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Commonwealth Lawyers Association call for CHOGM venue change

The Commonwealth Lawyers Association, whilst calling for a venue change, questioned the validity of holding the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka, in an interview today.

Speaking to Radio Australia, Vice –President of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, Alex Ward, said,

“If they go to Sri Lanka then Sri Lanka becomes the Chair in Office of CHOGM, so it’s rather giving a big green tick to what’s going on. And if they're saying, we’re not going to let the United Nations in, would that be in itself a source of concern, to say, well then, why should we act like you’re a good member of an institution that’s supposed to uphold the rights of people.”

Responding to whether going to Sri Lanka and engaging would be a better way of applying pressure on Sri Lanka to uphold the rights of people, Ward said,

I would think a better way to do that would be to have the meeting elsewhere and have Sri Lanka along and put pressure on them that way. I mean, again I can’t see the difference with Fiji, with us saying, if you’re going to sack the judges who rule against the government, then we see that as a proper basis for you to be excluded and for us to stop dealing with you officially. Why the same situation doesn’t apply to Sri Lanka?”

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