Colombo - An international human rights group is urging
leaders of 54 countries belonging to the Commonwealth not to attend its heads
of government meeting in Sri Lanka in November, because the country has not
held anyone responsible for alleged war crimes in the country's civil war.
Brad Adams, Asia director of the Human Rights Watch, said
that Sri Lanka should be "shunned not rewarded" and asked even those
countries deciding to attend the summit of former British colonies, should send
a low-level delegation as a public message of dissatisfaction.
Government spokesperson Keheliya Rambukwella rejected the
criticism, blasting Human Rights Watch as "totally biased”.
He said the group's statements were always "against
Sri Lanka" and that the group was guided by "somebody else's agenda”.
Two weeks ago, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Navi Pillay said democracy was being undermined and the rule of law eroded in
Sri Lanka, with the country increasingly becoming an authoritarian state
despite the end of a quarter-century civil war four years ago.
Pillay visited Sri Lanka to assess its human rights situation
before reporting to the UN Human Rights Council later this month.
"Attending a summit in Sri Lanka so soon after the UN
rights chief decried a worsening situation sends the wrong message to the
government and to victims seeking justice," Adams said in a statement
released on Thursday.
Sri Lanka's civil war ended in 2009 after government
troops crushed the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, who fought to create a
separate state for the ethnic minority Tamils.
A UN report said government troops may have killed 40 000
Tamil civilians just in the final phase of the war.
The UN Human Rights Council in March passed a resolution
calling on Sri Lanka to more thoroughly investigate alleged war crimes
committed by government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels.