John Key finds human rights ‘embarrassing’

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The Prime Minister is currently in Sri Lanka at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

He has gone to the meeting despite calls from the Tamil community here in Aotearoa, and international calls from human rights organisations to boycott the event due to human rights abuses and war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan government against Tamil people.

The leaders of Canada, India and Mauritius have refused to attend the event.
Even the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, was willing to strongly condemn the Sri Lankan government despite attending the event.

John Key, on the other hand, has said that he won’t be making a statement condemning Sri Lankan government because to do so would ‘embarrass’ them. Key wouldn’t want anyone to be embarrassed by the things they had done - like extrajudicial executions, the murder of POWS, or the targeting of civilians.

Key has said he is taking a more ‘constructive’ approach and will raise human rights issues privately - where they won't get in the way of doing business.

Human rights organisations have said changes by the Sri Lankan government are largely ‘window dressing’ for the CHOGM meeting.

Key’s approach again demonstrates this government’s contempt for human rights, and a lack of willingness to meaningfully condemn war crimes especially when the State concerned is of some strategic value.

An extensive article on the experiences of ordinary Tamil people is here by Pacific correspondent Andrea Vance.

Update: 16 Nov "Foreign minister Murray McCully returned from the Tamil-led north of Sri Lanka last night and indicated he believes New Zealand should not support an independent investigation into war crimes. "

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