On January 10, 2023, Canada imposed sanctions on former Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Mahinda Rajapaksa was President, and Gotabaya Rajapaksa the defense minister, during the final onslaught of Sri Lanka’s war on Tamils in 2009. The Ottawa Tamil Association wholeheartedly thanks Global Affairs Canada and the Canadian government for taking this vital step toward the justice for the crimes of genocide committed by several Sri Lankan governments.
OTA Statement: Thank You, Canada – A Step Forward for International Justice for Sri Lanka’s Genocide Against Tamils_Jan18_2023
Tamils in Tamil Eelam, Tamil Nadu, and the Tamil diaspora have continuously requested the United Nations to refer Sri Lanka to the ICC (International Criminal Court) for crimes of genocide. The Tamil Diaspora has been calling for a Nuremberg-like Tribunal to prosecute the leadership of the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) accountable for the crime of genocide war, crimes, and crimes against humanity.
Tamils have also continuously requested civilized countries worldwide to bring the Sri Lankan state to the International Court of Justice (ICJ ) for Sri Lanka’s genocide against Tamils.
Sri Lanka is a signatory to the Statute of the ICJ, and recognizes that Court’s jurisdiction. Sri Lanka has also ratified several international treaties and conventions, violations of which may be heard at the ICJ, such as: The Genocide Convention, The Apartheid Convention (apartheid is a crime against humanity, and overlaps with the crime of genocide in several aspects), The Geneva Conventions (which define war crimes), The Convention Against Torture, The Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, etc. Showing Sri Lanka’s state responsibility, for internationally wrongful acts committed against Tamils, at the ICJ is therefore an actionable and effective route to secure justice for Tamils.
Canada’s recognition of the Tamil Genocide and May 18 as Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day in 2022 provided hope for justice. The sanction on the former presidents of Sri Lanka is another step forward.
The Ottawa Tamil Association, with other Tamil Diaspora organizations, will continue to research, educate, form alliances, and advocate for bringing Sri Lanka to the international judiciary. We also request Canada take further steps to bring Sri Lanka to the ICJ in the near future.
In the past, Ottawa Tamil Association requested Global Affairs Canada to apply targeted sanctions on former Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes of genocide. We also request that Canada support an international warrant for the arrest of both Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and Mahinda Rajapaksa (former Sri Lankan President and brother of Gotabaya).
Jointly with Brampton Tamil Association, a booklet with 2015 Northern Provincial Council resolution, with details of seven decades of Sri Lanka’s genocide against Tamils was published, to educate the wider community. Jointly with seven Canadian Tamil organizations, the Second International Tamil Conference on Tamil Nationhood and Genocide in Sri Lanka was held in Ottawa at Carleton University in May 2018.
The Tamil Diaspora believes that the dispute between Tamil Eelam and Sri Lanka can be resolved only via a democratic referendum based on the right of self-determination of Tamil Eelam Tamils. The origin of the conflict stems from improper decolonization from the late 1940s to the early 1970s, when the British left the Island and Ceylon reconstituted itself as a republic named Sri Lanka. The Tamil Diaspora also believes the International Community acted unfairly or wrongly in dismantling the Norwegian-facilitated peace process in 2002, which tilted the balance of power toward the genocidal Sri Lankan state.
The Tamil diaspora also continues to advocate and request the world’s nations to bring Sri Lanka to the international judiciary, as this is the only possible form of justice.
Ottawa Tamil Association again thanks the Canadian government and Parliament, and will continue to conduct research and educate the community.
Ottawa Tamil Association.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Mélanie Joly about Canada’s sanctions on Sri Lankan presidents