Britain must stand up for human rights in Sri Lanka – a response

Britain must stand up for human rights in Sri Lanka | David Miliband | Comment is free | The Guardian.

Whilst I agree with the overall premise of the article, – that Britain should stand up for human rights and demand the relocation of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) due to be held in Sri Lanka later this year, I feel that David Miliband’s credibility on issues of human rights are rather damaged by his previous tenure in government.

Regarding Sri Lanka, it is his less than altruistic motivations in visiting the country back in 2009, and his attempts to address the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, that causes me to question his current interest in this very important issue.

Moreover, regarding respect for human rights more generally, his half hearted attempt at scoring political points fails epically given his tenure as Foreign Secretary in a government known to have be complicit in countless human rights abuses whilst prosecuting the war on terror. Such an unfortunate legacy also casts a dark cloud over his ability to credibly champion human rights.

That being said, his argument that CHOGM 2013 should be moved from Sri Lanka has significant merit given Sri Lanka’s:

  • continued lack of accountability & justice for UN documented war crimes;
  • lack of progress on reconciliation;
  • deterioration of the rule of law; and
  • intimidation and elimination of critical/dissenting opinions & press
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