Canadian Tamils to demonstrate support for peace process

[TamilNet, Sunday, 19 September 2004, 21:11 GMT]
Canadian Tamils are organizing a "Pongu Thamil" (Tamil upsurge) awareness festival in Toronto on September 25, 2004, to demonstrate their support for the current peace process and to request the Canadian government to take an active role in the peace process in Sri Lanka, Tamil community activists in Canada said Sunday.

Paul Regis
Mr. Paul Regis, Media Coordinator of the Canadian Tamil Student Association
“The Pongu Thamil event will demonstrate the greater unity of Tamil Canadians and their support to the current peace process in their homeland,” said Paul Regis, Media Coordinator of the Canadian Tamil Students Association.

"Our message is that the suspended peace talks should commence without any further delay and that the ISGA (Interim Self-Governing Authority) must form the basis for future peace talks," said Mr. Regis. "Also, as youths from Tamil diaspora which is largest among all countries in Canada, we urge the Canadian government to play an important role in promoting the peace process between the Liberaion Tigers and the Government of Sri Lanka.”

Canadian Federalism is one of the best models available for different communities to live in peace and harmony, said Mr. Regis. "The mosaic culture that Canadians advocate is another example for the world to follow,” Regis added.

Ms. Kanmani Nathan
Ms. Kanmani Nathan, Coordinator, Public Relations, Pongu Thamil event
"Pongu Thamil" is an awareness event to promote the peace process and to demand the fundamental rights of Tamils, said Ms. Kanmani Nathan, Public Relations Coordinator for the event. The Pongu Thamil in the NorthEast was first organized by Jaffna university students in 2001, with the motive of promoting the peace process, and this has spread to other cities in the North and East of Sri Lanka, and later to other countries including Australia, New Zealand, France, Switzerland, Italy, Norway and Germany, according to Ms. Nathan.

"Out of about 250,000 Tamils living in Canada who are integrated into the mainstream, more than two thirds are Canadian citizens. They enjoy freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of association that were denied to them in Sri Lanka. Like many other communities living in Canada, Tamil Canadians maintain contacts with their relatives and friends in their homeland and are helping them," Ms. Nathan said.

Though the Pongu Thamil event is being organized by the Coordinating committee, Ms. Nathan said that the Committee is receiving strong support from Tamil Media, various Tamil associations and businesses in Canada.

17 weekly newspapers, five 24-hour radio stations, two TV channels, and many multi-media organizations cater to the Tamil community in Toronto, Canada.

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