Programme promotes public service ethos in the Commonwealth nations and works to facilitate:
· Trained professional public servants, capable of implementing programmes and providing efficient and effective services.
· Capable and well-functioning public sector training institutions and professional public sector bodies and associations.
· Robust, independent constitutional bodies that monitor the work of governments and public administrations, and act as avenues for citizen redress.
· A predictable and transparent regulatory environment conducive to private sector development and good corporate governance.
· Development of e-governance strategies for effective delivery of services.
· A better informed civil society actively participating in the business of government and public administration.
9.0 Implementation Procedure of the Commonwealth:
CHOGM stands for Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Every two years Commonwealth leaders meet to discuss global and Commonwealth issues, and agree collective policies and initiatives. CHOGMs act as the principal policy and decision-making forum to guide the strategic direction of the association. They are organized by the host nation in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat.
The 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, from 15 to 17 November.
Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group
CMAG’s task is to assess the nature of infringements and recommend measures for collective Commonwealth action aimed at speedy restoration of democracy and constitutional rule.It was established by Commonwealth Heads of Government in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1995.
Technical Cooperation and Strategic Response Group
The Technical Cooperation and Strategic Response Group (TCSRG) were established in 2008 under the Institutional Capacity Development (ICD) programme. It focuses on to promote and support development of Commonwealth countries, especially the small and least developed. The priority is to strengthen capacity of local, national and regional institutions in critical areas through specific, tailored and sustainable technical solutions in response to requests of member countries and regional bodies. :
Problems Facing The Commonwealth
The organization is bogged down with many problems some of which are indicated hereunder:
There is a growing tendency among the Commonwealth members to look elsewhere for support and strength. For example, during the Nigerian Civil War of 1967-70, Nigeria relied on U.S.S.R. for the supply of arms to execute the war.
ü Mutual differences between the members of the Commonwealth have further weakened the organization. For example the differences between India and Pakistan over Kashmir and the British support to Pakistan created friction among these members.
ü Likewise, Malaysia’s non-support to Pakistan during the Indo-Park struggle of 1965 led to Pakistan snapping ties with Malaysia, in the Indo-Pak war of 1971 which led to the creation of independent Bangla Desh.
ü When a large number of Commonwealth Countries accorded recognition to Bangla Desh, Pakistan withdrew from the Commonwealth as a protest. Similarly in 1961, the Afro-Asian members of Commonwealth forced South Africa to give up her membership because of her policy of apartheid. The unilateral Declaration of independence by the illegal I am Smith Government of Rhodesia in November, 1965 gave rise to bitterness between Britain and Rhodesia, and ultimately led to Rhodesia’s withdrawal from Commonwealth.
ü Of late Britain has become a member of the European Common Market (January 1, 1973). This has naturally meant some loosening of all bounds like Commonwealth preferences. This caused particular concern to countries like India and New Zealand for whom Britain has been a major export market. By virtue of membership of European Economic Commission (E.E.C.) Britain will have to conform to the trade policies jointly devised by the members of the enlarged common market.
ü Another problem facing the organization is that the Commonwealth has no charter like that of the United Nations Organization (UNO) and organization of African Unity (African Union). Therefore there are no standard rules to regulate the governing or operations of the organization.
ü Member states no longer grant free movement to immigrants from other member countries. This situation has negative impact on bilateral relationship of member states.
ü Many member states belong to other international organizations and this creates divided loyalty. For example, the preferential tariffs agreed upon by member states of Commonwealth no longer obtain with the formation of different economic blocs in the international system. Britain herself is presently more committee to the European Economic Community (EEC) than to the Commonwealth.
ü The Commonwealth had no power and machinery to compel member states to comply with its decisions and resolutions”. This of course is a serious problem that tares the organization on its face.
ü Member states formulate different-foreign policies as dictated by their-national interests and sometimes in opposition to the Common position of the Commonwealth.
ü The organization has continued to stay idle even as some countries are going backwards in term of democratization and the respect for basic human rights.
ü It has also been criticized that the Commonwealth Secretariat in London has for poor communications and a lack of engagement with news media, which in turn has too often made life comfortable for regimes violating human rights.
ü There has been growing criticism that the Commonwealth does not take a stand, at least in public, on violations of its values by member states, other than in the case of the unconstitutional removal of governments.
After perusing the Commonwealth in detail I have come up with some recommendation which if taken into consideration will certainly prevent the ill blocks in the way of development of the Commonwealth, as follows;
Ø It is always pertinent for any organization for certainty and uniformity and for proper regulation of conduct to have a charter which everyone can conform to. For ex: UN charter. It is high time for the Commonwealth to come up with their own Charter ultimately effecting standardization of member states conduct in mutual relation.
Ø Any rule without the machinery to enforce it is of no consequence. Thereby the Commonwealth must establish strong enforcement machinery which can carry out its mandate effectively.
Ø Member states must effect an agreement by which all members agree to support each other in all adverse scenarios. This will avoid the member states to look out for outside help and prevent the association from breaking down.
Ø The leaders must give Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma a stronger mandate to act when member countries violate human rights and other Commonwealth principles.
