The Federation of Global Tamil Organizations (FGTO) express our sincere appreciation for the Canadian government’s recognition of Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day and its recent actions in sanctioning former presidents of Sri Lanka. The Tamil diaspora commends these efforts as they represent a significant step toward achieving justice for the Tamil community.
Recently the Sri Lankan government denied a visa to Member of Parliament Gary Anandasangaree, who intended to meet with civil society members and gather firsthand information about recent mass graves, land grabs, and economic activities. This denial of access underscores the urgency and necessity of international intervention to uncover the truth and shed light on these grave human rights violations. In 2009, the federal government formally registered its “dismay and displeasure” with the Sri Lankan government over the deportation of Liberal foreign affairs critic Bob Rae. The FGTO also learned that “a few weeks ago in Vavuniya, Sinhala protestors (judging by the error-strewn Tamil placards) burnt effigies of [Justin Trudeau] and [Gary Anandasangartee]. This is despicable and clearly orchestrated by state-affiliated forces”. The FGTO appreciates the Canadian government’s stand for justice and requests to continue to help bring Sri Lanka to ICJ (The International Court of Justice) or a global court for crimes of genocide against Tamils by the Sri Lankan government.
“None of Sri Lanka’s numerous Commissions of Inquiry were mandated to look into mass graves. Instead, efforts to uncover the truth have been stymied. Magistrates and forensic experts have been transferred abruptly, police have delayed carrying out judicial orders, families’ lawyers have been denied access to sites, no effort has been made to find living witnesses, no ante mortem data was collected and, in the very rare cases where someone was convicted, they were then pardoned. It is a story of a lack of political will – an inadequate legal framework, a lack of a coherent policy and of insufficient resources. For the families of the disappeared it is a story of unresolved tragedy; the bereaved are forced to live – and die – without ever finding their loved ones.” stated the latest report titled Mass Graves And Failed Exhumations in Sri Lanka by the ITJPS.
“[Truth-seeking] and telling is an important part of addressing past violations and suffering endured by communities, especially in the areas most affected by the war. The victim community has no confidence in any local commission or tribunal created by the State. These commissions have in fact revealed the intentions of successive governments to scuttle [truth-seeking] and the victims’ quest for accountability. Leading functionaries and politicians have declared publicly that the Government will not betray the war heroes and patriotic forces. The lack of accountability for past crimes has deepened the culture of impunity.” stated by fifteen civil society organisations on July 12, 2023 .
Moreover, we are deeply concerned about the Sri Lankan government’s deliberate targeting and destruction of Tamil heritage sites in the border area of Tamil Eelam, following the recent bailout received from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Tamil people have a rich historical presence in Tamil Eelam, dating back over 2500 years. This pattern of cultural genocide is indicative of Sri Lanka’s intent to eradicate the Tamils. A stark example of this was witnessed in 1981 when the largest Tamil library in South Asia was deliberately burned down by the government.
This month also marks the solemn 40th anniversary of Black July, during which over three thousand Tamils were brutally killed by Sinhala mobs and the Sri Lankan military. In an interview with the London Daily Telegraph on July 11, 1983, then President J.R. Jayewardene callously remarked, “The more you put pressure in the North, the happier the Sinhala people will be here. Really, if I starve the Tamils out, the Sinhala people will be happy” . The government actively facilitated the violence by equipping Sinhalese mobs with voter lists and utilizing state-owned vehicles for transportation, which directly contributed to the anti-Tamil violence.
In light of these grave circumstances, we are compelled to request the Canadian government’s continued support in the pursuit of justice and accountability for the Tamil Genocide. We respectfully urge the following actions:
- Maintain support for justice efforts by preparing to bring Sri Lanka to global courts, such as the International Court of Justice (ICJ), to ensure the perpetrators are held accountable for their crimes of genocide against the Tamil people.
- Take measures to prevent Sri Lanka’s attempts to remove or tamper with evidence related to mass graves, which are crucial pieces of evidence for the ongoing genocide investigation.
- Establish a sub-committee or action group comprising esteemed Canadian Parliamentarians Garnett Genuis, Gary Anandasangaree, and Peter Julian to effectively oversee, monitor and document instances of genocide in Sri Lanka, thereby ensuring transparency and accountability.
We firmly believe that Canada has the ability to champion the rule of international law and foster justice and peace in addressing the Tamil Genocide. By actively engaging in global courts and advocating for truth-seeking, Canada can play a pivotal role in bringing closure to the Tamil community.
We remain hopeful that your esteemed government will continue to stand with us in this pursuit for justice and support our collective efforts to safeguard human rights and ensure lasting peace.
Federation of Global Tamil Organization (FGTO)
Present member organizations of the federation are Tamil Americans United PAC (TAU-PAC), Global Tamil Movement (GTM), Ottawa Tamil Association (OTA), Quebec Tamil Development Association (QTDA), World Tamil Organization (WTO), Tamil Genocide Memorial (TGM), ABC Tamil Oli, and Florida Tamil Association (FTA), Tamil Canadian Centre for Civic Action (TCCCA)