Sri Lanka rights under scrutiny as Commonwealth leaders meet
Friday, November 15, 2013 - 01:36
Nov. 15 - Leaders of the Commonwealth of mostly former British colonies meet in Sri Lanka for a summit that has brought with it intense scrutiny of Sri Lanka's human rights record four years after the civil war ended. Jillian Kitchener reports.
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Protests in Sri Lanka. Tamil protesters mobbed British Prime Minister David Cameron's motorcade in Jaffna, holding up pictures of dead or missing relatives from Sri Lanka's 26-year-old war.
Cameron was visiting the Tamil-dominated northern city to push his case for greater human rights, and said he would demand that Sri Lanka investigate allegations of war crimes and human rights abuses.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON, SAYING:
"I think it's important to shine a spotlight on what's happened in this country and to speak up against abuses that have taken place and make sure that these people in the north of the country do have a proper voice."
A U.N. panel has said around 40,000 mainly Tamil civilians died in the final months of the civil war.
It wants an inquiry into allegations of war crimes, but the Sri Lankan government is resisting.
Coinciding with a Commonwealth Summit in Colombo, Tamil protesters in London demand that Sri Lanka be suspended from the Commonwealth altogether.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) POLLY TRUSCOTT, AMNESTY DIRECTOR FOR SOUTH ASIA, SAYING:
"We cannot see that there has been made any progress whatsoever since Rajapaksa has been given the very special position of hosting the Commonwealth summit. If he is now going to be the Commonwealth chair for the next two years what a bitter irony given he would have oversight of promotion of human rights and other countries when there is such a dismal track record at home."
Meanwhile, Protesters in Chennai blocked trains and demanded an international and independent investigation against the Sri Lankan President.
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