Tamils to Canada PM: Please Admit Refugees aboard the Sun Sea

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The MV Sun Sea arrived in Canadian waters Wednesday with 500 asylum-seeking Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka. Tamils for Obama, a US Tamil organization, wrote to Canadian PM Stephen Harper urging him to admit these refugees to Canada and to be wary of voices saying that some of the refugees might be Tamil Tiger cadres.

Tamils for Obama, in a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, urged him to admit the refugees.

"We told Prime Minister Harper that these people would pass an inspection by Canadian law enforcement agencies, and we urged him to get the investigation under weigh. We are confident that the Canadian government will quickly give them a clean bill of health and release them, and that's what we wrote to Mr. Harper," said a spokesman for Tamils for Obama, the Tamil American political organization that wrote the letter.

"In our letter we said 'We urge you to admit the refugees who have just come to Canada aboard the MV Sun Sea,'" said the spokesman. "We agreed that investigating unexpected migrants is prudent, and part of the government's job. We think that the government agencies will find nothing to object to with these refugees. In fact, we said we are delighted to have the Canadian government check them out and say they are harmless.

"We wrote in our letter 'While suspicion of members of this group is perhaps unavoidable, we ask that you allow the appropriate Canadian agencies to attend to this matter and investigate the Tamil migrants and (we expect) release them when they are found to be harmless.'"

In their letter, the Tamil organization reminded Mr. Harper that there was an example to be observed. "In October 2009," the letter said, "the cargo ship Ocean Lady arrived in Canadian waters with 76 would-be Tamil migrants aboard. Some voices loudly claimed that at least some of the Tamil asylum seekers were Tamil Tiger cadres seeking to establish a base for their terrorist organization on Canadian soil."

In that instance, Tamils for Obama recalled, "Arms of the Canadian government--The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB)--appropriately interned and investigated the Tamil asylum-seekers." Those Tamils now "have all been released… All of them are free to travel, settle, live, and be educated in Canada. So far, all of them have proven to be positive additions to the common wealth of Canada."

The letter went on "We are confident that a similar outcome will follow with the Tamil migrants on board the MV Sun Sea. We expect that they will be (correctly) interned and investigated by appropriate agencies of the Canadian government. We also expect that the investigation will find that these Tamil refugees pose no threat to Canada and that most or all of them will be released and allowed to travel, settle, and live in peace in Canada. God bless the refugees and God bless Canada."

The Tamil group then warned the Prime Minister not to be too trusting of certain sources that seemed to be always ready to slander the Tamils. In their letter, they wrote "Besides the disreputable Sri Lankan government, the sources of ill-will toward the Tamil refugees come from just a few sources who regularly turn up to be quoted by newspapers and broadcasters."

Tamils for Obama then named the voices they consider unreliable. They wrote "These include Rohan Gunaratna, a security consultant based in Singapore, and James Clad, an academic and former US defense department officer. "These two are like broken clocks," the Tamil for Obama wrote. "They always give the same information, and are never trustworthy."

The Tamils next explained why Harper (or any other listener) should not trust these sources. "We suggest that Gunaratna, who dines with defense secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa when visiting Colombo, is a stealthy partisan and spokesman for the Sri Lankan government.

"Clad was US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia," Tamils for Obama explained, "and appears to have been infected by a severe case of clientitis. In his official capacity, he provided weapons and other military aid to the Sri Lankan government. Now, he always sees Tigers when he looks at victims of his former clients and always says this to the press. We suggest that a healthy caution is required before acting on information from any of these sources."

The letter concluded "We thank you for your attention to this matter and wish you and Canada only the best."

Copies of the letter were sent to the Canadian Tamil Congress, the Tamil Canadian, the Vancouver Sun, the Toronto Globe and Mail, and the Washington Post.

To read the whole letter go to: http://www.tamilsforobama.com/letters/MV_SUN_SEA815.html

Tamils for Obama is a politically active association of Tamil Americans. The group believes that the ultimate solution to ethnic strife in Sri Lanka will necessarily include some form of political separation of Sri Lankan Tamils from the government dominated by the majority Singhalese. Tamils for Obama supports peaceful measures that if believes advance this goal of a political solution to Sri Lanka's ethnic problems.

Tamils are an ethnic group living mainly in the northeast of Sri Lanka and southern India. During the final weeks of the recent civil war, the Sri Lankan government killed about 1,000 Tamil civilians per day, according to the United Nations, and about 40,000 in 2009. The Tamil are a population in Sri Lanka has borne the brunt of a civil war they regard as genocide. One-third of the Tamil population has fled the island and formed a substantial diaspora overseas. Tamils for Obama is comprised of Tamils who have settled in the U.S. or who were born in the U.S.

To contact the group, call at (617) 765-4394 and speak to, or leave a message for, the Communication Director, Tamils for Obama.


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