Canadian Tamil Congress Commends the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his Historic Visit to Sri Lanka

For Immediate Release

March 11, 2015.

Canadian Tamil Congress Commends the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his Historic Visit to Sri Lanka

After 28 years, an Indian head of state will be visiting Sri Lanka. Given the recent change of leadership in Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Modi’s timely visit to Sri Lanka could serve as a meaningful step towards bringing lasting peace in Sri Lanka, especially since his visit will include a trip to the Northern Province – something no previous Indian Prime Minister has done.

The Canadian Tamil Congress applauds Prime Minister Modi for his personal commitment to resolving the issues faced by the people in Sri Lanka, particularly the Tamils in the war-torn North and East.

Since the end of the war in 2009, human rights organizations have been repeatedly calling on the government of Sri Lanka to address the pressing needs of people affected by the war, including the release of lands taken in the name of war and security, the release of Tamil detainees held without any charges, the demilitarization of the North and East, and the rehabilitation and resettlement of both returning refugees and internally displaced people. We are hopeful this important and timely visit by Prime Minister Modi will help expedite the early resolution of the needs of Tamil people in Sri Lanka and hopefully contribute towards rebuilding war torn areas.

President Maithiripala Sirisena’s new government has taken some important initial steps to restore the democratic fabric of the country and bring reconciliation among the people of Sri Lanka: the replacement of the military officials with civilians as governors for the North and East provinces; the Sri Lankan President’s recent visit to the North and East provinces to hear from the people and their leaders; and the very recent release of Jeyakumari and seven other detainees. While these actions are steps in the right direction, the real work surrounding accountability and justice for mass crimes committed during the war have not yet been addressed. It is only when these tough issues are tackled that real reconciliation and lasting peace can finally prevail in Sri Lanka.

The new broad coalition government, consisting of the major political parties and with representations from all communities, presents a unique opportunity to bring a lasting political solution to all people in Sri Lanka. In this regard, we request Prime Minster Modi to urge the Sri Lankan government to embrace this opportunity and engage the elected Tamil representatives from TNA.

Further, the Canadian Tamil Congress urges Prime Minister Modi to use this visit to foster a conducive environment to allow Tamil refugees living in India to return to Sri Lanka before they are repatriated. Lastly, we also hope that Prime Minister Modi and President Sirisena can use this opportunity to come to a viable solution for the fisherman’s issue in a manner that can be reasonable to all parties involved in the conflict.

We congratulate Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his strong leadership and wish him great success on his visit to Sri Lanka.

For more information, please contact Canadian Tamil Congress: (416) 240-0078.

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