Commonwealth of Nations

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Old Commonwealth)
Jump to: navigation, search
Not to be confused with the Commonwealth of Independent States.
For other uses, see Commonwealth (disambiguation).
Commonwealth of Nations
Flag Logo
A map of the world, highlighting the member states of the Commonwealth (dark blue)
A map of the world, highlighting the member states of the Commonwealth (dark blue)
Headquarters Marlborough House
London, United Kingdom
Official language English
Member states
Leaders
 -  Head Queen Elizabeth II
 -  Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma
 -  Chairperson-in-Office Mahinda Rajapaksa
Establishment
 -  Statute of Westminster 11 December 1931[1] 
 -  London Declaration 28 April 1949 
Area
 -  Total 29,958,050 km2 (1st)
11,566,870 sq mi
Population
 -  2013 estimate 2.328 billion (1st)
 -  Density 75/km2
194/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2014 estimate
 -  Total $14.623 trillion (3rd)
 -  Per capita $6,222 (116th)
GDP (nominal) 2014 estimate
 -  Total $10.450 trillion (2nd)
 -  Per capita $4,446 (132nd)
Website
thecommonwealth.org
Note: Rankings exclude the member states.

The Commonwealth of Nations, commonly known as the Commonwealth (formerly the British Commonwealth),[1] is an intergovernmental organisation of 53 member states[2] that were mostly territories of the former British Empire. The Commonwealth operates by intergovernmental consensus of the member states, organised through the Commonwealth Secretariat, and non-governmental organisations, organised through the Commonwealth Foundation.[3]

The Commonwealth dates back to the mid 20th century with the decolonisation of the British Empire through increased self-governance of its territories. It was formally constituted by the London Declaration in 1949, which established the member states as "free and equal".[4] The symbol of this free association is Queen Elizabeth II who is the Head of the Commonwealth. The Queen is also the monarch of 16 members of the Commonwealth, known as Commonwealth realms. The other members of the Commonwealth have different persons as head of state: 32 members are republics and five members are monarchies with a different monarch.

Member states have no legal obligation to one another. Instead, they are united by language, history, culture, and their shared values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.[3] These values are enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter[5] and promoted by the quadrennial Commonwealth Games. On 3 October 2013, after 48 years of membership, the Gambia became the most recent nation to withdraw from the Commonwealth.[6]

The Commonwealth covers more than 29,958,050 km2 (11,566,870 sq mi), almost a quarter of the world land area, and spans all the continents. With an estimated population of 2.328 billion, near a third of the world population,[7] the Commonwealth in 2012 produced a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of $10.450 trillion, representing 17% of the world GDP when measured in purchasing power parity (PPP) and 14% of the Gross world product when measured nominally. This represents the second largest nominal GDP and third largest GDP PPP in the world.

History[edit]

Origin[edit]

Main article: British Empire
The prime ministers of five members of the Commonwealth at the 1944 Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference

In 1884, while visiting Australia, Lord Rosebery described the changing British Empire, as some of its colonies became more independent, as a "Commonwealth of Nations".[8] Conferences of British and colonial prime ministers occurred periodically from the first one in 1887, leading to the creation of the Imperial Conferences in 1911.[9]

The Commonwealth developed from the Imperial Conferences. A specific proposal was presented by Jan Smuts in 1917 when he coined the term "the British Commonwealth of Nations" and envisioned the "future constitutional relations and readjustments in essence" at the all-important Versailles Conference of 1919 by delegates from the dominions as well as Britain.[10][11] The term first received imperial statutory recognition in the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, when the term "British Commonwealth of Nations" was substituted for "British Empire" in the wording of the oath taken by members of parliament of the Irish Free State.[12]

Dominions[edit]

In the Balfour Declaration at the 1926 Imperial Conference, Britain and its dominions agreed they were "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." These aspects to the relationship were formalised by the Statute of Westminster in 1931, which applied to Canada without the need for ratification, but Australia, New Zealand, and Newfoundland had to ratify the statute for it to take effect. Newfoundland never did, as on 16 February 1934, with the consent of its parliament, the government of Newfoundland voluntarily ended and governance reverted to direct control from London. Newfoundland later joined Canada as its 10th province in 1949.[13] Australia and New Zealand ratified the Statute in 1942 and 1947 respectively.[14][15]

After World War II ended, the British Empire was gradually dismantled to the 14 British overseas territories still held by the United Kingdom. In April 1949, following the London Declaration, the word "British" was dropped from the title of the Commonwealth to reflect its changing nature.[16] Burma (also known as Myanmar, 1948) and Aden (1967) are the only states that were British colonies at the time of the war not to have joined the Commonwealth upon independence. Former British protectorates and mandates that did not become members of the Commonwealth are Egypt (independent in 1922), Iraq (1932), Transjordan (1946), British Palestine (part of which became the state of Israel in 1948), Sudan (1956), British Somaliland (which united with the former Italian Somaliland in 1960 to form the Somali Republic), Kuwait (1961), Bahrain (1971), Oman (1971), Qatar (1971), and the United Arab Emirates (1971).

Republics[edit]

On 18 April 1949, Ireland formally became a republic in accordance with the Irish Republic of Ireland Act 1948. Because it did this, it was automatically excluded from the Commonwealth. While Ireland had not actively participated in the Commonwealth since the early 1930s and was content to leave the Commonwealth, other dominions wished to become republics without losing Commonwealth ties. The issue came to a head in April 1949 at a Commonwealth prime ministers' meeting in London. Under the London Declaration, India agreed that, when it became a republic in January 1950, it would accept the British Sovereign as a "symbol of the free association of its independent member nations and as such the Head of the Commonwealth". Upon hearing this, King George VI told the Indian politician Krishna Menon: "So, I've become 'as such'".[17] The other Commonwealth countries recognised India's continuing membership of the association. At Pakistan's insistence, India was not regarded as an exceptional case and it was assumed that other states would be accorded the same treatment as India.

The London Declaration is often seen as marking the beginning of the modern Commonwealth. Following India's precedent, other nations became republics, or constitutional monarchies with their own monarchs, while some countries retained the same monarch as the United Kingdom, but their monarchies developed differently and soon became fully independent of the British monarchy. The monarch is regarded as a separate legal personality in each realm, even though the same person is monarch of each realm.

New Commonwealth[edit]

As the Commonwealth grew, Britain and the pre-1945 dominions became informally known as the Old Commonwealth and planners in the interwar period, like Lord Davies, who had also taken "a prominent part in building up the League of Nations Union" in the United Kingdom, in 1932 founded the New Commonwealth Society, of which Winston Churchill became the president.[citation needed] This new society was aimed at the creation of an international air force to be the arm of the League of Nations, to allow nations to disarm and safeguard the peace.

