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Commonwealth of Nations

Commonwealth of Nations

Overview
For other uses, see Commonwealth (disambiguation)
Commonwealth (disambiguation)
Commonwealth is a term meaning a political community.Commonwealth or Common Wealth may also refer to:* Commonwealth , term for a person of black race living in England...

.


The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member state
Member state
A member state is a state that is a member of an international organisation.The World Trade Organization has members that are sovereign states and members that are not, thus WTO members are not called member states.- Worldwide :...

s. All but two of these countries (Mozambique
Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest...

 and Rwanda
Rwanda
Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

) were formerly part of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

, out of which it developed.

The member states cooperate within a framework of common values and goals as outlined in the Singapore Declaration
Singapore Declaration
The Singapore Declaration of Commonwealth Principles was a declaration issued by the assembled Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Nations, setting out the core political values that would form the main part of the Commonwealth's membership criteria...

.
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Encyclopedia
For other uses, see Commonwealth (disambiguation)
Commonwealth (disambiguation)
Commonwealth is a term meaning a political community.Commonwealth or Common Wealth may also refer to:* Commonwealth , term for a person of black race living in England...

.


The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member state
Member state
A member state is a state that is a member of an international organisation.The World Trade Organization has members that are sovereign states and members that are not, thus WTO members are not called member states.- Worldwide :...

s. All but two of these countries (Mozambique
Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest...

 and Rwanda
Rwanda
Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

) were formerly part of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

, out of which it developed.

The member states cooperate within a framework of common values and goals as outlined in the Singapore Declaration
Singapore Declaration
The Singapore Declaration of Commonwealth Principles was a declaration issued by the assembled Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Nations, setting out the core political values that would form the main part of the Commonwealth's membership criteria...

. These include the promotion of democracy
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

, human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

, good governance
Good governance
Good governance is an indeterminate term used in development literature to describe how public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public resources in order to guarantee the realization of human rights. Governance describes "the process of decision-making and the process by which...

, the rule of law
Rule of law
The rule of law, sometimes called supremacy of law, is a legal maxim that says that governmental decisions should be made by applying known principles or laws with minimal discretion in their application...

, individual liberty, egalitarianism
Egalitarianism
Egalitarianism is a trend of thought that favors equality of some sort among moral agents, whether persons or animals. Emphasis is placed upon the fact that equality contains the idea of equity of quality...

, free trade
Free trade
Under a free trade policy, prices emerge from supply and demand, and are the sole determinant of resource allocation. 'Free' trade differs from other forms of trade policy where the allocation of goods and services among trading countries are determined by price strategies that may differ from...

, multilateralism
Multilateralism
Multilateralism is a term in international relations that refers to multiple countries working in concert on a given issue.International organizations, such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization are multilateral in nature...

, and world peace
World peace
World Peace is an ideal of freedom, peace, and happiness among and within all nations and/or people. World peace is an idea of planetary non-violence by which nations willingly cooperate, either voluntarily or by virtue of a system of governance that prevents warfare. The term is sometimes used to...

. The Commonwealth is not a political union
Political union
A political union is a type of state which is composed of or created out of smaller states. Unlike a personal union, the individual states share a common government and the union is recognized internationally as a single political entity...

, but an intergovernmental organisation through which countries with diverse social, political, and economic backgrounds are regarded as equal in status.

Activities of the Commonwealth are carried out through the permanent Commonwealth Secretariat
Commonwealth Secretariat
The Commonwealth Secretariat is the main intergovernmental agency and central institution of the Commonwealth of Nations. It is responsible for facilitating cooperation between members; organising meetings, including the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings ; assisting and advising on policy...

, headed by the Secretary-General
Commonwealth Secretary-General
The Commonwealth Secretary-General is the head of the Commonwealth Secretariat, the central body which has served the Commonwealth of Nations since its establishment in 1965, and responsible for representing the Commonwealth publicly...

, and biennial meetings
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, , is a biennial summit meeting of the heads of government from all Commonwealth nations. Every two years the meeting is held in a different member state, and is chaired by that nation's respective Prime Minister or President, who becomes the...

 between Commonwealth Heads of Government
Commonwealth Heads of Government
The leaders of the nations with membership in the Commonwealth of Nations are collectively known as the Commonwealth Heads of Government. They are invited to attend Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings every two years, with most countries being represented by either their Head of Government...

. The symbol of their free association is the Head of the Commonwealth
Head of the Commonwealth
The Head of the Commonwealth heads the Commonwealth of Nations, an intergovernmental organisation which currently comprises 54 sovereign states. The position is currently occupied by the individual who serves as monarch of each of the Commonwealth realms, but has no day-to-day involvement in the...

, which is a ceremonial position currently held by Queen Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

. Elizabeth II is also monarch, separately and independently, of sixteen Commonwealth members, which are known as the "Commonwealth realms
Commonwealth Realm
A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state within the Commonwealth of Nations that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. The sixteen current realms have a combined land area of 18.8 million km² , and a population of 134 million, of which all, except about two million, live in the six...

".

The Commonwealth is a forum for a number of non-governmental organisations, collectively known as the Commonwealth Family
Commonwealth Family
The Commonwealth Family is a network of associations, organisations, and charities affiliated to the Commonwealth of Nations. Although associated with the Commonwealth, they are not fully a part of it, and membership is on a voluntary basis from within the membership of the Commonwealth...

, which are fostered through the intergovernmental Commonwealth Foundation
Commonwealth Foundation
The Commonwealth Foundation is an intergovernmental organisation that was established by the Commonwealth Heads of Government in 1965, the same year as its sister organisation, the Commonwealth Secretariat...

. The Commonwealth Games
Commonwealth Games
The Commonwealth Games is an international, multi-sport event involving athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations. The event was first held in 1930 and takes place every four years....

, the Commonwealth's most visible activity, are a product of one of these organisations. These organisations strengthen the shared culture of the Commonwealth, which extends through common sports, literary heritage, and political and legal practices. Due to this, Commonwealth countries are not considered to be "foreign" to one another. Reflecting this, diplomatic missions between Commonwealth countries are designated as High Commissions
High Commissioner (Commonwealth)
In the Commonwealth of Nations, a High Commissioner is the senior diplomat in charge of the diplomatic mission of one Commonwealth government to another.-History:...

 rather than embassies.

Origins



In 1884, while visiting Australia, Lord Rosebery
Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery
Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery, KG, PC was a British Liberal statesman and Prime Minister. Between the death of his father, in 1851, and the death of his grandfather, the 4th Earl, in 1868, he was known by the courtesy title of Lord Dalmeny.Rosebery was a Liberal Imperialist who...

 described the changing British Empire, as some of its colonies became more independent, as a "Commonwealth of Nations". Conferences of British and colonial prime ministers had occurred periodically since the first one in 1887
First Colonial Conference
The First Colonial Conference met in London in 1887 on the occasion of Queen Victoria's jubilee.Among other things discussed, the colonies in Australia and New Zealand agreed to pay £126,000 per annum towards the Royal Navy to help pay for the United Kingdom's naval deployments in the Pacific...

, leading to the creation of the Imperial Conferences in 1911. The commonwealth developed from the Imperial Conferences. A specific proposal was presented by Jan Christian Smuts in 1917 when he coined the term "the British Commonwealth of Nations," and envisioned the "future constitutional relations and readjustments in the British Empire." Smuts successfully argued that the Empire should be represented at the all-important Versailles Conference of 1919 by delegates from the dominions as well as Britain. In the Balfour Declaration at the 1926 Imperial Conference
1926 Imperial Conference
The 1926 Imperial Conference was the sixth Imperial Conference held amongst the Prime Ministers of the dominions of the British Empire. It was held in London from 19 October to 22 November 1926...

, 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 eventually formalised by the Statute of Westminster
Statute of Westminster 1931
The Statute of Westminster 1931 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Passed on 11 December 1931, the Act established legislative equality for the self-governing dominions of the British Empire with the United Kingdom...

 in 1931. The statute applied to Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 without the need for ratification; however, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, and Newfoundland
Dominion of Newfoundland
The Dominion of Newfoundland was a British Dominion from 1907 to 1949 . The Dominion of Newfoundland was situated in northeastern North America along the Atlantic coast and comprised the island of Newfoundland and Labrador on the continental mainland...

