URGENT – OBJECTION TO BILL 104 – DO NOT PASS – REFER TO COMMITTEE
Posted on May 28th, 2019

Mahinda Gunasekera Tambrook Drive, Agincourt, Toronto, Ontario M1W 3L9 Canada

15 May 2019

Honourable Premier Doug Ford, Honourable Cabinet Ministers, Honourable Leaders of the NDP and Liberal Party and  Honourable Members of the Provincial Legislature,

OBJECTION TO BILL 104: DO NOT PASS: REFER TO COMMITTEE

    I am writing as a Canadian of Sri Lankan Sinhalese origin who has lived in this province for the past 44 years to express our community’s strongest objection to your even considering the subject Bill 104 presented by Mr. Vijay Thanigasalam, MPP for Scarborough – Rouge Park on account of the following reasons:

1.      It promotes false information. There is no genocide involved;

2.      It promotes division among the Sri Lankan community in Canada. This country being a multi-cultural nation with diverse communities should not promote legislation which creates strife within communities.

3.      This legislation has been initiated by a Tamil MPP from the Conservative Party who along with other Tamil expats  that provided material support and funding to the internationally designated terrorist group called the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) banned by 32 countries including Canada, USA, UK, EU, India, Malaysia, etc., seeking to break up Sri Lanka and set up a separate state in the north and east of the island. The LTTE launched its so called final war of liberation in mid-2006, but was militarily defeated by Sri Lanka’s armed forces on May 19, 2009. Now the pro-LTTE supporters in Canada have launched a campaign ten years after the military conflict ended fabricating charges of genocide against Sri Lanka to bring international pressure to bear against that country, to achieve their aim of breaking up the unitary state and realizing their objective of a separate state for Tamils whose homeland proper is the State of Tamilnadu in Southern India where over 75 million Tamils live.

4.      According to Article VIII of the Genocide Convention, the only authority that is able to make a finding of genocide is the United Nations, whilst disputes if any between the contracting parties shall be decided by the International Court of Justice.

5.      The Tamil civilians were compelled to move with the retreating LTTE forces from the west coast to their strongholds in the northeast coast around Mullaitivu to be exploited for their labour, conscripted as fighters and form a human shield.

6.      The total number Tamil civilians bandied about by the pro-LTTE groups as having been killed between January 1 and May 19, 2009 ranges from 70,000 to 140,000, whereas the UN Resident Representative’s office in Colombo reported 7,721 civilian deaths between August 2008 and May 13, 2009. The Government of Sri Lanka conducted a census using Tamil teachers and public servants as enumerators and arrived at a figure of 7,432 excluding those who had died of natural causes, whilst the Tamilnet, a key propaganda arm of the LTTE reported monthly deaths from January 1 to May 19, 2009, which added up to 7,398. Lord Naseby of the British House of Lords obtained heavily redacted copies of confidential reports sent by Col. Gash, the Military Attache at the British High Commission in Colombo to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, where he reported a total of around 8,000 civilian deaths with 2,000 of that number being killed by the LTTE to prevent these civilians hat formed a human shield from fleeing their area of control. Contrary to what is claimed as genocidal attacks by the Sri Lankan forces, the number of genuine civilians killed is unknown as none of the published figures distinguishes between combatants, LTTE Auxiliary Forces Personnel, and genuine non-combatant civilians. In fact, the UNSG’s panel on Sri Lanka reported that a large number of LTTE fighters battled in civilian attire blurring the distinction between fighting cadres and civilians.

The pro-LTTE groups are relying on unsubstantiated numbers estimated by the UNSG’s three member Panel on Accountability in Sri Lanka which included Marzuki Darussman, Steven Ratner and the South African Tamil and propagandist for the LTTE Yasmin Sooka, appointed for his personal guidance, that arrived at a number of 40,000 civilian deaths based on one sided information provided by expat Tamils which they locked away for 20 years till 2031. They carried out their investigations from New York and never visited Sri Lanka.  The other is the internal review conducted by Charles Petrie who reviewed the UNSG’s Panel report and reports furnished by IGOS and INGOS who were not in the war theatre after September 2008 arriving at a figure of 70,000 civilian deaths.  Neither of these reports had been sanctioned by the UNSC or the UNGA, and were conducted from outside Sri Lanka.

Amnesty and HRW commissioned a report from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to determine the number killed after analysis of the high resolution satellite imagery of the final battleground, as the latter were only able to come up with a total of 1,346 burial spots in three burial sites within the Civilian Safety Zone (CSW), which detailed report is carried in their website under the title ‘Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project – High Resolution Satellite Imagery and the Conflict in Sri Lanka. As this report did not support the bogus numbers swirled around by LTTE propagandists, Amnesty and HRW did not proceed with their planned report to press for action against Sri Lanka.

The AAAS report was also able to identify some 65 or so craters which they determined had been made by Mortar Shells (not artillery) along the perimeter of the CSZ close to the Nandikadal Lagoon where the LTTE fighters were concentrated and close to the coast where the Sea Tigers operated. Even the buildings without roofs initially thought to have been targeted with artillery fire turned out to have been dismantled by the LTTE to cover their bunkers or hide their long range weapons, while the building walls remained undamaged.

Another interesting statistic is the total number of injured persons among the Tamil IDPs according to the ICRC responsible for ferrying them by land and sea for medical attention was 18,439 which is lower than the 40,000 supposedly killed during the last stages. Normally, the world’s average ratio injured (WIA) to the number killed (KIA) is between 2-3 times the number killed, which means that the number injured should have been 80,000 – 120,000. Can someone explain this discrepancy other than determining that the high civilian death numbers being quoted are bogus guesstimates.

