Ministerial Action Group deepens its work on democratic governance in Commonwealth countries

26 September 2015

Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) meeting at the United Nations

New York, 25 September

The nine foreign ministers who make up the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) met at the United Nations today to discuss implementation of their enhanced mandate, enabling them to protect democratic governance and the rule of law more effectively. The enhanced mandate was adopted by Commonwealth Heads of Government in 2011. It lists eight circumstances that are violations of fundamental political values. If these circumstances occur in a Commonwealth member, they can trigger action by the group to help the country return to more democratic governance.

At the New York meeting, ministers focused on two of the circumstances:

  • undermining the independence of judges which damages the rule of law
  • denying political space to opposition parties which restricts freedom of expression and association.

The ministers issued a statement noting that limits on the independence of judges and constraints on political space undermine the culture of democracy in a country, and are contrary to the values in the Commonwealth Charter.

Concluding statement