Canadian foreign minister John Baird in an interview with BBC’s Newshour said Sri Lanka had failed in the fundamental Commonwealth values of “freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law and good governance”.
“The Commonwealth has fundamental values of freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law, good governance and the government in Colombo has failed in all of those respects.”
He said there had been “little, if any, accountability since the war ended”.
Mr Baird said: “We’ve seen no meaningful attempt at reconciliation with the Tamil population. If anything it’s getting worse.”
He also said there was “a growing authoritarian trend” in Sri Lanka’s governance, adding: “These are all fundamentally at odds with Commonwealth values and we don’t think Sri Lanka should be hosting the Commonwealth.”
Sri Lanka rejected Canada’s criticism.
Responding to the foreign minister’s comments, Sri Lankan cabinet spokesman and Mass Media and Information Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told the BBC: “We have dealt with this human rights issue and we feel they are very biased and very unfair.”
Foreign ministry spokesman Rodney Perera told Agence France-Presse news agency: “Canada can say anything, but the others agree with the [Commonwealth] secretary-general that the summit can go ahead in Sri Lanka. We are working on the arrangements.”