UK wants 'reinvigorated' Commonwealth

2011-10-27 14:15

kalahari.com

Perth - Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague on Thursday called for an end to discrimination against gays and the scrapping of the death penalty as he urged the Commonwealth to embrace reform.

Calling on the assembled leaders to heed the "clarion call" for reform, Hague said the 54-member Commonwealth grouping should act as a greater force for democracy and prosperity and speak out on pressing social issues.

"It is the view of the United Kingdom that the next days can and should be defining ones for the Commonwealth," he told a people's forum in Perth, ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to begin on Friday.

Speaking at a meeting of Commonwealth leaders, he said the group tasked with developing options to reform the bloc - an Eminent Persons Group commissioned in 2009 - had found a need for change.

"And their clarion call for reform is one we should not ignore, whatever the precise details of what we agree to do," he said.

"The case for reinvigorating the Commonwealth is abundantly clear and Britain whole-heartedly supports the recommendations of the Eminent Persons Group.

"In particular, we welcome their focus on promoting the values of the Commonwealth."

Hague said as problems became increasingly global - from financial crisis to climate change - the Commonwealth was the "ultimate network".

Yet while the organisation had taken strong action on human rights in the past, expelling apartheid South Africa from its ranks, it had not reacted as quickly to more recent problems.

Key challenges

"In recent years it has sometimes shied away from key challenges and has not always spoken out as clearly and decisively as it could have done, failing for example to take action on the human rights situations in Zimbabwe or Fiji before they became extreme."

Hague said Britain wanted to see the Commonwealth strengthening its role as "a standard bearer for human rights and democracy".

He said this meant Britain favoured the Eminent Persons Group's recommendation for a charter for the Commonwealth, and supported the push for a Commonwealth commissioner for democracy, rule of law and human rights

But re-emphasising values should not involve "one group of countries lecturing" others, but learning from each other to raise standards, he said.

"The United Kingdom for instance would like to see the Commonwealth do more to promote the rights of its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens," he said.

"It is wrong, in our view in Britain, that these groups continue to suffer persecution, violence and discrimination within the Commonwealth. And that many members have laws criminalising homosexuality.

"Britain also wants to see the death penalty abolished throughout the Commonwealth."

Old British Empire laws against gays are still in force in 41 of the 54 member nations. These include statutes against homosexual sex.

Read more on:    chogm  |  william hague  |  uk
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

DA wants to empower fishing communities - Zille

DA leader Helen Zille says the party has a plan for harbours and small-scale fishing communities.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Grabouw - 11:32 AM
    Road name: N2 Eastbound
    DELAYS between Sir Lowrys Pass and Grabouw
  • Friday Cape Town - 10:14 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Apple iPad 2 White 16GB 9.7" Tablet With WiFi & 3G

Two cameras for FaceTime and HD video recording. The dual-core...

From R5727.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. ...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.