27 October, 2020

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C’wealth Secretariat Under Fire For Ignoring Lanka’s HR Record Holds Roundtable On Reconciliation In Vavuniya

The Commonwealth Secretariat that has come in for harsh criticism for failing to hold Sri Lanka to account over its disastrous human rights record is reportedly supporting the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission on its role in national reconciliation. The “Commonwealth is working with the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka to determine a roadmap for the Commission’s role in national reconciliation efforts. The Commonwealth Secretariat will facilitate a roundtable from 26 to 27 September in Vavuniya, Sri Lanka,” the Secretariat said in its website.

Kamalesh Sharma

The report comes two days after UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in her oral report to the Hman Rights Council in Geneva that although the United Nations and Commonwealth are supporting the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission, the Commission does not seem to be engaged on the critical human rights issues. It also comes hours after Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International accused the Commonwealth Secretariat and its Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma of “shameful silence” on Sri Lanka’s rights record.

The Commonwealth Secretariat said the roundtable would bring together the Chairperson, commissioners and senior staff of the Commission, civil society organisations from the North of Sri Lanka, and religious leaders who are actively engaged in promoting reconciliation and addressing post-conflict issues in Vavuniya and surrounding areas in the North.

Experts who will participate in the roundtable include Dr David Russell, Deputy Director of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission; and Michael Doherty, Executive Director of the Peace and Reconciliation Group, Northern Ireland. Acting Head of Human Rights at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Karen McKenzie, said: “In determining the role of a national human rights institution such as the HRCSL in national and local reconciliation efforts, there must be recognition of local civil society initiatives. The Commission has the potential to shore up reconciliation efforts, such as acting as a bridge between civil society and government. There is also a role for the Commission in facilitating constructive engagements with the Executive and Parliament on nation-building, reconstruction and development.”

Sri Lanka’s civil war ended in 2009, after more than 25 years of conflict. In May 2013, the Secretariat convened a Commonwealth Roundtable on Reconciliation in London at which a senior delegation from the Commission participated alongside seven other Commonwealth countries. The participants identified critical components for lasting peace after conflict.

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Latest comments

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    I do not see any mention of political parties being invited to the forum to be held in Vavuniya. At least the Northern and North Central Provincial councils should be invited to this forum. If not this would be another eye wash of the government and as it has been proven Kamalesh Sharma who is in the back pocket of the regime will dance a “baila” to save his neck. Further based on the recent oral presentation of Navi Pillai at the UNHRC, the representatives of UNHCR should also be invited so that there is no serious action proposed at the March 2014 UN conference.

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      We do not need more foreign “Peace experts” jetting for hot air workshops in Vavuniya. The people who have been through a bloody war there know the meaning of peace far better than the Rajapassa cronies in the Human Rights Commission.

      The workshop should be in COLOMBO to EDUCATE THE RAJAPOX FAMILY and their cronies on DEMILITARIZATION and reconciliation and STATE TERRORISM.

      This is another huge waste of funds on and by an OBSOLETE and IRRELEVANT British colonial relic..

      • 0
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        Look at the bugger’s guilty eyes – says it all!

  • 0
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    An international campaign through the citizens of Commonwealth Countries should be carried out to impeach Kamalesh Sharma during the Sri Lanka conference. This should be done in the electronic format to obtain the signatures.

  • 0
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    sharma just piss off.

  • 0
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    Who are these people who think that Sri Lankans are barbarians.

    Even our closest neighbour south Indians have a very recent Barbaric past. British Colonial master have supposed to kill about TWO millions South Indians because those South Indians were thuggies and thuggies would use hanker chief to strangle and kill people walking on the roads. The amazing thing is they did all in the name of the God.

    Only thing Sri Lanka did was getting rid of the Most ruthless terrorist organization from the Sri Lankan soils and saving 300,000 tamils held hostages by LTTE.

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    Tamils are being used by the west to achieve their needs. Because the Asia is fast developing and China is in that fore front. The west is jealous.

    Tamils do not want to understand that they are being used as the Pawn in the game. Eventually Tamils lose from both sides.

    It is these BS accusations that push Sri Lanka into the in coming new age.

    • 0
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      Tamils under the boots of the army in the North or the Tamils who are keeping quiet in the South?

    • 0
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      You are being used by BBS and Rajapkse and their doctrine.

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    Hope the next Commowealth Secretary-General will have good leadership quality.

