Ilankai Tamil Sangam

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Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Canadian Tamil Congress Calls for Free and Fair Elections in Sri Lanka

by Canadian Tamil Congress, July 19, 2011

The Tamils’ democratic right to vote is at great risk due to the intimidation, violence, and the potential of fraud. Recent reports from organizations on the ground including the Campaign For Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) have indicated that the army and police have been intimidating the candidates and have been obstructing the election campaigns of selected political parties including Tamil National Alliance (TNA). While the Government of Sri Lanka has dismissed these obstructions as mere “misunderstandings”, CTC fears that an election held under these circumstances will not lead to free and fair polls representing the true will of the people.  

For Immediate Release  

July 19th, 2011  

 

Canadian Tamil Congress calls for free and fair elections in Sri Lanka

 

The Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) urges all Tamil Canadians to encourage their relatives and friends in Sri Lanka to vote in the upcoming Local Government elections. On July 23rd, 2011, the citizens of Sri Lanka will go to the polls in 65 local government districts and it is crucial that they are able to do so in a free and fair manner.  

The Tamils’ democratic right to vote is at great risk due to the intimidation, violence, and the potential of fraud. Recent reports from organizations on the ground including the Campaign For Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) have indicated that the army and police have been intimidating the candidates and have been obstructing the election campaigns of selected political parties including Tamil National Alliance (TNA). While the Government of Sri Lanka has dismissed these obstructions as mere “misunderstandings”, CTC fears that an election held under these circumstances will not lead to free and fair polls representing the true will of the people.  

Although the elections are being held in districts across the country, incidents of violence and intimidation have only emerged from Northern Sri Lanka, particularly from Jaffna. Nimalka Fernando, Sri Lankan activist for the rights of women and director of the Women’s Political Academy said that parts of dead dogs were thrown in front of and inside campaign offices of those who support the TNA. CTC strongly condemns these degrading acts to intimidate TNA which enjoys the popular support of Tamils and represents the Tamil community’s aspirations in Sri Lanka.  

“The Tamil community in Sri Lanka should be allowed to exercise their right to vote in a fair manner without the threat of intimidation, violence or fraud”, said David Poopalapillai, National Spokesperson for the Canadian Tamil Congress.   

“It is the duty of the international community to safeguard this fundamental right of people in a country that has systematically violated the rights of its citizens”, he added.  

CTC reiterates its call for a fair election process whereby citizens can exercise their democratic right to vote without fear of violence, intimidation or coercion.

 

For more information, please contact (416) 240-0078.