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Amid criticism of the country’s rights, Commonwealth leaders meet in Rwanda

The Commonwealth is a club of 54 countries, most of which are former British colonies, covering one-third of humanity and presenting itself as a network of equal partners with shared goals such as democracy, peace and prosperity.

Britain’s Prince Charles and Prime Minister Boris Johnson will attend an opening ceremony with heads of state and heads of state of most member states before the leaders hold talks behind closed doors for two days.

One item on the agenda was the applications of the former French colonies of Togo and Gabon to join the Commonwealth, a sign of disappointment over France’s influence in Africa and the appeal of the English-speaking club.

The theme of the summit was “Providing a Common Future: Incorporation, Innovation, Transformation”, with a brief note on the expected outcomes.

At previous summits, leaders acknowledged reports and goals on specific challenges, such as malaria, and some wealthy members have sponsored specific initiatives.

Some key countries, including South Africa, India, Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand, have sent a ministerial delegation to Kigali.

Earlier this month, 24 civil society groups, including Human Rights Watch, said the Commonwealth’s human rights mandate would be violated if leaders failed to hold Rwanda accountable for its record.

They said the Rwandan government was responsible for the illegal persecution, persecution and torture of dissidents, which Rwanda denies.

The hosting of the Rwanda summit has also drawn attention to Britain’s controversial policy of deporting asylum seekers.

In the wake of his embarrassing conversation with both Johnson and Rwandan President Paul Kagame during the summit, Prince Charles is said to have described the British media as “horrible”. However, no tension is likely to emerge in public.

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Asked by Reuters on Thursday whether he would go to detention centers set up by Rwandan authorities to seek asylum seekers from Britain, Johnson said he was “broken” and could not.