Sri Lanka to apprise Canada of human rights progress



Colombo: Sri Lanka on Monday said it will apprise Canada of the progress in the human rights situation on the island in view of the upcoming Commonwealth summit in Colombo which Ottawa has threatened to boycott.

"We have been presented with the chance to go to Canada to inform them of the progress made," Prathiba Mahanamahewa, Chairman of Sri Lanka's Human Rights Council said today.

He said that he would tell the Canadian government of the progress in the national human rights action plan.

Canada, a leading Commonwealth member nation, has been a major critic of Sri Lanka's human rights accountability in the post-conflict phase since the military defeat of the LTTE in 2009.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has hinted that he may not attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo in November unless Sri Lanka shows progress in its human rights accountability.

However, Britain and Australia along with New Zealand have confirmed participation at the Colombo summit.

Australia said despite rights concerns Sri Lanka ought not to be subject to isolation while Britain said the Commonwealth's importance as a major international forum had made them decide in favour of attending.

International rights groups have expressed disappointment over Sri Lanka's lack of progress on human rights and urged a change of venue for the summit.

PTI