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Canadian parliament marks Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day

The Canadian parliament which was the first in the world to formally recognise May 18 as Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day, held a sombre commemoration at the parliament last week attended by several ministers, members of parliament, and the Tamil community. 

The event was opened by Pranavan, who witnessed the genocide firsthand and told the audience of the vivid details that made up his memory of the last stages of the armed conflict. The attendees also laid flowers near a framed photograph of Mullivaikkal which was placed in the hall. 

Annie Koutrakis, the Liberal MP for Quebec who spoke at the event said the recognition of the day the Canadian Parliament reaffirms their commitment to truth, justice, and accountability. “It underscores our solidarity with the Tamil community and our unwavering support for their quest for justice and reconciliation.” Several MPs who spoke at the event said they would urge the government of Sri Lanka to hold those accountable and deliver justice. 

Meanwhile, Premier Justin Trudeau issuing a statement today said Canada will always advocate for justice and accountability for the crimes committed during the conflict, as well as for the hardships faced by all in Sri Lanka. “In 2023, we imposed sanctions against four former Sri Lankan government officials in response to their violations of human rights in the country during the armed conflict,” he said in a statement. 

“Canada is a strong defender of human rights in Sri Lanka. We are advancing our work with international partners to fully implement the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution adopted in October 2022, which calls for greater reconciliation, justice, accountability, and human rights in Sri Lanka. And we continue to urge the Government of Sri Lanka to respect freedom of religion, belief, and pluralism – essential values to build lasting peace.”

He added that the Mullivaikkal commemoration reminds all of the shared responsibility to stand up for human rights, justice, and accountability. In his statement, he reiterated that Canada will work to protect human rights across the world. 


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