January 01, 2014
Statement from NDP MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan on her stay in Sri Lanka
For New Democrats, standing in solidarity with Canadians of Tamil heritage on matters of human rights is part of our shared values as Canadians.
I recently arrived in Sri Lanka to visit my extended family and visit the places that were once home for me, during the earlier stages of my life and the civil war in Sri Lanka; but was subject to political intimidation. I was warned I could be subject to arrest and deportation, as several commonwealth MPs from New Zealand and Australia recently faced.
I have received word from the Canadian High Commission in Colombo that the Sri Lankan authorities have confirmed that their previous claims of an arrest warrant in my name does not exist and I now look forward to exploring and learning more about the country of my birth.
My experiences since arriving in Sri Lanka are a reminder that defending principles of human rights is not easy, but I continue to believe that it is only through open dialogue and freedom of expression that people can ultimately achieve healing and reconciliation.
New Democrats, like millions of Canadians, will continue to staunchly defend human rights and freedom of speech, in Canada and around the world.