29 October, 2020

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A Sri Lanka Summit Discredits The Commonwealth

By Gideon Rachman

Gideon Rachman

The world is so busy cheering on the emergence of democracy in Myanmar that it is in danger of averting its eyes from the assault on democracy in another Asian state – Sri Lanka.

In fact, the sins of the Sri Lankan government are not merely being ignored. They are about to be rewarded. This November Colombo is set to play host to the prestigious Commonwealth heads of government meeting. So far, of the 54 Commonwealth countries – more than a quarter of the members of the UN – only Canada has had the guts to say that it will not send its prime minister. But the leaders of the UK, Australia, India, South Africa and other democratic nations should feel sick about accepting the hospitality of a Sri Lankan government with a grimrecord of human rights abuses.

The manner in which the Sri Lankan government won victory in the country’s civil war in 2009 remains deeply controversial. According to the UN, up to 40,000 civilians were killed in the final onslaught on the Tamil-dominated north of Sri Lanka.

It could be argued that – even though the culmination of the war was savage – the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa did Sri Lanka a service by finally ending a terrible conflict that had gone on for 29 years and cost thousands of lives.

Yet, even if this brutal logic is accepted and allegations of war crimes ignored, Sri Lanka’s record since the end of the war has been grim. Critics of the government continue to disappear. Sri Lankan security forces are credibly accused of routinely using torture. Journalists have been harassed and even killed – amid accusations of state involvement. This year Sri Lanka’s chief justice was impeached and forced out of office.

Meanwhile, Mr Rajapaksa’s family is extending its reach through business and government. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, his brother, is the country’s powerful defence secretary. Basil Rajapaksa, another brother, is economic development minister. The president is also exhibiting tell-tale signs of megalomania. Visitors to the summit later this year could have the pleasure of landing at the newly built Rajapaksa international airport and then attending a performance at the recently opened Rajapaksa national theatre.

Both projects have been built with considerable amounts of Chinese aid. It is striking that just as the democratisation of Myanmar has led to that country loosening its relationship with China, Sri Lanka has cosied up to Beijing.

The Sri Lankan government, of course, disputes many of the accusations levelled at it. But a succession of reports issued this year from a roll-call of respected international organisations have come to similarly damning conclusions. The International Crisis Group says: “Government attacks on the judiciary and political dissent have accelerated Sri Lanka’s authoritarian turn.” Amnesty International concluded that the “authorities have criminalised freedom of expression and equated dissent with treason”. Human Rights Watch reports that “government officials have threatened, and unknown assailants have attacked, members of the media, civil society and the political opposition”. The HRW report documents in detail cases of torture and rape carried out by the Sri Lankan security forces. This year Reporters Without Borders placed Sri Lanka 162nd out of 179 nations in a press freedom index.

After an investigative journalist was shot in his home this year, Navi Pillay, the UN human rights commissioner, expressed concern about “extrajudicial killings and abductions”. The Commonwealth Lawyers’ Association, reacting to the assault on the judiciary, has said that holding a summit in Sri Lanka would “call into grave question the value, credibility and future of the Commonwealth”.

Although the Commonwealth claims to be committed to “democracy, freedom, peace and the rule of law” – and has suspended countries for violating these principles – it seems determined to press ahead with the Sri Lanka summit. Kamalesh Sharma, the organisation’s secretary-general, has singularly failed to provide any moral leadership.

But he, ultimately, is a civil servant. It should be up to the bigger Commonwealth nations to take a stand. Yet, with the exception of Canada, they have not done so.

Britain still sees the organisation, which has its roots in the British empire, as a valuable network. British diplomats operate from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the government – although uneasy about the Sri Lanka summit – is reluctant to act, without cover from other Commonwealth nations. Australia, intent on building up its ties in Asia, seems unworried.

The racial politics that lie just beneath the surface of the Commonwealth make a “whites-only” boycott difficult. However, both India and South Africa are proud of their democracies – and India is also home to a significant Tamil population. Yet the Indian government seems unable to act.

