Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong 

The Transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997 ended the colony's ties to the Commonwealth through the United Kingdom. The government of Hong Kong, as aspecial administrative region of China, did not pursue membership. IBM ThinkPad T43 1871 CPU Fan Hong Kong has nevertheless continued to participate in some of the organisations of the Commonwealth family, such as the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the Association of Commonwealth Universities and the Commonwealth Association of Legislative Counsel. ACER Travelmate 8104WLMI CPU Fan The Commonwealth's objectives were first outlined in the 1971 Singapore Declaration, which committed the Commonwealth to the institution of world peace; promotion of representative democracy and individual liberty; the pursuit of equality and opposition to racism; the fight against poverty, ignorance, and disease; and free trade.[75] DELL Latitude E4300 CPU Fan To these were added opposition to discrimination on the basis of gender by the Lusaka Declaration of 1979,[31] and environmental sustainability by the Langkawi Declaration of 1989.[76] These objectives were reinforced by the Harare Declaration in 1991. The Commonwealth's current highest-priority aims are on the promotion of democracy and development, ASUS F80S CPU Fan as outlined in the 2003 Aso Rock Declaration,[77] which built on those in Singapore and Harare and clarified their terms of reference, stating, "We are committed to democracy, good governance, human rights, gender equality, and a more equitable sharing of the benefits of globalisation."[78] The Commonwealth website lists its areas of work as: HP Pavilion dv5-1058eo CPU Fan Democracy, Economics, Education, Gender, Governance, Human Rights, Law, Small States, Sport, Sustainability, and Youth.[79]Through a separate voluntary fund, Commonwealth governments support the Commonwealth Youth Programme, a division of the Secretariat with offices in Gulu(Uganda), IBM 13N5182 CPU Fan Lusaka (Zambia), Chandigarh (India), Georgetown (Guyana) and Honiara (Solomon Islands). In recent years, the Commonwealth has been accused of not being vocal enough on its core values. Allegations of a leaked memo from the Secretary General instructing staff not to speak out on human rights were published in October 2010.[80] IBM Thinkpad T30 2366-AA3 CPU Fan The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2011 considered a report by an Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group panel which asserted that the organisation had lost its relevance and was decaying due to the lack of a mechanism to censure member countries when they violated human rights or democratic norms.[81] IBM Thinkpad T30 CPU Fan The panel made 106 "urgent" recommendations including the adoption of a Charter of the Commonwealth, the creation of a new commissioner on the rule of law, democracy and human rights to track persistent human rights abuses and allegations of political repression by Commonwealth member states, recommendations for the repeal oflaws against homosexuality in 41 Commonwealth states and a ban on forced marriage.HP 535438-001 CPU Fan The failure to release the report, or accept its recommendations for reforms in the area of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, was decried as a "disgrace" by former British Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, a member of the EPG, who told a press conference: "The Commonwealth faces a very significant problem. DELL Inspiron N3010 CPU Fan It's not a problem of hostility or antagonism, it's more of a problem of indifference. Its purpose is being questioned, its relevance is being questioned and part of that is because its commitment to enforce the values for which it stands is becoming ambiguous in the eyes of many member states. The Commonwealth is not a private club of the governments or the secretariat. HP Pavilion dv6-3070tx CPU Fan It belongs to the people of the Commonwealth." In the end, two-thirds of the EPG's 106 urgently recommended reforms were referred to study groups, an act described by one EPG member as having them "kicked into the long grass". There was no agreement to create the recommended position of human rights commissioner, IBM 41W5269 CPU Fan instead a ministerial management group was empowered with enforcement: the group includes alleged human rights offenders. It was agreed to develop a charter of values for the Commonwealth without any decision on how compliance with its principles would be enforced.[81] The result of the effort was that a new Charter of the Commonwealth was signed by Queen Elizabeth on 11 March 2013 at Marlborough House, ASUS A8H CPU Fan which opposes "all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds". Although the Commonwealth does not have a common market, research by the Royal Commonwealth Society has shown that trade with another Commonwealth member is up to 50% more than with a non-member on average.