The NDP is urging the Conservative government to reconsider its plan to attend this fall’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka, given that country’s poor human rights record and its refusal to allow an independent investigation of war crimes allegations.
“A strong and principled stance is the best way to address this situation,” said NDP Foreign Affairs critic Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre). “Unless Sri Lanka complies with a UN recommendation for an impartial and transparent investigation of war crimes allegations Canada should not attend this meeting.”
On top of the numerous allegations of indiscriminate killing of Tamil civilians, further cause for concerns has been raised by the recent impeachment of Sri Lankan Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake; a move many consider retribution for making decisions that displeased the government.
“As a member of the Commonwealth, Canada has a responsibility to ensure that basic human rights principles are upheld by all members,” said Dewar. “Attending this meeting would send absolutely the wrong message to the people and government of Sri Lanka and the international community.”