Call for Cameron to boycott Sri Lanka summit over human rights
David Cameron is being urged by MPs to consider boycotting next year’s Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka in protest at its human rights record.
The Commons Foreign Affairs Committee said it was wrong for Colombo to host the heads of government meeting amid reports of continuing “serious abuses”.
The PM should not attend unless he had clear evidence of progress, it added.
UK officials said it was too early to decide on the matter but it expected Sri Lanka to honour its commitments.
In a report on the UK’s relationship with the 54-member organisation, the cross-party committee said there were “serious questions” about whether the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) should be taking place in Sri Lanka.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has already said he will boycott the biennial event in November 2013 unless Sri Lanka’s human rights record improves. MPs applauded his “clear and forthright stance” and urged Mr Cameron to follow suit.
“We conclude that continuing evidence of serious human rights abuses in Sri Lanka shows that the Commonwealth’s decision to hold the 2013 CHOGM meeting in Colombo was wrong,” they said.
“The UK prime minister should publicly state his unwillingness to attend the meeting unless he receives convincing and independently verified evidence of substantial and sustainable improvements in human and political rights.”
A 2011 report by the Foreign Office cited “frequent” human rights violations – including terrorist suspects being held without charge for long periods, reports of torture in custody, restrictions on freedom of expression and little progress in investigating disappearances of political activists.
Earlier this month, 27 prisoners were killed during clashes at a prison in Colombo. Opposition parties claim it was a massacre but the government says the deaths happened in exchanges of fire during a riot after prisoners obtained and used weapons.
At least 100,000 people died in the 26-year war between government authorities and Tamil separatists which ended in 2009.
There are still no confirmed figures for the number of civilian deaths in the final stages of the conflict but UN investigations said it was possible up to 40,000 people had been killed in the final five months.
A United Nations report leaked to the BBC on Tuesday suggested that the Sri Lankan government had intimidated UN staff at the end of the conflict – claims it denies – and that the UN failed the civilian Tamil population in the final stages of the conflict.
Giving evidence to the committee earlier this year, Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma said there was little prospect of it reconsidering the summit venue.
During a visit to the country in September, Mr Sharma offered Commonwealth support to help Sri Lanka strengthen its institutions to focus on upholding human rights and press for reconciliation and economic development throughout the country.
The Foreign Office said it was “too early” to talk about what presence the UK would have at the meeting.
“We will look to Sri Lanka to demonstrate its commitment to upholding the Commonwealth values of good governance and respect for human rights,” a spokesman said.
“A key part of this will be to address longstanding issues around accountability and reconciliation after the war.”
In their report, the MPs said the Commonwealth’s commitment to protect and enhance its values had given it a “distinctive role” in the international community but its moral authority had too often been “undermined by the repressive actions of its member states”.
In principle, the MPs said they backed the creation of a commissioner for human rights, democracy and the rule of law but stressed the Commonwealth Secretariat – its executive body – must be more visible and increase its global influence.
They praised the attention given by UK ministers to raising the profile of the Commonwealth in the UK but said the government’s rhetoric about the economic and political value of the organisation was “not being matched by its actions”.
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People determined to be deaf and blind will not hear or see anything. Don’t go there and stop your Canadian and Australian cousins going there if possible. They have done well so far without you. Just keep the LTTE supporting diaspora and other Tamils in your countries happy to make sure you get their vote.
Canadian Prime minister Stephen Harper, Please keep harping your melodies with discodent notes to get more Tamil diaspora votes. We all know what your ulterior motive is.
The Commenwealth is an appendage of England to show its past glory to its former crown colonies. Should Sri Lanka or any former coutry ruled by Englad remain in this good for nothing (dis)-Organization?
The most ruthless, vicious terrorist organisation in the world called the LTTE, committed heinous human rights violations and crimes against humanity for 40 years than any other criminal gang. The LTTE rump now living mainly in the UK and Canada are continuing to use their ill-gotten millions of dollars of blood money to bribe Mr.Cameron and Mr.Harper to achieve their eelam or a separate state. So it is a kind of bartering eelam for votes. The English are the colonial masters to “divide and rule”. The strategic positioning of north-eastern coast will be beneficial to the west, IF they succeed. The Tamil Nadu state has also put their hat into the ring who trained the LTTE terrorists. If Cameron and Harper succumb to terrorists, their statesmanship will be tarnished beyond redemption, and the respect of the institution of the Commonwealth and what it stands for will be lost forever.
if u going to wash white man ASS then happening this kind of things much!
Weerasinghe, it is not the case of going to wash white man’s backside. They know true Sri Lankans will never do it for them. In any case, they do not like to wash it, they like to wipe it off with toilet paper. If we are trying to do the same it will not work, the tissue will burn due to spicy food that we eat. That is why we wash instead.
Harper and Cameron can succumb to Tamil terrorist vote and show the world that they are silly gullibles. We Sri Lankans will rather deal only with brainy leaders from the other countries rather than those western cronies.
