Commonwealth of Nations membership criteria
are the corpus of requirements that members and prospective members must meet to be allowed to participate in the Commonwealth of Nations
. The criteria have been altered by a series of documents issued over the past seventy-five years.
The most important of these documents were the Statute of Westminster
(1931), the London Declaration
(1949), the Singapore Declaration
(1971), the Harare Declaration
(1991), the Millbrook Commonwealth Action Programme
(1995), the Edinburgh Declaration
(1997), and the Kampala Communiqué
(2007). New members of the Commonwealth must abide by certain criteria that arose from these documents, the most important of which are the Harare principles and the Edinburgh criteria.
The Harare principles require all members of the Commonwealth, old and new, to abide by certain political principles, including democracy and respect for human rights. These can be enforced upon current members, who may be suspended or expelled for failure to abide by them. To date, Fiji
, and Zimbabwe
have been suspended on these grounds; Zimbabwe later withdrew.
The foremost of the Edinburgh criteria requires new members to have either constitutional or administrative ties to at least one current member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Traditionally, new Commonwalth members had ties to the United Kingdom
. The Edinburgh criteria arose from the 1995 accession of Mozambique
, at the time the only member that was never... Read More