May 18th, 2019
May 18th, 2019
In 2009, Tamil Canadians took to the streets, organizing demonstrations right across the country. They watched with grief and horror as their loved ones were being subjected to unspeakable acts of violence and human rights violations by the Sri Lankan government during the Mullivaikkal Massacre.
Tamil Canadians pleaded with Canada and the Prime Minister to intervene and stopgenocidal acts against Tamil. Our former leader and a human rights champion, Jack Layton joined these calls and extended his solidarity.
I remember these moments vividly because I also belong to a community that survived genocidal acts.
I understand the legacy of genocidal acts. The trauma and loss of life. The impact of a missing generation - where thousands of innocent women, children, and men were extrajudicially murdered and disappeared during 30 years of war in Sri Lanka.
The destruction of the Jaffna Public Library, one of the largest libraries in the world at the time when it was burnt down by the state-sponsored mobs under the direction of two government ministers was an act of cultural genocide. It resulted in the loss of over 95,000 ancient Tamil literature, magazines and newspapers which contained information on the history and significance of the ancient language of Tamil.
But, I also recognize that despite these acts of genocide the Canadian Tamil community exhibits a resilience worthy of great honour.
To all Tamil Canadians, I want you to know that you have in me, an ally that will always stand with you in your peaceful pursuit of truth and justice.
I unequivocally support your calls for an international investigation into acts of genocide and accountability for the perpetrators.
You are a resilient and strong community that has overcome atrocities of the worst kind.
Together we will seek justice for the families and survivors. We will confront human rights violations, challenge persecution, and do everything we can to ensure that these atrocities never happen again.