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-(3434)-(809)-(7483)-(1457) -(14632) -(1363)-(913)-(1438)-(451)-(1065)-(47672) -(912)-(14524) -(4268)-(17799)-(1338)-(13644)-(11121)-(55)-(373)-(8427)-(374)-(1642)-(23702)-(16968)-(1700)-(12668)-(24684)-(15423)-(506)-(11852) -(3308)-(5571)-(1312)-(7869)-(5454)-(1369)-(2801)-(97182)-(8706)-(18388)-(3217)-(10668) -(299)-(6455)-(42831)-(4793)-(5050)-(2929)-(1568)-(3942)-(17015)-(26596)-(22929)-(12095)-(9961)-(8441)-(4623)-(12629)-(1492) -(1748)


Legacy

Hong Kong

In 1997, the United Kingdom's last major overseas territory, Hong Kong, became a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. Hong Kong was returned to the United Kingdom following its occupation by the Japanese during the Second World War. It was controlled directly by a British governor until the expiry of the hundred-year lease, which occurred in 1997. From that date the territory was controlled as a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.

 

In 1948Britain also gave up its control over Palestine. In Africa, Britain assumed that self-government would be much longer in coming.

Many African nations gained independence in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The end of Britain's Empire in Africa came rapidly: Ghana's independence (1957) after a ten-year nationalist political campaign was followed by that of Nigeria and Somaliland (1960), Sierra Leone and Tanganyika (1961), Uganda (1962), Kenya and Zanzibar (1963), The Gambia (1965), Lesotho (formerly Basutoland) (1966), Botswana (formerly Bechuanaland) (1967), and Swaziland (1968).

The West Indies. The various islands gained their independence as separate, and not always viable, units. Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago became independent in 1962, and the other islands followed thereafter.

Throughout this process, British governments did not resist decolonization, provided that it was possible to transfer power to friendly regimes and the circumstances were not humiliating to national pride. Where British prestige was hurt, as in the war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) in 1982, the response was militant.

With the end of the empire, a multiracial, coequal Commonwealth of Nations evolved, which had modest utility but generally cooperative feelings. Today there are 54 Commonwealth nations, and even most of those states that left the Commonwealth for one reason or another (such as South Africa and Pakistan) have found cause to return.

The United Kingdom retains sovereignty over fourteen territories outside of the British Isles, collectively named the British overseas territories, which remain under British rule due to lack of support for independence among the local population or because the territory is uninhabited except for transient military or scientific personnel. British sovereignty of two of the overseas territories, Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands, is disputed by their nearest geographical neighbours, Spain and Argentina respectively.

Most former British colonies (and one former Portuguese colony) are members of the Commonwealth of Nations, a non-political, voluntary association of equal members, in which the United Kingdom has no privileged status. The head of the Commonwealth is currently Queen Elizabeth II. Fifteen members of the Commonwealth continue to share their head of state with the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth realms.



Many former British colonies share or shared certain characteristics:

The English language as either the main or secondary language.

A democratic parliamentary system of government modelled on the Westminster system.

A legal system based upon English law. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, one of the United Kingdom's highest courts of appeal, still serves as the highest court of appeal for several former colonies.

A military, police and civil service based upon British models.

The imperial system of measurement (Myanmar, Cyprus, India and the United States are the only former British colonies not to have officially adopted the metric system).

Educational Institutions such as boarding schools and universities modelled on Oxford and Cambridge.

Driving on the left hand side of the road, with some exceptions mainly in North America and North Africa.

Popularity of football, rugby union and/or cricket, as well as related sports.

The British Empire was also responsible for large migrations of peoples. Millions of people left the British Isles, with the founding settler populations of the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand coming mainly from Britain. Tensions remain between the mainly British-descended populations of Canada, Australia and New Zealand and the indigenous minorities in those countries. British settlement of Ireland continues to leave its mark in the form of a divided Catholic and Protestant community. The makeup of Britain itself was irreversibly changed after the Second World War when large numbers of migrants began arriving from the colonies that it was busy granting independence to them.

