The Commonwealth – Nothing To Celebrate

NEWS FROM THE MANNIN BRANCH CELTIC LEAGUE

The Corporation of Douglas has been marking ‘Commonwealth Day’ and raising the flag in a show of support for this disreputable global club of nations.

Here’s the link:

https://www.manxradio.com/…/commonwealth-day-affirmation-he…/

Note the report says ‘a small group’! I bet it was small as very few people on the Island are interested in this club of self seeking politicians other that Claire Christian, Steve Rodan and their ilk who get to goon its sponsored jollies.

However the thing that interested me most was the audio clip which contained the words:

“Joining together as members of one world wide Commonwealth community and valuing the personal dignity and worth of every citizen….a rich source of wisdom and a powerful influence for good in the world”

What a load of tosh!

Now before my friends up on Douglas Head go of on one and make accusations of another ‘rant’ I thought perhaps this would be a pertinent time to reprise the in depth study I did for the Celtic League on the Commonwealth on Nations almost a decade ago. So here it is –it was published in two sections in 2007 on Celtic News:

PART ONE

“CELTIC LEAGUE – PRESS INFORMATION

COMMONWEALTH DAY – IS THERE ANYTHING TO CELEBRATE?

-Today (12/03/07) is Commonwealth day and the event is being markedin the Isle of Man whose politicians make a great play periodically of Mannins association with the body.

But just what is the Commonwealth, what does it stand for and is it a good club to be associated with?

The Celtic League has been doing some research and we have used as our reference points two sources which even the Commonwealth itself would be hard pressed to take issue with.

First source is the Commonwealth Secretariat itself and its web pages at:

https://www.thecommonwealth.org/subhome…/151236/commonwealth/

The second source is the United States State Department – Country by Country – Annual Human Rights Report (for 2006). This can be found at:

https://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/

The Celtic League were ambitious in believing that this would be a straightforward exercise. It soon became apparent that the volume and extent of the information we uncovered makes it necessary for us to break this document into two parts.

This initial Celtic News report (alphabetically) covers 23 countries, Antigua and Barbuda to Malawi. Work is continuing to compile detail on the other 22 countries, Malaysia to Zambia

The Commonwealth beliefs and objectives are set out below. Consider these and then look at the observations which follow each country which are taken from the US State Department Human Rights report and see how the Commonwealths members measure up to their own aspirations.

As politicians and members of the Isle of Man branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association salute Commonwealth Day at a special dinner tonight (Monday – 12/03/07) it may make unpalatable reading!

-“The Commonwealth is an association of 53 independent states consulting and co-operating in the common interests of their peoples and in the promotion of international understanding and world peace. The Commonwealth’s 2 billion citizens, about 30 per cent of the world’s population, are drawn from the broadest range of faiths, races, cultures and traditions.

The association does not have a written constitution, but it does have a series of agreements setting out its beliefs and objectives.

-These Declarations or Statements were issued at various Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings. The first, fundamental statement of core beliefs is the Declaration of Commonwealth Principles which was issued at the 1971 summit in Singapore. Among other things, it stresses the need to foster international peace and security; democracy; libertyof the individual and equal rights for all; the importance of eradicating poverty, ignorance and disease; and it opposes all forms of racial-discrimination.” (From Commonwealth Secretariat Webpages)

Antigua and Barbuda

“there were occasional reports of police brutality, corruption, excessive force, discrimination against homosexuals, and allegations of abuse by prison guards.
On January 19, police shot Kelly Jackson in the leg while searching him and taking him into custody. On June 9, police shot a 13-year-old suspect running away from detention. On July 22, a man charged that police robbed and assaulted him. Also in July there were allegations that a man who died in the hospital from internal injuries had been beaten while in police custody.” (US State Department 2006 Annual-Report on Human Rights)

Australia

“Problems were reported in a few areas, including domestic violence against women and children, particularly in Aboriginal communities, and societal discrimination against Aboriginal people. During the year some Muslim leaders claimed that anti-Muslim sentiment in the country was increasing. There was continuing criticism by domestic labor unions and the International Trade Union Confederation of the-2005 Work Choices law and the 1996 Federal Workplace Relations Act, particularly in regard to the laws’ curbs on trade unions, restrictions on strikes, and emphasis on individual employment contracts.” (US State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

