The Prime Minister’s decision comes amid growing alarm over Sri Lanka’s dismal and worsening human rights record and fears that permitting Colombo to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will enable the regime to whitewash allegations of war crimes.
The United Nations says at least 40,000 Tamil civilians were killed by Sri Lankan government forces in the final stages of the civil war which ended four years ago amid evidence of war crimes. Continued and persistent human rights abuse has been widely documented since then by the increasingly authoritarian regime.
The Sri Lankan government has consistently denied its involvement in war crimes and has dismissed as "fiction" allegations of continued human rights abuse.
The announcement of the British government’s decision to attend CHOGM coincides with the detention without charge of a prominent Muslim activist.
The Director of the leading Tamil advocacy group said it demonstrated a willingness to "collaborate with evil", echoing comments last week from the Canadian Foreign Minister who said that allowing Colombo to host CHOGM would be "accommodating evil". Canada’s Prime Minister has announced that he will be boycotting the summit.