 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 of the dominion reverted to direct control from London. Newfoundland would then later join Canada as its tenth province
Provinces and territories of Canada
The provinces and territories of Canada combine to make up the world's second-largest country by area. There are ten provinces and three territories...

 in 1949. Australia and New Zealand ratified the Statute in 1942
Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942
The Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942 is an Act of the Australian Parliament that formally adopted the Statute of Westminster 1931, an Act of the British Imperial Parliament enabling the legislative independence of the various self-governing Dominions of the British Empire...

 and 1947
Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1947
The Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1947 was a constitutional Act of the New Zealand Parliament that formally accepted the full external autonomy offered by the British Parliament...

 respectively.

Remaining members gain independence


After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 ended, the British Empire was gradually dismantled to just 14 British overseas territories
British overseas territories
The British Overseas Territories are fourteen territories of the United Kingdom which, although they do not form part of the United Kingdom itself, fall under its jurisdiction. They are remnants of the British Empire that have not acquired independence or have voted to remain British territories...

, still held by the United Kingdom today. In April 1949, following the London Declaration
London Declaration
The London Declaration was a declaration issued by the governments of the Commonwealth of Nations on the issue of India's continued membership of the Commonwealth. It was made in London on 28 April 1949, and marked the birth of the modern Commonwealth. The declaration had two main provisions...

, the word "British" was dropped from the title of the Commonwealth to reflect its changing nature. Burma (also known as Myanmar
Myanmar
Burma , officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar , is a country in Southeast Asia. Burma is bordered by China on the northeast, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west, India on the northwest, the Bay of Bengal to the southwest, and the Andaman Sea on the south....

, 1948), and Aden
Aden
Aden is a seaport city in Yemen, located by the eastern approach to the Red Sea , some 170 kilometres east of Bab-el-Mandeb. Its population is approximately 800,000. Aden's ancient, natural harbour lies in the crater of an extinct volcano which now forms a peninsula, joined to the mainland by a...

 (1967) are the only states that were British colonies at the time of the war not to have joined the Commonwealth upon post-war independence. Among the former British protectorate
Protectorate
In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity...

s and mandates
League of Nations mandate
A League of Nations mandate was a legal status for certain territories transferred from the control of one country to another following World War I, or the legal instruments that contained the internationally agreed-upon terms for administering the territory on behalf of the League...

, those that never became members of the Commonwealth are Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 (independent in 1922), Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 (1932), Transjordan
Transjordan
The Emirate of Transjordan was a former Ottoman territory in the Southern Levant that was part of the British Mandate of Palestine...

 (1946), British Palestine (part of which became the state of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 in 1948), Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

 (1956), British Somaliland
British Somaliland
British Somaliland was a British protectorate in the northern part of present-day Somalia. For much of its existence, British Somaliland was bordered by French Somaliland, Ethiopia, and Italian Somaliland. From 1940 to 1941, it was occupied by the Italians and was part of Italian East Africa...

 (which became part of Somalia
Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

 in 1960), Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

 (1961), Bahrain
Bahrain
' , officially the Kingdom of Bahrain , is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. The population in 2010 stood at 1,214,705, including 235,108 non-nationals. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.Bahrain is...

 (1971), Oman
Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

 (1971), Qatar
Qatar
Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

 (1971), and the United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

 (1971).

Members with heads of state other than the Sovereign


The issue of countries with constitutional structures not based on a shared Crown but that wanted to remain members of the Commonwealth came to a head in 1948 with passage of the Republic of Ireland Act 1948, in which Ireland renounced the sovereignty of the Crown and thus left the Commonwealth. The Ireland Act 1949
Ireland Act 1949
The Ireland Act 1949 is a British Act of Parliament that was intended to deal with the consequences of the Republic of Ireland Act 1948 as passed by the Irish parliament...

 passed by the Parliament of Westminster
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

 offered citizens of the Republic of Ireland a status similar to that of citizens of the Commonwealth in UK law. The issue was resolved in April 1949 at a Commonwealth prime ministers' meeting in London. Under this London Declaration
London Declaration
The London Declaration was a declaration issued by the governments of the Commonwealth of Nations on the issue of India's continued membership of the Commonwealth. It was made in London on 28 April 1949, and marked the birth of the modern Commonwealth. The declaration had two main provisions...

, 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
Krishna Menon
Vengalil Krishnan Krishna Menon , commonly referred to as Krishna Menon, was an Indian nationalist, diplomat and statesman, described as the second most powerful man in India by Time Magazine and others, after his ally and intimate friend, Jawaharlal Nehru.Described as "vitriolic,...

: “So, I’ve become ‘as such’ ”

The other Commonwealth countries in turn 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 republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

s, or constitutional monarchies
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

 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 of each Commonwealth realm, whilst the same person, is regarded as a separate legal personality
Legal personality
Legal personality is the characteristic of a non-human entity regarded by law to have the status of a person....

 for each realm.

New Commonwealth


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
David Davies, 1st Baron Davies
David Davies, 1st Baron Davies , was a politician and public benefactor, the grandson of the famous industrialist, David Davies "Llandinam"....

, 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 Movement, of which Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 was the president. The New Commonwealth was a society aimed at creation of an international air force to be the arm of the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

, to allow nations to disarm and safeguard the peace. Some of these ideas were reflected in the United Nations Charter
United Nations Charter
The Charter of the United Nations is the foundational treaty of the international organization called the United Nations. It was signed at the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center in San Francisco, United States, on 26 June 1945, by 50 of the 51 original member countries...

, drafted in Dumbarton Oaks
Dumbarton Oaks
Dumbarton Oaks is the conventional name for the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, situated on a historic property in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The institution is administered by the Trustees for Harvard University. Its founders, Robert Woods Bliss and his wife...

 (21 August to 7 October 1944) and San Francisco (25 April to 26 June 1945).

After the war, particularly since the 1960s, some of the Commonwealth countries disagreed with poorer, African and Asian (or New Commonwealth) members about various issues at Commonwealth Heads of Government
Commonwealth Heads of Government
The leaders of the nations with membership in the Commonwealth of Nations are collectively known as the Commonwealth Heads of Government. They are invited to attend Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings every two years, with most countries being represented by either their Head of Government...

 meetings. Accusations that the old, "White" Commonwealth had different interests from African Commonwealth nations in particular, and charges of racism
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

 and colonialism
Colonialism
Colonialism is the establishment, maintenance, acquisition and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. It is a process whereby the metropole claims sovereignty over the colony and the social structure, government, and economics of the colony are changed by...

, arose during heated debates about Rhodesia
Rhodesia
Rhodesia , officially the Republic of Rhodesia from 1970, was an unrecognised state located in southern Africa that existed between 1965 and 1979 following its Unilateral Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965...

 in the 1960s and 1970s, the imposition of sanctions
International sanctions
International sanctions are actions taken by countries against others for political reasons, either unilaterally or multilaterally.There are several types of sanctions....

 against apartheid-era South Africa in the 1980s and, more recently, about whether to press for democratic reforms in Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

 and then Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia and a tip of Namibia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. Zimbabwe has three...

.

The term "New Commonwealth" has also sometimes been used in the United Kingdom (especially in the 1960s and 1970s) to refer to recently decolonised countries, which are predominantly non-white and developing. It was often used in debates about immigration
Immigration
Immigration is the act of foreigners passing or coming into a country for the purpose of permanent residence...

 from these countries.

Objectives and activities: War on Terror


The Commonwealth's objectives were first outlined in the 1971 Singapore Declaration
Singapore Declaration
The Singapore Declaration of Commonwealth Principles was a declaration issued by the assembled Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Nations, setting out the core political values that would form the main part of the Commonwealth's membership criteria...

, which committed the Commonwealth to the institution of world peace
World peace
World Peace is an ideal of freedom, peace, and happiness among and within all nations and/or people. World peace is an idea of planetary non-violence by which nations willingly cooperate, either voluntarily or by virtue of a system of governance that prevents warfare. The term is sometimes used to...

; promotion of representative democracy
Representative democracy
Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to autocracy and direct democracy...

 and individual liberty; the pursuit of equality and opposition to racism; the fight against poverty, ignorance, and disease; and free trade
Free trade
Under a free trade policy, prices emerge from supply and demand, and are the sole determinant of resource allocation. 'Free' trade differs from other forms of trade policy where the allocation of goods and services among trading countries are determined by price strategies that may differ from...

