25 May, 2022


Statement: Commonwealth Sharma On Conclusion Of His Official Visit To SL

By Colombo Telegraph

“My visit provided an opportunity to be briefed on the preparations for the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), scheduled to be hosted by Sri Lanka in November, as decided by Commonwealth Heads of Government in 2009 and confirmed in 2011. Preparations for CHOGM 2013 are impressive and on track.” says the Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma.

Issuing a statement he says; “The recent removal of the Chief Justice generated widespread national debate and differences of view. In this context, I have emphasised the importance of the Commonwealth’s Latimer House Principles on the separation of powers, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. We welcome the recognition of the need for change, to ensure that any such process in future is free of contention and does not call into question Sri Lanka’s commitment to the independence of the judiciary and separation of powers.”

We publish below the statement in full;

Sri Lanka is a founding and committed member of the modern Commonwealth. Today, I conclude what has been a productive visit to the country.

I was received by the President, His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa. I held discussions with the Speaker of Parliament, Hon Chamal Rajapaksa; the Leader of the Opposition, Hon Ranil Wickremesinghe; the Hon Minister of External Affairs, Professor G L Peiris; the Monitoring Member of Parliament for the Ministry of External Affairs, Hon Sajin de Vass Gunawardena and the Secretary to the President, Mr Lalith Weeratunga.

Others I met included the Elections Commissioner, Mr Mahinda Deshapriya; the Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, Justice Priyantha R P Perera as well as other members of the Commission. I also met the community of resident High Commissioners in Colombo, and in the limited time available, my delegation and I held discussions with a number of others, including representatives of political, civil society and professional groups.

These meetings were informative and valuable. They afforded the opportunity to explore how the Commonwealth’s rich network of shared resources, experiences and opportunities can be of greater assistance to Sri Lanka.

2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

My visit provided an opportunity to be briefed on the preparations for the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), scheduled to be hosted by Sri Lanka in November, as decided by Commonwealth Heads of Government in 2009 and confirmed in 2011. Preparations for CHOGM 2013 are impressive and on track.

The Commonwealth adds value globally in its work in democracy, development and diversity. We can expect the 2013 Heads of Government Meeting to have a focus on inclusive growth and development opportunities.

Commonwealth Partnership with Sri Lanka

The goal of the Commonwealth’s partnership is to support Sri Lanka’s national efforts and plans to provide access for all its citizens to a life of opportunity and dignity.

The Commonwealth remains committed to supporting Sri Lanka in continuing to strengthen its culture of democracy, pluralism, human rights, sustainable development, the rule of law, and other fundamental Commonwealth values and principles.

The Commonwealth agreed to pursue a partnership with Sri Lanka in various priority areas that were jointly identified during my last visit in September 2012. There has been marked progress in a number of these areas in the last six months, as outlined in the annex to this statement.

As a result of consultations during this visit, we have agreed to enhance collaboration in the areas outlined below:

Electoral institutions and processes

It is a Commonwealth norm to have independent election commissions in our member states. Successive Commonwealth Observer Groups present over the years at the time of elections in Sri Lanka have recommended this. While the Government works towards that objective, we shall cooperate to strengthen practically the independence and effectiveness of the existing Office of the Commissioner of Elections, including through technical assistance and other support available through the Commonwealth Electoral Network.

We welcome the implementation of recommendations made earlier by Commonwealth election observers, notably the development of codes of conduct for political parties and the media, as well as the implementation of measures against the misuse of state resources during election campaigns. We shall explore with the Commissioner of Elections how these advances can be further strengthened practically ahead of the next elections.

We welcome the declared intention for elections to be held in the Northern Province in September 2013. We also welcome confirmation we received that preparatory arrangements for those elections are in place.

Human Rights Commission

We have agreed to contribute to enhancing the independence and authority of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL). We welcome the progress by the HRCHL to regain ‘A’ status in the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Commissions. This will enable the HRCSL to assume a leadership role during Sri Lanka’s term as Commonwealth Chair-in-Office.

