The Human Rights Council has once again condemned Sri Lanka's human rights record, this time in even more damning terms. This is great news for everyone who cares about Sri Lanka - but to turn it into meaningful action we need your help.
In less than a month a key part of the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), meets. After the strong message the Human Rights Council has sent, they must take a stand and ensure that Sri Lanka is not rewarded by hosting the Commonwealth's grand summit this November - that will keep the pressure on Sri Lanka and ensure we finally get the independent international investigation Sri Lanka needs to end its cycle of murder, torture, and rape. But if the Commonwealth continues as usual then the Government of Sri Lanka will be able to use this to whitewash their crimes, and derail the process of reconciliation. The cycle of violence will continue.
So in the next month we need our leaders to show leadership, and show the Commonwealth that it must not be business as usual.
Prime Minister Steven Harper was courageous in setting an example and announcing that if the summit happens, then he will not go. However, it is still expected that a Canadian delegation will attend the Summit, and this will undermine the effect of the Prime Minister's personal boycott as Canada's attendance will still be visible in the summit. The Prime Minister must have Canada as a whole stand behind his boycott of the Summit. Only then will Sri Lanka feel the impact of the boycott.
This is the most effective way we can put the pressure on the Commonwealth to act.
Desmond Tutu, Mary Robinson, Geoffrey Robertson QC, the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee, the Royal Commonwealth society President Peter Kellner, Bloomberg, the Washington Post, the Guardian, prominent Caribbean diplomat Sir Ronald Saunders, David Milliband, Malcolm Rifkind, Ricken Patel (the founder of Avaaz), those campaigning for the murdered tourist Khurram Sheikh, Amnesty International, Forum Asia, the Asian Legal Resource Centre, Civicus, the Commonwealth Journalists Association, the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, the Human Rights Law Centre (Australia), Human Rights Watch, the International Crisis Group, the International Federation for Human Rights, Minority Rights Group International, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and a number of Sri Lankan NGOs have already said this summit is a bad idea.
But it is your voice the politicians need to hear.
Dear Prime Minister,
You need to make a decision.
The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) meets in less than a month. The Commonwealth Summit is in less than nine months. It is due to be held in a country where a brutal tyrannical regime continues to commit acts of murder, torture, and rape - while ignoring the core values of the Commonwealth.
People are looking to you for your continued strong leadership in this matter. Please announce that not only will you personally not attend the Commonwealth Summit, but also that Canada as a whole will stand behind you and not attend in any level. Further, we ask you continue your efforts in seeking accountability in Sri Lanka and push for the summit to be moved or postponed, and for CMAG to take tough action against Sri Lanka.