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Canada PM skips Commonwealth summit

Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper has said he will skip a Commonwealth summit next month in Sri Lanka and review its funding to protest against that government's human rights record.

A statement on Mr Harper's website said Canada is worried about reports of political leaders and journalists being intimidated and jailed and the harassment of minorities along with alleged disappearances and killings.

He will not attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in the capital, Colombo, and has asked the government to review Canada's financial contributions to Commonwealth programmes.

There are 54 member states in the Commonwealth, a loose association of former British colonies.

Sri Lanka's three decades of civil war ended in May 2009 with the defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels who were fighting for a homeland for the Tamil minority.


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