The term New Commonwealth has been used in Great Britain (especially in the 1960s and 1970s) to refer to recently decolonised countries, predominantly non-white and developing. It was often used in debates about immigration from these countries.[18]

Plan G and Inviting Europe to join[edit]

At a time when Germany, France and four other countries were planning for what later became the European Union, and newly independent African countries were joining the Commonwealth, new ideas were floated to prevent Britain from becoming isolated in economic affairs. British trade with the Commonwealth was four times larger than trade with Europe. The British government under Prime Minister Anthony Eden considered in 1956-57 a "plan G" to create a European free trade zone while also protecting the favoured status of the Commonwealth.[19][20] [21] Britain also considered inviting Scandinavian and other European countries to join the Commonwealth so it would become a major economic common market. At one point in October 1956 Eden and French Prime Minister Guy Mollet discussed having France join the Commonwealth. Nothing came of any of the proposals.[22]

Structure[edit]

Head of the Commonwealth[edit]

Under the formula of the London Declaration, Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of the Commonwealth, a title that is by law a part of Elizabeth's royal titles in each of the Commonwealth realms,[23] the 16 members of the Commonwealth that recognise the Queen as their monarch. However, when the monarch dies, the successor to the crown does not automatically become Head of the Commonwealth.[24] The position is symbolic, representing the free association of independent members,[23] the majority of which (32) are republics, and five have monarchs of different royal houses (Brunei, Lesotho, Malaysia, Swaziland, and Tonga).

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting[edit]

The main decision-making forum of the organisation is the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), where Commonwealth heads of government, including (amongst others) prime ministers and presidents, assemble for several days to discuss matters of mutual interest. CHOGM is the successor to the Meetings of Commonwealth Prime Ministers and, earlier, the Imperial Conferences and Colonial Conferences, dating back to 1887. There are also regular meetings of finance ministers, law ministers, health ministers, etc. Members in arrears, as special members before them, are not invited to send representatives to either ministerial meetings or CHOGMs.[23]

The head of government hosting the CHOGM is called the Commonwealth Chairperson-in-Office and retains the position until the following CHOGM.[25] After the most recent CHOGM, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, from 10–17 November 2013 Sri Lanka's president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, became the Chairperson-in-Office and will continue to hold the title until the next CHOGM in Mauritius in 2015.

Commonwealth Secretariat[edit]

Marlborough House, London, the headquarters of the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Commonwealth's principal intergovernmental institution

The Commonwealth Secretariat, established in 1965, is the main intergovernmental agency of the Commonwealth, facilitating consultation and co-operation among member governments and countries. It is responsible to member governments collectively. The Commonwealth of Nations is represented in the United Nations General Assembly by the secretariat as an observer. The secretariat organises Commonwealth summits, meetings of ministers, consultative meetings and technical discussions; it assists policy development and provides policy advice, and facilitates multilateral communication among the member governments. It also provides technical assistance to help governments in the social and economic development of their countries and in support of the Commonwealth's fundamental political values.

The secretariat is headed by the Commonwealth Secretary-General who is elected by Commonwealth heads of government for no more than two four-year terms. The secretary-general and two deputy secretaries-general direct the divisions of the Secretariat. The present secretary-general is Kamalesh Sharma, from India, who took office on 1 April 2008, succeeding Don McKinnon of New Zealand (2000–2008), and was re-elected in 2011 to his second term in 2012. The first secretary-general was Arnold Smith of Canada (1965–75), followed by Sir Shridath Ramphal of Guyana (1975–90) and Chief Emeka Anyaoku of Nigeria (1990–99).

Commonwealth citizenship and High Commissioners[edit]

Main article: Commonwealth citizen

In recognition of their shared heritage and culture, Commonwealth countries are not considered to be "foreign" to each other.[26][27][28] When engaging bilaterally with one another, Commonwealth governments exchange High Commissioners instead of ambassadors. Between two Commonwealth realms, they represent the Head of Government rather than the Head of State. Outside of bilateralism, but some Commonwealth states consider other members to be foreign for certain purposes. For example, the High Court of Australia ruled, in Sue v Hill, that the United Kingdom is a foreign power for the purpose of Section 44 of the constitution of Australia.

In addition, some members treat resident citizens of other Commonwealth countries preferentially to citizens of non-Commonwealth countries. Britain and several others, mostly in the Caribbean, grant the right to vote to Commonwealth citizens who reside in those countries. Some states, such as Canada and New Zealand, have abolished such preferences.[citation needed] In non-Commonwealth countries in which their own country is not represented, Commonwealth citizens may seek consular assistance at the British embassy.[29] Other alternatives can also occur such as an emergency consular services agreement between Canada and Australia that began in 1986.[30]

Membership[edit]

Criteria[edit]

The criteria for membership of the Commonwealth of Nations have developed over time from a series of separate documents. The Statute of Westminster 1931, as a fundamental founding document of the organisation, laid out that membership required dominionhood. The 1949 London Declaration ended this, allowing republican and indigenous monarchic members on the condition that they recognised the British monarch as the "Head of the Commonwealth".[31] In the wake of the wave of decolonisation in the 1960s, these constitutional principles were augmented by political, economic, and social principles. The first of these was set out in 1961, when it was decided that respect for racial equality would be a requirement for membership, leading directly to the withdrawal of South Africa's re-application (which they were required to make under the formula of the London Declaration upon becoming a republic). The 14 points of the 1971 Singapore Declaration dedicated all members to the principles of world peace, liberty, human rights, equality, and free trade.[32]

These criteria were unenforceable for two decades,[33] until, in 1991, the Harare Declaration was issued, dedicating the leaders to applying the Singapore principles to the completion of decolonisation, the end of the Cold War, and the end of apartheid in South Africa.[34] The mechanisms by which these principles would be applied were created, and the manner clarified, by the 1995 Millbrook Commonwealth Action Programme, which created the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), which has the power to rule on whether members meet the requirements for membership under the Harare Declaration.[35] Also in 1995, an Inter-Governmental Group was created to finalise and codify the full requirements for membership. Upon reporting in 1997, as adopted under the Edinburgh Declaration, the Inter-Governmental Group ruled that any future members would have to have a direct constitutional link with an existing member.[36]

In addition to this new rule, the former rules were consolidated into a single document. These requirements are that members must accept and comply with the Harare principles, be fully sovereign states, recognise the monarch of the Commonwealth realms as the Head of the Commonwealth, accept the English language as the means of Commonwealth communication, and respect the wishes of the general population with regard to Commonwealth membership.[36] These requirements had undergone review, and a report on potential amendments was presented by the Committee on Commonwealth Membership at the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.[37] New members were not admitted at this meeting, though applications for admission were considered at the 2009 CHOGM.[38]

