Ilankai Tamil Sangam

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Tamil Canadians Disturbed by Carnage in Northeast Sri Lanka

by Canadian Tamil Congress, April 20, 2009

"The massacre of thousands of civilians is happening because Western governments have failed to take strong measures against the Government of Sri Lanka," said David Poopalapillai, National Spokesperson for the Canadian Tamil Congress. "Our fear is that without immediate and strong action the Government of Sri Lanka will continue its carnage against innocent Tamil civilians."

TORONTO, April 21 /CNW/ - Tamil Canadians woke Monday morning to the shock and horror of news that the Sri Lankan Armed Forces penetrated the so called "safety zone" and massacred over a thousand civilians. Eye witness reports state that hundreds of dead bodies remain scattered in the area. The Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) also issued an ultimatum to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to surrender within 24 hours or have it continue its military campaign further into the "safety zone".

"The massacre of thousands of civilians is happening because Western governments have failed to take strong measures against the Government of Sri Lanka," said David Poopalapillai, National Spokesperson for the Canadian Tamil Congress. "Our fear is that without immediate and strong action the Government of Sri Lanka will continue its carnage against innocent Tamil civilians."

Vanni 'Safe Zone' victims of Sri Lankan army assault April 20 2009

The Sri Lankan Defense Ministry is reporting that thousands of civilians have left the conflict zone for the "safety zone". Given past reports by international media on cluster bombing and the use of chemical weapons by the Sri Lankan government within the "safety zone", and today's carnage, Tamil Canadians are deeply concerned about the plight of Tamil civilians. These civilians are forced into crowded internment camps for an indefinite period, from which they are barred from leaving and media prevented from entering. The use of cluster bombs and chemical weapons are violations of international humanitarian law, and are considered war crimes.

"The human suffering has reached unprecedented levels in the Northeast of Sri Lanka," says Mr. Poopalapillai. "The situation in Sri Lanka is beyond statements and words. What is needed now is strong and immediate action."

The Canadian Tamil Congress welcomes the April 16 statement of the U.S. government calling for an end to hostilities and urging the GoSL to pursue a long-term solution to the conflict. The U.S. Government has also threatened to block Sri Lanka's bid for a $1.9 billion emergency loan from the International Monetary Fund. The GoSL has categorically rejected any conditions being placed on the emergency loan. Sri Lanka is in a dire economic position as much of its national revenue is diverted towards war efforts.

The Canadian Tamil Congress once again implores the Canadian government to take swift and decisive action against the GoSL. Canada should immediately impose strong economic measures on Sri Lanka, such as international aid restrictions and trade sanctions until the GoSL ceases hostilities against the Tamils. Canada must compel the GoSL to negotiate a political settlement to the conflict that respects the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil people.

For further information: Canadian Tamil Congress, (416) 240-0078

Original here.

Vanni 'Safe Zone' Tamil civilians killed in Sri Lankan army assault April 20 2009

Pictures courtesy War Without Witness.org, April 20, 2009