Senior officials from the Commonwealth met in London yersterday for an extraordinary meeting of senior officials of law ministries (SOLM).
Primarily arranged to reach agreement on civil society engagement in Commonwealth Law Ministers Meetings, the meeting will also be used to try promote UK objectives on human rights and Rule of Law.
Civil society - community groups, professional associations, unions, faith-based organisations and charitable organisations - play a central role in making citizens aware of their rights and responsibilities, and in holding governments to account. They are vital to the Commonwealth’s aims of promoting democracy and good governance, human rights and the rule of law, gender equality and sustainable economic and social development
Justice Minister Lord McNally said:
‘The impact of the Commonwealth in improving the quality of life of citizens is greatly enhanced by the involvement of charities, community groups and non-Governmental organisations. These groups help to represent individuals’ views in Government, they make people aware of their rights, scrutinise government activity and help to inform decisions.
‘The Government here in the UK is committed to creating a society where neighbourhoods and community groups are part of the answer to the big social and political problems we face. This meeting is an important step towards promoting that idea further across the Commonwealth.’