Moving Commonwealth Summit from Sri Lanka
Posted on April 28th, 2013

Ira de Silva London, Canada  

Mr. Harper, the Canadian Prime Minister, has been saying that he would prefer Sri Lanka to not hold the Commonwealth summit since before the last meeting in Australia in 2011. It is not just a “hint”, it has been his stated policy that he would not go to Colombo unless the GOSL met with his long list of “conditions”. It is important to note that the list of those calling for the meeting to be moved are the same countries that did their very best to save the leadership of the LTTE in 2009.   Since 2009 therefore it has been a continuous attack on Sri Lanka because Sri Lanka refused to be coerced by the  Milibands and Harpers  and militarily defeated the LTTE terrorists.  For Sri Lanka and many of the other members, the relevant question today is what purpose the Commonwealth serves except as a forum for the colonisers and the white colonies to inflate their egos recalling past glories of empires and continuing to make believe that they know best. 

 There is ample evidence that the current Canadian Government’s policy on Sri Lanka is based   on and reflects the demands of LTTE supporters in Canada. Canada has  been in the forefront of the effort to stop Sri Lanka from being the host to the CHOGM to satisfy their Tamil vote base.  Just this January Mr. J. Kenney, who is a minister in the government and leads the governments effort to win the so-called ethnic vote, visited Sri Lanka and on his return reported to his political party’s  LTTE supporters in Toronto.  He proudly tweeted  “Did Tamil media roundtable to review my recent trip to Sri Lanka”. At his meeting with his LTTE supporters on January 26th he confirmed his government’s policy when he said his “government acted against it’s own domestic interests in “helping” Colombo by banning the LTTE”. He further said that because Canada had banned the LTTE Sri Lanka should now “reciprocate” by doing what Canada wants – in other words he believes that Canada can dictate to Sri Lanka.  All political parties in Canada are now vying with each other to get the “ethnic vote” and hope to get the Tamil vote by attacks on Sri Lanka. As for the statement by Mr. Bob Rae, he belongs to the very party that not only allowed the collection of millions of dollars for terrorism in Sri Lanka but whose members and leaders  helped to raise funds for the LTTE to terrorise Sri Lanka.  

 Regarding the statement that Sri Lanka  “has become a lightning rod for concerns about the future of the 54-member Commonwealth” and that  “the future of the Commonwealth was in danger if the organization could not credibly address human rights, democratic rights and rule-of-law abuses by some of its member states”, let us examine what items should be on the agenda  so the future of the Commonwealth will not be endangered. 

 1) Gross violations of human rights, suppression of democratic rights, massacres and exploitation  of the indigenous populations of the Commonwealth committed by some members.   Documentation of these acts are ample and easily available.  Canada talks of human rights  ignoring  it’s own record. The UN has faulted Canada on human rights which it has not credibly addressed. This  illustrates Canada’s hypocrisy.

 2)  Acceptance of responsibility for the actions listed above.

 3) Accountability – the urgent necessity to  establish a mechanism to assess the amount of reparations due to all the former colonies.  Canada’s accountability to Sri Lanka is required in that it permitted Canadian citizens to fund terrorism in Sri Lanka for decades, that politicians even helped in  the fund raising which resulted in several bombings, massacres, economic destruction and extreme violence on all Sri Lankans and that even today Canada is continuing to harass and threaten Sri Lanka merely to get votes in Canadian elections.

 4) Since the countries calling for the boycott/moving the meeting are the same countries that supported LTTE terrorism in Sri Lanka, would it be better to cancel the CHOGM or get rid of it altogether? It could be argued that the Commonwealth is a testament to the crimes and atrocities committed  for hundreds of years and now members such as Canada and Britain, while calling for democratic rights, human rights and the rule of law, support terrorism in other member states.

 5) Should  the former colonies  get an apology for the crimes against them? Should Canada, India  and Britain apologise to Sri Lanka for supporting LTTE terrorism?

 6) Reparation for the exploitation and outright robbing of the wealth of the countries that were colonies. Discuss the subject of justice for the millions of people who were brutally killed and deprived of their land and livelihood to enrich the colonisers.  

