ERASING THE EELAM VICTORY Part 23 E
Posted on September 8th, 2021

KAMALIKA PIERIS

The fourth country that supported Eelam was Canada. Sri Lanka was handled at the UNHRC in the 1980s by Canada, said Pathfinder Foundation. Canada is part of the Core group which put forward resolutions against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva in 2021.

 Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, tens of thousands of Tamils arrived in Canada and settled in large metropolitan cities like Toronto and Montreal. The Tamil asylum claims lodged with the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board between 1989  and 1998 had an average acceptance rate of 85 percent, compared to 60-70 percent acceptance rates overall .  The largest number of expatriate Ceylon Tamils therefore are in Canada, totaling 157,000 in 2016. The second largest group is in UK, totaling 120,000 in 2007.

Canada has provided asylum to LTTE members convicted of criminal charges. Canada gave   asylum to Ravi Sanker Thiagarajah who was found guilty by Supreme Court of Sri Lanka of terrorist charges. He disappeared. He is now living safely in Canada.

The plot for the bomb explosion at the Central Bank (1996) had originated in Toronto. Sri Lankan intelligence officials tell me they traced the explosives used in the bomb and found they had come from the Ukrainian shipment purchased two years earlier with money wired from British Colombia, Canada, reported Ranjit Soyza.

It was decided that an organization should be created in Canada that could provide support for the notion of Tamil Eelam as well as the Vaddukoddai Resolution., with its separatist platform. The Eelam Society of Canada (TESOC) was registered as a non-profit organization in 1978.

TESOC functioned throughout the late-1970s, and gradually developed a very strong relationship with the Canadian government, reported Amaranth Amarasingham. Stewart Bell in his book Snow Tigers” said that Canadian Government had helped fund Tesco which in turn funneled funds to the LTTE. One of the directors of TESCO, Devakumar Sabapathy, issued a threat to kill the former President of Sri Lanka and his brother.

World Tamil Movement (WTM) was created in 1986. WTM was the Canadian arm of the LTTE, and was tasked with not only raising money for the LTTE, but also keeping alive the sentiment of Tamil separatism among the Tamil in Canada.

WTM employed sophisticated methods of remitting funds from Canada to the LTTE via Singapore and Malaysia using Bank of Nova Scotia and Canadian Trust Bank. WTM had once remitted a sum of 3 million dollars via Singapore to the LTTE. WTM had also deposited approximately dollars 7,63,000   collected by force from the Tamils in Canada.

Stewart Bell stated that the LTTE and its fronts used every conceivable tactic, government grants, front companies, every type of migrant smuggling and drugs. ” Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) estimated that $2 million a year, in collections were  funnelled to the  LTTE in Jaffna from Canada. Another CSIS study puts the figure at $ 1 million a month.

Federation of Associations of Canadian Tamils (FACT) was formed in 1992. It lobbied the Canadian government about Tamils in   Sri Lanka undergoing persecution by Sri Lanka government. FACT was replaced in 2000 by Canadian Tamil Congress.  CTC focused mainly on facilitating the integration of Ceylon Tamils into Canadian society but it also supported the political aspiration of the Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Many Tamil organizations  arose in Canada after the end of the war in May 2009 , reported Amaranth  Amarasingham .The National Council of Canadian Tamils (NCCT) was  set up  in 2010 with the expressed purpose of serving as an ethnic lobby group in Canada. In 2012 it submitted a memorandum to the UNHRC’s Universal Periodic Review.

The NCCT and the Canadian branch of Tamil Youth Organization (TYO)   organized conferences and meetings to push the idea of the self-determination of Tamils in Sri Lanka. In February 2012, they organized an Eelam Tamil Youth conference in Toronto where they brought together representatives from 14 Tamil student associations in high schools, colleges and university and they pledged to ‘continue the struggle for Tamil sovereignty.”

The meeting passed nine resolutions, two  of which said, we reject the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka state that occupies Tamil Eelam and we reject the imposition of Sri Lanka identity on Eelam Tamils. This meeting was opposed to presenting the conflict in Sri Lanka as a civil war. They rejected the unitary state of Sri Lanka.  The conflict is between two nations, and can only be resolved through a two-state solution. 

In 2014 the Canadian ambassador in Sri Lanka demanded the cancellation of the victory parade, on behalf of all those, who had been pursuing war crimes allegations, against the Sri Lankan military.”

In 2014, Canadian High Commissioner in Colombo, sent a strongly worded statement, saying that five years after the end of the conflict, the time has arrived for Sri Lanka to move past wartime discourse and to start working seriously towards reconciliation. Canada has encouraged the Government of Sri Lanka to retire its annual Victory Day Parade, which perpetuates roles of victors and vanquished within the country, for a day of remembrance for all those who suffered as a result of the conflict.

Sri Lanka quite rightly rejected this as blatant Canadian interference in purely a domestic matter, said Shamindra Ferdinando . Canada then declared that it would not attend the victory parade.

In August 2021,  Canada announced funding to nine Sri Lanka  NGOs to the tune of CAD 300,000 under a programme labeled Canada Fund for Local Initiatives. These nine Organizations includes Centre of Human Rights and Development, Transparency International Sri Lanka, Verité Research, as well as Colombo Friend in Need Society. ( Continued)

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