Commonwealth must honour its own commitments

Photo courtesy Contribute Magazine

The choice of Sri Lanka as a venue for CHOGM 2013 has always remained controversial. But now that most member countries have agreed to go ahead and participate in the high-profile summit happening in Colombo, the moment has arrived for the Commonwealth to reassess its commitment towards its own values.

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Two weeks from now, the Heads of Government of 53 Commonwealth countries will congregate in Colombo’s Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall to discuss, among other things, the Commonwealth’s commitment towards the promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in keeping with the Harare Declaration. Sri Lanka has consistently breached all three values. Two years have passed since the decision to allow Sri Lanka to host CHOGM was taken in Perth but little progress has been made by the island nation with regards to initiating accountability measures for credible allegations of war crimes.

On Thursday, I had attended a meeting organised by the Human Rights Watch in New Delhi in which torture victims from Sri Lanka who have been brutally beaten, raped and abused by either the police or military personnel in 2012 gave testimonies over Skype from their hospital bed. These were a handful of people who have been fortunate enough to escape from the island nation and find refuge in a foreign land. Charu Lata Hogg, a London-based human rights researcher said that between 2006 and 2012, 75 cases of sexual violence against men and women from the Tamil minority community have been found and several of these victims hail from the camps for internally displaced persons. According to the Sri Lankan military’s own admission there have been 11 cases of sexual abuse against Tamils by military personnel in 2012, but this is a highly underestimated number, according to Ms. Hogg.

It is worth recalling the very serious violations of Commonwealth values committed by Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has not implemented the recommendations of its own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. Add to this the consolidation of powers in the hands of the President and his family; the impeachment of the Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake in January which the Sri Lankan Supreme Court held unconstitutional; the killing and abduction of journalists resulting in suppression of free speech; excessive militarisation in Tamil-dominated regions which proved to be a “significant obstacle to a credible electoral process” according to Commonwealth monitors who oversaw the recent elections in the northern provincial council.

And while these harsh realities stare us in the face, we find the Sri Lankan government sparing no effort to win over the Commonwealth leaders attending the summit. The latest is the decision to name orphaned baby elephants in Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage after the Commonwealth leaders! For Sri Lanka CHOGM 2013 presents a major opportunity to build its international brand and attract investments as the President has said. Sri Lanka is only doing what any country that has successfully ended a separatist movement in its land would like to do. To borrow an expression from the anthropologist Michel-Rolph Trouillot, the preparations ahead of CHOGM point to efforts at “silencing the past” and producing a victor’s narrative of a nation that has emerged successful and resurgent from the dark days of the civil war.

Consider the significant benefits that Sri Lanka will get if it were to get to lead the Commonwealth for the next two years. The Sri Lankan President would be anointed Commonwealth Chairperson-in-Office in the presence of Prince Charles, who is representing the Queen of England. He will enjoy the opportunity to reinforce the Good Offices’ role of the Commonwealth Secretary-General and contribute to strategic advocacy of Commonwealth positions in high-level international forums. A Sri Lankan Foreign Minister will become a member of Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG). Sri Lanka will chair the Committee of the Whole and Communiqué drafting committee at future ministerial meetings.

Handing over these crucial responsibilities to a member country that has breached all the core values of the Commonwealth without demanding any accountability whatsoever would make a mockery of the organisation which now finds itself in deep crisis. The Canadian Prime Minister has threatened to review funding for the Commonwealth and as the second largest donor this will be disastrous for the association. Similarly, the UK has reduced its contributions citing concerns about the direction of the organisation. It is only during CHOGM that there is interest in the Commonwealth and the member countries must use this opportunity to take concrete measures to address the deepening crisis.

Commonwealth mechanisms are inadequate when it comes to responding to human rights abuses by member countries. In response to criticism of its functioning, the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) was created in 2009. Several of the EPG’s recommendations were put in place between the 2011 and 2013 biennial Heads of State meetings. However, the EPG’s recommendation to appoint a Commissioner for Democracy, the Rule of Law and Human Rights was dropped because Member States could not reach a consensus on how to respond to this recommendation.

In its 2013 report to CHOGM titled ‘The Missing Link: A Commonwealth Commissioner for Human Rights’, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) has demanded that an independent Commonwealth Commissioner for Human Rights be appointed to plug the alarming gap that remains between Commonwealth promises and reality. The full Report can be accessed here.

