Chapter 5 The UK Government, the law, and your role -Part 5 Revision

The Commonwealth

–          The Commonwealth is a group of countries that support each other.  They have common views on democracy and often work together to obtain these shared goals.

–          Most members of the Commonwealth were once members of the British Empire, although a few outside countries have joined.  Membership is voluntary.  The Commonwealth has no power over its members, although it can suspend membership.

–          The Queen is the ceremonial head of the Commonwealth.

–          The Commonwealth is based on three core values:

  • Democracy
  • Good Government
  • The Rule of Law

–          Members of the Commonwealth are:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Bangladesh
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Botswana
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Cameroon
  • Canada
  • Cyprus
  • Dominica
  • Fiji (currently suspended)
  • The Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • India
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya
  • Kiribati
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Mozambique
  • Nambia
  • Nauru
  • New Zealand
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Rwanda
  • Samoa
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Singapore
  • Solomon Islands
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Swaziland
  • Tanzania
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tuvalu
  • Uganda
  • UK
  • Vanuatu
  • Zambia

The European Union

–          The European Union (EU) was originally called the European Economic Community (EEC).

–          It was founded on 25 March, 1957 by six western European countries that signed the Treaty of Rome:

  • Belgium
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • The Netherlands

–          The UK originally decided not to join this group but became a member in 1973.

–          EU law is binding in the UK and all other EU member states.   EU laws are called directives, regulations or framework decisions.

–          There are now 27 member states in the EU.  Croatia will become a member in 2013.

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • UK

Other International Groups

–          The Council of Europe

  • The Council of Europe is separate from the EU
  • It is primarily responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights in its member countries
  • It has no power to make laws.  Instead it creates conventions and charters.  The most well-known of these is the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, usually called the European Convention on Human Rights.

–          The United Nations

  • The UN is an international organization with over 190 members, 150 of which are on the UN Security Council.
  • It was set up after World War II.  Its goals are to prevent war and promote international peace.
  • The UK is one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

–          The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

  • NATO is a group of European and North American countries that have agreed to aid each other if one of them should come under attack.
  • It also aims to promote peace between its members.