‘I think it would be good to find out from the Tamils how their lot can be improved. What do they want the world to do?’

South Africa’s Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu is of the view that the CHOGM could be an opportunity for countries to convince Sri Lanka to adopt the path of reconciliation on the rights of the Tamil community in the island nation.

Archbishop Tutu was responding to a question at an interaction with a small group of journalists on whether Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should attend the CHOGM.

Archbishop Tutu said, with a caveat, that a boycott of the CHOGM by the rest of the world could be a way of bringing peace in Sri Lanka. “If there are enough reasons to suggest that the Sri Lankan government has not been doing things with integrity, then yes, I think the world has to apply all the screws that it can and boycott could be one of them.”

He contended that world leaders attending the conference could say to the Sri Lankan government, “Look, we have come. There has been a lot of pressure in our home countries not to come. We came because we wanted to encourage you in the path of reconciliation that you are seeking to walk on; to take seriously the allegations of human rights abuses that have been directed at you; that you are going to do something about it.” According to the Archbishop, possibly the best way was to ask Sri Lankan Tamils, and not Tamils of India or elsewhere, what they wished for the world to do.

Archbishop Tutu was in Delhi to deliver the inaugural Janaagraha LC Jain Memorial lecture on ‘The persistent gentle moral giant who cares for the little people: Nelson Mandela’.

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