In just a few days time, delegates from 19 countries, including the UK and USA, will take part in a public relations stunt organised by the brutal autocrat Gotabaya (Gota) Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka’s Defence Minister.
Unless you stop them.
Last year the Sri Lankan military organised a series of seminars designed to help whitewash their reputation and promote the “Sri Lanka model” of purely military responses to internal strife. And last year we ran campaigns to prevent these events from turning into the PR coups the Sri Lankan military were hoping for.
It is not too late, twice now nations have pulled out at the very very last minute
Previously various countries – including Canada, the UK and South Africa – pulled out under pressure, sending a powerful message that human rights violations will not be tolerated. It also hugely embarrassed the Sri Lankan military and Gotabaya himself, weakening their position within the country.
This year, the Sri Lankan Army is planning another conference, from 8-12 August, giving Gota the chance to hold court in front of at least 19 countries including the UK and USA, at a session misleadingly called “towards lasting peace and stability”.
We know from history, from Gota’s involvement, and from the way this is being presented in the Sri Lankan media that this is not a legitimate attempt to address issues. It is a cynical PR exercise designed to whitewash the Army’s reputation, cement its ownership of the reconciliation process, and promote the government’s highly flawed reconciliation plan to an international audience. Gota himself badly needs good publicity: he last made headlines for ordering a commercial plane to pick up a puppy from Switzerland, then threatening the journalist asking about this farcical abuse of power.
Don’t let them get away with it.
Twice now your outcry has caused nations to pull out of these PR stunts at the last minute. Please help us make it a third.
We only have a few days to take action. Click here now and forward this to others who care about Sri Lanka.