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Kiwi FM to discuss issues

2013 Nov 12

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully his Government will still be raising human rights issues with Sri Lanka, and he himself will tour the north of the country to see what progress has been made since the end of the civil war against Tamil rebels.

Radio New Zealand quoted McCully as saying Sri Lanka will be opened up to international scrutiny by virtue of countries attending the Commonwealth meeting.

Opposition parties in New Zealand say, at the least, New Zealand should go on record as opposing Sri Lanka being made the Commonwealth chair.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said on Monday that he would still go to Sri Lanka because New Zealand believes it is more constructive to engage. However, he said he would directly raise concerns with Sri Lanka’s president about historic allegations and more recent incidents.

Key said Sri Lanka is made Commonwealth chair automatically with the country’s hosting of this year’s CHOGM.

Green Party MP Jan Logie who was detained in Sri Lanka on Sunday says a strong message needs to be sent about the country’s human rights’ abuses.

Logie told Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report programme what happened to her is symbolic of a country that has no freedom of speech and where land grabs and constitutional changes are causing further repression.

The MP was in Sri Lanka to talk to people pushing for an independent investigation into accusations that government forces committed war crimes in 2009. Immigration officials shut down a news conference called by her and an Australian Greens senator before taking their passports and holding them in a hotel for three hours. (Colombo Gazette)

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