27 May, 2022


Commonwealth Dodges Sri Lanka Problem

The Commonwealth has failed its first major test since it strengthened its Ministerial Action Group in 2011 to renew its commitment to human rights and democratic values. Meeting in London today, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), which is charged with dealing with violations of Commonwealth values, failed to discuss Sri Lanka on its formal agenda. Sri Lanka is due to head the 54-nation body and host its major summit in Colombo in November, but it stands accused by two UN reports of war crimes and crimes against humanity. It is also the only Commonwealth country technically to have two Chief Justices after the top court in the land ruled the impeachment of the first unlawful.

Tamil demonstrators protest outside today’s Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group meeting in London. Pic: Sri Lanka Campaign.

Canada has been a lone voice raising the issue of Sri Lanka and it appears it had few supporters among other nations represented on the Action Group. There are reports one nation present said it wouldn’t be held hostage to human rights zealots. The deliberations on Sri Lanka fell into the “Other Matters of Interest to Ministers”, which are not made public.

At a news conference after the meeting the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group said it was not up to them but up to the heads of Commonwealth governments to decide the venue for the summit in November and they’d already chosen Sri Lanka. Instead, the Secretary General Kamlesh Sharma repeatedly stressed his commitment to positive engagement with the Sri Lankan government. He refused to put a time limit on that engagement because he said he was so optimistic about its success. Mr Sharma cited the Commonwealth’s involvement in assisting Sri Lanka with media policy, two Press Institutes, the Election Commission, human rights, the issue of the independence of judiciary and a workshop next week in London for the Sri Lankan government to meet reconciliation experts from other post-conflict countries. “We are working with them in a way which we expect will bring progress rather than disappointment,” he said.


Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird greets Tamil protesters after the CMAG meeting. Pic: Sri Lanka Campaign.

Asked if he wasn’t worried about the credibility of the Commonwealth being at stake over its engagement with Sri Lanka, the Secretary General said on he contrary its credibility was increasing right now. He said some people just made statements while other were actually doing real work on the ground making a difference. Mr Sharma did concede there were what he called “many lacunae” in the appointment and dismissal of judges in Sri Lanka but added that the Commonwealth was working with Sri Lanka to share best practices from other member nations and recommend remedial measures.

Outside the venue of the meeting in London a small but colourful protest took place by Tamils, calling on the Commonwealth to suspend Sri Lanka and move November’s summit meeting. As he left, the Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird made a point of walking along the barricade and shaking hands with many of the protestors before getting into this car.

Canada’s Foreign Minister says he is appalled that Sri Lanka seems poised to have the honour and responsibility of hosting the Commonwealth summit meeting in November. Mr Baird said Canada had wanted to see meaningful progress on accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lanka but the situation had got worse, not better. He added that the impeachment of the Chief Justice in Sri Lanka was deeply disturbing.

Asked about what the Commonwealth Secretary General Kamlesh Sharma says is positive engagement with Sri Lanka, Mr Baird replied that he would rather accept the judgement and conclusions of the Commonwealth Journalists Association, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, The Commonwealth Lawyers Association, the Commonwealth Legal Education Association, the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges, Human Rights Watch and the UN Human Rights Council. All of these have pointed to a deterioration of civil liberties and human rights in Sri Lanka after the end of the civil war.

Mr Baird said Canada cared passionately about the issue of Sri Lanka and it wasn’t just going to “go alone to get along”. He added it wasn’t about accommodating evil, but about combating it.

By Frances Harrison – Asian Correspondent

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Latest comments

  • 0

    Positive engagement for whom is the question. Better trash the latimer house principles to start with.

  • 0

    Kadavule! All that propaganda over the past couple of days down the drain just like the Eelam daydream :-(

    • 0

      You are defending Sharma and the dictator who wants to take some
      photo-op to hide the Human Rights violations being carried out in the island.
      Do you know the cost of hosting this “show”?
      And the monies already wasted in such propaganda?

      Already the masses here are protesting the hike in electicity rate.
      Have you heard of the projects in Hambanthota- the sea port, airport
      stadium etc.?

  • 0

    Sharma is with this dictator who’s hands are stained with blood. Commonwealth has no place in the civilized world, all its words and actions are puss if it failed to take the necessary actions to shift the Summit venue and suspend Sri Lanka. Right now, their present actions are not acceptable to the civilized world.

    What kind of a world body it is when so much of the civil society of the world are high lighting the open and naked brutal and bad actions of this dictator and his government. This is how Commonwealth going to sat an example for other leaders and nations to respect the rule of the law and human rights. Now I’m sure by this kind of behavior Commonwealth has gone to the dogs for it neglected and gone back on it’s own principles and standards.

    • 0

      Commonwealth did nothing to help Sri Lanka fight LTTE terrorism either.

      Most of the funding for LTTE war chest was raised in leading Commonwealth nations. Such as Canada, UK, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand etc.

      Did you scream against the Commonwealth then as well?

      • 0

        “Commonwealth did nothing to help Sri Lanka fight LTTE terrorism either”

        Yes they did not ban LTTE in the countries or prosecute any members of that organisation. Nations like India did not provide military assistance to SL army or provide coverage in UN human rights council in 2009

        “Did you scream against the Commonwealth then as well?”

        The SL govt did alot of screaming thus got LTTE banned on the condition that ethnic reconciliation will happen after the conflict. When such promises went unfulfilled these same Commowealth nations are initiating some punishment as a warning to other 3rd world nations who may look to ask for help then forget the promises made to get that help. Please understand this simple concept.

  • 0

    “Mr Baird said Canada cared passionately about the issue of Sri Lanka”

    Ha..ha..ha! Friday night Stand Up comedy in London, Mr. Baird?

    Where was this so called “passion” while Sri Lankans were getting bombed, shot and massacered all over Sri Lanka? We were all alone for 30 years. You were nowhere to be seen. You never mingled with us ever. Like you did today with the “LTTE rump, turned bogus HR activists” in London today.

    Did you come to Sri Lanka’s rescue? Did Sri Lankans ever get any anti-terror technology, weapons, intellgence or even moral support from you? Nope. Nothing. Never.

    You offer such support to both USA and UK when ever needed. Both countries routinely commit massive war crimes. All over the globe. When was the last time you boycott either UK or USA?

    You outlawed despicable LTTE after 21 years of carnage in Sri Lanka. After us begging you to do so for 20 years. Thanks to Bin Laden & 9/11 attacks. It was too late. Too little. After Snow Tigers had raised enough funds in Canada to blow up Sri Lanka many times over.

    Sri Lanka has forgiven you Mr. Biard. But, has not forgotten.

    BTW, When did you ever boycott anything in Israel Mr. Biard? A nation with over 100 UN resolutions against it. Nation with the longest list of unspeakable war crimes.

    Sri Lanka accepts “HYPOCRISY” is an integral part of International relations Mr. Baird.

    Good luck with elections in the Greater Toronto area Mr. Biard. Where you get the largest congreation of LTTE. A lot of possibilites for your party there. Do nt try to fool us all the time though.

    PS: Mr. Baird, Rajapassa regime is crap. We know that. We don’t need you to tell us that. God willing, we will send them home really soon.

    We are just alarmed by Canada’s sudden passion for Sri Lanka. Since we knocked out “Talented Mr. VP” so decisively.

    • 0

      Where were mr ben 1956,1958,1977,1978,1981, 1983????when the sinhala budhist savagers butchering our people…..

      • 0


        Why do you need me or other progressive Sinhalese at all?

        You have a much better monkey in Mr. Baird. I am sure he will deliver you an Ealam really soon. Keep dreaming.

        Just start shining his shoe with your tongue. I am sure you will excel at it.

        • 0

          Ben as you said progressive sinhala, you only 0.000000000001% in sinhala budhist society. I am not dreaming my dear ben, its rajapakse thugs going to deliver tamil ealam. Just wait, licking shoe its in your blood. YOu guys licked all over the world to defeat LTTE. Now whole world knows their filipin mistake….

          • 0

            One cannot play “Rukada” comedy Joke shows to deceive the world all the time.

            Villege Gambettas are very smart at playing these comedy tricks, but get caught to Towners quite often.

            Hope 75% Villege Gamaralas know about the ketakurulla game show.

      • 0


        Who is your people?

  • 0

    Neville Chamberlain is said to have appeased Hitler in 1938. History has not spared him for that. What is happening now? With enough of hindsight 53 Commonwealth nations are appeasing a caricature. This is a further dose of adrenaline to boost tyranny.

    • 0

      India, UK, Canada, Australia, South Africa, EU and finally idiots of Norway lead by Erik Solheim appeased the LTTE and “Talented Mr. VP” to the hilt. For 30 years. They still do it via overseas LTTE rump. And their terror backers turned bogus HR activists.

