HRW wants to change C’wealth venue

7 February 2013 03:59 am - 20     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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(New York) – The Commonwealth should shift the venue of its November 2013 Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) from Sri Lanka unless its government makes prompt, measurable, and meaningful progress on human rights, Human Rights Watch said today in a public letter to Commonwealth Heads of Government. Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka on February 10, 2013 to discuss the upcoming meeting.

The Sri Lankan government under President Mahinda Rajapaksa has taken no meaningful steps to address serious abuses by government forces in the final months of the armed conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009, during which the United Nations has estimated that up to 40,000 civilians died. Since 2009 the government has been responsible for a worsening human rights situation that includes clampdowns on basic freedoms, attacks and threats against civil society, and actions against the judiciary and other institutions, imperiling Sri Lanka’s democracy.

“The Sri Lankan government’s blatant disregard for the Commonwealth’s principles of human rights and democratic reform makes it a poor host for this important event,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “Unless the government urgently addresses abuses and ends impunity, the international recognition it will gain by hosting the Commonwealth summit while repressing its key values will be an embarrassment to the Commonwealth and its member countries.”

In 2011, Human Rights Watch and other domestic and international human rights groups urged the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group to impose the following benchmarks as a precondition for allowing Sri Lanka to be the host of the 2013 summit. These benchmarks remain relevant today and include:
  • Ensuring meaningful domestic implementation of the international human rights treaties to which the government of Sri Lanka is party and bringing all legislation into line with international human rights standards;
 
  • Providing guarantees that all Sri Lankan people will be treated with dignity and respect as equal citizens and live in an environment in which they can enjoy all fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of Sri Lanka;
 
  • Restoring constitutional provisions that guarantee separation of powers and reinstating the independence of the three branches of government;
  • Restoring the independence of key government institutions, such as the National Human Rights Commission;
  • Instituting effective mechanisms to protect journalists, civil society groups and human rights defenders who work for the promotion and protection of human rights;
  • Supporting and cooperating with independent and credible domestic and international investigations into all allegations concerning violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in the country, especially related to the conduct of the conflict which ended in 2009; and
  • Making a commitment to collaborate with the Office of the UN Secretary-General to initiate the implementation of the recommendations set out in the report of the secretary-general’s Panel of Experts.
Human Rights Watch is also deeply concerned that in addition to hosting the 2013 Commonwealth summit, Sri Lanka will hold the chairmanship of the Commonwealth from 2013 to 2015.

“A summit in Sri Lanka will cast serious doubt on the Commonwealth’s commitment to supporting human rights, democratic reform, and fundamental human rights enshrined in the Commonwealth Harare Declaration of 1991,” Adams said. “Handing Sri Lanka leadership of the Commonwealth at a time when democratic institutions are under direct and sustained attack by the Sri Lankan government will be an affront to the victims of rights violations in the country and around the Commonwealth.”(Source: HRW)
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  Comments - 20

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  • morehana Thursday, 07 February 2013 08:22 AM

    Like LTTE terrorists used to do sparking separatism.

    Kirala Thursday, 07 February 2013 08:42 AM

    It's a safe haven only for corrupt politicians and their henchman. Not for anyone else.

    Achari Thursday, 07 February 2013 04:15 AM

    Mr.WW what is your opinion????????

    sam Thursday, 07 February 2013 04:19 AM

    UN, Please change the venue.

    buffaloa citizen Thursday, 07 February 2013 04:21 AM

    Absolute truth and a very valid requirement. Criminals and rats should never allowed to gain popularity through ulterior motives.

    malkanthi Thursday, 07 February 2013 04:21 AM

    Irrespective of the venue, the name 'Common Wealth' means the wealth if common, but we is enjoying the fullness of the wealth, assets of this nation.

    paradise overseas Thursday, 07 February 2013 04:55 AM

    CHOGM should NOT be held in SL. It is a third world under developed country without basic human facilities and to top it all the country is run by a genocidal govt that murdered 40,000 innocent Tamils.

    berty Thursday, 07 February 2013 09:24 AM

    No : Venue should not be changed.
    Let the foreigners visit our "Wonder of Asia" and see fopr themselves the Real wonders

    IRC Rathana Thursday, 07 February 2013 05:03 AM

    we dont care.

    DMH Thursday, 07 February 2013 05:13 AM

    It should be held in SL no doubt about it, its a safe haven now and nothing should stop it from its development. There are more than enough human facilities do not talk about what you dont know. What about all the Sri lankans the LTTE murdered? In war everyone loses out, and LTTE had to be chased out to grant peace to both sri lankans and tamils. Do not be bias like the rest of the world we support both tamils and sinhalese equally but no place for LTTE now or ever, Cheers to SL!

    Lucy Thursday, 07 February 2013 10:10 AM

    WW should start a fast unto death and be serious about it

    Fayad Thursday, 07 February 2013 05:35 AM

    HRW pressure is understood and no objection
    Why this is not implemented in other regions apart from Asia & Africa

    Looney Land Thursday, 07 February 2013 05:35 AM

    WW will say its a conspiracy to undermine this looney nation!

    Cats Eye Thursday, 07 February 2013 10:26 AM

    We deserve! Let's also see how the muslim matter turns out to be!

    samara Thursday, 07 February 2013 05:44 AM

    better to change the venue....................it will reduce our problems

    sobers Thursday, 07 February 2013 10:32 AM

    KANDA ONE, BONDA ONE,let them shift the conference some where else.

    mohamed asfar Thursday, 07 February 2013 10:49 AM

    come to sri lanka and see for yourselves how civilized and what a fast developing country we are now. do not shout from refugee houses in the west. shameless boat people.

    lal Thursday, 07 February 2013 11:13 AM

    Only doing what they paid to do - undermining and destabilising small countries for the benefit of imperialist thugs.

    Ranil Thursday, 07 February 2013 11:44 AM

    SL forces did not kill innocent tamils but they killed LTTE terrorists. we don't care whether CHOGM held or not. We are living peacefully ...thanks to our forces.

    Lobo Thursday, 07 February 2013 12:21 PM

    And the HRW has no hidden agendas? Only the naive will believe that.


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