Bahamas

“The most significant human rights problems were arbitrary arrest and detention, complaints of abuse by prison and detention center guards, lengthy pretrial detention and delays in trials, violence against women and children, and continued discrimination against persons of Haitian descent.” (US State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

Bangladesh

“The government’s human rights record remained poor, and the government continued to commit numerous serious abuses. Extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrest and detention, and politically motivated violence were among the most egregious violations. Security forces acted with impunity, and committed acts of physical and psychological torture. In addition violence against journalists continued, as did infringement on religious freedoms. Government corruption remained a significant-problem. Violence against women and children also was a major problem, as was trafficking in persons.” (US State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

Barbados

“The government or its agents did not commit any politically motivated killings; however, police shot and killed three suspects in separate altercations during the year….While the constitution specifically prohibits torture and inhuman or degrading punishment or other treatment, there were reports that police sometimes used excessive force. The majority of complaints against the police alleged unprofessional conduct and beating or assault. Police were occasionally accused of beating-suspects to obtain confessions, and suspects often recanted their confessions during their trial. There were many cases where the only evidence against the accused was a confession.” (US State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

Belize

“While the constitution prohibits torture or other inhuman punishment, there were numerous reports that police and prison staff used excessive force. The Office of the Ombudsman received complaints of alleged misconduct and abuse by police and Department of Corrections personnel. Several cases of alleged abuse featured in the press were never reported to the ombudsman or to the Police Department’s Office of Internal Affairs (OIA) for investigation. In a number of cases, the government-ignored reports of abuses, withheld action until the case had faded from the public’s attention, and then failed to take punitive action or transferred accused officers to other districts. During the year the OIA recorded 74 allegations of police violence. In response authorities disciplined 44 police officers, dismissed two, and arrested five who faced criminal charges. The remaining 23 cases were still under investigation.-The ombudsman’s office received 101 general complaints of police abuse and resolved 96 cases. The ombudsman determined that police use of force was appropriate in the majority of cases investigated, even if the level of force used was sometimes excessive.” (US State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

Botswana

“The following human rights problems were reported during the year: poor prison conditions, lengthy delays in the judicial process, restrictions on press freedom, violence against women, child abuse, discrimination against homosexuals and persons with HIV/AIDs, and restrictions on trade unions. In December the High Court ruled broadly in favor of 189 San (an indigenous ethnic minority) who had sued the government over their forced relocation from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve-(CKGR), and concluded that the government had acted wrongly in several regards.” (US State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

Brunei
“The following human rights problems were reported: inability of citizens to change their government; arbitrary detention; limits on freedom of speech, press, assembly, and association; restrictions on religious freedom; discrimination against women; restricted labor rights; and exploitation of foreign workers.” (US State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights).

Cameroon

“The government’s human rights record remained poor, and it continued-to commit numerous human rights abuses. Security forces committed-numerous unlawful killings; they regularly engaged in torture, beatings,-and other abuses, particularly of detainees and prisoners. Impunity-was a problem in the security forces. Prison conditions were harsh-and life-threatening. Authorities arbitrarily arrested and detained-anglophone citizens advocating secession, local human rights monitors-and activists, and other citizens. The law provides for the arrest-of homosexuals and persons not carrying identification cards. There-were reports of prolonged and sometimes incommunicado pretrial detention-and infringement on citizens’ privacy rights. The government restricted-citizens’ freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association, and harassed-journalists. The government also impeded citizens’ freedom of movement.-The public perceived government corruption to be a serious problem.-Societal violence and discrimination against women; trafficking in-persons, primarily children; discrimination against indigenous Pygmies-and ethnic minorities; and discrimination against homosexuals were-problems. The government restricted worker rights and the activities-of independent labor organizations, and child labor, slavery, and-forced labor, including forced child labor, were reported to be problems.”-(US State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

Canada

US State Department Report positive.

