This CHOGM, The Commonwealth Will Be At A Critical Place – C’wealth Human Rights Initiative

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As the spotlight on the Commonwealth intensifies in the lead up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka next month, it is critical the the Commonwealth shows that it is committed to its values, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative said on Wednesday.

Yash Ghai

Professor Yash Ghai

This meeting is particularly contentious, with calls for a boycott emanating from various quarters across Commonwealth countries.  On the one hand, there have been calls for Commonwealth countries to boycott CHOGM in Sri Lanka due to the lack of accountability within Sri Lanka for on-going human rights abuses and credible allegations of war crimes.  Of particular concern is the passing of the role of Chair of the Commonwealth to the President of Sri Lanka that will occur at the meeting. On the other hand, the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, has reportedly been lobbying African Commonwealth countries to boycott CHOGM because the Commonwealth has not supported him in his call against the International Criminal Court. President Kenyatta has been charged with and is standing trial for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court.

“This CHOGM, the Commonwealth will be at a critical place. Its relevance is being questioned after only recently reaffirming its core values in the new Commonwealth Charter in March of this year. Sri Lanka, The Gambia and now Kenya are testing these values. It is vital that the Commonwealth stands for its key values, including democracy, human rights and rule of law” said Maja Daruwala, Director of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. “The Commonwealth should stress that adherence to human rights, and the resulting requirement of accountability to guarantee human rights are respected and protected, is a fundamental Commonwealth value.  A clear message must be sent from the Commonwealth that member states will be held to these Commonwealth values.”

Chair of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative International Advisory Commission and Katiba Institute Director, Professor Yash Ghai, echoed these sentiments, noting that the ICC process was triggered because of the failure of local bodies to address widespread and systematic human rights abuses that occurred in the post election violence of 2007/8.  “The ICC indictment and trial of President Kenyatta and his Deputy President only began because the government failed to meet its promise to investigate and prosecute people involved in the widespread human rights abuses that occurred in the post-election violence.  It is unfortunate that President Kenyatta is putting pressure on Commonwealth countries to boycott CHOGM as a means to help him escape accountability through the ICC judicial process – in complete contradiction to fundamental Commonwealth values.”

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8 Responses to This CHOGM, The Commonwealth Will Be At A Critical Place – C’wealth Human Rights Initiative

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    Commonwealth died long ago… now it has becme a putrid stinking mess… so the CHOGM collectively driving the last nail on the Coffin.before Burial….. because there is no better Country on this Earth like Sri Lanka to do that after 200 years British conquered 200 years ago ( 1815 – 2015 ) …. Kandy Chieftans were slaughtered in 1818 ..1834..rebellions..branding them as savage murderers… The Brits think they left us a legacy…. Yes…we have Hybrids…who do things better than BRITS.. FINAL RIGHTS WILL BE DELIVERED BY CAMERON…

    R.Dias
    October 24, 2013 at 5:02 pm
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      Don’t worry these buggers will come here and party!The Canadians will party with the money provided by the defeated Tamil terrorists!

      Max Silva
      October 25, 2013 at 10:27 pm
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    Dias, are you Budhist? you think like this …. We Minority think this land is cursed becasue of Buddha and his Lazy Begging Teaching. Convert to Islam to be like Gulf… the United Arab Emirates.. :) belive in God..

    I am Sri Lankan Muslim
    October 24, 2013 at 5:44 pm
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      Man…let us not discuss Religion …. HOWEVER …IF YOU STUDY CAREFULLY …..YOU WILL OBSERVE THAT ALL WHAT IS IN THE COMMONWEALTH CHARTER ARE CHRISTIAN AND BUDDHIST PRINCIPLES AND VALUES…ONLY FOR HUMANS… The ” kabarayas ” who rule this Country cannot understand..

      R.Dias
      October 24, 2013 at 6:25 pm
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        Dias, The thalagoyas in UK who understood Commonwealth values applied them very well in Iraq, Afganistan, Libya & Egypt. The professor must be using ‘crack’ to write this.

        hela
        October 25, 2013 at 8:30 am
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      I am a SL Muslim:- I am beginning to think that you are right. Buddhist Monks should be trained to do Social Service for the Poor, not lead Protest Marches to cover up for Government shortcomings, and take part in useless ‘Fasts unto Death’. Then People will then learn to respect Buddhism and Buddhist Monks for the good they are doing for the Poor, not for just Chanting and tying sacred threads, on Politicians.

      Rationalist
      October 24, 2013 at 7:49 pm
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      God? Is there one? Middle East would be worse than any other part of the world if not for oil. Once that runs off see what would be status in those countries. Even today most of the region is run permanently by few families and the restof the population has to live within the dictate of those sheikhs. The rest of the region is in bloody turmoil. Do you want SL to follow that example? Don’t talk of things that you have no idea of.

      hela
      October 25, 2013 at 8:28 am
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    One of the English-language Sri Lankan newspapers began what appears to a series of thumbnail sketches of the potential participants in the forthcoming CHOGM. Democracy appears to be alive and well in a majority of those already featured with Presidents/Prime Ministers being continuously in office for several DECADES and many of their opponents having been compelled to seek asylum in other countries! In the circumstances, one can only wonder at what censure or condemnation by the current Commonwealth’s heads of states might really imply!

    Emil van der Poorten
    October 31, 2013 at 7:08 am
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