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Commons panel asks Cameron to ‘boycott’ CHOGM

[Hindu, Sunday, 20 October 2013 10:35 No Comment]

UK Prime Minister David Cameron - apIt says the decision to hold the meet in Colombo was wrong because of continuing "rights abuses in Sri Lanka".

The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee in its report ‘Role and Future of the Commonwealth’ has sharply criticized the decision to hold the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka, and has called upon Prime Minister David Cameron to boycott the meeting.

“We conclude that continuing evidence of serious human rights abuses in Sri Lanka shows that the Commonwealth’s decision to hold the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo was wrong,” the Report concluded. “We are impressed by the clear and forthright stance taken by the Canadian Prime Minister, who has said he would attend the Meeting only if human rights were improved. The UK Prime Minister should publicly state his unwillingness to attend the meeting unless he receives convincing and independently-verified evidence of substantial and sustainable improvements in human and political rights in Sri Lanka.”

The committee referred to the observations of the Commonwealth Advisory Bureau made after the last CHOGM conference held in Perth in 2011 warning against holding the 2013 meeting in Sri Lanka. It reportedly stated that Sri Lanka was " boasting about defeating terrorism on home soil, whilst standing accused by others of only doing so through gross human rights abuses, possibly tantamount to war crimes."

In the context of what it calls “intensive lobbying in the past year by anti-Sri Lanka activist groups with collateral agendas, especially in London,” the Sri Lankan High Commission in the UK has issued a statement confirming that Mr. Cameron, and Foreign Secretary William Hague will be attending the meeting.

[Full Coverage]

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