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NZ to go to CHOGM despite human rights protest

29 April 2013 03:11 am - 6     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Prime Minister John Key says New Zealand will attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka later this year despite the country's questionable human rights record.

Canada says it will boycott the summit unless the host nation investigates allegations of war crimes during the climax of a 26-year civil war.

Since Sri Lanka was announced as the host of this year's CHOGM, anger has been building - protestors took to the streets in London at the weekend to voice their concern at Sri Lanka's human rights record.

They were targeting a meeting of Commonwealth ministers, while inside the meeting, the Commonwealth's secretary-general faced tough questioning.

One of the questions asked was whether Sri Lanka "embodies the principles of human rights, democracy, rule of law and good governance as is laid out in the Commonwealth Charter", to which Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma replied: "I am fully persuaded that they are sincere in subscribing and following those values."

The Commonwealth Charter referred to was signed by the queen less than six weeks ago. It promotes democracy, human rights, rule of law and freedom - things Canada says Sri Lanka is failing to uphold.

But Mr Key says New Zealand will go to the talks in November. He says the queen - or one of her representatives - will be at the talks in Colombo, and we should be too.

A Sri Lankan human rights advocacy group based in New Zealand told 3 News it agrees with Mr Key, saying the country is working hard to right the wrongs of its past. (3 News)

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  Comments - 6

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  • Shandy Monday, 29 April 2013 03:33 AM

    Good move, otherwise NZ could loose milk powder market to Australia.

    IOSirisena Monday, 29 April 2013 03:48 AM

    NZ normally don't go against Australia, if Aus are coming they are coming too

    Sunil Withanage Monday, 29 April 2013 10:27 AM

    Unp.jvp.ltte thay are coming You are going

    clueless Monday, 29 April 2013 08:31 PM

    good move.

    raviraj Tuesday, 30 April 2013 06:02 AM

    their coming is no sign of any confidence in the govt. or its policy or acceptance of the crimes committed
    Some countries that voted against SL are also coming

    Living the dream o/s Tuesday, 30 April 2013 06:15 AM

    SL has a poor standard of living so who will pay for this meeting?


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