Prime Minister of Malta's address at the opening of CHOGM
Prime Minister of Malta Joseph Muscat gave an address on the occasion of the opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
"It has been quite a journey since we last met in Malta more than two years ago.
The world is a different place, things we took for granted are now rooted in deep uncertainty, and while progress continues to be achieved, this is uneven and unlevelled.
Despite this, the Commonwealth, our Commonwealth, is experiencing a rekindled interest, with our family growing, and positive changes happening.
As Malta concludes it term as Chair, for the second time in a decade, we wish the United Kingdom the very best for the two years ahead.
I will not list the achievements and the works in progress. Instead, I would rather conclude our term by touching upon a central theme we addressed during our meeting in Valletta, that of equality.
While respecting our different cultures and backgrounds, the Commonwealth must be a force that nudges and encourages its members to embrace this fundamental value. By standing together, our Commonwealth has fought, proudly, equality amongst different races, at a time when such equality could not be taken for granted. That is a feather in our cap. But we have to remind ourselves that equality is not a relative value. We cannot be in favour of one type of equality, and ambivalent or against another.
That is why Malta believes that the advocacy for gender equality, and equal rights for the LGBTIQ community should remain firmly on the Commonwealth agenda. Not to point fingers or cross swords, but to assist decision makers, engage with communities and promote best practices.
We can register progress with brave steps taken in some members of our family, but there are still too many of our sisters and brothers who are criminalised, discriminated against or even subjected to violence.
If there is at least one takeaway from our term as Chair, we do hope it is this, and that the engagement continues.
Finally, Your Majesty, allow me to thank you for the personal interest you take in our Commonwealth. As proud, independent nations, we look at your leadership of our family as a honour you are affording us. What your father, His Majesty King George, started, you have not only continued, but also elevated to unprecedented levels. We are equally elated by the vigour with which His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, actively participates in Commonwealth affairs, and puts a strong Commonwealth dimension in his various national and global initiatives. We are certain that when he will be called upon to do so, he will provide a solid and passionate leadership for our Commonwealth.
All this augurs well for the future."