Labour urges Hague: act on Sri Lankan president to avoid Games outcry

Mahinda Rajapaksa's regime is accused of committing appalling human rights abuses against its own people. Mahinda Rajapaksa's regime is accused of committing appalling human rights abuses against its own people.

JULY 83The events of July 1983 are poignant for the entire Tamil population around the world. Between July 24 and 29, Tamils were systematically targeted with violence in Colombo and many other parts of Sri Lanka. ………….. READ  MORE 

Horror of a pogrom: Remembering “Black July” 1983

The tragic history of post – independence Sri Lanka records that the Tamils of Sri Lanka have been subjected to mass –scale mob violence in the years 1956, 1958, 1977, 1981 and 1983. The anti-Tamil violence of July 1983 was the most terrible and horrible of them all. 

Mahinda Rajapaksa's regime is accused of committing appalling human rights abuses against its own people.

Mahinda Rajapaksa’s regime is accused of committing appalling human rights abuses against its own people.

Labour urges Hague: act on Sri Lankan president to avoid Games outcry

Labour have called on Foreign Secretary William Hague to ensure the Commonwealth Games are not overshadowed by controversy over the presence of the president of Sri Lanka.

Mahinda Rajapaksa’s regime is accused of committing appalling human rights abuses against its own people. Despite the allegations, and demands for an international inquiry, President Rajapaksa last year became the chair of the Commonwealth, amid an international outcry.

Police have already warned that there could be protests on the streets of Glasgow if he attends this summer’s Games.

UK Shadow Foreign Sec questions Rajapaksa’s role at Commonwealth Games

Rajapaksa Attendance Overshadow Glasgow C’Wealth Games – Labour Writes To Hugue

Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander MP has asked what steps Foreign Secretary William Hague is able to take to work constructively with the Commonwealth Games organisers to help ensure this summer Glasgow Commonwealth Games event is not overshadowed by questions raised by the possible attendance of Sri Lanka’s President.

Douglas Alexander

Writing to William Hegue on May 08, 2014, he said; “President Rajapaksa failed to meet the UK Government’s demand that he launch an international inquiry into allegations of human rights abuses. In response, the UN Human Rights Council has rightly appointed an investigative team to conduct their own international independent inquiry. But President Rajapaksa has publicly dismissed the need for an inquiry and his Foreign Minister, Gamini Lakshman Peiris, recently confirmed that  ’Sri Lanka will now participate in this inquiry’”

We publish below the letter in full;

Rt Hon William Hague MP

Foreign Secretary

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

1 King Charles Street

London

SW1A 2AH

8th May 2014

Dear William,

I am writing to express my concern at the proposed role that President Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka may play in this summer Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

The Games will be a proud moment for Scots and for the city of Glasgow in particular, with athletes from Team Scotland competing in 17 sport at the Games.

Yet this world-class sporting celebration risk being overshadowed by questions raised by the possible attendance of Sri Lanka’s President in his capacity as Chairperson-in-office of the Commonwealth.

As you will recall, in November Meeting I made clear that I shared the widespread concern that questions still existed over President Rajapaksa’s suitability to represent the Commonwealth on the international stage, especially as Sri Lanka remains a designated ‘country of concerns’ in the FCO’s Human Rights report.

Since then, President Rajapaksa failed to meet the UK Government’s demand that he launch an international inquiry into allegations of human rights abuses.

In response, the UN Human Rights Council has rightly appointed an investigative team to conduct their own international independent inquiry.

But President Rajapaksa has publicly dismissed the need for an inquiry and his Foreign Minister, Gamini Lakshman Peiris, recently confirmed that “ Sri Lanka will now participate in this inquiry”

International human rights groups, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch have warned that the Rajapaksa government sought to use last year’s Commonwealth summit in Colombo to paper over that lack of progress on human rights in Sri Lanka.

Therefore I would like to ask what steps you are able to take to work constructively with the Games organisers to help ensure this world-class sporting celebration is not overshadowed by questions raised by the possible attendance of Sri Lanka’s President.

In addition I would ask you what formal advice you have given to the Commonwealth Secretariat, Glasglow 2014 Ltd and Commonwealth Games Federation, regarding any possible role that President Rajapaksa may play at the Games in his capacity as Chairperson-in-office of the Commonwealth?

Given the public interest in this issue, I am releasing tis letter today, and await your reply.

Yours,

Rt Hon Douglas Alexander MP

Shadow Foreign Secretary

Read the original letter here

Glasgow 2014 ‘can shine light on Sri Lanka abuse’