Saturday, October 26, 2013

Sri Lanka deserves to be boycotted, DAP tells Putrajaya

Sri Lanka deserves to be boycotted, DAP tells Putrajaya

October 26, 2013
Malaysian Insider

The DAP has called on Putrajaya not to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo next month as a show of protest against Sri Lanka's atrocious human rights track record.
Secretary-general Lim Guan Eng (pic) said Barisan Nasional component parties should pressure the government to boycott the summit, which is scheduled to take place in Sri Lanka's capital city from November 15-17.

"Boycott it as a humanitarian protest against the recalcitrant Sri Lankan government’s stubborn refusal to account for the deaths of tens of thousands of Tamils during the closing stages of the Sri Lankan civil war," Lim urged in a press statement today.

"Sri Lanka has not taken any concrete steps to address the gross violation of human rights in the country. By boycotting this function, Malaysia would be able to send a strong message to Colombo that the international community including the Commonwealth would not tolerate human rights violations.”
The Penang Chief Minister also pointed out that the CHOGM was regarded as an important forum “to articulate and highlight” issues such as human rights, democracy, justice and governance.

"DAP has supported CHOGM’s earlier initiatives to oppose the apartheid regime in South Africa and military interventions in Fiji and Pakistan. DAP has consistently opposed regimes that violate human rights and place constraints on democracy.

"In this respect, DAP thinks that the holding of CHOGM in Colombo is not an appropriate thing to do."
To date, Canada is the only country to announce its boycott of the summit. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced on October 7 that he would not attend, citing Sri Lanka's failure to investigate human rights violations during the 29-year civil war and the continued deterioration of democracy under the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa as reasons for doing so.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is also facing pressure from his citizens to boycott the summit, in particular the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly which unanimously passed a resolution urging the Union government to boycott.

Lim noted that the Sri Lankan government had not taken any initiative to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the war crimes against the Tamils.

"Beyond the killings, hundreds and thousands of Tamils who disappeared during the civil war have not been accounted for by the government. Those responsible for the rapes against Tamil women and girls have not been brought to justice," he said.

The United Nations has raised its concerns, issuing warnings to the Sri Lankan government to investigate allegations of murder, rape and disappearances.

Most recently, United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights Naveen Pillay warned the UN would order an international investigation into the conduct of the government if it fails to address the issue. – October 26, 2013.

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