President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called on the Commonwealth Parliament to ensure that the fundamental principles and values that form the basis of the Commonwealth Charter are thoroughly pursued to reflect in building just, inclusive and prosperous societies for the people within the Commonwealth.
Consistent with this, President Akufo-Addo explained that the values of good governance, rule of law, protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms, promotion of international peace and security, as well as protection of the environment, must translate into “tangible and measurable outcomes to guarantee human security.”
President Akufo-Addo made these remarks at the opening of the 66th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Accra, on Wednesday, under the theme, “Commonwealth Charter, 10 Years On: Values and Principles for Parliament to Uphold.
Recognizing the burgeoning threats like terrorism and violent extremism in the face of recent attacks in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, he called for a coordinated effort by all nations and stakeholders in combating terrorism through the enactment, of strong legislation that curtails the cross-border movement of illegal firearms, and impose heavy sanctions on offenders.
On the environment, he stated with worry the “undeniable truth” that the planet is undergoing unprecedented environmental degradation in the wake of climate change, and explained how issues, and their adverse consequences, continue to pose imminent threats to our survival.
He asked for the reversal of unconstitutional changes in government across Africa and urged, the Commonwealth itself, to “join ECOWAS and the African Union in demanding the unconditional release from detention of the democratically elected President of Niger, Mohammed Bazoum.”
Whilst calling on the Commonwealth to add its voice to the need for “reform of the institutions of global governance, particularly the United Nations and its Security Council, to make them more representative, he also reminded them of the “agreement of the European nations, who sponsored the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, to the payment of reparations to the descendants of the victims.
Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, the Speaker of Parliament, and President of the CPA, urged the Commonwealth parliamentarians to uphold democratic principles and the values of the Commonwealth.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, also the Vice Chair of the CPA Executive Committee, said it was remarkable that Ghana’s Parliament was hosting the 66th CPA Conference in the same year Ghana marked its 66th Independence Anniversary.
He expressed confidence that it would be a platform for robust deliberations and meaningful connections.
Other speakers included Mr. Stephen Twigg, the Secretary-General, CPA; Mr. Ian Liddel-Grainger, MP, House of Commons, United Kingdom; and Chairperson, CPA Executive Committee; and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey.
The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) is an international network of nearly 180 commonwealth parliaments and legislatures working together to strengthen their commitment to the highest standards of democratic governance.