The Sunday Leader

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.

7 Comments for “CHOGM In Sri Lanka As Scheduled”

  1. Trevor Jayetileke

    CHOGM like most regional bodies are mere acronyms that do little for the COMMON GOOD. For example what has APEC achieved of any significance?
    Nevertheless CHOGM to be held in Sri Lanka in November 2013 could be the turning point for this organization which is formed of 54 nations and its head the most respected person in the whole world. This meeting in Colombo will be momentous as the World is so restless and uncertain as its stands today and this could be the moment we may be all waiting for with great expectation.
    For Canada to even think of scuttling this event is cruel to say the least. Their PM the Hon.Stephen Harper really does not understand that by boycotting this meeting the damage he is doing will have repercussions for the whole world. Is he not aware that the WTO cannot revive the Doha Round which has been frozen for more than a decade and multilateral trading that the WTO promotes cannot move forward., and individual countries are resorting to protectionism. CHOGM is our last hope., for a new vision for the 21st century a legacy our gracious Queen could leave for this lost world of ours. God Bless our Queen.

  2. D.B Adikari

    Sri Lankan had been de-colonilization since 1948 as member of Commonwealth.There no reason to be postponed CHOGM supposed to held 2013 in our soil.
    Canada is not important country to be demand Sri Lakan venue-CHOGM meeting.Canada withdraw Sri Lankan venue we can accpected.
    We are nation under colonial OVER 435 YEARS RULE OF EUROPEN NATIONS.
    Now are WE AN INDEPENDENCE AND SOVERGENITY NATION,WE HAVE EVERY RIGHT TAKE DECISION ON OWN AFFAIRES BY PRESIDENT PARLIMENT and JUDICIARY.
    NO COUNTRY OR NATION ABOVE OUR ELECTED BODY OF PARLEMENT AND PRESIDENT.
    CANADA COULD STOP INTERFER INTERNAL AFFAIRS OF DEMOCRATIC SOVERGENITY NATION OF SRI LANKA.
    CANADA BOYCOTTED CHOGM IS WELCOME.
    WE NO LONGER CANNOT SURREENDER OUR NATIONAL SOVERGENITY AND INDEPENDECE AND DECOMRATIC FOR TERRORIST AND FOREIGN POWER DEMAND.

  3. buruwa

    dont worry about eskimos,

  4. We have the situation in which for example, the prime minister of one country, specifically called for the reinstatement of the former CJ. On no basis can one justify that. How can the prime minister of one country call for the reinstatement of the CJ in another country? That is almost impertinent. There is no way that one can resist the conclusion that this is to directly intervene in the domestic affairs of another country. And all of this cannot be done under the guise of deciding not to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. The decision to have the 2013 CHOGM was taken in 2009 in Trinidad and Tobago and was reaffirmed in Perth in 2011. At that meeting, long before the impeachment issue arose, the PM of Canada brought up the issue of the 2013 Meeting and tried to re-canvass it. Sri Lanka strongly opposed that move. Fifteen countries took the floor to support SL very strongly. It is only one country, New Zealand, that supported Canada. Mr Kevin Rudd, the then PM of Australia who was presiding said that the consensus is very clear – there is no way that we can take this up. So issues had been raised by Canada long before the impeachment situation arose.

    Our position is that this is a hospitable country and we are making arrangements for CHOGM, but there can be no trade off, simply in order to secure the attendance of one individual or a few individuals. We cannot distort national policy. We cannot make decisions in this country, with an eye on who is coming and who is not coming. We cannot make decisions which are really the result of arm twisting. Decisions in this country have to be made in the interests of Sri Lanka. We cannot make decisions in order to induce people to come.

  5. Saro

    Other leaders of CHOGM members must also give importance to human rights and independence judiciary. The presence of the army is large numbers in Tamil speaking areas suffocate the population. Recent arrests of nearly 50 individuals on framed up charges is a warning and treat to others to obey the government and not to speak or do anything against the government.

  6. gamarala

    Harper will have to wait a long time.

  7. Malin Gunawardene

    The external affairs in SL are dreaming if they think CHOGM will be held in this third world genocidal country. How can they have this meeting with poverty, rapes, corruption, impeachment and the unaccounted numbers of 40,000 Tamils slaughtered during the last stages of the war is not over yet. Keep dreaming you fools. If first world countries like England, Australia and Canada don’t attend, this meeting is a farce.

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