Canada’s leader is boycotting the meeting and human rights groups are urging others to do so because the groups say Sri Lanka has failed to address abuses during the civil war and ensure reconciliation since it ended in 2009. Prince Charles will represent Queen Elizabeth II as the head of the Commonwealth at the meeting next month in the capital, Colombo. The British government will be represented by Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague, British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka John Rankin said Tuesday evening. “The British government will come with a clear message that Sri Lanka needs to make concrete progress on human rights, reconciliation and a political settlement,” Rankin told the Colombo-based Foreign Correspondents Association. Sri Lanka has been peaceful since the nearly three-decade war, which ended when the government troops crushed the Tamil Tiger rebels who fought to create a separate state for the ethnic minority Tamils. Still, rights groups say the government has been squelching dissent and suppressing the judiciary. “The end of the physical conflict was of course only the beginning,” said Rankin, stressing that the next tasks are “accountability that arose from events during the conflict and to achieve lasting reconciliation between Sri Lanka’s communities.” He also cited progress in such areas as infrastructure development in the war-torn areas and resettlement of many war-displaced people. Australia and Britain have pushed for engagement with Sri Lanka rather than isolating it and have encouraged countries to participate in the Commonwealth leaders’ meeting in Sri Lanka despite the calls for the boycott. Last week, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he would not attend due to human rights concerns and he threatened to cut off funding to the Commonwealth group. Harper has accused Sri Lanka of failing to uphold the Commonwealth’s core values. Sri Lanka has rejected Harper’s comments, saying “he has his own political obligations.” The Commonwealth is a loose association of 54 members, mostly former British colonies, and the leadership summit is biennial. Join the Discussion You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
Police hope for new leads in McCann case New evidence in McCann case The man is described as white, between 20 and 40 years old, with short brown hair and a medium build. He was seen carrying a blond child, who might have been in pajamas and who was estimated to be 3 to 4 years old, around the time Madeleine disappeared, police had said. The sketches are based on descriptions from separate witnesses, investigators said. Since the program aired, British police said they have received more than 300 phoned tips and 170 e-mailed ones. “We will now take the time to follow up these lines of enquiry,” Redwood said. Police target 38 ‘people of interest’ in Madeleine McCann’s ’07 disappearance The latest revelation is critical in reconstructing what exactly happened more than six years ago on the night of May 3, 2007,when McCann disappeared from her family’s villa while her parents dined at a nearby restaurant. The girl was just days shy of her fourth birthday. Computer-generated sketch Computer-generated sketch Computer-generated sketch Neither her parents nor the detectives investigating her case have given up on one day finding the little girl from Leicestershire, England. “There may be an entirely innocent explanation of this man, but we need to establish who he is to assist with our inquiries,” Redwood said earlier. Additionally, investigators believe they have a better understanding of when Madeleine may have been abducted, Redwood added. “The timeline we have now established has given new significance to sightings and movements of people in and around Praia da Luz at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance.” John Walsh: Madeleine McCann could be alive Police announced in July that they have identified 38 “people of interest” in connection with the case. Twelve of them are UK nationals who police say they think were in Portugal at the time the girl went missing.