The modern Commonwealth was established in 1949 as an association of free and equal sovereign states which had been part of the British Empire but were now independent and, in the case of India and Pakistan, on the verge of becoming republics. There are now 53 member states, listed below, with a combined population of 2.2 billion (approximately 30% of the world’s population).
Caribbean and Americas
Antigua and Barbuda
St Kitts and Nevis
St Vincent and The Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
United Republic of Tanzania
Papua New Guinea
Rwanda, the newest member joined in 2009, despite having no direct link to Britain. The Gambia left the Commonwealth in 2013, Zimbabwe withdrew in 2003 and Fiji is currently suspended.
The Commonwealth is an association of governments and peoples, built around shared language, institutions, challenges, aspirations and values. Unlike most other international associations, the Commonwealth works on a consensus model and membership is voluntary, predicated primarily on a country’s commitment to upholding shared values and principles, including the protection and promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
The Affirmations underlie the intrinsic values which the entire Commonwealth shares. Click here to read the Affirmations