Mauritius: ‘The implementation of the rule of law and the protection of human rights are fundamental pillars for any country to have peace, security and stability so as to achieve sustainable development. The modern challenges we face require a collective response which must be guided by the rule of law since it is the foundation of friendly and equitable relations between States’.
The Prime Minister, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, made this statement last evening at InterContinental Resort in Balaclava during the inaugural ceremony of the Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting 2022 (CLMM) convened under the theme Strengthening international cooperation through the rule of law and the protection of human rights.
The Secretary-General (SG) of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland KC; the Acting Attorney General, Mr Soodesh Satkam Callichurn; Ministers and Members of Parliament; Commonwealth Law Ministers; Members of the Diplomatic Corps; Judges; and other dignitaries were also present.
The CLMM is, from 22 to 25 November 2022, bringing together some 33 Ministers and Attorneys General and around 95 delegates from 33 Commonwealth countries together, to set clear directions on a range of legal, the rule of law and justice issues of mutual interest to member countries.
The Prime Minister, in his address, also spoke about the need to have laws and practices in place which reflect compliance with international conventions and norms so that member countries stand united to show their commitment and respect for the protection of human rights. This will inevitably result in better international cooperation amongst member countries, he indicated.
Mr Jugnauth further recalled that the Commonwealth, as an international organisation, which spans many geographical regions, religions and cultures, exists to foster international cooperation and trade links between people all over the world.
He, likewise, expressed the wish for a stronger and more unified Commonwealth to collaborate and stand ready to extend assistance to one another during times of need.
In the midst of present challenges such as climate change, conflicts and instability in our world-leading to disruptions in supply chains impacting the cost of food and energy and creating economic uncertainty, now is the time, more than ever, for our Commonwealth to stand united and for member countries to strengthen the spirit of cooperation so that we can better address all these challenges, he emphasised.
Prime Minister Jugnauth moreover seized the opportunity to pay homage to Her Majesty, late Queen Elizabeth II, who dedicated all of her life to the service of her people and to the Commonwealth at large. She reinforced the links by which the Commonwealth joins the people together across the globe and over the course of Her Majesty’s reign Commonwealth grouped from just seven nations to 56 members, representing around 2.4 billion people, more than a third of the world’s population, he said. As we welcome our new Head of the Commonwealth in, King Charles III, we remain confident that under his headship, the Commonwealth will continue to grow from strength to strength, he added.
The Commonwealth’s SG, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, expressed gratitude to the Government for hosting the CLMM in Mauritius. She also lauded the country’s active leadership within the Commonwealth as host of the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub, which has now unlocked more than USD 56 million in essential climate finance for our most vulnerable countries, with close to USD 900 million more in the pipeline.
On the 2022 CLMM, she explained that vital reforms would be considered, and the meeting will examine the extensive technical and practical assistance that the Commonwealth Secretariat offers to all member countries, namely: access to justice, courts and digitalisation; the law, climate change and food security; Child, Early and Forced Marriage; Anti-Corruption, Cybersecurity and Data Protection; effective Arbitration and Mediation; and Military Justice Transformation. Each area of reform and assistance is essential in its own right, but this meeting comes together into a single, vital opportunity: to craft a new legal settlement for the Commonwealth, which is fit for the times in which we live, she added.
As for the Acting Attorney General, Mr Callichurn, he stated that it is a matter of privilege for Mauritius to host the CLMM for the second time after nearly 30 years, the previous one having taken place in 1993. Mauritius has always valued its membership of, and association with, the Commonwealth, he assured. We, as Member Countries, are bound by a thread of common values and principles which are expressed in the Commonwealth Charter, and we work towards shared goals of prosperity, democracy and peace, he said.
In addition, he expressed hope that, in line with the primary objective of the CLM Meetings, following discussions, Law Ministers and Attorneys General will reach a consensus on the way forward and set clear directions on issues of mutual interest to our member countries, which will eventually pave the way for positive legal reform in our respective jurisdictions.