Sri Lanka not on Commonwealth action group agenda

Colombo, March 26 : The Commonwealth Secretariat Tuesday said Sri Lanka's human rights situation will not be on the agenda of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) meeting next month.

Some countries, especially Canada, had tried to include Sri Lanka on the agenda citing its poor rights record and to push for a change of venue for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in November.

However, a spokesman for Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma told reporters that CHOGM 2013 will be held in Sri Lanka as scheduled.

"I can confirm to you that Sri Lanka is not on the agenda for the next scheduled meeting of CMAG on April 26.

"A discussion of CHOGM is not on the agenda for the April 26 CMAG meeting either.

"It was the Commonwealth Heads of government that made the decision to hold the 2013 meeting in Sri Lanka. Such decisions are made at the Commonwealth Heads of Government level and not by CMAG," the Commonwealth Secretary General's spokesman Richard Uku said.

"It is important to understand that the CMAG route is not the first option of action in such circumstances. It is one that is resorted to only when intervention efforts through the Commonwealth secretary-general's good offices have been exhausted, " he added.

He also said that the Commonwealth will continue to explore opportunities where it can offer its collective wisdom and experience, and will aim to agree by mid-2013 on areas where it can support Sri Lanka's implementation of the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

The LLRC is a local war commission appointed after the 30-year war between the army and Tamil Tigers ended in May 2009.

--IANS (Posted on 26-03-2013)

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