Cameron and Harper knows very well that they are not welcome here in Sri Lanka and therefore planning to avoid coming here. These requests to boycott are simply “artificially” made under-cover to create some “hoo-haa” so that they can be seen as vowing to public outcry and issue a public announcement they, in protesting, will not be coming. That way they can be seen as “Tamil friendly” back in their countries and assures more tamil votes at the next election. It is nothing more than just an opportunity to generate more tamil votes for them. They are not at all interested in participating in the summit since they know they are useless in that.
The truth is that they do not want to come to Sri Lanka anyway, to face possible mass Sri Lankan public protests on those two war criminals and terrorist supporters. Therefore they simply “create” their own protest to avoid the protests on them. Clever politics ! At the end, who cares if they don’t come?
Britain and Canada, Please also keep and maintain your tamil tiger terrorists and their supporters at your own home and we do not want that rotten filth back here either. Sri Lanka is now cleaned of such filth and you are now sleeping with that filth. Thank you for that.
Hey Bloggers 1-6,
The noose is tightening with Ban Ki Moon on the verge of calling for an international enquiry on alleged war crimes. We are in for tough times and should respond to the sudden turn on events including boycott of the commonwealth summit in a cautiously strategic manner.
Old Man Peiris, the EAM, is busy chasing the underskirts of his student, oblivious of the immediate threat to our sovereignity. I hope supervising MP for EAM, Hon Sajin Vass is given the reigns to strategise emerging issues approporiately so that we come out of this current mess unscathed.
So my dear fellow bloggers, stop throwing mud at Cameron and Harper and encourage our leaders to repond to the events.
Indeed there are better things to throw at Cameron and Harper. What amazes me is, the UN is being accused of not protecting the LTTE terrorists. The UN has not brought any war crime allegations committed by NATO, the US, UK, Australia etc. in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, Syria and numerous other countries. Why has the old man Peiris not brought this up with Ban Ki Moon? Since May 2009, what have the Sri Lanka diplomats in their embassies in the west done to avoid the UN resolution against Sri Lanka? Do we then have to throw anything at our leaders for their inaction? The only current leader, a true visionary who can do something is the Defence Minister Hon. Gotabaya Rajapakse, who can see the dangerous under currants coming our way by the LTTE remnant terrorist rump in the west, the TNA and Tamil Nadu. India cannot be trusted. We might need help again from China and Russia, our new comrades.
With profound respect and humble submission we welcome all the member country world leaders to the GHOGM.
Nobody from Sri Lanka asked any of them not to come. Harper and Cameron have started the cacophony of noise. We bloogers only responded to it with our personal views.
Those leaders let the wound fester for 37 years with blind eye when Tamil Tigers were in killiing spree until they were finally wiped out by the GoSL. Now, the USA, UK, Canada and the UN are frantically trying to take any action against Sri Lanka as they deem appropriate in the circumstances.
All what the colonial masters and many of the western countries want, “Listen to us, do as we want” Our humble submission does not mean we are prepared to say, “Yes Sir, Yes Sir” and turn ourselves into Baa Baa Black Sheep because they are white.
My apologies! bloogers should read as bloggers
We will not go far throwing mud at British and Canadian leaders.
Instead, as suggested by Alexander M in Blog 7, better to think of what to do and then do it.
We have some good leaders who have brain power. Examples are Mahinda Samarasinghe, Keheliya Rambukwella, Sajin Vass, Dilan Perera, Rauf Hakeem and Rishard Bathiudeen.
Unfortunately, I can’t find a brainy tamil leader who can help.
We should get a special committee together and come up with a way to tackle this issue.
I think Nihal Fernando responded well to Alexander.
When it come to UN and Moon, He is a little, impotent man brushed aside by countries like Israel and US regardless of what he says or does and happily engage on activities like building settlements on Palestine land regardless of any of the UN resolutions of 50 years etc. Moon can do nothing other than to watch quietly. The only reason goes after Sri Lanka is to to hide his impotency and powerlessness and to show he is protecting “HUMAN RIGHTS” of his choice.
What has happened to those 40,000 dead Tamil peoples bodies alleged to have died during the final stage of the war? Have they been crushed into dust and mixed with soil, or are there mass graves in SL guarded by the army as no go areas? Do not forget it was years ago we had the technology to look at Saddam’s WMDs from the space and even the google world has can pinpoint my little home in SL.
SL currently have the highest number of tourists roaming in the north and east and it is perfectly possible magnificent BBC or righteous Channel 4 to get some undercover reporter (hopefully with a camera or a video recorder this time)and get some TNL supporters or vestiges of the LTTE to lead them to these places where the bodies are hidden.
What is currently going on is based on the vendetta of impotent men like boon, NGOs and past colonial powers who build their wealth on slavery and taking other peoples things by force, for SL government refusing to bend to their demands.
That is the reason I fully support SL being together with China to the is same extent the US and the Israel are. Finally it is the choice whether a nation want to bend to the wishes of thugs and drag on forever or stand up and suffer or die.
Once upon a time there was a blogger here named Demala Chelvan, who was living in the precincts of landstrip where the alleged massacre took place. He claimed that a Chinese incinerator was used in the months following May 2009 to dispose all remnants. This kind of eveidence will be prodiced if the UN institues an international enquiry on war crimes. So watch out. There are many Demala Chelvan’s and Frances harrison’s gunning for our sinhala buddhist blood.