Cyprus

“The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens;-however, there were problems in some areas. There were some reports-of police abuse and degrading treatment of persons in police custody-and of asylum seekers. Violence against women, including spousal abuse,-was common. Trafficking of women to the island, especially for sexual-exploitation, continued to be a problem.” (US State Department 2006-Annual Report on Human Rights)

Dominica

“The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens;-however, there were problems in a few areas, primarily poor prison-conditions, violence against women and children, and adverse conditions-experienced by indigenous Kalinago (Carib Indians).” (US State Department-2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

Fiji

Suspended from Commonwealth due to military coup.

The Gambia

“Although the constitution and law provide for protection of most-human rights, there were problems in many areas. Arbitrary arrests-and detentions increased, particularly after the discovery of the-coup plot. Security forces harassed and mistreated detainees, prisoners,-opposition members, journalists, and civilians with impunity. Prisoners-were held incommunicado, faced prolonged pretrial detention, and were-denied due process. The government infringed on privacy rights and-restricted freedom of speech and press. Women experienced violence-and discrimination, and female genital mutilation (FGM) remained a-problem. Child labor and trafficking in persons also were problems.”-(US State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

Ghana

“Human rights problems included deaths resulting from the excessive-use of force by police; vigilante justice; harsh and life-threatening-prison conditions; police corruption and impunity; arbitrary arrest-and detention; prolonged pretrial detention; infringement on citizens’-privacy rights; forcible dispersal of demonstrations; forced evictions;-corruption in all branches of government; violence against women and-children; female genital mutilation (FGM); societal discrimination-against women, persons with disabilities, homosexuals, and persons-with HIV/AIDS; trafficking in women and children; ethnic discrimination-and politically and ethnically motivated violence; and child labor,-including forced child labor.” (US State Department 2006 Annual Report-on Human Rights)

Grenada

“The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens;-however, problems included allegations of corruption, violence against-women, and instances of child abuse.” (US State Department 2006 Annual-Report on Human Rights)

Guyana

“The most significant reported human rights abuses included unlawful-killings by police, police abuse of suspects, poor prison and jail-conditions, lengthy pretrial detention, and warrantless searches.-Inequitable use of government-controlled media resources compromised-media freedom during the campaign for the August elections. There-was a widespread perception of government corruption. Sexual abuse-and domestic violence against women and children and discrimination-against indigenous persons were pervasive; trafficking in persons-remained a problem.” (US State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human-Rights)

India

“Major problems included extrajudicial killings of persons in custody,-disappearances, torture and rape by police and security forces. The-lack of accountability permeated the government and security forces,-creating an atmosphere in which human rights violations often went-unpunished. Although the country has numerous laws protecting human-rights, enforcement was lax and convictions were rare. Poor prison-conditions, lengthy pretrial detention without charge, and prolonged-detentions while undergoing trial remained significant problems. Government-officials used special antiterrorism legislation to justify the excessive-use of force while combating terrorism and active, violent insurgencies-in Jammu and Kashmir and several northeastern states. Security force-officials who committed human rights abuses generally enjoyed de facto-impunity, although there were investigations into individual abuse-cases as well as punishment of some perpetrators by the court system.-Corruption was endemic in the government and police forces, and the-government made little attempt to combat the problem, except for a-few instances highlighted by the media. The government continued to-apply restrictions to the travel and activities of visiting experts-and scholars. Attacks against religious minorities and the promulgation-of antireligious conversion laws were concerns. Social acceptance-of caste-based discrimination remained a problem, and for many, validated-human rights violations against persons belonging to lower castes.-Domestic violence and abuses against women such as dowry-related deaths,-honor crimes, female infanticide and feticide, and trafficking in-persons remained significant problems. Exploitation of indentured,-bonded, and child labor were ongoing problems.” (US State Department-2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

Jamaica

“While the government generally respected the human rights of its-citizens, there were serious problems in some areas, including: unlawful-killings committed by members of the security forces; mob violence-against and vigilante killings of those suspected of breaking the-law; abuse of detainees and prisoners by police and prison guards;-poor prison and jail conditions; continued impunity for police who-commit crimes; an overburdened judicial system and frequent lengthy-delays in trials; violence and discrimination against women; trafficking-in persons; and violence against suspected or known homosexuals.”-(US State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

