Bangladesh backs Sri Lanka on human rights issue

Colombo, April 23 (IANS) Bangladesh Tuesday said it will back Sri Lanka on the human rights issue, the Sri Lankan President’s Office said, reported Xinhua.

Visiting Bangladeshi Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque gave the assurance when he met President Mahinda Rajapaksa here.

During the meeting, Haque reassured the support of Bangladesh to Sri Lanka in the international fora, the President’s Office said.

“We stand by our Sri Lankan brothers on the issue of human rights. It’s an internal matter, and we are confident of the leadership. We don’t want to see this brought up (in international fora) at any level,” Haque told the president.

Bangladesh is the Chair of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) and human rights groups and some Commonwealth countries have called on CMAG to suspend Sri Lanka from the Commonwealth or shift the venue of the Commonwealth summit to be held in Colombo in November this year over human rights concerns.

Sri Lanka has been accused of committing human rights abuses during the last stages of the 30 year war against the Tamil Tiger rebels, a charge the Sri Lankan government denies.

The Sri Lanka army defeated the rebels in May 2009 and several countries are now calling for an international investigation into some of the incidents which allegedly took place during the final battle.

Sri Lanka will host the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in November but Canada has said it may boycott the summit if there is no progress on the human right issue by then.

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