New members must "as a general rule" have a direct constitutional link to an existing member. In most cases, this is due to being a former colony of the United Kingdom, but some have links to other countries, either exclusively or more directly (e.g. Samoa to New Zealand, Papua New Guinea to Australia, and Namibia to South Africa). The first member to be admitted without having any constitutional link to the British Empire or a Commonwealth member was Mozambique, a former Portuguese colony, in 1995 following its first democratic elections and South Africa's re-admission in 1994. Mozambique's controversial entry led to the Edinburgh Declaration and the current membership guidelines.[39] In 2009, Rwanda became the second Commonwealth member admitted not to have any such constitutional links. It was a Belgian trust territory that had been a German colony until World War I.[40] Consideration for its admission was considered an "exceptional circumstance" by the Commonwealth Secretariat.[39]

Members[edit]

Flags of the members of the Commonwealth in Parliament Square, London
The Commonwealth flag flies at the Parliament of Canada in Ottawa

The Commonwealth comprises 53 countries (including one currently suspended member), across all six inhabited continents. The members have a combined population of 2.1 billion people, almost a third of the world population, of which 1.17 billion live in India and 94% live in Asia and Africa combined.[41] After India, the next-largest Commonwealth countries by population are Pakistan (180 million), Nigeria (170 million), Bangladesh (156 million), the United Kingdom (63 million) and South Africa (52 million). Tuvalu is the smallest member, with about 10,000 people.[42]

The land area of the Commonwealth nations is about 31,500,000 km2 (12,200,000 sq mi), or about 21% of the total world land area. The three largest Commonwealth nations by area are Canada at 9,984,670 km2 (3,855,100 sq mi), Australia at 7,617,930 km2 (2,941,300 sq mi), and India at 3,287,263 km2 (1,269,219 sq mi).[43] The Commonwealth members have a combined gross domestic product of over $9 trillion, 78% of which is accounted for by the four largest economies: United Kingdom ($2.4 trillion), Canada ($1.8 trillion), India ($1.8 trillion) and Australia ($1.5 trillion).[44]

The status of "Member in Arrears" is used to denote those that are in arrears in paying subscription dues. The status was originally known as "special membership", but was renamed on the Committee on Commonwealth Membership's recommendation.[45] There are currently no Members in Arrears. The most recent Member in Arrears, Nauru, returned to full membership in June 2011.[46] Nauru has alternated between special and full membership since joining the Commonwealth, depending on its financial situation.[47]

Applicants[edit]

In 1997 the Commonwealth Heads of Government agreed that, to become a member of the Commonwealth, an applicant country should, as a rule, have had a constitutional association with an existing Commonwealth member; that it should comply with Commonwealth values, principles and priorities as set out in the Harare Declaration; and that it should accept Commonwealth norms and conventions.[48]

South Sudan is currently (2013) the only country specifically expressing an interest in joining the Commonwealth.[49] Some commentators have suggested that Israel and Palestine have considered applying for membership,[50] but there has been no formal approach."[50]

Other eligible applicants could be any of the remaining inhabited British overseas territories, Crown dependencies, Australian external territories and Associated States of New Zealand if they become fully independent.[51] Many such jurisdictions are already directly represented within the Commonwealth, particularly through the Commonwealth Family.[52] There are also former British possessions that have not become independent, for example, Hong Kong, which still participates in some of the institutions within the Commonwealth Family. All three Crown dependencies regard the existing situation as unsatisfactory and have lobbied for change. The States of Jersey have called on the UK Foreign Secretary to request that the Commonwealth Heads of Government "consider granting associate membership to Jersey and the other Crown Dependencies as well as any other territories at a similarly advanced stage of autonomy". Jersey has proposed that it be accorded "self-representation in all Commonwealth meetings; full participation in debates and procedures, with a right to speak where relevant and the opportunity to enter into discussions with those who are full members; and no right to vote in the Ministerial or Heads of Government meetings, which is reserved for full members".[53] The States of Guernsey and the Government of the Isle of Man have made calls of a similar nature for a more integrated relationship with the Commonwealth,[54] including more direct representation and enhanced participation in Commonwealth organisations and meetings, including Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings.[55] The Chief Minister of the Isle of Man has said: "A closer connection with the Commonwealth itself would be a welcome further development of the Island's international relationships"[56]

At the time of the Suez Crisis in 1956, in the face of colonial unrest and international tensions, French Prime Minister Guy Mollet proposed to British Prime Minister Anthony Eden that their two countries be joined in a "union". When that proposal was turned down, Mollet suggested that France be allowed to join the Commonwealth, with "a common citizenship arrangement on the Irish basis."[citation needed] In 1957, after both proposals had been rejected, France signed the Treaty of Rome with West Germany and the other founding nations of the Common Market, later to become the European Union (EU), which the United Kingdom joined in 1973. The other European members of the Commonwealth (Malta and Cyprus) joined the EU in 2004.

Suspension[edit]

In recent years, the Commonwealth has suspended several members "from the Councils of the Commonwealth" for "serious or persistent violations" of the Harare Declaration, particularly in abrogating their responsibility to have democratic government.[57] This is done by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), which meets regularly to address potential breaches of the Harare Declaration. Suspended members are not represented at meetings of Commonwealth leaders and ministers, although they remain members of the organisation. Currently, there is one suspended member, Fiji.[58]

Nigeria was suspended between 11 November 1995 and 29 May 1999,[59] following its execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa on the eve of the 1995 CHOGM.[60] Pakistan was the second country to be suspended, on 18 October 1999, following the military coup by Pervez Musharraf.[61] The Commonwealth's longest suspension came to an end on 22 May 2004, when Pakistan's suspension was lifted following the restoration of the country's constitution.[62] Pakistan was suspended for a second time, far more briefly, for six months from 22 November 2007, when Musharraf called a state of emergency.[63] Zimbabwe was suspended in 2002 over concerns regarding the electoral and land reform policies of Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF government,[64] before it withdrew from the organisation in 2003.[65]

The declaration of a Republic in Fiji in 1987, after military coups designed to deny Indo-Fijians political power, was not accompanied by an application to remain. Commonwealth membership was held to have lapsed until 1997, after discriminatory provisions in the republican constitution were repealed and reapplication for membership made.[66][67] Fiji has since been suspended twice, with the first imposed from 6 June 2000[68] to 20 December 2001 after another coup.[64] Fiji was suspended yet again in December 2006, following the most recent coup. At first, the suspension applied only to membership on the Councils of the Commonwealth.[66][69] After failing to meet a Commonwealth deadline for setting a date for national elections by 2010, Fiji was "fully suspended" on 1 September 2009.[66][69] The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Kamalesh Sharma, confirmed that full suspension meant that Fiji would be excluded from Commonwealth meetings, sporting events and the technical assistance programme (with an exception for assistance in re-establishing democracy). Sharma stated that Fiji would remain a member of the Commonwealth during its suspension, but would be excluded from emblematic representation by the secretariat.[66]

