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Letter to PM from APPGT

Letter to PM from APPGT

May 2013

Dear Prime Minister,

As I am sure you will understand the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPGt) would like to convey their disappointment on the decision to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka. We have held meetings with the Minister to inform him of this.

The APPGt believe that Sri Lanka has failed on the fundamental values of the Commonwealth, such as Democracy, Human Rights, Tolerance, Respect and Understanding, Separation of Powers, Rule of Law, Freedom of Expression and Good Governance. On these bases, the Foreign Affairs Committee in its report in November 2012, urged you to announce your unwillingness to attend the CHOGM in Sri Lanka; this call has been echoed by many other independent organisations. We believe that if Sri Lanka is allowed to host the CHOGM 2013, it would undermine the Commonwealth founding principles and the Charter of the Commonwealth, which was signed by Her Majesty the Queen; and which the UK is committed to.

It is widely acknowledged that the Sri Lankan Government has failed to implement many recommendations of its’ own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and has also rejected the United Nation Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution (22/L.1) which was cosponsored by the UK and adopted in March 2013. We strongly feel that it would have a reverse effect on the pressure being placed on the Sri Lankan Government through the UNHRC if you attend the summit in November 2013. The UNHRC is due to give an oral report on the progress on the implementation of resolution 22/L.2 in September 2013.

In the 4 years since the war ended in May 2009, the Government of Sri Lanka has not made any progress on accountability and finding a lasting solution to the root cause to the conflict. The UN report states over 40000 people could have been killed during the final stages of the war within just 5 months; yet the current government is refusing to recognise the tremendous civilian loss and so far no one responsible for these crimes has been brought to justice.
We sincerely hope that you will review your decision to attend CHOGM 2013 in Sri Lanka; but if you do attend we earnestly hope that you will make a clear public statement about these issues and take the opportunity to visit the north and see for yourself the conditions there.

Thank you

Lee Scott MP Siobhan McDonagh MP Simon Hughes MP Virenda Sharma MP
Gavin Barwell MP Robert Halfon MP John Mann MP

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