Commonwealth of Nations

  • Formerly called the British Commonwealth
  • It is an intergovernmental organisation of 53 member states that were mostly territories of the former British Empire
  • HQ : London
  • Mozambique and Rwanda are also its members, who were never colonies of Britain
  • This was set up after the second world war (in 1949) by Britain, to maintain close economic ties with its erstwhile colonies that were now rapidly becoming independent
  • It is not a trade block. It aims to promote democracy, human rights, world peace etc.
  • Commonwealth countries in theory do not consider each other ‘foreign’, and hence send ‘High Commissioners’ and not ‘Ambassadors’
  • Several countries (such as Britain, Caribbean islands) grant the right to vote to any commonwealth country citizen residing in their territory to vote in their elections
  • In non-commonwealth countries, commonwealth countries can seek assistance at the British embassy, in case their own country does not have consular services in that country
  • On occasion, the commonwealth has suspended members for not maintaining democratic governments (such as Nigeria from 1995-1999). Recently, there have been lots of protests demanding that Sri Lanka be dropped, given the war crimes inflicted on Tamils during the civil war


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