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Sharma rejects claims on Sri Lanka

2014 Mar 18

Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma has rejected the view that the Commonwealth is not doing anything on the Sri Lankan issue.

Speaking to reporters after the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) meeting in London yesterday, Sharma said that CMAG has empowered and encouraged the Secretary-General to engage in his good offices with Sri Lanka, which is what he is doing.

“We agreed on a roadmap of Commonwealth partnership with Sri Lanka when I visited Sri Lanka last year. There are about 10 different tracks and the progress is there for all to see on our website. We are advancing at a different pace on each track. We are tackling difficult issues, such as reconciliation, torture and human rights. We are working in a Commonwealth way. We offer practical assistance and a helping hand and we strengthen national endeavour in the field of human rights and the rule of law,” he said.

He also said that it is the intent of the CMAG that in the spirit of the Commonwealth they must engage with member states in order to advance the values which the CMAG is particularly cognisant of.

“The observation that the Commonwealth is not doing enough is completely misplaced. As I said, we have ten tracks that we are developing. We are not trying to avoid the harder issues, but we always work in a spirit of constructive engagement with member states because all durable and lasting advance in the field of human rights and the rule of law has to be based on national accomplishment and consolidating it nationally, which is why we work so closely with the human rights institution in Sri Lanka in advancing this,” he said.

Among the CMAG Foreign Minister at the press conference was External Affairs Minister G.L Peiris and Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid.

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