ICJ, 12 February 2013 -- The ICJ sent today an open letter to the Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma asking to change the venue of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in November 2013. -- Dear Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma, We, the International Commission of Jurists, enclose an open letter addressed to President Mahinda Rajapakse of Sri Lanka, signed by fifty-six eminent jurists from around the world, condemning the unlawful removal of Chief Justice Bandaranayake and expressing grave concern for the decline of rule of law and independence of the judiciary in Sri Lanka. We urge you to follow through on your earlier statements and consider changing the venue of the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting as part of the commitment to advance and strengthen adherence to the Commonwealth’s oft-stated values and Principles pertaining to the rule of law.
Groundviews, 11 Feb, 2013 - The BBC’s Charles Haviland interviewed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs Minister Alistair Burt on 1st February 2013, during an official visit to Sri Lanka which saw the Minister meet with a range of stakeholders including the government, TNA and civil society as well as travel to the North of the country.
11 February 2013 - "Contrary to some media reports, Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma has not made any statement today with regard to Sri Lanka as host venue of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in November 2013", Commonwealth Secretariat said today in a statement.
The Commonwealth, 10 February 2013 - The Secretary-General will discuss matters of shared interest between Sri Lanka and the Commonwealth, including the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which takes place in Sri Lanka in November. The Secretary-General will review organisational preparations for CHOGM and discuss possible outcomes that Sri Lanka and Commonwealth leaders will want to achieve at the summit. Mr Sharma is expected to discuss, among other issues, options for advancing Commonwealth values and principles, including the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers. “The Commonwealth approach is to highlight our shared values and to offer best-fit practical assistance that helps achieve progress,” Mr Uku concluded.
HRW, February 6, 2013 - (New York) – The Commonwealth should shift the venue of its November 2013 Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) from Sri Lanka unless its government makes prompt, measurable, and meaningful progress on human rights, Human Rights Watch said today in a public letter to Commonwealth Heads of Government. Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka on February 10, 2013 to discuss the upcoming meeting. The Sri Lankan government under President Mahinda Rajapaksa has taken no meaningful steps to address serious abuses by government forces in the final months of the armed conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009, during which the United Nations has estimated that up to 40,000 civilians died. Since 2009 the government has been responsible for a worsening human rights situation that includes clampdowns on basic freedoms, attacks and threats against civil society, and actions against the judiciary and other institutions, imperiling Sri Lanka’s democracy.
Brad Adams, Asia Executive Director, Human Rights Watch, February 6, 2013 - Dear Commonwealth Heads of Government, I am writing on behalf of Human Rights Watch to express our grave concerns about the Commonwealth’s decision to press forward with the holding of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka in November 2013. Unless Sri Lanka makes prompt, measurable, and meaningful progress on human rights issues, we urge that you change the venue for the 2013 summit.
1 February 2013 - FCO Minister for South Asia, Alistair Burt, arrived Sri Lanka on January 31 for an two-day official visit. During his visit to Mullaitivu, North of Sri Lanka, Minister Burt responded to questions from public. The video was recorded at the Mullaitivu coast near the wreckage of Jordanian vessel Farah III.
British High Commisssion, Colombo, 01 February 2013 - Visiting UK Minister Alistair Burt delivered a guest lecture today on “Sri Lanka: 2013 and beyond” at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies - "It is the responsibility of states to protect the rights and freedoms of every citizen, and it is the responsibility of Commonwealth members to remind each other of our declared Commonwealth values. So the Meeting will also be an opportunity for the Commonwealth and the wider world to see the situation for ourselves, and indeed, the Prime Minister made very clear it is the best way to understand any situation in any country. Four years after the war, Sri Lanka has an opportunity to demonstrate that it is doing everything possible to make peace here sustainable, and that it is upholding the rights of all its citizens. This is the time for Sri Lanka to create a peaceful, free, democratic and prosperous future. We will do all we can to help you achieve these goals. But ultimately it is, of course, up to the Sri Lankan government and people to shape the country’s future. It is a future that can and should be bright, for 2013 and beyond."
British High Commission - Colombo, 31 January 2013 - Visiting UK Minister Alistair Burt went to the North of the country on the first day of his visit to Sri Lanka, holding a range of meetings and opening a youth project designed to facilitate country-wide reconciliation.
31 January 2013 - Video: Jason Kenney, the Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, updates media on his recent trip to Sri Lanka. Media Round-Table discussion in Markham Ontario on January 26, 2013.