Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper should put his own house in order before announcing boycott of Commonwealth Summit in Colombo.
Posted on September 25th, 2011

By Charles.S.Perera

 The Commonwealth of Nations is a dying Institution.  Australia and Canada if they continue  their false Human rights mission demanding progress in  human rights in Sri Lanka, without which they would  boycott the commonwealth Summit in Colombo, they may  only accelerate its demise.

 Both Australia and Canada who have suddenly awakened to human rights issue should open their old cupboards to see the hidden frightening skeletons that speak a lot of their own past records of human rights. Australian  Green Party is trying to become a political force perhaps benefitting from the largess of the Sri Lanka Terrorist Front Organisations in Australia.

 Australian Green’s Senator Lee Rhiannon (Senator for New South Wales) should instead of  barging, on the advice of the Clergyman Emmanuel of the  Global Tamil Forum,   into unknown territories demanding to drop Sri Lanka from the Commonwealth should look into the Australian aborigine issue  to allow them the right to climb the social ladder of equality among all citizens  in their own country and have more political power, better education facilities and a share in the country’s wealth.   

 In Sri Lanka the aborigines have equal rights and their living conditions are being looked after more than the Australians doing their lot to the upliftment of the Australian Aborigines.  The Aborigines of Australia still  do not share full citizenship rights as the white Australians.  The voting rights of the Aborigines have been vastly restricted. It is only very recently that one or two aborigines have been elected to Provincial Councils  or the Parliament.

 Canada is not second to Australia.  The Canadian Indians are not provided with equal opportunities, and yet the Canadian Prime Minister  dare speak of the human rights violation of the Sri Lanka Army in their military operations against terrorism and threatening to boycott the Commonwealth  Meeting in Sri Lanka if there is no progress in human rights.  Canadian Indians are bound by the Indian Act which is a restriction of the freedom of a section of its citizens.

 It had been an uphill task  for many Canadians like John CorbiƒÆ’†’¨re who fought to seek equality of Canadian Citizenship  for the Canadian Indians along side the white Canadians.  In the dedication of  a report ”  Justice is Equality, prepared by the  Congress of Aboriginal People” reads :

 “This report is dedicated to John CorbiƒÆ’†’¨re, whose courage, persistence, commitment, and personal struggle on behalf of off-reserve people achieved the near impossible – the demolition of a portion of Canada’s colonial and discriminatory Indian Act. We are honored to continue his fight, in the hope that the thousands of our people who continue their daily struggles to overcome the real barriers created by Canada’s own “Berlin Wall” will eventually be able to move freely throughout Canada without the weight of the Indian Act breaking their backs and spirits. Thank you, John. It was a job well done. “

 Commonwealth of Nations when it was organized was called a “family of Nations”.  As all Western Institutions it was  floated with high principles, but  used  to inflict pain to  poor and feeble, to  enrich rich  powerful and the influential.

 The Commonwealth of Nations consists of 54 member states  which were former British colonies except for  Mozambique and Rwanda. It is  an Intergovernmental Organization  with its member states considered equal in status without distinction of colour, country, or wealth.. 

 It has a number of other non-governmental Organizations such as the Commonwealth Foundation and the Commonwealth Games,  collectively called the Commonwealth Family.  They strengthen the shared  culture of the  Commonwealth through common sports, literary heritage, political and legal practices , hence they are not considered foreign to each other and their diplomatic missions are designated as High Commissions. It is what is said about the Commonwealth of Nations. 

 But to what extent is there  any cooperation or willingness to help one another, politically or otherwise to settle problems  and  foster unity among the Nations of the Commonwealth. If there were any “family ties” among the Nations of the Commonwealth, they should have become apparent  when Sri Lanka was being battered by terrorism to separate its people and territory.

