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Sri Lankan foreign minister raises 'strong concern' over Ontario's recognition of Tamil genocide

Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris in his talks with Canadian High Commissioner David McKinnon expressed Colombo’s “strong concern” regarding Ontario’s Tamil Genocide Education Week Bill passed earlier this year.

In a meeting on Friday, Peiris conferred with McKinnon on a range of issues including Canada’s support to Sri Lanka in its recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and issues pertaining to the economy. 

A statement released by the Foreign Ministry stated that Peiris “noted that this Act is being challenged in the Ontario Superior Court.” 

The Canadian envoy was reported to have said that “this issue, which was a decision by the Ontario Legislative Assembly, is in a judicial process relating to a Constitutional Question.”    

“He (the High Commissioner) agreed to keep the Minister informed of developments,” the Ministry’s statement noted.

McKinnon also encouraged Sri Lanka to make progress on issues raised recently by the UN Human Rights Council. During the Human Rights Council session, UN High Commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, maintained that Sri Lanka’s current “social, economic and governance challenges” were indicative of the “corrosive impact that militarisation and the lack of accountability continue to have on fundamental rights, civic space, democratic institutions, social cohesion and sustainable development". She further raised alarm noting that “surveillance, intimidation and judicial harassment of human rights defenders, journalists and families of the disappeared have not only continued but has broadened to a wider spectrum of students, academics, medical professionals and religious leaders critical of government policies."

The Tamil Genocide Education Week Bill was passed in Ontario earlier this year recognising  Sri Lanka’s campaign of genocide against the Tamils. 

The Bill also established May 11 to 18 as a week in which Ontarians “are encouraged to educate themselves about, and to maintain their awareness of, the Tamil genocide and other genocides that have occurred in world history.”

Read more here.

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