- A coalition of Commonwealth Green Parties have called on the Commonwealth Heads of Government Leaders meeting (GHOGM) in Trinidad this week to examine Rwanda’s human rights record before its accession into the Commonwealth.
Rwanda has been trying for the last six years to get into the Commonwealth, originally a grouping of former British colonies.
Parties from six Commonwealth nations are calling for an independent review of the Rwandan government’s commitment to human rights. The coalition believes that this needs to happen before CHOGM formalises any decision to admit Rwanda to the Commonwealth.
The CHOGM which will resume from 27 to 29 November, is expected to review the alleged electoral irregularities, restrictions on press freedom and intimidation of opposition parties.
According to the media statement from Commonwealth Greens Parties, the most recent was an expert report published by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative which concluded it was too early to approve Rwanda’s membership to the Commonwealth.
The states said that by admitting an application to join the Commonwealth without due concern for the countries human rights record devalues the standards agreed to by the Commonwealth’s 1991 Harare Declaration.
Reports from Rwanda had suggested that the country will be admitted on the basis of a positive assessment report submitted by Sharma to the Heads of State Summit mid this year, whose contents are highly guarded.
Rwanda, which has been pushing to join the Commonwealth, has received backing from Britain, Australia, Canada, South Africa, India, Uganda and Kenya among other countries.
The Commonwealth is a club of nations with a population of more than two billion and $2.8 trillion in annual trade. Its main focus is promoting trade, education and good governance among its member countries.
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