      • 0

        Ben Hurling

        “India, UK, Canada, Australia, South Africa, EU and finally idiots of Norway lead by Erik Solheim appeased the LTTE”

        VP was given a long rope to hang himself by all these countries.

        These countries have been and still are in geo political business not the stupid Sri Lanka and its very very stupid leaders supported by their very very very stupid people including Tamils and Sinhalese.

        You should speak to my elders if you need to broaden your views on matters of important.

        They tell me that wherever there is conflict these powers send their peace broker Norway first and pull the strings from behind. Wherever Norway was involved the non state actors were either subdued or completely annihilated.

        The new way of managing conflicts started with PLO/Israel peace initiative.

        I live in the deep deep jungle hence I don’t have access to information. Please do your own research about the history of Norwegian peace initiatives and the results which left the people high and dry. In Sri lankan case the people were left to rot in Mullivaaikkal.

        The International Community is only interested in stability, regional stability at any costs. If necessary the IC could prop up non state actors and demolish any state which does not tow the “International Norms”. They are also in a position to move the goal posts and they are expected to play the man rather than the ball wherever deem necessary.

        Now it seems my elders are far more wiser than you (City Slickers)though they live far away from metropolis. You sound like Weerawansa. Are you related to him?

  • 0

    indian kamalesh sharma bastard has been bribed by sinhala primitive savaghes mahinda and gothababa. kamalesh sharma pariah should be kicked out from hs position.

    • 0

      Yes we gave fe bedies to indians..

    • 0


      “kamalesh sharma bastard”

      Did you confirm this fact with his mother?

      “has been bribed by sinhala”

      Could I see some proof.

      “sinhala primitive savaghes mahinda and gothababa”

      Primitives are not necessarily savages. Do you have any proof to the contrary?

      How do you know they are Sinhalese? I am told that their ancestors came from Telungu Desam.

      “pariah should be kicked out from hs position”

      No doubt not only he should be kicked out of his position but also abolish this talking shop.

      Does it occurred to you that my cousins in the North of the island are known as Parayar? Is your comment aimed at my cousins? If it is the case I am highly offended by your reckless and pathetic comment. I am offended not because you called him Paraya but you identified him with my cousins.

  • 0

    I think the Indians are driving the agenda here through their man Sharma to protect the Rajapaksa regime from a disastrous loss of face. The Indians are playing a dirty game as usual. Sharma’s performance at the post meeting press conference showed his discomfort and his inability to defend a regime that is acting with complete contempt of the ideals of the Commonwealth. Canada showed real courage and took a principled stand and should be commended.

    • 0


      Canada does not show the same courage against Israel, USA or UK.

      All guilty of far greater war crimes than Rajapassa is ever accused of.

      Canada’s courage is very selective.

      Could it be due to domestic political compulsions?

      • 0

        FYI, the Conservatives don’t depend on the tamil vote for starters and, they were and remain the main anti LTTE party in the Canadian political scene. You, like many of the Rajapaksa apologists, seem to have no other valid reason to condemn all those who oppose the regime’s undemocratic and evil actions against the people of Sri lanka than to say they are under the influence of the LTTE rump or that they are selective in their condemnation. The Canadian government has the right to speak on behalf of a significant minority population in their country – the tamils – and I welcome it.

        Not having the CHOGM meet in Sri lanka will be a slap in the face of Rajapaksa and that is something all Sri lankans who cherish human rights and freedoms should welcome, no matter which race or religion you belong to. It will go in some way towards reining in the Rajapaksa excesses.

        • 0


          Rajapaksa apologist? Me? Proves beyond any doubt the quality of your “silly” conclusions.

          You take words of both Harper’s & Baird’s at face value? Well, I don’t. They are as good as Rajapassa’s.

          Harper is a neo-con. A religious fundamentalist. Baird knows how to speak from his behind in defence of Harper. I have seen how Harper & Baird supports Israeli opression of defenceless, impoverished Palestenians.

          So, I know their concern for HR is total BS. Baird is not in a position to preach to Sri Lanka on this issue. While doing the exact opposite in Israel/Paletine.

          Baird should first apologize to Sri Lankan people for millions of dollars raised in Canada by Snow Tigers to by weapons. Which destroyed our country for 30 long years. Until SL Armed Forces ended it at great cost.

          Slapping Rajapassa in the face? Great idea. I welcome it.

          In fact I don’t want this extravagant Commonwealth talking shop to be held in Sri Lanka. We can use that money to build houses for Tamil Sri Lankan refugees in the north.

