Support a lasting peace in Sri Lanka

Yesterday, the Sri Lankan government celebrated the defeat of the rebel Tamil Tiger group.  Today, it is showing how hollow any hopes for a lasting peace are.

What the Canadian Tamil Congress is asking for is in line with the demands made by Amnesty International: that foreign observers be allowed into the war zones, that refugee camps be internationally monitored and that humanitarian aid agencies be permitted to operate.  These are reasonable, appropriate demands.

According to the Toronto Star, Prime Minister Harper has asked for this and has been told in no uncertain terms that the Sri Lankan government has no intention of honouring these minimal human rights standards.  The current situation, where Tamil areas are sealed off from any sort of external scrutiny, is primed for human rights abuses of the type the Sri Lankan government unfortunately has a sad history of — disappearances, abductions, indiscriminate killings, evictions, torture, elimination of opposition media and political executions.  Furthermore, these tactics have been disproportionately used against the population that is now held captive.

It will be no progress at all to the human rights situation if the elimination of a group that used terror tactics in their attempt to protect the Tamil minority will just enable government forces to terrorize a now helpless minority.  Canada must take a strong stand and insist on foreign involvement to prevent an escalation of the long bloodbath now.

I urge everyone to call on Stephen Harper to do what he can to make sure that the Tamil people in Sri Lanka are given adequate protection:

  • Urge the Canadian government to provide an immediate increase in  developmental assistance to help Sri Lanka to recover from war damages as  quickly as possible.
  • Encourage the Canadian government to offer the  services of the Canadian Armed Forces Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to Sri Lanka, to  provide assistance to the thousands of displaced individuals.
  • Press the  Canadian government to authorize the expedited processing of family reunification  immigrant applications.
  • Urge the Canadian government to  send a special envoy to Sri Lanka to press the government in Colombo to accept  the foreign humanitarian assistance offered.

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