As Canada continues to voice its call for boycott of Commonwealth summit scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka in November this year, Commonwealth officials renewed efforts to nudge Sri Lanka to adhere to principles of judicial independence, after Colombo defied international appeals and sacked its chief justice in January. Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma is holding talks with Sri Lankan leaders in Colombo on the rule of law and the separation of powers, AFP reported.
Mr Sharma’s four-day visit to Sri Lanka came as Ottawa urged others in the 54-member grouping to stay away from the November Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) hosted by Colombo.
"Sharma is expected to discuss, among other issues, options for advancing Commonwealth values and principles, including the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers," the Commonwealth said in a statement. The statement said the Secretary-General was also discussing arrangements for the November summit which is going ahead despite Canadian objections, according to the AFP.
Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake was sacked in a parliamentary procedure which ignored rulings by the Colombo courts.
U.N.’s expert panel and international rights groups accused Colombo for killing more than 40,000 Tamil civilians, while Petrie report concluded that more than 80,000 Tamil civilans may have been killed by the Sri Lanka troops.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has warned that he may refuse to attend the summit unless Sri Lanka addresses allegations of atrocities during the closing battles of the war against separatist Tamil rebels in 2009.