          I just want to make sure cunning Ealamists will not benefit indirectly from our desire to have a better Sri Lanka.

          • 0


            I didn’t mean you were a Rajapaksa apologist but that you seem to be acting like one whenever criticism is made against Sri Lanka. You need to distinguish between the Rajapaksa regime and Sri Lanka – they are not the same.

            I feel that Canada is doing a favour to all Sri Lankans by vilifying the evil regime in the international arena and that can only be good for the country as it will shorten the regime’s tenure in power. Whatever the underlying reason for the present Canadian government’s actions on Sri Lanka is immaterial as long as it helps to evict the Rajaksas from power ASAP. That is my point.

            • 0

              Just want to make sure Canandian support to topple Rajapassa will not be a case of “giving ginger and getting pepper”.

              Canada is heavily lobbied by cunning Ealmists. We can easily fall into a trap. Sri Lanka’s history is flled with such exampels.

              Otherwise their solidaruty is welcome.

        • 0

          Not only that. All except the sycophants of the regime will benefit by not wasting the monies donated, begged & borrowed that will be used to meet the cost of holding this “boru show”

  • 0

    It’s the Indian rope trick once again engineered by the hidden hands. The Queen may not attend but the summit will be held as happened at Australia when the tyrant was most welcome.
    The UK needs the commonwealth more than any other nation because of its EU situation.

  • 0

    The right minded majority in the world are mere pawns in the hands of the scheming International Agents who manoeuvre Forums as these for their advantage. There never will be Justice meted to any society. See how they implicated someone completely unrelated to the Boston Bombings, possibly an inside job as the 9/11, to flog a dead horse, to keep the world afraid of a projected enemy while the real culprit is always unseen. It is then that these saviours can survive and rule the globe.

    • 0

      Why not you guys as RW supporters rally round to show him the hour of the need ? RW should have to act explosively not just looking at them.

      He is the opposition leader to represent the opponents views in the parliament. Give us good reasons why the man stay dead silent even if BBS or others attack the Muslims, and the rulers strengthen their hands allowing criminals to breed further.

      HoW MANY more years do the volks need to wait until RW functions wholeheartedly. He is equally accoutable for all problems that the nation is facing today.

      • 0

        “..He is equally accoutable for all problems that the nation is facing today..”

        Yes, he is accountable for allowing your father to beget a motherfucker like you who have no brain at all!

  • 0

    Indian will always supporting RP’s Genocide, otherwise they will have to answer for the genocide in Kashmir!

  • 0

    ” Kadavuna Poronduwa” – Brokem promise….
    those placards were attractive said Baird of Keneda who told he cared passionately for the issues in Sri Lanka (Not for the Tamils) and stab the diaspora inside the CMAG.(probably Baird does not have tamil contituents in his electorate)
    When R the next general elections in Canada.
    Tamils once again sold LOCK STOCK & BARREL by the powerful 8 …
    Did the Hindians cut the grass under the feet of Jayalalitha, Vaiko, d the diaspora & POOPALASINGHAM ? WHAT EFFECT OF GENEVA, IF THE CW RECOGNISE SRI LANKA HR record.

    Face or no Face, pirana, you Diaspora has lost the plot FOR NOW.
    Get the American Ambassador Soosan on board
    Aiyo.. After Geneva, this Indian Sharma has turned out to be a Bastard, a Pariah to the Tamil Diaspora…… chi…chi

    It was only Neville Chamberlain then, NOW TO PLEASE RAJAPAKSHE HITLER, 53 CW HEADS. Rajas laughing all the way into the annals of history.
    lets prepare for the visiotrs some Palmyrah Toddy and Nambiar brew for Sharma..
    And SHIFT THE CWC (not thonda) TO THE NORTH ?/

    Aney……. I’ve got my foot in my mouth again. Can someone please help me pull it out. Lets send Mahinda Mama. ha…ha..ha…….

  • 0

    The Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka will be a gathering of participants who would be of least consequence to the countries they represent.

    Would be only a joy ride for a great majority of them !

    Even though, most countries are quiet at the moment, their final action will demonstrate their protests.

  • 0

    Pro-LTTE Tamil diaspora’s wish to smack Rajapakse’s face has once again miserably failed.

    The venue of CHOGM summit was decided by the heads of states of Commonwealth at the last summit held in Australia. The Ministerial meeting held in London had no authority to change that decision on the venue.

    Australia’s Foreign Minister Bobb Carr has said that he is comfortable attending the Colombo Commonwealth Summit. He said that any suggestion of a boycott would be counter-productive.