In practical terms, we have agreed to explore options to provide technical support to the HRCSL in the following areas:

  • Training and education of Commission staff
  • Expanding training of police personnel on human rights obligations
  • Enhancing the training programme for journalists on human rights reporting
  • Bolstering capacity to be involved in national reconciliation processes
  • Strengthening capacity to investigate human rights abuses


A Commonwealth expert round-table on reconciliation will take place in London in May 2013. It will involve the sharing of experiences of the challenges faced and lessons learned during post-conflict reconciliation in Commonwealth member states. Sri Lanka will participate in this forum and share its experiences of reconstruction, rehabilitation and reconciliation.

Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) Report is a pivotal national plan for moving forward, to achieve a multi-ethnic nation at peace with itself. We urge the report’s expeditious implementation, which the Commonwealth remains committed to supporting. We shall continue to explore opportunities where the Commonwealth can offer its collective wisdom and experience, and will aim to agree by mid-2013 on areas where the Commonwealth can support Sri Lanka’s implementation of the LLRC Report’s recommendations.


The recent removal of the Chief Justice generated widespread national debate and differences of view. In this context, I have emphasised the importance of the Commonwealth’s Latimer House Principles on the separation of powers, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. We welcome the recognition of the need for change, to ensure that any such process in future is free of contention and does not call into question Sri Lanka’s commitment to the independence of the judiciary and separation of powers.

The Commonwealth will make available an expert analysis of the practice in Commonwealth countries relating to the appointment and removal of senior judicial figures, and the independence of the judiciary, for Sri Lanka to draw upon in determining legislative and other changes required. Commonwealth assistance would also be available with any related legislative drafting required to ensure that changes can be introduced to Parliament and implemented in a timely manner.

Independent media

All Commonwealth member governments are committed in the 2009 Affirmation of Commonwealth Values and Principles and the 2012 Charter of the Commonwealth to freedom of expression and the free flow of information, including through a free and responsible media. To these ends, we have agreed to support the independence, effectiveness and professional standards of Sri Lankan journalists through the following:

  • Provision of technical expertise for Sri Lanka to undertake an institutional assessment of the Sri Lankan Press Council, with the aim of identifying measurable steps for strengthening the Council’s independence and effectiveness, and to provide support for implementing these steps;
  • Provision of technical assistance options in support of the Sri Lankan Press Institute, including to help raise the quality of reporting on issues relating to democracy and development.

*Photo by Commonwealth Secretariat

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Latest comments

  • 0

    “Preparations for CHOGM 2013 are impressive and on track.” says Sharma!

    This means that the Rajapassa military juggernaut and apparatus will keep the residents of Colombo in a security lock down, while our funds are wasted on entertaining fat cat politicians from the dead as a doornail organization called the Commonwealth Circus of Clowns and boosting the Rajapaks dictatorship.

    What a joke this is. The tax money of ordinary Sri Lankans will be wasted on boosting the Rajapaksa dictatorship which will display its impressive military apparatus which is being used to destroy democracy in the country. This Sharma is a joker of the highest order!

    • 0

      This donkey Kamlesh the Sec Gen. has being doing the merry tango with the Lankan Dictator Rajapassa! First he says yes CVHOGM will happen in Colombo, then he says that the never said that CHOGM will happen in Rajapassa land, and now he issues a statement full of TRIPE!

      Some technical nonsense about Access to Justice and HR for the feeble minded! What is needed a clear cut NO to a Lanka’s brutal dictator who is fresh from impeaching the first women Chief Justice and appointing a corrupt criminal called Mohan Peris in her place. But all this clown Sharma says is that it should not happen again and the Commonwealth of Clowns will provide more reams of Latimer House Garbage by way of Technical support for a dictator who no other RESPONSIBLE organization will countanance!
      The C

      • 0

        Dodo you are so right!
        The Lankan tax payer has had to spend far too much on the Commonwealth Circus that should be disbanded since it has no LEGITIMACY, role or purpose in the world today except as a talk shop for dictators beloved of BOTH dictators in Lanka – Mahinda Rajapakse and Ranil Wickramasighe who waxes on about Latimer House Rules that no one knows or cares about!

