The Charter brings together the values and aspirations which unite the Commonwealth – democracy, human rights and the rule of law – in a single, accessible document. The Charter expresses the commitment of member states to the development of free and democratic societies and the promotion of peace and prosperity to improve the lives of all peoples of the Commonwealth. The Charter also acknowledges the role of civil society in supporting the goals and values of the Commonwealth.
Read also – the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association – (CPA) was founded in 1911 at a meeting of Heads of Government in Westminster Hall as the then-Empire Parliamentary Association and its affairs were administered by the UK Branch. The original members were Australia, Canada, Newfoundland, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
1911 – South Africa – Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
We the people of the Commonwealth
Recognising that in an era of changing economic circumstances and uncertainty, new trade and economic patterns, unprecedented threats to peace and security, and a surge in popular demands for democracy, human rights and broadened economic opportunities, the potential of and need for the Commonwealth – as a compelling force for good and as an effective network for co-operation and for promoting development – has never been greater,
Recalling that the Commonwealth is a voluntary association of independent and equal sovereign states, each responsible for its own policies, consulting and co-operating in the common interests of our peoples and in the promotion of international understanding and world peace, and influencing international society to the benefit of all through the pursuit of common principles and values,
Affirming that the special strength of the Commonwealth lies in the combination of our diversity and our shared inheritance in language, culture and the rule of law; and bound together by shared history and tradition; by respect for all states and peoples; by shared values and principles and by concern for the vulnerable,
Affirming that the Commonwealth way is to seek consensus through consultation and the sharing of experience, especially through practical co-operation, and further affirming that the Commonwealth is uniquely placed to serve as a model and as a catalyst for new forms of friendship and co-operation in the spirit of the Charter of the United Nations,
Affirming the role of the Commonwealth as a recognised intergovernmental champion of small states, advocating for their special needs; providing policy advice on political, economic and social development issues; and delivering technical assistance,
Welcoming the valuable contribution of the network of the many intergovernmental, parliamentary, professional and civil society bodies which support the Commonwealth and which subscribe and adhere to its values and principles,
Affirming the validity of and our commitment to the values and principles of the Commonwealth as defined and strengthened over the years including:
the Singapore Declaration of Commonwealth Principles
the Harare Commonwealth Declaration
the Langkawi Declaration on the Environment
The nine provincial legislatures in South Africa, was created on 27 April 1994 by the Interim Constitution of South Africa, which dissolved the four original provinces (and their provincial councils) and created the nine current provinces. It is currently constituted in terms of Chapter Six of the Constitution of South Africa, which defines the structure of the provincial governments
the Millbrook Action Programme,
the Latimer House Principles,
the Aberdeen Agenda,
the Trinidad and Tobago Affirmation of Commonwealth Values and Principles,
the Munyonyo Statement on Respect and Understanding,
the Lake Victoria Commonwealth Climate Change Action Plan,
the Perth Declaration on Food Security Principles, and
the Commonwealth Declaration on Investing in Young People.
Reaffirming the core values and principles of the Commonwealth as declared by this Charter:
- 1. DemocracyWe recognise the inalienable right of individuals to participate in democratic processes, in particular through free and fair elections in shaping the society in which they live. Governments, political parties and civil society are responsible for upholding and promoting democratic culture and practices and are accountable to the public in this regard. Parliaments and representative local governments and other forms of local governance are essential elements in the exercise of democratic governance.
- 2. Human rights
- We are committed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant human rights covenants and international instruments. We are committed to equality and respect for the protection and promotion of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development, for all without discrimination on any grounds as the foundations of peaceful, just and stable societies. We note that these rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated and cannot be implemented selectively.
We are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds.
- 3. International peace and security
- 4. Tolerance, respect and understanding
- 5. Freedom of Expression
- 6. Separation of Powers
- 7. Rule of Law
- 8. Good Governance
We reiterate our commitment to promote good governance through the rule of law, to ensure transparency and accountability and to root out, both at national and international levels, systemic and systematic corruption.
- 9. Sustainable Development
- 10. Protecting the Environment
- 11. Access to Health, Education, Food and Shelter
- 12. Gender Equality
- 13. Importance of Young People in the Commonwealth
- 14. Recognition of the Needs of Small States
- 15. Recognition of the Needs of Vulnerable States
- 16. The Role of Civil Society