    ‘’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? Professor Philip Murphy, Director, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, 26 April 2013, http://commonwealth-opinion.blogs.sas.ac.uk/2013/sri-lanka-chogm-2013-with-whom-does-the-decision-lie/

    • 0
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      It should be LUXMI and LUXMY.

      Anyway, Luxmi is Indian-Hindu and Silva Is portuguese.

      So, you are really confused with respect to self -identity.

      am I Indian or Portuguese ?

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    After working in international development for five decades without much result, some people have just formed African Leadership Academy:
    http://www.africanleadershipacademy.org/

    Kamalesha Sharma should go there for at least a short course before completely wrecking the Commonwealth.

    When will they form one for South Asia?

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    ”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” – Sri Laka(p72), Global Overview 2012: People internally displaced by conflict and violence, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, 29 April 2013
    *Nineteen-member PTF has not a single Tamil member but seven members from the various armed forces: http://reliefweb.int/report/sri-lanka/sri-lanka-president-appoints-new-task-force-rebuild-north

    USAID DEMOCRACY AND GOVERNANCE : SRI LANKA ASSESSMENT, December2006: ”Donor-funded peace building efforts are often disconnected from structural changes in the state; conflict exists not simply because people don’t like each other but because of unjust institutions and structures. Without fixing the institutions and structures, it is not clear how much progress can be made in working with communities alone”.

  • 0
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    Sharma gives Panadol for advanced stage of cancer ?

    • 0
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      Oh, NO.

      Panadol isn’t so bad as poison:

      Sharma Preventing Navi From Addressing CMAG, 26 September 2013,
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/sharma-preventing-navi-from-addressing-cmag/

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        The Commonwealth and the UN are two completely separate entities. Navi Pillay should not be given any opportunity to preach her biased views to the former. Her comments regarding the DS Senanayake statue at the Independance Square should not be forgotten, and she should NEVER be invited back on the soil again.

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          Gota ram

          “Her comments regarding the DS Senanayake statue at the Independance Square should not be forgotten”

          She has made a on the record statement in this respect. Go read it.

          “he should NEVER be invited back on the soil again.”

          You don’t have choice. UN will send her anyway.

          “The Commonwealth and the UN are two completely separate entities”

          These are international organisations and in many cases they work closely with each other.

        • 0
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          Navi Pillay didn’t say anything about the statue and this is one of the multitude of SriLanka’s lies and the uneducated Sinhala masses have been cheated too long.

        • 0
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          AL members of the Commonwealth are members of the UN. Rajapakses depend on the ignorance of so many Sinhalese.

  • 0
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    Sheer power-politics to rescue the failings of Authority – be it UN
    or CW vis-a-vis S.Lanka

  • 0
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    ”… addressing post-conflict issues…..” ?

    Pot-conflict issues??

    Dear Secretary General

    We’re post-war. We aren’t yet post-conflict. Pl let us resolve the conflict first. Reconciliation will follow automatically. Why are you trying to thrust ”reconciliation” on parties in conflict?
    If you’re itching to fidget, you may try resolving the conflict first.

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      If the Commonwealth ask Sri Lanka to implement LLRC recommendations, that will be helpful – reconciliation will follow automatically once the recommendations are implemented. Is it difficult to understand that?

  • 0
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    The ”roundtable” in London was a very long rectangular table, how many faces saw each other?

  • 0
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    Sri Lankans need intergovernmental organisations to help resolve the conflict. Have these organisations learnt lessons from the past – a good leader does.

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    ”True reconciliation requires building trust and relationships among communities emerging from conflicts, and in institutions and legal regimes for delivering justice, Lord John Alderdice, a former member of the Commonwealth Commission on Respect and Understanding, has said.
    Lord Alderdice, who was also a former Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, was speaking at the opening of a Commonwealth roundtable on reconciliation at the Commonwealth Secretariat’s headquarters in London. He said experience had shown that when people feel valued and respected, they are more likely to be receptive to dialogue….” – Build Trust, urges Lord Alderdice, 3 May 2013, http://www.lbt.lk/news/economic/4303-civil-efforts-key-to-true-reconciliation-says-lord-alderdice

    Dear Secretary General,
    What is the point in organising meeting after meeting after meeting without implementing the advice given in any meeting?

    • 0
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      The people must trust the government. But this government ill-treats the Tamils and the Muslims. How can they trust the govt which don’t treat them the way they treat the Sinhalese.
      If people are put under the malevolent control of the army, how can they feel valued and respected?

      Dear Secretary General
      Pl don’t waste precious time and lives of the people.

