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TYO-Canada launches ‘G for genocide’ campaign

Tamil activists in Toronto marked the second anniversary of Sri Lanka’s mass killings of Tamil civilians by launching an awareness raising street campaign titled ‘G for Genocide’.

Initiated by the Tamil Youth Organisation (TYO-Canada) on Friday, the campaign included engaging with members of the public in symbolic locations across the Toronto downtown core, as well as collecting signatures for a petition to the International Criminal Court to investigate Sri Lanka.

“We are encouraged that the international community has finally begun to open its eyes to [Sri Lanka’s] atrocities,” said Laxana Paskaran of TYO-Canada.

“It is been two years since May 2009, and the lives lost during the peak of the Tamil genocide will always remain in our hearts as we continue to campaign for  justice and lasting peace for our people,” she added.

“We got an overwhelming positive response from our fellow Torontonians who not only signed our petitions but were interested to learn about the present situation in Sri Lanka and how they could help end the suffering of Tamils,” said youth activist Roshan Alisterosario.

“Building grassroots support for the opposition to Sri Lanka’s war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide will strengthen the call for justice,” said Ronklin Gracian, a coordinator of the Guelph-Humber Tamil Students’ Association.

“I am confident our efforts to educate people [here] will pay dividends.”

The text of TYO-Canada's petition states:

"As citizens of the world, we strongly condemn Sri Lanka on War Crimes, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity committed against the Tamil people living in the island of Sri Lanka.

"We identified that Sri Lanka has committed and is still continuing to commit genocide against the Tamil people. As the occupying power of Tamil homelands, Sri Lanka has been violating its obligation to protect the Tamil inhabitants in the occupied areas.

"The State of Sri Lanka has also violated the Geneva Conventions and the Statute laid out in Article 8 of the International Criminal Court by deliberately targeting civilians and humanitarian aid workers by halting the full delivery of aid to the people, and by the total destruction of the infrastructure in the Tamil regions.

"We ask the Prosecutor General of the International Criminal Court to conduct an immediate investigation into all these reports and to bring those responsible to justice. We also ask the ICC to join the world in condemning these brutal and inhumane attacks on Tamil civilian population in the island of Sri Lanka."