Govt 'too timid' on Sri Lanka

The Government was too "timid" in its approach to allowing a prestigious Commonwealth summit to take place in Sri Lanka next month despite concerns over human rights in the country, MPs have said.

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UK 'should have taken robust stand' over Sri Lanka

The MPs' report said in 2009 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) objected to a proposal for Sri Lanka to host 2011's Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) but did not attempt to block this year's event or insist it should be conditional on improvements in human rights.

That approach now appears timid. The UK could and should have taken a more principled stand in 2009, and should have taken a more robust stand after the 2011 CHOGM in the light of the continuing serious human rights abuses in Sri Lanka.

The committee has previously suggested Mr Cameron should "publicly state his unwillingness to attend" unless he receives evidence of improving political and human rights.

We note that the Prime Minister remains committed to attending the CHOGM.

However, we recommend that the Prime Minister should obtain assurances from the Sri Lankan government that people who approach him to talk about human rights while he is in Sri Lanka to attend the CHOGM do not face reprisals or harassment by security forces.

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