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May 18, 2018 – Tamil Genocide

It is with a deep sense of reverence, that I join with you to remember the tens of thousands of men, women and children who were killed during the Tamil Genocide in Sri Lanka.

The war was an uprising against the Sri Lankan government by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE or Tamil Tigers), a separatist militant group in order to protect and gain rights for the Tamil minority.

Since the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka in May, 2009, there has been a marked deterioration in Sri Lanka with respect to human rights and the rule of law. The current situation is most disappointing to those who believed there was an opportunity to create a viable and strong democratic country with the end of the civil war.

Although the fighting eventually ceased, more than 70,000 people died and hundreds of thousands were left internally displaced.

In March, 2013, I joined parliamentarians, academics, lawyers and journalists from around the world in Geneva at the UNHCR, to discuss the past and present situations in Sri Lanka and the way forward for the Tamils of Eelam.

During the panel discussion on genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka over the past thirty years, I said “It takes three parties to create a genocide – the perpetrators, the victims and those who stand by. The international community must stop standing idly by. While the killing has stopped, we must tell the Sri Lankan government to stop the cultural genocide and submit to an international inquiry into the 2009 war.”

As the descendent of survivors of the Pontian Genocide, I believe it is important for us to remember the lessons of history and uphold the values Canadians hold dear – peace, freedom, democracy and respect.  In so doing, we will develop a deeper understanding of our duty and responsibility to our fellow man to ensure that we live in peace and harmony.

This is a day we solemnly acknowledge as we work toward a more just and tolerant future for all mankind.

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