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Canada Fires Warning Shot

[The Sunday Leader.lk, Sunday, 30 October 2011 11:03 No Comment]

Canada has fired a warning shot at Sri Lanka saying it will not just sit back and wait if the government fails to address human rights concerns before the next Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka.

The Canadian position was stressed during a two day debate in the Canadian Parliament late last week where Sri Lanka was the focus of attention.

Canadian Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Deepak Obhrai said that his country was not limiting its concerns to just words and not actions and was working behind the scenes on Sri Lanka.

“The Government of Canada’s position is very clear. The Prime Minister has stated it, and he has stated it very clearly in Perth, Australia at the Commonwealth Conference. He has said he would like to see Sri Lanka move forward to address the allegations of human rights abuses. If there is no credible movement toward addressing that issue, he will then rethink about his attendance at the next Commonwealth Conference in Sri Lanka,” Obhrai told the Canadian Parliament, according to the transcript appearing on the Canadian parliament website.

Sri Lankan born Canadian opposition parliamentarian Rathika Sitsabaiesan said the Canadian Parliament should not limit its concerns to just words  for which Obhrai responded by saying that the wheels were spinning even on the diplomatic front with regard to Sri Lanka.

“We have been sending a message to the government in power that these are our concerns. That is how people can achieve results. That is what we have been doing since the civil war ended. If the government does not address the issues of what transpired during the reconciliation process, then we would be in a situation where possibly down the road the same conflict would start up again. Sri Lanka must also address the credible concerns of the UN Secretary-General on the violation of human rights in that country,” Obhrai said.

Obhrai noted that the Canadian Prime Minister has relayed his government’s position to both the High Commissioner for Human Rights and directly to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, as well as his counterpart in Sri Lanka.

“Canada will continue to speak loudly and clearly on behalf of human rights around the world, and especially Sri Lanka,” he said.

[Full Coverage]

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