Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Prof G.L. Peiris met the High Commissioner of Canada David McKinnon on 8 October at the Foreign Ministry. A number of areas of ongoing bilateral cooperation were discussed. The Minister also briefed the High Commissioner on Sri Lanka’s recent multilateral engagements in Geneva and New York.
The Minister updated the High Commissioner on progress related to Sri Lanka’s vaccination programme and the gradual opening up of the country. The Minister appreciated Canada’s contribution to Sri Lanka’s process of recovery from the pandemic. Sri Lanka continues to seek vaccine availability from all available sources.
The High Commissioner briefed the Minister on post- Covid recovery in Canada and economic collaboration between Sri Lanka and Canada, as well as other issues of mutual interest.
The Minister reiterated Sri Lanka’s strong concern regarding the Private Members Public Bill passed earlier this year in the Ontario Legislative Assembly including Sri Lanka’s objection to the unacceptable association of genocide in relation to the past conflict in Sri Lanka . The Minister noted that this Act is being challenged in the Ontario Superior Court. As highlighted in his address to the UN Human Rights Council, Sri Lanka is continuing its efforts to achieve reconciliation among the communities following decades of terrorist conflict. The Minister also recalled that the LTTE is a proscribed terrorist organization in Canada.
The High Commissioner stated that this issue, which was a decision by the Ontario Legislative Assembly, is in a judicial process relating to a Constitutional Question. He agreed to keep the Minister informed of developments.
The Minister also updated the High Commissioner on his address to the UN Human Rights Council and on progress on matters related to human rights and the recent steps taken domestically. The High Commissioner thanked the Minister for the update and encouraged Sri Lanka to make progress on the matters raised by the Council.