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6) Commonwealth of Nations

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6. Commonwealth of Nations BASIC INFORMATION:  over 50 members  official seat in London  official head is the Queen  Commonwealth Secretariat (something like government) – head of the Commonwealth Secretariat is Secretary general (elected by the Commonwealth heads of government for no more than 4 years two times in a row)  over 2 billion people living in Commonwealth TYPES OF COUNTRIES:  Commonwealth of Nations is a loose collection of nations, most of which were formal colonies of the British Empire  Now there are several types of countries within Commonwealth of Nations: o Independent countries (India, Pakistan) - own head of state and government o Dominium (Australia, Canada, New Zealand) – own government, official head is British monarch (only symbolic role, represented by a governor – fills the role of the monarch by signing bill and appearing at official ceremonies) o Colony/ Dependent area (Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Bermuda) HISTORY  After US independence the British Empire feared that other countries would also try to separate => so they decided to give them more freedom and created first dominium  After the first Wold War the dominions sought a new definition of their relationship with Great Britain  So at the 1926 Conference, Britain and the dominions accepted the following: "They 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."  This declaration was made law in 1931  In 1949 India became independent but wished to remain in the Commonwealth despite having no allegiance to the Crown  This was resolved at a conference the same year – it concluded that sovereign nations could still be a part of the Commonwealth as long as they saw the Crown as a symbol of a free association of the Commonwealth  The word “British” was also dropped from the name so that it would better fit the current status of Commonwealth  New ground was broken in 1995 when Mozambique joined despite never being a British colony (this was because of their willingness to support Commonwealth’s fight in South Africa) INTERESTING FACTS  Commonwealth has no official constitution or international laws => instead they have moral and ethical code which was established on several conferences in the last century (it includes promoting democracy and good governance, human rights and the rule of law, gender equality and sustainable economic and social development) => over the years some members were suspended for not following this code (Pakistan for several years, Fiji)  Commonwealth games are something like Olympic games for the member states, they are held every 4 yours (last ones in 2014 in Glasgow and next ones in 2018 in Gold Coast in Australia)  Commonwealth day – second Monday in March, the Queen is attending and has a speech

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