Most recently, international pressure has been mounting to suspend Sri Lanka from the Commonwealth, citing grave human rights violations by the host country. There were also calls to change the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2013 from Sri Lanka to another member country. Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper threatened to boycott the event, but was instead represented at the meeting by Deepak Obhrai. The UK Foreign Affairs Committee called upon Prime Minister David Cameron to boycott the event, however, he chose to attend.[70][71]

Termination[edit]

As membership is purely voluntary, member governments can choose at any time to leave the Commonwealth. Pakistan left on 30 January 1972 in protest at the Commonwealth's recognition of breakaway Bangladesh, but rejoined on 2 August 1989. Zimbabwe's membership was suspended in 2002 on the grounds of alleged human rights violations and deliberate misgovernment, and Zimbabwe's government terminated its membership in 2003.[72] The Gambia left the Commonwealth on 3 October 2013.[6]

Although heads of government have the power to suspend member states from active participation, the Commonwealth has no provision for the expulsion of members. Until 2007, Commonwealth realms that became republics automatically ceased to be members, until (like India in 1950) they obtained the permission of other members to remain in the organisation. This policy has been changed, so if any current Commonwealth realms were to become republics, they would not have to go through this process.[73]

Ireland had withdrawn its participation in the Commonwealth in the 1930s, attending its last Commonwealth governmental heads' meeting in 1932. However it continued to be regarded by the Commonwealth as a Commonwealth member until it declared itself a republic, on 18 April 1949. It is the only country whose membership terminated without any declaration withdrawing from the organisation. Instead, it was (with its own tacit support) excluded from the organisation under the rules then applicable.

South Africa was prevented from continuing as a member after it became a republic in 1961, due to hostility from many members, particularly those in Africa and Asia as well as Canada, to its policy of apartheid. The South African government withdrew its application to remain in the organisation as a republic when it became clear at the 1961 Meeting of Commonwealth Prime Ministers that any such application would be rejected. South Africa was re-admitted to the Commonwealth in 1994, following the end of apartheid earlier that year.

The Transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997 ended the colony's ties to the Commonwealth through the United Kingdom. The government of Hong Kong, as a special administrative region of China, did not pursue membership. Hong Kong has nevertheless continued to participate in some of the organisations of the Commonwealth family, such as the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the Association of Commonwealth Universities and the Commonwealth Association of Legislative Counsel.[74][75]

Politics[edit]

Objectives and activities[edit]

The Commonwealth's objectives were first outlined in the 1971 Singapore Declaration, which committed the Commonwealth to the institution of world peace; promotion of representative democracy and individual liberty; the pursuit of equality and opposition to racism; the fight against poverty, ignorance, and disease; and free trade.[76] To these were added opposition to discrimination on the basis of gender by the Lusaka Declaration of 1979,[32] and environmental sustainability by the Langkawi Declaration of 1989.[77] These objectives were reinforced by the Harare Declaration in 1991.

The Commonwealth's current highest-priority aims are on the promotion of democracy and development, as outlined in the 2003 Aso Rock Declaration,[78] which built on those in Singapore and Harare and clarified their terms of reference, stating, "We are committed to democracy, good governance, human rights, gender equality, and a more equitable sharing of the benefits of globalisation."[79] The Commonwealth website lists its areas of work as: Democracy, Economics, Education, Gender, Governance, Human Rights, Law, Small States, Sport, Sustainability, and Youth.[80]

Through a separate voluntary fund, Commonwealth governments support the Commonwealth Youth Programme, a division of the Secretariat with offices in Gulu (Uganda), Lusaka (Zambia), Chandigarh (India), Georgetown (Guyana) and Honiara (Solomon Islands).

Competence[edit]

In recent years, the Commonwealth has been accused of not being vocal enough on its core values. Allegations of a leaked memo from the Secretary General instructing staff not to speak out on human rights were published in October 2010.[81]

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2011 considered a report by an Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group panel which asserted that the organisation had lost its relevance and was decaying due to the lack of a mechanism to censure member countries when they violated human rights or democratic norms.[82] The panel made 106 "urgent" recommendations including the adoption of a Charter of the Commonwealth, the creation of a new commissioner on the rule of law, democracy and human rights to track persistent human rights abuses and allegations of political repression by Commonwealth member states, recommendations for the repeal of laws against homosexuality in 41 Commonwealth states and a ban on forced marriage.[83][84] The failure to release the report, or accept its recommendations for reforms in the area of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, was decried as a "disgrace" by former British Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, a member of the EPG, who told a press conference: "The Commonwealth faces a very significant problem. It's not a problem of hostility or antagonism, it's more of a problem of indifference. Its purpose is being questioned, its relevance is being questioned and part of that is because its commitment to enforce the values for which it stands is becoming ambiguous in the eyes of many member states. The Commonwealth is not a private club of the governments or the secretariat. It belongs to the people of the Commonwealth."[citation needed]

In the end, two-thirds of the EPG's 106 urgently recommended reforms were referred to study groups, an act described by one EPG member as having them "kicked into the long grass". There was no agreement to create the recommended position of human rights commissioner, instead a ministerial management group was empowered with enforcement: the group includes alleged human rights offenders. It was agreed to develop a charter of values for the Commonwealth without any decision on how compliance with its principles would be enforced.[82]

The result of the effort was that a new Charter of the Commonwealth was signed by Queen Elizabeth on 11 March 2013 at Marlborough House, which opposes "all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds".[85][86]

Elections[edit]

