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Cameron urges Commonwealth to tackle extremism, corruption and climate change

28 November 2015

UK Prime Minister David Cameron urged governments to step up efforts to tackle corruption, violent extremism and climate change at a press conference today during the Commonwealth summit.

Commenting on talks between leaders, Mr Cameron said commitments had been made but greater efforts would be needed to address these issues and secure ambitious deals on climate change at next week’s Paris Climate Conference (COP21).

He pledged UK support to help Commonwealth countries– £5 million to fund a team dedicated to countering violent extremism and a “package of support” to help small island member states mitigate the risks of climate change.

 “Countries across the Commonwealth share a similar threat from extremism. We need to expose this extremism for what it is: a belief system that divides our communities and glorifies violence,” said Mr Cameron.

Corruption, he said, “wrecks economies, it prevents development, it corrodes our societies, it can even foment terrorism when people give up hope in good and honest governance”. He said more could be done to follow the money, return stolen assets and increase transparency.

Speaking about human rights, Mr Cameron said the Commonwealth must stand up for LGBTI rights and hold countries to account to live up to their responsibilities as members.

Referring to the arrest and detention of political figures in the Maldives, he described events as “unacceptable” and called on the Commonwealth to press for dialogue and the release of all political prisoners. Mr Cameron commended progress in Sir Lanka over the last two years, describing the country as “on the path to reconciliation”.

 “The Commonwealth can be a force for good around the world. And, I am delighted Baroness Scotland will take over as Secretary-General next year. I believe she is the right person to steer the Commonwealth through reforms and ensure it rises to the challenges I have mentioned today and other challenges we face in our world,” he concluded. 

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