Friday, October 29, 2010

Commonwealth Need to Walk the Talk on FIJI to be Credible

Posted on Matavuvale.com - 29 October 2010





‘Silence is not an option’ declares Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group

26 October 2010



The Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group (EPG), today, indicated in an interim statement that it will be calling for the Commonwealth to speak publicly as required and to act with greater authority on serious or persistent violations of Commonwealth values, including democracy, the rule of law and human rights.

They will also be calling on leaders to endorse measures to strengthen the role and functions of the Secretary-General and the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG). They pointed out that there is no contradiction between appropriate public pronouncements and quiet ‘behind-the-scenes’ diplomacy.

“We want the Commonwealth to continue to be a powerful voice with moral authority, speaking out on major issues, but it needs the tools to do it,” said the Group’s Chairperson, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi of Malaysia.

“The Eminent Persons Group is committed to sharpening the impact, strengthening the networks and raising the profile of the Commonwealth association,” he continued.

“Our goal is to re-invigorate the Commonwealth so that we can improve the lives of Commonwealth people.”

“The Group has consulted widely across the globe and has received over 230 responses to our public consultations which have inspired and informed our discussions.”

“We are committed to doing our work in the most transparent way possible. We want as many as possible of the submissions received by the Group to be shared publicly. We will continue to conduct further public consultation, with civil society and others, before we finalise our report.”


The Group received presentations by Commonwealth agencies and institutions, including the Commonwealth Business Council, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the Commonwealth Local Government Forum, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, and the Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council.

The key issues discussed by the Group at this meeting included:

- A Commonwealth Charter to strengthen commitment to Commonwealth values and to set the organisation’s future direction

- Giving greater authority to the Secretary-General to pronounce on serious or persistent violations of Commonwealth values

- Strengthening the role of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) as the guardian of the Commonwealth’s fundamental values

- Strengthening support to the Secretary-General on democracy, the rule of law and human rights

- Increasing the transparency of Commonwealth institutions and their commitment to shared Commonwealth objectives

- The need to address HIV/AIDS as a health, human rights and economic development priority

- Empowering small states to strengthen their economic capacity and resilience

- Supporting and encouraging initiatives to unlock the potential of the young people of the Commonwealth

- Supporting initiatives to strengthen the credibility of national elections

- Reinforcing the capacity of the Secretariat to meet its mandates.

The Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group (EPG) held its second meeting in London, on 25-26 October.

The Group has had two meetings and is scheduled to have two more in 2011. The EPG’s next meeting will be from 24 to 26 January.

The Group issued a letter of condolence on the death of Prime Minister Hon. David Thompson of Barbados.

They also expressed their sadness on hearing of the death of Peter Lyon OBE, former Director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, who had taught and inspired many generations of students about the Commonwealth.


NOTES
  • The Eminent Persons Group was established by Commonwealth Heads of Government at their summit in November 2009. The Group met at Marlborough House, London, from 19 to 20 July 2010, and from 25 to 26 October 2010. They will meet on 24-26 January and 21-22 March 2011 before reporting to leaders at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), to take place in Perth in October 2011.

The Group comprises:
Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (Malaysia, Chairperson)
Dr Emmanuel Akwetey (Ghana)
Ms Patricia Francis (Jamaica)
Dr Asma Jahangir (Pakistan)
Mr Samuel Kavuma (Uganda, Commonwealth Youth Caucus)
Hon Michael Kirby (Australia)
Dr Graca Machel (Mozambique)
Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Rifkind (UK)
Sir Ronald Sanders (Guyana)
Senator Hugh Segal (Canada)
Sir Ieremia Tabai (Kiribati)

Biographies

For biographies and photos of the EPG members, please click here:

