Greens Senator Rhiannon is in Sri Lanka to discuss human rights in the country on eve of CHOGM
WHAT: As the Heads of the Commonwealth, including Prime Minister Abbott, prepare to travel to Sri Lanka for CHOGM, Senator Rhiannon and New Zealand Greens MP Jan Logie are in the country to discuss human rights, media freedom, war crimes and the push factors that cause Tamils to seek asylum in Australia.
Sri Lanka’s hosting of the 2013 meeting is steeped in controversy, with the Canadian Prime Minister boycotting CHOGM citing President Rajapakse’s failure to investigate allegations of war crimes.
The Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is under considerable pressure to follow suit and has not yet confirmed his attendance.
Lee and Jan both have a long history of advocating for human rights and Lee has been active in campaigning for a war crimes investigation in Sri Lanka. They will be travelling up North as part of their fact finding mission.
WHERE: Sri Lanka
WHEN: 8-10 November
Contact: Both MPs are available for interviews while in Sri Lanka.
Lee Rhiannon: +61 487 350 880
Jan Logie: +64 21038 6101
Senator Rhiannon said:
“Both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have said that Sri Lanka should not be awarded the two-year chairmanship of the Commonwealth after it hosts CHOGM.
“Australia continues to flaunt a friendship of cooperation and collaboration with Sri Lanka for its own domestic policy interests instead of putting pressure on the Rajapakse regime to stop its terror tactics, human rights violations, intimidations and threats to media freedom.
“More than four and a half years after the end of civil war, international human rights organisations are still producing alarming reports about the continuing human rights abuses in Sri Lanka.
“I will be reporting back to the Australian parliament on my findings."