On the 11th Anniversary of the Mullivaikkal genocide, Canadian politicians marked the Mullivaikkal genocide with statements. Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, also released a statement, calling for “a meaningful accountability process” and paid tribute to survivors who fled to Canada.
Leader of the of the Official Opposition in Ontario and MPP, Andrea Horwath, paid her tributes for Mullivaikkal and urged for “accountability and historical truth” in a video she posted on Twitter;
“We are proud to stand with Tamil Canadians and support Bill 104 – The Tamil Genocide Education Week. New Democrats support your ongoing support for justice, self-determination and formal recognition and accountability for historical truth. There will be justice, there will be peace, and there will be recognition for the people of Tamil Eelam.”
“New Democrats stand in solidarity today with Ontario's Tamil communities as we mark 11 years since the #Mullivaikkal Massacre. We see you, we mourn with you, we are with you in this struggle for justice and recognition of the Tamil Genocide.#MullivaikkalRemembranceDay,” she tweeted.
Canadian lawyer and leader of the New Democratic Party, Jagmeet Singh, marked the Mullivaikkal genocide in a statement;
“Today we mark the eleventh anniversary of the end of the war in Sri Lanka, where tens of thousands of innocent lives were tragically lost in unspeakable acts of violence. The trauma of the conflict and loss of life is an intergenerational struggle that the Tamil community in Canada and around the world continues to deal with. Thousands of innocent women, children, and men were extrajudicially murdered and disappeared during 30 years of war in Sri Lanka.
The destruction of the Jaffna Public Library, one of the largest libraries in the world at the time when it was burnt down by the state-sponsored mobs under the direction of two government ministers was an act of cultural genocide. It resulted in the loss of over 95,000 ancient Tamil literature, magazines and newspapers which contained information on the history and significance of the ancient language of Tamil.”
He offered his “sympathies and solidarity to the Tamil community in Canada and worldwide” and added “despite this historical trauma, the Tamil community’s resiliency has ensured that their people and culture not only live on, but thrive here in Canada.”
Singh stated “I stand with you in your peaceful pursuit of truth and justice – and, I empathize with your desire to create a better, more just world. Together we will seek justice for the families and survivors. We will confront human rights violations, challenge persecution, and do everything we can to ensure that these atrocities never happen again.”
Canadian Lawyer and and MP, Peter Mackay, commemorated the Mullivaikal Genocide and applauded the “incredible resilience that Tamils in remembering the innocent civilians and victims and ensuring that there is a demand for justice,” in a video he posted on his Twitter;
“Today is Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day. Canadian Tamils and Tamils across the world unite to remember the victims of the genocide perpetuated by the Sri Lankan state, including Mullivaikkal in 2009,” he tweeted.
Mackay also urged for accountability and action to be taken against the Sri Lankan government for their role in the Mullivaikkal genocide;
“In 2009, Tamils were subjected to a genocide in Sri Lanka, at the hands of the Sri Lankan government. 11 years on and Tamils around the world are left with no answer for the hundreds of thousands of lives that were lost. Sri Lanka has provided no efforts in providing accountability and justice for the human rights abuses against Tamils. I stand behind the Canadian Tamil community in seeking justice for those who were killed at the hand of Sri Lankan government and will continue to call for accountability from the Sri Lankan government for the human rights abuses that took place in Mullivaikkal.”
The Toronto mayor, John Tory, commemorated the “Tamil Eelam national day of mourning” on his Twitter;
“Today is Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day. Canadian Tamils and Tamils across the world unite to remember the victims of the genocide perpetuated by the Sri Lankan state, including Mullivaikkal in 2009,” he tweeted and added a video message;
“Today we pay tributes to all the lives lost and all of the injustices that have yet to be resolved. It is important that even during the pandemic, we continue to pay our respects and honour all of those lives lost and remembering those who are still suffering in Sri Lanka,”
Mayor of Brampton, Patrick Brown, sent a video message to remember the 11th year of the Tamil genocide;
“It is one of the most horrific genocide of modern times. Innocent civilians perished because of this ugly, targeted genocide by SL military forces.
11 years later we still don’t have accountability or justice. I remember when we took to the streets and just like I did 10 years ago, I stand with you. I will continue to do everything I can to push for justice and for accountability, because there can be no reconciliation. It is not possible unless there is accountability.”
Member of Provincial Parliament for Scarborough South West, Doly Begum, commemorated “the Mullivaikkal massacre, by tweeting on her account;
“May 18 marks 11 years since the #Mullivaikkal Massacre, one of the darkest days of the Tamil genocide. It’s a day of remembrance for the Tamil diaspora in Ontario. We stand in solidarity with you in the search for justice. Together, may we remember #MullivaikkalRemembranceDay,” she tweeted.
