Canadian Government to officially recognize Sri Lanka’s Genocide against Tamils

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We, the undersigned, hereby request the Canadian government to officially recognize Tamil Genocide.

"We are deeply hurt and dismayed by the silence of the global community and the media in the face of the Tamil Genocide in Sri Lanka. Ten long years have passed by and no tangible actions have been taken by the international community to recognize Tamil Genocide and to bring justice to the voiceless.

It is upsetting that Canada did not take the moral high-ground to recognize the Tamil Genocide or put together steps to set in motion the required process to recognize it despite the fact that Canada is the home to the majority of the Tamils outside Sri Lanka." 

We would like to remind that the United Nations Genocide Convention, which was established in 1948, defines genocide as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such" including the killing of its members, causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group, deliberately imposing living conditions that seek to "bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part", preventing births, or forcibly transferring children out of the group to another group.

Throughout the 70-year long period proceeding Sri Lanka’s independence from British rule, what has happened to the Eelam Tamil population fits the definition of genocide stated by the United Nation. There are tremendous documents that exist to provide evidence for this claim. Yet, it is baffling to the Tamil population that, despite the evidence, the genocide has not been addressed. There have been genocides before and after the Tamil genocide in Sri Lanka that have been recognized, though the Tamil genocide continues to be ignored.

We appreciate the Canadian government’s efforts to bring peace to the Tamils upholding and seeking justice for war crimes committed during the last phase of the genocidal war. They are:

1. Proposing a federal system as a solution for Tamil’s struggle {1}
2. Boycotting Commonwealth leaders summit in 2013 raising principle human rights concern {2}
3. Co-sponsoring resolutions on war crimes at the UN with USA and UK

We are thankful to the Canadian government for its active participation in human rights and justice. Besides, we urge Canada to continue with its active role to ensure that the Tamil genocide that occurred in Sri Lanka is inquired, recognized and addressed for long-lasting peace to prevail in this resplendent island.

The Genocide Convention establishes five prohibited acts that, when committed with the requisite intent, amount to a genocide that is listed below.

1. Killing members of the group: Numerous mass killings have been carried out over the long struggle.
2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group Article: Tamils have not yet recovered from the trauma endured as a result of the genocide committed on them.
3. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction: Systematic and institutionalized destruction of the Tamil language, culture, and the land were well documented.
4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group - This also has happened in the post-war condition, even though not widespread.
5. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group

We strongly believe that the Tamils have undergone and are continuing to go through physical, structural, and cultural genocide which is designed and executed by successive Sri Lankan governments. The physical genocide was at its peak during the last phase of the genocidal war in 2009. We Tamils gathered en masse at the Parliament Hill for months and all over the world to bring the attention of the international community to the genocidal war meticulously planned and executed by the Sri Lankan government.

We also would like to bring to your attention that the Sri Lankan government has officially denied and withdrawn from the United Nations-mandated hybrid court (international tribunal) to investigate war crimes committed by its forces. A case-in-point is that last February, the US State Department imposed a travel ban on Sri Lanka’s military chief Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, over war crimes and extrajudicial killings at the last phase of the war.

If a tribunal is required to officially recognize, please set up either internally or jointly by other countries. We undersigned world Tamils demand action on this matter as the world is changing rapidly.

We also wanted to note that Canada’s ban on LTTE in 2006 during peace talks facilitated by Norway disrupted the ceasefire and tilted the balance of power in favor of Sri Lanka and enabled the Sri Lankan government to carry out war crimes and further genocide in 2009. The end of the Tamil resistance paved the way for China to execute its String of Pearls geopolitical theory and allowed the Sri Lankan government to work against the interest of the Western countries.

Further to our claim, we would like to highlight below some actions the other jurisdictions or international organizations have taken:

1. On March 27, 2013, in India, the Tamil Nadu Assembly unanimously adopted the resolution urging the Centre to slap an economic embargo on Colombo till the “suppression” of Tamils was stopped and those responsible for “genocide and war crimes” faced an international probe. {3}

2. On December 10, 2013, in Bremen, Germany, the Second Session of the Peoples’ Tribunal on Sri Lanka concluded with the presentation of its verdict. The panel of eleven judges unanimously found Sri Lanka guilty of the crime of genocide against the Eelam Tamil people, and that this crime continues today.”{4}

3. On February 10, 2015, the Northern Provincial Council has passed the Tamil Genocide resolution seeking a UN inquiry to investigate the genocide of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka by successive Sri Lankan Governments, {5}

4. On May 7, 2018, in Ottawa, Canada, after two days 2nd International Tamil Conference on Tamil Nationhood and Genocide in Sri Lanka passed a resolution and endorsed by 21 world Tamil organizations and student unions. Passed a resolution reads “only an independent international investigation into the charge of genocide can be acceptable.” {6}