While CHRI has decided to stay away from CHOGM 2013 due to displeasure regarding the manner in which the host nation has conducted itself, we do realise the value of utilizing this event as an opportunity to push for reforms within the Commonwealth. Sri Lanka remains an inappropriate venue for hosting CHOGM, but it paradoxically presents an appropriate opportunity for the Commonwealth Heads of Government to consider the value in appointing a Commonwealth Commissioner for Human Rights who will rebuild the confidence of its people and ensure a renewed, relevant and sustainable Commonwealth. CHOGM must ideally be used to pressurise Sri Lanka to accept precise time-bound commitments to uphold its international human rights obligations. Unless such measures are initiated, CHOGM 2013 runs the risk of deepening the already existing crisis within the organisation.

The author is Media and Communications Officer for Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative in New Delhi. 

  • Walter

    Britain after having lost most of it’s colonial territory now wants to maintain for Political, economic, and cosmetic reasons the fragments of the British Empire.
    The present Prime Minister of Britain does not want to muddy his hands and be held responsible for the dis integration of The Commonwealth.
    Therefore he is going ” round the mulberry bush ” and is suggesting that his presence would encourage and help the Rajapakse Administration to right the wrongs of the Rajapakse Government.
    In reality this is a farce by the British Government.
    When Countries misbehave, sanctions and other restrictions are imposed and in some instances, some Countries were ” Occupied ” until they turned a good leaf, for which occupied Countries had also to pay for the “occupation” by foreign forces.
    Therefore there is no validity in the British Prime Minister’s statement.
    Surely a man of that stature already knows the degree of impunity that this Country has manifested.
    If he has read the report of the UN human Right’s Commissioner he will have to concede that his visit is not necessary. He can take an armchair decision.
    Only then could he claim with the oppressed minority of this Country that he is with them.

    • Off the Cuff

      The voice of the oppressed

      http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/12770

      • Steve Grafton

        one swallow does not a summer make
        He is simply expressing his view, the vast majority of social scientists and commentators are in disagreement. Of course racists with a closed mind would love to deny that an ethnic conflict exists in Sri Lanka, which only will lead to more conflict in the future.

        The first step in finding a solution to any problem is accepting there exists one, but then again I think that kind of broad thinking might be beyond the likes of you.

        • Off the Cuff

          Dear Steve Grafton,

          You say “He is simply expressing his view”

          You are completely wrong as usual.
          You express views, Sebastian Rasalingam relates Life Experiences of his and his Indian wife’s. There is a world of a difference between First Hand Experiences and Views.

          First Hand Evidence is tough to contest and hard to look at directly. Hence those who want such evidence suppressed (for whatever reasons) would naturally want to discredit them. I would suggest that you read “My Village” by Dr Nagalingam Ethirveerasingam, a high cast Tamil and the First President of the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) (http://tamilnation.co/forum/ethir/ode.htm)

          And “Pernicious caste curse of Tamils living in the dark ages” by Ms Perle Thevanayagam a High Cast Tamil Lady (http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2011/06/pernicious-caste-curse-of-tamils-living.html) amongst many others available on the Internet, if you want to broaden your Horizons.

          Here is short extract from Ms Perle Thevanayagam. She has delivered a resounding slap on the unbelievers and those who live in constant denial, in no uncertain terms.

          “I was touched and enlightened by this scholar Mr Rasalingam’s honest, erudite and simple explanation on the fate that befell Tamils and why Tamils need to change their attitudes. They are still living in the dark ages carrying with them the burden of ignorance, arrogance and narrow-mindedness”

          You say “the vast majority of social scientists and commentators are in disagreement”

          If those Social Scientists have ignored people like Mr SR, Ms. Perle Thevanayagam, Dr Nagalingam Ethirveerasingam, Prof. Pradeep Jeganathan and a host of others, then those social scientists and commentators are worthless.

          You say “Of course racists with a closed mind would love to deny that an ethnic conflict exists in Sri Lanka,…”

          Those who reject or try to belittle Mr SR do have a closed mind as can be seen from the above. Quoting Aristotle does not dignify that.

          Of course there is a conflict in Sri Lanka but whether it is Ethnic or is limited to a section of an ethnic population is a matter of judgement when more than half the ethnic Tamils live and work amongst the Ethnic Sinhalese in Sinhala majority areas.

          What is denied are the false reasons and distortion of history that are adduced for that conflict by this vociferous minority of Tamils.

          You say “….which only will lead to more conflict in the future”

          Of course, that’s why I expose the falsity of the vilification campaign by that Tamil Minority amongst the Tamils. When you beat up your wife at home you can hardly speak for women’s rights!