Kenya
“The government in many areas respected the human rights of its citizens-or attempted to institute reforms to address deficiencies. However,-serious problems remained, particularly with regard to abuses by the-police. The following human rights problems were reported: unlawful-killings, torture and use of excessive force by police; police impunity;-harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and-detention; prolonged pretrial detention; executive influence on the-judiciary; incidents of disrespect for freedom of speech and the press;-government corruption; abuse of and discrimination against women;-female genital mutilation (FGM); child prostitution and labor; trafficking-in persons; vigilante justice; interethnic violence; lack of enforcement-of workers’ rights.” (US State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human-Rights)

Kiribati

“The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens,-and the law and judiciary provide effective means of dealing with-individual instances of abuse. There were instances of extrajudicial-communal justice. Government corruption, violence and discrimination-against women, child abuse, and child prostitution also were problems.”-(US State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

Lesotho

“The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens;-however, major human rights problems included: unlawful deprivation-of life; security force abuse and use of torture; excessive force-employed against detainees; official impunity; poor prison conditions;-lengthy pretrial detention and long delays in trials; widespread domestic-violence; severe restrictions on women’s rights; societal discrimination-against women and persons with disabilities or HIV/AIDS; and child-labor in the agricultural and other informal sectors.” (US State Department-2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

Malawi

“The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens;-however, there were problems in some areas. Police use of excessive-force, occasional mob violence, and harsh and life-threatening prison-conditions continued. Arbitrary arrest and detention, including an-upsurge in politically motivated arrests, and lengthy pretrial detention-were problems. The government restricted freedoms of speech, press,-and assembly. Societal violence against women, child abuse, trafficking-in persons, restricted worker rights, and forced child labor also-existed.” (US State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

The second part of this report will be published on Celtic News shortly.

J B Moffatt-Director of Information-Celtic League

12/03/07”

PART TWO

“CELTIC LEAGUE – PRESS INFORMATION

THE COMMONWEALTH – BEHIND THE FACADE

Tomorrow (13/03/07) the Isle of Man House of Keys will receive the -annual Commonwealth Day message from the Queen of England.

Set out below is the second part of our review of Human rights in -Commonwealth countries.
The Commonwealth core beliefs stresses:

“the need to foster international peace and security; democracy; liberty-of the individual and equal rights for all; the importance of eradicating-poverty, ignorance and disease; and it opposes all forms of racial-discrimination”

However in part one of our report ( See Celtic News No. 2133 – COMMONWEALTH-DAY – IS THERE ANYTHING TO CELEBRATE?) which looked at 23 countries-and drew extensively from the US State Department 2006 Annual Report-on Human Rights we found that Commonwealth countries adherence to-its core beliefs fell well short of these aspirations.
Analysis of the record of the remaining 22 countries provides an equally-bleak picture.

Malaysia

“The government maintained no independent body to investigate deaths-that occurred during apprehension by police or while in police custody.-Other problems included police abuse of detainees, overcrowded prisons,-use of the Emergency Ordinance and other statutes to arrest and detain-persons without charge or trial, and persistent questions about the-impartiality and independence of the judiciary. The government continued-to restrict freedom of press, association, and assembly and placed-some restrictions on freedom of speech, including prohibitions of-organized public discussions about “sensitive” religious topics. Violence-against women remained a problem. The country was a destination and-transit point for trafficking in women and girls for the purposes-of prostitution and domestic servitude. Longstanding government policies-gave preferences to ethnic Malays in many areas. Workers’ rights were-impeded by long court backlogs and limitations on the right to organize-unions in some industries. Migrant workers faced some discrimination-and exploitation.” (US State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human-Rights)

Maldives

“Although the government’s human rights record improved somewhat during-the year, serious problems remained. In March the government published-a “Roadmap for the Reform Agenda” and subsequently introduced several-bills in parliament to address significant structural difficulties.-Although the proposed legislation was the subject of intense national-debate, none of the bills had passed by the end of the year. Citizens-faced restrictions on their ability to change their government; some-security forces occasionally abused detainees; and the government-limited freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and association,-and freedom of religion. Unequal treatment of women existed, as did-restrictions on workers’ rights.” (US State Department 2006 Annual-Report on Human Rights)

Malta

This country received a generally positive report.