    • 0

      “Preparations for CHOGM 2013 are impressive and on track,” says Sharma! There certainly must have been an “OFFER” and “ACCEPTANCE”. Remains to be seen, HOW MUCH??

  • 0

    Is this really true? Are they really going to go ahead with the Donference?

    Why aren’t they listening to us? Are deluded?

    Please US help us!

    • 0

      Will US help when all of them are in this together helping MR to establish a Dictatorship as then it is easy for them to handle Sri Lanka for their world agendas.

  • 0

    Kamalesh S is no different to the other Indian characters in the world
    stage, like Vijay Nambiyar and Bankimoons son-in-law in the Indian
    army, when it comes to dealing with this regime.

    • 0

      Do not worry folks, the Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma will give full support to the Rajapakshes to host the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka.

      The Rajapakshes have become experts in bribing the Indians. When it comes to five star lunch/dinner and expensive gifts (such as jewelry with gem stones) the Indians forget all the diplomacy, bureaucracy, ethics, etiquette, etc and stoop as low as possible. The Rajapakshes know this very well and they know how to handle these Indians. The Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma is no different from any other Indians. The Rajapakshes gave him a good dinner and enough gifts to make him happy and in return he will do anything and everything to make the Rajapakshes happy.

  • 0

    Its diplomacy do the backchat later.

  • 0

    and what was all that noise about Latimer and his house rules,being a prisoner of Latimer House etc? Where and what does that pol have to say?

  • 0

    I think it is sad that the Commonwealth seems as though it has succumbed to the illness that has affected many an international body. Lack of commitment to the citizens of the world whome they should look after!. They are playing ball with people’s lives in the name of diplomacy and engaging in a lack lustre fashion with corrupt and dicatatorial regimes. He speaks Hog wash indeed.

  • 0

    ” ……any such process in future is free of contention ….”
    Sharma! What a cop out? Shame on you, you have fallen into MRTrap. The man presents a fait accompli to everyone……from the street gangfare victim like the death of Bharata Premachandra……… to the fate of Shirani B at the very pinnacle of power. Like the messages left for Balagiri, MR too leaves messages, it is always “not today but in future”; future never comes, as future is future yet to come.

  • 0

    I think CW Secretary General is playing a very delicate game. The reason is

    1)CW does not want to see Sri Lanka further deteriorate into anarchy with Communal, religion, racial disharmony….and further fall into economic mess by not having CHOGM in Sri Lanka.

    2)CW is also using CARROT AND STICK POLICY in order to put Sri Lanka back into the correct parth.

    3)CW is holding CHOGM in condition that GOSL adheres to all it’s conditions stated above…..there by applying pressure without a conflicting and by cornering Sri Lanka. Remember a cornered tiger is the worst tiger.Thereby this is the only option CW has to TAME THE TIGER.

    4)As a long term member of CW and since still we have reputed and respectable gentlemens who are doing wery well and doing great work to the world, both Queen and the CW do not want to Humiliate and disgrace Sri Lanka in front of the world.

    5)Not having CHOGM in Sri Lanka will tremendously effect our economy,our world standing, respect,reputation, business investments and will stamp GOSL as a Pariah State etc…throughout the world……and the final sufferers and bearers of all this will be the Citizens of the country and not the President or Parliament Pin Padiyas…….and CW know about this.

    6)Some of the issues that CW discussed are reaping benefits when President rushed to Jaffna and releasing the two students from prison while helping farmer community, and implementing other development issues.

    7)CW will be eying and anaylsing Govt. behavior until Nobember CHOGM inaguration.