Country Next election Polls Term Legis. vote (if different) Last election Fairness Pop. (m) GDP ($bn) IHDI In power now
 United Kingdom May 2015 Polls 5 years[87] May 2010 63.7 2,429 .802 Conservative/LibDem
 India May 2019 Polls 5 years[88] May 2014 1,232.7 1,897 .392 BJP
 Canada October 2015 Polls 4 years[89] May 2011 33.4 1,844 .832 Conservative
 Australia September 2016 Polls 3 years[90] September 2013 23.1 1,541 .864 Liberal/National
 South Africa April 2019 Polls 5 years[91] May 2014 52.9 375 no data ANC
 Malaysia May 2017 Polls 4 years May 2013 Alleged fraud 28.3 240 no data National
 Pakistan * May 2018 Polls 5 years May 2013 Violence 182.5 230 .356 Muslim League
 New Zealand 20 September 2014 Polls 3 years November 2011 4.3 161 no data National
 Bangladesh January 2019 Polls 5 years January 2014 150.1 122 .374 Awami League
 Sri Lanka * January 2015 Polls 5 years Same time January 2010 Violence 20.2 65 .607 UPFA
 Nigeria * April 2015 Polls 4 years Same time April 2011 Violence 170.1 500 .500 People's Democrats
 Kenya * March 2017 Polls 4 years Same time March 2013 Violence, ICC crime 44.3 41 .344 National (Kikuyu)
 Ghana December 2016 Polls 4 years December 2012 24.2 42 .379 New Democrat
 Tanzania October 2015 Polls 5 years October 2010 44.9 29 .346 Party of Revol.
 Cameroon * May 2014 Polls 7 years Movable May 2009 Fraud 20.5 25 .330 People's Movement
 Uganda February 2016 Polls 5 years February 2011 35.8 21 .304 National Resist.
 Zambia September 2016 Polls 4 years September 2011 14.3 20 .283 Patriotic
 Botswana October 2014 Polls 5 years October 2009 2.0 18 no data
 Mozambique * October 2014 Polls 5 years October 2009 23.9 15 .220
 Papua New Guinea * July 2016 Polls 4 years July 2012 7.1 13 no data PNCP
 Namibia November 2014 Polls 4 years November 2009 2.1 12 .344
 Zimbabwe * July 2018 Polls 4 years July 2013 Fraud, voter suppression 12.6 11 .284 Zanu-PF
 Rwanda * August 2017 Polls 5 years Mid term, September 2013 August 2010 Violence, fraud 12.0 8 .287 Patriotic Front
 Malawi May 2014 Polls 5 years May 2009 16.4 4 .287
 Sierra Leone * November 2017 Polls 5 years November 2012 6.1 4 .210 All People's Congress
 Lesotho May 2016 Polls 4 years May 2012 2.0 3 .296 Democratic Congress
  • Elections also are held in Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Brunei, Cyprus, Dominica, Fiji (suspended), The Gambia, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Kiribati, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Nauru, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

Economy[edit]

Internal market[edit]

Further information: Commonwealth free trade

Although the Commonwealth does not have a common market, research by the Royal Commonwealth Society has shown that trade with another Commonwealth member is up to 50% more than with a non-member on average.[92] Some politicians in the United Kingdom have proposed that there should be a Commonwealth free trade zone,[93] with some suggesting it as an alternative to its membership in the European Union.[94]

Commonwealth Family[edit]

Main article: Commonwealth Family

Commonwealth countries share many links outside government, with over a hundred Commonwealth-wide non-governmental organisations, notably for sport, culture, education, law and charity. The Association of Commonwealth Universities is an important vehicle for academic links, particularly through scholarships, principally the Commonwealth Scholarship, for students to study in universities in other Commonwealth countries. There are also many non-official associations that bring together individuals who work within the spheres of law and government, such as the Commonwealth Lawyers Association and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

Commonwealth Foundation[edit]

The Commonwealth Foundation is an intergovernmental organisation, resourced by and reporting to Commonwealth governments, and guided by Commonwealth values and priorities. Its mandate is to strengthen civil society in the achievement of Commonwealth priorities: democracy and good governance, respect for human rights and gender equality, poverty eradication and sustainable, people-centred and sustainable development, and to promote arts and culture.

The Foundation was established in 1965 by the Heads of Government. Admittance is open to all members of the Commonwealth, and in December 2008, stood at 46 out of the 53 member countries. Associate Membership, which is open to associated states or overseas territories of member governments, has been granted to Gibraltar. 2005 saw celebrations for the Foundation's 40th Anniversary. The Foundation is headquartered in Marlborough House, Pall Mall, London. Regular liaison and co-operation between the Secretariat and the Foundation is in place. The Foundation continues to serve the broad purposes for which it was established as written in the Memorandum of Understanding.[100]

Commonwealth Games[edit]

Main article: Commonwealth Games
The Commonwealth Games are the third-largest multi-sport event in the world, bringing together globally popular sports and peculiarly "Commonwealth" sports, such as rugby sevens, shown here at the 2006 Games.

The Commonwealth Games, a multi-sport event, is held every four years; the 2010 Commonwealth Games were held in New Delhi, India, in 2010, and the next in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2014, and the next after that in Gold Coast, Australia, in 2018. As well as the usual athletic disciplines, as at the Summer Olympic Games, the games include sports particularly popular in the Commonwealth, such as bowls, netball, and rugby sevens. Started in 1930 as the Empire Games, the games were founded on the Olympic model of amateurism, but were deliberately designed to be "the Friendly Games",[101] with the goal of promoting relations between Commonwealth countries and celebrating their shared sporting and cultural heritage.[102]

The games are the Commonwealth's most visible activity[101] and interest in the operation of the Commonwealth increases greatly when the Games are held.[103] There is controversy over whether the games—and sport generally—should be involved in the Commonwealth's wider political concerns.[102] The 1977 Gleneagles Agreement was signed to commit Commonwealth countries to combat apartheid through discouraging sporting contact with South Africa (which was not then a member), whilst the 1986 games were boycotted by most African, Asian, and Caribbean countries for the failure of other countries to enforce the Gleneagles Agreement.[104]

Commonwealth War Graves Commission[edit]

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission serves to commemorate 1.7 million Commonwealth war dead and maintains 2,500 war cemeteries around the world, including this one in Gallipoli.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is responsible for maintaining the war graves of 1.7 million service personnel that died in the First and Second World Wars fighting for Commonwealth member states. Founded in 1917 (as the Imperial War Graves Commission), the Commission has constructed 2,500 war cemeteries, and maintains individual graves at another 20,000 sites around the world.[105] The vast majority of the latter are civilian cemeteries in Great Britain. In 1998, the CWGC made the records of its buried online to facilitate easier searching.[106]

Commonwealth war cemeteries often feature similar horticulture and architecture, with larger cemeteries being home to a Cross of Sacrifice and Stone of Remembrance. The CWGC is notable for marking the graves identically, regardless of the rank, country of origin, race, or religion of the buried.[106] It is funded by voluntary agreement by six Commonwealth members, in proportion to the nationality of the casualties in the graves maintained,[105] with 75% of the funding coming from Britain.[106]

Commonwealth of Learning[edit]

The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) is an intergovernmental organisation created by the Heads of Government to encourage the development and sharing of open learning/distance education knowledge, resources and technologies. COL is helping developing nations improve access to quality education and training.