          If you can contest what I have written with Facts, please accept the invitation that I have extend to you to discuss them at the following link 2 days ago. Please come and join Dr. Devenasan Nessaiah, Dr N Ethirweerasigham and myself and argue your position. Name calling and hiding from reality does not achieve peace and reconciliation. (http://groundviews.org/2013/10/03/conflict-strategy-and-game-theory/#comment-1105632752)

          You say “The first step in finding a solution to any problem is accepting there exists one, but then again I think that kind of broad thinking might be beyond the likes of you”

          In the light of what I have written above, should you not strive to take your own advise?

          You see Steve, the proof of the pudding is in eating it.
          Please come and join Dr. DN, Dr. NE and myself and prove how broad your thinking is, if you are capable of doing so.

          • George

            Steve Grafton
            What a lovely statement, one swallow does not make a summer !
            Some people’s replies reminds me of the bible verse from Jeremiah :

            Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?

            I think people like off the cuff were the ones it talks about, some people (or their views) never can be changed :)

            Also remember, Einstein famously said:

            “What a sad era when it is easier to smash an atom than a prejudice.”

            Prejudices run deep in this nation, particularly among the lion people :)

  • Rontegan

    Rontegan

    As the main Commonwealth Country, England (also jokingly known as ‘The UK’) should demonstrate it’s commitment to Commonwealth Values it grandly speaks about!

    Firstly,it must admit to massacring thousands and thousands of innocent Muslim Women, Children and Men all over the world in complicity with USA everyday in the recent past and at present (and in future of course). Even now they have British troops in Iraq and Afghanistan killing machines coordinated by USA.

    You never hear them condemning US drone attacks that kills hundreds of civilians in Afghan and Pakistan lands. No comments either about torture and killings in Abu Ghraib.
    How about killing civilians in Libya by and while enforcing the “No Fly Zone”, but dropping bombs on the ground on civilians “looking for Gaddhafi”?
    And the civilians killed in Iraq before that?
    And evicting all inhabitants from Diego Garcia island to hand it over to USA for a Military Base? They rant against our Military occupying lands in the North in our own Country!
    There are many more, but this will suffice.
    They (England) should now ask for an ‘Independent ,International Inquiry’ against their own Politicians and the Military, for Grave War Crimes and Human Rights Violations carried out by themselves. They must do it before asking us, as their “wars” began before our final thrust to destroy the terrorist LTTE, don’t you think?
    First come first served should be a valid and fine Commonwealth value.
    Also, don’t forget that P.M. David Cameron voted for the Iraq invasion from the opposition.
    Let us see if he will do so at the CHOGM!

    As for Canada, we should condemn them for banishing their indigenous people to far away barren lands and forcing them to penury. Just like the USA did. And now, Canada is prospecting for Oil and Gas in those areas, using a procedure called “Fracking”, which releases poisonous gases and petroleum to their habitats, making them fall sick and die on a regular basis. What Commonwealth values! And P.M. Harper is not coming here for CHOGM ‘cos we are bad!
    We must insist that they uphold the Commonwealth and Human Rights values before they preach to others. England together with USA are the biggest and the vilest mass murderers we have seen in our time.
    Any way, there was no “Commonwealth”. There was only a “Common Thief” who came into our Countries and plundered us and massacred us to make themselves rich.

    • Doc Oc

      WHAT??

  • RAJAN

    The Slogan of has been changed and the Common Wealth has been reduced to a mockery. The present slogan of common wealth is to promote dictatorship, commit highest number of rapes and human right violations and the promoted a very bad governance and to throw the individual liberty and peace into dust bins. So the country which has conducted highest number of rapes and murder of their own citizens should lead the group and thus it is justified to conduct the CHOGM in Srilanka.

  • Off the Cuff

    Dear Vidya Venkat,

    You say “….the Commonwealth’s commitment towards the promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in keeping with the Harare Declaration. Sri Lanka has consistently breached all three values”

    Perhaps you are right and perhaps you are stretching the truth for effect and perhaps you are singing for
    your dinner by singling out Lanka from 53 countries but I do agree that the impeachment was not in keeping with the rule of law and was consequently botched.

    The Chagos Islanders won their case against the UK govt for gross Human Rights abuse in UK’s own Supreme
    court. But Justice was subverted using the Royal Prerogative. Did your office write anything about that and the use of the Royal Prerogative to subvert Justice and the Rule of Law? Please enlighten us.

