Commonwealth must be committed to its principles
Twenty-first Century Commonwealth must be fully committed to its own principles
Media Release: 26 November
Auckland, Canberra, London, Toronto –
Common Cause, the alliance of Commonwealth republic movements, is calling on the Commonwealth Secretariat to demonstrate a stronger commitment to its own core values.
CHOGM 2009 is a chance for member states to build a stronger and more progressive Commonwealth committed to the principles of democracy, equality and the promotion of fundamental human rights.
Contrary to these aims, the reigning British monarch holds the position of Head of the Commonwealth and remains the head of state in 16 of the 53 member states. The Monarch’s status is gained undemocratically and at the expense of fundamental democratic rights.
To address this contradiction, Common Cause, an alliance of republican movements in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, is expanding its network by establishing and supporting of similar movements in any country that still retains a constitutional link to the British monarchy.
It is calling for an end to the colonial era and has called for Queen Elizabeth to step down as Head of the Commonwealth.
It is significant that Trinidad & Tobago, host country of this year's CHOGM, has already achieved the republican goal of replacing the British monarch with one of its own citizens as head of state.
The alliance has also called on Commonwealth members to debate whether the position of Head of the Commonwealth is necessary and, if it is, to how the position should be appointed.
Allowing the monarchy to maintain its privileged position in an organization committed to ending inequality, discrimination and poverty is inappropriate and unacceptable.
The position of head of the Commonwealth is not a hereditary one and should not be treated as such.
To keep up with 21st century values, John Key, Kevin Rudd and all the other leaders meeting at CHOGM 2009 need to begin planning for a Commonwealth without the monarchy.