Minister Baird Comments on Final Report of Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission

By: Brad Butt, MP, Mississauga-Streetsville

The Government of Canada has been very closely watching developments in Sri Lanka and following events at the United Nations. Canada is home to many former residents and citizens of Sri Lanka and we have a very strong relationship with all of its people.

On January 12, 2012 Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird issued the following statement on the final report of Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission: “Canada notes the public release of the report of Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. Although we are still studying the report, the commission has addressed and provided recommendations in some areas of concern, including reconciliation, the rule of law and demilitarization.

“Canada strongly urges the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the commission’s recommendations and develop an implementation road map with clear timelines while also addressing the issues the report did not cover. The report’s recommendations—if implemented—can contribute to the process of political reconciliation that must now take place to address the root causes of deadly strife and division. However, to date, we have seen a lack of both accountability and meaningful attempts at reconciliation on the part of the Sri Lankan government. Decisive action is now required.

“Canada remains concerned that the report does not fully address the grave accusations of serious human rights violations that occurred toward the end of the conflict. Many of the allegations outlined by the UN Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka have not been adequately addressed by this report. We continue to call for an independent investigation into the credible and serious allegations raised by the UN Secretary-General’s Panel that international humanitarian law and human rights were violated by both sides in the conflict.

“The Government of Sri Lanka must demonstrate the principles of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.” As the Member of Parliament for Mississauga-Streetsville, I will continue to work with members of the community on issues in Sri Lanka to ensure full reconciliation and healing in the nation.

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