U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said he’ll confront Sri Lanka’s government over alleged human-rights abuses when the Commonwealth holds its summit in the country next week.
In an article for the Tamil Guardian newspaper, Cameron said he’d rejected calls to boycott the summit because “the right thing to do is engage” with the Sri Lankan government about the allegations of abuses against the Tamil minority during the country’s 26-year civil war.
“Four years after the conflict no one has been held to account for grave allegations of war crimes and sexual violence, journalists are routinely intimidated and thousands of people have yet to find out what has happened to their missing relatives,” Cameron said in the article. “I want to see that change. And I do not believe boycotting the Commonwealth meeting will achieve that.”
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will not be attending the summit of 53 Commonwealth member states, mostly former British colonies, over the host’s human-rights record. The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee called on Cameron last year to follow suit.
“This will not be an easy conversation, but diplomacy is not about ducking the difficult discussions,” Cameron said in the article. “It is about talking to those that you may not agree with precisely because you want to change their approach.”