7.      The Justice Maxwell Paranagama Commission on Missing Persons in Sri Lanka was assisted by a team of international legal and military experts in matters relating to International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and War Crimes issues in respect of the military operations against the LTTE, where they concluded that the Sri Lankan forces had not violated IHL or committed war crimes. These experts were internationally recognized authorities, many of whom had served as legal advisers or prosecutors in the International Criminal Courts. 

The team of experts was led by Right Honourable Sir Desmond de Silva, QC. (UK) who was Chairman of the Legal Advisory Council, together with Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice QC. (UK), Professor David M. Crane (USA), Mr. Rodney Dixon, QC. (UK/ South Africa), Professor Michael Newton (USA) Vanderbilt University, William Fenrick (Canada), Professor Nina Jorgensen of Harvard University, Mr. Paul K. Mylvaganam (UK) and Major General Sir John Holmes, DSO, OBE, MC (UK) former head of the British SAS.

8.      The LTTE launched attacks on the other Tamil militant groups to gain ascendancy and later became the leading terrorist group employing suicide terrorism becoming the self-declared ‘Sole Representative’ of the Tamil community, even recognized as such by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) elected to represent Tamils in the National Parliament. In order to establish their authority, the LTTE first carried out attacks on leading members of the Tamil community including political leaders, academics, intellectuals, police officers, and others deemed dissidents. Thereafter, the LTTE began to attack the apparatus of the state responsible for internal security, isolated military camps, assassination of political leaders including Ranasinghe Premadasa, President of Sri Lanka, Gamini Dissanayake, Presidential candidate, cabinet ministers, namely, Lalith Athulathmudali, C.V. Gooneratne, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, T.Maheswaran, and attempted assassination of Chandrika Kumaratunge, President of Sri Lanka, Army Commander Sarath Fonseka and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse.

The LTTE dispatched a woman suicide bomber to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, and also killed Sri Lanka’s distinguished Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Lakshman Kadirgamar.  They attacked remote rural villages in the north and east to ethnically cleanse the region and drive out the resident Sinhala population from areas claimed for their separate state. The LTTE also attacked economic targets such as the Central Bank, Petroleum Storage facilities, the International Airport at Katunayake destroying six commercial aircraft belonging to Sri Lankan Airlines, and regularly planted bombs in public transit, shopping malls, bus terminals, rail stations, killing large numbers of civilians making the population fearful of going about their normal business.

They even attacked the holy shrine of Buddhists at the Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura killing about 140 including monks and lay devotees who were engaged in meditation and other devotional activities. They attacked a bus carrying 33 Buddhist monks who were proceeding on pilgrimage at Aranthalawa using machine guns and machetes, and also bombed the Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy which houses the Tooth Relic of the Buddha causing extensive damage to this World Heritage Site recognized by UNESCO. They attacked Muslims at prayer in Kattankudy killing nearly 180 worshippers inside their mosques.

9.       The LTTE started their so called final war of liberation in earnest by shutting off the sluice gates at Mavil Aru in August 2006 during the CFA by stopping the flow of drinking and irrigation water to 30,000 farmers living downstream. The state responded militarily after a lapse of nearly 12 days to restore the water supply and thereafter took action to clear the eastern province of LTTE forces followed by similar action along the northwest coast regaining the territory usurped by the terror forces. Before long, the LTTE was compelled to retreat into a narrow strip on the northeast coast at Puthumathalan near the town of Mullaivu. The LTTE forces were completely surrounded by the security forces which soon established a civilian safety zone (CSW) within this strip to prevent any harm to the displaced civilians. The LTTE moved their heavy artillery guns within the CSW and fired at the surrounding state military. The army would check on the LTTE’s artillery position and resort to  retaliatory fire after  making sure that the civilians were at a safe distance to minimize civilian casualties.

10.  The military successfully carried out a maneuver to split the CSW into two helping nearly 120,000 civilians to escape to safety.     The LTTE was offered several chances to surrender but they did not pay any heed as they expected the international community led by the USA to intervene in the ongoing battles and rescue them and obtain asylum for them in an African country such as Eritrea from where they could continue their separatist struggle in Sri Lanka. In fact, two 48 hour ceasefires were put into effect by the Sri Lanka military in February and April 2009 to enable the  civilians to get out of harms way and move into areas controlled by the army where they would be safe.  However, regrettably the LTTE did not allow any of the civilians to move out and even fired on those who attempted to flee killing them, effectively blocking the safe removal of the civilians who were being used as a human shield. Despite the attempts of the LTTE to put the lives of the Tamil civilians in danger, the Sri Lankan Security Forces succeeded in eliminating the Tamil Tiger leaders and remaining fighters and rescuing 295,873 Tamils among whom were 11,800 former Tiger fighters in civilian attire that abandoned the LTTE. They were housed in Welfare Camps, provided all meals, medical/ psychological care, education, vocational training, and resettled in their former places of residence after clearing the land of 1.5 million landmines laid by the LTTE to hamper the advance of the country’s armed forces. The former Tiger cadres were enrolled in a rehabilitation program, given new life skills that would enable them to lead independent lives and released to society. ARE THESE ACTS OF GENOCIDE AGAINST THE TAMILS? 

Please consider the above factual data and take action to reject Bill 104 which attempts to insert a series of falsehoods into the Canadian legal system thereby seriously affecting the integrity of our laws.

Yours sincerely,

Mahinda Gunasekera

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