Mauritius

“The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens.-The following human rights problems were reported: police abuse of-suspects and detainees; prison overcrowding; violence and discrimination-against women; abuse of children; children in prostitution and child-labor; some restrictions on workers in the Export Processing Zone-(EPZ). The most serious human rights challenge facing the country-was police abuse of detainees and suspects.” (US State Department-2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

Mozambique

“Although there were improvements in a few areas during the year,-serious human rights and societal problems remained, including: police-use of excessive force resulting in unlawful killings and injuries;-lynchings and mob violence; extremely harsh and life-threatening prison-conditions, leading to several deaths; arbitrary arrest and detention;-lengthy pretrial detention; police harassment and arbitrary detention-of journalists; widespread domestic violence and discrimination against-women; abuse and criminal exploitation of children, including child-prostitution; trafficking in women and children; discrimination against-persons with disabilities and HIV/AIDS; child labor in the informal-sector and forced child labor; and poor enforcement of labor legislation.”-(US State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

Namibia

“Human rights problems included: unlawful killings, torture, beatings,-and abuse of criminal suspects and detainees by security forces; overcrowded-prisons; prolonged pretrial detention and long delays in trials; government-attempts to curb media and nongovernmental (NGO) criticism; violence-against women and children, including rape and child abuse; discrimination-against women, ethnic minorities, and indigenous peoples; and child-labor.” (US State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

Naura

This country received a generally positive report.
New Zealand
“The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens,-and the law and judiciary provide effective means of addressing individual-instances of abuse. There were disproportionate societal problems-for indigenous people.” (US State Department 2006 Annual Report on-Human Rights)

Nigeria

“The government’s human rights record remained poor, and government-officials at all levels continued to commit serious abuses. The most-significant human rights problems included the abridgement of citizens’-right to change their government; politically motivated and extrajudicial-killings by security forces; the use of excessive force, including-torture, by security forces; vigilante killings; impunity; beatings-of prisoners, detainees, and suspected criminals; harsh and life threatening-prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and prolonged pretrial detention;-executive influence on the judiciary and judicial corruption; infringement-on privacy rights; restrictions on freedom of speech, press, assembly,-religion, and movement; domestic violence and discrimination against-women; female genital mutilation (FGM); child abuse and child sexual-exploitation; societal violence; ethnic, regional, and religious discrimination;-and trafficking in persons for the purposes of prostitution and forced-labor.” (US State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

Pakistan

“The government’s human rights record remained poor, and government-officials at all levels continued to commit serious abuses. The most-significant human rights problems included the abridgement of citizens’-right to change their government; politically motivated and extrajudicial-killings by security forces; the use of excessive force, including-torture, by security forces; vigilante killings; impunity; beatings-of prisoners, detainees, and suspected criminals; harsh and life threatening-prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and prolonged pretrial detention;-executive influence on the judiciary and judicial corruption; infringement-on privacy rights; restrictions on freedom of speech, press, assembly,-religion, and movement; domestic violence and discrimination against-women; female genital mutilation (FGM); child abuse and child sexual-exploitation; societal violence; ethnic, regional, and religious discrimination;-and trafficking in persons for the purposes of prostitution and forced-labor.” (US State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

Papua New Guinea

“Human rights abuses included arbitrary or unlawful killings by police;-police abuse of detainees, including of children; poor prison conditions;-lengthy pretrial detention; infringement of citizens’ privacy rights;-government corruption; violence and discrimination against women and-children; discrimination against persons with disabilities; and continuing-intertribal violence.” (US State Department 2006 Annual Report on-Human Rights)

St Kitts and Nevis

“Although the government generally respected the human rights of its-citizens, problems included poor prison conditions, lack of opposition-access to government-controlled media, corruption, and violence against-women.” (US State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

Saint Lucia

“While the government generally respected the human rights of its-citizens, there were problems in a few areas, primarily abuse of suspects-and prisoners by the police, long delays in trials and sentencing,-violence against women, and child abuse.” (US State Department 2006-Annual Report on Human Rights)
St Vincent and the Grenadines
“Although the government generally respected the human rights of its-citizens, there were problems in a few areas, primarily impunity for-police who used excessive force, poor prison conditions, an overburdened-court system, violence against women, and abuse of children.” (US-State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

Samoa

This country received a generally positive report.

