Commonwealth Leaders Declare War On Terrorism

Commonwealth countries have laid out plans to combat terrorism in the world especially among its member countries.

Leaders of the countries adopted four steps to combat terrorism at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which ended yesterday in Perth, Australia.

Terrorism has crept into Nigeria. It has also recently happened in member-countries, such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Uganda, Kenya, India, Australia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Tanzania.

The communiqué of the meeting was read by the new Chairperson of the Commonwealth, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. It was signed by the Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma; the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Mrs. Kamla Pressad-Bissessar; the President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete; President of Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed and the Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malieliegaoi.

The leaders said: “Maintaining their commitment to a stable and secure national and international environment, as a foundation for sustainable growth and resilience for Commonwealth countries and the broader international community. Heads committed to improve international security by:

*Unequivocally preventing the use of their territories for the support, incitement to violence or commission of terrorist acts,

*implementing the necessary legal framework for the suppression of terrorist financing;

*preventing the raising and use of funds by terrorists, terrorist front organizations, and transnational terrorist organizations; and

*accelerating efforts to conclude negotiations on a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

On the imminent global economic recession, the leaders urged the Group of 20 (G-20) leaders to avert a global economic recession.

The communiqué said: “The leaders urge the G20 to take the necessary steps to address current economic instability and to take concrete steps to put open trade, jobs, social protection and economic development at the heart of the recovery.

“This will provide the necessary confidence to global markets and ensure a more stable global economic environment.

“In support of this, Commonwealth countries: (i.) committed to take all necessary steps to support the global economic recovery; (ii.) Supported ongoing high-level political engagement with the G20 chair and, in this context, welcomed the interaction of the Secretaries-General of the Commonwealth and La Francophonie with the Chair of the G20, as initiated in 2010; and (iii) agreed that Commonwealth G20 members would undertake to convey Commonwealth members’ perspectives and priority concerns to the G20 Summit in Cannes, France.

“The leaders agreed to launch an annual officials-level Commonwealth meeting on the G20 development agenda, building on the Commonwealth’s current contributions to the G20 Development Working Group; and agreed to reduce the cost of remittance transfers by removing barriers to remitting and encouraging greater competition in the transfer market, by endorsing the World Bank’s General Principles for International Remittance Services.

“In line with this, Commonwealth countries committed to implement practical measures at the national level to reduce the cost of remittances.

“The leaders directed the Commonwealth Secretariat to institutionalise the principles of gender mainstreaming, as enshrined in the Commonwealth Plan of Action; and to provide recommendations to Heads, through the Tenth Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting (WAMM) on steps that need to be taken to mainstream gender equality across all Commonwealth work; and to make real progress on implementation of the Plan of Action.”

The leaders said they have accepted 30 of the recommendations of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG); subjected 12 others to financial implications; referred 43 to Foreign Ministers and rejected 11.

The leaders accepted that “there should be a “Charter of the Commonwealth”, as proposed by the EPG, embodying the principles contained in previous declarations, drawn together in a single, consolidated document that is not legally binding.

“Heads will agree to a text for the Charter in 2012, following a process of national consultations, consideration by a Task Force of Ministers drawn from all geographical groupings of the Commonwealth, and a full meeting of Foreign Ministers in New York in September.

“The leaders tasked the Secretary-General and CMAG to further evaluate relevant options relating to the EPG’s proposal for a Commissioner for Democracy, the Rule of Law and Human Rights and to report back to Foreign Ministers at their September meeting in New York.”

The communiqué also gave details of the reform adopted by the Commonwealth leaders.

It added: “To this end, Heads agreed to the following: “ Reform of the Commonwealth to ensure that it is a more effective institution, responsive to members’ needs, and capable of tackling the significant global challenges of the 21st century.

“These include: (a) the reform of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG); (b) consideration of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) recommendations on reform; (c) strengthening the management and delivery of Commonwealth programmes, including through regular review of their efficiency, effectiveness and results, against measurable indicators.

On food crisis, the leaders adopted what they termed “the Perth Declaration on Food Security Principles” which all members must adhere to in order to boost food production.

They agreed that vulnerability to climate change is widespread and particularly affects small states.

“The Commonwealth agreed to assist small and climate vulnerable states develop their capacity to respond in a timely and effective way to disasters and to build their national disaster response capabilities.”

While Fiji remained suspended, the Commonwealth leaders decided to “look forward to the conditions being created for the return of Zimbabwe to the Commonwealth and continue to encourage the parties to implement the Global Political Agreement faithfully and effectively.” They are already studying the application of South Sudan to join the association.

The communiqué said: “The leaders agreed to “congratulate the Head of the Commonwealth on her Diamond Jubilee in 2012. Heads welcomed proposed Commonwealth initiatives to mark this historic occasion, in particular the establishment of a Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, which would be funded by private donations and voluntary contributions from governments.

“This will support charitable projects and organisations across the Commonwealth, focusing on areas such as tackling curable diseases, the promotion of all forms of education and culture and other Commonwealth priorities.

The session also offered to reappoint Mr Kamalesh Sharma as Commonwealth Secretary-General for a further four-year term commencing April 2012.

The next CHOGM will hold in Sri Lanka in 2013 and thereafter in Mauritius in 2015. The leaders welcome the offer by Malaysia to host the 2019 CHOGM.”


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