    8)Finally CW does not want to bare the brunt of taking responsibility of a sick patient due to economic ,Communal and religious fallout in Sri Lanka.
    It is like you are undertaking to treat a very sick patient, or Marrying a 65 year old man who is blind, deff, dumb and insane….who is worth nothing except over borrowed with huge debt and unable to pay them, with no visible assets to pay that debt.
    Who is the Mutt to marry a half dead 65 year old patient…..CW will neve like to take that responsibility.

    So the CW is right not to fall into Lanka syndrome by not having CHOGM in Sri Lanka

    1) He want to get recognition from CW to further his seat as president of Sri Lanka.

    2)He is looking to put all the political, communal, racial and religious and human right dirts under to carpert to show a different picture to the world.

    3)Mass publisity, propeganda, and use of communication to strengthen Rajapakse political dynasty both locally and Internationally.(Remember Sirima Bandaranaike used Non Align Summit to establish world recognition)

    4) To side step all opposition Political opponents, opposition parties,democratic Free media, human right activists etc and use all govt. propegnda and media to strengthen his political control.(expect more cut outs through the country)

    5)The ever Queen and VIP happy Photo-ops and media show off propagandist will politicise every opportunity to further strengthen his power stay.

    6)Fun, frolic, happy time with both foreign and local officials, degnitories,diplomatic community,parliament members with lot of entertainment.


    1)High traffic congestion, road closures, identity checks, security checks etc…

    2)sudden road closures and diverting traffic elsewhere….

    3)Cost of living and prices of essential goods to go up with long lines to buy food.

    4)Utility, petrol, gas and water costs may go up…while transport costs will increase.

    5)Pesident and Parliament goons will try to show a nice picture with Lamborghinis, Rolls Royce, fun and frolic hiding the true picture to CW
    delegates, ordinary peoplr will have to suffer both economically and day to day life.


    1)More minority communities of CW countries will pressure those governments not to participate fo CHOG.
    this could effect those countries governing bodies.

    2)More protests in CW countries and via electronic media will effect CHOGM.

    3)UNHR report as will as Channle 4 new video could effect CHOGM.

    4)Possibility some countries will boyott CHOGM effecting the stability of CW.
    5)CHOGM heads and International reporters adverse remarks and experience in Sri Lanka may effect our economic and political stability.


  • 0

    Sharma’s rigmarole misses the simple point. Is CHOGM on in Hambantota (Nov 2013) or not? This lengthy narrative deliberately fails to give the answer categorically. It is more like a speech of Peter Sellers of the Good Squad – acting as Foreign Minister. He speaks for an hour – and said nothing.


  • 0

    Is Sharma another Aggarwala? MR is a seasoned politician. He is quick to identify those carrying the price tag.

  • 0

    As for me , i see KS as a crowd pleaser , he wants to please every one in the end failing every thing desolately ,being a veteran diplomut he ought to know where to stand firm and where to be diplomatic. KS as the SG of CW has compromised all the so called Latimer principles and it’s objectivity.

    Wijedasa Rajapakse comes to my mind though, he is neither good nor bad , in other words like “pathola ” (snake gourd)

  • 0

    SL is actually better off losing the CHOGM, when November comes around and couple nations boycott, you know the media will be highlighting SL poor HR record for the entire week. Its going to tarnish the entire event and bring SL back to the international spotlight

  • 0

    Criket is politicized to day by idiot rajapassas. I dont know why they dont put a captain from kings family like NAMAL or some1 else another idiotic son. We will win the same way we wIN SRI LANKAN AIRWAYS,MIHIN AIR, FINANCE MINSTRY eTC., Hmabantota Harbor, Coal power plant, and now to come 2nd in ternational airport, rajapassa criket stadium, Neulm Pokuna, Bollywood BS, RACING IN COLOMBO, giving a Doctorate to MErvyn Silva, why not Wimal? why not your son NAMAl give a doctorate.

  • 0

    Did you hear, David George, the Commonwealth Secretariat Website has
    removed the Hambantota CHOGM 2013 Logo a few days ago? Sin, no, hullo?


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