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Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) London, 28 April 2011

28 April 2011
Concluding statement

The meeting was chaired by Hon Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ghana. It was also attended by Hon Kevin Rudd, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia; Hon Dr Dipu Moni, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh; Hon Ahmed Naseem, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Maldives; Hon Utoni Nujoma, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Namibia; Hon Murray McCully, Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand; H.E. Anthony Johnson, High Commissioner of Jamaica to the United Kingdom; H.E. Garvin Nicholas, High Commissioner of Trinidad and Tobago to the United Kingdom; and H.E. Roy Mickey Joy, High Commissioner of Vanuatu to the United Kingdom.

CMAG continued its deliberations on how the functioning of the Group could be refined in order to improve its effectiveness as the custodian of the Commonwealth’s fundamental political values. This is in accordance with the decision of Commonwealth Heads of Government at their 2009 Meeting (CHOGM), that consideration be given to strengthening the role of CMAG, to enable the Group to deal with the full range of serious or persistent violations of Commonwealth values.  In this context, the Group focused on how CMAG could function more proactively and engage constructively with member countries where such values may be under threat.  The outcomes of CMAG’s consideration will be presented to Heads of Government at the next CHOGM, to be held in Perth, Australia, on 28-30 October 2011.

Fiji

CMAG reiterated its regret about the lack of progress made towards restoring civilian constitutional democracy in Fiji, necessitating its continued suspension from the Commonwealth. CMAG reaffirmed the Commonwealth’s solidarity with the people of Fiji, and urged the Government of Fiji to take concrete steps toward restoring democracy, respecting human rights and upholding the rule of law, in line with Commonwealth values and principles.

The Group expressed strong concern about the continued imposition of the Public Emergency Regulation (PER), and noted in particular the significant number of reported incidents of arbitrary arrest, torture and ill-treatment of persons in the first quarter of 2011. The Group strongly urged the Government of Fiji to lift the PER without delay and respect the human rights of all its people.

CMAG encouraged the government and all other stakeholders to engage, in good faith and without delay, in efforts toward an inclusive, independent and unrestricted national dialogue on Fiji’s political future.

The Group welcomed the Commonwealth’s ongoing efforts to engage with the Government of Fiji and other stakeholders, including through the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, and reaffirmed the Commonwealth’s readiness to provide assistance to Fiji in appropriate ways on its path back to civilian constitutional democracy, as well as respect for human rights and the rule of law.

CMAG noted the discussions held between the Government of Fiji and the Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group in Port Vila, Vanuatu, on 14 February 2011, and welcomed the invitation extended to that Group by the Government of Fiji to visit the country in the near future. CMAG further noted the meeting of leaders of the Melanesian Spearhead Group held on 31 March 2011, and that Group’s support for ongoing Commonwealth engagement with Fiji. CMAG reaffirmed the Commonwealth’s continued commitment to working in close co-operation and consultation with bilateral, regional and international partners in relation to the Fiji situation.

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