CHOGM – Canada to send a special envoy


canada-Senator_Hugh_SegalCanada will dispatch a special envoy to see for himself the ground situation in Sri Lanka before the government decides on the level of its participation at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in November.

Special Envoy to the Commonwealth, Canadian Senator Hugh Segal, will visit Sri Lanka as an envoy to the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.

Senator Segal said that the purpose of his visit to Sri Lanka will be to act as a fact finder for Canada’s foreign minister

The special Canadian envoy will visit Jaffna and have discussions with political groups and civil society members in the north and in Colombo.

Senator Segal said that he will also be meeting with government officials in Colombo during his visit.

“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,” he said.

Canada says Prime Minister Stephen Harper will not attend the CHOGM in Sri Lanka unless there is an improvement in the human rights situation in Sri Lanka.

Canadian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Chrystiane Roy had said last December that the Canadian government feels the Sri Lankan government continues to fail victims and survivors of the war.

The spokesperson also said that Canada is ‘deeply troubled’ by reports of intimidation of judges in Sri Lanka, and reiterate the importance of judicial independence.

“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,” Roy said.