Commonwealth Business Council[edit]

The Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) was formed at 1997 CHOGM. The aim was to utilise the global network of the Commonwealth more effectively for the promotion of global trade and investment for shared prosperity. The CBC acts as a bridge for co-operation between business and government, concentrating efforts on these specific areas enhancing trade, facilitating ICT for Development, mobilising investment, promoting corporate citizenship, and public-private partnerships. The CBC has a dedicated team, CBC Technologies, based in London and is focused on the international technology and global services industry throughout the Commonwealth.

Culture[edit]

Many Commonwealth nations possess traditions and customs that are elements of a shared Commonwealth culture. Examples include common sports such as cricket and rugby, driving on the left, the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy, common law, widespread use of the English language, designation of English as an official language, military and naval ranks, and the use of British rather than American spelling conventions (see English in the Commonwealth of Nations).

Sport[edit]

Many Commonwealth nations play similar sports that are considered quintessentially "British" in character, rooted in and developed under British rule or hegemony, including cricket, rugby, and netball.[107] This has led to the development of friendly national rivalries between the main sporting nations that have often defined their relations with each another. Indeed, said rivalries preserved close ties by providing a constant in international relationships, even as the Empire transformed into the Commonwealth.[108] Externally, playing these sports is seen to be a sign of sharing a certain Commonwealth culture; the adoption of cricket at schools in Rwanda is seen as symbolic of the country's move towards Commonwealth membership.[109][110]

Besides the Commonwealth Games, other sporting competitions are organised on a Commonwealth basis, through championship tournaments such as the Commonwealth Judo Championships, Commonwealth Rowing Championships, Commonwealth Sailing Championships, Commonwealth Shooting Championships and Commonwealth Pool Lifesaving Championships. The Commonwealth Boxing Council has long maintained Commonwealth titles for the best boxers in the Commonwealth.[citation needed]

Literature[edit]

The shared history of British presence has produced a substantial body of writing in many languages, known as Commonwealth literature.[111][112] The Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies, with nine chapters worldwide and an international conference is held every three years.

In 1987, the Commonwealth Foundation established the annual Commonwealth Writers' Prize "to encourage and reward the upsurge of new Commonwealth fiction and ensure that works of merit reach a wider audience outside their country of origin". Prizes are awarded for the best book and best first book in the Commonwealth, as well as regional prizes for the best book and best first book from each of four regions. Although not officially affiliated with the Commonwealth, the prestigious Man Booker Prize is awarded annually to an author from a Commonwealth country or the three former members, Ireland, Zimbabwe, and the Gambia. This honour is one of the highest in literature.[113]

Political system[edit]

Due to their shared constitutional histories, most countries in the Commonwealth have similar legal and political systems. The Commonwealth requires its members to be functioning democracies that respect human rights and the rule of law. Half of Commonwealth countries have the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy. The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association facilitates co-operation between legislatures across the Commonwealth, and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum promotes good governance amongst local government officials. Most Commonwealth members use common law, modelled on English law. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is the supreme court of 14 Commonwealth members.

Symbols[edit]

The Commonwealth has adopted a number of symbols that represent the association of its members. The English language is recognised as a symbol of the members' heritage; as well as being considered a symbol of the Commonwealth, recognition of it as "the means of Commonwealth communication" is a prerequisite for Commonwealth membership.

The flag of the Commonwealth consists of the symbol of the Commonwealth Secretariat, a gold globe surrounded by emanating "rays", on a dark blue field; it was designed for the second CHOGM in 1973, and officially adopted on 26 March 1976. 1976 also saw the organisation agree to a common date on which to commemorate Commonwealth Day, the second Monday in March, having developed separately on different dates from Empire Day celebrations.

Recognition[edit]

A poll in the fifty three member nations showed that seven of the states on the occasion of 60th anniversary of the founding of the Commonwealth in 2009 commissioned by the Royal Commonwealth Society found that in the seven countries a majority were largely ignorant of the Commonwealth's functions and indifferent towards its future. In Canada one third of respondents said they would not care if Canada left the Commonwealth, half could not describe what it does, and Canadians were four times more likely to support closer ties to the United States. Support was also weak in other of the seven wealthier Commonwealth realms but much stronger in the many poorer Commonwealth nations where human rights abuse and poverty was an on-going concern, these citizens look to the Commonwealth for support and protection. Nearly one fifth of Australian respondents said they would be "delighted" or "pleased" if their country left the Commonwealth while at the same time six other nations were applying for membership due to the Commonwealth's guarantee of human rights, closer trade and cultural ties.[114][115]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

