The federal government of Canada Sunday sent a special envoy to review situations in the country before deciding its participation at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka.
Canadian Senator Hugh Segal is currently in the Island nation meeting with the Sri Lankan government heads, opposition leaders and the public in order to find out the ground situation as the country prepares to host the CHGM in November.
"As you may know, the level of our delegation to the Commonwealth heads of government meeting scheduled for November in Colombo has yet to be decided. I shall report back to the Foreign Minister after my trip is concluded," said Segal.
After ending the war with the Tamil Tiger rebels May 2009, the Island nation faced severe international criticism since a large majority of deaths in the closing months of the decades old war were caused by government shelling.
A leaked report said that the Island nation's "stratagem of intimidation" - restricting visa permits for UN staff members -prevented them from protecting civilians in the nation-wide conflict zone.
"Our Prime Minister said in August 2011 before the CHOGM meeting in Perth that when the UN Expert report indicated there was evidence there were war crimes on both sides at the end of the war in Sri Lanka in 2009, based on what he has seen to date", Segal told reporters.
Human Rights Watch Asia Executive Director Brad Adams last month wrote an open letter to all the heads of the CHOGM urging them to change venue of the submit unless the Sri Lanka government makes "prompt, measurable and meaningful progress" on human rights issues in the country.
Segal said that Canada won't boycott the meeting. However, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is not going to attend the CHOGM unless the Sri Lankan government shows sign of improvement in its human rights record.
Chrystiane Roy, spokesperson of Canadian foreign ministry last December said that the Canadian prime minister has made clear that he won't participate in the meeting unless there is progress in human rights situation in Sri Lanka.
"Prime Minister Harper has clearly stated that unless there is significant progress on political reconciliation, accountability and respect for human rights in Sri Lanka, he will not attend the CHOGM hosted by Sri Lanka in 2013," said Chrystiane Roy.
Sri Lanka is scheduled to host the 2013 CHOGM Nov. 15 to 17 despite protests from some member states to change the venue, citing the alleged poor human rights record in the country.
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