Attendance at CHOGM is tacit support for a war criminal

The Malaysian prime minister has reiterated that he will be attending the CHOGM in Sri Lanka as scheduled from the 15th November. 


However, the Canadian prime minister has confirmed his non-attendance, while Kenya has called on African countries to boycott CHOGM and the Indian Prime Minister under pressure not to attend. 


Sri Lanka has been accused of not adhering to the commonwealth values and traction of fair play. 


After the CHOGM, Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa will be given the commonwealth chair for 2 years to promote CHOGM core values which is a commitment to uphold democracy, equality, human rights, peace, tolerance, freedom of expression rule of law, gender equality etc etc. what an irony!


Sri Lanka has brought the respectable union of former British colonies to a cross road. Is CHOGM still relevant?


In the first place, Sri Lanka should never have been selected to host CHOGM. The legacy and legitimacy of CHOGM may take a severe blow from now on.


The successful hosting of CHOGM will further obscure the war crime committed by Sri Lankan defense forces. Sri Lanka has undertaken massive public relation exercises to obscure and erase its war crimes. Hosting CHOGM is a major leap to sweep their war crimes under the carpet.


This vain attempt to project itself as a developing tourist paradise has made Sri Lanka a natural choice for heads of government like Datuk Sri Najib Tun Razak and other investment oriented heads of commonwealth government to arrive at Colombo for the CHOGM meeting.


It is unfortunate that the Malaysian prime minister did not take the serious war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan defense forces into consideration before deciding to attend.


 Malaysia had abstained in voting the motion calling Colombo to address alleged abuses of international humanitarian law at the 19th session of the UN Human Rights council meeting in Geneva in March 2012. 


To date, the Sri Lankan government has not taken any initiative to investigate and prosecute those responsible for crimes against innocent Tamils during the civil war in 2009. Sri Lanka remains defiant and unperturbed in the face of war crime allegations.


Besides the ample credible evidences from the 2009 war, there are on-going reports of intimidation and incarceration of political leaders and journalists, harassment of minorities, reported disappearances and allegations of extra judicial killings from Sri Lanka. 


But prime minster Datuk Sri Najib chooses to ignore all and only believes president Rajapaksa’s brief on implementation of lessons learnt and reconciliation commission (LLRC) and post conflict development programs.    


Lately, the Sri Lankan government has turned its vengeance on its minority Muslims and Christians in the form of hardliners who have been given some form of immunity to continue their attacks on other ethnicities in Sri Lanka. 


Mosques have been vandalized, attacked and in some cases closing down a mosque by mobs and hardliners as well including a violent campaign calling for the boycott of ‘halal-certified’ meat. 


From anti-Tamil to anti-Muslim, violent attacks on ethnicities keep arising but the government has chosen to take a back seat to investigate and address the violation of human rights. 


Around 160 incidents of violence targeting Muslims have been reported this year.


The attendance of Malaysian prime minister in Colombo for CHOGM is clearly an endorsement of Sri Lankan vengeance and violence against minorities which includes Muslims. Hope the Malaysian prime minister will reconsider his visit to CHOGM.

Explore posts in the same categories: From the desk of Senator S Ramakrishnan

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