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Suspension from the Commonwealth of Nations is the most serious punishment that can be administered to members of the Commonwealth. In the absence of any mechanism by which to expel countries that breach its rules, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) may choose to suspend members from the 'Councils of the Commonwealth', which amounts to the suspension of their formal membership of the organisation, although their participation in activities of the Commonwealth Family of organisations is not necessarily affected.
Four countries have been suspended from the Commonwealth since the inception of the device in 1995: Fiji, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe. Fiji and Pakistan have each been suspended twice, and Zimbabwe has withdrawn permanently from the Commonwealth, whilst Nigeria has rehabilitated entirely.
^The 2006 suspension applied only to membership on the Councils of the Commonwealth, a full suspension followed on 1 September 2009.9 This suspension extended the exclusion to cover all Commonwealth meetings, sporting events and the technical assistance programme (with an exception for assistance in re-establishing democracy).9