Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma is engaged in last ditch efforts to prevent UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay from addressing the powerful Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) meeting in New York tomorrow, the Colombo Telegraph is now able to reveal.
An explicit request has been made to the Commonwealth Secretary General in writing by Canada, backed several other members of the CMAG to request a briefing by Pillay when the grouping meets on the sidelines of UN General Assembly on September 27, Western diplomatic sources told Colombo Telegraph.
However the sources said no response has been forthcoming from Secretary General Sharma to the request, that is reportedly also backed by Bangladesh which is the current chair of CMAG and was previously very supportive of Sri Lanka.
Ms. Pillay’s office confirmed that no such request has been made to her Geneva or New York offices from any Commonwealth organisations thus far.
CMAG does not have an office or administrative structure and is dependent on Commonwealth Secretariat arrange agendas and schedule meetings on behalf of the grouping.
At CMAG’s last meeting in April, Secretary General Sharma was instrumental in ensuring Sri Lanka was not included in the agenda and Sri Lanka was only taken up briefly under ‘other business’. It was to this April CMAG meeting that Sharma refrained from divulging the contents of two legal opinions on the Shirani Bandaranayake impeachment. As exclusively revealed by Colombo Telegraph, at least one of the two reports was wholly critical of the impeachment and said in no uncertain terms that the impeachment was both legally flawed and in contravention of Commonwealth values and principles.
Even at the eleventh hour, come CMAG members are still engaged in attempts to get the Pillay briefing during the New York meeting tomorrow.
Secretary General met President Mahinda Rajapaksa in New York on Tuesday.