The Commonwealth is a consensus organisation says Swire

British parliament   The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs William Hague told the British Parliament on 7 April 2014 that he is not able compel any Government to attend the summit but he has encouraged Sri Lanka to do so. This was in answer to a question by Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills) Stella Creasy.

Stella Creasy (Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills); Walthamstow, Labour) The Foreign Secretary has talked proudly of his preventing sexual violence in conflict initiative and the summit in June. Given the concerns that many hon. Members have about what is happening in Sri Lanka, does he believe that the Sri Lankan Government will attend, and what action will he take if they do not?

William Hague (The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs; Richmond (Yorks), Conservative)

Of course, I am not able to compel any Government to attend. I have invited the 143 nations that so far have endorsed the declaration that I launched on ending sexual violence to attend the summit in June, but I cannot force any of them to do so. However, given events in Sri Lanka in recent decades, it would be highly appropriate for the Sri Lankan Government to be there and to present their plans. I have encouraged them to do so.

Meanwhile  Kerry McCarthy asked a question from the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affair  by on the Government’s policy on the position of President Rajapaksa as Commonwealth Chairperson.

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will review the Government’s policy on the position of President Rajapaksa as Commonwealth Chairperson-in-office following the adoption of the Human Rights Council Resolution establishing an international investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes in Sri Lanka.

Mr Swire: The Commonwealth is a consensus organisation, and as such, decisions on the Chair in Office role are necessarily made by consensus. As the British Government has made clear, it is important that allegations of violations and abuses of international law on both sides of Sri Lanka’s military conflict are thoroughly investigated. On 27 March 2014, the UN agreed a renewed resolution that establishes an international investigation, in addition to calling on the Sri Lankan Government to make progress on human rights and reconciliation.

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