Saturday, April 27, 2013

Canada shows up 'spineless' Australia on Sri Lanka

In the words of Frances Harrison, today in London 'The Commonwealth has failed its first major test since it strengthened its Ministerial Action Group in 2011 to renew its commitment to human rights and democratic values.'

Australia's stance in this situation is shameful - and the shame crosses party lines.  In contrast Canada has shown moral courage, as evidenced by the actions of the Canadian Foreign Minister when leaving the London meeting:

"Asked about what the Commonwealth Secretary General Kamlesh Sharma says is positive engagement with Sri Lanka, Mr Baird [Canada's Foreign Minister] replied that he would rather accept the judgement and conclusions of the Commonwealth Journalists Association, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, The Commonwealth Lawyers Association, the Commonwealth Legal Education Association, the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges, Human Rights Watch and the UN Human Rights Council. All of these have pointed to a deterioration of civil liberties and human rights in Sri Lanka after the end of the civil war.

Mr Baird said Canada cared passionately about the issue of Sri Lanka and it wasn’t just going to “go alone to get along”. He added it wasn’t about accommodating evil, but about combating it."

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