      • 0
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        Have you asked Sri Lanka to do things that will earn the trust of the Tamils and Muslims?
        London Roundtable has not helped you help Sri Lanka.
        What is the purpose of Vavuniya Roundtable?
        To show the world you’re working for your pay?

    • 0
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      Dear Secretary General
      Please help the Rajapakses understand the following:

      ”He added that it was not sufficient to just invest energy in setting up institutions for promoting reconciliation if there was no genuine relationship and respect among the parties involved. Drawing from the experience of peace processes in Northern Ireland, in which he played a significant role, Lord Alderdice said: “Promoting reconciliation is not just about money, resources and positions or forgiving and forgetting – though these are important. Reconciliation is not about ticking boxes. It is more about fairness and how you help people deal with the memories and legacies of the past” – – Build Trust, urges Lord Alderdice, 3 May 2013, http://www.lbt.lk/news/economic/4303-civil-efforts-key-to-true-reconciliation-says-lord-alderdice

  • 0
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    Indians are easily cruuptible..one of the worst infact..they have no moral values…

    whether Kamlesh Sharma, or Satish Nambiar et el….Mahinda can buy them easily with Chinese money

    • 0
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      and Subina Nandy…….

  • 0
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    It is a sad day for human rights with Sharma and Moon at the helm. They are both marketable commodities. Bensen

  • 0
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    Aren’t both David and Michael Sharme’s pocket editions??
    Sharma opened the N. Ireland door for NRIndian investment so he was made Chancellor Queens Belfast and cMoron with Hague are visiting.
    Kick backs in the 6th consultation chamber like vat fraud.
    Porote Sharme Tatte Mitte

  • 0
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    After the infamous 18th amendment to the Constitution, the country’s Judiciary itself was made subservient to the executive and this so-called Human Rights Commissionof Sri Lanka is no exception. Its packed with President’s cronies and they are there to advance nothing but his agenda. For instance, right now, its being used to justify the obviously unlawful impeachment of the country’s Chief Justice.

    • 0
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      oh yes , that clown prathiba Mahanama bloke is doing a great service for the nation , i often wonder who nominated & appointed this joker for Srilankan HRC?

  • 0
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    What goes around comes around.

    You can’t fool the people for ever. Galley talk wont take you any where.

    Uncivilized talk will back fire all the time.

    Time to change the gear.

    Basil Rajapaksa is playing the game very smart. He dosen’t talk like Gota and Mahinda.

  • 0
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    Kamalesh Sharma is setting up Sri Lanka to fail. By not taking up issues related to Sri Lanka at the Commonwealth summit, he is by default allowing United Nations Human Rights head Navi Pillai to take action. Although the Sri Lankan government is thinking that Sharma is supporting them, in fact he is playing the Indian game. One side he is showing that he is supporting Sri Lanka but in fact he is setting a trap for Sri Lanka.

  • 0
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    This shit must have got paid a huge sum by ….you know who…. to behave in this manner…who cares in a world that money talks…it is sad to learn the infiltration of crooks such as this into high offices that decides the fate of the poor helpless people….thank god for the calibre of people like Mrs Navi Pillay…

  • 0
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    KAMALESH SHARAMA IS ANOTHER ROMESH BANDARI.HE HAS LOST HIS RESPECT AND HAVE TAKEN THE OFFERINGS IN CASH AND KIND FROM SRI-LANKA GOVERNMENT.-JAYAWEWA

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    An open letter to the Commonwealth Secretary-General Hon Kamalesh Sharma

    Dear Hon Kamalesh Sharma

    I take this opportunity to sincerely thank you for your timely condemnation of the Nairobi terrorists attack that saw killings of 59 Commonwealth citizens and the terrorist taking many others hostages. Calling this a ‘cowardly act’ and a ‘heinous act’ which must be condemned in the ‘strongest terms’ is very appropriable and welcome.

    Your statement further went on to sate: ‘The targeting and the premeditated killing of defenceless civilians is absolutely reprehensible. It is my fervent hope that those behind this terrible attack will release the innocent children, women and men that they have taken hostage’ and that ‘the Commonwealth stands in total solidarity with the people of Kenya at this trying time.’

    Flags of the members of the Commonwealth talk-shop

    This single most incident invited much publicity and condemnation from all corners of the world and your timely condemnation as the head of the Commonwealth Association overwhelms the feelings on the dastardly act against the innocent civilians.

    I too take this opportunity to share your views without any mitigation as our family too have suffered deaths, destructions and incarceration due to the inherent failures of Sri Lanka and the ravages of the war for nearly thirty years.

