In just a few days time, delegates from 19 countries, including the UK and USA, will take part in a public relations stunt organised by the brutal war criminal Gotabhaya (Gota) Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka’s Defence secretary.

Last year the Sri Lankan military organised a series of seminars designed to help whitewash their reputation and promote the “Sri Lanka model” of purely military responses to internal strife. And last year we ran campaigns to prevent these events from turning into the PR coups the Sri Lankan military were hoping for.

Previously various countries – including Canada, the UK and South Africa – pulled out under pressure, sending a powerful message that human rights violations will not be tolerated. It also hugely embarrassed the Sri Lankan military and Gotabhaya himself, weakening their position within the country.

This year, the Sri Lankan Army is planning another conference, from 8-12 August, giving Gota the chance to hold court in front of at least 19 countries including the UK and USA, at a session misleadingly called “towards lasting peace and stability”.

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