Feature Article

Canadian Peace Alliance, unions show solidarity with Tamil Nation

[TamilNet, Sunday, 23 October 2011, 14:44 GMT]
The Canadian Peace Alliance, Canada’s largest umbrella organisation of 180 groups representing over 1 million Canadians, resolved last week to encourage “its member organizations to stand in solidarity with the Tamil nation in their global struggle for self-determination and freedom.” It called for an “immediate end to the colonialism and genocide of the Tamil nation and an end to the occupation of the Tamil homeland by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and its allied paramilitary groups.” It resolved to support “the Pongu Tamil Rally for Self-Determination on Saturday, October 29,” besides urging international investigation on war crimes. Meanwhile, Canada’s largest trade union, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers demanded Sri Lanka to “immediately withdraw from Tamil Eelam,” and the Canadian Federation of Students, Ontario, condemned the attack on the student president of Jaffna University.

CPA meeting
CPA meeting held on October 14

The resolutions of the Canadian Peace Alliance (CPA) and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) were one of the first of its kind coming from the world alternative to the Establishments, with pinpointed recognition of the need to deliver freedom to the nation of Eezham Tamils facing genocide by State in Sri Lanka, commented Krisna Saravanamuttu, Spokesperson for the National Council of Canadian Tamils (NCCT).

The CPA, discussing global and regional conflicts in Afghanistan, Libya, Palestine, Kashmir, Haiti and African countries as well as various universal issues affecting peace, held a special panel discussion on Sri Lanka during its bi-annual convention 14-16 October at Ryerson University, Toronto.

Sid Lacombe
Sid Lacombe, the coordinator of Canadian Peace Alliance
James Clark
James Clark, the organizer of the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War
Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields documentary was screened on the occasion, followed by a workshop co-organized by the National Council of Canadian Tamils (NCCT) and Tamil Youth Organization (TYO-Canada). Siva Vimalachandran and Ashok Nithiananthan of the NCCT led the workshop.

The session concluded with the resolution passed unanimously by the member organizations of the Canadian Peace Alliance.

“From Afghanistan to Palestine to Tamil Eelam, occupation is a crime,” said Mr. Sid Lacombe, Coordinator of the Canadian Peace Alliance, calling for “an end to the Sri Lankan occupation of the Tamil homeland by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and its allied paramilitary groups.”

Mr. James Clark, organizer of the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War, speaking on the occasion said, “As Canadians united for peace and justice we call for the immediate release of all political prisoners, an end to settlements in the Tamil homeland, and an immediate political solution that accommodates the Tamil right to self-determination—up and to separation should the Tamil people choose that.”

* * *

Meanwhile, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) resolving on Sunday to work in solidarity with Tamils and rights organizations against the “apartheid nature of the state of Sri Lanka” called upon other Canadian unions too to lobby against Sri Lanka’s apartheid, besides demanding the Canadian government to “research” on its monetary policy to Sri Lanka.

The CUPW in reasoning its resolutions cited the historical existence of the Tamil nation and its kingdom in the island lost to European invasions, the Tamil fight for “independence to create their won country known as Tamil Eelam,” and the failure of Sri Lankan government and Tamil parties so far “to come up with any credible political alternatives.”

Tamil student organizers in Canada plan to work with CUPW on a major research endeavour to bring to light Canadian and foreign companies engaged in commercial and public trade with genocidal Sri Lanka.

The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), Ontario, on 16 October passed a resolution condemning the brutal attack on the President of the Jaffna University Students Union.

The CFS called on the Sri Lankan government to respect Tamil students’ right to organize in the North-East.

Working with an outlook to build solidarity with natural allies of the Tamil struggle, the TYO-Canada and the Tamil Students Associations across the country thanked the CFS for the show of solidarity.

Voicing for the plight of Tamil students in the island, TYO-Canada’s spokesperson Priyanth said, “We stand in solidarity with the Jaffna University Students’ Union. We support the human right to education and the right to self-determination. Both are denied for Tamil students living under conditions of war, occupation, and genocide.”

* * *

Briefing on the current prospects in Canada, NCCT spokesperson Krisna Saravanamuttu told TamilNet that all the three major national political parties and civil society organizations across Canada now support an international investigation of Sri Lanka’s war crimes.

Krisna Saravanamuttu
Krisna Saravanamuttu
“But international probe is not the ultimate goal. Procedural delays in war crimes inquiry provide Sri Lanka with enough time to complete its goal of genocide to the very structural details,” Mr. Saravanamuttu said.

“Instead of merely begging for justice from the international community, we must have the sagacity to assert to our right as a nation and the courage to stand up against genocide and imperialism.”

“We need to move beyond rather than simply waiting for justice coming from the same international powers that were in complicity to the 2009 genocide. Tamil people will never be free until they recognize that their freedom is intricately linked to the struggles of other oppressed peoples of the world, Mr. Saravanamuttu further said.


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