Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is encouraging members of the Commonwealth to work together to create a better future that is beneficial for all, especially the most vulnerable.
“Our shared values of peace, democracy, development, justice and human rights – which are found in our new ‘Commonwealth Charter’ – mean that we place special emphasis on including everyone in this goal, especially those who are vulnerable,” she said.
Through the Charter, Commonwealth leaders commit to upholding: democracy; human rights; peace and security; tolerance, respect and understanding; freedom of expression; separation of powers; rule of law; good governance; sustainable development; environmental protection; access to health, education, food and shelter; gender equality; and the importance of young people and civil society.
The Charter was signed on Monday, March 11, by Her Majesty, and her message for Commonwealth Day was delivered by Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, during a function at King’s House.
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Highlighting the importance of the theme ‘Opportunity through Enterprise’, The Queen urged individuals to think about what can be gained with a bold heart, dedication, and teamwork.
“And let us bear in mind the great opportunity that is offered by the Commonwealth – of joining with others, stronger together, for the common good,” she added.
In her message, The Queen celebrated the achievements which have helped to build strength, resilience and pride in young people across the world.
“Great achievements in human history have a number of common characteristics. From climbing the highest mountain, to winning a sporting competition, making a scientific breakthrough, building a successful business or discovering unique artistic talent – these outcomes all begin as a simple goal or idea in one person’s mind,” she said.
The function, which was hosted by Their Excellencies, had an array of cultural and musical presentations. It was attended by Members of the Diplomatic Corps, members of the business community, students and teachers from various schools in the corporate area.
Commonwealth Day, which is celebrated on the second Monday in March each year, is used as a time to promote understanding on global issues and international co-operation.
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 54 independent countries, working together towards shared goals in democracy and development. These include the promotion of democracy, human rights, good governance, the rule of law, free trade and multilateralism. Member countries come from six regions: Africa, Asia, the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, and the South Pacific.
Commonwealth countries have a common integration origin in the British, sharing the same legal and political systems, based on democratic values.
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter