Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

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Canadian Tamils Disappointed by LTTE Listing

Fear move will derail peace process and hamper civil liberties

Press Release
April 10, 2006

Canadian Tamils Disappointed by LTTE Listing
Fear move will derail peace process and hamper civil liberties

The Canadian Tamil community is deeply shocked and saddened of the decision by our Canadian government to list the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as a Terrorist organization under Bill C-36. The Canadian Tamil Congress, the representative organization of Canadian Tamils, considers this decision to be harmful as both the LTTE and the government of Sri Lanka are currently engaged in an internationally brokered peace process as equal partners. This decision, at such a sensitive time, will tip the delicate balance which has brought both parties to the negotiating table and hinder the prospects for long term peace and stability in the region.

As part of the Conservative Party platform in the most recent elections, the current government stated its support of the peace process in Sri Lanka, by way of a written statement. The government stated that it is committed to increasing Canada’s role in the peace process. Canadian Tamils are quite disappointed at such a sharp contrast in policy within weeks of taking office.

“Our hope for peace in Sri Lanka is completely shattered. Extremist elements within and outside the Sri Lankan government have been given the tools to derail the peace process by the decision of our government to list the LTTE. Canadian Tamils are fearful of the safety and security of their relatives back home, and of their civil liberties in Canada,” stated David Poopalapillai, Spokesperson, for the Canadian Tamil Congress.

We feel that Canada’s move will be interpreted by Sri Lanka as a victory for continued occupation of Tamil homeland and killing of Tamils with impunity. We also fear that the ban will strengthen the anti-peace elements, including the Marxists and religious fundamentalists in Sri Lanka and their supporters in Canada. Since the signing of the ceasefire in 2002, over 200 unarmed Tamil Tiger political workers, journalists, elected representatives and civilians have been murdered by the Sri Lankan military. CTC is dismayed that the Canadian government has not taken the ceasefire violation by Sri Lanka seriously.

Canada’s international reputation as peacemakers, humanitarians, and civil libertarians will suffer greatly as a result of this decision. The government of Canada should reconsider the move to list the LTTE under C-36 in order to facilitate the peace process in Sri Lanka.

The CTC is extremely concerned at the possibility of restrictions on Canadian Tamils' civil rights, contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Canadian Tamil Congress is the national body that represents the interest and rights of Canadian Tamils and has consistently defended against the violation of human and civil rights around Canada and the world.

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

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