The sad truth is that the Commonwealth heads of government will, in all likelihood, troop into Sri Lanka later this year. And the damage to the Commonwealth will not end there. Sri Lanka would then assume the chairmanship of the organisation for the next two years. That should just about finish off any claim the Commonwealth has to moral authority in world affairs.

Courtesy Financial Times – gideon.rachman@ft.com

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    Another journalist with integrity.

    Thank god, there are still people with conscience in the world of journalists.

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      This guy hired by the TGTE (Tamil ghost of tiger elam) is vomiting bullshit. Sri Lanka has been freed from terrorismm and hence is the best place to host the commonwelth summit.

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    Gadeon Rachman,

    A Sri Lanka Summit Discredits The Commonwealth?

    I would say Sri Lanka Summit exposes Sri Lanka to the Commonwealth and the World.

    2013 Sri Lanka Commonweatl Olympics.

    This will Expose the Sinhala Buddhist Racism and Theravada Buddhist Myths to the World,

    1936 Summer Olympics NAZI OLYMPICS, BERLIN 1936

    http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005680

    For two weeks in August 1936, Adolf Hitler’s Nazi dictatorship camouflaged its racist, militaristic character while hosting the Summer Olympics. Softpedaling its antisemitic agenda and plans for territorial expansion, the regime exploited the Games to bedazzle many foreign spectators and journalists with an image of a peaceful, tolerant Germany. Having rejected a proposed boycott of the 1936 Olympics, the United States and other western democracies missed the opportunity to take a stand that—some observers at the time claimed—might have given Hitler pause and bolstered international resistance to Nazi tyranny. With the conclusion of the Games, Germany’s expansionist policies and the persecution of Jews and other “enemies of the state” accelerated, culminating in World War II and the Holocaus

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1936_Summer_Olympics

    Hitler saw the Games as an opportunity to promote his government and ideals of racial supremacy, and the official Nazi party paper, the Völkischer Beobachter wrote in the strongest terms that Jews and Black people should not be allowed to participate in the Games.[2][3] However, when threatened with a boycott of the Games by other nations, he relented and allowed Black people and Jews to participate, and added one token participant to the German team—a German woman, Helene Mayer, who had a Jewish father. At the same time, the party removed signs stating “Jews not wanted” and similar slogans from the city’s main tourist attractions. In an attempt to “clean up” Berlin, the German Ministry of the Interior authorized the chief of police to arrest all Romani (Gypsies) and keep them in a “special camp,” the Berlin-Marzahn concentration camp.[4] Total ticket revenues were 7.5 million Reichsmark, generating a profit of over one million marks. The official budget did not include outlays by the city of Berlin (which issued an itemized report detailing its costs of 16.5 million marks) or outlays of the German national government (which did not make its costs public, but is estimated to have spent US$30 million, chiefly in capital outlays).[5]

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    .
    So the Commonwealth heads of government will land at Rajapakse Airport, takes Rajapkse Highway to Rajapakse Theater to meet Rajapakse.
    I think it’s good for the country and hotel industry and of course Rajapakse’s and Co.
    Also, from now until November, there will be not much of human rights violations as well. People can relax for few months.
    :-)

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      A truce in Human rights violations, that is good even for 4 months.

      With LTTE Terrorism and LTTE Ethnic Cleansing was there a truce?

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        Amarasiri, I would rather not compare our democratically elected government to the LTTE- a terrorist organization

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    Britain should look at its own face before it accuses any country. Tony Blair supported Dick Cheney and Rumsfeld to attack Irak to consolidate the oil fields. oer a million civilians were killed in the process. Detective scientists of MI5 who produced evidence that the evidence for weapons of destruction (WDM) died mysteriously. Irak is now in shambles. More deaths occur per day from sectarian violence than even during the war.

    No mater, the oil fields are safely in the hands of Haliberton and British petroleum.
    This is sheer naked robbery.

    Then came the attack on Libya and now that country is in the hands of militia. No matter — as long as they allow the western multinationals to carry away the fossil fuels etc.

