An internal report by a panel on the Commonwealth, due to be presented at the summit in Perth next week, has slammed the ‘failure’ of the 54-member organisation to address human rights issues of its members and said only prompt action will save the Commonwealth from irrelevance and its eventual demise.
Several Commonwealth members have blocked the publication of the report, titled ‘Time for Urgent Reform’, with Sri Lanka signalling it will reject the recommendation by the report to appoint a ‘Commissioner for Democracy’ who would recommend ‘remedial action’ against persistent human rights violating members.
The report further says the organisation "fails to stand up for the values that it has declared as fundamental to its existence"
More excerpts form the report:
“Now is the time for the Perth CHOGM to authorise the urgent reform this report recommends and to mandate a concrete implementation plan.
"Reform has never been more necessary. There may not be another chance to renew, reinvigorate and revitalise the commonwealth to make it relevant to its times and people in the future.
"There is a growing perception that the commonwealth has become indifferent because it fails to stand up for the values that it has declared as fundamental to its existence. These values have been violated by some member countries without an appropriate commonwealth response except in the event of the unconstitutional overthrow of a government.
"Fresh attention has to be focused by the Commonwealth on violations of human, political and civil rights if the association is to continue to command attention on behalf of its member states and if it is to retain the respect of its own people."
The eventual publication of the report will increase recent pressure on the Commonwealth’s apathy in dealing with member states accused of war crimes.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has called member states to join him on a boycott of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to be held in Sri Lanka in 2013 and the International Commission of Jurists in Australia have called for a full suspension of Sri Lanka from the Commonwealth.