The Commonwealth has taken the step of partially suspending Gabon, following the recent military coup on August 30th in the Central African nation.
This decision was reached during the 63rd Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group meeting, which took place in New York alongside the United Nations General Assembly, to address ongoing developments within member states.
The meeting, chaired by Samoa’s Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Tourism, Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa, saw the participation of ministers from Barbados, Canada, Ghana, Mauritius, and Rwanda, along with representatives from Belize, Malaysia, and Malta.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the ministers collectively expressed the Commonwealth’s concerns regarding Gabon’s political situation, strongly denounced the unconstitutional removal of the elected government, and called for the restoration of democracy.
“In accordance with the steps set out in the Millbrook Commonwealth Action Programme on the Harare Declaration, the Ministers decided to partially suspend Gabon from the Commonwealth pending the restoration of democracy,” it said.
“This partial suspension entails suspension from the Councils of the Commonwealth, and the exclusion of Gabon from all Commonwealth intergovernmental meetings and events, including ministerial meetings and CHOGM.”
The ministers have established a two-year timeline, during which they will assess the progress in Gabon. If significant improvements are not observed within this timeframe, there will be further consideration of a complete suspension of Gabon, as mentioned in the statement.
Additionally, they called upon Secretary-General Patricia Scotland to maintain her Good Offices engagement with Gabon, which includes offering technical support, with the objective of addressing the current situation and aiding Gabon’s path back to democratic governance.
“The Group called upon Gabon as a Commonwealth member, to uphold the values and principles of the Commonwealth and to hold credible elections as soon as possible and within a maximum of two years from 30 August 2023,” the statement said.
“The Group called upon Gabon to guarantee the personal integrity, safety, health and human rights of former President Ali Bongo Ondimba, his family members and members of his Government.”