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Canada calls on Sri Lanka to ensure safety of journalists and activists during constitutional crisis

Following the appointment of Rajapaksa as PM of Sri Lanka Canada, alongside the European Union, UK, US and other European nations, has expressed concern over Sri Lanka.

In a press statement Global Affairs Canada said:

“Canada remains deeply concerned by the political situation in Sri Lanka. We reiterate our call for all parties to refrain from violence and respect due process and the rule of law”.

“Canada calls on President Maithripala Sirisena to immediately reconvene Parliament and rescind the decision to prorogue. The people of Sri Lanka deserve transparency and accountability. The Parliament of Sri Lanka—whose representatives have been duly elected by the people of Sri Lanka—must be afforded their constitutional responsibility to determine Sri Lanka’s prime minister”.

“We also call upon the government to ensure the safety and security of journalists, activists and human rights defenders, who play a vital role in defending democracy.”

David McKinnon, Canadian High Comisioner to Sri Lanka and Ambassador to the Maldives stated that Canada was monitoring the situation but stressed:

"Respect for the rule of law is a cornerstone of democracy. We urge all parties to uphold Sri Lanka's constitution and refrain from violence," he said.

He further stated that concrete action was need by the Sri Lankan government to meet its commitment to its people and the international community with respects to transitional justice and accountability.

MP for Scarborough-Rouge Park, Gary Anandasangaree also addressed the Canadian parliament saying:

"Over the weekend the Sri Lankan president appointed his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister. The Rajapaksa family is accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. This recent development underscores the need for structural change on the island. The government continues to play politics with the lives of Tamils and other minorities. Successive governments have failed to secure a political solution based on the Tamil rights to self-determination; to end impunity and abide by the rule of law. Journalists and human rights activists  in Sri Lanka continue to be in danger. Reporters Without Borders recently outlined the harassment by the Sri Lankan intelligence unit against Tamil Guardian correspondent Uthayarasa Shalin. In the nearly ten years since the end of the conflict peace has not been achieved. Sri Lanka’s current constitutional crisis amongst the political class is again at the expense of Tamils seeking justice, accountability and a just political solution. The international community must seize upon the issue and ensure Sri Lanka abide by international norms and in line with international law."

On twitter he added:

#SriLanka ’s current constitutional crisis is at the expense of #Tamils seeking justice, accountability & a just political solution. The int'l community, through multilateral fora, must send a decisive message that time is up;#LKA must abide by int'l norms in line with int'l law.