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Calls for Key to boycott Sri Lanka trip

GLOSSY VERSION: A man puts the finishing touches to the decorations for this week s !ommonwea"th #eads Of Go$ernment meeting% &ohn 'e( wi"" attend despite ca""s that he )o(cott it%

*+ *,-**-.,*/ Prime Minister John Key has rejected calls to stay away from the Commonwealth summit in Colombo because of concern's over Sri Lanka's human rights record Andrea Vance ta"ks to refugees haunted )( the conf"ict% Esther was at home0 preparing a mea"0 when the )om) fe""% 1hen she awoke from the chaos0 ears ringing0 her "eft "eg was gone% It was on"( the )eginning of her horror% O$er the ne2t three (ears she wou"d )e forced to march for ki"ometres0 from safe p"ace to p"ace0 with on"( tree )ranches for support% She witnessed do3ens of peop"e die0 man( )"own apart in s(stematic )om) drops on ethnic 4ami"s in the "ast few months of a )"ood( ci$i" war% She is haunted )( the memories of one (oung man who was e2ecuted0 with a )u""et to the head0 in front of her at a mi"itar( checkpoint% 4he .56(ear6o"d on"( stopped mo$ing when captured )( go$ernment forces% In a refugee camp0 in the cit( of Vanni0 she was accused of )eing a terrorist0 a mem)er of the Li)eration 4igers of 4ami" Ee"am 7L44E or 4ami" 4igers8% So"diers assumed she was a warrior who "ost her "eg in conf"ict and she was thrown into a prison camp%

Esther sa(s she was )eaten and tortured% After one sa$age attack she was taken to hospita" 6 and took a chance to escape% 9"eeing )( )oat to 4hai"and0 she spent another *: months in ;ai" )efore she was accepted as a refugee )( New <ea"and% Now "i$ing in Lower #utt0 Esther is )itter and disappointed that g"o)a" "eaders0 inc"uding =rime >inister &ohn 'e( and =rince !har"es0 tra$e" to !o"om)o ne2t week for the !ommonwea"th s heads of state meeting% No0 he shou"dn t go0 she sa(s% Visiting shows support to the Go$ernment0 which refuses to proper"( in$estigate or acknow"edge the .,,+ genocide% 4he( ?the go$ernment@ ne$er sa( the( are wrong% 4he( ha$e to answer for what the( did% =ARE 4ERROR #er words are trans"ated )( Asanthini0 the *B6(ear6o"d daughter of her friend &e(a% &e(a was eight when the( were shepherded into the notorious >anik farm refugee camp0 once the wor"d s "argest0 after months spent tr(ing to escape the $io"ence% Cecause I am a chi"d there0 I don t remem)er0 she sa(s% 1e ha$e )een in the underground ?)unkers@ and the )om) )"ast come% >( mum ;ust went to go and see ?)ecause there was@ someone shouting there ?for he"p@% She don t know which musc"es ?)od( parts@ is matching with which0 there are in man( p"aces% 4he camp was esta)"ished to accommodate an e2odus of 4ami" ci$i"ians0 trapped for months on a .D sE km strip of coconut gro$es on the is"and s east coast )eaches% >ore than .,,0,, peop"e sur$i$ed0 for months0 on handouts from the Go$ernment% N% >a"ath(0 550 spent months in the camp0 )efore )ri)ing her wa( out% I was read( to die0 she said% !onditions were terri)"e0 un)e"ie$a)"e% You were "i$ing without shade on )eaches% 4he sun is un)eara)"e0 it is ;ust tota""( intense% She ta"ks of chi"dren wasting awa( and of )eing gi$en food )( (our standard0 on"( good enough to )e thrown in the ru))ish% Another woman0 &e(a0 /D0 )e"ie$es the Go$ernment de"i)erate"( targeted ci$i"ians to f"ush out 4ami" fighters% Cetween the L44E and the Go$ernment0 it is a fight0 )ut the( put the )om) inside the peop"e% 4he( sa( go there0 its a safe p"ace % 4hen the( search )( p"ane and put )om)s there% 1e don t ha$e an( p"ace to mo$e% #er sister stepped outside to escape the stif"ing heat of a )unker to )reastfeed her )a)( daughter in coo"er air% 4he infant )"ed to death0 after )eing hit )( shrapne" from a )"ast% 1e ha$e sadness0 we see peop"e die and it s horri)"e% She has a message for 'e(: Fon t ta"k with =resident >ahinda Ra;apaksa% Fon t go there%%% E$er( countr( has gone and seen and nothing happened% 4here s no ending% As she finishes her stor(0 &e(a puts her head in her hands and weeps% #er sons0 *5 and *G0 remain in Sri Lanka0 a"though she hopes the( wi"" come to New <ea"and soon% One mi""ion peop"e don t ha$e a mother or a father% 1hen we don t think it s O'% Cut when we think%%% I get headaches%