    Do I have to list the crimes of Britain in Ireland? The support given to racist South Africa and Rhodesia for as long as they could etc. The exploitation of immigrant workers from the Indian subcontinent etc.

    So why should Sri lanka allow Britian to even participate in the commonwealth meeting?

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    Thank you, Gideon.
    Almost all Commonwealth countries are morally corrupt and cannot even prod a country like Sri Lanka that cannot go any lower than this present state:

    Sri Lanka – the oppressive government stands between the oppressed and the UN

    I. Post-independence Oppression continues unabated:
    a.:Jayantha Dhanapala’s submission to Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), 25 August 2010: ‘’The lessons we have to learn go back to the past – certainly from the time that we had responsibility for our own governance on 4 February 1948. Each and every Government which held office from 1948 till the present bear culpability for the failure to achieve good governance, national unity and a framework of peace, stability and economic development in which all ethnic, religious and other groups could live in security and equality.” (Dhanapala is a Sinhalese Buddhist and a former UN Under-Secretary General. Many more conscientious Sinhalese retired diplomats made similar statements (on political, economic, social, cultural inequalities) to LLRC. The website of LLRC is now hacked. The govt set up the website, in the first place, under great pressure from some civil societies. Many submissions in Tamil were not posted at all on the website. Reporting by media is another story. Fortunately Groundviews, a citizen journal, saved most of it – http://www.scribd.com/doc/104705097/Conscientious-Sinhalese-Tell-LLRC
    b.”After each election, there were missed opportunities for initiatives that could have addressed many concerns of Tamil community members, while simultaneously respecting the concerns of all but the most radical Sinhalese nationalists. In each instance, however, Sri Lanka’s political leaders chose not to expend their political capital in this way but instead, to accede to demands of the radicals. … it will be useful to seek lessons from periods when Sri Lankan political leaders, like President Mahinda Rajapaksa, had such overwhelming political support that they were in a position, if they chose, to expend political capital by taking concrete steps toward communal reconciliation. …” – Prospects For Post Conflict Reconciliation And Development In Sri Lanka: Can Singapore Be Used As A Model? Text of a presentation at Global Asia Institute Speaker Series (2010), National University of Singapore, Prof John Richardson (he has researched the conflict in Sri Lanka for more than twenty years), http://groundviews.org/2010/11/05/prospects-for-post-conflict-reconciliation-and-development-in-sri-lanka-can-singapore-be-used-as-a-model/

    II Hostility towards UN:

    a.Sri Lanka has been hostile to

    i. visits by UN officials

    Saying no to interference, 20 September 2012, http://www.dailymirror.lk/caption-story/22086-saying-no-to-interference.html

    ii.statements made by UN officials during the last seven years of the present regime.They have even burnt effigies of the Secretary General in Colombo – http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/07/06/us-srilanka-un-idUSTRE6651MI20100706. They vilified John Holmes(Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs) – http://www.humanrights.asia/news/ahrc-news/AS-192-2007

    b.Sri Lanka is opposed to UN reports:

    Sri Lanka rejects UN panel report, 13 April 2011, http://www.bbc.co.uk/sinhala/news/story/2011/04/110413_amnesty.shtml

    c.Sri Lanka brushes aside UNHRC resolutions, but employs PR firms to ”work” with the US:

    UNHRC passed US-sponsored resolutions on Sri Lanka in March 2012 and March 2013 asking the Sri Lankan government to investigate violations of International Law and to implement the recommendations of its own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission:

    i.”President Mahinda Rajapaksa is to lead a campaign organized by the government to muster the support of the people against the Resolution passed at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva” – MR To Lead Campaign To Get People’s Support, 1 April 2012, http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2012/04/01/mr-to-lead-campaign-to-get-peoples-support/

    ii.Sri Lankan government appointed two PR firms to work with the US in February/March 2013 and told the parliament on 9 April 2013 that it did not concur with the US-sponsored resolution.