Seychelles

“The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens.-However, the following human rights problems were reported: prolonged-pretrial detention; an inefficient and politically influenced court-system; restrictions on speech, press, and assembly; official corruption;-violence against women and children; restrictions on labor rights;-and discrimination against foreign workers.” (US State Department-2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

Sierra Leone

“However, there were serious problems in a number of areas, including:-security force abuse, including rape, and use of excessive force with-detainees, including juveniles; police theft and extortion; poor conditions-in prisons and jails; official impunity; arbitrary arrest and detention;-prolonged detention, excessive bail, and insufficient legal representation;-restrictions on freedom of speech and press, although fewer than in-the previous year; government and chiefdom detention and harassment-of journalists; harassment of opposition party supporters by ruling-party members; widespread official corruption; societal discrimination-and violence against women; female genital mutilation (FGM); child-abuse; trafficking in persons, including children; forced labor, including-by children; and child labor.” (US State Department 2006 Annual Report-on Human Rights)

Singapore

“The government has broad powers to limit citizens’ rights and to-handicap political opposition, which it used. Caning is an allowable-punishment for numerous offenses. The following human rights problems-were reported: preventive detention, executive influence over the-judiciary, infringement of citizens’ privacy rights, restriction of-speech and press freedom and the practice of self-censorship by journalists,-restriction of freedom of assembly and freedom of association, some-restriction of freedom of religion, and some trafficking in persons.”-(US State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)
Solomon Islands

“The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens;-however, there were problems in some areas. Human rights problems-included lengthy pretrial detention, government corruption, and violence-and discrimination against women and minorities.” (US State Department-2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

South Africa

“The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens.-However, the government, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and-local media reported the following serious human rights problems:-police use of excessive force against suspects and detainees, which-resulted in deaths and injuries; vigilante violence and mob justice;-abuse of prisoners, including beatings and rape, and severe overcrowding-of prisons; lengthy delays in trials and prolonged pretrial detention;-forcible dispersal of demonstrations; pervasive violence against women-and children and societal discrimination against women and persons-with disabilities; trafficking in persons; violence resulting from-racial and ethnic tensions and conflicts with foreigners; and child-labor, including forced child labor and child prostitution.” (US State-Department 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

Sri Lanka

“The government’s respect for the human rights of its citizens declined-due in part to the breakdown of the CFA. Credible sources reported-human rights problems, including unlawful killings by government agents,-high profile killings by unknown perpetrators, politically motivated-killings by paramilitary forces associated with the government and-the LTTE, and disappearances. Human rights monitors also reported-arbitrary arrests and detention, poor prison conditions, denial of-fair public trial, government corruption and lack of transparency,-infringement of religious freedom, infringement of freedom of movement,-and discrimination against minorities. There were numerous reports-that armed paramilitary groups linked to government security forces-participated in armed attacks, some against civilians. Following the-December 1 LTTE attempt to assassinate Defense Secretary Gothabaya-Rajapaka, the government strengthened emergency regulations that broadened-security forces’ powers in the arrest without warrant and non-accountable-detention of civilians for up to 12 months.” (US State Department-2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

Swaziland

“The government’s human rights record was poor, and government agents-continued to commit serious abuses, including: inability of citizens-to change their government; arbitrary killings by security forces;-police use of torture, beatings, and excessive force; police impunity;-arbitrary arrest and lengthy pretrial detention; infringement on citizens’-privacy rights; limits on freedom of speech and of the press; restrictions-on freedom of assembly and association; prohibitions on political-activity and harassment of political activists; restrictions on freedom-of movement; discrimination and violence against women; poor enforcement-of women’s rights; child abuse; trafficking in persons; societal discrimination-against mixed race and white citizens; antiunion discrimination; and-child labor.” (US State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

Tonga

“The country’s human rights record remained deficient. Citizens lacked-the ability to change their government. However, in March the king-appointed a non-noble as prime minister, and in October a parliamentary-national committee formed in 2005 to explore the possibility of expanding-political rights issued a report recommending an all-elected parliament,-with 17 “people’s representatives” and nine nobles’ representatives.-There were allegations of police and defense force abuses of some-persons arrested under a state of emergency decree following a major-riot in the capital of Nuku’alofa on November 16, which occurred after-initially peaceful political demonstrations turned violent. There-was also severe, temporary detention center overcrowding as a result-of the post-riot arrests. A member of Parliament (MP) was charged-with sedition when exercising his right to free speech. Government-corruption was a problem, and discrimination against women continued.”-(US State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