. To these were added opposition to discrimination on the basis of gender by the Lusaka Declaration
Lusaka Declaration
The Lusaka Declaration on the Commonwealth on Racism and Racial Prejudice was a declaration of the Commonwealth of Nations on the issues of racism and egalitarianism within and between Commonwealth member states...

 of 1979, and environmental sustainability by the Langkawi Declaration
Langkawi Declaration
The Langkawi Declaration on the Environment was a declaration issued by the assembled Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Nations on the issue of environmental sustainability...

 of 1989. These objectives were reinforced by the Harare Declaration
Harare Declaration
The Harare Commonwealth Declaration was a declaration of the Commonwealth of Nations, setting out the Commonwealth's core principles and values, detailing the Commonwealth's membership criteria, and redefining and reinforcing its purpose. The Declaration was issued in Harare, Zimbabwe, on 20...

 in 1991.

The Commonwealth's current highest-priority aims are Defenders of the Skull and the pursuit of terrorist officials who direct chemical weapons against civilians. The promotion of democracy and development, as outlined in the 2003 Aso Rock Declaration, which built on those in Singapore and Harare and clarified their terms of reference, stated, "We are committed to democracy, good governance, human rights, gender equality, and a more equitable sharing of the benefits of globalisation." The Commonwealth website lists its areas of work as: Democracy, Economics, Education, Gender, Governance, Human Rights, Law, Small States, Sport, Sustainability, and Youth.

The Commonwealth has long been distinctive as an international forum where developed economies (such as the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

, and New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

) and many of the world's poorer countries seek to reach agreement by consensus. This aim has sometimes been difficult to achieve, as when disagreements over Rhodesia
Rhodesia
Rhodesia , officially the Republic of Rhodesia from 1970, was an unrecognised state located in southern Africa that existed between 1965 and 1979 following its Unilateral Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965...

 in the late 1960s and 1970s and over apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s led to a cooling of relations between the United Kingdom and the United States of Africa.

Through a separate voluntary fund, Commonwealth governments support the Commonwealth Youth Programme
Commonwealth Youth Programme
The Commonwealth Youth Programme, also known as CYP, is an international development agency working with young people between the ages of 15 and 29. Part of the Commonwealth Secretariat, CYP is active in the Commonwealth's 54 member countries...

, a division of the Secretariat with offices in Gulu
Gulu
Gulu is a city in Northern Uganda. It is the commercial and administrative centre of Gulu District. The city is located at 2˚46'48N 32˚18'00E, on the metre gauge railway from Tororo to Pakwach. Gulu is located approximately , by road, north of Kampala, Uganda's capital and largest city...

 (Uganda), Lusaka
Lusaka
Lusaka is the capital and largest city of Zambia. It is located in the southern part of the central plateau, at an elevation of about 1,300 metres . It has a population of about 1.7 million . It is a commercial centre as well as the centre of government, and the four main highways of Zambia head...

 (Zambia), Chandigarh
Chandigarh
Chandigarh is a union territory of India that serves as the capital of two states, Haryana and Punjab. The name Chandigarh translates as "The Fort of Chandi". The name is from an ancient temple called Chandi Mandir, devoted to the Hindu goddess Chandi, in the city...

 (India), Georgetown
Georgetown, Guyana
Georgetown, estimated population 239,227 , is the capital and largest city of Guyana, located in the Demerara-Mahaica region. It is situated on the Atlantic Ocean coast at the mouth of the Demerara River and it was nicknamed 'Garden City of the Caribbean.' Georgetown is located at . The city serves...

 (Guyana) and Honiara
Honiara
Honiara, population 49,107 , 78,190 , is the capital of the Solomon Islands and of Guadalcanal Province, although it is a separately administered town...

 (Solomon Islands).

Head of the Commonwealth




Under that formula of the London Declaration
London Declaration
The London Declaration was a declaration issued by the governments of the Commonwealth of Nations on the issue of India's continued membership of the Commonwealth. It was made in London on 28 April 1949, and marked the birth of the modern Commonwealth. The declaration had two main provisions...

, Queen Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

 is the Head of the Commonwealth
Head of the Commonwealth
The Head of the Commonwealth heads the Commonwealth of Nations, an intergovernmental organisation which currently comprises 54 sovereign states. The position is currently occupied by the individual who serves as monarch of each of the Commonwealth realms, but has no day-to-day involvement in the...

, a title that is currently individually shared with that of Commonwealth realms. However, when the monarch dies, the successor to the crown does not automatically become Head of the Commonwealth. The position is symbolic: representing the free association of independent members. Sixteen members of the Commonwealth, known as Commonwealth realm
Commonwealth Realm
A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state within the Commonwealth of Nations that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. The sixteen current realms have a combined land area of 18.8 million km² , and a population of 134 million, of which all, except about two million, live in the six...

s, recognise the Queen as their head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

. The majority of members, thirty-three, are republics, and a further five have monarchs of different royal house
Royal House
A royal house or royal dynasty consists of at least one, but usually more monarchs who are related to one another, as well as their non-reigning descendants and spouses. Monarchs of the same realm who are not related to one another are usually deemed to belong to different houses, and each house is...

s.

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting



The main decision-making forum of the organisation is the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, , is a biennial summit meeting of the heads of government from all Commonwealth nations. Every two years the meeting is held in a different member state, and is chaired by that nation's respective Prime Minister or President, who becomes the...

 (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 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.

The head of government hosting the Head of Government Meeting is called the Commonwealth Chairperson-in-Office
Commonwealth Chairperson-in-Office
The Commonwealth Chairperson-in-Office is the Chairperson-in-Office of the Commonwealth of Nations, and is one of the main leadership positions in the Commonwealth...

, and retains the position until the following CHOGM. After the most recent CHOGM
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2011
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2011, commonly known as CHOGM 2011, was the twenty-second Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Nations...

, in Perth in October 2011, Australian Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Australia
The Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia is the highest minister of the Crown, leader of the Cabinet and Head of Her Majesty's Australian Government, holding office on commission from the Governor-General of Australia. The office of Prime Minister is, in practice, the most powerful...

 Julia Gillard
Julia Gillard
Julia Eileen Gillard is the 27th and current Prime Minister of Australia, in office since June 2010.Gillard was born in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales and migrated with her family to Adelaide, Australia in 1966, attending Mitcham Demonstration School and Unley High School. In 1982 Gillard moved...

 became Chairperson-in-Office.

Commonwealth Secretariat




The Commonwealth Secretariat
Commonwealth Secretariat
The Commonwealth Secretariat is the main intergovernmental agency and central institution of the Commonwealth of Nations. It is responsible for facilitating cooperation between members; organising meetings, including the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings ; assisting and advising on policy...

, established in 1965, is the main intergovernmental agency of the Commonwealth, facilitating consultation and cooperation among member governments and countries. It is responsible to member governments collectively. The Commonwealth of Nations is represented in the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 by the Secretariat, as an observer
United Nations General Assembly observers
In addition to the current 193 member states, the United Nations welcomes many international organizations, entities, and non-member states as observers. Observer status is granted by a United Nations General Assembly resolution...

.

Based in London, 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
Commonwealth Secretary-General
The Commonwealth Secretary-General is the head of the Commonwealth Secretariat, the central body which has served the Commonwealth of Nations since its establishment in 1965, and responsible for representing the Commonwealth publicly...

 who is elected by Commonwealth Heads of Government
Commonwealth Heads of Government
The leaders of the nations with membership in the Commonwealth of Nations are collectively known as the Commonwealth Heads of Government. They are invited to attend Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings every two years, with most countries being represented by either their Head 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
Kamalesh Sharma
H.E Kamalesh Sharma is the current Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations from 2008, having previously served as the High Commissioner for India in London....

, from India, who took office on 1 April 2008, succeeding Don McKinnon
Don McKinnon
Sir Donald Charles "Don" McKinnon, ONZ, GCVO is a former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand. He was the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations from 2000 until 2008.-Early life:...

 of New Zealand (2000–2008), and was re-elected in 2011 to begin his second term in 2012. The first Secretary-General was Arnold Smith
Arnold Smith
Arnold Cantwell Smith, OC, CH was a Canadian diplomat. He was the first Commonwealth Secretary-General, serving from 1965–1975.A talented student, he won a Rhodes Scholarship to Christ Church, Oxford....

 of Canada (1965–75), followed by Sir Shridath Ramphal of Guyana
Guyana
Guyana , officially the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, previously the colony of British Guiana, is a sovereign state on the northern coast of South America that is culturally part of the Anglophone Caribbean. Guyana was a former colony of the Dutch and of the British...