Niro0 ./0 recent"( sett"ed in Lower #utt with her four6(ear6o"d daughter Sathu% She wa"ked for .+ da(s after gi$ing )irth0 )efore )eing forced into a camp where the( she"tered in a fi"th( o"d schoo" )ui"ding% 1e don t ha$e "ots of food% In the morning a"wa(s peas% Some fight for food and ?I saw@ someone die o$er it% It was her )a)( daughter who sa$ed their "i$es0 when she was taken to hospita" with an e(e infection the( escaped to 4hai"and0 where the( sta(ed for four (ears% She doesn t )e"ie$e she wi"" e$er return to her 'i"inochchi home% Young peop"e0 o"d peop"e e$en at midnight we cannot wa"k there% It is Euite dangerous% 1hi"e she fee"s safe in New <ea"and0 she is disappointed 'e( is courting Ra;apakse% 4he( ?the Sri Lankan go$ernment@ are no good% 4he( ha$e to punish for that% GOVERN>EN4 RES=ONSES: 4OO I>=OR4AN4 9OR N< 4O >ISS Internationa" pressure on Sri Lanka is mounting0 with !anadian =rime >inister Stephen #arper )o(cotting the summit% #e said a)uses were unaccepta)"e citing Hincarceration of po"itica" "eaders and ;ourna"ists0 harassment of minorities0 reported disappearances0 and a""egations of e2tra ;udicia" ki""ingsH% 9ormer Critish foreign secretar( Fa$id >i"i)and ca""ed for the summit to )e mo$ed e"sewhere% 1riting for the Critish press0 he reca""ed a .,,+ $isit to refugee camps% I wi"" ne$er forget what I saw0 and in particu"ar the p"eading of 4ami" women carr(ing s"ips of paper with the names of their hus)ands and sons who had )een taken awa( for screening % Critish =rime >inister Fa$id !ameron resisted ca""s not to go and sa(s it is )etter to raise concerns in person% Likewise0 'e( wi"" engage on human rights% 4here are other countries (ou cou"d point to0 as we""0 that ha$e hosted internationa" e$ents where New <ea"and might ha$e rea" concerns0 )ut we ha$e continued to go there0 he said% 4he Euestion is are we )etter inside or outside the tentI 4his is a !ommonwea"th e$ent0 the( are a !ommonwea"th countr(% 1e re going% 4he summit is too important in a push for a seat on the AN Securit( !ounci" to miss% A protest march took p"ace in Auck"and s cit( centre (esterda(% Amnest( New <ea"and s e2ecuti$e director Grant Ca("don wants New <ea"and to oppose Sri Lanka taking up the position of chair of the !ommonwea"th% 4he position is automatica""( gi$en to the host countr( for three (ears% 4he rea"it( here is that the =rime >inister has decided to go0 as has ?9oreign >inister@ >urra( >c!u""(% 4he ke( thing is what the( do whi"e the( are there% Ceing "eader of the !ommonwea"th0 is a position that puts the Sri Lankan president as the head of D, countries%%% and this is someone who stands accused of the worst a)uses this centur(% Is this the person we want representing usI

La)our s foreign affairs spokesman Fa$id Shearer agrees New <ea"and shou"d not support the chairmanship% #e was a Sa$e the !hi"dren aid worker there )etween *+:+6*++*% =erhaps )etter than most I understand the atrocities that were committed )( a"" sides during the "ong ci$i" conf"ict0 he said% 4he !ommonwea"th has pre$ious"( suspended =akistan and 9i;i% 4o agree to Sri Lanka )ecoming the chair wou"d weaken the !ommonwea"th s credi)i"it( and undermine its status as a )od( that stands up for human rights% N% >a"ath( sa(s 1estern countries continue to support Sri Lanka )ecause of its strategic importance% I think e$er(one shou"d fo""ow !anada% I think it is not that the wor"d comp"ete"( disregards these ;ustice and human rights issues )ut when the )a"ance of geo6po"itics takes o$er0 Sri Lanka is supposed to )e on an important oi" route% Green part( >= &an Logie was due to arri$e in Sri Lanka (esterda( for a fact6 finding mission% Are !ommonwea"th "eaders going to c"ose their e(es to the human rights a)uses happening in the countr( the( are meeting inI 4#E CA!'GROANF 4he Sri Lanka Go$ernment and opposition Li)eration 4igers of 4ami" Ee"am waged a )"ood( ci$i" war for .5 (ears unti" >a( .,,+% A mi"itar( offensi$e un"eashed in the fina" months saw upwards of B,0,,, 4ami" ci$i"ians massacred in ground and aeria" assau"ts% As the Go$ernment ce"e)rated $ictor(0 sur$i$ors were herded into primiti$e camps0 where it is a""eged the( were denied )asics0 raped0 murdered and tortured% #uman rights a)uses continue toda(0 with reports of e2tra ;udicia" ki""ings0 kidnappings 7known as white $an disappearances 8 and the murder of se$era" ;ourna"ists% 4he AN sa(s the countr( is mo$ing in an increasing"( authoritarian direction and the Go$ernment has re;ected access to independent in$estigators% 1e""ington6)ased #onorar( !onsu" for Sri Lanka Aruna V% A)e(goonesekera categorica""( re;ects the Go$ernment committed genocide% It was a conf"ict that "asted .5 (ears%%% it was a Euestion of Sri Lanka maintaining its so$ereignt( and doing e$er(thing possi)"e to do that% 4he( were up against a terrorist group%%% this a process of dea"ing with that group and in the process0 unfortunate"( peop"e he"d innocent ci$i"ians as human shie"ds% 4here was ne$er e$er an( intention )( Sri Lankan forces to actua""( harm ci$i"ians in an( shape or form% #e denies the Go$ernment is responsi)"e for kidnappings and argues the Go$ernment s Lesson Learnt and Reconci"iation !ommission 7LLR!8 has in$estigated more than D,, incidents and it is representati$e of peop"e of a"" the countr(%%%it is not )iased% 6 J 9airfa2 N< News