In April 1949, following the London Declaration, the word "British" was dropped from the title of the Commonwealth to reflect its changing nature. During the five decades following World War II, most of the territories of the Empire became independent. Many went on to join the Commonwealth of Nations, a free association of independent states. The Commonwealth

v The Commonwealth of Nations (present-day)

v Structure

v The Head of the Commonwealth - Queen Elizabeth

v Members

v Origin

 

The English noun commonwealth dates originally from the 15th century. The original phrase "common wealth" or "the common weal" comes from the old meaning of "wealth" which is "well-being". The term literally meant "common well-being". => commonwealth originally meant a state or nation-state governed for the common good as opposed to an authoritarian state governed for the benefit of a given class of owners.

Today it is a worldwide association of nations and their dependencies, whose members share a common commitment to promoting human rights, democracy, and economic development. All members accept the British monarch as the symbolic head of the Commonwealth. All but one, Mozambique, were once associated in some constitutional way with either the former British Empire or with another member country. The association was formerly known as the British Commonwealth of Nations, but today is referred to simply as the Commonwealth.

About 1.7 billion people live in the 53 independent nations and the more than 20 dependencies that make up the Commonwealth. Commonwealth members share many customs and traditions as a result of their association with Britain. Many have parliamentary systems of government on the British model, and their judicial and educational institutions are often similar to those in Britain. English is an official language of many members of the Commonwealth.

Since 1977 the second Monday in March has been celebrated as Commonwealth Day; on that day the British monarch, as the head of the Commonwealth, presents an annual message to all member countries.

 

Origin

v The Belfour Report (or Declaration)

v The Statue of Westminster

v The London Declaration

v The Singapore Declaration

v The Harare Declaration

 

the Commonwealth is the successor of the British Empire.

In 1884, whilst visiting South Australia, Lord Rosebery described the changing British Empire, as some of its colonies became more independent, as a "Commonwealth of Nations".

Conferences of British and colonial Prime Ministers had occurred periodically since 1887, leading to the creation of the Imperial Conferences in the late 1920s.

The formal organisation of the Commonwealth developed from the Imperial Conferences, where the independence of the self-governing colonies and especially of dominions was recognised.

 

The Balfour Declaration - 1926

It was so named after the British Lord President of the Council Arthur Balfour, Earl of Balfour. The report got this name was resulting from the 1926 Imperial Conference of British Empire leaders in London.

It states of the United Kingdom and the Dominions

- Britain and its dominions were equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

- the British government would no longer legislate for the dominions or nullify acts passed by their own legislatures.

This relationship was eventually formalised by the Statute of Westminster in 1931.

The Statute of Westminster - 1931

- officially proclaimed the Commonwealth a free association of self-governing dominions united by a common allegiance to the Crown.

- Australia, Canada, Ireland, Newfoundland, New Zealand, and South Africa, all British dominions at that time, were granted full autonomy within the British Empire.

- the Dominions are autonomous communities within the British Empire, 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.

By the provisions of the statute, the dominions were empowered to reject any law of the British Parliament if their own parliaments so decide and to enact legislation concerning all domestic matters, including merchant shipping.

As such, Commonwealth members were entitled to join international organizations as independent nations.

 

After World War II, the Empire was gradually dismantled ()hfhf, owing to

- the rise of independence movements

- the British Government's strained circumstances resulting from the cost of the war

 

The London Declaration - 1949

The London Declaration is often seen as the birth of the modern Commonwealth

It was a meeting of Commonwealth prime ministers in London.

- The declaration changed membership in the Commonwealth from one based on common allegiance to the British Crown to one in which members agreed to recognize the British monarch as a symbol of their association, and thus head of the Commonwealth. Commonwealth nations were no longer required to recognize the Crown as their head of state.

- Thus it allowed the Commonwealth to admit and retain members that were not Commonwealth Realms, including both republics and monarchies.

- India agreed that when it became a republic in January 1950 it would accept the King as "symbol of the free association of its independent member nations and as such Head of the Commonwealth".

- and following India's precedent, other nations moved to become republics, or constitutional monarchies under a different Royal House.

