November 30, 2009 Comments Off on CHOGM : Aust leads push against SL
Behind the scenes, Mr Rudd has led a push to stop Sri Lanka from hosting the next summit.
Many leaders are concerned about Sri Lanka’s human rights record in the war against Tamil separatists and feared it would lead to a boycott of the next meeting.
The ABC has been told that Mr Rudd has held at least three bilateral meetings with Sri Lanka’s President and Prime Minister in Trinidad, in order to convince them to abandon their hosting plans.
UK Guardian – Commonwealth vetoes Sri Lanka bid to hold 2011 gathering
Sri Lanka has been blocked from hosting the next meeting of Commonwealth leaders in protest at Colombo’s military repression against the Tamil population earlier this year.
Australia will instead host the next biennial Commonwealth heads of government meeting in 2011 after Canberra and London joined forces to block the Sri Lankan bid.
The decision, made at the summit in Trinidad and Tobago over the weekend, is a victory for Gordon Brown and his Australian counterpart, Kevin Rudd.
Australia will host the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
The decision was made on Saturday at the CHOGM currently underway in Trinidad and Tobago.
Sources said an official announcement was expected to be made on Sunday.
Sri Lanka had been lobbying to host the 2011 CHOGM but it is believed it will now host the 2013 meeting.
CHOGM, a biennial summit involving 53 leaders from Commonwealth nations, traditionally discusses issues relevant largely to the Commonwealth.
CHOGM critics have questioned the summit’s relevance, including a damning report released by the British-based Royal Commonwealth Society last week that suggested the once-powerful alliance was fading.
But the importance of this year’s event reaches far beyond the former British empire.
Trinidad’s Prime Minister, Patrick Manning, invited French President Nicholas Sarkozy, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Danish Prime Minister Lars Rasmussen to the CHOGM discussion table.
The global interest in this year’s CHOGM lies in its timing, as the last major gathering of leaders before the December 7-18 United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen.
Queen Elizabeth II traditionally opens the biennial event, which attracts hundreds of government officials and media representatives from around the world.
Australia has previously hosted CHOGM twice, most recently at Coolum in Queensland in 2002 (that meeting was postponed from October 2001). Melbourne hosted the CHOGM in 1981.
The first CHOGM was held in Singapore in 1971. Previously, meetings were held under the banners of Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conferences (from 1944) and Imperial Conferences.
November 30, 2009 Comments Off on 5 part series from Ron Ridenour
Part 1 (Nov 14) – Cuba – ALBA Let Down Sri Lanka Tamils
Part 2 (Nov 16) – Tamil Eelam: Historical Right to Nationhood
Part 3 (Nov 18) – Equal Rights or Self-Determination
Part 4 (Nov 20) – The Terrorists International support for Sri Lanka racist discrimination also reproduced on Counterpunch
Part 5 (Nov 22) – Post-War Internment Hell
November 30, 2009 Comments Off on The Elders call on SL to protect
The Elders – a group of eminent global leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela – have made a direct appeal to the President of Sri Lanka to protect the rights of civilians displaced after the government’s defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May.
Six months since the end of the war, the Elders have written to President Rajapaksa to say they are “deeply worried” about the humanitarian situation faced by the largely Tamil civilian population who fled fighting in the north of the country, and warn that this could squander hopes for national reconciliation.
Chair of The Elders, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, signed the letter on behalf of his fellow Elders, Martti Ahtisaari, Kofi Annan, Ela Bhatt, Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Brundtland, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Jimmy Carter, Graça Machel and Mary Robinson.
The Elders say in their letter to the President that the continued confinement of approximately 135, 000 internally displaced people is a “clear violation of international law” and that these people are being denied basic human rights, including the right to liberty and freedom of movement.
The Elders welcome the government’s announcement that those still confined in closed camps will now be given the freedom to move in and out of the camps until they are able to return to their homes. The Elders also call for humanitarian agencies to be granted the unimpeded access to the camps required to conduct critical humanitarian and human rights work such as providing health care, legal aid, and helping to reunite families. More
November 30, 2009 Comments Off on In other news
Some of these articles are a few days old
Counterpunch – Post-War Internment Hell for Tamils
The National – Political terrain shifts in Sri Lanka
Financial Times – A peace dividend Sri Lanka cannot squander
November 29, 2009 Comments Off on Update on elections – 26th Jan
New York Times – Sri Lankan General Who Led Fight Against Tamils Seeks Presidency
The Associated Press – Sri Lanka’s presidential poll set for Jan. 26
November 29, 2009 Comments Off on Int'l orgs cast doubt over SL's promises
The Sri Lankan government has failed to make adequate welfare provision for the 136,000 Tamil civilians it plans to release from internment camps, rights activists and opposition parties said Sunday.
As it prepares to allow the 130,000 internally displaced persons detained in camps to decide whether to stay or leave, the Sri Lankan government should ensure that no additional persons are subject to arbitrary detentions, Human Rights Watch said today.
The U.N. humanitarian chief says Sri Lanka’s decision to release Tamil refugees confined to government camps is good news but the United Nations is concerned about how they are being returned home.
Amnesty International has welcomed the government of Sri Lanka’s promise to lift by 1 December any restrictions on movement of at least 130,000 people displaced by the war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE).
ABC Radio Australia – Sri Lanka urged to move fast on Tamil reconciliation
The Sri Lankan government is being urged to allow international involvement in the nation’s reconciliation process.