The Commonwealth places a high priority on being a community of peaceful, democratic countries which promotes and protects shared values, including the separation of powers, rule of law and human rights.
The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), established more than 20 years ago in 1995, is the custodian of these fundamental political values.
In its early years, CMAG focused on unconstitutional changes in government including military coups. In 2011, Commonwealth leaders broadened the mandate of CMAG so it could engage more proactively and constructively with countries where Commonwealth fundamental political values are at risk.
The group now assesses concerns such as the unjustified postponement of elections, egregious violations of human rights, the undermining of the judiciary, lack of space for the opposition, and systematic constraints on civil society and the media.
CMAG may agree measures for collective action to deal with persistent or serious violations of Commonwealth values, including suspending membership of the Commonwealth or even recommending expulsion.
The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group is made up of a rotating group of foreign ministers from eight countries, drawn from different regions, plus the foreign minister of the Commonwealth Chairperson-in-Office, the host of the previous Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Its meetings are convened by the Commonwealth Secretary-General with the Commonwealth Secretariat providing secretarial support.
The current members are: Kenya (Chair), Australia (Vice-Chair), Barbados, Belize, Ghana, Malaysia, Namibia, Samoa and the United Kingdom.
Foreign affairs ministers have reiterated their commitment to work with the Commonwealth Secretariat to deliver the range of initiatives agreed at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in April this year.
Foreign ministers on the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) have underlined the Commonwealth’s role in promoting democracy and peace-building, at the group’s fiftieth meeting.
Members of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group met The Prince of Wales at Clarence House on the occasion of the group’s fiftieth meeting.