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Sri Lanka should uphold rule of law, more international scrutiny ahead: UK minister
03 Feb, 2013 09:28:48
Feb 03, 2013 (LBO) - Sri Lanka should uphold rule of law and be committed to respect human rights to ensure that a planned Commonwealth summit in the island is well-attended, visiting UK foreign minister Alistair Burt has said.
Sri Lanka is expected to host a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), but countries including Canada are expected not to attend over human rights issues.

A recent controversial impeachment of the island's chief justice, intimidation and attacks on lawyers had cast another cloud over the future.

Minister Burt said Britain has not yet decided to attend the meeting.

"CHOGM is a time to recall the values uniting the Commonwealth – values to which we have all freely agreed," he said delivering speech at Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations in Colombo.

"As the UK has repeatedly stated we have not yet decided on the level of any attendance at CHOGM, but we will be looking to Sri Lanka, as we would any host, to demonstrate its commitment to upholding the Commonwealth values of good governance and democratic principles, adherence to the rule of law and respect for human rights.

"This will help ensure a well-attended and successful meeting."

Burt said Sri Lanka is to come under scrutiny at the UN Human Rights Council in March to review progress on a plan developed by committee that went in to the causes of 30-year civil war.

"This is an opportunity for Sri Lanka to set out its achievements and challenges, and work with the international community to advance our shared objectives," Burt said.

"And I think it is clear that scrutiny from the international community will be even more intense in 2013 – the year that Sri Lanka is due to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting."

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