    However, I feel saddened that the very feeling you expressed on the Nairobi attack was not reflected in the premeditated killings of thousands of innocent Tamil civilians who were inhumanly killed in the final stage of the war in 2009 in Sri Lanka- leave aside, many more thousands killed over the 30 years of internal war. This only makes one feel the prejudicial or partisan mindset of the Commonwealth Association.

    It shows that the Commonwealth Association uses different yard sticks to measure the serious human rights and war crimes violations of its member states for some strange reasons.

    Those dead and suffering innocent Tamil civilians too are Commonwealth citizens and are humans like those affected in the Nairobi terrorist attack. The sheer volume of the deaths and destruction brought on the innocent Tamil civilians by the Commonwealth State of Sri Lanka did not touch the conscience of the Commonwealth Association at a same wave length for some strange reasons. There was no overwhelming message of condemnation by the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Association.

    As the head of the CA, you have not made any effort to venture into the war ravaged territories in the North and East and speak to the victims of the war. These Commonwealth citizens too need the show of kindness towards them. Your total disregard confirms inconsistencies or prejudices practiced by the Association on human sufferings within the commonwealth nations. I hope the Commonwealth Conference will pave the way to correct this imbalance, prejudice and inconsistency in the dealings of the Commonwealth Association.

    I also hope you will undertake a special visit to meet the war victims in the war ravaged north though it will be belated effort.

    The perpetrators of the heinous crimes in Sri Lanka are mollycoddled to strengthen their status and resolve. Under the pretext of protecting the ‘sovereignty’ of a state, crimes are tolerated and legitimised due to the over protecting attitude of the Commonwealth Association towards its member states? When I think of the colossal deaths and destruction in Sri Lanka, my heart burns and I curse the world order for permitting such unhindered impunity to states to legitimize terrorism against their own citizens.

    If not for the sincere hearts of the International Human Rights NGO’s, laudatory role played by the Channel 4 and some frank speaking UN officials and outright politicians around the world, the state terrorism against the Tamils would not have reached the corridors of international engagement. Unfortunately, Commonwealth Association did not play its due role to uphold its values, when large numbers of Tamil citizens were systematically dealt in a brutish way in Sri Lanka.

    The inertia on the part of the Commonwealth Association is proceeding with the overt effort for the Commonwealth Conference to be held in Sri Lanka in November this year. Beyond the rights and wrongs of holding the conference, the Commonwealth Association has not declared that war crimes and systematic human rights violations in Sri Lanka will be one of the main agenda item to influence Sri Lanka to respond to the outcry of free and fair internal justice, failing which international justice will be the way forward.

    Commonwealth Association will assert Sri Lanka is a weaker democracy needing all the support to improve its status. Unfortunately, we have heard this assertion through many sources for many decades now, but Sri Lanka is progressively failing and is becoming an authoritarian state. Mere rhetoric without interactive engagement and appropriate international interventions, Sri Lanka will never progress towards a tolerant, accommodative and a just democratic state.

    In the process of undermining democracy, the present state of Sri Lanka has become an able mechanism to market its failures through shenanigan commercial and covert deals. The Commonwealth Association too has become a powerless body only providing lip service to the serious issues, when Sri Lanka is moving away from basic values needed for a democratic state.

    The Commonwealth Association was upbeat following Fijian coup that was seen as undemocratic. The Commonwealth Association is blind to the irregular authoritarian process in Sri Lanka and vehemently safeguarding its lethargic behaviour. In that process value judgements are flirted and compromised to the extent of justice for the Tamils in Sri Lanka is overtly undermined.

    This letter is sent for publication in the ‘Sri Lanka Guardian’-the e-media that was purged by the Democratic Socialist Commonwealth Republic of Sri Lanka.

    I hope the Commonwealth Conference will change course for the Commonwealth Association on Sri Lanka. This hope remains despite caricaturing the Commonwealth Conference a talk shop. I also hope this letter will have little influence on you.

    Thanking you.

    R Jayadevan

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    Regrettably we have two morons. One in the UN and the other in the Commonwealh Secretariet.

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    The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka is packed with Rajapakse cronies. With the passage of the 18th amendment to the country’s constitution and the illegal impeachment of the de jure Chief Justice, Mr. Shirani Dias Bandaranayake, she lost whatever was left in her democratic system of governance. What we have in Sri Lanka is a fucking false democracy. Very soon the Commonwealth is going to have an autocrat as it head. What a shame!

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