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Australia's Greens urge suspension of Sri Lanka from Commonwealth

Australia's Greens launched a campaign to call for the suspension of Sri Lanka from the Commonwealth until a credible independent invesigation into alleged war crimes takes place, reported The Australian.

Greens senator, Lee Rhiannon, reportedly expressed hope of 'building bipartisan political support' for the suspension of Sri Lanka.

The Greens have the backing of several human rights activists and jurists.

John Dowd QC, a member of the International Commission of Jurists and former New South Wales attorney-general explained,

"If Sri Lanka is used as a host, it ignores the fact that war crimes have been committed. The Commonwealth has to realise it can't keep being polite when one of its members is guilty of (such) crimes."

Senator Rhiannon added,

"We will be looking at whether delegates of the Sri Lankan government may be refused a visa to visit Australia for CHOGM if it can be proved they do not meet the 'character test' and 'public criteria test'."

The upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting will take place in Perth, Australia, later next month.

Last week, the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, pledged he would boycott a Sri Lanka-hosted CHOGM in 2013 unless there had been meaningful progress on human rights. Harper called on other member states to take a similar principled stand.

See "Canada calls to boycott Sri Lanka CHOGM"