News & Updates
Both news media and general public can find important information
about updates, alerts and events that impact human rights in Sri Lanka

CHOGM: Colombo, London in war of words

2013 Jul 15

What’s good for Perth not good for Colombo?

A war of words has erupted between the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Task Force Secretariat for CHOGM 2013 scheduled in Colombo.  In an unprecedented move, Official Spokesperson and Director of Communications and Public Affairs at the Commonwealth Secretariat Richard Uku has issued a ‘clarification’ regarding media accreditation, reiterating relevant Secretariat guidelines and emphasizing that ‘the Commonwealth Secretariat is the final authority for all international media accreditation for CHOGM’.

In response, the Task Force in Colombo issued a media release reiterating its version of the accreditation process.  The release, signed by Chairman, Sub-Committee on Media/Publicity/ICT Charitha Herath, underlines the following: ‘The Terms and Conditions outlined in the online registration site are identical to the Terms and Conditions used during CHOGM 2011 in Perth, Australia’.

The slew of missives comes in the context of virulently individuals who comment on Sri Lankan affairs such as Callum Macrae (director of ‘No Fire Zone: Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’) and Frances Harrison (author of ‘Still Counting the Dead’) expressing concerns about not being accredited to ‘cover’ the event.
Uku’s ‘clarification’ while acknowledging ‘host country collaboration’ appears to allay such fears.  The need to reiterate guidelines imply that Uku felt Colombo has or was seeking to trump them in order to deny accreditation to the likes of Macrae and Harrison, whose works have been rubbished by top-ranking members of the Government. Herath’s reference to the fact that Colombo was using the Perth document, almost word for word, raises questions over the Secretariat’s neutrality and more seriously whether Uku has a hidden and racist agenda with respect to Sri Lanka.
- See more at:

Search News & Updates