- Rwanda has been admitted into the Commonwealth of nations, becoming the first former German colony to be admitted without a British colonial linkage.
A Commonwealth statement issued in Trinidad and Tobago said the former colony of Germany admission to become the 54th member of the organisation comes amid rights organisation’s call to review human rights record of the country.
The government of Rwanda has welcomed the country's entry into the Commonwealth grouping and has vowed to contribute to promote the principles of the group including promoting peace and prosperity in the region and the world.
"The Government of Rwanda expresses sincere appreciation to the Commonwealth member countries for admitting Rwanda into the club of Commonwealth of Nations at this historic moment when the organisation celebrates its 60th anniversary of the modern Commonwealth," a government statement said.
Rwanda's admission was on the basis of four grounds including democracy and democratic processes such as free and fair elections, rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, good governance including a well trained public service and transparency.
The other aspect that merited Rwanda's entry is the protection of human rights, freedom of expression and equality of opportunity.
Members are eligible for assistance programs and cultural exchanges. They can also take part in the Commonwealth Games, the world's largest multi-sport competition after the Olympics.
Late last week, a coalition of Commonwealth Green Parties called on the Commonwealth Heads of Government Leaders meeting (GHOGM) in Trinidad this week to examine Rwanda’s human rights record before its accession into the Commonwealth.
Parties from six Commonwealth nations called for an independent review of the Rwandan government’s commitment to human rights. The coalition believes that this needs to happen before CHOGM formalises any decision to admit Rwanda to the Commonwealth.
Rwanda has been trying for the last six years to get into the Commonwealth, originally a grouping of former British colonies.
The Commonwealth is a club of nations with a population of more than two billion and $2.8 trillion in annual trade. Its main focus is promoting trade, education and good governance among its member countries.
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