Why the Venue of CHOGM2013 Should Be Shifted Out of Sri Lanka A.

It is sad that British Prime Minister decided to attend CHOGM2013 in Sri Lanka without laying down conditions as recommended by his Foreign Affairs Committee: Foreign Affairs Committee: ‗‘We conclude that continuing evidence of serious human rights abuses in Sri Lanka shows that the Commonwealth's decision to hold the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo was wrong. We are impressed by the clear and forthright stance taken by the Canadian Prime Minister, who has said he would attend the Meeting only if human rights were improved. The UK Prime Minister should publicly state his unwillingness to attend the meeting unless he receives convincing and independently-verified evidence of substantial and sustainable improvements in human and political rights in Sri Lanka. …. Sir Malcolm Rifkind was among those who expressed concern at the actions of a number of countries that had opposed the idea of a Commissioner for Democracy, the Rule of Law and Human Rights. He said that Sri Lanka was "the obvious case in point'‘ – UK Foreign Affairs Committee: The role and future of the Commonwealth, 15 November 2012, http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmfaff/114/11407.htm B. Commonwealth giving Sri Lanka carte blanche for human rights abuses, Amnesty Internatioal, 27 September 2013, http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/commonwealthgiving-sri-lanka-carte-blanche-human-rights-abuses-2013-09-27 Commonwealth Ministers: Press Sri Lanka on Rights, Human Rights Watch, 26 September 2013, http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/09/26/commonwealth-ministerspress-sri-lanka-rights ‗‘Holding of the summit without such a proven commitment to the values and principles of democracy would not only call into grave question the value, credibility and future of the Commonwealth, it will also be the granting of the Commonwealth seal of approval to an emerging dictatorship in Asia‘‘ - Mangala Samaraweera, Former Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka writes to Commonwealth Secretary General, 5 July 2013, http://www.mirror.lk/news/8782-mangala-write-to-commonwealth-secy ''.... The point here is that it would be unfortunate if the misleading impression gained ground that the Secretariat is powerless to act because the matter is one for heads of government. The precedent of Brisbane suggests that the Secretary General might have a constructive role to play in taking soundings among member states and to form a view about whether a CHOGM in Colombo would be in the best interests of the Commonwealth'' - Sri Lanka CHOGM 2013: With Whom Does the Decision Lie?, Prof Philip Murphy, Director, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, 26 April 2013, http://commonwealth-opinion.blogs.sas.ac.uk/2013/sri-lanka-chogm-2013-with-whomdoes-the-decision-lie/ ‗‘We urge CMAG to put Sri Lanka on its formal agenda at the earliest and lay down clear benchmarks that the country needs to fulfil before it can host CHOGM in November‘‘ Joint Civil Society Submission on Sri Lanka to the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), 24 April 2013, https://civicus.org/images/Joint_Civil_Society_Submission_to_CMAG_on_Sri_Lanka__Ap ril_2013.pdf

