The Law Society of South Africa called on President Zuma and the South African Government to consider boycotting the CHOGM.
Issuing a statement today the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) expresses its grave concerned that members of an International Bar Association Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) high-level delegation have been denied entry into Sri Lanka during this week’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo. The delegation included the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Gabriela Knaul, and the first UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Param Cumaraswamy. Entry for the delegates to attend a meeting was denied in spite of visas having been granted and in accordance with normal procedures.
The LSSA adds its voice to those of the International Bar Association, the Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA) and a number of human rights NGOs in support of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka in seeking to restore the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary and the right of members of the legal profession to pursue their profession without fear of harassment.
President Jacob Zuma will lead a South African delegation to CHOGM in Colombo from 15 to 17 November 2013.
Earlier this year the LSSA supported a CLA resolution calling on the Members of the Commonwealth to suspend Sri Lanka from the Councils of the Commonwealth for serious and persistent violations of the Commonwealth fundamental values, including breaches of the rule and law and human rights, as well as the erosion of the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession. The LSSA also called on President Zuma and the South African Government to consider boycotting the CHOGM, as other countries have done.