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Sri Lanka in the Crosshairs of Canadian ParliamentTim King Salem-News.com
For Sri Lanka, it's question time in the Canada.
(SALEM, Ore.) - Our readers are very familiar with the trials and tribulations of the Sri Lankan government in regard to war crimes that took place in this island country just over two years ago. The Sinhalese Buddhist government chose to militarily attack the minority Tamil population in the north, comprised of mostly Hindus but also Christians.
A resistance group that has been in existence fighting the government over equal rights for several decades, the Tamil Tigers or LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), were at the center of the government's notion for the attacks.
The problem is that the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) did not discriminate between militants and non-combatants.
From there it gets much worse.
Allegations of terrible sex crimes against Tamil women are extensive and almost all ended in murder. There is video footage recorded by SLA soldiers that shows the corpses of women being thrown into the back of a truck for disposal, as if they were logs.
The worst problem in relation to that is not the way the soldiers kicked, degraded and insulted (or perversely sexually complimented) the bodies of the abused women, it is the fact that some are clearly still alive, though surely not for long, but still...
The government of Sri Lanka, under the direction of President Majinda Rajapaksa, initially denied all war crime charges and perhaps lost their bid for sympathy, credibility and also their semblance to decency with those repeated denials.
It isn't that they simply denied the charges, but the government tried to lambaste Great Britain's Channel 4 news by claiming that the grisly video sequences of the SLA butchering, raping and executing Tamil people, were 'faked' which was then and is now, a preposterous claim. In one interview after another, Sri Lankan officials scoffed at the extremely serious charges and evidence, dismissing the compelling images entirely.
Over and over, in different ways, even going so far as to produce a documentary intended to counter the charges, Sri Lanka fully denied the crimes, in spite of the obvious fact that they did take place. Channel 4 was accused of using actors, coaching witnesses, and they were faulted repeatedly by Sri Lanka for not properly identifying witnesses who quite obviously feared for their lives.
The reason the government forces of Sri Lanka were able to get away with this genocidal madness, is the elimination of media in Sri Lanka that was either factual, or simply friendly toward the Tamil cause. I covered this in great detail in a previous article, and the numbers of journalists who were murdered and disappeared is staggering.
I can not think of too many things that are more disturbing than eradicating the media, it is an effective cold blooded way to control the flow of information. It is video shot and released by members of the SLA itself that offer the most damning evidence.
United Nations observers were present in the Tamil regions just before this mass extermination of people, and they were directed to leave by the Sri Lankan government 'for their own safety.'
Though Tamils begged them to stay and watch over them, the observers left as directed and later several expressed regret for not staying, and it seems clear that their absence allowed the Genocide to take place. Today members of the Tamil population live in facilities described as 'concentration camps' and they still live in fear.
That is a loose narrative of the background in this critical story. The government of Sri Lanka seemed as if it was going to be able to deny this nightmare for some time, and with friends like the United States backing their government, it seemed more than possible.
However, Canada is not of the same mindset.
The following statements were made Thursday 29 September 2011, in the Canadian Parliament:
Politicians from the Great White North have taken a seat at the chess board of justice and Sri Lanka sits across the table, and they are nervous; reluctant to discover what lies in store for them later this month in the UN when they square off with Canada, and fearful that Sri Lanka might experience the ultimate national shame, and that is being tossed out of the United Nations and losing member status.
That creates a tough deal for a country that relies on international tourism, and it is too bad for the Tamils that Rajapaksa didn't consider the economic impacts of savage butchery and Genocide.
It looks like this president who runs a country with his brothers gangster style, truly set his population up for a fall, all to make Sri Lanka a Sinhalese Buddhist nation with a single language and culture.
They are perhaps discovering that no country can have a single religion without Genocide and massive human rights deprivations, which are all illegal under international law.
Canadian Parliament is standing up as a legitimate government and Sri Lanka is finding no favors. MP's were 'treated' to a viewing of the Channel 4 documentary, Sri Lanka's Killing Fields and it takes little more to convince a person that the SLA is responsible for one of the world's most terrible events took place in the summer of 2009.
Sadly and ironically, it comes at a time when other crimes of rape and sexual misconduct that the Sri Lanka Army is accused of while attached to the UN, are under investigation.
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I can say that the Prime Minister has spoken out loudly and clearly on this very important issue of human rights. I have certainly relayed the Government of Canada's position to both the high commissioner and directly to my counterpart, the minister of foreign affairs of Sri Lanka, to express our concerns on the lack of accountability for the serious allegations of war crimes, the lack of reconciliation with the Tamil community and with events that have taken place since the end of the civil war. Canada will continue to speak loudly and clearly on behalf of human rights around the world, especially in Sri Lanka.Ms. Rathika Sitsabaiesan (Scarborough—Rouge River, NDP): Mr. Speaker, last night, I joined MPs from all parties in hosting a screening of the documentary, Sri Lanka's Killing Fields . It moved me, as it did everyone else there. Sadly, Canada and the rest of the world has stood idly by for far too long. Human rights organizations around the world are calling upon the United Nations to launch an independent inquiry into the possibility of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka. A Conservative MP helped sponsor the event last night. Will his government now stand in the House today and finally commit to fighting for justice for Sri Lankans and call for a United Nations inquiry?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr. Speaker, we did not sit idly by at the United Nations on Monday where I brought the plight of human rights violations to the floor of the General Assembly. The Prime Minister did not sit idly by when he expressed grave concern about attending a future summit of the Commonwealth in Colombo. We did not sit idly by when we spoke with the high commissioner to Sri Lanka and raised our concerns. I did not sit idly by last week when I met with the foreign minister of Sri Lanka to express our significant concerns. We have not sat idly by. We will continue to stand up, do the right thing and fight for human rights around the world, especially in Sri Lanka.
Previous Salem-News.com reports on Sri Lanka's Genocide:
Sep-13-2011: Sri Lanka Recalls Diplomat Accused of War Crimes
Jun-20-2011: Sri Lanka's Violence Toward Tamil Minority Continues
Jun-02-2011: UN Experts: Sri Lanka Tamil Genocide Video is Real
May-31-2011: Sri Lanka Tamil Genocide: Killing the Messenger
May-03-2011: Confronting the Tamil Genocide in Sri Lanka
Apr-27-2011: Tamil Genocide in Sri Lanka Emerges Into Public View
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. You can send Tim an email at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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