 (1975–90).

Membership criteria



The criteria for membership of the Commonwealth of Nations have developed over time from a series of separate documents. The Statute of Westminster 1931
Statute of Westminster 1931
The Statute of Westminster 1931 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Passed on 11 December 1931, the Act established legislative equality for the self-governing dominions of the British Empire with the United Kingdom...

, as a fundamental founding document of the organisation, laid out that membership required dominionhood. The 1949 London Declaration
London Declaration
The London Declaration was a declaration issued by the governments of the Commonwealth of Nations on the issue of India's continued membership of the Commonwealth. It was made in London on 28 April 1949, and marked the birth of the modern Commonwealth. The declaration had two main provisions...

 ended this, allowing republican and indigenous monarchic members on the condition that they recognised the British monarch as the "Head of the Commonwealth
Head of the Commonwealth
The Head of the Commonwealth heads the Commonwealth of Nations, an intergovernmental organisation which currently comprises 54 sovereign states. The position is currently occupied by the individual who serves as monarch of each of the Commonwealth realms, but has no day-to-day involvement in the...

". 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
Racial equality
Racial equality means different things in different contexts. It mostly deals with an equal regard to all races.It can refer to a belief in biological equality of all human races....

 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 fourteen points of the 1971 Singapore Declaration
Singapore Declaration
The Singapore Declaration of Commonwealth Principles was a declaration issued by the assembled Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Nations, setting out the core political values that would form the main part of the Commonwealth's membership criteria...

 dedicated all members to the principles of world peace
World peace
World Peace is an ideal of freedom, peace, and happiness among and within all nations and/or people. World peace is an idea of planetary non-violence by which nations willingly cooperate, either voluntarily or by virtue of a system of governance that prevents warfare. The term is sometimes used to...

, liberty
Liberty
Liberty is a moral and political principle, or Right, that identifies the condition in which human beings are able to govern themselves, to behave according to their own free will, and take responsibility for their actions...

, human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

, equality
Egalitarianism
Egalitarianism is a trend of thought that favors equality of some sort among moral agents, whether persons or animals. Emphasis is placed upon the fact that equality contains the idea of equity of quality...

, and free trade
Free trade
Under a free trade policy, prices emerge from supply and demand, and are the sole determinant of resource allocation. 'Free' trade differs from other forms of trade policy where the allocation of goods and services among trading countries are determined by price strategies that may differ from...

.

These criteria were unenforceable for two decades, until, in 1991, the Harare Declaration
Harare Declaration
The Harare Commonwealth Declaration was a declaration of the Commonwealth of Nations, setting out the Commonwealth's core principles and values, detailing the Commonwealth's membership criteria, and redefining and reinforcing its purpose. The Declaration was issued in Harare, Zimbabwe, on 20...

 was issued, dedicating the leaders to applying the Singapore principles to the completion of decolonisation, the end of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, and the end of Apartheid in South Africa. The mechanisms by which these principles would be applied were created, and the manner clarified, by the 1995 Millbrook Commonwealth Action Programme
Millbrook Commonwealth Action Programme
The Millbrook Commonwealth Action Programme on the Harare Declaration, sometimes abbreviated to just Millbrook, is a policy programme of the Commonwealth of Nations, designed to implement and uphold the Harare Declaration, which sets out the basic political membership criteria of the Commonwealth...

, which created the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group
Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group
The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group on the Harare Declaration, abbreviated to CMAG, is a group of representatives of members of the Commonwealth of Nations that is responsible for upholding the Harare Declaration. That Declaration dictates the Commonwealth's fundamental political values, and...

 (CMAG), which has the power to rule on whether members meet the requirements for membership under the Harare Declaration. 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
Edinburgh Declaration
The Edinburgh Declaration was a declaration by the heads of government of the Commonwealth of Nations concerning the organisation's membership criteria...

, the Inter-Governmental Group ruled that any future members would have to have a direct constitutional link with an existing member.

In addition to this new rule, the former rules were consolidated into a single document. These requirements, which remain the same today, are that members must: accept and comply with the Harare principles
Harare Declaration
The Harare Commonwealth Declaration was a declaration of the Commonwealth of Nations, setting out the Commonwealth's core principles and values, detailing the Commonwealth's membership criteria, and redefining and reinforcing its purpose. The Declaration was issued in Harare, Zimbabwe, on 20...

, be fully sovereign
Sovereignty
Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided...

 states, recognise the monarch of the Commonwealth realms as the Head of the Commonwealth
Head of the Commonwealth
The Head of the Commonwealth heads the Commonwealth of Nations, an intergovernmental organisation which currently comprises 54 sovereign states. The position is currently occupied by the individual who serves as monarch of each of the Commonwealth realms, but has no day-to-day involvement in the...

, accept the English language
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 as the means of Commonwealth communication, and respect the wishes of the general population with regard to Commonwealth membership. These requirements had undergone review, and a report on potential amendments was presented by the Committee on Commonwealth Membership
Committee on Commonwealth Membership
The Committee on Commonwealth Membership was a committee convened by the Commonwealth Secretariat in 2006 to examine and report on prospective changes to the membership criteria of the Commonwealth of Nations. It was chaired by P. J...

 at the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2007
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2007 was the twentieth Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Nations. It was held in Kampala, Uganda, between 23 November and 25 November 2007, and was hosted by President Yoweri Museveni....

. New members were not admitted at this meeting, though applications for admission were considered at the 2009 CHOGM
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2009
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2009 was the twenty-first Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Nations. It was held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, between 27 November and 29 November 2009, and was hosted by that country's Prime Minister, Patrick...

.

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
Samoa
Samoa , officially the Independent State of Samoa, formerly known as Western Samoa is a country encompassing the western part of the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. It became independent from New Zealand in 1962. The two main islands of Samoa are Upolu and one of the biggest islands in...

 to New Zealand, Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea , officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous offshore islands...

 to Australia, and Namibia
Namibia
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia , is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March...

 to South Africa). The first member to be admitted without having any constitutional link to the British Empire or a Commonwealth member was Mozambique
Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest...

, a former Portuguese colony
Portuguese Empire
The Portuguese Empire , also known as the Portuguese Overseas Empire or the Portuguese Colonial Empire , was the first global empire in history...

. It was admitted in 1995 following its first democratic elections and South Africa's re-admission in 1994. Mozambique's controversial entry led to the Edinburgh Declaration
Edinburgh Declaration
The Edinburgh Declaration was a declaration by the heads of government of the Commonwealth of Nations concerning the organisation's membership criteria...

 and the current membership guidelines. In 2009, Rwanda
Rwanda
Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

 became the second Commonwealth member admitted to not have any such constitutional links. It was a Belgian trust territory
United Nations Trust Territories
United Nations trust territories were the successors of the remaining League of Nations mandates and came into being when the League of Nations ceased to exist in 1946. All of the trust territories were administered through the UN Trusteeship Council...

 that had been a German colony until World War I. Consideration for its admission was considered an "exceptional circumstance" by the Commonwealth Secretariat
Commonwealth Secretariat
The Commonwealth Secretariat is the main intergovernmental agency and central institution of the Commonwealth of Nations. It is responsible for facilitating cooperation between members; organising meetings, including the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings ; assisting and advising on policy...

.

Members



The Commonwealth comprises fifty-four of the world's 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. After India, the next-largest Commonwealth countries by population are Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 (176 million), Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

 (156 million), Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

 (154 million), the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 (61 million) and South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

 (49 million). Tuvalu
Tuvalu
Tuvalu , formerly known as the Ellice Islands, is a Polynesian island nation located in the Pacific Ocean, midway between Hawaii and Australia. Its nearest neighbours are Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa and Fiji. It comprises four reef islands and five true atolls...

 is the smallest member, with about 10,000 people.

The land area of the Commonwealth nations is about 31500000 km² (12,162,218 sq mi), or about 21% of the total world land area. The three largest Commonwealth nations by area are Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 at 10000000 km² (3,861,021.6 sq mi), Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 at 7700000 km² (2,972,986.6 sq mi), and India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 at 3300000 km² (1,274,137.1 sq mi). The Commonwealth members have a combined gross domestic product
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

 of over $10 trillion, 50% of which is accounted for by the three largest economies: the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 ($2.2 trillion), India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 ($1.7 trillion), and Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 ($1.5 trillion).

