Commonwealth’s democratic values on test
On Friday a group of Foreign Ministers from the Commonwealth known as the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, will meet in London chaired by Bangladesh. This group is charged with enforcing human rights and democratic principles. Though they don’t have Sri Lanka on their official agenda. Canada is to raise the Sri Lanka issue in the “Other Matters of Interest to Ministers” section and will call for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting to be moved.
Many believe Friday is a turning point for the 54-nation body – a test of the body’s shared values and recent commitment to institutional reform.
Meanwhile former Australian prime minister Malcolm Fraser has added his name to a petition calling on Australia to join with Canada in avoiding the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in the Sri Lankan. He is among dozens of prominent Australians calling on the federal government to consider boycotting the Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka this year.
Organised by the Australian Tamil Congress, the petition calls on the government to insist on a new host country unless there is significant progress on Sri Lanka’s human rights record.
Signed by 2700 people, the petition is part of a wider global campaign to stop Sri Lanka hosting the summit.
A resolution was passed unanimously at the Commonwealth lawyers meeting in South Africa too last week calling for Sri Lanka to be suspended from the organisation – rather than run it for the next two years and host its major summit meeting this November.