http://www.thecommonwealth.org/epg



Comments posted on Matavuvale.com

  •  isn't it strange that no where in the new agenda of the Commonwealth or the EPG is the protection of dictators like Bainimarama seem to think? I am sure the illegal Regime in Fiji cannot believe the great empowerment the Commonwealth has done to the EPG to go out and proclaim the rule of law and the respect for Human Rights by all members of thew Commonwealth. That leaves Fiji's illegal Government out in the cold as now Fiji cannot count on the silence of the Commonwealth of Nations just as the opening statement said" Silence is not an option". Your move Bainimarama.
  • I personally don't think that the Commonwealth is doing enough to protect the general public in Fiji from ratu suguraki and co. It took them long enough before they finally ban Fiji from the Commonwealth. I hope that they don't sit on their backdside again for another couple of years before trying to resolve the current stalemate.
  • Instead of just trying to strengthen the Commonwealth fundamental values in words only, they should be sending a clear and concise message to ratu suguraki and hold him accountable for the state of the economy and human rights abuse in Fiji. With the precarious state of the economy in Fiji, the Commonwealth can with one swoop collectively refuse to handle anything that will go towards supporting the illegal regime. That includes handling any ships of aeroplanes travelling to Fiji. That will be a true test as to how true the Commonwealth is to its values?
  • I totally agree with you. After reading this statement from the CEPG Chairman, it begs the question
    Hello!!!! the Commonwealth has been around since whenever and you're still looking for TOOLS to do your job?

    “We want the Commonwealth to continue to be a powerful voice with moral authority,speaking out on major issues, but it needs the tools to do it,” said the Group’s Chairperson, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi of Malaysia.

    What other tools? You have your mouths, the media etc to do it..JUST DO IT ALREADY!

    As I have shared in one of my previous postings, if only the MSG and Commonwealth leaders were more ballsy like the Unasur leaders, they would probably be actually believed to be doing something for moral authority etc.

    Unasur's quick reflexes, along with the Ecuadorian people's defence of democracy as they poured out onto the streets, "discouraged" the coup-mongers and "knocked the air out of their plans," he said.

    They also stated that they "will not tolerate, for any reason, any further challenge to constitutional authority nor any attempted coup against civil power legitimately elected," and that "in the case of future crises, will take immediate concrete measures, such as closing borders and suspending trade, air traffic and the provision of energy and services."

    http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=53035


    COUP MONGERS HAVE TO LEARN THE HARD WAY. BUT THE COMPLACENCY OF MSG AND COMMONWEALTH LEADERS TO SLOWLY DO THEIR PART, ENCOURAGES LACKEYS LIKE THE ONES IN THIS REGIME TO THINK THEY ARE IT.
  • I WOULD URGE EVERYONE WHO LOVE THEIR COUNTRY GETTING BACK TO A DEMOCRATICAL RULE,

    TO PLEASE START SUPPORTING THE FDFM MOVEMENT HERE IN AUSTRALIA.

    WE NEED EVERY SUPPORT WE CAN MASTER? SO WE CAN LOBBY AGAIST THE GOVERNMENT? AUSTRALIA IS NOT DOING ENOUGH FOR OUR PEOPLE IN FIJI?
    ITS UP TO THE FIJIANS HERE TO UTILIZE PROTEST THAT CAN INFLUENCE THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT TO ASSIT US.
    NEWS FILLTERING IN, THEY HAVE NOW PLANNING TO BUILT A GAMBLING CASINO IN FIJI????

    WITH THE CASINO, ALL LIVES WILL BE EFFECTED NEGATIVELY........LAND OWNERS WILL GAMBLE PROPERTIES, WHEN THERE IS NO MONEY? MORAL & SPIRITUAL LIVES OF THE PEOPLE & THE CHURCH IS DOOMED!

    THE CHURCH IS QUITE AND BEING TIMID, THEY NEED TO GET-UP, AND SPEAK OUT? READY TO GO TO PRISON OR DIE FOR THE SAKE OF WHAT WE BELIEVE AND DO NOT LET THESE EVIL, DEMMONIZED PEOPLE RULE ANYMORE IN OUR NATION.
    ITS TIME TO BE LIKE THE CHURCH OF OLD, WHO SHAKE THE ROMAN EMPIRES TO IT FOUNDATION, BECAUSE THEY WERE WILLING TO DIE FOR THEIR FAITH AND FOR WHAT THEY BELIEVE!

    THE CHURCH HAS NO VOICE?????....... ITS TIME NOW.....OR WE WILL FOREVER REGRET
    BECAUSE WE DID NOT SAY OR DO ANYTHING.......BUT PURELY COMPROMMISING OUR PEOPLE FOR WHAT????? IS IT FEAR??? THAN WE SHOUDN'T CALL OURSELF CHRISTIANS ........BEING A CHRISTIAN WE IDENTIFYS OUSELF WITH CHRIST?......BUT CHRIST GAVE HIMSELF FOR THE WORLD & HE WAS NOT AFRAID TO DIE!

    COME ON PEOPLE ITS TIME TO RISE UP!

    GOD BLESS FIJI AND ITS PEOPLE.
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