[86] SONY UDQFRZH13CF0 CPU Fan There is a significant movement in the United Kingdom to increase trade in the Commonwealth,[87] with some suggesting a Commonwealth Union as an alternative to its membership in the European Union. Commonwealth countries share many links outside government, with over a hundred Commonwealth-wide non-governmental organisations, HP COMPAQ 2510P CPU Fan notably for sport, culture, education, law and charity. The Association of Commonwealth Universities is an important vehicle for academic links, particularly through scholarships, principally the Commonwealth Scholarship, for students to study in universities in other Commonwealth countries. APPLE 661-4951 CPU Fan There are also many non-official associations that bring together individuals who work within the spheres of law and government, such as the Commonwealth Lawyers Association and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. The Commonwealth Foundation is an intergovernmental organisation, HP Pavilion dv6-3034ca CPU Fan resourced by and reporting to Commonwealth governments, and guided by Commonwealth values and priorities. Its mandate is to strengthen civil society in the achievement of Commonwealth priorities: democracy and good governance, respect for human rights and gender equality, poverty eradication and sustainable, people-centred and sustainable development, and to promote arts and culture. HP G56-126NR CPU Fan The Foundation was established by the Heads of Government in 1965. Admittance is open to all members of the Commonwealth and in December 2008 stood at 46 out of the 53 member countries. Associate Membership, which is open to associated states or overseas territories of member governments, has been granted to Gibraltar. Compaq Presario C556CA CPU Fan 2005 saw celebrations for the Foundation's 40th Anniversary. The Foundation is headquartered in Marlborough House, Pall Mall, London. Regular liaison and cooperation between the Secretariat and the Foundation is in place. The Foundation continues to serve the broad purposes for which it was established as written in the Memorandum of Understanding. SONY Vaio VGN-NR360E CPU Fan The Commonwealth Games, a multi-sport event, is held every four years; the 2010 Commonwealth Games were held in New Delhi, India, in 2010, and the the next in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2014, and the next after that in Gold Coast, Australia, in 2018. As well as the usual athletic disciplines, as at the Summer Olympic Games, HP Pavilion dv5170us CPU Fan the games include sports particularly popular in the Commonwealth, such as bowls, netball, and rugby sevens. Started in 1930 as the Empire Games, the games were founded on the Olympic model of amateurism, but were deliberately designed to be "the Friendly Games",[95] with the goal of promoting relations between Commonwealth countries and celebrating their shared sporting and cultural heritage.[96] SONY Vaio VPC-EE3WFX/WI CPU Fan The games are the Commonwealth's most visible activity[95] and interest in the operation of the Commonwealth increases greatly when the Games are held.[97] There is controversy over whether the games—and sport generally—should be involved in the Commonwealth's wider political concerns.[96] HP G56-126NR CPU Fan The 1977 Gleneagles Agreement was signed to commit Commonwealth countries to combat apartheid through discouraging sporting contact with South Africa (which was not then a member), whilst the 1986 gameswere boycotted by most African, Asian, and Caribbean countries for the failure of other countries to enforce the Gleneagles Agreement. HP 3MLX8TATP20 CPU Fan The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is responsible for maintaining the war graves of 1.7 million service personnel that died in the First and Second World Wars fighting for Commonwealth member states. Founded in 1917 (as the Imperial War Graves Commission), the Commission has constructed 2,500 war cemeteries, and maintains individual graves at another 20,000 sites around the world.[99] SONY Vaio VGN-NW240F/S CPU Fan The vast majority of the latter are civilian cemeteries in Great Britain. In 1998, the CWGC made the records of its buried online to facilitate easier searching.[100] Commonwealth war cemeteries often feature similar horticulture and architecture, with larger cemeteries being home to a Cross of Sacrifice and Stone of Remembrance. SONY Vaio VPC-EB1Z0E/B CPU Fan The CWGC is notable for marking the graves identically, regardless of the rank, country of origin, race, or religion of the buried.[100] It is funded by voluntary agreement by six Commonwealth members, in proportion to the nationality of the casualties in the graves maintained,[99] with 75% of the funding coming from Britain. Compaq Presario CQ60-514NR CPU Fan The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) is an intergovernmental organisation created by the Heads of Government to encourage the development and sharing of open learning/distance education knowledge, resources and technologies. COL is helping developing nations improve access to quality education and training. Toshiba Satellite X205-S9800 CPU Fan ASUS G2P CPU Fan The Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) was formed at 1997 CHOGM. The aim was to utilise the global network of the Commonwealth more effectively for the promotion of global trade and investment for shared prosperity. The CBC acts as a bridge for co-operation between business and government, concentrating efforts on these specific areas enhancing trade, Compaq Presario CQ60-430SA CPU Fan facilitating ICT for Development, mobilising investment, promoting corporate citizenship, and public private partnerships. The CBC has a dedicated team, CBC Technologies, based in London and is focused on the international technology and global services industry throughout the Commonwealth. DELL BFB0505HA CPU Fan Many Commonwealth nations possess traditions and customs that are elements of a shared Commonwealth culture. Examples include common sports such as cricket andrugby, driving on the left, the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy, common law, widespread use of the English language, designation of English as an official language, military and naval ranks, HP Pavilion dv5-1272et CPU Fan and the use of British rather than American spelling conventions (see English in the Commonwealth of Nations).

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