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Canada says SL Tamils remain fearful

17 November 2013 07:42 pm - 14     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The Harper government says Sri Lanka's Tamil minority continues to be fearful of the country's leadership, as a controversial Commonwealth summit wrapped there Sunday.

That's the conclusion of Deepak Obhrai, a parliamentary secretary to the foreign affairs minister, who travelled this week to Sri Lanka's Tamil region.

Obhrai was sent after Prime Minister Stephen Harper decided to boycott the Commonwealth leaders' summit over Sri Lanka's human rights record.

The country's government won't allow an independent investigation into the atrocities committed in May 2009 at the end of its 27-year civil war.

Obhrai says he was sent to Sri Lanka to keep the country's human rights record front and centre, which involved laying a wreath for all of its innocent civilian victims in the mainly Tamil north.

Obhrai says the government continues to question whether the 54-member Commonwealth, an association of former British colonies, is living up to its core values.

The leaders of India and Mauritius also boycotted the summit over Sri Lanka's human rights record.(The Canadian Press)

The full statement issued by Mr. Obhrai

The Honourable Deepak Obhrai, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and for International Human Rights, has concluded his visit to Sri Lanka. Mr. Obhrai was in Colombo to represent Canada at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting from November 15 to 17.

“Canada believes that the Commonwealth has an important role to play in promoting freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. But these efforts are undermined when member countries consistently fail to live up to those same values.

“During my visit, I took the opportunity to meet with people on the ground in Colombo and in Jaffna in the north. This experience only strengthened my conviction that Canada was absolutely right to take the principled stance that it did.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced in October that he would not attend the Commonwealth meeting in Colombo. This decision came after Canada repeatedly voiced concerns over Sri Lanka’s failure to demonstrate its commitment to the Commonwealth’s core values and principles, which are outlined in the organization’s Charter, adopted last year and signed last March by Her Majesty the Queen, as the Head of the Commonwealth.

Canada welcomed the decision by prime ministers Singh of India and Ramgoolam of Mauritius not to attend the Commonwealth meeting. The absence of the prime ministers, leaders of two of Sri Lanka’s Indian Ocean neighbours, sends an important message. Almost half of all Commonwealth heads of government did not attend the summit and sent representatives instead.

On the margins of the Commonwealth meeting, Mr. Obhrai:

    --honoured Canadian Armed Forces personnel past and present by laying a wreath at the Commonwealth War Graves Liveramentu Cemetery;
    --visited the offices of the frequently attacked daily newspaper Uthayan and met with its owner, who is also a member of Sri Lanka’s parliament, and its editor;
    --participated in round-table discussions on human rights, freedom of expression and religious minorities, and the rule of law;
    --met with the Most Reverend Thomas Savundranayagam, the Catholic bishop of Jaffna; and
    --met with Chief Minister of the Northern Province, Canagasabapathy Visuvalingam Wigneswaran, Tamil National Alliance.

Mr. Obhrai reiterated Canadian support for inclusive post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation to enable all Sri Lankans to live in freedom and security.

Canada will continue to work with its partners to uphold the Commonwealth’s core values, which are cherished by Canadians. It will also continue to call for the Government of Sri Lanka to implement fully the recommendations of its own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and to respect human rights and the rule of law.

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  Comments - 14

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  • canuk Monday, 18 November 2013 12:15 AM

    original natives of Canada are a very happy lot. hik hik hikkkkk.

    Pibi Monday, 18 November 2013 12:30 AM

    If there is such fear, it exists among other communities too including the majority Sinhalese.

    pushpa Monday, 18 November 2013 09:38 AM

    We know why you are boycott CHOGM in Srilanka ??????????Tamils POLLS in Canada .
    Is it that right

    Duminda N Jayatileke Monday, 18 November 2013 09:42 AM

    The beginning of the end for SL if an international enquiry is held.

    Cobra Monday, 18 November 2013 12:45 AM

    Then Canada should grant them all sanctuary there and Harper and his ilk can be in power forever with SL Tamil votes!!!

    ANTON Monday, 18 November 2013 01:11 AM

    THERE ARE NO MONSTERS AND GHOSTS IN SRILANKA.

    marcus fernando Monday, 18 November 2013 04:43 PM

    why this fear of elam

    Cobra Monday, 18 November 2013 02:10 AM

    Fearful of Interference of a smooth transition that is slowly but surely taking place!

    Jith Monday, 18 November 2013 08:22 AM

    Hello friend, How are our RED IINDIAN friends Keeping in Canada Colony????

    dickie bird Monday, 18 November 2013 02:29 PM

    Fearful.... yes... SL has goni billas.

    Gobi Monday, 18 November 2013 08:48 AM

    you mean give up what? Forgiving all your crime and accepting the crimes.
    This will never happen but you are free to dream on,

    Gobi Monday, 18 November 2013 08:49 AM

    but the worst criminals

    Yuri Monday, 18 November 2013 02:34 PM

    Man you are very Smart, you have all the Characters to be next Sri Lanka President.

    Rohan Monday, 18 November 2013 12:00 AM

    India, Canada and Mauritius Why only the countries has huge Tamil vote base raising this point? And no other country does not? After all they are just politicians. Tamils diaspora should learn to give up. There never will be an Eelam in Sri Lanka. Find one from where you live in now. via DM Android App


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