    c. Under international pressure it pretended to take Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission seriously and prepared an Action Plan but no action is yet taken:

    i.”In the interim report of the LLRC, recommendations were made which were eminently sensible and humane, and which would have been a step in the process of reconciliation that the government talks about. The president accepted the recommendations very promptly, to his credit. A committee was appointed, the usual bureaucratic game, presided over by Attorney General Mohan Peiris, but we have still not heard about implementation” – Economic development alone will not satisfy minority grievances, Jayantha Dhanapala, 30 July 2011,

    ii.The Sri Lankan Foreign Minister took an Action Plan to the US in May 2012 and told the US Secretary of State that Sri Lanka would implement the LLRC recommendations. It’s under great pressure from the public that the government released the very professional-looking Action Plan to the public after the Minister returned home but the government has not implemented even the easy-to-implemnt recommendations:

    iii. ‘’The LLRC itself laments the non implementation of its “interim recommendations” and should it be able to, would no doubt lament the non implementation of its final recommendations. Sri Lanka and the shared future of all her peoples would be much better off, if the Lalith Weeratunga and Mohan Peiris Committee on implementing the LLRC recommendations was to actually ensure that the letter and spirit of the LLRC recommendations be implemented, speedily, fully and completely, which is exactly what the world seems to be telling Sri Lanka in Geneva – Geneva And The Implementation Of The LLRC, Harim Pieris, 5 March 2013, https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/geneva-and-the-implementation-of-the-llrc/

    III.UN agencies have been prevented from helping the IDPs in the North and the East:

    i.Denying access to humanitarian aid:
    ‘’It should be noted that the problem of accessing camps for humanitarian personnel persists throughout the country’’ – Mission Report: Visit of Major General (ret.) Patrick Cammaert, Special Envoy of the Special Representative for Children & Armed Conflict, to Sri Lanka, 05-11 December 2009, http://www.un.org/children/conflict/_documents/SriLankavisitReport09.pdf/

    ii.Governmt refusing to endorse application for aid:
    No funds to meet needs of nearly 200,000 Northern IDPs due to govt refusal to endorse 2010 action plan, Namini Wijedasa, 13 March 2010: ‘’With nearly 200,000 people still displaced in the North — some living in temporary camps while others squat with host families — international agencies are running out of money to meet urgent needs like water supply and resettlement grants, according to a report released last week. The funding crisis follows the government’s refusal to endorse the 2010 Common Humanitarian Action Plan (CHAP), authoritative sources said. Produced annually through a collaboration of all major humanitarian assistance groups in the country (including UN agencies), the CHAP is a document listing out priority areas for donor funding along with estimates. This is usually released to the international donor community by way of consolidated or flash appeal and offers information about sectors that require injections of aid” – http://transcurrents.com/tc/2010/03/no_funds_to_meet_needs_of_near.html
    IV. Presidental Task Force for Northern Development has no Tamils: and refuses UN agencies access for essential work

    ”The nineteen person-Presidential Task Force implementing the government’s “Northern Spring” program has not a single Tamil member and does no consultation with the local communities involved or with their elected representatives, (mostly TNA)’’ – LLRC report, an inconvenient truth? , 5 January 2012, http://www.dailymirror.lk/opinion/15903-llrc-report-an-inconvenient-truth.html

    ..‘’The military leadership continued to control the approval of humanitarian projects in the north through its membership in the Presidential Task Force for Resettlement, Development and Security in the Northern Province (PTF). The PTF places particular restrictions on the provision of mental health care and psycho-social activities. Because of government restrictions, no comprehensive assessment has been conducted in conflict-affected areas, and there is no comprehensive data on the needs of the most vulnerable groups. No IDP profiling has been done since 2007. The government, UNHCR and the UN Office for Project Services launched a survey of protracted IDPs in 2011, but the project was abandoned in December 2012 due to obstacles placed on it by the PTF” – Global Overview 2012: People internally displaced by conflict and violence, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, 29 April 2013, http://www.internal-displacement.org/8025708F004BE3B1/(httpInfoFiles)/DB8A259305B071A8C1257B5C00268DDC/$file/global-overview-2012.pdf

