David Cameron will defy boycott calls to attend Sri Lanka Commonwealth Summit, the Telegraph UK reports. According to the newspaper David Cameron will attend the Commonwealth Summit in November despite serious divisions within the organisation over the human rights record of Sri Lanka, the host government.
Calls on Cameron to boycott the event risked an embarrassing split with Buckingham Palace, had the Queen travelled to the meeting as the Commonwealth’s head, the newspaper said.
UK Officials told Telegraph that Cameron had decided to make a robust stand in person against Sri Lanka’s human rights record and attacks on its democratic standards by its authoritarian president, Mahinda Rajapaksa.
“We do not think that turning away from the problem is the best way to make progress in Sri Lanka. There’s nothing to suggest that not going will convince Rajapaksa he must do more,” said a UK government spokesman.
“Instead, we should make very clear that as the incoming chair of CHOGM they need to live up the values of the Commonwealth. We believe that the attendance of many world leaders and the global media will help to shine a light on what is going on the country, what has been achieved and what more needs to be done.”
“And the PM will use his visit to see the situation in the country for himself and be clear on what progress is needed.”
“The Coalition has made developing ties with the Commonwealth a key plank of its foreign policy and the row threatens to undermine the body when it had been reviving. The country that hosts of CHOGM goes on to serve as its chairman for the following two years. Leading Commonwealth countries have been sharply divided by the choice of Sri Lanka as the venue for the summit.” the Telegraph reported.
Stephen Harper, Canada’s Conservative prime minister, has said he won’t attend and his foreign minister, John Baird, called the decision to choose Sri Lanka “evil”. Canada has demanded a credible inquiry into allegations that up to 40,000 civilians were killed by Sri Lankan troops in the final phase of its war against Tamil rebels in 2009 before the summit can take place. However Australia has condemned boycott proposals as “wrong”.
One Commonwealth diplomat has said handing Sri Lanka the lead role for two years would “kill” the Commonwealth as a functioning diplomatic forum, the Telegraph said.
Downing Street has taken the view that it can push Rajapaksa in the coming months to adopt recommendations of its own reconciliation inquiry into the Tamil conflict.
It also hopes that the government will allow free provincial elections in September.
“The prime minister believes this is the right thing to do for the Commonwealth and he will take a very tough message to the Sri Lankan Government: that they need to make concrete progress on human rights, reconciliation and political settlement,” the official said. “This Government is a strong supporter of the Commonwealth and we firmly believe that it can continue to be a force for good around the world, promoting the important values about freedom and democracy and rights.”
Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah / May 4, 2013
David Cameron’s argument for going is flawed. What a shame, could it be that his decision is influenced by trade considerations: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/may/03/rolls-royce-engines-srilankan-airlines-1
He should have followed Harper’s lead. Sri Lanka hasn’t taken a single positive move towards accountability or ending impunity. No Head of State should be allowed to host the Commonwealth without being called to account for such Mass Atrocity Crimes like what the Sri Lankan regime is accused of! No matter whether SL promises to mend its ways, one that Secretary General is expecting it would. (no sign of that, in fact serious breaches of the rule of law and assault on the independence of the Judiciary came after the mass slaughter of Tamil civilians and denial of accountability for more than 146,000 missing – means situation is not getting any better); it can’t be forgiven for serious mass violations without an independent and credible inquiry first. Sri Lanka cannot cleanse its bloody hands merely by washing its hands! Unless and until Sri Lanka lends itself to an “independent and credible” international inquiry and its senior military and political leaders are held to account, Sri Lanka should have no role in the Commonwealth. The Secretary General of the Commonwealth must ensure the Charter means what it says and says what it means. The Secretary General’s claim he is giving the Rajapaksa government lessons on the basics of democratic values and would release the details of the progress made is another matter; accountability should come first, then the rehabilitation process in that order!
Daham / May 4, 2013
If you are expecting accountability for getting rid of LTTE, you should be day dreaming. Racists like you conveniently forget the amount of Tamils rescued by Sri Lankan forces & providing what ever possible to keep them alive until re settlement. It’s very easy to criticise not knowing the ground realities. Common man in north & east is happy the freedom that they are enjoying today. It’s stupid politicians, their crony, so called activists who wants more & more and crying for LTTE’s loss. If it was America any one died in their wars are collateral damage & that’s it. Do you know how many former LTTE combatants are rehabilitated & released? Rest who are not possible to rehabilitate must be kept under arrest. If Guanthanamo is their to keep suspects without trial why should people like you insist different approaches for terrorism in Sri Lanka. Terrorists have all the rights & we don’t. Get lost….
David Blacker / May 4, 2013
War crimes aren’t even in the debate where Cameron is concerned. The war crimes issue is only strengthening the regime and further building the loyalty of the SL population. You guys are the Rajapakses’ best ally.
Wuliangguobinjiu / May 5, 2013
Germany has accused UK of being the thorn in the EU and especially euro currency fallout.