- it renamed the organisation from the 'British Commonwealth' to the 'Commonwealth of Nations', reflecting the first change.

 

During the decades following the London Declaration, many of Britains colonies and dependencies in Africa, Asia, the West Indies, and the Pacific Islands gained their independence and joined the Commonwealth, although some Commonwealth members have also withdrawn.

Ø 1949 - Ireland left the Commonwealth

Ø 1961 - South Africa withdrew after many Commonwealth members condemned its policies of apartheid and white supremacy. South Africa rejoined the Commonwealth in 1994 after apartheid ended.

Ø 1987 - Fiji lost its membership when a military coup took over its government, but its membership was reinstated in 1997 after the country adopted a new constitution more in line with Commonwealth principles.

Ø from 1999 to 2004 - Pakistan was suspended from the Commonwealth

Ø 2007 - Pakistan was again suspended from the Commonwealth after President Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency rule, but it was reinstated in May 2008 after democratic parliamentary elections were held..

The Singapore Declaration of Commonwealth Principles - 1971

It was issued by the assembled Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Nations, setting out the core political values that would form the main part of the Commonwealth's membership criteria.

Along with the Harare Declaration, issued in 1991, it is considered one of the two most important documents to the Commonwealth's uncodified constitution.

- The declaration opens with a description of the Commonwealth's identity, the relationship between the organisation and its members, and its fundamental goals:

The Commonwealth of Nations is a voluntary association of independent sovereign states, each responsible for its own policies, consulting and co-operating in the common interests of their peoples and in the promotion of international understanding and world peace.

- The 2d article describes the extent and diversity of the Commonwealth.

- The 3d article states, at the height of the Cold War, that membership of the Commonwealth is compatible with membership of any other international organisation or non-alignment.

- The next 10 articles in turn detail some of the core political principles of the Commonwealth. These include:

o world peace and support for the United Nations;

o individual liberty and egalitarianism;

o opposition to racism;

o opposition to colonialism;

o eradication of poverty, ignorance, disease, and economic inequality;

o free trade;

o institutional cooperation;

o multilateralism;

o rejection of international coercion - - , ,

These are summed up in the final article, which serves as a touchstone for Commonwealth principles.

 

The Harare Commonwealth Declaration - 1991

The commitments of the Singapore Declaration were reaffirmed in the Harare Declaration, which emphasized democracy and human rights.

The Declaration was issued in Harare, Zimbabwe.

It setting out the Commonwealth's core principles and values, detailing the Commonwealth's membership criteria, and redefining and reinforcing its purpose.

Critical to the document is the removal of a reference to the opposition to international coercion, which had been included in the Singapore Declaration.

Composition

There are 53 members in the Commonwealth of Nations.

Among these are two special membersthe independent island nations of Nauru and Tuvalu. As special members, Nauru and Tuvalu contribute to the organizations budget on a voluntary basis and receive aid from the Commonwealth, but do not participate in the meetings attended by heads of governments.

The members have a combined population of 1.9 billion people, almost a third of the world population and over twice as many as the whole of the Americas (North and South) put together. Of that figure, 1.4 billion people live in the Indian subcontinent, and 93% live in Asia and Africa combined. The five largest Commonwealth nations by population are India (1.1 billion), Pakistan (165 million), Bangladesh (148 m), Nigeria (137 m), and the United Kingdom (60 m). Tuvalu is the smallest member, with only 11,000 people.

The land area of the Commonwealth nations is about 31.5m km² (12.1m square miles), or about 21% of the total world land area. The three largest Commonwealth nations by area are Canada at 10.0m km² (3.9m sq. miles), Australia at 7.7m km² (3.0m sq. miles) and India at 3.3m km² (1.3m sq. miles).

