The Commonwealth

The Commonwealth is a global family of 52 countries, diverse in cultures, economies and beliefs who have all officially committed to both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Commonwealth Charter.

commonwealth-mapWhy the Commonwealth?

The Commonwealth is home to 2.2 billion citizens of whom over 60% are under the age of 30. It includes some of the world’s largest and smallest countries as well as some of the richest and the poorest, stretching around the world.

Between them, the Commonwealth members demonstrate some of the world’s best practice for promoting the freedom of religion or belief but also some of the world’s biggest challenges in this area. Respect for freedom of religion or belief and human rights vary widely.

The Charter of the Commonwealth

The Charter sets out the values of the Commonwealth nations. The Charter was officially signed by Queen Elizabeth II at Marlborough House, London, on Commonwealth Day, 11 March 2013. The core values and principles of the Commonwealth as declared by the Charter are:

  1. Democracy
  2. Human rights
  3. International peace and security
  4. Tolerance, respect and understanding
  5. Freedom of Expression
  6. Separation of Powers
  7. Rule of Law
  8. Good Governance
  9. Sustainable Development
  10. Protecting the Environment
  11. Access to Health, Education, Food and Shelter
  12. Gender Equality
  13. Importance of Young People in the Commonwealth
  14. Recognition of the Needs of Small States
  15. Recognition of the Needs of Vulnerable States
  16. The Role of Civil Society