Sarah Calls on PM to Boycott Sri Lanka Meeting
Sarah Champion, MP for Rotherham, has written to the Prime Minister, calling on him to boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which is to be held in Sri Lanka in mid-November. Sarah has met with Tamil families based in Rotherham, and was deeply moved by the stories of appalling suffering inflicted on them - and many others - by the government in Sri Lanka. She also argued in the letter that the recommendations of the report of United Nations High Commissioner Navi Pillay, which examined these abuses, have not been implemented, and that there is evidence to suggest that executions and disappearances continue to occur.
In a statement, Sarah said: ÔÇ£I believe that attending the meeting would be seen as an endorsement of the regime, both by the Tamil diaspora and the wider global community. Britain should be at the forefront of the promotion of human rights. To attend the meeting would put this position at riskÔÇØ.
The boycott is in protest at the poor Human Rights record within Sri Lanka, which has yet to reconcile the terrible abuses that occurred during two decades of civil war there. Sarah has campaigned on this matter previously, using her Westminster Hall debate on Human Rights in the Commonwealth last month to highlight the boycott. The boycott is also supported by the Canadian Prime Minister, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander has also added his voice to the campaign, stating that the decision of the Prime Minister to go to Sri Lanka for CHOGM was both a ÔÇ£misjudgement and a missed opportunityÔÇØ.
In addition to the letter, Sarah forwarded a petition to the Prime Minister that had been signed by many Rotherham Tamils.