Begum also posted a video statement on her Twitter;
“ Today we again commit the right to self-determination, to justice and to recognition of the Tamil genocide. I have been so proud to work with strong local Tamil leaders to serve the needs of the community – whether to celebrate Tamil culture, building new Tamil community centres or supporting the Bill 104, the Tamil Genocide Education Work week.”
Begum stressed the need to “recognise the events of the Tamil genocide as an important step in the path towards justice and healing” and that she was delighted when “we received the unanimous support from all parties” to official recognise Mullivaikal massacre and a moment of silence in the Ontario Legislature.
Begum concluded that she “stands with Tamils in the struggle for justice and and for the recognition for the people of Tamil Eelam.”
Tamil-Canadian Lawyer and Scarborough-Rouge Park MP, Gary Anandasangaree, released a statement;
“Today, Tamils across the globe mark Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day, the fateful day in 2009 when the world stood silent to see the slaughter of Tamils in the hands of the Sri Lankan armed forces, killing over 70,000 people, and displacing over 300,000 civilians. Today, and every day, we remember the lives lost, the children and spouses who disappeared, and those unjustly imprisoned. Eleven years later, many questions remain unanswered. The search for truth, justice and accountability continues today.”
Anandasangaree stated the regime changes impact on the efforts towards truth and justice for the war crimes and genocides commited against Tamil people;
“Just before COVID-19 hit the world and interrupted our daily lives, Sri Lanka was reverting back to authoritarian rule. At the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Sri Lanka repudiated its support of UNHRC 30/1, and 40/1, thereby derailing the only real and constructive process that existed within our International World Order. The Rajapaksa brothers took office in October 2019 and were set to win an overwhelming majority in the parliamentary elections set for this Spring. By all accounts, space for civil society was shrinking, prisoners continued to languish in prisons under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act., families of the disappeared continued to search desperately for their loved ones, and the Tamil people, on and off the island, were losing hope.”
“Our commemoration this year will be more sombre and introspective due to threats of COVID-19. For Tamil-Canadians who lived through the 26-year armed conflict, the past nine weeks under COVID-19 isolation has been a constant reminder of the adversity we have overcome,” he said.
He emphasised the need for accountability mechanisms to be pursued;
“For Tamils around the world, this new era should be one in which we continue our resolve to hold those who are responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed in the last phase of the armed conflict to account. This can be accomplished by using existing international legal frameworks, including the International Criminal Court, International Court of Justice, and through individual states exercising Universal Jurisdiction to ensure that accountability is established.
Concurrently, the Tamil diaspora around the world should continue to work with their respective governments to take additional measures. The work of the community in the United States in imposing a travel ban against Shavendra Silva is a great example of this strategy.”
Anandasangaree reiterated that he will “continue to work with our Canadian government, Tamil-Canadian community, and human rights advocates, to advance accountability, justice, and human rights on the island of Sri Lanka.”
He urged that Tamils “collectively continue on a path towards accountability, justice and peace. It is a vital step for the Tamil community in Sri Lanka to begin rebuilding all that was and continues to be lost.”
Member of Provincial Parliament for Brampton East, Gurratan Singh, stood with the "Tamil community in Canada & around the world seeking justice for the families & survivors of the Tamil genocide on Tamil Genocide Day". Insisting we must "continue to pursue truth and justice in the hopes of meaningful human rights protections & lasting peace," he released a video message addressing the Mullivaikkal massacre;
“For decades, Tamil people have experienced a campaign of genocide at the hands of the Sri Lanka government. From the burning of the Jaffna library, to the anti-Tamil violence in known as Black July in 1983, to the thousands of Tamils killed in Mullivaikkal massacre. Tamils have faced years of violence, of being forcibly disappeared and genocide.
That is why on May 18, on Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day, I will be joining the Tamils across the world to light a lamp and call for an international inquiry into these crimes against humanity, these war crimes and these acts of genocide, carried out against the Tamils by the Sri Lankan government. It is only with accountability that we can have truth and justice.”
Toronto District School Board (TDSB)
The TDSB also tweeted their respects for Mullivaikkal and the Tamil community in Toronto, Canada;
"Today, on Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day, we mark the anniversary of the end of the war in Sri Lanka and honour the innocent people who lost their lives and the many who were displaced. We also recognize that today is a day of trauma and grief for Toronto’s Tamil community."