    V. No economic development without political solution which the international community can acieve through the UN:

    On 19 February 2013, Overseas Development Institute launched the book, ”Horizontal Inequalities as a cause of conflict: findings and policy conclusions” (edited by Prof Frances), During one Q&A period, Prof France said: Aid is complicit in worsening horizontal inequalities: aid over many years, not just during a critical period, in countries like Ruwanda, Burundi and Sri Lanka has supported one group rather than another: partly because donors tend to work with the govt and the govt wants to support one group rather than another and partly because this is not an issue built into the donor’s consciousness and they are not worried about this and they just go with the government. Permanent political inequality leads to violence Donors concentrate on socio-economics and little on political inequality, and what the international community can do for the deeply distressing situation in Sri Lanka is to act through the UN” – http://www.odi.org.uk/events/3131-horizontal-inequalities-as-cause-conflict-findings-policy-conclusions

    ”SriLanka has severe social and economic Inequalities” – A Typology of Post-Conflict Environments, Graham Brown, Arnim Langer & Frances Stewart, September 2011, http://soc.kuleuven.be/web/files/12/80/wp01.pdf

    VI.Many UN Special Procedures mandate holders have been waiting for years for invitation to enter Sri Lanka:

    i.’’These independent experts serve as the eyes and ears of the UN human rights system. This book provides concrete evidence of why the system works and ways it can be improved’’ – Catalysts for Change: How the UN’s Independent Experts Promote Human Rights, 13 July 2012, http://www.brookings.edu/research/books/2012/catalystsforchange

    ii. ‘’There are currently eight outstanding requests to visit Sri Lanka by special procedures mandate holders: on minority issues; freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; freedom of opinion and expression; extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; enforced or involuntary disappearances; human rights defenders; independence of judges and lawyers; and discrimination against women in law and practice.. ….. The High Commissioner suggested that the Government consider engaging with the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, who could provide valuable advice …. The High Commissioner also recommended that the Government invite the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons to undertake a country visit to examine and advise on issues falling under his mandate …’’- Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on advice and technical assistance for the Government of Sri Lanka on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka, 11 February 2013, http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session22/A-HRC-22-38_en.pdf

    VII. The cumulative effect of the refusal to let in many UNSRs over several years is grave:
    ”Arguably the worst moments for RtoP and the UN came later in 2008, and in the first half of 2009, in Sri Lanka” – The Responsibility to Protect: Towards a “Living Reality” – Prof Alex Bellamy, April 2013, Report written for the United Nations Association-UK, http://www.una.org.uk/sites/default/files/UNA-UK%20Alex%20J%20Bellamy%20R2P%20Briefing%20Report%20no.%201.pd

    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-lankas-authoritarian-turn-the-need-for-international-action.aspx

    Investigations into murders had been stopped as soon as the war was over in May 2009.

    VIII..Successive governments have been successful in controlling damage at the UN for decades by ”appointing commissions”:

    Sri Lanka: Twenty years of make-believe. Sri Lanka’s Commissions of Inquiry, Amnesty International, 11 June 2009, https://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA37/005/2009/en

    The present President refuses to publish more than 15 reports of commissions/committees (on murders, disappearances, abductions, corruption at high levels of institutions) he appointed in the last seven years: http://www.scribd.com/doc/85007346/A-List-of-Commissions-of-Inquiry-and-Committees-Appointed-by-the-Government-of-Sri-Lanka-2006-%E2%80%93-2012

    IX. Lessons from Sri Lanka for the rest of the world:

    a.UN Headquarters:

    i.REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL’S PANEL OF EXPERTS ON ACCOUNTABILITY IN SRI LANKA , 31 March 2011: ”The final months of the war are a grave assault on the entire regime of international law. …. The Government subjected victims and survivors of the conflict to further deprivation and suffering after they left the conflict zone’’ -http://www.un.org/News/dh/infocus/Sri_Lanka/POE_Report_Full.pdf