 But instead of supporting  “a family member of the Commonwealth of nations”, David Milliband  of UK was getting together pro terrorist Governments, Hillary Clinton of USA, Bernard Kouchner of France, Eric Solheim of Norway, Carl Bildt of Sweden and others to stop the military operations against the terrorists. But they did not at any time during the 30 years of terrorism intervene to give a helping hand to the Government of Sri Lanka either  for a peace settlement or  for a military solution.

 And when the government of Sri Lanka determined to finish with terrorism under which it suffered for 30 years, without  any help from the Commonwealth of Nations or any of the pro-terrorist USA and European Nations, these very same nations along with other  Countries of the Commonwealth continue to attack Sri Lanka for  war crimes they suppose the Government Armed Forces had committed in the process of the elimination of terrorism.

 Now two years after  the elimination of terrorism in Sri Lanka, and thousands of innocent Civilians murdered by the NATO forces in Libya, unknown numbers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, our ” Commonwealth Family Member” – Canada comes forward threatening  to boycott Commonwealth Games in Sri Lanka if Sri Lanka does not show progress in human rights, and demanding an investigation by an International Commission.. 

 This call comes  despite our repeated assertion that we have a Committee of highly respected Elders of our own, making an investigation which is unbiased and objective, which we in Sri Lanka cannot  expect from a foreign Committee of Investigation.

 Though Stephen Harper the Prime Minister of Canada jumps like a jack-in-the-box ,calling for progress in human rights in Sri Lanka,  Canada itself has no clean record  with regard to violation of human rights. 

 In a  Blog Dedicated To Anti-Corruption Practices And Human Rights Violations, Val Guillaume a ” Human Rights Activist., says, that ” I am here to expose some of the evils, of human rights abuse in Canada. And  Support the fight for Human Rights in Canada.”

 It states  that in , “”¦. Exposing the Canadian government’s human rights abuse. Its disregard for respecting the International Standards on Human Rights. The corruption that is also pervasive in its politics. The targeting of individuals and marginalized groups. Focusing on its human rights abuse, such as the torture and abuse, of the rights, of those it has targeted, including the author of this blog.”

 In  Global, an article, ” Canadian Government Rocked by Accusations of Abuse, Torture of Afghan Prisoners. ” by Roger Annis, it is stated :

 “The charges were made by Richard Colvin, a highly placed diplomat in the Canadian embassy in Kabul during 2005-07, the years when Canada escalated its military role in Afghanistan.

 Colvin testified on November 18 before the Canadian Parliament’s Standing Committee on National Defense that he had sent more than 15 reports to his political superiors and the military high command warning that Canadian forces were complicit in the abuse and torture of Afghans it had detained. He said the practice of handing detainees over to Afghan authorities and then turning a blind eye to their treatment not only violated international law, but would also do incalculable damage to Canada’s role in the Afghan war and its reputation among the Afghan people.”

 So when Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, says , “”¦.. if he does not see human rights progress in Sri Lanka, he will boycott the 2013 Commonwealth summit in Colombo,” we would ask him  first to put his own house in order .

 Stephen Harper cannot exonerate himself for violation of human rights in Canada.  And the Commonwealth has to ask why  Canada should not be suspended from membership in the Commonwealth of Nations for allowing Canadian Forces to be complicit  in the  abuse and torture of Afghans.

4 Responses to “Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper should put his own house in order before announcing boycott of Commonwealth Summit in Colombo.”

  1. AnuD Says:

    I am thinking the same.

    Why this almost dead Commonwealth is this important.

    It is important to create new alliances that are useful to countries.

    With commonwealth, we support to keep these dieing organizations on oxygen.

  2. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Charles and Anu are right!! Commonwealth is virtually moribund!!

  3. Nihal Fernando Says:

    Commonwealth of Nations is also like the British royal family. It has only the imperial antique value. Harper’s antic behavior is only good to amuse other nations.

  4. Kit Athul Says:

    If Stephen Harper does not attend the commonwealth Summit in Sri Lanka he should be made “Persona Non Grata”, and must never be allowed to visit SL even as a private citizen.

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