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  1. ITV Report

Sri Lanka summit overshadowed by human rights record

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka is being overshadowed. Photo: ITV News

Sri Lanka is putting on a show ahead of the arrival of world leaders for Friday's Commonwealth summit - but the meeting is being overshadowed by accusations of human rights abuses and war crimes.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague are among those set to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, despite calls for a boycott.

Mr Hague told ITV News' international editor Bill Neely: "Terrible crimes were committed - all the evidence is very clear about that - a few years ago.

"Accountability for those in our view has to be addressed".

Earlier today the Prime Minister, who has come under fire for attending, justified his decision by saying, "You can't lead if you're not there. You can't talk if you're not there".

India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper are boycotting the event, citing controversy over the hosts' human rights record.

Speaking during a visit to India, Mr Cameron said it was "an opportunity to shine a spotlight on some of the problems" in Sri Lanka.

Prime Minister David Cameron speaking in India today. Credit: ITV News

He plans to make "frank and direct" points to Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Mr Hague also called on Sri Lanka to carry out a "credible and independent" investigation into allegations of sexual violence against women and children by the country's security forces both during and after the civil war.

He wrote on Twitter: