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Australia rejects calls to boycott Sri Lanka meet

27 April 2013 03:51 am - 6     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Australia has vowed not to boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka over allegations of human rights violations, despite mounting calls not to attend.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr said it would be counter-productive to skip the summit in the Sri Lankan city of Hambantota in November.

"Any suggestion of a boycott would be counter-productive. It would simply isolate the country and render it defiant of international opinion," he told ABC television late Friday.

"Our challenge is to keep the pressure on to see there are further improvements, especially directed at reconciliation in the north.

"People... in the north, they've told me they have seen former Tamil Tigers -- that is fighters using terrorist means -- are now being rehabilitated, being employed, gainfully employed, being reintegrated into that community."

Earlier this week, former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser joined dozens of other prominent Australians in calling for Canberra to boycott the meeting unless there was significant progress on Sri Lanka's human rights record.

"From all the reports that we're getting, there is still continuing human rights violations in Sri Lanka," Fraser said.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has voiced similar sentiments, demanding President Mahinda Rajapakse's regime probe its troops over allegations -- denied by Colombo -- that 40,000 civilians were killed in 2009.

After nearly four decades of civil war, Sri Lanka crushed the Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009.

Backed by India, the United States and European nations, the UN Human Rights Council last month called for an investigation into suspected war crimes including the alleged indiscriminate killing of civilians at the conflict's climax.(AFP)
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  • nicky karunarathnara Saturday, 27 April 2013 04:19 AM

    Australia has become much wiser with wisdom since Julia Gillard became PM. She is the first woman PM and also first head of state not to touch bible when took oaths. Bob Carr, FM is much open minded guy with liberal ideology. He in fact told the BBC, giving an interview on Margret Tatcher's death - that she was a racist of asking Australia not to take Asian immigrants into the country. In fact regarding the Syrian crisis, Carr quoted that arms should not be given to the rebel fighters. But CIA got him down him and gave him a dressing down.

    Bandara Saturday, 27 April 2013 12:00 AM

    thanks Nicky for informative comment. rather nonsence that many ppl put. via DM Android App

    Suq Madique Saturday, 27 April 2013 04:40 AM

    This is the reality which other countries unfortunately refuse to believe for ulterior motives. All this focus on SL has nothing to do with HR issues or concern for tamils but for votes, money and keeping the conflict alive to sell their arms and ammunition.

    PRASANNAJIT Saturday, 27 April 2013 04:42 AM

    They are more worried about the asylum seekers.

    Rog Saturday, 27 April 2013 04:43 AM

    How on earth Australia can boycott since its a mess of boat arrivals under the Leadership of Julia Gillard and every one in ausi wants to kick her out in September. She need the SL govt support to stop more boat arrivals . Hellooooo???????????

    Abdul Saturday, 27 April 2013 05:20 AM

    Australia learned their lesson in the hard way. now they know who are these economic migrants.


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