    You wrote “I had attended a meeting organised by the Human Rights Watch in New Delhi in which torture victims from Sri Lanka who have been brutally beaten, raped and abused by either the police or military personnel in 2012 gave testimonies over Skype from their hospital bed”

    Perhaps your own country is not guilty of such crimes?

    The Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) during their stint in Sri Lanka were accused of the very thing that you have written about. Have you pursued those allegations with the same vigor that you are apparently doing now? Couldn’t find any victims? Please enlighten us.

    Perhaps the daily occurrences of HR abuse in India has made you oblivious to them. Please watch the Indian film “Water” that exposes the social abuse that prevails in India under the noses of the Indian Govt and on your very door step. Have you gone on a crusade to emancipate the persecuted and abused Women and Children of India? Please enlighten us.

    The UK was accused of such things during the Iraq war and where ever the UK was involved on the ground. Anything written by you or your CHRI about that? Please enlighten us.

    The UK Law enforcement shot innocent bystanders during the terrorist bomb attacks in London. An enforcer
    of law emptied his pistol, holding it against the head of an innocent man who was overpowered and lying on the floor of a subway train at the time. Mr Jean Charles de Menezes was shot for carrying a back pack on 22 July 2005. Perhaps one bullet through the brain was insufficient to kill. Have you written or investigated the breakdown in the Rule of Law when a few bombs went off in London (which in comparison with those that regularly went off in Lanka were just pop guns)? Please enlighten us.

    We are almost at the end of 2013 and what you have written makes it appear that these “victims” are in Hospital for over an year. Is that stretching the truth? Where are these hospitals located? Is the ICRC involved? Please enlighten us.

    According to today’s Sunday Times Mr. Callum McRae of CH4 is coming to cover the CHOGM. Perhaps you can
    make use of him to give a more unbiased report.

    • vidya venkat

      Dear Off the Cuff,

      First of all thank you for reading my piece and taking the time off to comment on it. ‘Perhaps’ is an adverb that conveys a sense of uncertainty about something. It is not out of arrogance but rather because facts are on my side that I would like to assert that I AM right with respect to what I have said regarding the Harare Declaration and Sri Lanka breaching it. You can go back and read para three of my article to understand the various ways in which SL breaches the core values of the C’wealth.

      It would be nice if you could please stick to the article and the concerns expressed in it and not introduce issues outside the purview of the subject in order to challenge the views expressed in it. It looks like you could not find anything substantial to critique about the article itself so you have taken recourse to events and issues which are out-of-context as regards CHOGM 2013…

      Nevertheless, I will attempt to answer some of the concerns raised by you in your comment. Let me at the outset say that our organisation’s condemnation of Sri Lanka’s human rights record does in no way imply a condonation of the human rights abuses that happen in UK or elsewhere in the West. In fact since you have raised the issue of the treatment of Chagos Islanders, CHRI’s London office has condemned the use of Royal Prerogative in our quarterly newsletters which enjoys wide readership. B.G. Verghese, who is on CHRI India’s Executive Committee, also wrote an article condemning the rights violations by governments in the UK and the US. See link: http://www.bgverghese.com/Chagos.htm

      You ask whether CHRI has condemned rights violations by the IPKF in Sri Lanka. The IPKF was active between 1987 and 1990 and CHRI itself was formed in 1987. I am afraid as a fledgling organisation back then we may not have taken up these issues then or at least my research did not throw up anything in this matter.

      As regards your query about whether we raise issues of rights violations of women in India, there are already a number of other organisations working on that. We have in the past raised issues like better policing for making cities safe for women in the aftermath of the Delhi rape, but as such women’s issues are not the mainstay of our organisation. CHRI is focused on issues like police reforms, prison reforms, access to
      information. Our Strategic Initiatives Program uses UN mechanisms and Commonwealth-related submissions to make meaningful interventions on global rights issues. You can check out our website http://www.humanrightsinitiative.org to learn more about what we do.

      You are right in your observation that CHRI’s work focuses more on non-Western countries and that is not because of some organizational bias. Our London office, unlike our Delhi office is understaffed, therefore, we are lacking in the capacity to raise every HR issue that comes up there! And also we are a southern-based organisation working on southern concerns, primarily. I guess that takes care of query no 4 and 5…

      As for the location of the “victims” they are in the UK. The lawyer representing them gave us these details and I have only faithfully reproduced the information that was provided to us during the meeting. And I agree that it does seem like too long a time to spend in hospital. But from what we were told it seemed like they were still undergoing medical treatment.

      Thanks.
      Vidya Venkat.

