Britain bars Zimbabwe’s re-entry into Commonwealth

Britain barred Zimbabwe’s re-entry into the Commonwealth at the just ended summit in Sri Lanka without Harare first addressing the deep concerns that remain about human rights and political freedoms, British Prime Minister David Cameron said yesterday.

The summit was held from Friday last week and ended on Sunday.

In a statement to the House of Commons yesterday Cameron said “Britain successfully resisted an attempt to usher Zimbabwe back into the Commonwealth without first addressing the deep concerns that remain about human rights and political freedoms”.

Asked how serious the Commonwealth was about upholding the core values of the club considering that “some countries thought that Zimbabwe could creep back in”, Cameron replied:

“I completely agree with what my hon. Friend says. At its best, the Commonwealth comes together and signs up to important declarations, such as the Perth declaration on human rights, but sadly, at its worst, those values are not always stood up for in every case.

“We can point to the good places, such as Fiji, excluded from the Commonwealth, given a path back to the Commonwealth if the right things happen, but we can all point to examples where these values have not been properly upheld. But it is an organisation that we should be proud to belong to and want to make it deliver to its best.”

Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth in 2002 after the presidential elections of that year but President Robert Mugabe withdrew the country a year later.

He said Zimbabwe will never rejoin the Commonwealth and called it an evil organisation.



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