Trinidad and Tobago

“The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens;-however, there were problems in some areas: police killings during-apprehension or custody, inmate injuries in riots over poor prison-conditions and other grievances, high-profile attempts to pervert-the course of justice and cases of alleged bribery, violence against-women, inadequate services for vulnerable children, and unsafe working-conditions.” (US State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

Tuvala

This country received a generally positive report.

Uganda

“The government’s human rights record remained poor. Although there-were improvements in a few areas, serious problems remained, including:-unlawful killings by security forces; disappearances; security forces-use of torture and abuse of suspects; vigilante justice; harsh prison-conditions; official impunity; arbitrary arrest; incommunicado and-lengthy pretrial detention; restrictions on the right to a fair trial-and on freedoms of speech, the press, and association; limited freedom-of religion; abuse of internally displaced persons (IDPs); restrictions-on opposition parties; electoral violence and irregularities; government-corruption; violence and discrimination against women; female genital-mutilation (FGM); violence and abuse of children, particularly sexual-abuse; trafficking in persons; violence and discrimination against-persons with disabilities; forced labor, including by children; and-child labor.” (US State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

United Kingdom

“The following human rights problems were reported: increased police-misconduct; occasional abuse of detainees and other persons by individual-members of the police and military; overcrowded prison conditions-and some inadequate prison infrastructure; increased limitations on-freedom of religious expression; violence and discrimination against-ethnic and religious minorities, including increased anti-Semitism,-women, and children; and trafficking of persons into the country.”(US-State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

Tanzania

“There were a number of continuing human rights problems. Police and-prison guards used excessive force against inmates or suspects, at-times resulting in death, and police impunity was a problem; there-were continued reports of killings of elderly individuals suspected-of being witches; prison conditions were harsh and life threatening;-police routinely conducted searches without warrants, were often corrupt,-and at times failed to bring detained individuals before a judge in-the specified period of time; the judiciary suffered from corruption-in the lower courts; freedom of speech and press were partly limited;-governmental corruption remained pervasive; authorities restricted-the movement of refugees; societal violence against women persisted;-and trafficking in persons and child labor were problems.” (US State-Department 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

Vanuata

“The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens;-however, there were problems in some areas. These included poor prison-conditions, arrests without warrants, an extremely slow judicial process,-government corruption, and violence and discrimination against women.”-(US State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights)

Zambia

“The government’s human rights record remained poor; although there-were improvements in a few areas. Human rights problems included:-election irregularities; unlawful killings; torture, beatings, and-abuse of criminal suspects and detainees by security forces; poor-and life threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrests and prolonged-detention; long delays in trials; arbitrary interference with privacy;-restrictions on freedom of speech and press, and intimidation of journalists;-restrictions on assembly and association; government corruption and-impunity; violence and discrimination against women; child abuse;-trafficking in persons; discrimination against persons with disabilities;-and limited enforcement of labor rights and child labor laws.” (US-State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights).

-The level of respect for human rights across the Commonwealth presents-a depressing picture. State violence, repression. torture and discrimination-of minorities is endemic.

This is the reality behind the ‘High Powered Summit Meetings’ the-grand declarations and the image of smiling leaders posing for a ‘family-photograph’ with the Queen of England.

Note. Quotes from the US State Department 2006 Annual Report on Human-Rights in specific countries should be read in the context of the-overall country reports which can be found at:

https://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/

J B Moffatt-Director of Information-Celtic League

12/03/07”

I would like to think things may have improved in the last nine years but as in over fifty years of the Commonwealth they hadn’t I doubt it.

BERNARD MOFFATT

Issued by: The Mannin Branch Celtic League

14/03/16

THE CELTIC LEAGUE
The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries including our own Mannin branch. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues

The link for the main web pages is below:
https://celticleague.net

Mannin Branch Celtic League's photo.
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