In a renewed threat, Canada says Prime Minister Stephen Harper will not attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka next year unless there is an improvement in the human rights situation in Sri Lanka.
Canadian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Chrystiane Roy told The Sunday Leader that the Canadian government feels the Sri Lankan government continues to fail victims and survivors of the war.
The spokesperson also said that Canada is ‘deeply troubled’ by recent reports of intimidation of judges in Sri Lanka, and reiterate the importance of judicial independence.
“Prime Minister Harper has clearly stated that unless there is significant progress on political reconciliation, accountability and respect for human rights in Sri Lanka, he will not attend the CHOGM hosted by Sri Lanka in 2013,” Roy said.
Harper had initially made the threat in September last year to boycott the meeting and one year on the Canadian government feels that there is still no progress on the human rights issue on the ground.
Heads of government from the Commonwealth are scheduled to attend the key conference in Sri Lanka next year.
Chrystiane Roy quoted Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird as saying recently that the Sri Lankan government must finally put the people of the country first.
His comments were in response to the report by a UN panel on the action taken by the UN during the final stages of the war in Sri Lanka.
“Canada also notes the Secretary General’s comments and will work with the international community to ensure mistakes made in Sri Lanka are not repeated,” Roy quoted the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister as saying.
On the move to impeach the Chief Justice, Roy said that Canada continues to follow developments with regard to the case very closely.
“It speaks to broader issues of concern, including judicial independence. We are deeply troubled by recent reports of intimidation of judges in Sri Lanka, and reiterate the importance of judicial independence. This means ensuring that judges are allowed to conduct their work professionally, in accordance with the law, and without any form of political interference,” the Foreign Ministry spokesperson told The Sunday Leader.