2ND LEAD (Correction)

Canadian Tamils call for stern action against Colombo

[TamilNet, Thursday, 20 April 2006, 15:01 GMT]
In a press conference held Tuesday April 18th, at the Delta Toronto East Hotel in Toronto, the Trincomalee Welfare Association (TWA) urged the Government of Canada to condemn the ethnically motivated violence on Tamil civilians in Trincomalee last week, and "to take stern measures against the Sri Lankan government for its continued failure to comply with the Ceasefire Agreement."

"The TWA calls on the Government of Canada to take immediate steps to protect the lives of our relatives and civilians in the region," said Ms. Rajitha Lingesparan in statement read at the press conference.

TWA press conference.
Press conference at the Deltra Toronto East Hotel in Toronto.
TWA press conference.
"The silence of the international community, particularly Canada, over the terror unleashed on the Tamil speaking people by the Sri Lankan state has been incomprehensible and hurtful to us," Ms. Lingesparan said.

Calling for the Canada to take stern measures, she said that Canada should "consider ending diplomatic ties and imposing sanctions against the Sri Lankan Government. These measures will aid in ending the vortex of violence in Sri Lanka," she said.

"Not only did the Sri Lankan police and security forces stood by as Tamils were attacked and their properties destroyed, but it was the Sri Lankan forces themselves that brought the Sinhala thugs by the truck loads into the heart of rincomalee Town to incite terror," the organization pointed out.

The TWA noted that it was no coincident that the scale of the Trincomalee violence, which it said was "unprecedented since the signing of the ceasefire agreement," comes in the wake of Canada's blacklisting of LTTE, one of the main parties to the Sri Lankan peace process.

Canada announced its decision to proscribe the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Tiger on Monday. On Wednesday, violence broke out in Trincomalee.

The TWA said that various organizations, academics, analysts and activists have noted that Canada's ban of the Tamil Tigers will only embolden the Sinhala extremists and the Sri Lanka forces to provoke the Tamil side into a new war.

Meanwhile, there is a growing consensus in Canada that the Government needs to take a more evenhanded approach with the Sri Lankan peace process, according to sources in Canada.

The left-leaning Toronto Star last week quoted a legal expert as calling the ban by Canada a "very unfortunate window dressing," Queen's Faculty of Law professor Sharryn Aiken was reported to have argued that "the negative impact of the listing outweighs any positive outcome."

"Aiken worries that Canada has lost its neutral position to help in the peace process when the two sides come together next week in Geneva for a Norwegian-brokered meeting," the Toronto Star article said.

An opinion piece written on the right-leaning National Post this week by popular media figure Peter Kent said that, "The Tigers should have been outlawed in Canada long ago but, in a perfect world, the Conservatives should drop another shoe, soon, at the Sri Lanka High Commission in Ottawa." Saying that Canada was right in banning the Tamil Tigers, Mr. Kent, who had contested in the past federal election in Canada under the Conservative Party banner said, "We have an equal responsibility to demand better from Sri Lanka.

 

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