Tamil Canadians Hopeful for Strong Action by Canadian Government on Sri Lanka Conflict

    TORONTO, Feb. 4 /CNW/ - Tamil Canadians welcomed the Emergency Debate on
the conflict in Sri Lanka held in the Canadian parliament today requested by
several Members of Parliament. On Sri Lanka's Independence Day, Members of
Parliament from all political parties participated in this evening's debate
urging the cessation of hostilities against civilians in the North and East of
Sri Lanka.
    "We are pleased that Canadian parliamentarians recognized the urgency and
gravity of the humanitarian crisis taking place in Sri Lanka by calling for an
Emergency Debate on Sri Lanka," stated David Poopalapillai, National
Spokesperson for the Canadian Tamil Congress. "We are hope that this is a
signal that Canada will take an active role in bringing a peaceful resolution
to the conflict in Sri Lanka that takes into account the aspirations of the
Tamil people."
    The Canadian Tamil Congress welcomed statements by Canadian Government
officials calling for an end to hostilities against Tamil civilians. During
the Emergency Debate, Members from all parties strongly recommended that a UN
presence is necessary in Sri Lanka. Members also expressed the need for an
immediate ceasefire and a return to the negotiation table.
    Also welcomed is the announcement that up to $3 million dollars in
emergency aid will be sent to assist civilians displaced in the North and East
of Sri Lanka. While this aid is offered with the best of intentions, Tamil
Canadians are deeply concerned that without the proper accountability
structures in place in Sri Lanka, this much needed aid money will be diverted
by the Sri Lankan government towards war efforts just as millions in tsunami
aid was diverted in 2004.
    The Canadian Tamil Congress urges the Canadian government, a nation
internationally recognized as a peace builder, to continue to take proactive
and immediate action on the Sri Lanka conflict. While this Emergency Debate is
a good start towards these efforts, however, more action is necessary.
    The Canadian Tamil Congress calls upon the Canadian government to
consider all measures necessary, including diplomatic pressure, economic and
trade sanctions, and influence at the United Nations and Commonwealth of
Nations to urge the Sri Lankan government to end hostilities against Tamil

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For further information: Canadian Tamil Congress, (416) 240-0078

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