‗‘CMAG should recommend the organization shift the venue of its November 2013 Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) from Sri Lanka unless the government makes prompt, measurable, and meaningful progress on human rights‘‘ - Sri Lanka: Commonwealth Should Relocate November Meeting, Human Rights Watch, 23 April 2013, http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/04/24/sri-lanka-commonwealth-should-relocatenovember-meeting ‖Call upon the Members of the Commonwealth, through the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group to place Sri Lanka on the agenda of its next meeting on 26 April 2013 and suspend it from the Councils of the Commonwealth for serious and persistent violations of the Commonwealth fundamental values, RESOLUTION ON THE RULE OF LAW AND JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE IN SRI LANKA, 17 April 2013, http://cmja.org/downloads/news/srilankaresolutionfinal.pdf ‗‘ The Law Society of England and Wales today added its voice to those calling for the suspension of Sri Lanka from the Councils of the Commonwealth, following reports of serious breaches of the rule of law and judicial independence‘‘ - Law Society supports CLA call for suspension of Sri Lanka from Commonwealth, 17 April 2013, http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/news/press-releases/law-society-supports-cla-call-forsuspension-of-sri-lanka-from-commonwealth/ ‗‘THE Law Society of South Africa on Tuesday came out in support of a resolution by Commonwealth lawyers calling for the suspension of Sri Lanka, which is due to host the 54-nation body‘s next summit meeting, in November‘‘ - Lawyers back Sri Lanka suspension, 24 April 2013, http://www.bdlive.co.za/national/law/2013/04/24/lawyersback-sri-lanka-suspension ‗‘Malcolm Fraser, the 22nd Prime Minister of Australia has endorsed the petition: ‗‘…. They can do this by following the Canadian Prime Minister‘s example and announcing that if the summit goes ahead in Sri Lanka, without an improvement in the human rights situation there, then they will not attend. ….‘‘ - 22nd Prime Minister Of Aussie Wants Julia To Reconsider CHOGM 2013 In Sri Lanka, 14 April 2013, http://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/22nd-prime-minister-of-aussie-wantsjulia-to-reconsider-chogm-2013-in-sri-lanka/ ‗‘The clarity Sir Ronald Sanders has provided serves as a striking rod on the purpose for its future existence. His immensely enriching response has come out at a time when the movement is at crossroads degenerated by the forces of undemocratic countries outside the movement and the willful forces against the principles of the movement, within‘‘ Interview: Sri Lanka Has Not Only Crossed The Line, But Trying To Set A Precedent – Sir Ronald, 10 April 2013, http://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/interview-sri-lankahas-not-only-crossed-the-line-but-trying-to-set-a-precedent-sir-ronald/ ‗‘What‘s at stake is the reputation of the Commonwealth – a diverse group of nations united by shared values. Soon it will be led by a country that committed war crimes on a scale that the UN says, ―represented a grave assault on the entire regime of international law‖ - Commonwealth struggles for unity amid Sri Lanka HR concerns, Frances Harrison, 15 March 2013, http://asiancorrespondent.com/102156/commonwealth-sri-lanka-human-rights/ ‗‘ Perhaps emboldened by getting away with murder – the army‘s slaughter of 40,000 Tamil civilians in 2008 and 2009 – Rajapaksa‘s government has now moved to destroy a pillar of the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary. It has sacked Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake for daring to make a decision that it finds inconvenient‘‘ - How Britain can avert a human rights disaster, Geoffrey Robertson, 14 March 2013, http://www.newstatesman.com/world-affairs/world-affairs/2013/03/how-britain-canavert-human-rights-disaster

