Candian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has stated that he will not be attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2013, due to be held in Sri Lanka, unless there is improvement in human rights on the island.
Speaking to journalists, Harper backed the United Nations Secretary General’s representatives call for an independent investigation into war crimes and urged other countries to join his stance.
“I have expressed concerns about holding of the next Commonwealth Summit, the one after the one coming up in Sri Lanka.
I intend to make clear to my fellow leaders of the Commonwealth that if we do not see progress in Sri Lanka in terms of human rights and some of the issues you’ve raised, I will not as Prime Minister be attending that Commonwealth Summit I hope that others will take a similar position, but I hope this will pressure the Sri Lankan government to take the appropriate actions."
See report from TamilNet.
The statement from the Canadian Prime Minister comes as ten rights group from across the world wrote to Commonwealth Foreign Ministers urging them not to hold the next CHOGM in Sri Lanka.
See our earlier post Commonwealth urged to say no to CHOGM Sri Lanka 2013 (Sep 2011)
The upcoming CHOGM is being held in Perth on October the 28th, where Tamil Diaspora groups are expected to hold a series of events aimed at lobbying the Commonwealth.
Plans are already afoot as to whether any members of the Sri Lankan delegation, including President Mahinda Rajapakse, can be arrested under Australian law on war crimes charges.
Speaking to The Australian, Suren Surendiran of the Global Tamil Forum said,
"Mr Rajapakse must think very carefully about who he brings."
See our earlier post “Dias ‘recalled’”? (Sep 2011)