    ii. REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL’S INTERNAL REVIEW PANEL ON UNITED NATIONS ACTION IN SRI LANKA (with some *blacked-out parts), November 2012: ‘’The UN’s failure to adequately respond to events like those that occurred in Sri Lanka should not happen again. When confronted by similar situations, the UN must be able to meet a much higher standard in fulfilling its protection and humanitarian responsibilities’’ – http://www.un.org/News/dh/infocus/Sri_Lanka/The_Internal_Review_Panel_report_on_Sri_Lanka.pdf *Guide to blacked-out parts: http://blog.srilankacampaign.org/2012/11/the-un-internal-petrie-report-into-sri.html

    iii.“The United Nations system failed to meet its responsibilities,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on 14 November 2012 as he released the report of the Secretary-General’s Internal Review Panel on UN action in Sri Lanka. “This finding has profound implications for our work across the world, and I am determined that the United Nations draws the appropriate lessons and does its utmost to earn the confidence of the world’s people, especially those caught in conflict who look to the Organization for help” – Following report on Sri Lanka war, Ban determined to strengthen UN responses to crises, 14 November 2012, http://reliefweb.int/report/sri-lanka/following-report-sri-lanka-war-ban-determined-strengthen-un-responses-crises

    iv. ‘’But we have also been caught unprepared. And we need to improve our ability to engage preventively in fragile countries where we have only a development presence, as was the case in Sri Lanka’’ – Ban Ki-Moon, Inaugural Andrew Carnegie Lecture on Conflict Prevention, 1 May 2013, http://www.un.org/apps/news/infocus/sgspeeches/statments_full.asp?statID=1847#.UZUrQrUsmzF

    v.Deputy Secretary-General: ”On the follow-up of the Sri Lanka report, I was given the responsibility to set up a working group, and they delivered their report to me on 17 June. It is now up to me and my colleagues in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General to go through these recommendations and draw the appropriate conclusions from that report. It was a serious report, that there were systemic failures of the UN system, and others also, not least, Member States and the Security Council’’ – PRESS CONFERENCE BY DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL JAN ELIASSON AT UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS, 3 JULY 2013, http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs//2013/dsgsm680.doc.htm

    b. UN Field Staff:

    . ”During my time working in Haiti after the January earthquake in 2010, several humanitarian workers from various United Nations agencies approached me regarding what they viewed as a parallel situation between ethical problems within the UN mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and what they experienced in the final months of the conflict in Sri Lanka. ….. This report is a collective statement of individual experiences by twelve UN workers who lived and witnessed incredible abuses of the mission that they were supposed to fulfil in Sri Lanka. Ultimately this study reveals repeated and corroborating testimony of those humanitarian workers and one press agent who witnessed and experienced an array of abuses which brought them within months of their missions in Sri Lanka to speak out. Each and every interlocutor has compared the abuses in Sri Lanka to various abuses they witnessed in Haiti. There seems to no doubt that changes need to be made within these agencies not to mention within the hierarchy of the United Nations which has demonstrated itself in Sri Lanka as an organisation which makes decisions that are often more political than in the interest of the people it ostensibly serves” – Independent Report on Sri Lanka and United Nations Human Rights Violations, Julian Vigo, 10 April 2012, http://endoplasm.org/independent-report-on-sri-lanka-and-united-nations-human-rights-violations/

    X. The UK government took time to mind UNHCR guidelines, but the Upper Tribunal has gone through a lot of written and oral evidence to revise the UK country guidance: it has accepted that many Tamils are in danger from the Sri Lankan government and need international protection and endemic bribery can release anybody from detention and passage out of the country:

    Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) Determination on Sri Lanka, 03 July 2013
    – – http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKUT/IAC/2013/00319_ukut_iac_gj_srilanka_cg.html

    XI.There should be a UN Dispute Tribunal for Sri Lanka just like the one for Zimbabwe:

