The Commonwealth Games’ opening ceremony kicks off tonight for Glasgow 2014, overshadowed by criminalisation of homosexuality in 42 out of 53 countries, puerile foreign policy in the wealthiest nations and a consensus community with no direction.
|Julie Bishop and William Hague,
after discussions about Australia’s poor human rights policies
Source: The Guardian
The Commonwealth of Nations, a community proud of its principles of democracy, human rights and international peace and security, has failed to provide international leadership, or even pressure, in these fields. Having fallen itself into self-delusion, the Commonwealth now celebrates a meaningless democratic peace.
A group of fifty-three states, the Commonwealth has a real opportunity to join the international power elite alongside the European Union, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), and African Union. In order to fulfil this, the Commonwealth must get serious about its commitment to international peace and security. While the UK supplies weapons to Russia and Israel, Australia ignores United Nations human rights scolding and Uganda headlines international news with life imprisonment for LGBT+ people. India and Bangladesh create climate refugees of their fellow Commonwealth citizens in the Caribbean with unregulated carbon intensive industries. Each of these states is mandated by their collective to do much, much more.
Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond said in the lead up to the games “That’s what I think is the best way to state our commitment [to human rights], it’s by what we do and how we act and what we display and what we advocate.”
Paula Gerber, Professor of Law at Monash University in Australia and Guardian writer, suggested that membership of the Commonwealth with its overwhelming homophobia reflects the complacency of nations such as the UK, Canada and Australia and has questioned whether membership condones anti-LGBT+ policies.
Following added sanctions against Russia from across the international community this week, the Commonwealth of Nations need to use Glasgow 2014 to step up to the global plate and lift their weight in diplomatic efforts both within and without their membership. Representing 1.5 billion people, this is an institution which has a concerted interest in upholding peace and respect for human rights. It’s about time they play ball.
|Geographic spread of the Commonwealth of Nations
|Nigerian citizens in the UK protest homophobia at the Games