Canadian Tamil Congress

Canadian Tamil Congress

April 04, 2007 10:45 ET

Canada's Tamils Urge Harper Government to Recognize Tamil State

Attention: News Editor, World News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor OTTAWA--(CCNMatthews - April 4, 2007) - As they mark the one-year anniversary of the Conservative government's ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, Canadian Tamils are distressed by the government's lacklustre commitment to peace in Sri Lanka. At a morning press conference on Parliament Hill, the CTC called on the Harper administration to show international leadership and recognize a Tamil state in what is currently northeastern Sri Lanka.

CTC Spokesman Satheejan Gugananthan explained that although Canada's Tamils were not consulted on a matter that affected the lives of their relatives and loved ones, many remained silent "out of respect for this country's decision-makers and in the hope that, despite their better judgment, Canada's LTTE decision would effect positive change."

Unfortunately, the past year has been marred by a depressing escalation in hostilities and bloodshed. Since the Canadian ban, close to 4,000 Tamils have been killed and nearly 300,000 internally displaced. The Sri Lankan government's flagrant human-rights violations have come under heavy criticism by a number of prominent human rights groups including Amnesty International.

"Our country ultimately accomplished nothing," noted Gugananthan. "It has, in effect, lent support to one side in an armed conflict by casting an entire group as villains while showering charitable aid on another group - a duplicitous and murderous government in Sri Lanka.

"We are asking the Government of Canada to show courage and foresight by supporting a Tamil bid for self-determination in what is currently Sri Lanka's north and east," Gugananthan added. "Please send the message that the principles in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms - like equality and freedom of expression - ought to apply to the entire human race. This includes the Tamils of Sri Lanka."

Canada has already shown leadership on the Tamil issue in the past, he noted. Canada's Tamil diaspora of 300,000 is the largest outside Asia thanks to the humanitarian amnesty granted by former prime minister Brian Mulroney in the 1980s.

Tamils have been fighting for a separate homeland in Sri Lanka's north and east region for over two decades. The protracted conflict has claimed over 70,000 lives and left hundreds of thousands of Tamils without homes.

Contact Information

  • Julian Francis, Ottawa Coordinator, Canadian Tamil Congress
    Primary Phone: 613-789-9371