Africa

Commonwealth leaders meet in Rwanda amid criticism of host’s rights record | News24


  • Commonwealth leaders met in Rwanda on Friday.
  • There is criticism on the nation’s human rights report.
  • Rwanda joined the 54-member Commonwealth in 2009.

Commonwealth leaders met in Kigali on Friday to debate cooperation on subjects from commerce to well being to local weather, in opposition to a backdrop of criticism of host Rwanda’s human rights report and of a British coverage to deport asylum seekers there.

READ | Focus on Rwanda as Commonwealth summit gets under way

The Commonwealth, a membership of 54 nations most of that are former British colonies, encompasses a couple of third of humanity and presents itself as a community of equal companions with shared objectives akin to democracy, peace and prosperity.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame stated in a speech on the opening ceremony:

The reality of holding this assembly in Rwanda, a brand new member with no historic connection to the British Empire, expresses our option to proceed reimagining the Commonwealth for a altering world.

Rwanda joined in 2009.

The opening ceremony was attended by 29 heads of state and authorities. The different member states, together with South Africa, India, Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand, despatched delegations led by ministers or diplomats.

Britain’s Prince Charles was there, representing his 96-year-old mom Queen Elizabeth who’s the pinnacle of the Commonwealth. Charles is because of succeed her, a plan being questioned by some Caribbean members.

The leaders will maintain two days of talks behind closed doorways.

One merchandise on the agenda can be functions by former French colonies Togo and Gabon to affix the Commonwealth, an indication of disenchantment inside France’s sphere of affect in Africa and of the sights of an English-speaking membership.

The theme of the summit, “Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming”, supplied few clues as to what outcomes have been anticipated.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) and his spouse Carrie Johnson arrive at a welcome reception and state banquet hosted by the President of Rwanda on day 4 of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), in Kigali. Leaders of Commonwealth nations meet each two years for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), hosted by completely different member nations on a rotating foundation. Since 1971, a complete of 24 conferences have been held, with the latest being within the UK in 2018.

At earlier summits, leaders have agreed on declarations and targets on particular challenges akin to malaria, and among the richer members have pledged funding for particular initiatives.

Earlier this month, 24 civil society teams together with Human Rights Watch stated the Commonwealth’s human rights mandate can be undermined if leaders didn’t problem Rwanda on its report.

They stated the Rwandan authorities was accountable for abusive prosecutions, harassment and torture of dissidents, which Rwanda denies.

The internet hosting of the summit by Rwanda has additionally stored the highlight on Britain’s controversial coverage to deport asylum seekers to the nation.

Prince Charles was reported by British media to have described it as “appalling”, an uneasy backdrop to his interactions with Kagame and with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the summit.

Johnson, requested by Reuters on Thursday if he would go to detention centres ready by the Rwandan authorities to obtain asylum seekers from Britain, stated he was working “flat out” and wouldn’t be capable of.


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