FOLLOWING CJ IMPEACHMENT CANADA IS ONE STEP CLOSER TO BOYCOTT LANKA’S SUMMIT SAYS GLOBE AND MAIL
By Walter Jayawardhana
Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper said that Canada appeared to be one step closer to boycotting this year’s Commonwealth leaders’ summit Monday as Prime Minister Stephen Harper bluntly called on the Sri Lankan government to reinstate the country’s fired Chief Justice, Shirani Bandaranayaka.
“Mr. Harper has threatened to ignore the 54-country summit that Sri Lanka hosts later this year because he has serious concerns about Colombo’s commitment to human rights and democracy since the country’s long civil war ended in 2009,” the newspaper under a headline Harper rebukes Sri Lanka over jurist’s dismissal as talk of summit boycott heat up add to.. said.
Stephen Harper says progress has been made at the Commonwealth summit in Australia. He also raised concerns about human rights issues in Sri Lanka, indicating he would boycott the next meeting if these weren’t addressed.
The latest flashpoint came Friday after President Mahinda Rajapaksa dismissed the country’s Chief Justice, Shirani Bandaranayake, after a widely condemned impeachment process.
The move sparked protests Monday in the South Asian country and raised fears of a constitutional crisis if the government moves to replace Ms. Bandaranayake.
“We call on the government of Sri Lanka to respect the country’s constitution and the independence of its judiciary and change course immediately,” Mr. Harper said in a statement.
Mr. Harper said he is deeply concerned by the move, which he said came after “an impeachment process which appeared to be highly politicized and lacking transparency and respect for the guarantees of due process and fair trial.”
NDP foreign-affairs critic Paul Dewar called on Mr. Harper to “state unequivocally” that he will boycott the Commonwealth summit in Colombo.
“We urge Commonwealth members to step up action to condemn this attack on judicial independence,” said Mr. Dewar.
Mr. Harper said Canada will push for the matter to be discussed at the next meeting of the Commonwealth’s ministerial action group.
Gordon Campbell, Canada’s high commissioner to Britain, spoke with the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth last week and requested that Sri Lanka be added to the group’s next meeting, said Rick Roth, spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.
Canadian officials also expressed their concerns directly to Sri Lanka’s high commissioner to Canada in a meeting on Friday, and will be talking to Sri Lankan government officials in Colombo as well, Mr. Roth said.
“Canada continues to have serious concerns about the human rights situation, the need for reconciliation, and the democratic deficit in Sri Lanka,” he said. “We will continue to raise these concerns forcefully, without equivocation both directly with the government of Sri Lanka and through resolutions at both the United Nations and the Commonwealth.”
Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae called on Mr. Harper and Mr. Baird to press for an emergency meeting of the Commonwealth’s ministerial action group.
“It is simply unacceptable that we wait to address this dire situation until the next scheduled meeting, as Prime Minister Harper and Minister Baird would prefer,” said Mr. Rae, who was an adviser to the Sri Lankan peace process from 1999 to 2006.
Canada has been leading an international effort to press the Sri Lankan government to seriously examine allegations of summary executions, kidnappings and other atrocities by government forces and the Tamil Tiger rebels.
The violations are alleged to have occurred in May 2009 when government forces routed the Tigers to end the country’s 21/2-decade civil war.
Canada co-sponsored a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council that pressed Sri Lanka to properly investigate the alleged war crimes.
An internal Sri Lankan commission into the matter has been widely criticized by Canada and others as a whitewash that favours the government.
A UN panel of experts has found that there are credible allegations of war crime and crimes against humanity.
“Canada has strongly supported resolutions at both the United Nations and the Commonwealth condemning the Sri Lankan government’s lack of action on reconciliation and the country’s disturbing slide in human rights,” said Mr. Baird, who will represent Canada at the action group.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma is to visit Sri Lanka next month.
“I will also consider further Commonwealth initiatives and responses as are envisaged in situations that could be perceived to constitute violations of core Commonwealth values and principles,” he said after Friday’s dismissal.
Since winning a second term as president following the end of the civil war in 2009, Mr. Rajapaksa has pushed through new laws that are seen as steps toward establishing absolute power, the newspaper further said.
“He has extended term limits on the presidency and abolished independent commissions.
Ms. Bandaranayake’s impeachment is seen as an attempt to muzzle the judiciary.
Recently, Ms. Bandaranayake ruled against Mr. Rajapaksa’s brother, the head of Sri Lanka’s economic development ministry.
The Rajapaksa family occupies many senior government positions, including head of the defence ministry and the speaker’s chair in Parliament. One of Mr. Rajapaksa’s sons sits as an MP.”
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Who cares? Canada is a non-friendly imperial West country anyway. I hope one day diaspora Tamils in Canada will ruin Canada with thier crimes.
Go ahead Canada.We won’t miss you.
Go ahead Canada. We won’t miss you.
Sad to note that Canada may not attend Lanka’s Summit.The Government should sit back and think as to why countrys like Canada are not coming to Sri Lanka for the summit. The Goverment can not be happy about this news even though they will pretend to show that they are not bothered.
Looks like Harper is on drugs and thinks Sri Lanka is Canada’s colony.
We will celebrate when Canada don’t come. Few more dollars can be saved from giving comfort to “idiots”. Only Tamil terrorists and their boot lickers will miss you Harper, we do not.
what Canada says is not acceptable but they have the ability to convince other countries against SL. this is not a short term thing to be addressed but long term. sri Lankan leaders should not pave the way for them to interfere by doing unethical things. if things to be done it should do with the proper system under the law. we are still under development and we should not make enemies internationally. if something goes wrong our friends China or India never take our side but the big hits side. they never want to loose their huge market in USA, Canada and Europe( remember what happened and HR council India voted against us what we could do ?? nothing we still have to move with them even we are unhappy ). we are a peanut when compared to their market . this is totally commercial world. we must think long term act accordingly. we should not let the heart talk but the brain talk. all corrupted leaders in the country will not have a issue they will go to rich countries which they have been called and criticized as imperialist.
The move to not only boycott the Hambantota Commonwealth Summit is not only gathering momentum but is tending towards complete shift of the venue.
This is a sharp slap in the face of our country and its rulers. A shift in venue will mean that we are emerging as a pariah state.
Whilst appreciating the myopic nationalistic views of bloggers 1 & 5, it is terribly disappointing that the wonder of Asia is turning out to be the pariah of Asia.