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Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) New York, 22 September 2011

22 September 2011
Concluding statement

1. The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) held its thirty-sixth regular meeting in New York on 22 September 2011.

2. 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 Dr Kenneth Baugh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Jamaica; Hon Ahmed Naseem, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Maldives; Hon Utoni Nujoma, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Namibia; Hon Dr Surujrattan Rambachan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago; Hon Alfred Carlot, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vanuatu; and HE Mr Jim McLay, Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the United Nations.

3. CMAG noted that since its previous meeting on 28 April 2011, it had concluded 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.  CMAG’s report on its role has now been submitted to Commonwealth Heads of Government for consideration at their meeting (CHOGM) in Perth, Australia, on 28-30 October 2011.

Fiji

4. CMAG expressed its profound sadness at the passing of the Commonwealth Secretary-General’s Special Representative to Fiji, Sir Paul Reeves. The Group paid tribute to his deep commitment to the strengthening of democracy in Fiji over more than fifteen years, and his tireless and dedicated work for the Commonwealth in this regard since 2007.  CMAG expressed condolences to Sir Paul’s family, and to the government and people of New Zealand.

5. The Group reaffirmed the Commonwealth’s steadfast wish and continued willingness to maintain dialogue with the Government of Fiji, as well as the Commonwealth’s commitment to assist Fiji in all possible ways to restore civilian constitutional government and return to its place in the Commonwealth family, and so reverse the political isolation of Fiji.The Group agreed to remain seized of the situation in Fiji, and to keep under review further possible avenues of engagement with the government.

6. CMAG expressed strong concern about the continued imposition of the Public Emergency Regulation (PER), and the reported ongoing repression of human rights under the PER.It recognised that a credible and genuinely democratic constitutional and electoral process can only take place on the basis of a fully inclusive and participatory dialogue, and in an environment of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression and association.CMAG reaffirmed the readiness of the Commonwealth to provide its good offices to assist Fiji towards these objectives.

7. CMAG welcomed the outcomes of the 42nd Pacific Islands Forum held in Auckland, New Zealand, on 7-8 September 2011 in respect to Fiji.The Group reaffirmed the Commonwealth’s continued commitment to working in close co-operation and consultation with the Forum and other international partners, including the United Nations, in relation to the Fiji situation.

8. CMAG reiterated its regret about the necessity of Fiji’s continued suspension from the Commonwealth, urging the Government of Fiji to take urgent, tangible steps toward the restoration of civilian constitutional democracy, human rights and the rule of law, which would enable CMAG to further review its position on the status of Fiji in the Commonwealth.

New York

22 September 2011

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