Colombo, May 20
Sri Lanka has summoned the Canadian High Commissioner here and registered a strong protest over Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “Tamil Genocide” comment on the 14th anniversary of the end of the brutal civil war in the island nation.
The bitterly-fought conflict, which began in 1983, came to an end on May 18, 2009, with Sri Lanka’s military killing the supremo of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Velupillai Prabakaran.
LTTE fought an armed conflict for a separate homeland for the minority Tamils. On Thursday, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau said tens of thousands of Tamils lost their lives, including at the massacre in Mullivaikal, with many more missing, injured, or displaced.
Peace can’t be taken for granted
The stories of Tamil-Canadians affected by the conflict serve as an enduring reminder that human rights, peace and democracy cannot be taken for granted. — Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister
“Our thoughts are with the victims, survivors, and their loved ones, who continue to live with the pain caused by this senseless violence,” Trudeau said.
“The stories of Tamil-Canadians affected by the conflict — including many I have met over the years in communities across the country — serve as an enduring reminder that human rights, peace, and democracy cannot be taken for granted,” Trudeau said.
“That’s why Parliament last year unanimously adopted the motion to make May 18 Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day. Canada will not stop advocating for the rights of the victims and survivors of this conflict, as well as for all in Sri Lanka who continue to face hardship,” he added.
Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected Trudeau’s statements, asserting that they contained outrageous claims of genocide relating to past conflicts in the country. Subsequently, the foreign ministry summoned Canadian High Commissioner in Colombo Eric Walsh and registered a strong protest over Trudeau’s remarks.
“Such irresponsible and polarising pronouncements by the leader of a nation breeds disharmony and hatred both in Canada and Sri Lanka, instead of promoting peace and reconciliation,” the foreign ministry said.
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