Commonwealth of Nations Watch

warwickorbristol
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Just been reading a bit about it, on the surface it looks like a good organisation and stands for good causes. As of yet I haven't found a decent article on whether this actually translates to good results or outlining any criticisms.


So yeah, is the Commonwealth a good or bad organisation?
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username291885
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I've not really heard of it doing much other than the Commonwealth Games. But I imagine being in such a large collection of differing nations can only be a good thing.
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pol pot noodles
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(Original post by warwickorbristol)
Just been reading a bit about it, on the surface it looks like a good organisation and stands for good causes. As of yet I haven't found a decent article on whether this actually translates to good results or outlining any criticisms.


So yeah, is the Commonwealth a good or bad organisation?
The Commonwealth's mission is outlined in the Singapore Declaration. In essance the organisation and it's members attempt to promote democracy, human rights, good governance, liberty, free trade, world peace etc. etc.
It's also a purely voluntary organisation and is not, as some knuckleheads like to claim, an attempt by Britain to maintain the image of Empire.
Indeed many nations in Africa and Asia see membership as a badge of honour and that they have 'made it'. Rwanda and Mozambique have joined despite not having being part of the British Empire, and there are currently around ten countries who have expressed interest in or have formally applied to join, showing that the organisation is still relevant.
The biggest success story of the organisation is without doubt the Commonwealth Games, which gives many smaller nations the chance to compete at a major level without competition from the United States, China, Russia and Europe. Even bigger nations such as Australia take the Games seriously.
Unfortunately however, the UK has in recent times neglected the Commonwealth in favour of the EU.
Hmm...should we increase ties with France and Germany, two nations who have attempted to invade us about a dozen times between them in the last three centures, or a group of nations who share cultural and historical ties with us (and some even the same Royal Family), fought side by side with us in our darkest hours, and actually like us and look up to us? It's a no brainer really.
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warwickorbristol
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Pol Pot I understand all of that, what I don't understand is if they actually do promote say human rights in Commonwealth countries and if it's effective.
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pol pot noodles
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(Original post by warwickorbristol)
Pol Pot I understand all of that, what I don't understand is if they actually do promote say human rights in Commonwealth countries and if it's effective.
Oh yes, they do. They often take collective action against those who fall foul of the Declaration. South Africa of course is the most famous example, with financial sanctions, embargoes, membership suspension and sporting boycotts by the Commonwealth. The UK would have done this regardless as a leading member of the UN, but the Commonwealth allowed all 50-odd states to co-ordinate policy and let the African nations who were disgusted at the Apartheid policy vent their anger.
Similar action was also taken against Fiji after a military coup and suspension of the constitution a few decades back, Pakistan after their military coup about ten years ago, and Zimbabwe when Robert Mugabe decided to go bat**** crazy, although Zimbabwe voluntarily suspended itself from the Commonwealth to save face instead of being expelled.
Ofcourse the actual effect these sanctions have is debatable, after all it took South Africa almost half a decade to dismantle the apartheid system, the United States was responsible for Pakistan's transition back to democracy not the Commonwealth, and Robert Mugabe is still bat**** crazy, and some member nations who have questionable human rights records are often overlooked, but the Commonwealth certainly are making an effort in the right direction.
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johnrichard
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The Commonwealth of Nations works as an institution to promote world peace, democracy and individual liberty. So it can be considered as a good thing.
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L i b
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(Original post by ash-corbett-collins)
But I imagine being in such a large collection of differing nations can only be a good thing.
To quote Yes, Minister on EU enlargement: "the more members an organisation has, the more arguments it can stir up, the more futile and impotent it becomes". Look at the Anglican Communion, after all - we've got a liberal Church of England trying to reconcile itself with rampant homophobes in Africa.

So too the Commonwealth suffers. Most of its modern objectives and aims are little more than empty platitudes in my mind.
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warwickorbristol
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(Original post by L i b)
So too the Commonwealth suffers. Most of its modern objectives and aims are little more than empty platitudes in my mind.
Interesting. I read an Australian politician talking about how there would be no way it could exist without the Queen because similar to your other point the internal electioneering would tear it apart. Anyway I was trying to use the angle that the Queen means the Commonwealth can keep doing good work so getting rid of her would be bad for democracy, human rights etc etc.

Bad point?
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L i b
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(Original post by warwickorbristol)
Interesting. I read an Australian politician talking about how there would be no way it could exist without the Queen because similar to your other point the internal electioneering would tear it apart. Anyway I was trying to use the angle that the Queen means the Commonwealth can keep doing good work so getting rid of her would be bad for democracy, human rights etc etc.

Bad point?
I was perhaps a little harsh in my former assessment of the Commonwealth, but it is a difficult thing to nail down. Perhaps the best commentary on the organisation was by a certain (rather good) former Prime Minister of Canada:

"It's an undefinable thing. We're far apart in geography, in race, in religion; we're spread all over the world. We have western representatives, we have eastern representatives. I don't know what the reason for it is, but when one visits a Commonwealth country, whatever the colour, whatever the race, there is an affinity, there is a feeling of brotherhood. We don't all think alike, we don't all feel alike respecting the problems facing the world, but my view is that the Commonwealth is the greatest agency in the world today for peace"
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