Brief background and introduction:
Commonwealth, or more correctly, the Commonwealth of nations, is the association in terms of politics of about 54 countries/ member states. It mainly comprises the former regions of the British Empire under colonial rule. The top institutes are the commonwealth secretariat and commonwealth foundation, aiming to concentrate on inter-governmental characteristics and no-governmental dealings amongst member states. The birth of the British Commonwealth dates back to the half of the 20th century during the decolonization of its territories into self-governance, at the times of the Balfour declaration in 1926 and the statute of Westminster in 1931. Today's Commonwealth was initially constituted by the London declaration in 1949.
What is the commonwealth realm?
An association of 54 countries that were formally part of the British Empire during colonial rule. The counties, which include South Africa, Nigeria, Australia, Pakistan, Canada, Malaysia, India, and many others apart from the U.K., constituted into British Commonwealth. It is the home of about 1/3rd population, about 2.5 billion people. The combined gross domestic product (GDP) of member states is estimated at 14% of the global GDP, which is about $10 trillion.
Reasons behind the formation of the commonwealth realm:
It all started with the uprise of Canada and other states during colonial rule. These states were known as dominions when they stood up their heads for self-governance. A.H. Lefroy, professor of law at the University of Toronto, once wrote that "the Crown is to be considered as one and indivisible throughout the Empire, and cannot be severed into as many kingships as there are dominions and self-governing colonies." The dominions gained more international prominence for their participation and sacrifice in WWI. As a result, the dominions were recognized as autonomous nations of an imperial commonwealth and as separate entities to the treaty of Versailles.
Not only Canada, but in the Balfour declaration at the imperial conference, British, along with its dominions, agreed on "equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations." Hence, coined the term commonwealth. By the end of WW2, the British Empire was dismantled, and many of its areas became independent but retained some political association with the United Kingdom. In April 1949, the London declaration dropped the term British from the title of Commonwealth, reflecting its true nature. And rule by British monarch queen Elizabeth II
Role of commonwealth realm:
Commonwealth is a consensus-based, inter-governmental organization with multi aims and objectives. These aims enfold free trade promotion, economic development, health care programs, poverty reduction, and many more. The daily tasks and programs are managed and headed by the secretary general, who is appointed for four years term. The secretary-general and the commonwealth secretariat bring about 80 organizations and shape the group's regular meetings. Ministers from trade, foreign affairs, health, finance, education, and other disciplines regularly discuss commonwealth affairs.
Impact of commonwealth realm on rest of the world:
The world has seen the effect of the Commonwealth from different angles. Let us consider the below described as well.
The world has seen the effect and impact of commonwealth realms in hosting commonwealth games:
- the world's third largest sporting event every four years
- providing training and assistance to its member states
- observing the election in many countries
- promoting and providing support to numerous non-governmental organizations and charities
Commonwealth games opening ceremony
Joining of new members to Commonwealth:
Some countries are becoming part of the Commonwealth with each passing year recently added members are Rwanda and Mozambique became part of the Commonwealth in 2009 and 2015, respectively. Though these countries were not part of British colonialism but were under French colonialism
Way of dealing with human rights across the world:
Like every other responsible organization, Commonwealth stands on something that is not acceptable such as a violation of human rights. Recent history highlights many events where Commonwealth took severe measures against the countries violating human rights. During the apartheid era, when South Africa imposed the race-based governing system, as the consequences commonwealth banned air travel, bank loans, and other investments in the country. It suspended Nigeria, Fiji, and Pakistan for several years after the 1999 military coup. Also imposed sanctions and suspensions on Maldives and Zimbabwe for sacrificing human rights, resulting in the withdrawal of presidents from the Commonwealth.
Criticism faces from the rest of the analysts:
Although Commonwealth has taken clear and visible actions against human rights violations, some critics and analysts have displayed and highlighted the Commonwealth's weak mechanism and poor institutional structure. It lacks an effective instrument to influence its members' behaviors and actions and mostly depends on peer pressure. A few criticizers also claim that the body has failed to address the human right abuse as they do not consider it to be their responsibility to look at the matter, such as anti-LGBTQ+ laws in Gambia and Malawi, the body failed to take action against the nationwide massacres in Sri-Lanka; the nation that hosted commonwealth games in 2013.
The internal reports say that member states are worried as the organization lacks clarity and transparency over its mission.
Human rights violation in srilanka
Future of the commonwealth realm after the death of Queen Elizabeth II
This question is valid in how we see the future of the Commonwealth after Queen Elizabeth ii. Would that go to her elder son, prince William or anyone else, as this position is not supposed to be acquired hereditary? "Whom the Commonwealth chooses to lead its family in the future is not what is on my mind," said William. "What matters to us is the potential the Commonwealth family has to create a better future for the people who form it and our commitment to serve and support as best we can." This statement means that if Prince William is allowed to head the Commonwealth, the future is undoubtedly bright.