    Bobb Carr has very correctly said that a boycott would isolate Sri Lanka and render it defiant of international opinion.

    I believe this is the line of thinking of almost all the Commonwealth nations except Canada. Even in the case of Canada it has not made any final decision. The most, Canada’s Prime Minister might not attend, but may allow a low level funtionary to attend the summit. If Canada decides to boycott the CHOGM Summit in Colombo it will damage Sri Lanka-Canada relations irreparably. Canadian Prime Minister’s statement may be more directed at ensuring the support of Sri Lankan Tamils in Canadian constituencies.

    • 0

      “Pro-LTTE Tamil diaspora’s wish to smack Rajapakse’s face has once again miserably failed”

      Indeed we all remember that wonderful speech Rajapaksa made at the Oxford Union which was not cancelled at the last minute forcing a quick dash back to the airport

      “Bobb Carr has said that he is comfortable attending the Colombo Commonwealth Summit”

      So this has nothing to do with his govt being against asylum seekers, especially those from Sri Lanka?

      “thinking of almost all the Commonwealth nations except Canada”

      Indeed the British will definately back Sri Lanka even though such a move will be seized upon by the British opposition Labour party to embarrass Cameron along with another Channel 4 killing fields documentary released to coincide with the visit. There is of course a huge sinhala vote base in London (compared to the SL Tamil one) for Cameron to be worried about thus causing him to overcome this opposition and go to Colombo

      “support of Sri Lankan Tamils in Canadian constituencies”

      Yet the indians and british will not be worried about their tamil population or the activism they will do to embarrass their leaders? I did not say embarras Sri Lanka because the SL govt under Rajapaksas can do this task admirably themselves.

  • 0


    “I believe this is the line of thinking of almost all the Commonwealth nations except Canada.”

    These Western English speaking countries take turn to play good cop bad cop. I am sure being a stupid serial offender Sri Lanka will soon incriminate itself by its own smart ar..ness, unless of course clan is willing to offer a best one sided deal beneficial to foreigners.

  • 0

    CMAG has abdicated its responsibility. No wonder when you see the list of countries which reads like a group of banana republics. These dudes are there only to enjoy life not to enforce principles and values. All have their own agendas. The monkeys from Bangladesh were bribed quite openly prior to the meeting to keep Sri Lanka of the agenda.BD foreign minister visited MR and came in for a lot of praise.

  • 0

    Kamlesh Sharma has delivered to the Rajapkses. In the good tradition of Cricket, the regime needs to be congratulated. The question now is who will come and who not – and therein will depend the integrity the hosts enjoy among the other Commonwealth leaders. Was there a Quid Pro Quo – as some readers allege. And what indeed transpired under Any other Business? For the moment kiribath and kavun at Araliya Maligawa is in order.

    And the million dollar question. Will QE2 (not the ship) grace the occasion?


  • 0

    The Secretary General’s answers are based on the assumption that the Sri Lankan regime is honest and credible, when in fact it has proved itself to be neither. I hope the Secretary General is credible when he says that he is using his good offices to encourage Sri Lanka to achieve reconciliation and good governance. The problem however is that “encouragement” is inadequate when dealing with a regime with no credibility. Such a regime does not respond to encouragement. It will respond only to the one thing it knows and uses, coercion. Suspension accompanied by economic sanctions would be a start.

    The regrettable failure of the CMAG to place Sri Lanka on the agenda leads impartial observers to only one conclusion, that the CMAG is pampering a regime that violates the principles that are the basis of its own existence and justification. If the Commonwealth leadership is unwilling to take proper action against so blatant a violator of its principles, it no longer has any moral authority or justification to exist as a serious fraternity of nations. It might as well disband itself.

    Sumith Ariyasinghe

  • 0

    It take over 60 years before any Canadian government acknowledeg the important role of Canadian bomber pilots in WW2 which included the mass fire-bombing of German civilians in cities such as Hamburg, Dresden & Cologne. Tens of thousands died in these raids and Canadian pilots paid an important role in them (for details read any reputable history of bombing in WW2 or history of the Canadian Air Force). Anyone who believes that Canada is somehow special and it’s people don’t get involved in wars should read about the history of the Canadian military available in the internet.

    Are we soon to read of Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird telling Canadians that he is “appalled” at the “evil” committed by Canada’s veterans in WW2? Not very likely as his party would soon be out of power. Well that may happen anyway, despite Baird and Harper’s gross exercises in hypocrisy.

