International human rights group, Amnesty International, slammed the Commonwealth for failing a "critical moral challenge" through its inaction on Sri Lanka at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth last week.
Amnesty's National Director, Claire Mallinson, said,
“It is an absolute disgrace that Commonwealth leaders have agreed to hold their next meeting in Sri Lanka in spite of its appalling human rights record.”
“They are allowing war crimes to go uninvestigated, unpunished and unaccounted for.
"The Australian Government as host and other members of the Commonwealth have missed a crucial opportunity to show leadership on human rights.”
“Considering the atrocities, the Prime Minister Julia Gillard simply raising the issue of human rights with the Sri Lankan President is woefully inadequate.
"Commonwealth leaders have failed a critical moral challenge – standing up for the tens of thousands of victims of this brutal conflict,”
“By turning a blind eye to war crimes, the Commonwealth is losing its legitimacy on human rights.”
In a statement released on Sunday, Amnesty said,
Amnesty International is outraged that the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth has utterly failed to hold Sri Lanka to account over allegations of war crimes and other grave human rights abuses arising from the 2009 conflict.
A UN report released earlier this year found that government forces were responsible for most of those deaths, and that they had deliberately shelled hospitals and Red Cross aid ships.
Amnesty International is aware of thousands of Tamils still being held without charge in government ‘rehabilitation’ camps, [with] reports of human rights abuses - including rape and torture - continuing to emerge.
Given the lack of consideration for grave human rights abuses committed in Sri Lanka, Amnesty International is also sceptical that the announced strengthening of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group will be effective in addressing serious human rights concerns.
See here for statement in full.