The 23rd Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM; /ˈtʃɒɡ(ə)m/) was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, from 15 to 17 November 2013. Commonwealth leaders agreed on Sri Lanka as the 2013 host for the meeting when they met in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, in 2009. Sri Lanka, which was originally slated to host the summit in 2011, was accused of committing atrocities during the Sri Lankan civil war and the summit was instead held in Perth, Australia; Colombo was given the 2013 summit instead. The leaders of Canada, India, and Mauritius boycotted the summit, citing alleged human rights violations by Sri Lanka against its Tamil minority. Protests were also banned during the summit. President Mahinda Rajapaksa summarised the summit’s events as: “Issues covered in the communique include development, political values, global threats, challenges and Commonwealth cooperation.” This was the first time in 40 years that the Head of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II, was not present at the CHOGM.
Member countries Fifty-three countries are members of The Commonwealth. Our countries span Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Pacific and are diverse – they are amongst the world’s largest, smallest, richest and poorest countries. Thirty-two of our members are classified as small states – countries with a population size of 1.5million people or less and larger member states that share similar characteristics with them. All members subscribe to The Commonwealth’s values and principles outlined in The Commonwealth Charter. Leaders of member countries shape Commonwealth policies and priorities. Every two years, they meet to discuss issues affecting the Commonwealth and the wider world at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
Commonwealth Realm Essay Example
All members have an equal say – regardless of size or economic stature. This ensures even the smallest member countries have a voice in shaping The Commonwealth. The Commonwealth of Nations, or simply the Commonwealth, defines itself as an association of sovereign nations that support each other and work together towards international goals. Being the successor of the British Commonwealth of Nations, it is a loose association of former British colonies. At present, the Commonwealth has 54 member countries with a combined population of nearly 2 billion — nearly one third of the worlds population. The colonial past is the natural binding factor for these acountries. Most have certain common elements in their culture — common sports like cricket and rugby, driving on the left, British type parliamentary and legal systems and use of British spellings.
As the British Empire began its process of decolonization and the creation of independent states from former British colonies, there arose a need for an organization of countries formerly part of the Empire. In 1884, Lord Rosebery, a British politician, described the changing British Empire as a “Commonwealth of Nations.” Thus, in 1931, the British Commonwealth of Nations was founded under the Statute of Westminster with five initial members – the United Kingdom, Canada, the Irish Free State, Newfoundland, and the Union of South Africa. (Ireland permanently left the Commonwealth in 1949, Newfoundland became part of Canada in 1949, and South Africa left in 1961 due to apartheid but rejoined in 1994 as the Republic of South Africa).
In 1946, the word “British” was dropped and the organization became known as simply the Commonwealth of Nations. Australia and New Zealand adopted the Statute in 1942 and 1947, respectively. With India’s independence in 1947, the new country desired to become a Republic and to not utilize the monarchy as their head of state. The London Declaration of 1949 modified the requirement that members must view the monarchy as their head of state to require that countries recognize the monarchy as simply the leader of the Commonwealth. With this adjustment, additional countries joined the Commonwealth as they gained independence from the United Kingdom so today there are fifty-four member countries. Of the fifty-four, thirty-three are republics (such as India), five have their own monarchies (such as Brunei Darussalam), and sixteen are a constitutional monarchy with the sovereign of the United Kingdom as their head of state (such as Canada and Australia).
Although membership requires having been a former dependency of the United Kingdom or a dependency of a dependency, former Portuguese colony Mozambique became a member 1995 under special circumstances due to Mozambique’s willingness to support the Commonwealth’s fight against apartheid in South Africa. The Secretary General is elected by the Heads of Government of the membership and can serve two four-year terms. The position of Secretary General was established in 1965. The Commonwealth Secretariat has its headquarters in London and is composed of 320 staff members from the member countries. The Commonwealth maintains its own flag.
The purpose of the voluntary Commonwealth is for international cooperation and to advance economics, social development, and human rights in member countries. Decisions of the various Commonwealth councils are non-binding. The Commonwealth of Nations supports the Commonwealth Games, which is a sporting event held every four years for member countries. A Commonwealth Day is celebrated on the second Monday in March. Each year carries a different theme but each country can celebrate the day as they choose. The population of the 54 member states exceeds two billion, about 30% of the world population (India is responsible for a majority of the Commonwealth’s population).
Summary The Commonwealth of Nations, often called just the Commonwealth, is an association of 53 independent nations, all but one of which are former British colonies or related dependencies, aiming to promote peace, democracy and development. There are substantial economic ties and a shared history. List of Member Nations
Origins of the Commonwealth 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 of dominions: “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