1. ^ The Commonwealth of Nations is sometimes called the "British Commonwealth" to differentiate it from the Commonwealth of Independent States, also called the "Russian Commonwealth". [116] However, the title "British Commonwealth", along with "British Empire", is historic and should not be used to describe the modern Commonwealth of Nations.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Annex B — Territories Forming Part of the Commonwealth". Her Majesty's Civil Service. September 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "About us". The Commonwealth. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  3. ^ a b "The Commonwealth". The Commonwealth. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  4. ^ "The London Declaration". The Commonwealth. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  5. ^ "Charter of the Commonwealth". The Commonwealth. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Statement by Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma on The Gambia". The Commonwealth. 4 October 2013. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  7. ^ "US and World Population Clock". US Census Bureau. 29 June 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "History – Though the modern Commonwealth is just 60 years old, the idea took root in the 19th century". thecommonwealth.org. Commonwealth Secretariat. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  9. ^ Mole, Stuart (September 2004). "Seminars for statesmen': the evolution of the Commonwealth summit". The Round Table 93 (376): 533–546. doi:10.108n0/0035853042000289128. 
  10. ^ F.S. Crafford, Jan Smuts: A Biography (2005) p. 142
  11. ^ The Irish Oath of Allegiance, agreed in 1921, included the Irish Free State's "adherence to and membership of the group of nations forming the British Commonwealth of Nations".
  12. ^ Pakenham, Frank (1972). Peace by ordeal: an account, from first-hand sources of the negotiation and signature of the Anglo-Irish Treaty 1921. Sidgwick and Jackson. ISBN 0283979089. 
  13. ^ Webb, Jeff A. (January 2003). "The Commission of Government, 1934-1949". heritage.nf.ca. Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Website. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  14. ^ "Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942 (Cth)". foundingdocs.gov.au (Documenting a Democracy). Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  15. ^ "New Zealand Sovereignty: 1857, 1907, 1947, or 1987?". parliament.nz. Parliament of New Zealand. August 2007. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  16. ^ "Celebrating thecommonwealth@60". thecommonwealth.org. Commonwealth Secretariat. 26 April 2009. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  17. ^ Indianexpress.com
  18. ^ "Blair calls for quotas on immigrants from 'New Commonwealth'", Daily Telegraph, 5 June 2004.
  19. ^ David Gowland et al. (2009). Britain and European Integration Since 1945: On the Sidelines. Routledge. p. 46. 
  20. ^ James R. V. Ellison, "Perfidious Albion? Britain, Plan G and European Integration, 1955-1956," Contemporary British History (1996) 10#4 pp 1-34.
  21. ^ Martin Schaad, "Plan G - A "Counterblast"? British Policy Towards the Messina Countries, 1956," Contemporary European History (1998) 7#1 pp 39-60.
  22. ^ Frank Heinlein (2013). British Government Policy and Decolonisation, 1945-63: Scrutinising the Official Mind. Taylor & Francis. pp. 137–43. 
  23. ^ a b c Patterson, Percival (24 October 2007). "Report of the Committee on Commonwealth Membership". Commonwealth Secretariat. Retrieved 29 June 2008. 
  24. ^ "Head of the Commonwealth". Commonwealth Secretariat. Retrieved 29 June 2008. 
  25. ^ "The Commonwealth at and immediately after the Coolum CHOGM". The Round Table 91 (364): 125–129. April 2002. doi:10.1080/00358530220144139. 
  26. ^ Dale, William (July 1982). "Is the Commonwealth an International Organisation?". International and Comparative Law Quarterly 31 (3): 451–73. doi:10.1093/iclqaj/31.3.451. 
  27. ^ Clute, Robert E.; Wilson, Robert R. (July 1958). "Commonwealth and Favored-Nation Usage". American Journal of International Law 52 (3): 455–468. doi:10.2307/2195461. JSTOR 2195461. 
  28. ^ Hedley, Bull (July 1959). "What is the Commonwealth?". World Politics 11 (4): 577–87. doi:10.2307/2009593. JSTOR 2009593. 
  29. ^ "Support for British nationals abroad: a guide". Foreign and Commonwealth Office. 2013. p. 5. "We may also help Commonwealth nationals in non-Commonwealth countries where they do not have any diplomatic or consular representation, but will normally ask their nearest embassy to provide any ongoing assistance required." 
  30. ^ http://travel.gc.ca/assistance/emergency-info/consular/framework/canada-australia
  31. ^ de Smith, S.A. (July 1949). "The London Declaration of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers, 28 April 1949". The Modern Law Review 12 (3): 351–354. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2230.1949.tb00131.x. JSTOR 1090506. 
  32. ^ a b "Lusaka Declaration on Racism and Racial Prejudice". Commonwealth Secretariat. 7 August 1979. Retrieved 3 April 2008. 
  33. ^ Williams, Paul D. (July 2005). "Blair's Britain and the Commonwealth". The Round Table 94 (380): 381–391. doi:10.1080/00358530500174960. 
  34. ^ "Harare Commonwealth Declaration". Commonwealth Secretariat. 20 October 1991. Retrieved 29 July 2007. 
  35. ^ "Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group". Commonwealth Secretariat. Retrieved 29 July 2007. 
  36. ^ a b te Velde-Ashworth, Victoria (10 October 2005). "The future of the modern Commonwealth: Widening vs. deepening?" (PDF). Commonwealth Policy Studies Unit. Archived from the original on 22 July 2007. Retrieved 29 July 2007. 
  37. ^ "Commonwealth membership in focus at London meeting". Commonwealth Secretariat. 6 December 2006. Retrieved 29 July 2007. 
  38. ^ Osike, Felix (24 November 2007). "Rwanda membership delayed". New Vision. Retrieved 29 November 2009. 
  39. ^ a b "Rwanda: Joining the Commonwealth". The New Times (AllAfrica). 27 November 2009. 
  40. ^ Kron, Josh (28 November 2009). "Rwanda Joins British Commonwealth". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 November 2009. 
  41. ^ "Country Comparisons – Population". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. 19 March 2009. Retrieved 22 March 2009. 
  42. ^ "Tuvalu: Key Facts". Commonwealth Secretariat. 19 March 2009. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  43. ^ "Country Comparisons – Area". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. 19 March 2009. Retrieved 22 March 2009. 
  44. ^ "Field Listings – GDP (Official Exchange Rate)". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. 17 March 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  45. ^ McIntyre, W. David (April 2008). "The Expansion of the Commonwealth and the Criteria for Membership". Round Table 97 (395): 273–85. doi:10.1080/00358530801962089. 
  46. ^ "Nauru back as full Commonwealth member". Radio New Zealand International. 26 June 2011. Retrieved 26 July 2011. 
  47. ^ "Nauru Accedes to Full Membership of the Commonwealth". Commonwealth Secretariat. 12 April 1999. Retrieved 30 January 2009. 
  48. ^ New Criteria for Commonwealth Membership
  49. ^ South Sudan Launches Bid to Join Commonwealth
  50. ^ a b Alderson, Andrew (17 December 2006). "Israelis and Palestinians could join Commonwealth". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 29 November 2009. 
  51. ^ Eligible Areas
  52. ^ Baldacchino, Godfrey; Milne, David (September 2006). "Exploring sub-national island jurisdictions: An editorial introduction". The Round Table 95 (386): 487–502. doi:10.1080/00358530600929735. 
