Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland QC said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the course of our modern history. Lives have been lost, economies are shrinking, and livelihoods have been shattered.”
Rwanda has announced that as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is necessary to postpone the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) scheduled to take place in Kigali, Rwanda on 22–27 June 2020.
The 26th CHOGM and associated events to be held in Kigali at a time will be announced in due course, a statement issued said.
This decision was made in accordance with the 2005 Memorandum of Understanding Establishing the Commonwealth Secretariat and the CHOGM Technical Manual, as well as with precedent.
President Paul Kagame is quoted saying that the coming months, every Commonwealth nation will be fully focused on combatting COVID-19 and its socio-economic impact on our people.
“Our organisation’s deep reservoirs of solidarity and expertise will be invaluable tools as we work together globally to ensure no country is left behind. We look forward to welcoming the Commonwealth family to Kigali for CHOGM once the pandemic has been defeated,” Kagame said in a statement.
She said that it is difficult to predict what the new normal will look like.
“We must be mindful of the risks large meetings pose to all. The current circumstances require heroic decisions. We stand together with Rwanda, and thank all our member countries and, in particular the United Kingdom as our Chair in Office, who have suffered so grievously, for the support and commitment they have shown in these trying times.”
She added that, “I too warmly look forward to reuniting with the Commonwealth family, face-to-face, in the beautiful country of Rwanda.”