Canada Condemns Judicial Interference by Sri Lankan Parliament, Urges Commonwealth Action

January 11, 2013 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement:

“Canada is deeply concerned over the impeachment of Sri Lankan Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake.

“Her impeachment appears to be highly politicized, lacking basic transparency and respect for the guarantees of due process and fair trial.

“Judicial independence is fundamental to the rule of law and essential for any democratic and accountable government. Canada calls on the Government of Sri Lanka to change course immediately.

“Canada continues to have serious concerns about the human rights situation, the need for reconciliation and the democratic deficit in Sri Lanka. Canada will continue to raise these concerns forcefully, without equivocation.

“Canada has been among the world’s leading proponents of reform in Sri Lanka. In recent months, Ministers and other parliamentarians have visited to assess the situation on the ground first-hand.

“Canada has strongly supported resolutions at both the United Nations and the Commonwealth condemning the Sri Lankan government’s lack of action on reconciliation and the country’s disturbing slide in human rights. Canada is pushing for this latest troubling development to be addressed at the next meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), of which Minister Baird is a member.”

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