Friday, 18 October 2013 00:03
UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has responded to a report by House of Commons MPs that its position on Sri Lanka’s hosting of CHOGM was not robust enough, saying it has consistently pursued progress in Sri Lanka on human rights through high level bilateral lobbying, support for local and international non-governmental organisations on the ground and internationally through the EU and Human Rights Council.
In a press release welcoming the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee report on the human rights situation in 27 countries, the FCO said it does not agree with the Committee’s assessment of the office as “timid and inconsistent” on this issue.
“When the issue of hosts for 2013 and 2015 was raised in the 2011 CHOGM in Perth there was no consensus amongst member states to revisit the decision made in Port of Spain for Sri Lanka to host CHOGM in 2013. Since the decision was made the FCO has continuously urged Sri Lanka to make progress,” the FCO said in its release.
The British Government said it saw CHOGM as an opportunity to highlight the need for effective commitment to the shared values and human rights for which the Commonwealth stands.
“The CHOGM meeting will be a spotlight on Sri Lanka and highlight either progress or its absence. The British delegation to CHOGM will see the situation on the ground in Sri Lanka and deliver a clear message that Sri Lanka needs to make concrete progress on human rights,” the FCO release said.