Dramatic Failure of the Government of Sri Lanka to peruse Meaningful Reconciliation, Human rights

Hon. Deepak Obhrai, Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Human Rights, met recently the members of the Tamil community and gave an update to the Media on his recent trip to Sri Lanka representing Canada at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Canadian Prime Minister has clearly indicated in advance that he would not participate in light of the continuation of Human Rights violations and disregard for Rule of Law in Sri Lanka.

Hon. Obhrai, did not fail to point out the unusual fear, griping the society that he noticed among all levels of the Sri Lankan society, notably among the minorities and expressed dismay over this development despite that fact that the current Government is a democratically elected body. The vast spectrum of the civil society expressed the state of erosion on Human Rights amidst intimidation of the free media and minorities and suppression of Judiciary.

He reiterated Canada’s commitment to uphold the values of the Commonwealth and as such unwilling to sit as a silent partner when Sri Lanka continues to violate the principles while holding its Chairmanship. Canada is concerned on the illegal dismissal of the Island’s Chief Justice and the restriction on the powers of the Tamil National Alliance’s democratically elected Provincial Government. Impeachment of Sri Lankan Chief Justice was unlawful and in conflict with the norms of the Commonwealth, he further said. The politically appointed Governor, who is also an ex-Army Commander has more powers and places restrictions on the Provincial Government’s ability to carry out its mandate, he said.

Hon. Obhrai also stated that during his meetings with the representatives of the Colombo Government, he explained the many positive contributions Canada has made especially after the Tsunami disaster and the war.

In respect of all the innocent Sri Lankans who lost their lives during the war, a memorial wreath also was laid by the Secretary at Elephant-Pass, the common passageway connecting the Northern Province with the rest of the Island.

“Canada remains as a friend, but at the same time cannot allow the alleged war crimes and the continuing violation of Human Rights be swept away under the carpet” he said. To that end, along with its friends and allies Canada will work through the United Nations to appoint an independent committee to investigate the alleged crimes, if Sri Lanka continues to ignore International community’s call for an independent investigation. “The time is ripe to write a new chapter towards reconciliation, equality, Rule of Law and Justice in Sri Lanka, if only the country is willing to venture in that direction”, Hon. Obhrai said.

Deepak Obhrai - Press Conference on Commonwealth Summit Sri Lanka

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