Submitted by Anonymous on Thu, 11/14/2013 - 20:03
UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office Press Release, 14 November 2013 - Foreign Secretary William Hague discusses devolution and reconciliation in Sri Lanka with the Tamil National Alliance during CHOGM - Today the Foreign Secretary William Hague met members of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He stressed his support for a peaceful and stable Sri Lanka and noted that the protection of minority and human rights for all was paramount in achieving long lasting peace. " I am calling on the Sri Lankan government to conduct a transparent and independent investigation into alleged war crimes, improve Sri Lanka’s human rights record and for both the government and the TNA to work constructively together towards a political settlement that delivers meaningful devolution for the North of the country."
Submitted by Anonymous on Thu, 11/14/2013 - 12:31
TamilInsight, 14 November 2013 - "Despite deep concerns over his Government's approach to human rights, as host of this year’s summit President Mahinda Rajapaksa is due to be automatically appointed as the Chairperson-in-office of the Commonwealth. That would mean the Sri Lankan President representing the organisation on the world stage for the next two years. There are many, myself included, who have serious reservations about President Rajapaksa’s suitability for this important role. So at this summit this week, unless we see real and meaningful change on human rights in Sri Lanka, David Cameron should work with other Commonwealth leaders on securing an alternative candidate for chairperson-in-office. For Labour, the Commonwealth remains a vital network. It is a unique partnership representing over a quarter of the world’s population united by history, but rich in its diversity. Because we all believe the Commonwealth must remain relevant, the Prime Minister must make sure he defends the place of freedom, democracy and human rights at its core," Britain’s Leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband said in an article today.
Submitted by Anonymous on Wed, 11/13/2013 - 17:47
Amnesty International UK, 13 Nov 2013 - These developments have confirmed what Amnesty International has long argued. Given Sri Lanka’s atrocious human rights record and its refusal to address ongoing violations, the country should not have been allowed to host CHOGM in the first place.
Submitted by Anonymous on Wed, 11/13/2013 - 17:26
UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, 13 November 2013 - Today the Foreign Secretary met civil society groups in Sri Lanka to discuss what can be done to end the culture of sexual violence in the country. He also gave a speech about why this horrific abuse must be stopped globally and why members of the Commonwealth, including Sri Lanka, have a responsibility to take action. International human rights organisations have said that there are credible allegations of sexual violence by Sri Lankan security forces both during and after the war, including as a means of torturing detainees in custody both during and after the conflict. Sri Lankan campaigners also have spoken about the significant problem of sexual harassment and violence against women and children across the country. The Foreign Secretary is leading international efforts to stop sexual abuse of women, men and children during conflict through the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict initiative. The UK is urging the Sri Lankan government, and other Commonwealth countries, to join the 134 countries that have signed the UN Declaration of Commitment to end Sexual Violence in Conflict. The Foreign Secretary gave his speech to an audience of civil society groups, members of the Sri Lankan Government, campaigners and the media.
Submitted by Anonymous on Wed, 11/13/2013 - 17:07
International Crisis Group, Brussels/Colombo, 13 November 2013 - Asia Report N°253 - Sri Lanka’s ethnically-exclusive regime continues to close political space and consolidate its power. Recent moves that create a perception of progress have not weakened the power of the president, his family or the military or brought reconciliation, ended human rights abuses or reduced impunity. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) won a landslide victory in September’s long-awaited northern provincial council elections. Yet, President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s administration is reluctant to allow devolution to begin, preferring to maintain de facto military rule in the north. It faces increasing social and communal pressures elsewhere, too. Journalists, human rights defenders and critics of the government are threatened and censored. With opposition parties weak and fragmented, continued international pressure and action are essential to stem the authoritarian turn and erosion of rule of law, realise the devolution of power promised in the constitution and start a credible investigation of alleged war crimes by government forces and the Tamil Tigers (LTTE).
Submitted by Anonymous on Tue, 11/12/2013 - 00:38
CPJ, 11 November 2013 - Join CPJ as it calls on leaders of the Commonwealth countries to urge President Rajapaksa to respect press freedom. Sign up to share this message and spread the word.
Submitted by Anonymous on Tue, 11/12/2013 - 00:32
CIVICUS, 11 November 2013 - A new report finds shocking threats to civil society in Sri Lanka, amidst growing protests about the Commonwealth's decision to host its Summit there despite strong criticism of the country's human rights abuses. Based on interviews with a diverse range of civil society leaders and research on the conditions affecting citizen participation, CIVICUS and the Centre for Policy Alternatives, Sri Lanka (CPA), document a litany of threats to civil society in Sri Lanka.
Submitted by Anonymous on Tue, 11/12/2013 - 00:26
HRW, November 11, 2013 - (New York) – Governments attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting should press the host, Sri Lanka, on accountability for alleged war crimes and ongoing human rights abuses, Human Rights Watch and the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice said today. The two groups released a media guide for the November 15-17, 2013 summit.
Submitted by Anonymous on Sun, 11/10/2013 - 22:56
The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, Sunday, 10 Nov 2013 | Press Release - The detention of Green Party MP Jan Logie and Australian Green Senator Lee Rhiannon in Sri Lanka today highlights the very problem they were travelling to Sri Lanka to shine a light on. Jan Logie and Lee Rhiannon were detained for more than 2 hours and prevented from holding their scheduled press conference that would have highlighted the human rights abuses that they have found on their trip to Sri Lanka ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). They have just been released, their passports have been returned and they are travelling back to Australia and New Zealand. "Our fact-finding trip to Sri Lanka has found that the human rights abuses that we have been hearing about are well-founded," Green Party human rights spokesperson Jan Logie said.
Submitted by Anonymous on Sun, 11/10/2013 - 14:46
Tamilinsight, 10 November 2013 - “Large numbers of women regularly suffer sexual abuse perpetrated by members of the Sri Lankan armed forces. One lawyer described to us the evidence collected about these crimes. In one case they have text messages from Major General Mahinda Hathurusingha to the 'comfort women' he frequently abuses," Australian Senator Lee Rhiannon and New Zealand MP Jan Logie said in a Joint statement from Colombo today before their detention. “If CHOGM goes ahead and if Sri Lanka is given the Chair of this organisation the Commonwealth will have failed the people of Sri Lanka and damaged its own high standing with the international community," they said.