News East West
TORONTO: Jubilant over the decision of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Monday to boycott the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo because of Sri Lankan refusal to investigate human rights violations during and after the ethnic war, the Canadian Tamil Congress hailed Canada for taking a `principled stand’ on the issue.
Praising the prime minister, the Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) said in a statement here, “Prime Minister Harper has gone one step further and has asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs to review Canada’s financial contributions to Commonwealth programs and the Commonwealth Secretariat. We hope that his warning to cut Commonwealth funding will send a strong message to Sri Lanka that human rights violations constitute serious threats to the dignity of human beings and will not be tolerated.’’
Quoting the Prime Minister that respect for human rights, freedom and democracy were the core of the Commonwealth, the Canadian Tamil Congress said, “Sadly, despite the end of the Sri Lankan civil war four and a half years ago, these fundamental principles of human rights remain absent on the war-torn island.’’
Canadian Tamil Congress national spokesman David Poopalapillai said, “On behalf of all Tamil Canadians, we thank our Prime Minister for his principled stand.’’
Appealing to other Commonwealth nations to follow Canada in boycotting the summit, Poopalapillai said, “With CHOGM just a few weeks away, we once again urge Commonwealth members to stand in solidarity with Canada.’’