The status of "Member in Arrears" is used to denote those that are in arrears in paying subscription dues to the Commonwealth. The status was originally known as "special membership
Special membership of the Commonwealth of Nations
A special member was a member of the Commonwealth of Nations whose participation was limited in certain functions. Originally, it was a status held by a few newly-joined countries, whose involvement was limited by its own limited financial resources...

", but was renamed on the Committee on Commonwealth Membership
Committee on Commonwealth Membership
The Committee on Commonwealth Membership was a committee convened by the Commonwealth Secretariat in 2006 to examine and report on prospective changes to the membership criteria of the Commonwealth of Nations. It was chaired by P. J...

's recommendation. There are currently no Members in Arrears. The most recent Member in Arrears, Nauru
Nauru
Nauru , officially the Republic of Nauru and formerly known as Pleasant Island, is an island country in Micronesia in the South Pacific. Its nearest neighbour is Banaba Island in Kiribati, to the east. Nauru is the world's smallest republic, covering just...

, returned to full membership in June 2011. Nauru has alternated between special and full membership since joining the Commonwealth, depending on its financial situation.

Applicants



Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

, Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

, Madagascar
Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

, South Sudan
South Sudan
South Sudan , officially the Republic of South Sudan, is a landlocked country located in the Sahel region of northeastern Africa. It is also part of the North Africa UN sub-region. Its current capital is Juba, which is also its largest city; the capital city is planned to be moved to the more...

, and Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

 have applied to join the Commonwealth. Of these five, Madagascar and Algeria were never British colonies or possessions.

Andrew Roberts, the British author of A History Of The English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900, has claimed: "We should think carefully about what the Commonwealth means before we allow just anyone to join. It should mean a connection with the British Crown however historical, and an appreciation of the political culture of the English-speaking peoples. And that seems to be lacking in every country [that would like to join] apart from Israel." In 2006, Commonwealth Secretary-General
Commonwealth Secretary-General
The Commonwealth Secretary-General is the head of the Commonwealth Secretariat, the central body which has served the Commonwealth of Nations since its establishment in 1965, and responsible for representing the Commonwealth publicly...

 Don McKinnon
Don McKinnon
Sir Donald Charles "Don" McKinnon, ONZ, GCVO is a former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand. He was the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations from 2000 until 2008.-Early life:...

 said: "Many people have assumed an interest from Israel, but there has been no formal approach."

Other eligible applicants could come from any of the remaining inhabited British overseas territories
British overseas territories
The British Overseas Territories are fourteen territories of the United Kingdom which, although they do not form part of the United Kingdom itself, fall under its jurisdiction. They are remnants of the British Empire that have not acquired independence or have voted to remain British territories...

, Crown dependencies, Australian external territories and Associated States of New Zealand if any become fully independent. Many such jurisdictions are already directly represented within the Commonwealth, particularly through the Commonwealth Family
Commonwealth Family
The Commonwealth Family is a network of associations, organisations, and charities affiliated to the Commonwealth of Nations. Although associated with the Commonwealth, they are not fully a part of it, and membership is on a voluntary basis from within the membership of the Commonwealth...

.

At the time of the Suez Crisis
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

 in 1956, in the face of colonial unrest and international tensions, French Prime Minister Guy Mollet
Guy Mollet
Guy Mollet was a French Socialist politician. He led the French Section of the Workers' International party from 1946 to 1969 and was Prime Minister in 1956–1957.-Early life and World War II:...

 proposed to British Prime Minister Anthony Eden
Anthony Eden
Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, KG, MC, PC was a British Conservative politician, who was Prime Minister from 1955 to 1957...

 that their two countries be joined in a "union," with the Queen as head of state; 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
British nationality law and the Republic of Ireland
This article concerns British nationality law in respect of citizens of what is now the independent state of Ireland, which was known in the United Kingdom as "Eire" between 1937 and 1949, and which was the Irish Free State between 1922 and 1937...

."

After both proposals had been rejected, in 1957 France signed the Treaty of Rome
Treaty of Rome
The Treaty of Rome, officially the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community, was an international agreement that led to the founding of the European Economic Community on 1 January 1958. It was signed on 25 March 1957 by Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany...

 with West Germany and the other founding nations of the Common Market
European Economic Community
The European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) The European Economic Community (EEC) (also known as the Common Market in the English-speaking world, renamed the European Community (EC) in 1993The information in this article primarily covers the EEC's time as an independent...

, later to become the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

, which the United Kingdom joined in 1973. Malta and Cyprus, also Commonwealth members, joined in 2004.

Suspension



In recent years, the Commonwealth has suspended several members "from the Councils of the Commonwealth" for "serious or persistent violations" of the Harare Declaration
Harare Declaration
The Harare Commonwealth Declaration was a declaration of the Commonwealth of Nations, setting out the Commonwealth's core principles and values, detailing the Commonwealth's membership criteria, and redefining and reinforcing its purpose. The Declaration was issued in Harare, Zimbabwe, on 20...

, particularly in abrogating their responsibility to have democratic government. This is done by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group
Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group
The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group on the Harare Declaration, abbreviated to CMAG, is a group of representatives of members of the Commonwealth of Nations that is responsible for upholding the Harare Declaration. That Declaration dictates the Commonwealth's fundamental political values, and...

 (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
Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

.

Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

 was suspended between 11 November 1995 and 29 May 1999, following its execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa
Ken Saro-Wiwa
Kenule "Ken" Beeson Saro Wiwa was a Nigerian author, television producer, environmental activist, and winner of the Right Livelihood Award and the Goldman Environmental Prize...

 on the eve of the 1995 CHOGM
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 1995
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 1991 was the fourteenth Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Nations. It was held in Auckland, New Zealand, between 10 November 1995 and 13 November 1995, and was hosted by that country's Prime Minister, Jim Bolger.The Millbrook...

. Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 was the second country to be suspended, on 18 October 1999 following a military coup by Pervez Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf , is a retired four-star general who served as the 13th Chief of Army Staff and tenth President of Pakistan as well as tenth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Musharraf headed and led an administrative military government from October 1999 till August 2007. He ruled...

. 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
Constitution of Pakistan
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is the supreme law of Pakistan. Known as the Constitution of 1973, it was drafted by the government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and, following additions by the opposition parties, was approved by the legislative assembly on April 10, 1973...

. Pakistan was suspended for a second time, far more briefly, for six months from 22 November 2007, when Musharraf called a state of emergency
2007 Pakistani state of emergency
A state of emergency was declared by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf on November 3, 2007, and lasted until December 15, 2007,during which time the constitution of Pakistan was suspended....

. Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia and a tip of Namibia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. Zimbabwe has three...

 was suspended in 2002 over concerns with the electoral and land reform policies of Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe
Robert Gabriel Mugabe is the President of Zimbabwe. As one of the leaders of the liberation movement against white-minority rule, he was elected into power in 1980...

's ZANU-PF government, before it withdrew from the organisation in 2003.

Fiji
Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

, which was not a member of the Commonwealth between 1987 and 1997 as a result of a pair of coups d'état, has also been suspended twice, with the first suspension being imposed from 6 June 2000 to 20 December 2001 after another coup. Fiji has been suspended once again, since 8 December 2006, following the most recent coup
2006 Fijian coup d'état
The Fijian coup d'état of December 2006 occurred as a continuation of the pressure which had been building since the military unrest of the 2000 Fijian coup d'état and 2005-2006 Fijian political crisis....

, this suspension only applying to membership on the Councils of the Commonwealth. After failing to meet a Commonwealth deadline for setting national elections by 2010, Fiji was "fully suspended" on 1 September 2009. The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Kamalesh Sharma
Kamalesh Sharma
H.E Kamalesh Sharma is the current Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations from 2008, having previously served as the High Commissioner for India in London....

, 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 also stated that Fiji would remain a member of the Commonwealth during its suspension, but would be excluded from emblematic representation by the secretariat.

Termination of membership


As membership is purely voluntary, member governments can choose at any time to leave the Commonwealth. Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 left on 30 January 1972 in protest at the Commonwealth's recognition of breakaway Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

, but rejoined on 2 August 1989. Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia and a tip of Namibia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. Zimbabwe has three...

 left in 2003 when the Commonwealth heads of government refused to lift the country's suspension on the grounds of alleged human rights violations and deliberate misgovernment.