 

Commonwealth members are also politically diverse. There are:

- 16 parliamentary monarchies headed by Queen Elizabeth II = Commonwealth realms

- 5 other national monarchies (Brunei Darussalam, Lesotho, Malaysia, Swaziland and Tonga)

- 32 republics


Current members


1. Antigua & Barbuda

2. Australia

3. Bangladesh

4. Barbados

5. Belize

6. Botswana

7. Brunei Darussalam

8. Cameroon

9. Canada

10. Cyprus

11. Dominica

12. Fiji Islands

13. Ghana

14. Grenada

15. Guyana

16. India

17. Jamaica

18. Kenya

19. Kiribati

20. Lesotho

21. Malawi

22. Malaysia

23. Maldives

24. Malta

25. Mauritius

26. Mozambique

27. Namibia

28. Nauru

29. New Zealand

30. Nigeria

31. Pakistan

32. Papua New Guinea

33. Samoa

34. Seychelles

35. Sierra Leone

36. Singapore

37. Solomon Islands

38. South Africa

39. Sri Lanka

40. St Kitts & Nevis

41. St Lucia

42. St Vincent & the Grenadines

43. Swaziland

44. Tanzania, United Republic of

45. The Bahamas

46. The Gambia

47. Tonga

48. Trinidad & Tobago

49. Tuvalu

50. Uganda

51. United Kingdom

52. Vanuatu

53. Zambia


Membership Criteria


All member states, except for Mozambique, have experienced direct or indirect British rule or been linked administratively to another Commonwealth country.

1995 - an Inter-Governmental Group was created to finalise and codify the full requirements for membership.

1997- the Edinburgh Declaration - Heads of Government considered the criteria for Commonwealth membership and agreed that in order to become a member of the Commonwealth, an applicant country should, as a rule:

- have had a constitutional association with an existing Commonwealth member state

- should comply with Commonwealth values, principles and priorities as set out in the Harare Commonwealth Declaration of 1991

- should accept Commonwealth norms and conventions

- be a fully sovereign state

- recognise the monarch of the Commonwealth realms as the Head of the Commonwealth.

- accept the English language as the means of Commonwealth communication.

- respect the wishes of the general population vis-à-vis Commonwealth membership.

 

Structure

Head of the Commonwealth

Commonwealth Secretariat

Head of the Commonwealth

Queen Elizabeth II is the current Head of the Commonwealth, recognised by each state, and as such is the symbol of the free association of the organisation's members.

This position does not imply political power over Commonwealth member states.

In practice, the Queen heads the Commonwealth in a symbolic capacity, and it is the Commonwealth Secretary-General who is the chief executive of the organisation.

The Commonwealth is not a political union, and does not allow the United Kingdom to exercise any power over the affairs of the organisation's other members.

Elizabeth II is also the current Head of State, separately, of 16 Commonwealth realms. As each realm is an independent kingdom, Elizabeth II, as monarch, holds a distinct title for each, though, by a Prime Ministers' Conference in 1952, all include the words "Head of the Commonwealth" at the end; for example: Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen of Jamaica and of Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth.

Beyond the realms, the majority of the members of the Commonwealth have their own, separate Heads of State.

 

Commonwealth Secretariat

It was established in 1965. it is the main intergovernmental agency of the Commonwealth, facilitating consultation and cooperation among member governments and countries. It is responsible to member governments collectively.

Based in London, the Secretariat

- organises Commonwealth summits, meetings of ministers, consultative meetings and technical discussions

- assists policy development and provides policy advice

- facilitates multilateral communication among the member governments

- provides technical assistance to help governments in the social and economic development of their countries and in support of the Commonwealths fundamental political values

The Secretariat is headed by the Commonwealth Secretary-General who is elected by Commonwealth Heads of Government for no more than two four-year terms.

The present Secretary-General is Kamalesh Sharma, from India, who took office on 1 April 2008, succeeding Don McKinnon of New Zealand (20002008).

The Secretary-General is assisted by the two Deputy Secretaries-General. Around three-quarters of the 53 member countries are currently represented among the some 252 staff of the Secretariat. The work of the Secretariat is 'programme-driven and division-led'. This means that the sixteen programmes are carried out by the divisions and units.

 

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

The main decision-making forum of the organisation is the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), where Commonwealth presidents or prime ministers assemble for several days to discuss matters of mutual interest. CHOGM is the successor to the Prime Ministers' Conferences and earlier Imperial Conferences and Colonial Conferences dating back to 1887. There are also regular meetings of finance ministers, law ministers, health ministers, etc.