  • 0

    If the Canadian PM believes sincerely that SL should not host the CHOGM later this year and feels so strongly that he should boycott it if SL does, let’s respect his decision.

    But we can point out to him that all this moral posturing about human rights and all that stuff is a bit hollow. If you look at the 60 year history of the Commonwealth, you will see how accommodating it has been of all manner of regimes. Did it, for instance, consider expelling Uganda even at the height of Idi Amin’s ‘reign of terror’. I can’t remember that happening. The Commonwealth is a sort of cosy club where members show a great deal of tolerance towards each other. I believe the likes of the Canadian PM are looking on the Commonwealth to act in a capacity which is outside its proper role. The UNCHR is on Sri Lanka’s back for its alleged human rights abuses. Arguably, it is the properly role of the UNCHR to be concerned in this area. But it is not the Commonwealth’s. Of course, Canada may think otherwise.

  • 0

    Ben Hurling has argued above very cogently about Canada’s dubious role in promoting human rights, especially under the present Harper government. I’d just like to add the case of its own aboriginl people. Just two days ago the former Prime Minister of Canada, Paul Martin, told the hearings into the mistreatment and abuse of aboriginal children in residential schools in no uncertain terms that the abuse of these children was nothing less than “cultural genocide,” as reported by the CBC News:

    “Paul Martin accuses residential schools of ‘cultural genocide’
    ‘Call a spade a spade,’ former prime minister says
    CBC News
    Apr 26, 2013
    Residential schools engaged in “cultural genocide,” former prime minister Paul Martin said Friday at the hearings of the federal Truth And Reconciliation Commission, adding that aboriginal Canadians must now be offered the best educational system.
    “Let us understand that what happened at the residential schools was the use of education for cultural genocide, and that the fact of the matter is — yes it was. Call a spade a spade,” Martin said to cheers from the audience at the Montreal hearings.
    “And what that really means is that we’ve got to offer aboriginal Canadians, without any shadow of a doubt, the best education system that is possible to have.”
    The residential school system existed from the 1870s until the 1990s and saw about 150,000 native youth taken from their families and sent to church-run schools under a deliberate policy of “civilizing” First Nations.
    Many students were physically, mentally and sexually abused. Some committed suicide or died fleeing their schools. Mortality rates reached 50 per cent at some schools.
    In the 1990s, thousands of victims sued the Canadian government as well as churches that ran the schools. The $1.9-billion settlement of that suit in 2007 prompted an apology from Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the creation of the commission.
    But the government has clashed with the commission and recently had to be ordered by an Ontario court to find and turn over documents from Library and Archives Canada.
    “Every document is relevant,” Martin said. “We have hid this for 50 years. It’s existed for 150. Surely to God, Canadians are entitled … aboriginal Canadians and non-aboriginal Canadians, to know the truth. And so let the documents be released.”
    New Democrat MP Romeo Saganash also testified on Friday about the damage he suffered in a residential school.
    Saganash, who was separated from his family and sent to a residential school in the Quebec town of La Tuque, cried as he described the death of his brother Johnny, whom he never met.
    He said his family still doesn’t have a death certificate or know what really happened, and that he wasn’t even allowed to return home for his father’s funeral.
    Saganash told the audience at the Montreal hearings that he might look like a normal person but isn’t.
    ‘I can never be normal’
    “I can never be normal,” said Saganash, who for the first few years of his life spoke Cree and lived in nature.
    “And none, none of those kids who were sent to residential schools can claim to be normal today. It’s impossible.”
    Like several others who spoke at the hearing, Saganash said injustices to aboriginal peoples did not stop with the closing of residential schools.
    “There are still racist policies against aboriginals,” said Saganash, who referred to the federal Indian Act.
    “Even when we get a victory before the courts, the government continues to fight against our fundamental rights.”

    • 0

      “former Prime Minister of Canada, Paul Martin, told the hearings into the mistreatment and abuse of aboriginal children in residential schools in no uncertain terms that the abuse of these children was nothing less than “cultural genocide,” as reported by the CBC News”

      Please tell me oh wise one what is newsworthy about the Canadians apologising for the mistakes of their forefathers? Is such a thing not telling you that these people have far more political maturity than the current SL govt which still shamelessly plays the nationalist sinhala buddhist vote card despite a destructive civil war caused by ethnic division? Those who fail to learn from history are bound to repeat it.