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Ms Vidya Venkat,

        Thank you for responding and taking responsibility for what you write, which puts you above some of the Sri Lankan HR activists like The Social Architects (TSA), The Tamil Civil Society (TCS), Watchdog, Aachaarya etc

        You say “It would be nice if you could please stick to the article and the concerns expressed in it and not introduce issues outside the purview of the subject in order to challenge the views expressed in it. It looks like you could not find anything substantial to critique about the article itself so you have taken recourse to events and issues which are out-of-context as regards CHOGM 2013″

        Perhaps you have not noticed it. My post was based on the fact that both you and CHRI thought it fit to SINGLE out Lanka from 53 Nations, not on whether you are right or wrong about what you wrote. Is it yours and CHRI’s contention that the other 52 Nations are all above reproach on the very matters that you have raised? I have already given examples from UK and India that shows Lanka is not alone in this regard and there would certainly be others out there.

        Justice demands you to be equally critical of all 53 countries when you raise your voice on moral grounds. Something that both you and CHRI has dismally failed to do.

        Hence my response was appropriate. It questions your integrity, credibility and impartiality.

        Kindly explain why you and CHRI is biased and is blind to equal or worse transgressions committed by others including the Queens govt. The reasons are not clear.

        Here is a short narrative of the IPKF.

        Chief Justice S. Sharvananda’s sister, her husband, son and two domestics were shot dead. The CJ of Sri Lanka was unaware of these murders for over a week as the IPKF enforced a news blackout.

        the IPKF massacred 68 civilians inside the Jaffna Teaching Hospital on October 1987. Dr. A. Sivapathasuntheram, Dr. M. K. Ganesharatnam, Dr. Parimelalahar, Mrs. Vadivelu, Mrs. Leelawathie, Mrs. Sivapakiam, Mrs. Ramanathan, Mr. Shanmugalingam, Mr. Kanagalingam, Mr. Krishnarajah, Mr. Selvarajah, 11 Minor employees and 46 patients were all killed.

        Killed R. Duraiswamy (SLAS) Retd. Secretary. Ministry of Local Government and M. Duraiwswamy Retd. Staff Officer Bank of Ceylon (sons of Sir Waithiyalingam Duraisamy, Speaker of the State Council).

        “From time immemorial, plunder and rape have been considered the spoils of war. A form of psychopathic liberation’ resulting in looting, rape and heavy drinking is reported to follow major stressful events (Kinston and Rosser, 1974). Although the total number of rapes during the Indian army operations are not known, it seemed to reach epidemic proportions. It has been verified that quite a large number, ranging from young girls who had just attained puberty to old women well past the menopause stage, were brutally raped. Prof. Daya Somasundaram’s book “Scarred Minds – The Psychological Impact of War on Sri Lankan Tamils”

        “IPKF Major Returning to India Apprehended – Alleged Contraband Jewellery”
        A Major of the IPKF who is said to have returned to India from Jaffna on a month’s holiday is alleged to have been apprehended at Chandigarh airport with having carried jewellery believed to be contraband (The Island, 22 Feb. 1988)

        Major serving in Jaffna had flown to Madras by plane and then to Chandigarh in Punjab on a month’s holiday. The Police there had searched him like any other passenger and found in his possession 100 sovereigns of jewellery consisting of bangles, broken chains, necklaces etc”. “The Police suspect that he might have snatched them from Sri Lankan Tamils. But he says they were bought by him. The magazine asks, “if they were bought by him, could the jewellery be broken in pieces?” (Tamil Nadu’s “Rani Weekly” January 31, 1988)

        Prime Minister R. Premadasa, Minister of National Security Lalith Athulathmudali, Minister of Rehabilitation Lionel Jayatilleke and Opposition Leader Anura Bandaranaike condemned the atrocities in strong language in Parliament on 21 Jan. 1988 (you claim that you were a fledgeling then, I know year old babies cannot read and write). The Prime Minister stated that a 79 year old woman was raped” Mr. Bandaranayake spoke of the massacre of the family of the Chief Justice’s Sarvanandan’s sister. (Hansard Vol. 47, Section 14, Hansard Vol. 50, Section 2).

        George Fernandez, Indian Opposition M.P. and former Cabinet Minister who became India’s Defence Minister states

        “When in early August, 1987, 1 had said that Mr. Rajiv Gandhi’s military adventure in Sri Lanka would be India’s Viet Nam, I had not anticipated that India’s Viet Nam would also have its own My Lai. Now, in Velvettiturai, the Indian army has enacted its My Lai. London’s Daily Telegraph commenting editorially on the barbarism exhibited by the Indian army in Velvettiturai says that, if anything “this massacre is worse than My Lai. Then American troops simply ran amok. In the Sri Lankan village, the Indians seem to have been more systematic; the victims being forced to lie down, and then shot in the back”.

