Petition on Change.org
An online petition created by Tamil Canadians calls for Canada to “reject the appointment of the Génocidaire, Sumangala Dias, as the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Canada.”
The petition labels credibly accused war criminal Air Marshal Dias a Génocidaire or “perpetrator of [the] Tamil genocide," due to his various high ranking roles within the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) during the Tamil genocide.
The petition addressed to Canada’s Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of Canada, David Lametti, has two major requests:
(1) Reject the appointment of Genocidaire Sumangala Dias, as the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Canada.
(2) Thoroughly vet the credentials of all Sri Lankan Government appointees before accepting them.
“Canada has taken an active role in seeking accountability and justice for the Tamil people, … including passing a unanimous motion, calling the UN to establish an international independent investigation into allegations of genocide against Tamils committed in Sri Lanka, including during the last phase of the armed conflict in 2009,” stated the petition.
“Henceforth, as Tamil Canadians, we strongly believe Canada, also being a member of the Core Group on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC, and a champion of human rights, should reject a Genocidaire,” the petition goes on to state.
Sumangala Dias’s appointment has received opposition from Tamil Canadian groups and parliamentarians, including The National Council of Canadian Tamils (NCCT), Gurratan Singh the MPP for Brampton East, and People for Equality And Relief in Lanka (PEARL).
Read MPP Gurrataran Singh and PEARL's statement here.
The NCCT released a statement in early November, listing several instances in which Air Marshal Dias, who “held high positions in the chain of command of the SLAF” committed war crimes;
(1) Dias “was appointed as Base Commander at SLAF Hingurakgoda Base, Sri Lanka, on June 1, 2005, from which many of the indiscriminate bombing missions against civilian targets originated.”
(2) “In 2008, he was appointed Senior Air Coordinator for the final stages of war in 2009, coordinating SLAF operations with the ground operations of the 57, 58 and 59 Divisions of the Sri Lanka Army, which has been credibly accused of war crimes." The NCCT highlighted that “thousands of Canadians of Tamil origin lost family members and friends due to these genocidal attacks under Sumangala Dias's command.”
(3) The NCCT further went to state that while Dias held high positions in the SLAF, "Trophy footage taken by army personal themselves show the killing and maiming of innocent civilians by aerial bombardments of hospitals and government announced "No Fire Zones" where Tamils were urged to take refuge by the Government of Sri Lanka.”The NCCT further highlighted that, “many of the relatives of victims who survived these genocidal attacks are Canadian Citizens. They are working extremely hard to move forward from their traumatic experience.
Read the full statement by the NCCT here.
The petition is collectively endorsed by the NCCT, Brampton Tamil Association, Canadian Tamil Youth Alliance (CTYA), Markham Tamil Organization, Mississauga Tamil Association, Ottawa Tamil Association, Quebec Tamil Development Association and Scarborough Tamil Association.
Sign the petition here.