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Charter of the Commonwealth

June 15, 2012

A media release from yesterday, June 14:

A new Charter for Commonwealth countries will be drafted by members of the Commonwealth Ministerial Task Force at a meeting chaired by Foreign Minister Bob Carr in London today (June 14-15 AEST).

Senator Carr will chair the 12 member Task Force as it concludes the draft Charter for the 54 Commonwealth countries and reviews recommendations to reform Commonwealth structures.

The draft Charter will be submitted to a Commonwealth Foreign Ministers meeting in New York in September and then to national leaders.

The Task Force will also work on agreement to remaining recommendations of the Eminent Persons Group (not concluded at CHOGM in Perth).

Senator Carr said adoption of a Charter of the Commonwealth would be an important and symbolic step.

“The Commonwealth is a voluntary grouping, united by its commitment to common beliefs such as democracy, justice, and human rights.

“These beliefs inform the drafting of this Charter.

“Today’s Taskforce meetings also offer the chance to pursue outcomes from the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Perth last year.

“These include election monitoring, reform of Commonwealth structures and addressing the needs of smaller states – essential steps in supporting the future of this venerable global institution.”

The Ministerial Task Force comprises 12 Commonwealth countries: Australia, Barbados, Belize, Canada, India, Malaysia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

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