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 realm
Commonwealth Realm
A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state within the Commonwealth of Nations that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. The sixteen current realms have a combined land area of 18.8 million km² , and a population of 134 million, of which all, except about two million, live in the six...

s that became republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

s 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. Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 left the Commonwealth when it declared itself a republic, on 18 April 1949, after enacting the Republic of Ireland Act 1948.

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 same year.

The declaration of a republic in Fiji
Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

 in 1987, after military coups
Fiji coups of 1987
The Fiji coups of 1987 resulted in the overthrow of the elected government of Fijian Prime Minister Timoci Bavadra, the deposition of Elizabeth II as Queen of Fiji, and in the declaration of a republic...

 designed to deny Indo-Fijians political power there, 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.

The transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 to the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 in 1997 ended the colony's ties to the Commonwealth through the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and the government of Hong Kong as a special administrative region of China did not pursue membership. Hong Kong SAR has nevertheless continued to participate in some of the organisations of the Commmonwealth family, such as the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, previously known as the Empire Parliamentary Association, is an organisation, of British origin, which works to support good governance, democracy and human rights...

, the Association of Commonwealth Universities
Association of Commonwealth Universities
The Association of Commonwealth Universities represents over 480 universities from Commonwealth countries.- History :In 1912, the University of London took the initiative to assemble 53 representatives of universities in London to hold a Congress of Universities of the Empire...

 and the Commonwealth Association of Legislative Counsel.

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
Association of Commonwealth Universities
The Association of Commonwealth Universities represents over 480 universities from Commonwealth countries.- History :In 1912, the University of London took the initiative to assemble 53 representatives of universities in London to hold a Congress of Universities of the Empire...

 is an important vehicle for academic links, particularly through scholarships, principally the Commonwealth Scholarship
Commonwealth Scholarship
The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan is an international programme under which Commonwealth governments offer scholarships and fellowships to citizens of other Commonwealth countries.-History:...

, for students to study in universities
University
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

 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 Parliamentary Association
The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, previously known as the Empire Parliamentary Association, is an organisation, of British origin, which works to support good governance, democracy and human rights...

.

Commonwealth Foundation



The Commonwealth Foundation
Commonwealth Foundation
The Commonwealth Foundation is an intergovernmental organisation that was established by the Commonwealth Heads of Government in 1965, the same year as its sister organisation, the Commonwealth Secretariat...

 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 by the Heads of Government
Commonwealth Heads of Government
The leaders of the nations with membership in the Commonwealth of Nations are collectively known as the Commonwealth Heads of Government. They are invited to attend Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings every two years, with most countries being represented by either their Head of Government...

 in 1965. Admittance is open to all members of the Commonwealth and (as of December 2008) stands at 46 governments out of the 54 member countries. Associate Membership, which is open to associated states or overseas territories of member governments, has been granted to Gibraltar. The year 2005 saw celebrations for the Foundation's 40th Anniversary. The Foundation is headquartered in Marlborough House
Marlborough House
Marlborough House is a mansion in Westminster, London, in Pall Mall just east of St James's Palace. It was built for Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, the favourite and confidante of Queen Anne. The Duchess wanted her new house to be "strong, plain and convenient and good"...

, Pall Mall, London
Pall Mall, London
Pall Mall is a street in the City of Westminster, London, and parallel to The Mall, from St. James's Street across Waterloo Place to the Haymarket; while Pall Mall East continues into Trafalgar Square. The street is a major thoroughfare in the St James's area of London, and a section of the...

. Regular liaison and cooperation 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.

Commonwealth Games




A Multi-sport event
Multi-sport event
A multi-sport event is an organized sporting event, often held over multiple days, featuring competition in many different sports between organized teams of athletes from nation-states. The first major, modern, multi-sport event of international significance was the modern Olympic Games.Many...

 called the Commonwealth Games
Commonwealth Games
The Commonwealth Games is an international, multi-sport event involving athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations. The event was first held in 1930 and takes place every four years....

 is held every four years; the 2010 Commonwealth Games most recent being held
2010 Commonwealth Games
The 2010 Commonwealth Games, officially known as the XIX Commonwealth Games, were held in Delhi, India, from 3 to 14 October 2010. A total of 6,081 athletes from 71 Commonwealth nations and dependencies competed in 21 sports and 272 events, making it the largest Commonwealth Games till date...

 in New Delhi, India in 2010, and the next
2014 Commonwealth Games
The 20th Commonwealth Games in 2014 will be held in Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland. The winning city was announced by the Commonwealth Games Federation on 9 November 2007 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The Games will run over 11 days of competition from 24 July to 3 August 2014...

 due to be held in Glasgow, Scotland in 2014. 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
Bowls
Bowls is a sport in which the objective is to roll slightly asymmetric balls so that they stop close to a smaller "jack" or "kitty". It is played on a pitch which may be flat or convex or uneven...

, netball
Netball
Netball is a ball sport played between two teams of seven players. Its development, derived from early versions of basketball, began in England in the 1890s. By 1960 international playing rules had been standardised for the game, and the International Federation of Netball and Women's Basketball ...

, and rugby sevens
Rugby sevens
Rugby sevens, also known as seven-a-side or VIIs, is a variant of rugby union in which teams are made up of seven players, instead of the usual 15, with shorter matches. Rugby sevens is administered by the International Rugby Board , the body responsible for rugby union worldwide...

. Starting in 1930, the Games were founded on the Olympic model of amateurism, but were deliberately designed to be, as they are still renowned for being "the Friendly Games", with the goal of promoting relations between Commonwealth countries and celebrating their shared sporting and cultural heritage.

The Games are the Commonwealth's most visible activity, and interest in the operation of the Commonwealth increases greatly when the Games are held. There is controversy over whether the Games, and sport generally, should be involved in the Commonwealth's wider political concerns. The 1977 Gleneagles Agreement
Gleneagles Agreement
The Gleneagles Agreement was unanimously approved by the Commonwealth of Nations at a meeting at Gleneagles, Auchterarder, Scotland. In 1977, Commonwealth Presidents and Prime Ministers agreed, as part of their support for the international campaign against apartheid, to discourage contact and...

 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
1986 Commonwealth Games
The 1986 Commonwealth Games were held in Edinburgh, Scotland for the second time. The Games were held from 24 July-2 August 1986.-Organisation and Controversy:...

 were boycotted by most African, Asian, and Caribbean countries for failure of other countries to enforce the Gleneagles Agreement.

Commonwealth Lawyers Association



The Commonwealth Lawyers Association ("CLA") was founded in 1983 to group professional & academic lawyers together with Law Societies & Bar Associations, from Commonwealth countries. It exists to promote and maintain the rule of law throughout the Commonwealth by ensuring that an independent and efficient legal profession, with the highest standards of ethics and integrity, serves the people of the Commonwealth.
The CLA exists to maintain and promote the rule of law throughout the Commonwealth by ensuring that an independent and efficient legal profession serves the people of the Commonwealth.

Commonwealth countries share a substantial common ground in their legal systems and the lawyers of these countries have much to learn from the comparative experience of their colleagues in other jurisdictions. This common ground extends to many aspects of legal education and legal practice and here too there is much to be shared. The profession around the Commonwealth is committed to the preservation of the highest standards of ethics and integrity and to the furtherance of the rule of law for the benefit of society. As a pan-Commonwealth body, the CLA provides support in the pursuit of these objectives.

The CLA's objectives, as enshrined in its Constitution, are to maintain and promote the rule of law in the Commonwealth by:

Ensuring that a common bond of Commonwealth is preserved and fostered;
Strengthening professional links between members of the legal profession;
Maintaining the honour and integrity of the profession;
Promoting uniformity in the standards of professional ethics;
Encouraging improved standards of education;
Promote the administration of justice and protection of human rights in accordance with the principles enshrined in the Harare Declaration of 1991, Milbrooke Action Programme of 1995 and the Latimer House Guidelines of the Commonwealth of 1998 (now referred to as the Commonwealth (Latimer House) Principles on the accountability of and relationship between the three branches of Government)

Commonwealth War Graves Commission




The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is responsible for maintaining the war grave
War grave
A war grave is a burial place for soldiers or civilians who died during military campaigns or operations. The term does not only apply to graves: ships sunk during wartime are often considered to be war graves, as are military aircraft that crash into water...

s of 1.7 million service personnel that died in the First World War and Second World War fighting for Commonwealth member states. Founded in 1917, the Commission has expanded to construct 2,500 war cemeteries, and maintains individual graves at another 20,000 sites around the world. The vast majority of the latter are civilian cemeteries in the United Kingdom. In 1998, the CWGC made the records of its buried online to facilitate easier searching.