UK and Australia are the mouth pieces of the US worldwide and recently in the south china sea affair.
The Brits are bruised in the EU and want to try their might with the commonwealth and rule it with sudu pukkas and puppet governments to counter the EU.
Hela / May 5, 2013
When you cannot cleanse your bloody hands by washing them even for a century why do you expect others to act differently?
Roger Kumar / May 4, 2013
It’s all humbug . UK does not care two boots for Human Rights in Sri Lanka. It’s all about trade . You scratch my back and I will scratch yours . Under Colonial Rule the UK stole Sri Lanka of its Wealth just As they did in India . It’s only the Sri Lankans can determine the future of their country . Hats off to Canada. The rest are l going to SL TO WINE AND DINE AND HAVE A GREAT HOLIDAY IN THE PEARL OF THE ORIENT . PERIOD.
Hela / May 5, 2013
What is wrong in UK bartering HR with trade which is same as Canada bartering HR with Tamil votes? Isn’t it incosistent for your ilk to applaud Canada and denounce UK?
Coconut Donkey / May 4, 2013
Given all that is happening in Sri Lanka, if the CHOGM does go ahead and takes place in Sri Lanka, it will be the death knell of an already increasingly irrelevant entity. This is coming from someone who’s been involved with and an advocate for the commonwealth. Shame on you UK and shame on you Australia!
Hela / May 5, 2013
Only a donkey can say this.
M.Sivananthan / May 4, 2013
The Natives of Canada know the so called Human Rights records of Canada.So, Harper better stop his idiotic talks on human rights but we have to appreciate his action against the LTTE in Canada. His government changed the LTTE goons as HW actists in one night!
thivya / May 4, 2013
Only a retarded Sinhalese in Tami name or Tamil poodle of Sinhalese will compare the Canadian native people and the killing and disappearance of Tamils in Canada. The Canadian armed forces are not killing, raping and grabbing the land of native people to build military cantonments like the mono ethnic Sinhala army does in the North – East of Sri Lanka. There are no mass graves in the Native reserves in Canada. The Canadian natives are well looked after and every year they receive millions of dollars of free money and tax concessions but no Canadian complains about that. There is more need to be done but it is so stupid to compare the condition of Canadian Natives and the genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka.
Hela / May 5, 2013
A new abbo defending Canadian white govt eh? How happy PM Harper would be!
Hela / May 5, 2013
You are spot on Siva.
J muththa / May 4, 2013
Who cares for Human Rights anywhere as a matter of fact………
What matters are the votes to regain power.
Usha Sri Skandaraja……. Yes. You can look for scapegoats to wipe the blood stains of those 146K you say are either missing or dead.
It was your money that funded the ltte and to decimate your own Tamil youth & Children.
Now demand that tongue in cheek reconcilliation which will never happen as it is all about the Caste that exists under your skin.
Have your own independent and credible account of how much of your monies spent to get your own kind decimated.
HOW MANY OF YOUR CHILDREN FOUGHT THIS WAR AND HOW MANY DIES? 00000000
yOU VULTURES JUST REMAIN WHERE YOU ARE AND MYOB. LEAVE SL MATTERS TO SL.
Wickramasiri / May 4, 2013
I think it is time to see how effective Sri Lanka is going to be as Chair of CHOGM. At the end of two years we will see that all opposition MPs in the Commonwealth had crossed over to the government side, PMs’ brothers will have assumed positions of Speaker, Defence Secretary, Minister of State etc., PMs’ sons captain the national rugby team,the Chief Justices impeached and replaced, and Hallal certification banned.
Wuliangguobinjiu / May 5, 2013
“This Government is a strong supporter of the Commonwealth and we firmly believe that it can continue to be a force for good around the world, promoting the important values about freedom and democracy and rights.” – This is simply sudu pukka bollocks. They create psychological warfare first like Iraq or Libya then they bring the nation down to stone age.
India said no to Panetta and the future Indian government is also bound to say no to South China Sea dispute which the Americans and Australians are interfering.
Mossad and Gota may be moving with the idea of making SL a nuclear base for the Americans.
The Australian and especially UK governments need the commonwealth trade which they propose to rule. While the EU would be better off without the barking mad pommies.
Anjali / May 5, 2013
Sri lanka ended a TERROREST war that ravaged the country for 30 years. Come take a look at the worl the GOSLING and the private sector are doing to help the Tamil children that the LTTE bullied beat and bend them to their will. some Tamil Dispora are romanitcizing the LTTE. But for the Tamils Sinhalese Muslims burgers that live in lanka sufferd enough! And yes the Gosl has its own set of faults yes! But take a look at your own govments the US Canada England if u can find ad perfect govnment pls let me know ! Till then take a better look at what’s happening in the rest of the world en point fingers at lanka! As Jesus said be the first person to thorow the stone who has no sin!