  53. ^ "Written evidence from States of Jersey". Chief Minister of Jersey. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  54. ^ "The role and future of the Commonwealth". House of Commons. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  55. ^ "Written evidence from the States of Guernsey". Policy Council of Guernsey. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  56. ^ "Isle of Man welcomes report on Commonwealth future". Isle of Man Government. 23 November 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  57. ^ Colvile, Robert (July 2004). "A Place to Stand: the Problems and Potential of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group". The Round Table 93 (375): pp. 343–53. doi:10.1080/0035853042000249942. 
  58. ^ Gruenbaum, Oren (December 2009). "Commonwealth Update". The Round Table 98 (405): pp. 639–53. doi:10.1080/00358530903474702. 
  59. ^ Ingram, Derek (October 1999). "Commonwealth Update". The Round Table 88 (352): 547–567. doi:10.1080/003585399107758. 
  60. ^ Ingram, Derek (October 2007). "Twenty Commonwealth steps from Singapore to Kampala". The Round Table 96 (392): pp. 555–563. doi:10.1080/00358530701625877. 
  61. ^ Ingram, Derek (January 2000). "Commonwealth Update". The Round Table 89 (353): 45–57. doi:10.1080/750459452. 
  62. ^ Ingram, Derek (July 2004). "Commonwealth Update". The Round Table 93 (375): 311–42. doi:10.1080/0035853042000249933. 
  63. ^ Gruenbaum, Oren (February 2008). "Commonwealth Update". The Round Table 97 (394): 3–17. doi:10.1080/00358530701864963. 
  64. ^ a b Ingram, Derek (April 2002). "Commonwealth Update". The Round Table 91 (364): 131–59. doi:10.1080/00358530220144148. 
  65. ^ "Editorial: CHOGM 2003, Abuja, Nigeria". The Round Table 93 (373): 3–6. January 2004. doi:10.1080/0035853042000188139. 
  66. ^ a b c d "Fiji Suspended from the Commonwealth". Commonwealth Secretariat. 1 September 2009. Retrieved 1 September 2009. 
  67. ^ "Fiji Rejoins the Commonwealth". Commonwealth Secretariat. 30 September 1997. Retrieved 1 September 2009. 
  68. ^ Ingram, Derek (July 2000). "Commonwealth Update". The Round Table 89 (355): 311–55. doi:10.1080/00358530050083406. 
  69. ^ a b "Fiji suspended from Commonwealth". BBC News. 8 December 2006. Retrieved 1 February 2009. 
  70. ^ David Miliband (11 March 2013). "Britain must stand up for human rights in Sri Lanka". M.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 18 April 2013. 
  71. ^ Mike Blanchfield (14 January 2013). "Harper rebukes Sri Lanka over jurist's dismissal as talk of summit boycott heats up". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 18 April 2013. 
  72. ^ Commonwealth website confirms Zimbabwe "terminated" its membership with effect from 7 December 2003
  73. ^ "Membership of the Commonwealth: Report of the Committee on Commonwealth Membership". Commonwealth Secretariat. 2007. Retrieved 2 September 2008. 
  74. ^ OPC.gov.au
  75. ^ OPC.gov.au
  76. ^ "Singapore Declaration of Commonwealth Principles 1971". thecommonwealth.org. Commonwealth Secretariat. 22 January 1971. Retrieved 15 November 2013. 
  77. ^ "Langkawi Declaration on the Environment". USM Regional Center of Expertise in Education for Sustainable Development. 21 October 1989. Retrieved 3 April 2008. 
  78. ^ "Our Work". Commonwealth Secretariat. Retrieved 3 April 2008. 
  79. ^ "Aso Rock Commonwealth Declaration" (PDF). Commonwealth Secretariat. 8 December 2003. Retrieved 3 April 2008. 
  80. ^ "Commonwealth Secretariat". Commonwealth Secretariat. 7 August 1979. Retrieved 3 April 2008. 
  81. ^ guardian.co.uk "Commonwealth has abandoned human rights commitment" (leaked memo).
  82. ^ a b Cheadle, Bruce (30 October 2011). "Commonwealth leaders agree to develop charter of values and little else". Toronto Star. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  83. ^ Cheadle, Bruce (29 October 2011). "Commonwealth leaders still haggling over human rights reforms". Toronto Star. Retrieved 29 October 2011. 
  84. ^ Watt, Nicholas (29 October 2011). "Commonwealth leaders under fire for refusing to publish human rights report". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 October 2011. 
  85. ^ "Queen to sign new charter backing equal rights for gay people across Commonwealth". Standard.co.uk. 11 March 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2013. 
  86. ^ "â€"Commonwealth charter to focus on gay rights". The Times of India. 11 March 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2013. 
  87. ^ Parliament Act 1911 and Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011. A government could collapse at an earlier date, triggering an election.
  88. ^ Constitution of India art 83
  89. ^ Canada Elections Act 2000
  90. ^ Australian Constitution
  91. ^ South African Constitution
  92. ^ "Commonwealth members enjoy up to 50 per cent trade advantage". The Commonwealth. 30 September 2010. Retrieved 3 February 2013. 
  93. ^ "The role and future of the Commonwealth". British Parliament. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  94. ^ "Why the Commonwealth Matters More Now than Ever". UK Independence Party. 11 March 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  95. ^ "Population 2012". World Bank. 1 July 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  96. ^ "Gross domestic product 2012". World Bank. 1 July 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  97. ^ "GDP per capita (current US$)". World Bank. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  98. ^ "Gross domestic product 2012, PPP". World Bank. 1 July 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  99. ^ "GDP per capita, PPP (current international $)". World Bank. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  100. ^ Commonwealth Foundation – About Us, ¶4–5
  101. ^ a b McKinnon, Don (February 2008). "A Commonwealth of Values: a Commonwealth of incomparable value". The Round Table 97 (394): 19–28. doi:10.1080/00358530801890561. 
  102. ^ a b "Commonwealth Games and Art Festival". The Round Table 91 (365): 293–296. July 2002. doi:10.1080/0035853022000010308. 
  103. ^ McDougall, Derek (July 2005). "Australia and the Commonwealth". The Round Table 94 (380): 339–349. doi:10.1080/00358530500175033. 
  104. ^ Muda, Muhammad (April 1998). "The significance of the Commonwealth Games in Malaysia's foreign policy". The Round Table 87 (346): 211–226. doi:10.1080/00358539808454416. 
  105. ^ a b Dare, Annie (15 October 2000). "Ten Key Things About War Graves". The Observer. p. 29. 
  106. ^ a b c Binyon, Michael (22 January 1999). "Millions trace war dead on Internet". The Times. p. 3. 
  107. ^ Perkin, Harold (September 1989). "Teaching the nations how to play: sport and society in the British Empire and Commonwealth". International Journal of the History of Sport 6 (2): 145–155. doi:10.1080/09523368908713685. 
  108. ^ Michael, Dawson (February 2006). "Acting global, thinking local: 'Liquid imperialism' and the multiple meanings of the 1954 British Empire & Commonwealth Games". International Journal of the History of Sport 23 (1): 3–27. doi:10.1080/09523360500386419. 
  109. ^ Jonathan, Clayton (20 November 2007). "Schoolboy cricketers bat their way to a place in the Commonwealth". The Times (London). Retrieved 27 March 2009. 
  110. ^ Pflanz, Mike (24 July 2007). "Rwanda in drive to join Commonwealth". Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 27 March 2009. 
  111. ^ Hill, Douglas (1 October 1988). "A report on stories from the outposts of Commonwealth literature". The Globe and Mail. p. 21. 
  112. ^ McCrum, Robert (13 October 2003). "English Is a World Language – and That's to Be Prized". The Los Angeles Times. p. B15. 
  113. ^ Iyer, Pico (12 February 1993). "The Empire writes back". The Straits Times. p. 1. 
  114. ^ Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah. "Canada, Commonwealth and the key to relevance". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 18 April 2013. 
  115. ^ Elizabeth Renzetti. "Commonwealth: quaint historical relic or meaningful bloc?". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 18 April 2013. 
  116. ^ Vinep A Kankam-da-Costa (2012). Who Is Fit to Rule America in the Twenty-First Century and Beyond?. Xlibris. p. 271. ISBN 9781479739653. Retrieved 17 November 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]