« Sri Lanka’s twin challenges » by Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah

« The Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Colombo was the occasion for renewed demands that the state account for the brutal ending of its war with the Tamil Tigers in 2009. But Sri Lanka’s appalling human-rights record does not only apply to its violent past: today too civil-society organisations are under heavy authoritarian pressure. »

Via http://www.opendemocracy.net/opensecurity/dhananjayan-sriskandarajah/sri-lanka’s-twin-challenges#.Up5rBiTpqfA.twitter

source: www.opendemocracy.net

« The Commonwealth Summit: the aftermath » by Sri Lanka Campaign for Justice

« The Commonwealth Summit has now ended. It was broadly seen as a complete disaster for both the Commonwealth and Sri Lanka. Only 27 of the 53 invited Heads of Government attended. »

via: http://blog.srilankacampaign.org/2013/11/the-commonwealth-summit-aftermath.html

source: blog.srilankacampaign.org

« City hotel occupancy far below expectations » (www.dailymirror.lk)

Another hotelier who also requested anonymity said, most of the mega tourism events organized by the government and government agencies had been banes for hotels instead of boons. “Some of the hotels are yet to be paid for accommodating IIFA delegates,” he said.

Via http://www.dailymirror.lk/news/38864-city-hotel-occupancy-during-chomg-far-below-expectations-hoteliers-.html

source: www.dailymirror.lk

« CHOGM 2013: A lie well told » by Deborah Philip

Ultimately one does not need a Commonwealth astrologer to predict that the regime will use the next few days to present the summit as a great triumph and all its critics and detractors as stooges of the LTTE. The Government would never admit that from the point of view of international relations the summit proved to be a PR debacle of unprecedented magnitude. In the words of Michael Ondaatje “In Sri Lanka a lie well told is worth a thousand facts“.

The only problem being that in Sri Lanka the lies are told increasingly well.

Via http://groundviews.org/2013/11/17/chogm-2013-a-lie-well-told/

source: Groundviews

« CHOGM-SHOWGM: Highs and lows of Govt.’s magnum opus » by Namini Wijedasa

Lowest HoG count at Colombo summit

Only 24 countries participated at heads of government level at the Commonwealth summit which began in Colombo on Friday — the lowest heads-of-government count in recent decades. Among them were nine presidents and 15 prime ministers.

A record number of heads of government participated at the CHOGM 1999 in Durban South Africa. The 1997 Scotland summit drew 42 heads of government.

The Commonwealth summit in 2011 in Australia saw 36 heads of government, the Trinidad and Tobago summit in 2009 had 34 heads of government and the Uganda summit in 2007 had 36 while Malta in 2005 and Nigeria in 2003 had 38 each.

At CHOGM 2013, five countries were represented by vice presidents while eleven countries were represented by foreign ministers. The remaining nations were represented by other ministers, high commissioners and senior officials.

Via http://www.sundaytimes.lk/131117/news/chogm-showgm-highs-and-lows-of-govt-s-magnum-opus-73694.html

source: Sundaytimes.lk

« Commonwealth & human rights principles in Sri Lanka, in the weeks before CHOGM » by Ruki (Groundviews)

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is due to start tomorrow. The last few weeks has seen series of violations of Human Rights and Commonwealth principles in Sri Lanka, which is the host country and expected to lead the Commonwealth in the next two years. Victims of human rights violations, their families, activists, local and international journalists, UN experts and opposition politicians from Sri Lanka and Commonwealth countries who are critical of the government have been amongst those targeted. Pro-government protests have been allowed to go ahead, even as Police obtained a court order preventing protests in the Colombo city today and tomorrow. In this article are some incidents reported, based on testimonies of victims, eye witnesses and media.

Read the full list here.

source:  www.groundviews.org

« Has The Queen Politely Joined The CHOGM Boycott? » by Trevor Grant

With her trademark solemnity, Queen Elizabeth read and signed a new 16-point charter in March this year affirming Commonwealth principles that included democracy, human rights, freedom of expression and separation of powers.

Her next move was to announce that she would not be attending the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting for the first time in 40 years.

Via https://newmatilda.com/2013/11/15/has-queen-politely-joined-chogm-boycott

source: newmatilda.com

« Video: BBC TV Crew Held Back At Sri Lanka Commonwealth Event » by Colombo Telegraph

A BBC cameraman was physically restrained by security officials at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo

The BBC’s James Robbins and his cameraman Duncan Stone were attempting to film Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, at a media event before the formal opening of the Commonwealth meeting.

via: https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/video-bbc-tv-crew-held-back-at-sri-lanka-commonwealth-event/

Source: Colombo Telegraph

Another day of chaos at the Commonwealth Summit.

