News East West
TORONTO: As Sri Lanka celebrated its 66th independence day on February 4, the minority Tamil community and its diaspora around the world have demanded sanctions against Colombo for its war crimes and continuing discrimination against them.
In a collective statement here, the Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) said on Tuesday that the community is looking forward to the support of the international community for justice on the island and hoped that the United Nations Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva in March would pass a resolution to establish an international independent investigation into Sri Lanka’s war crimes during the final stages of the war.
Tracing the beginning of a systemic discrimination against Tamils to the time of Sri Lanka’s independence, the CTC said the process began in 1948 itself when the majority Sinhalese government embarked on the path of making Sinhalese the official language and Buddhism the religion of Sri Lanka.
“The violence against Tamils, starting in the 50s continued throughout the years and most notably in 1983, resulted in thousands of Tamils being killed. July 1983 marked the mass exodus of Tamils from Sri Lanka, fleeing for safety to various parts of the world. May 2009 subsequently resulted in the final onslaught of Tamils, with a massacre of nearly 40,000 to 70,000 innocent Tamils, according to UN statistics,’’ said the CTC statement.
Thanking the Canadian government for boycotting the Commonwealth summit in Colombo in November, the CTC urged Ottawa to slap financial and diplomatic sanctions against Sri Lanka.
CTC national spokesman David Poopalapillai said there is a need now for an independent investigations into the war crimes and punishment for the perpetrators “so that 66 years of discriminatory practice may be corrected through a peaceful political settlement.’’
He added, “We call upon the international community to take decisive action in Geneva next month and remain hopeful that a Commission of Inquiry will be established.’’