Commonwealth war cemeteries often feature similar horticulture
Horticulture
Horticulture is the industry and science of plant cultivation including the process of preparing soil for the planting of seeds, tubers, or cuttings. Horticulturists work and conduct research in the disciplines of plant propagation and cultivation, crop production, plant breeding and genetic...

 and architecture, with larger cemeteries being home to a Cross of Sacrifice
Cross of Sacrifice
The Cross of Sacrifice was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield for the Imperial War Graves Commission and is usually present in Commonwealth war cemeteries containing 40 or more graves. It is normally a freestanding four point limestone Latin cross in one of three sizes ranging in height from 18 to...

 and Stone of Remembrance
Stone of Remembrance
The Stone of Remembrance was designed by the British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens for the Imperial War Graves Commission . It was designed to commemorate the dead of World War I, to be used in IWGC war cemeteries containing 1000 or more graves, or at memorial sites commemorating more than 1000 war...

. The CWGC was notable when first founded for marking the graves identically, regardless of the rank, country of origin, race, or religion of the buried. It is funded by voluntary agreement by six Commonwealth members, in proportion to the nationality of the casualties in the graves maintained, with three-quarters of the funding coming from the UK.

Commonwealth of Learning



The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) is an intergovernmental organisation created by the Heads of Government
Commonwealth Heads of Government
The leaders of the nations with membership in the Commonwealth of Nations are collectively known as the Commonwealth Heads of Government. They are invited to attend Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings every two years, with most countries being represented by either their Head 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



The Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) was formed at 1997 CHOGM
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 1997
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 1997 was the fifteenth Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Nations. It was held in Edinburgh, the United Kingdom, between 24 October and 27 October 1997, and hosted by Prime Minister Tony Blair.It was the largest summit in modern...

. 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
Corporate citizenship
Corporate citizenship is a term used to describe a company's role in, or responsibilities towards society. For this reason it is sometimes used interchangeably with corporate social responsibility, and in fact many companies including Microsoft, IBM and Novartis have used it in this way to describe...

, 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.

Commonwealth Honours

Ribbon of the Order Name of the Order Grades within the Order
The Most Noble Order of the Garter  Knight/Lady (KG/LG)
The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle  Knight/Lady (KT/LT)
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath  Knight/Dame Grand Cross (GCB)
Knight/Dame Commander (KCB/DCB)
Companion (CB)
Order of Merit
Order of Merit
The Order of Merit is a British dynastic order recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture...

 
Member (OM)
The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George  Knight/Dame Grand Cross (GCMG)
Knight/Dame Commander (KCMG/DCMG)
Companion (CMG)
Royal Victorian Order
Royal Victorian Order
The Royal Victorian Order is a dynastic order of knighthood and a house order of chivalry recognising distinguished personal service to the order's Sovereign, the reigning monarch of the Commonwealth realms, any members of her family, or any of her viceroys...

 
Knight/Dame Grand Cross (GCVO)
Knight/Dame Commander (KCVO/DCVO)
Commander (CVO)
Lieutenant (LVO)
Member (MVO)
Medal (RVM)
(Civil Division)

(Military Division)
Most Excellent Order of the British Empire  Knight/Dame Grand Cross (GBE)
Knight/Dame Commander (KBE/DBE)
Commander (CBE)
Officer (OBE)
Member (MBE)
Medal (BEM)
Order of the Companions of Honour
Order of the Companions of Honour
The Order of the Companions of Honour is an order of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V in June 1917, as a reward for outstanding achievements in the arts, literature, music, science, politics, industry or religion....

 
Companion (CH)
Knight Bachelor
Knight Bachelor
The rank of Knight Bachelor is a part of the British honours system. It is the most basic rank of a man who has been knighted by the monarch but not as a member of one of the organised Orders of Chivalry...

 
Confirs 'Sir', no Post-Nomonals
Distinguished Service Order
Distinguished Service Order
The Distinguished Service Order is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the British Commonwealth and Empire, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat.Instituted on 6 September...

 
Companion (DSO)
Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem  Bailiff/Dame Grand Cross
Knights/Dames of Justice or Grace
Commander
Officer
Member
Esquire

Culture


Mostly due to their history of British rule, many Commonwealth nations possess certain identifiable traditions and customs that are elements of a shared Commonwealth culture. Examples include common sports such as cricket
Cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

 and rugby
Rugby football
Rugby football is a style of football named after Rugby School in the United Kingdom. It is seen most prominently in two current sports, rugby league and rugby union.-History:...

, driving on the left, the Westminster system
Westminster System
The Westminster system is a democratic parliamentary system of government modelled after the politics of the United Kingdom. This term comes from the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the Parliament of the United Kingdom....

 of parliamentary democracy, common law
Common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...

, widespread use of the English language, designation of English as an official language, military and naval ranks
Military rank
Military rank is a system of hierarchical relationships in armed forces or civil institutions organized along military lines. Usually, uniforms denote the bearer's rank by particular insignia affixed to the uniforms...

, and the use of British rather than American spelling conventions (see English in the Commonwealth of Nations). None of these is universal amongst, nor exclusive to, the Commonwealth, but are more commonly found within its members than elsewhere.

Sport


Due to the legacy of British colonial rule, many Commonwealth nations play similar sports that are considered quintessentially "British" in character, including cricket
Cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

, rugby
Rugby football
Rugby football is a style of football named after Rugby School in the United Kingdom. It is seen most prominently in two current sports, rugby league and rugby union.-History:...

, and netball
Netball
Netball is a ball sport played between two teams of seven players. Its development, derived from early versions of basketball, began in England in the 1890s. By 1960 international playing rules had been standardised for the game, and the International Federation of Netball and Women's Basketball ...

. 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. Externally, playing these sports is seen to be a sign of sharing a certain Commonwealth culture; the adoption of cricket at schools in Rwanda
Rwanda
Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

 is seen as symbolic of the country's move towards Commonwealth membership.

Besides the Commonwealth Games, a number of other sporting competitions are organised on a Commonwealth basis, through championship tournaments such as the Commonwealth Judo Championships
Commonwealth Judo Championships
The Commonwealth Judo Championships are an international judo competition, open to countries of the Commonwealth of Nations. The Championships have been staged in the following cities:* 1986 Edinburgh, Scotland* 1988 Coleraine, Northern Ireland...

, Commonwealth Rowing Championships
Commonwealth Rowing Championships
The Commonwealth Rowing Championships are held in conjunction with the Commonwealth Games since rowing is no longer included in the Commonwealth Games programme ....

, Commonwealth Sailing Championships
Commonwealth Sailing Championships
The inaugural Commonwealth Sailing Championships were held in Port Phillip, Melbourne in January 2003. Both the Commonwealth Games Federation and the International Sailing Federation approved the Inaugural Commonwealth Sailing Championships...

, and Commonwealth Shooting Championships
Commonwealth Shooting Championships
The Commonwealth Shooting Championships is a biannual shooting championships for Commonwealth countries.*1995 - New Delhi, India*1997 - Langkawi, Malaysia*1999- Auckland, New Zealand *2001 - Bisley, United Kingdom...

. The Commonwealth Boxing Council has long maintained Commonwealth titles for the best boxers in the Commonwealth.

Literature


The shared history of British presence has also produced a substantial body of writing in many languages, known as Commonwealth literature. There is an 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
Commonwealth Writers' Prize
Commonwealth Writers is an initiative by the Commonwealth Foundation to unearth, develop and promote the best new fiction from across the Commonwealth. It's flagship are two literary awards and a website...

 "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
Man Booker Prize
The Man Booker Prize for Fiction is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original full-length novel, written in the English language, by a citizen of the Commonwealth of Nations, Ireland, or Zimbabwe. The winner of the Man Booker Prize is generally assured of international renown and...

 is awarded annually to an author from a Commonwealth country or the two former members, Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 and Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia and a tip of Namibia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. Zimbabwe has three...

. This honour is one of the highest in literature.

Political system


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
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 and the rule of law
Rule of law
The rule of law, sometimes called supremacy of law, is a legal maxim that says that governmental decisions should be made by applying known principles or laws with minimal discretion in their application...

