Sept 13, New York: The Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday urged the heads of Commonwealth governments not to attend the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka due to the country's alleged unwillingness to address the ongoing human rights concerns.
In a letter the New York-based rights watchdog has asked the heads of 54 Commonwealth countries not to attend the summit in Sri Lanka and suggested that those governments which decide to attend should send a low-level delegation as a public message of dissatisfaction.
"The Sri Lankan government should be shunned - not rewarded - for failing to hold anyone accountable for war crimes during the country's recent conflict," said Brad Adams, Asia director of the HRW.
"Attending a summit in Sri Lanka so soon after the UN rights chief decried a worsening situation sends the wrong message to the government and to victims seeking justice," he said referring to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay's expression of concern over the right violations in the island.
The rights group said the Sri Lankan government's unwillingness to address the human rights concerns resulted in the adoption of a resolution by the UN Human Rights Council in March 2013 calling on Sri Lanka to implement the many recommendations made by the LLRC.
"Since the resolution, the Sri Lankan government has made many pronouncements about adopting the recommendations, but has demonstrated little genuine progress in implementation," the HRW said.
"Holding the summit in Sri Lanka casts serious doubts on the Commonwealth's stated commitment to supporting human rights and democratic reform," the Asia Director said.
"Instead of participating in a propaganda coup for the Sri Lankan government, Commonwealth heads of government should stay home and publicly press Sri Lanka on its repressive policies and lack of accountability," he added.