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Commonwealth

Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

Commonwealth

What to study?

For Prelims: About commonwealth.

For Mains: Relevance of Commonwealth today and the need for reorganization.

Context: The Maldives re-joined the Commonwealth, more than three years after the Indian Ocean island nation quit amid mounting criticism of its human rights.

In 2016, the Maldives pulled out of the Commonwealth.

Maldives has been formally reinstated into the Commonwealth as its 54th member state.

About Commonwealth of Nations:

  1. The Commonwealth of Nations, at one time known as British Commonwealth, is an organisation of fifty three states that were principally below the colonial rule of British Government. They came into existence with the proclamation of sovereignty of the state from the colonial rule of British Empire and were later given self-governance.
  2. It proclaims that the Commonwealth nations are “free and equal.” The insignia of this Commonwealth Association is Queen Elizabeth II who is considered the Supreme of the Commonwealth nations.
  3. The member states of the commonwealth are not legally liable or bound to each other. They are rather united by language, history, culture, likeness of the democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
  4. Their values are listed down within the Commonwealth Charter and the hands of harmony towards the member states are extended by the Commonwealth Games held every four years.
  5. Former British mandates that did not become members of the Commonwealth are Egypt, Transjordan, Iraq, British Palestine, Sudan, British Somaliland, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

Key facts:

Former name — British Commonwealth.

Composition: intergovernmental organisation of 53 member states that are mostly former territories of the British Empire.

It operates by intergovernmental consensus of the member states.

Established in 1949 by the London Declaration.

Structure: Head of the Commonwealth — Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of the Commonwealth. The position is symbolic.

Sources: the Hindu.