 

Commonwealth Family

The Commonwealth Family is a network of associations, organisations, and charities affiliated to the Commonwealth of Nations.[1] Although associated with the Commonwealth, they are not fully a part of it, and membership is on a voluntary basis from within the membership of the Commonwealth. They are designed to advance the principles and policies of the Commonwealth itself.

Member organisations of the Commonwealth Family include:


Association o Commonwealth Universities

Commonwealth Broadcasting Association

Commonwealth Business Council

Commonwealth Foundation

Commonwealth Games Federation

Commonwealth of Learning

Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Commonwealth Parliamentary Association

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

English-Speaking Union


 

Every four years the Commonwealth's members celebrate the Commonwealth Games, the world's second-largest multi-sport event after the Olympic Games.

 

Britain and the European Union

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic community of 27 member states primarily located in Europe. It traces its origins to the European Economic Community (EEC) formed in 1957 by the Treaty of Rome between six European countries. Since then the EU has grown in size through the accession of new member states and has increased its powers by the addition of new policy areas to its remit. In 1993, the Maastricht Treaty established the current legal framework.

The EU creates a single market by a system of laws which apply in all member states, guaranteeing the freedom of movement of people, goods, services and capital. It maintains a common trade policy, agricultural and fisheries policies, and a regional development policy.

In 1999 the EU introduced a common currency, the euro, which has been adopted by 13 member states. It has also developed a role in foreign policy, and in justice and home affairs. Passport control between many member states has been abolished under the Schengen Agreement.

Important institutions of the EU include the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, the European Court of Justice and the European Central Bank. EU citizens elect the Parliament every five years.

Historic Outline

After WWII - the political climate favoured European unity, seen by many as an escape from the extreme forms of nationalism which had devastated the continent.

The 1957 Rome Treaty created the European Economic Community (the EEC). The Treaty of Rome, signed by France, West Germany, Italy and Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) on March 25, 1957, established the European Economic Community (EEC) and came into force on 1 January 1958.

In 1973 the European Communities enlarged to include Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

In 1985 the Schengen Agreement created largely open borders without passport controls between those states adopting it. In 1986 the European flag began to be used and leaders signed the Single European Act. This revised the way community decision making operated in light of its greater membership, aimed to further reduce trade barriers and introduce greater European Political Cooperation.

The Maastricht Treaty was signed on February 7, 1992 in Maastricht, the Netherlands. It led to the creation of the European Union and was the result of separate negotiations on monetary union and on political union. The Maastricht Treaty has been amended to a degree by later treaties.

The UK

The UK has been a member of the European Union since 1973. Although the UK is not a Euro member, it still plays a leading role in the day to day workings of the EU. The UK has clashed with other Member States of the European Union, particularly with France and Germany, most recently over the US-led war with Iraq.

In 1961 Britain applied to join the EEC as it became increasingly apparent that political influence in Europe lay with the EEC. Negotiations between Britain and the EEC began in 1962, although at first the negotiations appeared to be going in favour of Britain, the French President, De Gaulle began to obstruct Britains membership.

De Gaulle resented the British lack of enthusiasm for European integration during the early 1950s and felt he had been denied equal status during wartime summits of allied leaders.

Europeans were also suspicious of Britains relationship with the USA and were worried that British membership would bring with it a stronger American influence over Europe.

France and Germany signed a new treaty in 1963 and vetoed the British application, along with Denmarks and Irelands.

De Gaulle vetoed another British application in 1967 but by 1969 he had resigned, in 1972 Britain, Denmark and Ireland had their applications accepted at the third attempt, Norways application was also successful at this time.

It was a Conservative government, headed by Edward Heath that successfully applied to join the EEC; the Labour government who replaced Heaths held a referendum over continued membership, the public voted to stay in.

The Blair government signed up to the Social Charter and the Social Chapter and it appeared they would enjoy a closer relationship with Europe.

Despite this new relationship with Europe, the current Chancellor has continually declined to join the single currency, suggesting he will reconsider when the British economy is ready.

 

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