The heads of Commonwealth governments should not attend the 2013 Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka in November because of the government’s unwillingness to address ongoing human rights concerns, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to the 54 heads of Commonwealth countries.
Those governments deciding to attend should send a low-level delegation as a public message of dissatisfaction.
During a visit to Sri Lanka in August, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, expressed grave concerns about lack of accountability, unresolved enforced disappearances, and decreasing fundamental freedoms, among other issues.
“The Sri Lankan government should be shunned – not rewarded – for failing to hold anyone accountable for war crimes during the country’s recent conflict,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “Attending a summit in Sri Lanka so soon after the UN rights chief decried a worsening situation sends the wrong message to the government and to victims seeking justice.”
Since the end of the country’s civil armed conflict in May 2009, the human rights record under the administration of President Mahinda Rajapaksa has remained poor. The government has become increasingly authoritarian, attacking the independence of the judiciary and severely limiting the space for public criticism by the media and human rights groups. Despite credible allegations by both the UN Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts and the government’s own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) of numerous wartime abuses by both sides, the government has undertaken no serious investigations or prosecutions.
The Panel of Experts estimated that as many as 40,000 civilians died in the final months of the war.
The Sri Lankan government’s unwillingness to address these concerns resulted in the UN Human Rights Council adoption of a resolution in March 2013 calling on Sri Lanka to implement the many recommendations made by the LLRC. Since the resolution, the Sri Lankan government has made many pronouncements about adopting the recommendations, but has demonstrated little genuine progress in implementation.
“Holding the summit in Sri Lanka casts serious doubts on the Commonwealth’s stated commitment to supporting human rights and democratic reform,” Adams said. “Instead of participating in a propaganda coup for the Sri Lankan government, Commonwealth heads of government should stay home and publicly press Sri Lanka on its repressive policies and lack of accountability.”
I agree with HR group for once. If all those dead bodies buried in secret graves around the country can talk, the whole govt will be jalied for life
Che G Friday, 13 September 2013 04:37 AM
The best news i heard so far today. This government needs to learn what "Human Rights" are in the first place.
ලන්කපුත Friday, 13 September 2013 04:53 AM
Who protects my rights, I have all the rights as a common person, to ask my government to hold the Commom wealth in my country. All the powerfull people are crushing the public of the country. not the leaders. Why you allow them to come to your countries, why not ban all exports for the names of the polticians.
ind Friday, 13 September 2013 04:53 AM
then no body should allow Obama to enter any country as the largest human right violator !
Ed Rowlands Friday, 13 September 2013 04:58 AM
I am very concerned that there appears to be a number of people in the world and in the United Nations and other associated NGO's who think that in wars where there guns and rockets and other ammunition used, that the bullets and other projectiles that are fired from these weapons are not supposed to kill anyone. How can you find out which soldier fired a weapon that killed someone, when he or she was only defending themselves from the enemy?. These people live in Cuckoo Land and the sooner that the Government of Sri Lanka ignores their protests and continues with the good work it is doing, the better it will be for the stability of the country.
After long days a good news from Human Rights and needed to take necessary actions against of War crimes.
UN-Justice Saturday, 14 September 2013 09:01 AM
Do HRW openly talk or condemn about what had happened to countries in the Middle East and Afghanistan after Westerners intervention without the UN approval? Americans are still bombing in Yemen and Pakistan without authorization of respective governments.
Mattson Friday, 13 September 2013 01:34 PM
Yes, this is true. After the CHOGM carnival is over in Nov. it will be business as usual for the SL govt.
Rahul withanage Friday, 13 September 2013 08:26 AM
HRW. Where were you when LTTE was killing civilians for 30. Years. In non combat areas in Sri Lana. And what comments that you made against thousands of civilians were killed in Peshawar. By Americans
David Friday, 13 September 2013 02:10 PM
Who cares what HRW say. They are just a business.
Comments will be edited (grammar, spelling and slang) and authorized at the discretion of Daily Mirror online. The website also has the right not to publish selected comments.