Ø New commissions are to be set up to report “on serious or persistent violations of democracy, the rule of law and human rights in member states.”
Ø A Commonwealth Charter recognized by all member nations and a proposed Commissioner for Democracy, Rule of Law and Human Rights — will help Commonwealth nations co-operate and “share common values and purposes.”
Ø The commonwealth can in no way progress and develop unless and until all member states devise foreign policy in conformity to the policy of the Commonwealth. This is a case of Prime consideration as generally they are devising policies only in regard to respective national interest.
Ø The member states must give priority to the policies of the commonwealth rather than any other organization of which it is a member. For Ex: Britain is attaching more importance of its membership to EEC.
Ø Attitude of some members who do not recognize the British Crown as the Head of the organization should be reformed as this is against the interest and welfare of the commonwealth.
Bangladesh held credible elections at the end of 2008, leading to the restoration of parliamentary democracy in the country following nearly two years under emergency rule. Similar impact also had on Ghana.
The Youth Ambassadors of Positive Living Programme was initiated in Africa & Asia in 1993 as a response to the challenges posed by the spread of HIV and AIDS among young people.
In 1985 the Commonwealth Secretariat created a system which helps countries directly manage their own debts, after an economic crisis earlier that decade left many developing nations reeling. Over 60 countries have since used.
More than 70 Commonwealth Observer Groups have been sent to presidential or parliamentary elections in member countries since 1990 to observe and report on the preparation for and conduct of elections.
The Commonwealth Youth Credit Initiative (CYCI) launched by the Commonwealth has enabled many local businesses to thrive. It has been piloted in Guyana, India, Solomon Islands, Zambia and was followed by 12 other member states of the commonwealth.
The Commonwealth has, to date, helped 15 countries lodge claims for additional areas of seabed, which will enable them to access and manage potentially lucrative living and non-living marine resources including oil and gas reserves, mineral deposits and sedentary marine species.
In 2007, Commonwealth Heads of Government agreed the Lake Victoria Commonwealth Climate Change Action Plan, a statement of intent by governments to work, both individually and collectively, on climate change.
At the 2009 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, the President of Maldives openly thanked the Commonwealth Secretariat for its Good Offices engagement in support of the democratic transition in his country. Today, Swaziland is a constitutional monarchy, due in great measure to the efforts of the Commonwealth in the past decade.
In late 2002 a special envoy to Guyana brought two hostile parties to sit together and run the democratic processes going. Finally it worked and in 2006 the election was held democratically.
Finally the charter on the Commonwealth of Nations has been ratified by Queen Elizabeth II on 8th March, 2013.
It is holding Universal Periodic Review to assess any Human right violations and advising to take measures to prevent it.
Since its inception the Commonwealth has increasingly come to be recognized not just as an association of nations but as an association of peoples. This sense of a Commonwealth ‘family’ is manifest in the diverse network of associations, organizations, charities, initiatives, societies, institutions and funds that exist in the Commonwealth space. This network brings together people from an eclectic and rich mix of nations, cultures, creeds, races and economic backgrounds, enabling participation at all levels in the Commonwealth arena.
Civil society participation in the Commonwealth space takes on many forms and occurs at many levels. Organizations such as the Commonwealth Trade Union Group, Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council and Commonwealth Action for Human Settlements (Com Habitat) are just a snapshot of the diverse range of organizations found representing civil society throughout the Commonwealth. Such associations provide an arena for all forms of civil society organizations from across the 53 member nations to come together in the advancement of common interests.
The Commonwealth continues to provide a space for civil society organization from across the globe to come together, influence governments and each other, and ultimately provide the people of the Commonwealth with the opportunity to have their voices heard and unite around common goals that aim to fashion a better world.
The creation of the Commonwealth Secretariat in 1965 and the ever expanding number of professional and advocacy Commonwealth organizations reflect this; but most significant is the expansion of membership from 8 in 1949 to 54* in 2009. A clear demonstration of how the scope of the Declaration ensured that the Commonwealth retained a relevance to other newly independent nations.
In many ways the ‘atmosphere of goodwill and mutual understanding’ in which the Declaration was formulated can be seen as the crucible in which the character governing the Commonwealth today was created. It balanced modern realities with the pragmatic and the positive, which is why 30% of the world’s population has cause for celebration in 2009.
Nearly two billion people now live in the Commonwealth, and half of these are under 25. The future of the Commonwealth belongs with young people, and this is why the Commonwealth theme for 2009 is ‘thecommonwealth@60 – serving a new generation’.
Books & Publications
The Constitutional Structure of the Commonwealth by E. C. Wheare
Commonwealth Governance Handbook 2012/13: Democracy, development and public administration
Principles for Local Government Legislation: Lessons from the Commonwealth Pacific
The Big Divide: A Ten Year Report on Small Island Developing States and the Millennium Development Goals
 Oxford English Dictionary (dictionary.oed.com), 1989, 2nd ed., retrieved 13 March 2010
 April 28, 1949. The Modern Law Review 12 (3): 351–354
 The Singapore Declaration, 1971