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Sri Lanka’s removal from Commonwealth urged in Canadian parliament


P. Sivakumaran,
 “Will the Canadian Prime Minister takes steps to urge the commonwealth to revoke Sri Lanka’s membership until it holds the perpetrators to account and they are judged in international courts? Will he support calls from the international community for action against the Sri Lankan government,
asked Liberal MP Jim Karygiannis in the Canadian parliament on Thursday 29th September, accusing the government for doing nothing when thousands were butchered. Supporting the line, and criticizing the government for idling too long, New Democratic Party MP, Rathika Sitsabaiesan urged the government to commit to a stand with immediate effect in calling for a UN inquiry on Sri Lanka. Replying, the foreign minister of the Conservative government, John Baird said, “The Prime Minister did not sit idly by when he expressed grave concern about attending a future summit of the Commonwealth in Colombo.”

There is a dramatic shift in the Canadian Conservative approach to Sri Lanka’s fractured politics.

“I can say that the Prime Minister has spoken out loudly and clearly on this very important issue of human rights. I have certainly relayed the Government of Canada’s position to both the high commissioner and directly to my counterpart, the minister of foreign affairs of Sri Lanka, to express our concerns on the lack of accountability for the serious allegations of war crimes, the lack of reconciliation with the Tamil community and with events that have taken place since the end of the civil war,” the Canadian foreign minister said.

“Canada will continue to speak loudly and clearly on behalf of human rights around the world, especially in Sri Lanka,” he assured.

Replying Rathika, the foreign minister said: “We did not sit idly by at the United Nations on Monday where I brought the plight of human rights violations to the floor of the General Assembly. The Prime Minister did not sit idly by when he expressed grave concern about attending a future summit of the Commonwealth in Colombo. We did not sit idly by when we spoke with the high commissioner to Sri Lanka and raised our concerns. I did not sit idly by last week when I met with the foreign minister of Sri Lanka to express our significant concerns.”

“We have not sat idly by. We will continue to stand up, do the right thing and fight for human rights around the world, especially in Sri Lanka,” he reiterated.

There is a dramatic shift in the Canadian Conservative approach to Sri Lanka’s fractured politics. “The new approach, a mix of diaspora politics and foreign-policy principles, will have implications abroad and at home with a long-frustrated Tamil-Canadian community,” said the Canadian media The Globe and Mail.

But the main issue of concern for Lankan Tamils is that they are always at the receiving end in international diplomacy – whether the US-tagged countries come out with the paradigm of ‘war on terrorism’ or they now call for international investigation of the war crimes – because in both instances the national question of Lankan Tamils is twisted to get coupled with bloc interests, perverting delivery of universal justice for the question, commented a young generation Tamil political analyst in Canada.

The Tamil analyst cited the Canadian foreign minister’s speech at the UN, coupling the question of Sri Lanka’s war crimes on Tamils with that of US-Canada’s stand on Iran and North Korea.

It is this kind of ‘twist’ in projection that makes some powers and many countries in the world to mobilize against the delivery of justice to Lankan Tamils. In the same way, some Tamils, hijacked to jump on the bandwagon, equating genocidal Rajapaksa with Bin Laden and Gadaffi also sends wrong signals harming delivery of justice to Lankan Tamils, the analyst said.

Whether the twist of the national question as ‘terrorism’ coupling it with an imperialist war paradigm, or whether the reduction of the genocide into mere ‘war crimes of both sides’ and coupling it with an East-West contention, Genocidal Sri Lanka as a State was benefited and is benefited on both counts, the analyst points out.

The Canadian Tamil analyst cited the kind of polarization that took place in the Human Rights Council at Geneva in September, the line of thinking expressed by some powers as well as small countries knowingly shielding genocidal Sri Lanka, the artful silence of India, the Indian PM’s speech supporting Palestine independence at the UN but contributing to Tamil genocide in its backyard, and the twisted or skewed application of ‘anti-imperialist’ (anti-US) excuse by Sri Lanka articulated through the left of the by-gone generation ready for exploitation, like Tamara Kunanayagam (SL ambassador in Cuba and now in Geneva).

Tamara’s associate Mr. Jean Pierre Page, who also spoke at Geneva on behalf of World Federation of Trade Unions, blamed the West for imperialist and colonialist schemes on Sri Lanka but did not say a single word on the oppression of Tamil people, Colombo media reports said.

The precarious part of the whole scenario is the West getting ‘pardonable’ excuse for its inaction that actually results from its calculated misapplications. Thus, in strange ways both blocs help each other in helping genocidal Sri Lanka.

It won’t be of any surprise if Canada again finds excuses to back out on Sri Lanka at the Commonwealth Prime Minister’s meet in Perth, Australia, this month, commented the Canadian Tamil analyst.

The Canadian Tamil political analyst continues:

Lankan Tamil diaspora, especially in North America, should realize that without the support of the non-West, nothing could be achieved in the international forums, unless the West is prepared for unilateral action.

Unilateral action of the West is not possible as long as India and the USA have contentious views on the national question of Lankan Tamils.

Only a determined and articulated stand taken by Tamil Nadu could move New Delhi in this regard.

For Tamil Nadu to take an unambiguous and determined stand, the Lankan Tamils have to first demonstrate their determination in every possible way.

So, if for any reason the Lankan Tamils blunt the fundamentals of their righteous demands then everything will be blunted.

The diaspora should learn from Sri Lanka deploying Tamaras and Dayans on one hand and the military diplomats on the other to ‘coordinate’ from Beijing and Moscow to New Delhi and Washington.

The diaspora should also realize that what is more important than jumping on the bandwagon is seeing that the aspirations of Lankan Tamils are rightly and righteously represented and not perverted.

Politicians like Rathika may have to imbibe the point into progressive political circles in Canada, rather than being carried away by the connotations of the terms, ‘Sri Lanka’ and Sri Lankans’.

The theoretical position on the Collective Human Right, i.e., The Right to Self Determination of Lankan Tamils as a Nation, should always be upheld and should never allowed to be diluted or deviated by the hoodwink of individual human rights reforming a habitually genocidal State.

The theoretical position has to be strengthened by our alliance with the other nations without State all over the world.

These are very important in getting the universal support, which is the only guarantee for our liberation.

The moral strength on the side of the Lankan Tamils is that whoever paves way for bringing in justice to them will get accreditation as the power of human civilization of our times.


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