      “The $1.9-billion settlement of that suit in 2007 prompted an apology from Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the creation of the commission”

      Notice how the Canadians are able to deal with the claim through their own legal system and make their own commissions instead of being forced into it by outside powers like the SL govt who stage such things for show purposes only as opposed to doing anything meaningful thus inviting further pressure and ridicule.

      “New Democrat MP Romeo Saganash also testified on Friday about the damage he suffered in a residential school”

      How refreshing that he can make his experience known as opposed to many tamil civilians who continue to live under military rule in the North-East and who know anything bad they say can potentially result in their loved-ones going ‘missing’ via the state military apparatus led by the President’s brother.

      “Even when we get a victory before the courts, the government continues to fight against our fundamental rights.”

      These people at least have access to an impartial free media, a legal system not molested by their leaders to suit their own needs or a huge military assisted by paramilitary groups to ‘watch’ their movements. Living in this environment as opposed to feudal SL led by 1 family means any past injustices they suffered have now been lessened with the room for further improvements to be made if neccessary

  • 0


    You missed my point entirely.

    I drew attention to Paul Martin’s presentation at the hearings to show even though the present Harper government is acting like a self-righteous big bully with regard to small countries like Sri Lanka, Canada has its own human rights baggage. (Harper’s double standard vis a vis the powerful US, Britain, Israel, China, etc. is another matter already pointed out by other commentators). Further, the racism and discrimination against the native people are still ongoing in Canada and the hearings are part of the current efforts to address the issue after much wrangling and inordinate delay for several decades. The first European contacts with the aboriginal people were made in late 15th century. Even as recently as 2011 (March 16) the Toronto Sun reported the following:

    “LAKEFIELD, Ont. – Aboriginal leader Lorenzo Whetung was shocked when he got a call early Wednesday morning telling him that a fish and chips joint in Lakefield, Ont., had sign taped to its front door stating: “No Natives.”

    “It’s hard to believe in this day and age that this stuff is still happening,” Whetung, a Curve Lake First Nation councillor, told QMI Agency.

    Curve Lake First Nation neighbours Lakefield, located about 150 km northeast of Toronto.”

    Thus in Canada the issue of human rights violations is straight forward. Europeans invade the so called new world and massacre the aboriginal people and capture their lands and continue to enslave them through cultural genocide and discrimination. Many First Nations struggles over land claims are still ongoing. Comparing the plight of the aboriginal people of Canada to the situation of the Tamils in Sri Lanka is an insult to the suffering of the former.

    In Sri Lanka the issue is much more complex. After colonial rule ended tensions arose over power sharing and unfortunately leaders on both sides of the ethnic divide acted on political expediency rather than in the interests of the people. In their greed for political power they sowed the seeds of racism and hatred. The Jaffna-centric, middle class Tamil nationalists were even more unreasonable and belligerent in their demands. They launched an armed struggle and ultimately forced a war on the whole country in their quest for an ethnically-cleansed, separate, fascist Tamil state. Middle class Jaffna Tamils were historically part of the system of exploitation in the country from colonial times. In particular they oppressed and exploited their own so-called lower castes, the poorer Tamils in the Wanni and East, and Tamils of Indian origin in the Up-Country. The dominant Jaffna Tamils considered themselves culturally and socially superior to the above three categories of Tamils. Being ethno-centric they were also openly racist towards the Sinhalese and Muslims. Their ethno-fascist political organization, the LTTE, ethnically cleansed Jaffna Peninsula of all Sinhalese and Muslims. The LTTE then turned against its own people. It mercilessly wiped out all political opposition, destroyed even the rudimentary democracy that was prevailing in the northeast by killing moderate and democratic Tamil leaders and activists and by preventing the holding of elections, and conscripted child soldiers. The LTTE also assassinated many Sinhalese politicians and massacred hundreds of innocent Sinhalese and Muslim civilians including women and children. And then the Jaffna middle classes who started it all fled to greener pastures leaving the lower castes, the poor people of the Wanni and East, and above all the poorest of the poor, the plantation Tamils who had settled in the Wanni to fight and die for Tamil Eelam which they never wanted. These were the people who were forcibly taken along as human shield during the final phase of the war by the coward Prabakaran and ultimately to their death at Mullivaikkal. And even after subjecting these innocent people to the ultimate horror, the ruthless Jaffna Diaspora is trying to further victimize them by misrepresenting the circumstances of their death in their futile effort to give oxygen to the cause of Tamil Eelam.

    So my friend, Ramanan, the world is sadly more byzantine and convoluted than we would like to imagine.

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      “the racism and discrimination against the native people are still ongoing in Canada and the hearings”

      Only a top-class simpleton will look to compare the difficulties faced by native canadians and SL Tamils. For one, these natives in Canada do not have a brutal thug called Gota leading a massive security system which kills, kidnaps and intimidates at leisure. They have a media in Canada which is diverse and not subject to govt control with the leading critics like Lasantha shot up whilst others flee the country. Their judicial system is not tampered to allow Stephen Harper and his family room to take over various ministeries and hand out jobs in the govt as if they are sweets.

      “had sign taped to its front door stating: “No Natives.”

      So let me get this right, you are looking to compare what some idiot wrote outside a native’s fish shop to the systematic abuse faced by Tamils in Sri lanka where the security services (led by Gotabhaya) make it their job to actively intimidate and harass the Tamil population thus explaining how TNA meetings get broken up (as the security service look on) and the Tamil newspaper Uthayan gets casually attacked on a repeated basis (after which the employees of that paper get blamed for sabotaging their own business). Let us again not mention the big land grab under way in Northern Province by the military who are busy setting up checkpoints (in a land liberated from terror and fear)

      “Europeans invade the so called new world and massacre the aboriginal people and capture their lands and continue to enslave them through cultural genocide and discrimination”

      Yes but is this process going on now? Don’t tell me what happened in the 17th or 18th century but provide me some links of the Canadian security forces systematically intimidating its native population via murders, abductions and threats today. As you are a simpleton, you still believe that the crimes of one’s forefathers makes people guilty in the present day of those injustices (so i imagine you were against the Norwegians playing a role in the SL peace process due to their ancestors raping and pillaging western Europe as vikings?).

      Please tell me oh wise one, what choice did we have to be born into a particular ethnic group or society? As foetuses in our mother’s tummy did we have a discussion as to our preference to a particular racial grouping or were we born into this world through chance? So my friend please ponder on this point before spewing further convoluted nonsense.

      “The Jaffna-centric, middle class Tamil nationalists were even more unreasonable and belligerent in their demands. They launched an armed struggle”

      Haha now we have the evidence we were looking for as to what type of deep level intellectual you really are. Your complete ignorance of the causes of the SL civil war ties in nicely to your mad theories about people having to feel guilty about what their forefathers got up to as opposed to making changes in the present day. As there may be some more rational and intelligent people on this website, let us remind them how the intellectual Jaffna middle-class were indeed fighting to establish some form of equality with an SL govt keen to promote sinhala buddhism at all costs (sound familiar?) but when these peaceful struggles were met with intransigence, the less educated groups (especially those of a more violent persuasion) had enough and launched the armed struggle and indeed executed many of the Jaffna-centric politicians like Amrithalingam and Thiruchelvam. Therefore only an imbecile would comments like the ‘Jaffna-centric middle class’ launched the armed struggle when many of them were in fact victims of it, having many of their lands taken over forcibly by the LTTE as well as suffering personal tragedy as well.

      “The LTTE also assassinated many Sinhalese politicians and massacred hundreds of innocent Sinhalese and Muslim civilians including women and children”

      Indeed and they have been showing many killing fields programmes in the UK of the SL army engaged in similar barbaric acts (which the SL high commission in London has kindly allowed to be transmitted) but unfortunately this army and their leaders are still in power thus their continued abuses go unchecked. It is also no doubt refreshing for you that your lord and master Mahinda is very keen to associate on many of the LTTE figures who were engaging in the above acts, I hear Daya Master is his new favourite next to KP and Col Karuna.

      “the ruthless Jaffna Diaspora is trying to further victimize them by misrepresenting the circumstances of their death in their futile effort to give oxygen to the cause of Tamil Eelam”

      Yes and the SL govt is a completely innocent party and certainly has not encouraged Tamils to think of themselves as different. The massive sinhala-dominated army and security services in the North with their checkpoints, military monuments etc. are very much a welcome presence along with their top-class handling of law and order overseeing political intimidation, beatings, vote rigging, brutal open attacks on the media etc. Some people are wondering what need is there for such a presence after the North was ‘liberated’ from LTTE rule but as I said before, many of these devious LTTE figures are coming back in disguise as SLFP politicians so the need to maintain vigilance is natural in such a climate.

      We look forward to the SL govt continuing its enlightened programme for the country via rampant nepotism, corruption, encouraging the Bodu Sena to intimidate muslims and its patronage of brutal thugs like Duminda Silva.

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