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Canadians turn up the pressure on Sri Lanka

Speaking in the House of Commons earlier today, Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird lashed out at Sri Lanka, as the issue of war crimes and accountability looms ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth next month.

Having met with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister GL Peiris last week, Baird said he had expressed Canada’s

"concerns on the lack of accountability for the serious allegations of war crimes, the lack of reconciliation with the Tamil community and with events that have taken place since the end of the civil war".

He went on to tell the House of Commons,

"Canada will continue to speak loudly and clearly on behalf of human rights around the world, especially in Sri Lanka."

Baird has been noticeably increasing the pressure on Sri Lanka after also meeting with with Sri Lankan envoy Chitranganee Wagiswara earlier this month and accusing them of using “heavy-handed tactics” against the Tamil people since the war. “We want to see action,” said Chris Day, Mr. Baird’s spokesman.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has already called for other nations to join his boycott of the 2013 CHOGM due to be held in Sri Lanka, unless substantial progress is made on human rights on the island.

The statement has found strong cross-party support in Canada, as opposition legislator Jim Karygiannis went even further, saying Harper should
"urge the Commonwealth to revoke Sri Lanka's membership until it holds the perpetrators to account and they are judged in international courts."
The statement comes as Sri Lanka prepares to attend the 2011 CHOGM, which is expected to be heavily lobbied by Tamil groups in Australia.

See our earlier posts:

'Sri Lanka's Killing Fields' screened to Canadian MPs'
(Sep 2011)

'Canada speaks out against inaction on Sri Lanka' (Sep 2011)

'Canada calls to boycott Sri Lanka CHOGM' (Sep 2011)