Ottawa (October 7, 2013): The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) commends Prime Minister Stephen Harper for deciding to forego his attendance at the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo due to deteriorating human rights conditions in the country.
Citing Sri Lanka’s lack of accountability for serious human right abuses as well as reports of extrajudicial killings, harassment of minorities and intimidation of members of civil society Prime Minister Harper said that he would not attend the summit as Sri Lanka was not upholding the values of the Commonwealth which are also cherished by Canadians.
At the last Commonwealth summit in 2011, Prime Minister Harper had suggested he would not attend the Commonwealth summit to be held in Sri Lanka, unless the state addressed its serious human rights issues including allegations of war crimes and continuing abuse of the country's Tamil minority.
WSO President Prem Singh Vinning said, “Prime Minister Harper has taken the bold step of boycotting a notorious violator of human rights. He had indicated this might happen two years ago and Sri Lanka took no steps to improve its human rights record. This step sends a message to other states who consistently violate human rights that there will be consequences for their actions and Canada will not turn a blind eye.”
WSO’s Senior Policy Advisor Gian Singh Sandhu said, “Canada has always been a human rights leader and we are pleased to see Prime Minister Harper continuing in that tradition. Canada must continue to press states who violate human rights for accountability.”
The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of Canadian Sikhs as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status.