Today is the start of something special.
The Human Rights Council has once again condemned Sri Lanka’s human rights record, this time in even more damning terms. This is great news for everyone who cares about Sri Lanka – but to turn it into meaningful action we need your help.
In less than a month a key part of the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), meets. After the strong message the Human Rights Council has sent, they must take a stand and ensure that Sri Lanka is not rewarded by hosting the Commonwealth’s grand summit this November – that will keep the pressure on Sri Lanka and ensure we finally get the independent international investigation Sri Lanka needs to end its cycle of murder, torture, and rape. But if the Commonwealth continues as usual then the Government of Sri Lanka will be able to use this to whitewash their crimes, and derail the process of reconciliation. The cycle of violence will continue.
So in the next month we need our leaders to show leadership, and show the Commonwealth that it must not be business as usual. They can do this by following the Canadian Prime Minister’s example and announcing that if the summit happens then they will not go. This is the most effective way we can put the pressure on the Commonwealth to act. We are going to ask this of every Commonwealth country, but we are starting with the UK.
Desmond Tutu, Mary Robinson, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Geoffrey Robertson QC, the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee, the Royal Commonwealth society President Peter Kellner, Bloomberg, the Washington Post, the Guardian, prominent Caribbean diplomat Sir Ronald Saunders, David Milliband, Malcolm Rifkind, Ricken Patel (the founder of Avaaz), those campaigning for the murdered tourist Khurram Sheikh, Amnesty International, Forum Asia, the Asian Legal Resource Centre, Civicus, the Commonwealth Journalists Association, the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, the Human Rights Law Centre (Australia), Human Rights Watch, the International Crisis Group, the International Federation for Human Rights, Minority Rights Group International, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and a number of Sri Lankan NGOs have already said this summit is a bad idea.
But it is your voice the politicians need to hear.