        Financial Times UK, Delhi correspondent David Housego visited the scene of massacre and his report appears in FT of August 17. The Telegraph UK carried the story on August 13 written by Jeremy Gavron, New Delhi correspondent.

        Indian press reported in low key. Ms Rita Sebastian of the Indian Express was the first from The Indian Press to report the massacre. That was a Full Month later on 3 Sept! News Black Out, a war without witness, to borrow a phrase in vogue with HR activists?

        What I have written about the IPKF is just the tip of the iceberg.

        In response to my query about the IPKF you state “The IPKF was active between 1987 and 1990 and CHRI itself was formed in 1987. I am afraid as a fledgling organisation back then we may not have taken up these issues then or at least my research did not throw up anything in this matter”

        That looks like a sorry and lame excuse for not taking up matters that you are championing now and limiting your criticism to my motherland Sri Lanka. Is there a time bar on yours and CHRI’s Moral Compass? Please explain why you did not investigate and persecute India’s abominable HR atrocities in Sri Lanka for 26 years and hold her up to the same Commonwealth standard that you so fondly apply to Sri Lanka? Is India a Holy Cow that you cannot touch? Is India an exemplary member of the Commonwealth that upholds Commonwealth values?

        You say “Two years have passed since the decision to allow Sri Lanka to host CHOGM was taken in Perth but little progress has been made by the island nation with regards to initiating accountability measures for credible allegations of war crimes”

        Twenty Six years have passed since the atrocious War Crimes committed by the IPKF in Sri Lanka. Has India initiated accountability measures for those War Crimes? Is CHRI and you blind to them? This is the sort of tongue in cheek pronouncements that points to an ulterior motive on the part of CHRI.

        You state “As regards your query about whether we raise issues of rights violations of women in India, there are already a number of other organisations working on that. We have in the past raised issues like better policing for making cities safe for women in the aftermath of the Delhi rape, but as such women’s issues are not the mainstay of our organisation. CHRI is focused on issues like police reforms, prison reforms, access to information”

        Does this mean that marrying off toddlers to old men and pushing them in to prostitution after they become widowed is not your concern or that of the govt of India (watch the Indian flm “Water”)? Does that promote the “Commonwealth’s commitment towards the promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in keeping with the Harare Declaration”?

        India is the most populace State in the Commonwealth and thus the number of people affected is many multiples of the number affected in Lanka.

        You say “CHRI’s work focuses more on non-Western countries and that is not because of some organizational bias. Our London office, unlike our Delhi office is understaffed, therefore, we are lacking in the capacity to raise every HR issue that comes up there!”

        Another sorry and lame excuse for your palpable bias and the fear to challenge powerful Western govts. Is it due to a fear of loss of funding?

        You say “…And also we are a southern-based organisation working on southern concerns, primarily. I guess that takes care of query no 4 and 5…”

        I am afraid not. You are confirming your bias nothing else.

        You say “As for the location of the “victims” they are in the UK. The lawyer representing them gave us these details and I have only faithfully reproduced the information that was provided to us during the meeting. And I agree that it does seem like too long a time to spend in hospital. But from what we were told it seemed like they were still undergoing medical treatment”

        Do you fill your reports with “what it seems like” without any investigation to ascertain the truth?

        You now say the victim’s lawyer gave you the information but earlier you said the victim’s themselves gave you the information from their hospital bed.

        Let me refresh your memory, you said “I had attended a meeting organised by the Human Rights Watch in New Delhi in which torture victims from Sri Lanka who have been brutally beaten, raped and abused by either the police or military personnel in 2012 gave testimonies over Skype from their hospital bed

        Very strange indeed!

        If they are still undergoing medical treatment even after one year they must have been extremely ill to begin with. How did these gravely injured who are in hospital beds even after an year of trauma get across to the UK alive? Air ambulance or road ambulance? Where was the ICRC which was involved in looking after the medical needs of victims in Sri Lanka? Sounds like a fairy tale.

        Are you in the habit of reporting verbatim any accusation leveled at another party without investigating and verifying the subject matter first? Sounds like very poor journalism and third grade report making.

        My personal belief is that if CHRI cannot make unbiased reports they should not make any at all.