Canadian Tamil Congress Concerned over Increased Civilian Deaths in Sri Lanka

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Canadian Tamil Congress is deeply concerned about the alarming rate of civilian killings in Sri Lanka over the past several weeks. Frequent bombings, forceful abductions, disappearances, arbitrary arrests, torture, and killings are occurring on a daily basis across the island nation adding to a catastrophic civilian death toll.

Canadian Tamil Congress (http://www.canadiantamilcongress.ca/) is deeply concerned about the alarming rate of civilian killings in Sri Lanka over the past several weeks. Frequent bombings, forceful abductions, disappearances, arbitrary arrests, torture, and killings are occurring on a daily basis across the island nation adding to a catastrophic civilian death toll.

On January 2nd, the Government of Sri Lanka announced that it would unilaterally end the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) of 2002. As forewarned by international non-governmental organizations, such as Amnesty International, "the end of the ceasefire is likely to unleash fresh violence that will lead to serious human rights abuses, including an increase in enforced disappearances and abductions as a counter-insurgency strategy, as well as unlawful killings". Canadian Tamil Congress was also among those voices warning that the deteriorating human rights situation in Sri Lanka would result in increased civilian casualties.

As a result of the collapse of the CFA by the Sri Lankan government, there has been an escalation in hostilities that has led to increased human rights violations and reduced protection to civilians. In particular, members of the Tamil minority are being targeted by the Sri Lankan government and government supported paramilitary organizations. Human Rights Watch, a New York based human rights organization has reported that Tamil men between the ages of 18-35 were being abducted or killed at a rate of 4 persons per day Often they were taken in for questioning at undisclosed locations and subjected to torture and other inhuman methods of treatment.

While the Canadian government has condemned these civilian killings by the Sri Lankan government in the past, stronger action is currently warranted. The Canadian Tamil Congress urges the Government of Canada to follow in the steps of their U.S. and British counterparts and consider imposing aid and trade restrictions on Sri Lanka for failing to live up to its international humanitarian commitments. Without the eyes of the international community focused on Sri Lanka, these atrocities will continue to take place and scores of innocent civilians will continue to be killed.

For more information, visit http://www.canadiantamilcongress.ca/

For further information contact:
Canadian Tamil Congress
416-240-0078

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