5. In 2019, City of Toronto {7} and City of Brampton {8} proclaimed May 18, 2019, as “Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day”

6. On May 16, 2019, Tamil Genocide education week {9} Bill-104 unanimously passed 2nd reading in Ontario Parliament.

7. On June 19, 2019, a motion was put forward by the foreign affairs committee and passed anonymously to call the United Nations to investigate Sri Lanka’s Genocide against Tamils. The text reads as follows: “call upon the United Nations to establish an international, independent investigation into allegations of genocide against Tamils committed in Sri Lanka, including the last phase of the armed conflict in 2009.” {10}

The Tamil genocide commenced immediately after the country's independence from British when the Sinhala chauvinist polity began subduing its Tamil nation with its political power. As a result, the Sri Lankan government, led by the Sinhala Buddhist majority, attempted to alienate the Tamil population, physically, politically, and economically. They implemented a series of anti-Tamil legislation, hoping to deteriorate the influence of Tamils on the island. They condoned and orchestrated anti-Tamil pogroms and violently suppressed peaceful Tamil demonstrations between 1948-1983. The demand for equality was neglected by the state and opposed through genocidal means.

The burning of the Jaffna library, one of the biggest and finest in Asia, on the night of May 31st, 1981 is an act of cultural genocide of Eelam Tamils. {11}. In July 1983, also called as Black July, a pogrom was well organized and government MPs were inciting the attacks and providing the Sinhalese mobs with voter lists in order to identify houses and shops owned by Tamils {12}

During the war, the Sri Lankan Army pioneered the use of rape, torture, kidnappings, indiscriminate firing, shelling, and bombings against innocent Tamil men, women, and children, resulting in the deaths of thousands innocent Tamil civilians. The United Nation estimated at least 40,000 of which were killed between March 28th - May 18th, 2009, when the Sri Lankan army forced 300,000+ Tamils to take refuge in internationally recognized “NO FIRE ZONES” and then proceeded to shell them with artillery and other heavy weaponry.  Many Tamils believe over 70,000 Tamils were unaccounted for.

We are deeply hurt and dismayed by the silence of the global community and the media in the face of the Tamil Genocide in Sri Lanka. Ten long years have passed by and no tangible actions have been taken by the international community to recognize Tamil Genocide and to bring justice to the voiceless.

Canada has rightly recognized the genocides such as the Armenian Genocide (1932–1933), the Holocaust (1933–1945), the Rwandan Genocide (1994), the Bosnian Genocide (1995). The latest in the list is the Rohingya Genocide which was recognized by Canada in 2018.

It is upsetting that Canada did not take the moral high-ground to recognize the Tamil Genocide or put together steps to set in motion the required process to recognize it despite the fact that Canada is the home to the majority of the Tamils outside Sri Lanka. 

We undersigned humbly request, Hon. Justin Trudeau and members of parliament officially recognize the genocidal acts committed on them by the Sri Lankan government as Genocide at the earliest possible.

Thank you.

Petition by:

1. Ottawa Tamil Association, a registered non-profit organization in Canada - www.ottawatamilassociation.ca

2. Tamil Genocide Memorial, a registered non-profit organization in Canada - www.tamilgenocide.com

References:

1. http://www.tamilcanadian.com/article/2499

2. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/canada-pulls-funding-for-commonwealth-in-flap-over-sri-lanka/article17998194/

3. http://permanentpeoplestribunal.org/141113-press-release-commonwealths-embrace-of-sri-lanka-highlights-the-need-for-the-peoples-tribunal-investigation-of-genocide-against-the-tamil-people/

4. https://sangam.org/tamil-nadu-assembly-passes-resolution-sri-lanka/

5. http://www.jdslanka.org/images/documents/npc_resolution_on_tamil_genocide.pdf

6. https://tamilconferences.org/media/press-releases/second-itc-resolutions/

7. https://www.tamilguardian.com/content/mayor-toronto-marks-may-18-tamil-genocide-remembrance-day

8. https://www.tamilguardian.com/content/canadian-city-brampton-recognises-may-18-tamil-genocide-remembrance-day

9. https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/bills/parliament-42/session-1/bill-104

10. https://www.ndp.ca/investigate-genocide-against-tamils

11. http://www.tamilgenocideremembranceday.com/jafna-library.html

12. https://scholar.uwindsor.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=6917&context=etd

13. https://www.crisisgroup.org/asia/south-asia/sri-lanka/sri-lankas-dead-and-missing-need-accounting

14. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/terror-and-security/sri-lanka-finally-admits-20000-missing-tamils-dead/