UK's Cameron urged to follow Harper's lead on Sri Lanka rights abuses

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - British Prime Minister David Cameron is being urged to follow Stephen Harper's example and threaten to boycott next year's Commonwealth leaders' summit in Sri Lanka.

The Canadian prime minister's threat — designed to spur changes in Sri Lanka's dismal human rights record — is being held up by the British House of Commons' foreign affairs committee as an example for Cameron to emulate.

The committee made the recommendation in its report on the future of the 54-country Commonwealth.

Committe chairman Richard Ottaway tells The Canadian Press from London that a boycott could force the Sri Lankan government to properly investigate atrocities committed by its forces.

Harper wants Sri Lanka's government to independently investigate war crimes allegations by its own forces against Tamil rebels and civilians in the dying days of the civil war in 2009.

A United Nations report this week offered scathing self-criticism of the world body's inability to protect the estimated 40,000 Tamil civilians killed in the final months of Sri Lanka's 27-year internal conflict.