 It is these concerns that endanger the future of the Commonwealth, not Sri Lanka. The  countries that are faulting Sri Lanka are the same that supported LTTE terrorism as well as the current  illegal wars that are killing thousands and wounding tens of thousands all in the name of their war on terror  which is the new colonialism. They terrorise and support terrorists to suit their own agendas and use the Commonwealth as a “voting bloc” at the various international forums to force these agendas. It is time that the countries of the Commonwealth wake up to the fact that they are no longer colonies and lead the effort for reform, responsibility and accountability within the Commonwealth.  Members of the Commonwealth have equal votes. It is time they demonstrate to Canada and Britain that they can not dictate how a member should be dealt with merely to suit their own domestic political agenda.  

 Yours truly,

 Ira de Silva

London, Canada   

(The Canadian Press)

Harper hints he’d be open to moving Commonwealth summit from Sri Lanka

April 26, 2013, 9:27 pm

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is hinting he’d like to see this year’s Commonwealth summit moved out of Sri Lanka in protest of the country’s human rights record.

Harper has made it clear for more than a year that, without major reforms, he personally will not be attending next fall’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo.

On Wednesday he appeared to take it step further.

Liberal MP Bob Rae rose in question period to cite the Sri Lankan government’s “appalling human rights record” which he said includes impeaching the country’s former chief justice and murdering journalists.

“I wonder if the Prime Minister would consider this proposition: Why would Canada not invite the Commonwealth countries to come to Canada for Canada to host the conference and for Canada to become the chairman of the Commonwealth for two years?” Rae asked.

Harper responded to Rae by saying “he and I and almost all members of this House are of one mind on this issue.”

“I know we are deeply troubled by the direction in Sri Lanka and the fact that Sri Lanka is, at this point, the host of the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting,” Harper continued.

“I know suggestions have been made of any number of countries who would be willing to host that.”

Harper said that “in the meantime” his government would continue to monitor the situation and continue to put pressure on Colombo to reform, adding that as the situation stands “it would be very difficult for this government to fully participate.”

The Prime Minister’s Office, when asked to clarify the remarks, did not address a direct question about whether Harper’s comments in parliament indicate he’d like to see the venue changed.

But as recently as last month Canada’s special envoy to the Commonwealth, Conservative Sen. Hugh Segal, was assuring Sri Lankan media that Harper had “at no time” indicated he wanted the country stripped of the conference, which is held every two years.

“There is no Canadian boycott of CHOGM. There will be a Canadian delegation in Colombo for CHOGM,” Segal was quoted telling a local newspaper online on the eve of a fact-finding trip to Sri Lanka last month.

Sri Lanka has received international condemnation since it brutally suppressed a long-standing Tamil insurgency on the island nation in 2009.

And the country has become a lightning rod for concerns about the future of the 54-member Commonwealth.

An internal report presented at the last leaders’ summit in Australia in 2011 flatly asserted that the future of the Commonwealth was in danger if the organization could not credibly address human rights, democratic and rule-of-law abuses by some of its member states.

Canada is home to perhaps the largest diaspora community of Tamils in the world, and their concentration in certain urban ridings has made them an attractive electoral target for both Liberal and Conservative politicians.

An internal Conservative email during the 2006 election campaign that brought Stephen Harper to power revealed the party was attempting to keep their promised terrorist ban on the Tamil Tigers out of the media for fear of alienating Tamil voters.

The issue remains a sore point for the government in Colombo, and Segal was asked directly by his Sri Lankan interviewer last month whether domestic politics was at play in Canada’s tough stance on the Commonwealth summit.

“It is rubbish that the Canadian government go against Sri Lanka due to Tamil vote bank,” Segal is quoted responding.

“The government of Canada does not enjoy or has not enjoyed any particular support from the Tamil community.”

 

2 Responses to “Moving Commonwealth Summit from Sri Lanka”

  1. A. Sooriarachi Says:

    Pride goes before a fall ?
    Harper and Baird have hit rock bottom, when it comes to SriLankan affairs, as they have to dance to the tune of Tiger separatist terrorists in order to attract Tiger diaspora electoral votes and funds, and hang on to power.
    It is best these two wouldn’t attend the Commonwealth Summit and disgrace their own nation by acting more like the reps of the Tamil Tigers.

  2. Nimal Says:

    Don’t attend the summit.We don’t like hypocrites like them in the island.Keep our Harper,we don’t need you.

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