The Channel 4 team were forced to abandon their trip to the north after a mob blocked their train at Anuradhapurahttp://blogs.channel4.com/miller-on-foreign-affairs/channel-4-news-blocked-mob-sri-lanka/454

The Families of the Disappeared, an incredibly brave Tamil group from Mannar, were blocked by police from going in the other direction. They ended up holding a demonstration in the road where police held around 50 people for 6 hours without food or water. This is the third time the Families of the Disappeared have been blocked from reaching Colombo for a demonstrationhttps://pbs.twimg.com/media/BY8He9ECYAEO0rr.jpg

Meanwhile at that demonstration Ranil Wickermasinghe, the ex PM and leader of the opposition, had his car attacked by a mob of demonstrators: https://twitter.com/Tharaka_/status/400578034274549761/photo/1/large

And Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice received also a death threat.

« Mauritius PM Navin Chandra Ramgoolam to boycott Sri Lanka Commonwealth meet » The Economic Times

The prime minister of Mauritius announced today he will stay away from this week’s Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka because of the host’s poor human rights record.

Via http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/mauritius-pm-navin-chandra-ramgoolam-to-boycott-sri-lanka-commonwealth-meet/articleshow/25652250.cms

source: The Economic Times

« Sommet du Commonwealth : Navin Ramgoolam ne se rendra pas au Sri Lanka » (Le Défi Média)

Le Premier ministre Navin Ramgoolam ne se rendra pas au Sri Lanka pour participer au Sommet du Commonwealth, qui se tiendra du 15 au 17 septembre novembre. C’est le ministre des Affaires étrangères, Arvin Boolell, qui représentera le gouvernement mauricien à ce sommet.

via: : http://www.defimedia.info/live-news/item/41953-pnq-de-paul-berenger-navin-ramgoolam-questionne-sur-sa-participation-au-sommet-du-commonwelath.html#sthash.fTqqC20i.dpuf

source: http://www.defimedia.info

« A Guide to Colombo for CHOGM 2013 » (Groundviews)

Your Excellency, Distinguished Delegate, Dear Visitor,
Ayubowan! Vanakkam! Welcome to Colombo! 
You may have heard of how General Potemkin primed Crimea for the pleasure of Catherine the Great and her foreign ambassadors on their southern trip in 1787. Likewise, our own Potemkin, Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapakse, presidential sibling and Secretary Defence and Urban Development, has personally overseen the makeover of Colombo for your pleasure. And we do hope you will enjoy it.
Many Sri Lankans are referring to CHOGM as ‘Show-GM’ and Colombo has been meticulously prepared and curated to ensure the right image is conveyed. One hopes you will agree that the parts of the city you see are indeed looking beautiful. However there is much more to this beatification. After all, even the CHOGM signboards across the city say ‘Sri Lanka: A world within’, which you will be hard pressed to discover without a guide. So here is one.

Read the guide in full here.

source: Groundviews

Channel 4’s respond to Sri Lanka’s « ‘Corrupted Journalism’ and Channel 4 News » book

In the media pack given to all arriving journalists at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) being held in Sri Lanka next week is a 222 page book called « Corrupted Journalism« .

Channel 4 News Editor Ben de Pear writes in response to a 222-page book entitled Corrupted Journalism given out to journalists attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka.

via: http://www.channel4.com/news/sri-lanka-corrupted-journalism-and-channel-4-news

source: Channel 4

« Joint Statement: Sri Lanka should not host CHOGM » by Lee Rhiannon

Very serious charge, if it can be corroborated. Major General Mahinda Hathurusingha is current Commander Security Forces Head Quarters in Jaffna:

« Large numbers of women regularly suffer sexual abuse perpetrated by members of the Sri Lankan armed forces. One lawyer described to us the evidence collected about these crimes. In one case they have text messages from Major General Mahinda Hathurusingha to the ‘comfort women’ he frequently abuses. »

Via http://lee-rhiannon.greensmps.org.au/content/media-releases/joint-statement-sri-lanka-sri-lanka-should-not-host-chogm

source: http://lee-rhiannon.greensmps.org.au

« PM decides against Colombo visit, Khurshid to head Indian delegation » by Jayanth Jacob (Hindustan Times)

The government on Saturday decided Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will not attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo, after succumbing to domestic political pressures besides realising a prime minister visit wouldn’t bring it desired results on Tamil cause.

via: http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/pm-decides-against-colombo-visit-khurshid-to-head-indian-delegation/article1-1149257.aspx

source: www.hindustantimes.com