The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), a powerful Committee of the Commonwealth met today to discuss the situation in Sri Lanka, Fiji and the Maldives. Sri Lanka had been due to be discussed under the agenda item “items of continuing interest to members” because its repeated violation of human rights and extrajudicial sacking of their Chief Justice stand in clear breach of Commonwealth values. Sri Lanka is due to host the Commonwealth Summit (CMAG) at the end of the year, and thus become leaders of the Commonwealth for the next two years.

It appears nothing much was decided at the meeting, with the Commonwealth releasing a statement which concentrated exclusively on Fiji. A full transcript of the press conference will be on the Commonwealth Secretariat website shortly.

The Canadians seemed keen to show their solidarity with those demonstrating outside the meeting, calling for Sri Lanka to be held to account. Foreign Minister Baird went straight from the meeting into the crowd and spent a while chatting to and shaking hands with demonstrators.

Baird also told Frances Harrison, “this is not about accommodating evil but combating it”.