Next Commonwealth in SL?

26 October 2011 04:15 am - 15     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has signalled that the next Commonwealth leaders' meeting will go ahead in Sri Lanka, despite concerns over human rights abuses.

But he says individual member states will make their own calls on whether to attend.

In Perth today for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), Mr Rudd was asked if he supported a call by former Australian prime minister Malcolm Fraser for Sri Lanka's hosting of the next CHOGM to be deferred.

Mr Rudd said that at the last meeting in Trinidad and Tobago, Sri Lanka and Mauritius were named as hosts for the next two meetings.

"Therefore, it will be a matter for individual governments how they then view matters unfolding in Sri Lanka between now and when that next CHOGM is held," he said.

Mr Rudd noted that various Commonwealth leaders had already made statements on the issue of human rights in Sri Lanka.

They include the Canadian prime minister, who has threatened to boycott a Sri Lankan CHOGM.

"I think our friends in Sri Lanka are mindful that there are a range of views on this across the Commonwealth," Mr Rudd said.

His comments come a day after Attorney-General Robert McClelland quashed a court action filed by a Sri Lankan-born Australian man in Melbourne alleging Sri Lankan President Mahendra Rajapaksa was guilty of war crimes during his government's final offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009.

Mr Rudd said Commonwealth foreign ministers and heads of governments could raise the issue of human rights violations in Sri Lanka when they met in Perth this week.

He said Australia's position was that Sri Lanka must revisit the recommendations of a United Nations report on allegations of human rights abuses there.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma told reporters that respect for human rights was a fundamental Commonwealth value and the Commonwealth remained available to assist Sri Lanka.

He said Sri Lanka was aware the Commonwealth had considerable expertise in areas such as promoting reconciliation between communities, constitutional legal assistance and strengthening human rights organisations.

The Commonwealth always emphasised engagement with member states to address human rights issues rather than censoring such nations over their records, he said.

Mr Rudd said the Commonwealth had the power of moral suasion and no member country looked forward to the prospect of being suspended or expelled from the Commonwealth, as seen with Fiji after its military coup.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has a one-on-one meeting with Mr Rajapaksa in Perth today. (Source: )

  Comments - 15

  • Big Ears Wednesday, 26 October 2011 05:32 AM

    It will be interesting to see who will attend.

    para Wednesday, 26 October 2011 06:08 AM

    No! It'll be interesting to see who's not attending?

    Jix Wednesday, 26 October 2011 06:23 AM

    Is that how you choose to perceive this piece of news? Reality might be quite contrary to how we choose to interpret things..

    Paul Wednesday, 26 October 2011 06:49 AM

    The night is still young.
    Dawn could appear at any time.

    fazal Wednesday, 26 October 2011 07:48 AM


    tube light Wednesday, 26 October 2011 08:13 AM

    negative thinker!

    anura Thursday, 27 October 2011 05:52 AM

    Good on you Mr.Rudd. You deserve to be the next labour prime minister of australia for the second time too.

    Wara Wednesday, 26 October 2011 08:44 AM

    We should be afraid if we have anything to hide. It's good change for us to show the real situation in Sri Lanka. Recently the congressmen who came from US gave a positive note on us.

    Marusira Wednesday, 26 October 2011 08:47 AM

    All these do gooder countries have skelitons in their own cupboards.

    Just look at those countries saying we are perfect, how they treat their own indigeones people, and look at what their armies are doing in Iraq and Afganisthan under the pretext of democratisation.

    Dinithi Wednesday, 26 October 2011 12:51 PM

    All the international problems that country is facing will be over by the end of November this year - mark my words.

    sam Wednesday, 26 October 2011 04:19 PM

    Fortune teller is it? more oil?

    Mifaz Wednesday, 26 October 2011 04:53 PM

    What is the reason??

    Wara Wednesday, 26 October 2011 04:38 AM

    Excellent !! While Canada is trying to remove us from Common Wealth, here Australia has given a good slap to them.

    marakkale Wednesday, 26 October 2011 08:28 PM

    Sri Lanka the country with a back bone,,,,,,,,,Jaya Sri Lanka

    Rohan Wednesday, 26 October 2011 08:42 PM

    you always dream.

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