The recent Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice ‘Sink The Seminar’ campaign had a fantastic response from concerned individuals around the world. Over 6,000 messages were sent to the 25 invited Governments via our campaign website. They were demanding that their Governments not whitewash the reputation of Sri Lanka’s military for brutality and rights abuses – as documented in the United Nations report of the Secretary-General’s panel of experts on accountability in Sri Lanka.

23 out of the 25 invited Governments attended, with the UK and South Africa pulling out at the 11th hour; whilst Dr W Lawrence S. Prabhakar, Associate Professor Department of Political Science of Madras Christian College Chennai, declined to present a paper on “Non Military Applications in Regional Maritime Domain; Opportunities, Trends and Challenges”; although the Government claimed this was due to reasons beyond his control.

All 25 Governments received a significant number of individual demands to boycott of the seminar. The number of messages sent was as follows:

Australia – 645
UK – 594
Canada – 440
USA – 422
France – 307
India – 285
Bangladesh – 249
Japan – 233
South Africa – 240
Singapore – 222
Malaysia – 202
China – 187
Indonesia – 172
South Korea – 179
UAE – 165
Thailand – 166
Kenya – 158
Russia – 163
Iran – 150
Seychelles – 151
Maldives – 153
Oman – 148
Burma – 139
Qatar – 139
Pakistan – 134

TOTAL 6043

Despite 23 of these countries attending the conference, this campaign has highlighted that Governments can not get away with saying one thing in public and another in private. If they attend what are essentially PR events that seek to legitimise the actions of a Sri Lankan State then we will notice, and we will draw attention to it. We would like to thank our supporters for making that possible.

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