‗‘ An important clause in the Charter reads: ―We are committed to equality and respect for the protection and promotion of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights including the right to development, for all without discrimination on any grounds as the foundations of peaceful, just and stable societies‖. Unless the Sri Lanka government demonstrates that it upholds that commitment through actions that have been urged upon it by the UN, many Commonwealth Governments, and a myriad number of international legal and judicial organisations, it is not qualified to host the CHOGM. Attendance by other Heads of Government would sully the Commonwealth by validating the Rajapaksa government.‘‘ - The Commonwealth Charter, Human Rights and Sri Lanka, Sir Ronald Sanders, 14 March 2013, http://www.huntingtonnews.net/57528 ‗‘ The next Commonwealth heads of government meeting in November is scheduled for Sri Lanka where an abusive government has committed multiple outrages. If that meeting is not moved elsewhere, the Commonwealth will abandon its enlightened commitments. …. If the Commonwealth holds its heads of government meeting in Sri Lanka, the island's leaders will coordinate the work of Commonwealth agencies for the next two years — including those that concern themselves with human rights and democracy‘‘ - A message to Colombo, James Manor, 7 March 2013, http://www.indianexpress.com/news/a-message-to-colombo/1084072/0 ''Let us as a nation stand up for the Latimer House Principles which were adopted here in Nigeria in 2003 and unequivocally condemn the actions of the government of Sri Lanka'' - Why Nigeria should boycott CHOGM? Boma Ozobia, President, Commonwealth Lawyers Association, 5 March 2013, http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/why-nigeria-mustboycott-chogm-meet-in-sri-lanka/141301/#.UTdkDzNeafs.twitter ''Relocate, should the government fail to make these changes, the November 2013 heads of government meeting away from Colombo, or downgrade representation to ministerial level'' - Sri Lanka‘s Authoritarian Turn: The Need for International Action, International Crisis Group, 20 February 2013, http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/asia/south-asia/sri-lanka/243-sri-lankasauthoritarian-turn-the-need-for-international-action.aspx ‗‘ In the present climate, allowing Sri Lanka to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in November 2013 would raise serious questions about the Commonwealth‘s commitment to democracy, the independence of the judiciar y and the rule of law‘‘ - Open letter: Sri Lanka should not host the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, International Commission of Jurists, 12 February 2013, http://www.icj.org/open-letter-sri-lanka-should-not-host-the-2013-commonwealthheads-of-government-meeting/ ‗‘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,‘‘ - Sri Lanka: Move Commonwealth Summit, 6 February 2013, http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/02/06/sri-lanka-move-commonwealthsummit ‗‘ It is time for the Commonwealth of Nations to suspend Sri Lanka from its councils. In doing so, the Commonwealth would restore confidence in its 2.1 billion people that it is not a hypocritical association that claims to stand for values, including democracy, human rights and the rule of law but fails to act to discipline governments that violate these values‘‘ - Save the Commonwealth Brand: Tell Sri Lanka 'Enough', Sir Ronald Sanders, 17 January 2013, http://www.huntingtonnews.net/53873 ‗‘The Secretary General of the Commonwealth should take urgent action to request the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) to evaluate the present situation in Sri

Lanka and report if the actions of the Sri Lankan Government are in keeping with its declared commitment to the Harare Principles of Democracy and the Rule of Law‘‘ Secretary General Of The Commonwealth Should Take Urgent Action, Mangala Samaraweera MP, Former Foreign Minister, 8 December 2012, http://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/secretary-general-of-the-commonwealthshould-take-urgent-action/ ''Harper had initially made the threat in September last year to boycott the meeting and one year on the Canadian government feels that there is still no progress on the human rights issue on the ground'' - Canada Renews CHOGM Threat, 1 December 2012, http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2012/12/01/canada-renews-c-h-o-g-m-threat/ ‗‘To the Secretariat and Member States of the Commonwealth: Insist that the Sri Lankan government take the actions listed in recommendation 14 above, and agree that in the event it fails to do so, the October 2013 Commonwealth heads of government meeting will be moved from Colombo to an alternative location'' - Sri Lanka: Tamil Politics and the Quest for a Political Solution, International Crisis Group, 20 November 2012, http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/asia/south-asia/sri-lanka/239-sri-lanka-tamilpolitics-and-the-quest-for-a-political-solution.aspx ‗‘We urge the Commonwealth Secretariat to require that Sri Lanka must demonstrate the 'spirit of democracy' with practical steps to tackle patent gaps in human rights, democracy and governance which have repeatedly attracted international concern‘‘ *Open Letter (*From Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Law Centre, Civicus, Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice, ForumAsia and UNAUK) to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, 21 September 2012, http://www.humanrightsinitiative.org/pressrelease/OpenLettertotheCommonwealthSecre taryGeneral_21_09_2012.pdf ‗‘The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 2013 is currently scheduled to take place in Sri Lanka. That is dangerously ill advised. The government of that country has committed a succession of gross abuses against the humane values which lie at the heart of the Commonwealth‘s mission ‗‘ - Sri Lanka: Human rights violations and CHOGM2013: To Sustain the Commonwealth Commitment to Human Dignity: Reconsider the Award of the 2013 CHOGM to Sri Lanka, Professor James Manor, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, October 2011, http://www.commonwealthadvisorybureau.org/uploads/media/Opinion_Oct11_James.pdf

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful