Apparently, the Brits are still imposing themselves against former colonies despite the umbilical cord was severed when these nations earned their independence and sovereignty even as far back as 65 years ago. British Prime Minister David Cameron is minding other peoples’ business when he bulldozed an agenda outside the itinerary and agreed issues in the current CHOGM meeting in Sri Lanka.
15 November 2013 Last updated at 17:10 GMT
The BBC’s Nick Robinson was with the prime minister as his convoy was mobbedContinue reading the main story
David Cameron has clashed with the president of Sri Lanka as he pushed for action to protect the rights of its minority Tamil community.
Downing Street said the PM “pressed his points very directly and robustly” in an hour-long meeting with Mahinda Rajapaksa at a Commonwealth summit.
Mr Cameron’s convoy was earlier mobbed by demonstrators on a visit to the north of the country.
Mr Rajapaksa says he has brought peace and stability to Sri Lanka.
The Tamils’ treatment at the end of the country’s civil war in 2009 has dominated the run-up to the the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm), taking place in the capital Colombo.
Mr Cameron has insisted there should be a proper investigation into alleged Sri Lankan war crimes in the final months of the conflict, saying a process of “truth-telling” was essential for reconciliation.
In a historic move, Mr Cameron travelled to the Tamil-dominated north of the country – the first international leader to do so since Sri Lankan independence in 1948 – before holding face-to-face talks with the country’s president.
At one point, the PM’s convoy was surrounded by more than 200 protesters holding pictures of loved ones who they claim were killed by the Sri Lankan armed forces or have disappeared.
Mr Cameron said the visit – in which he also toured a temporary refugee camp and newspaper office whose printing presses have been burnt – had “drawn attention to the plight” of the Tamil minority in the country.Continue reading the main storyAnalysisNick RobinsonPolitical editor, with the prime minister in Sri Lanka
As Mr Cameron’s entourage was leaving the public library, a group of screaming women – desperate to make their representations directly to the first world leader to come here – pressed photographs and petitions into our hands
He said the first-hand accounts he had heard of journalists who have been attacked and of a young woman who had grown up in a refugee camp would “stay with him” for a long time.
Mr Cameron said staging the summit in Sri Lanka had already resulted in positive changes, but the authorities needed to do much more to show they respected human and political rights.
“The fact is about this country that there is a chance of success because the war is over, the terrorism has finished, the fighting is done,” he said.
“Now what’s needed is generosity and magnanimity from the Sri Lankan government to bring the country together.
“And I think coming here, listening to these people, hearing these arguments, helps to draw attention to their plight. I think the spotlight has been shone on Sri Lanka and people can see the good and the bad.”
The BBC’s political editor Nick Robinson, who is travelling with Mr Cameron, said several protestors had been thrown to the floor by police as they tried to approach the prime minister’s vehicle with photographs of relatives “disappeared” in the civil war and petitions.
He stressed that the demonstration had not been violent, but the prime minister had been made “fully aware of their grievances and their grief”.David Cameron has said the accounts of loss and hardship he heard on his visit to the north of the country will stay with him for a long timeTamil women approach the media bus travelling with David Cameron in Jaffna
The UK prime minister has defied calls for him to boycott the Commonwealth summit in protest against alleged human rights abuses.Continue reading the main story
Ponniah Manikavasagam, BBC Tamil, Jaffna
There was heavy security around the Palaly air base near Jaffna when the aircraft carrying the British delegation landed.
David Cameron first went to the famous Jaffna library to meet the main Tamil political party leaders.
Hundreds of relatives of those who went missing in the government’s war against the Tamil Tiger rebels held a protest rally to attract his attention.
Some of them had tied black ribbons over their mouths and some were holding photos of their missing relatives.
They were all shouting slogans demanding international investigation into alleged war crimes.
When the British delegation was leaving the building, protesters surged forward to get their attention pushing photographs of their missing loved ones and petitions towards the convoy.
Police pushed them back; some of the protesting women fell to the ground. Pro-government supporters also held a protest rally outside the library.
Mr Cameron has also visited the leading Tamil Daily Uthayan’s office, which was torched and several of its reporters killed during the war.
Many Tamils in Jaffna have broadly welcomed the visit of Mr Cameron saying it has helped to highlight their issues to the outside world.
President Rajapaksa rejects accusations of rape, executions and indiscriminate shelling, saying the end of the war had brought peace, stability and the chance of greater prosperity to the country.
But campaigners have said an international investigation is needed into the bloody conclusion to the civil war, in which UN estimates some 40,000 people were killed.
“The Sri Lankans have got their own domestic process, but frankly it’s fatally flawed and it’s not going to deliver any real justice to the people who were killed,” David Mepham, UK director of campaign group Human Rights Watch, said.
“The other thing, which is equally important, is that there needs to be real pressure on the ongoing human rights issues. This isn’t just a problem of the past.”
The prime ministers of Canada, India and Mauritius are staying away from the summit in protest over the allegations.
Gordon Campbell, the Canadian High Commissioner to the UK, told the BBC that Sri Lanka had “turned its back on the very principles that the Commonwealth espouses”.The PM met chief minister of Northern province, C. V. Vigneswaran (right) and Sri Lankan Tamil National Alliance leader R. Sampanthan
The Labour Party said Mr Cameron’s presence was a “reward” for the Sri Lanka president.
“There was a naivety about the British government’s approach to this summit,” shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander said.
“The scale of the suffering has not been challenged in the way it should have been in past months.”
The prime minister has dismissed Labour’s call for a boycott as “rank hypocrisy”, pointing out it was his predecessor Gordon Brown who originally agreed the summit venue in 2009.
The Prince of Wales, who celebrated his 65th birthday on Thursday, is representing the Queen at the biennial event which he opened earlier.
Prince Charles told the summit: “Each one of us is here because of the hope and trust we place in the Commonwealth to bring that ‘touch of healing’ to our troubles and deliver the very best future for our people.”
It is wrong for Cameron to break diplomatic protocol and be actively involved in Sri Lanka’s domestic issues, especially when his presence in Colombo as a guest. The British Prime Minister was officially welcomed in Colombo and he abused his diplomatic hospitality status.
Imagine the majority of Sri Lankans Sinhalese reciprocated this protocol outrage by egging HRH Prince of Wales, who is present in the Sri Lanka CHOGM representing Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Talking about ‘Pot calling the kettle black’. Amongst other things, Cameron raised about the freedom of press in Sri Lanka. However, Britain is under the international criticism for the apparent government intervention into The Guardian.
New York Times editorial:
British Press Freedom Under Threat
Published: November 14, 2013
- Britain has a long tradition of a free, inquisitive press. That freedom, so essential to democratic accountability, is being challenged by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government of Prime Minister David Cameron.
Unlike the United States, Britain has no constitutional guarantee of press freedom. Parliamentary committees and the police are now exploiting that lack of protection to harass, intimidate and possibly prosecute The Guardian newspaper for its publication of information based on National Security Agency documents that were leaked by Edward Snowden. The New York Times has published similar material, believing that the public has a clear interest in learning about and debating the N.S.A.’s out-of-control spying on private communications. That interest is shared by the British public as well.
In the United States, some members of Congress have begun pushing for stronger privacy protections against unwarranted snooping. British parliamentarians have largely ducked their duty to ask tough questions of British intelligence agencies, which closely collaborate with the N.S.A., and have gone after The Guardian instead.
Alan Rusbridger, the newspaper’s editor, has been summoned to appear before a parliamentary committee next month to testify about The Guardian’s internal editorial decision-making regarding the Snowden information. Members of Parliament have also demanded information on the newspaper’s decision to make some of the leaked information available to other journalists, including those at The Times. That should be none of Parliament’s business. Meanwhile, Scotland Yard detectives are pursuing a criminal investigation into The Guardian’s actions surrounding the Snowden leaks.
These alarming developments threaten the ability of British journalists to do their jobs effectively. Britain’s press has long lacked the freedoms enjoyed by American newspapers. Now it appears they are less free from government interference than journalists in Germany, where Der Spiegel has published material from the Snowden leaks without incurring government bullying.
The global debate now taking place about intelligence agencies collecting information on the phone calls, emails and Internet use of private citizens owes much to The Guardian’s intrepid journalism. In a free society, the price for printing uncomfortable truths should not be parliamentary and criminal inquisition.
Old habits diehard. Especially when snobs don’t realise that their presence internationally are no longer as ‘Masters’ but instead ‘Guests’.
It is really rude for Cameron to impose on issues which is a domestic in nature for Sri Lanka, considering that the civil war between the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamil started as a rebellion by a separatist militant rebels 30 years ago.
The Sri Lankan Civil War was a conflict fought on the island of Sri Lanka. Beginning on 23 July 1983, there was an intermittent insurgency against thegovernment by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (the LTTE, also known as the Tamil Tigers), a separatist militant organisation which fought to create an independent Tamil state called Tamil Eelam in the north and the east of the island. After a 26-year military campaign, the Sri Lankan military defeated the Tamil Tigers in May 2009, bringing the civil war to an end.
The Brits are not the exemplary observers of human rights, particular in the perspective of armed conflict against their own. They should need to be reminded of the horrific track record ‘Shoot-to-Kill’ policy in Northern Ireland slightly over thirty years ago.
Just like against the Syrian Civil War, the incurable and incorrigible snobs of the product of private education and upper middle class lifestyle are imposing themselves onto others, without considering the mitigating circumstances and history that brought any domestic issues of a sovereign nation to where it is currently.
Britain should be focused about making more friends instead of isolating or trying to ostracise fellow Commonwealth member. In facing tough times ahead in not so strong economy and weakening international position as a trading nation, Brits have to learn to swallow their pride that they are no longer a ‘Super Power’ in any fields but the English literature.
They are not even the champions in fair play national game of cricket.