. Half of Commonwealth countries have the Westminster system
Westminster System
The Westminster system is a democratic parliamentary system of government modelled after the politics of the United Kingdom. This term comes from the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the Parliament of the United Kingdom....

 of parliamentary
Parliamentary system
A parliamentary system is a system of government in which the ministers of the executive branch get their democratic legitimacy from the legislature and are accountable to that body, such that the executive and legislative branches are intertwined....

 democracy. The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, previously known as the Empire Parliamentary Association, is an organisation, of British origin, which works to support good governance, democracy and human rights...

 facilitates cooperation between legislatures across the Commonwealth, and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum
Commonwealth Local Government Forum
The Commonwealth Local Government Forum is a global local government association, akin to the United Cities and Local Governments, for local authorities in all members of the Commonwealth of Nations....

 promotes good governance
Good governance
Good governance is an indeterminate term used in development literature to describe how public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public resources in order to guarantee the realization of human rights. Governance describes "the process of decision-making and the process by which...

 amongst local government
Local government
Local government refers collectively to administrative authorities over areas that are smaller than a state.The term is used to contrast with offices at nation-state level, which are referred to as the central government, national government, or federal government...

 officials.

Most Commonwealth members use common law
Common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...

, modelled on English law
English law
English law is the legal system of England and Wales, and is the basis of common law legal systems used in most Commonwealth countries and the United States except Louisiana...

. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is one of the highest courts in the United Kingdom. Established by the Judicial Committee Act 1833 to hear appeals formerly heard by the King in Council The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) is one of the highest courts in the United...

 is the supreme court
Supreme court
A supreme court is the highest court within the hierarchy of many legal jurisdictions. Other descriptions for such courts include court of last resort, instance court, judgment court, high court, or apex court...

 of fourteen Commonwealth members.

Symbols



The Commonwealth has adopted a number of symbol
Symbol
A symbol is something which represents an idea, a physical entity or a process but is distinct from it. The purpose of a symbol is to communicate meaning. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a picture of a tent might represent a campsite. Numerals are symbols for...

s that represent the association of its members. Elizabeth II holds the position of Head of the Commonwealth as a symbol of the Commonwealth's free association, dating back to the London Declaration
London Declaration
The London Declaration was a declaration issued by the governments of the Commonwealth of Nations on the issue of India's continued membership of the Commonwealth. It was made in London on 28 April 1949, and marked the birth of the modern Commonwealth. The declaration had two main provisions...

, issued in 28 April 1949. The English language
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 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
Flag of the Commonwealth
The flag of the Commonwealth of Nations is the official flag used by and representing the Commonwealth of Nations.-Description:The flag consists of the Commonwealth symbol in gold on a blue field. The symbol centres on a globe, representing the global nature of the Commonwealth and the breadth of...

 consists of the symbol of the Commonwealth Secretariat, represented by a gold globe surrounded by emanating "rays", on a dark blue field; it was designed for the second CHOGM
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 1973
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 1973 was the second Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Nations. It was held in Ottawa, Canada, between 2 August and 10 August 1973, and hosted by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau....

, 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
Commonwealth Day
Commonwealth Day is the annual celebration of the Commonwealth of Nations held on the second Monday in March, and marked by a multi-faith service in Westminster Abbey, normally attended by HM Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth, with the Commonwealth Secretary-General and Commonwealth High...

, the second Monday in March, having developed separately on different dates from pre-existing Empire Day celebrations.

Commonwealth citizenship



In recognition of their shared heritage and culture, Commonwealth countries are not considered to be "foreign" to each other. When engaging bilaterally with one another, Commonwealth governments exchange High Commissioners
High Commissioner (Commonwealth)
In the Commonwealth of Nations, a High Commissioner is the senior diplomat in charge of the diplomatic mission of one Commonwealth government to another.-History:...

 instead of ambassador
Ambassador
An ambassador is the highest ranking diplomat who represents a nation and is usually accredited to a foreign sovereign or government, or to an international organization....

s. Between two Commonwealth realms, they represent the Head of Government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

 rather than the Head of State
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

.

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
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

, grant the right to vote
Right of foreigners to vote
Suffrage, the right to vote in a particular country, generally derives from citizenship. In most countries, the right to vote is reserved to those who possess the citizenship of the country in question. Some countries, however, have extended suffrage rights to non-citizens...

 to Commonwealth citizens who reside in those countries. In non-Commonwealth countries in which their own country is not represented, Commonwealth citizens may seek consular assistance
Consular assistance
Consular assistance is help and advice provided by the diplomatic agents of a country to citizens of that country who are living or traveling overseas.Such assistance may take the form of:* provision of replacement travel documents...

 at the British embassy.

Crisis over human rights and democracy


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.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2011
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2011
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2011, commonly known as CHOGM 2011, was the twenty-second Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Nations...

 considered a report by an Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group
Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group
Several Eminent Persons Groups, abbreviated to EPG, have been founded by Commonwealth of Nations.An EPG was established at the 1985 CHOGM to investigate apartheid in South Africa, and reported ahead of the special 1986 CHOGM: recommending economic sanctions against South Africa.The latest was...

 panel which asserted that the organisation had lost its relevance and was decaying due the the lack of a mechanism to censure member countries when they violated human rights or democratic norms. 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
Homosexuality
Homosexuality is romantic or sexual attraction or behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality refers to "an enduring pattern of or disposition to experience sexual, affectional, or romantic attractions" primarily or exclusively to people of the same...

 in 41 Commonwealth states and a ban on "forced marriage
Forced marriage
Forced marriage is a term used to describe a marriage in which one or both of the parties is married without his or her consent or against his or her will...

." 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
Malcolm Rifkind
Sir Malcolm Leslie Rifkind KCMG QC MP is a British Conservative Party politician and Member of Parliament for Kensington. He served in various roles as a cabinet minister under Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major, including Secretary of State for Scotland , Defence Secretary and...

, 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."

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. However, the group includes alleged human rights offenders such as Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

. It was agreed to develop a charter of values for the Commonwealth without any decision on how compliance with its principles would be enforced.

See also


  • Anglosphere
    Anglosphere
    Anglosphere is a neologism which refers to those nations with English as the most common language. The term can be used more specifically to refer to those nations which share certain characteristics within their cultures based on a linguistic heritage, through being former British colonies...

  • Commonwealth
    Commonwealth
    Commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good. Historically, it has sometimes been synonymous with "republic."More recently it has been used for fraternal associations of some sovereign nations...

  • Commonwealth unification movement
    Commonwealth unification movement
    The Commonwealth unification movement is a largely unorganised socio-political movement advocating closer political affiliation between member states of the Commonwealth of Nations. In some cases, this movement seeks the eventual formation of some type of supranational, federalist or economic union...

  • English-speaking world
    English-speaking world
    The English-speaking world consists of those countries or regions that use the English language to one degree or another. For more information, please see:Lists:* List of countries by English-speaking population...

  • List of economic communities
  • Military of the Commonwealth of Nations
  • Representatives of the Commonwealth of Nations
  • Rhodesian propaganda war
    Rhodesian propaganda war
    The Rhodesian propaganda war was an information and political warfare campaign between the ZANU/ZAPU political parties, the British Commonwealth and Ian Smith's Rhodesian Front...


Similar organizations


International organizations organized around a former metropole:
  • Francophonie
  • Community of Portuguese Language Countries
  • Dutch Language Union
    Dutch Language Union
    The Dutch Language Union is an international institution for discussing issues regarding the Dutch language. It was founded on 9 September 1980 by the Netherlands and Belgium...

  • Commonwealth of Independent States
    Commonwealth of Independent States
    The Commonwealth of Independent States is a regional organization whose participating countries are former Soviet Republics, formed during the breakup of the Soviet Union....


Further reading

  • The Commonwealth in the World, by J D B , by N Mansergh. University of Toronto Press, 1982. ISBN 0-8020-2492-0
  • Making the New Commonwealth, by R J Moore. Clarendon Press, 1988. ISBN 0-19-820112-5
  • Les ONG du Commonwealth contemporain: rôles, bilans et perspectives, by C A Auplat. L'Harmattan, Paris, 2003. ISBN 2-7475-5513-5
  • Commonwealth: Inter- and Non-State Contributions to Global Governance, by Timothy M Shaw. Routledge, 2008. ISBN 978-0-415-35120-1 (hbk); 978-0-415-35121-8 (pbk)

External links