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UK Shadow Foreign Sec questions Rajapaksa's role at Commonwealth Games

The UK's Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander has raised concerns over the presence of the Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Commonwealth Games set to take place later this year in Glasgow.

In a letter addressed to Foreign Secretary William Hague on Thursday, Mr. Alexander warned the "world-class sporting celebration risks being overshadowed by questions raised by the possible attendance of Sri Lanka's president in his capacity as Chairperson-in-office of the Commonwealth."

President Rajapaksa was appointed Chairperson of the Commonwealth following Sri Lanka's hosting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at the end of last year.

Reiterating Sri Lanka's failure to meet the demands of the British government to investigate allegations of human rights abuses and its subsequent rejection of the international investigation mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, Mr. Alexander called on the British Foreign Secretary to clarify President Rajapaksa's possible attendance and role in the games.

Mr. Alexander wrote:

"I would like to ask what steps you are able to take to work constructively with the Games organisers to help ensure that this world-class sporting celebration is not overshadowed by questions raised by the possible attendance of Sri Lanka's President.

In addition I would ask you what formal advice you have given to the Commonwealth Secretariat, Glasgow 2014 Ltd and the Commonwealth Games Federation, regarding any possible role that President Rajapaksa may play at the Gamers in his capacity as Chairperson-in-office of the Commonwealth?"

See full letter here.

Highlighting Sri Lanka's repeated rejection of international obligations and the UK government's prominent role in the UN Human Rights Council's resolution seeking an international inquiry, the Chairman of Tamils for Labour, Mr. Sen Kandiah, called on the government to make clear that President Rajapaksa would not be welcome in the UK until he complies with international demands.

"Now is the time for the Prime Minister to take the advise from Douglas Alexander's letter and very clearly tell President Rajapaksa that until he satisfies his international obligations such as assisting the implementation of  the UN resolution, he will not be welcome to the UK," said Mr. Kandiah.