CHOGM leaders must press Lanka on human rights: HRW

Leaders of Commonwealth countries attending the CHOGM summit must press host nation Sri Lanka on its human rights record and demand accountability, a prominent rights group has said.

Washington: Leaders of Commonwealth countries attending the CHOGM summit must press host nation Sri Lanka on its human rights record and demand accountability, a prominent rights group has said.

"The world will be watching to see if Commonwealth leaders speak out for the victims of abuses or stay silent on behalf of the summit`s host," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch (HRW).

"The Commonwealth risks its credibility as an international forum if it doesn`t publicly press Sri Lanka on its rights record and the lack of accountability for wartime atrocities," Adams said yesterday.

In a statement, HRW said Commonwealth members should support the call by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for an independent international investigation into violations of international law during Sri Lanka`s civil war that ended in 2009.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has endorsed an international investigation if Sri Lanka fails to conduct its own impartial inquiry, the statement said.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is being held in Colombo from November 15 to 17.

In the months before the summit, the Sri Lankan government took a flurry of actions that have been all show and little substance, Adams alleged.

"Now is the time for Commonwealth leaders to cut through the government`s smoke and mirrors on human rights," he said.

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