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Peel Regional Police must apologise to its Tamil constituents

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Nishan Duraiappah, the Chief of Peel Regional Police, receives a guard of honour from the Sri Lankan police in December 2023.

In the nation-state identified as Sri Lanka, police and other security forces either committed atrocities toward Tamil citizens or stood by and allowed Tamil homes and communities to be pillaged and bombed. It is outrageous that the Peel Regional Police Chief would plan for a collaboration to strengthen the Sri Lankan police force that is currently led by Deshabandu Tennakoon, who has been deemed guilty by the Sri Lankan Supreme Court of violating many constitutional rights of citizens, police officers, and journalists alike and also personally tortured many while in the custody of the police force.

According to Statistics Canada, 22,780 residents in the Peel Region identified as speaking Tamil, and 32,960 identified either Tamil or Sri Lankan as their ethnic origin.  As many world leaders and police forces are recognizing the genocide of Tamils by the Sri Lankan state, the Peel Regional Police that is there to serve and protect citizens should not be engaging in cordial and celebratory events with individuals, agencies, and the state that is the perpetrator of the genocide, the ongoing land grabs, has caused tens of thousands of Tamils to become internally displaced persons in their own homeland, and continuing incidences of missing and murdered individuals.

These actions on behalf of the Peel Regional Police have caused significant turmoil and harm to Tamil citizens in the Region of Peel and many in the diaspora community who are still healing through the many traumas caused by police and perpetrators in uniform. The Mandate of the Governance and Human Rights Committee of the Peel Police Service Board states that it, “aims to apply a human rights lens on all aspects of Police Services Board governance and policy to enhancing adequate and effective policing in the community and to eliminate systemic racism and anti-racism in policing.”

However, these actions by the Peel Regional Police are clearly in direct contravention of the mandate as outlined by the governing body for the Peel Regional Police. I strongly urge the Peel Police Services Board to reconsider the actions taken on behalf of the Peel Regional Police, provide an official apology to their Tamil constituents for the harm caused by these actions, and work to meaningfully repair the damages caused to the trust and faith Tamils have in the police force to provide effective policing in the community while working toward the dismantling of systemic injustices.


Rathika Sitsabaiesan is a former Canadian Member of Parliament, having been the first person of Tamil origin elected to a national body outside of Asia and Africa. She is now a Ziglar certified Coach, a Professor of Human Resources at Centennial College, and a Strategic Business Consultant & Founder of the consulting practice Harmony Mediation & Consulting.

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