CHOGM In Sri Lanka As Scheduled
By Indika Sri Aravinda
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGM) will go ahead as scheduled in Sri Lanka, despite threats raised by Canada, the External Affairs Ministry said.
External Affairs Ministry Secretary, Karunathilake Amunugama, said so far only Canada had raised concerns over CHOGM being held in Sri Lanka.
He said that other countries have not objected to the summit being held in Sri Lanka and so the summit will go ahead as scheduled.
Speaking to The Sunday Leader, Amunugama also said there is no threat to foreign investments in Sri Lanka following the impeachment of former Chief Justice, Shirani Bandaranayake.
Meanwhile, Deputy External Affairs Minister, Neomal Perera, also dismissed fears that the CHOGM summit will not be held in Sri Lanka.
He told The Sunday Leader only those who were not familiar with Sri Lanka’s laws were trying to use the impeachment issue to seek CHOGM from not being held in Sri Lanka.
Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, said he will not attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka in November unless there is an improvement in the human rights situation in Sri Lanka.
Canadian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Chrystiane Roy, had earlier told The Sunday Leader that the Canadian Government feels the Sri Lankan Government continues to fail victims and survivors of the war.
The spokesperson also said that Canada is ‘deeply troubled’ by recent reports of intimidation of judges in Sri Lanka, and reiterate the importance of judicial independence.
“Prime Minister Harper has clearly stated that unless there is significant progress on political reconciliation, accountability and respect for human rights in Sri Lanka, he will not attend the CHOGM hosted by Sri Lanka in 2013,” Roy said.
Harper had initially made the threat to boycott the meeting in September last year and one year on, the Canadian Government feels there is still no progress on the human rights issue on the ground.
Heads of government from the Commonwealth are scheduled to attend the key conference in Sri Lanka next year.