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CHOGM

What To Expect At CHOGM 2021?

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A Rwandan proverb says: “Two people working together are better than eight fighting against each other”. As a landlocked country, we know that regional and international cooperation is imperative to thrive and succeed.

Even more so, since COVID-19 has highlighted that in an interconnected and interdependent world, countries share a common destiny.

The accelerated international response to the current public health emergency is an illustration that when we combine our efforts, we have the capacity to prepare for future threats but also, to act on pre-existing ones.

In that context, the Commonwealth, which has been a leader in environment and climate change that continue to affect communities around the globe, could also play a key role in ensuring equitable access to and distribution of fairly priced COVID-19 vaccines.

The 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) scheduled to take place in June 2021, in Rwanda, under the theme “Delivering a common future: connecting, innovating, transforming”, will be an opportunity for Commonwealth Leaders to reflect on new forms of global governance while also raising ambitions on key decisions taken during CHOGM 2018.

It will also be the occasion to build unified positions ahead of key upcoming events, including the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) scheduled for early November 2021, in Glasgow, UK.

It is indeed time to put our words into action, by making our governance models more inclusive; by making our health systems more resilient; by ensuring our economies and trade attain sustainable growth; by strengthening our social protection systems; by taking bold action on climate and by unlocking the advantages of technology for development.

We must adapt our national, regional, and international systems to respond to both current and pressing challenges and as our talented and innovative young people will inherit this world, we shall do it with them, rather than for them.

Let us build on CHOGM’s momentum, to strengthen existing strategic partnerships and alliances as well as build new ones towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, as well as other major international commitments designed to preserve global common goods.

As we look ahead with optimism that the global health situation will improve over the next few months, Rwanda, as the youngest member of the Commonwealth family of Nations, is looking forward to welcoming all of you to your extended home.

Our national COVID-19 response has been focused on multi-sectoral collaboration and built upon regional and international responses.

As we continue to strengthen our capabilities, be reassured that we will host you in a safe environment, in respect of all World Health Organization recommendations.

Murakaza neza mu Rwanda! (Welcome to Rwanda!)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Vincent Biruta is the currently Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Dr. Biruta has previously been in charge of key cabinet portfolios including Environment; Natural Resources; Education; Public Works, Transport & Communication; and Health. He also served as President of the Senate and President of the National Transitional Assembly.

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CHOGM

Commonwealth SG Predicts More Deaths From Covid-19 In Poorer Countries

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Poorer countries will most likely ‘bear the brunt of hundreds of thousands of needles deaths’ from inequality in access to COVID-19 vaccines, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland warned.

This dire warning was given in a video address to the High Level Segment at the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 23 February.

Scotland said COVID-19 has shone a harsh light on health inequalities within and between countries and nowhere is this more evident that in access t vaccines.

“Although vaccines are a vital lifeline, they remain out of the grasp of far too many and crucially this means that citizens of the poorest nations may bear the brunt of hundreds of thousands of needles deaths, therefore we must not allow this and leaders of our world must come together to ensure that this does not happen,” she added.

She warned inequitable vaccine access could derail the global economic recovery and make wealthier nations lose money and we have learned that in order for us to be safe, we must work together.

She stated that the past year has enhanced lingering existential threats, including the climate emergency and reaffirmed that the Commonwealth’s resolve to support small states and other vulnerable countries to protect the environment and tackle climate change.

She called for inclusive development and multilateral co-operation, stressing that re-commitment to human rights must be central to Covid-19 recovery efforts.

“Human rights are not the panacea to all challenges brought about by the pandemic, by climate change or by the never ending list of conflicts across the world, but the last 12 months have taught a painful less to humanity therefore we must learn from experience,” she emphasised.

“We have to make human rights central to building back better, without human rights, humanity is not a sustainable project and we cannot afford to fail,” she concluded.

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CHOGM

Prince Harry and Duchess of Sussex Expecting Second Child

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Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are “overjoyed,”for expecting their second child.

Harry and Meghan’s first child, a son named Archie, who will turn 2 in May, is seventh in line to the throne. Their charitable foundation, Archewell, is named after their son.

Meghan revealed that she had suffered a miscarriage in July, “Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few,” she said in a November press article.

The couple have made numerous moves to protect their privacy since the birth of their son, including stepping back from their duties as members of the royal family and moving out of England.

In early 2020, Meghan and Harry announced they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. They recently bought a house in Santa Barbara, California.

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CHOGM

Queen Elizabeth II Rule Over Britain Scrutinised

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A British commentator has claimed calls for republicanism are on the rise and suggested the monarchy should end when the Queen, 94, dies.

Polly Toynbee, a Guardian columnist, made the remarks after claims the monarch vetted more than 1,000 laws through a parliamentary procedure called Queen’s consent.

Earlier this week, it was claimed the Queen and Prince Charles have vetted at least 1,062 parliamentary bills through Queen’s consent, which has led to the royals privately lobbying for changes in law, according to the Guardian.

Toynbee said the claims could topple the monarchy altogether and has urged the country to consider whether the Royal Family should be part of the country’s future.

She said: “When she dies, likely within this decade, before they dash to seal our constitutional fate with an instant vivat rex for the unpopular Prince Charles, let there be time for us to question whether she should be laid to rest as Elizabeth the Last.”

Tonybee’s negative view of the monarchy was evident throughout her column, where she said: “But none of that reflects the real damage the monarchy inflicts on us.

“It’s not their money nor their abuse of power, but their very existence that ambushes and infantilises the public imagination, making us their subjects in mind and spirit.”

The commentator went on to state the Queen’s 68-year reign has seen the end of the British Empire, the country’s GDP fall, before she warned, “by the end of her reign there may be no union, with Scotland and Northern Ireland on their way out”.

There have been 61 monarchs of England and Britain for a period of approximately 1,200 years.

When the Queen dies, Prince Charles is due to ascend the throne.

In response to the Guardian’s claims, a spokesperson for the Queen said: “Whether Queen’s consent is required is decided by parliament, independently from the royal household, in matters that would affect crown interests, including personal property and personal interests of the monarch.

“If consent is required, draft legislation is, by convention, put to the sovereign to grant solely on advice of ministers and as a matter of public record.”

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