    ‘’This week the United Nations Dispute Tribunal handed down a decision finding several officials from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the UN Resident Coordinator in Zimbabwe in 2008 involved in grave misconduct concerning the inhumane treatment of the former Head of Office in Zimbabwe, Dr. Georges Tadonki, whose urgent warnings in early 2008 about the unprecedented political violence, the resulting large scale crisis and the closure of humanitarian access were ignored by his superiors’’ – UN Tribunal Issues Landmark Ruling In UNOCHA-Zimbabwe Case – OpEd, Robert Amsterdam, 4 March 2013, http://www.eurasiareview.com/04032013-un-tribunal-issues-landmark-ruling-in-unocha-zimbabwe-case-oped/

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      Dear Rita, please make a to-the-point concise intervention. We don’t want to read 2 pages of one comment……

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      Lovely Rita, Meter Maid………

      Thank You for your personal recollection of events that you think are germane to the topic. But do not be disappointed if nobody gives a damn. The simple truth is that the CHOGM is a lovely awayday for leaders of the second division in world affairs. A nice tamasha with all the attendant song and dance that such events thrive on, and no addicted leader with a couple of days to spare will want to miss. Everything laid on; limousines, red carpets, cocktails, dancing girls, lavish dinners, photo opportunites – what’s not to like? . Nobody of consequence gives a brass monkeys….for the discussions or pronouncements that matter not a jot to the far-flung exotic countries that send their luckiest. The fact is that the British with a master-stroke created the Commmonwealth to bind their old serfs to language, culture and trade. And as you well know, there are plenty of brown sahibs remaining to go along as if nothing ever changed.

      Plus ça change…………..what to do? Rita.

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    As i stated in an earlier post , it goes like this

    * British use Royal Royce diplomacy
    * Aussies use Boat people diplomacy
    * Indians use Sonia Gandhi diplomacy

    That clown SG Sharma dances according to the puppet prime minister M.singh’s tune.

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    M.R AND THE SIBLINGS ARE SEEN RELAXING ON THE WHITE VAN THEATRICS, FOR
    MOMENT, PAINTING A SADHU PICTURE, TO ENSURE THE (CROWNING OF M.R.) FOR
    TWO YEARS, WHILE THE GOING IS GOOD. THANKS TO SHARMA FOR THE HARD WORK.

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    Far more damage was done to the Commonwealth and the values and principles it claims to uphold by the foreign policy of Great Britain and its role in humanitarian disasters such as in the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan to mention a few. GB seems to not lose any sleep over its gross violations of human rights in these areas among others…so how can they point fingers at Srilanka which was defending its own borders from one of the most dangerous terrorist groups. Yes our Government needs to come clean about how it all ended but we dont need to be disciplined by nations with way more blood on their own hands.

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    Dear Mr. Gideon

    Please read Mr Marwaan Macan-Markar’s assessment of the same issue.

    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/risky-summit-why-sri-lankas-day-of-international-glory-could-turn-sour/

    Mr Macan-Markar is a Sri Lankan journalist who has a keen understanding of the context. He understands that boycotting Sri Lanka and moving the CHOGM would simply further enhance the Rajapaksas popularity within Sri Lanka and further push the country towards China. As we retreats further away from the international community it would embolden the government to curtail democracy and abuse our rights. This is exactly what happened with Mugabe’s Zimbabwe and, as a Sri Lankan, I am glad that the Commonwealth leaders don’t think like you.

    As the Chair of the Commonwealth, Sri Lanka will be in the glare of international scrutiny for two years. Commonwealth nations will have legitimate right to complain when their Chair blatantly transgressors the core principles of their collective.

    You may lose a chance to humiliate the Rajapaksas, the Tamil diaspora a chance to exact revenge, but the enlightened would prefer what is best for those of who live here.

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      I cannot understand why Commonwealth is this big deal. I tis dead. LEt it go.

      UK robbed every SO-CALLED THIRD WORLD and when UK went bankrupt in 1950s, it established commonwealth and still is holding to the lost fervor, grandeur…….. and…..

      Now, India has taken over it. What for ?

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    People representing the former Colonial master who set fire to half of the world, who robbed from those countries and became rich, who massacred thousands innocent citizens of those countries now are talking big about their union with the victims.

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    sack this journalist. Useless [Edited out] spreading bull shit abt SL to the world!

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