Demand Peace and Justice in Sri Lanka

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April 3, 2009: Protesters in support of Tamil people stage multi-day protest on Parliament Hill. Photograph by: Chris Mikula, Ottawa Citizen.

by the Ottawa Peace Assembly, April 16, 2009

The non-stop protest in Ottawa, led by the Tamil community has continued 24/7 for nearly ten days. The Harper government has yet to take meaningful action for a ceasefire. With Parliament about to resume, it is all the more urgent that we stand in solidarity with the Tamil people. And so, the Ottawa Peace Assembly is calling on all member groups and supporters to rally in support of the protest this Saturday (and whenever else you can).





Solidarity March In Ottawa


RALLY @ 12pm at the Sri Lankan High Commission in Ottawa, 333 Laurier Avenue West

MARCH @ 12:30pm from the Sri Lankan High Commission to join the Tamil solidarity protest at Metcalfe & Wellington

This Saturday, join the Ottawa Peace Assembly for a solidarity march to the non-stop Tamil protest in Ottawa. Many organizations and individuals have come out to show support for the courageous and inspiring protest that continues this very moment right next to Parliament Hill. Parliament resumes next week, and it’s time for the Canadian government to get serious about pushing for a ceasefire and taking real action for peace.

This is not a Tamil issue – it’s a crisis for peace and human rights, that affects all of us an demands our urgent attention. Despite the deteriorating conditions for Tamils in Sri Lanka and the deteriorating health of those on hunger strike in Ottawa, the government has shamefully given rebuffed official requests from the Tamil community for a meeting.

This Saturday, bring your banners, your noisemakers, your colleagues, family and friends. march with us to the non-stop Tamil solidarity protest to demand the Harper government push for an immediate ceasefire by applying sanctions on Sri Lanka.

For more information on how you can stand with the Tamil community against the genocide:

Pan-Canadian Lobby Days


Parliament is in recess until the end of the week. Now is your chance to press your member of Parliament into action, while they are back home in your riding. The Ottawa Peace Assembly is encouraging you to email, phone, and show up unannounced at your MP’s office on April 16 and 17. Let’s make sure that as Parliament resumes next week, that the House of Commons cannot ignore the growing call for an immediate ceasefire.

Ask your MP to speak up in the House of Commons to call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire and to demand the recall of the Canadian Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Angela Bogban.

Find your MP by postal code.

Contact Your MP


Cities Against Genocide

A concrete solidarity action you can take is to campaign for motions to your city or provincial government. At Tuesday’s (April 14, 2009) Markham City Council meeting, for the first time in North America, a municipality passed a resolution calling for action Re: The Current Situation in Sri Lanka. Although a municipality’s power is generally restricted to local jurisdiction, Mayor Frank Scarpitti referenced this motion as “appropriate” when a community’s concern is addressed as a petition with 4000 signatures. He also mentioned the issue is “put front and centre for the federal government”, assured “the community of Markham is there to help”, and toward those who are suffering said “the hearts and souls are with them”.

Councillor Logan Kanapathi, at the formal meeting, thanked the Mayor, fellow councillors and the residents of Markham City for their participation and cooperation in this matter. Later on in another meeting he said, “it took time to pass a unanimous petition with all councillors on board” especially “with respect to the usage of the word ‘genocide’’ which was later proven (with evidence) and lawyers’ consent on the definition of the word. Passing of this resolution was seen as the first step of many more.

The following is what was actually read (at 7:22 p.m.) by the Mayor, and can be used as a template for other local campaigns:

Whereas the Town of Markham has received a petition dated January 22, 2009 from concerned residents of the Town of Markham regarding the current situation in Sri Lanka; and,

Therefore be it resolved:

1) That the petition dated January 22, 2009 regarding the conflict in Sri Lanka be received; and,

2) That the Federal Government be requested to undertake an investigation of possible human rights violations and genocide in Sri Lanka and to undertake any actions deemed appropriate relative to this matter; and,

3) That a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon and all Local Members of Parliament.


Endorse the Canadian Peace Alliance’s Solidarity Statement

Stop the Attacks on the Tamil People

If your group wants to sign on and endorse this statement please contact

The Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) has unilaterally abandoned the internationally mediated ceasefire agreement and has engaged in aerial bombings and artillery shelling of civilians in an intense war on the Tamil minority in the country. This war, which has killed as many as 70,000 Tamil civilians has become more brutal. In 2008 alone, thousands of civilians were killed.

According to former UN Human Rights Commissioner, Louise Arbour, “The most fundamental rights of people to be secure in their persons and homes are being violated almost daily…. There is an urgent need for the international community to monitor the unfolding human rights situation, as these are not merely cease-fire violations, but grave breaches of international human rights and humanitarian law”. She went on to say that the “weakness of the rule of law and prevalence of impunity is alarming.”

This devastating war has internally displaced over 500,000 Tamils and the Government of Sri Lanka has expelled all local and international NGO’s from the war affected areas in the North. They have also placed an economic embargo on all food, medicine, fuel and other essential items reaching the civilians in the affected areas, creating a humanitarian disaster.

The Government of Sri Lanka has banned all reporters from the affected areas and has led a campaign of persecution against journalists. Reporters Without Borders has expressed outrage at the Sri Lankan government after they censored the BBC World Service reporters in the country and after the murder of prominent editor of the Sunday Times, Lasantha Wickrematunga. Wickrematunga, in his last editorial, published after his death said he knew that he was being targeted by the government. “When finally I am killed, it will be the government that kills me”, he wrote. The lack of access to international monitors is making it impossible to know exactly how many innocent civilians are being killed.

We call on the government of Canada to:

  • Condemn the Government of Sri Lanka and call for an end to all attacks on Tamils
  • Call on the Government of Sri Lanka to immediately allow international aid organizations and NGO’s to bring emergency assistance to the civilians affected and to support the internally displaced Tamils
  • Call on the Government of Sri Lanka to support the right to a free press and allow journalists into the affected areas.

We also call upon the United Nations to condemn the Sri Lankan government’s human rights violations and apply pressure on the Sri Lankan government to stop its genocidal war on the Tamil people.

For more information please see:, Canadian Tamil Congress.

For more information on the humanitarian crisis facing Tamils please see:

For more information on peace movement support for the Tamil diaspora campaign against the war, visit

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