Queen supports Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group report

Sep 26, 2020 zwwiibed

first_img Share Sharing is caring! Tweet Share Head of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II, at the opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Australia. Photo: Annaliese McDonough/ Commonwealth SecretariatPERTH, Australia — Head of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II, in opening the three-day Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Australia, on Friday, made an unusually pointed reference to the report by the Eminent Persons Group (EPG), which has recommended the creation of a Commonwealth commissioner for democracy, the rule of law and human rights.”I wish heads of government well in agreeing further reforms that respond boldly to the aspirations of today and that keep the Commonwealth fresh and fit for tomorrow,” the Queen said. ”We should not forget that this is an association not only of governments but also of peoples.”The EPG was established by Commonwealth leaders in 2009 to look at how the Commonwealth might be updated and made more relevant and has recently completed a report on the status and future of the organisation.Women’s and youth empowerment; women’s political participation; intra-Commonwealth trade; HIV/AIDS; a Youth Corps and the need for greater co-ordination among the Commonwealth Secretariat, Commonwealth Foundation and Commonwealth Designated Organisations are key areas of focus in the report. Other topics included the role of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) and the need for the increased engagement of this body in order to preserve Commonwealth values. A need was also identified for the establishment of a Commonwealth Commissioner for the Rule of Law, Democracy and Human Rights to effectively support and implement the work of the secretary-general and CMAG.Disagreement had arisen earlier this month over whether or not the report should be released to the public prior to the Commonwealth heads of government meeting (CHOGM) in Perth.“Inexplicably, current chair-in-office, the prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, decided that the reports should be kept secret,” Canadian Senator Hugh Segal said.Sir Ronald Sanders, a former high commissioner for Antigua and Barbuda to Britain, who, along with Segal, is a member of the EPG, said the absence of comprehensive information has led to misinterpretations.A handful of government representatives have chosen to focus on the Commissioner for Democracy, the Rule of Law, and Human Rights, wrongly suggesting that the holder of the post will be a “policeman” playing a “punitive role,” Sanders said.The Queen’s words have been interpreted as an unusually direct message to the nations that oppose the creation of the commissioner.However, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard indicated on Friday that the commissioner was unlikely to be established, in favour of a compromise to strengthen the powers of the CMAG, which consists of the foreign ministers of nine member states and was established in 1995 to deal with persistent or serious human rights violations by Commonwealth states.The EPG had argued in its report that the commissioner was needed as well. ”The Commonwealth is in danger of becoming irrelevant and unconvincing as a values-based association,” the group said.Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Britain have been pushing for the establishment of the commissioner.The opposition is led by India, Sri Lanka, South Africa and other African nations. Other recommendations by the EPG include a call for the 41 Commonwealth nations that treat homosexuality as a crime to scrap these laws. It says they are an abuse of human rights and make treating HIV/AIDS more difficult.By Caribbean News Now contributorcenter_img Share 22 Views   no discussions NewsRegional Queen supports Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group report by: – October 29, 2011last_img

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *