Sri Lankan military presence must be removed in the Tamil populated areas

For Immediate Release
November 30th, 2012

On Wednesday November 28th, the Sri Lankan military had brutally attacked Jaffna University students who had initiated a peaceful protest just outside of their university premises. The protest was a direct reflection of the students’ discontent with the invading presence of the Sri Lankan military at the university campus while the students mobilized to commemorate their fallen heroes who had rebelled against such forms of discrimination. The unwarranted harassment and searching of the university campus by the military force had triggered the students’ demonstration. Through the peaceful demonstration, the students publicly asserted their dissatisfaction with the intimidation put forth by the Sri Lankan military.

Canadian Tamil Youth Alliance (CTYA) condemns the Sri Lankan military’s use of scare tactics in an effort to prevent students from freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.  CTYA further vehemently condemns the unjustifiable attacks made by the Sri Lankan military on the Jaffna University students. “It’s quite disheartening to see that a so called democratic country is actively restricting the freedoms and basic rights of citizens.  As our Canadian government has mentioned during several occasions, military should not be present in civilian activities at all,” said Tharchini Vallepuram, a Director of CTYA. As Tamil youth, we stand in solidarity with the Jaffna University students in demanding that their rights and freedoms are upheld. We also stress that the safety and security of these students should not be undermined or endangered.

The Tamil Remembrance Day is a distinctive day on which Tamil people pay their respect to their heroes all over the world. To deprive the people from partaking in mourning and remembering is inhumane to any civil society. The Sri Lankan government’s relentless way of preventing such practices of remembrance from taking place blatantly reaffirms the government’s commitment on having dogmatic control over the activities of the Tamil people. In essence, like the burning of the Jaffna library in 1981, this is another form of abolishing Tamil history as the government tries to play an active role in ensuring that remembrance ceremonies do not take place.

While this disturbance may be the latest act committed by the Sri Lankan military forces against the Tamil population, it illustrates the need for the Canadian government, international community and the United Nations to seriously consider the conditions faced by the Tamil population in Sri Lanka. CTYA along with its members urge the democratic establishments around the world to immediately demand Sri Lankan government to remove military presence in the Tamil populated areas of North and East of the island.

CTYA is the largest combination of Tamil youth groups and associations across Canada currently consisting 54 youth groups.

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