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article imageReport: Ship full of 'hardcore' Tamil migrants headed to Canada Special

By Andrew Moran     Jul 19, 2010 in World
Colombo - Sri Lankan newspapers are reporting that a ship full of Tamils and members of the ousted rebel group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, is headed to Canada after it was originally headed to Australia.
Desperate Tamils from Sri Lanka have been attempting to seek refuge in many countries since the end of the 25-year civil war last year. Some have sought asylum in Australia, Thailand, the United States and Canada.
According to the Sunday Observer, an English Sri Lankan newspaper, a vessel filled with Tamil migrants is headed to the western part of Canada after it changed its original route to Australia, reports the Toronto Sun.
The reports also suggest that many on board are part of the overthrown Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which is listed as a terrorist group. However, David Poopalapillai of the Canadian-Tamil Congress urged Canadians and officials to not believe the state-owned newspaper.
“We should not jump the gun,” said Poopalapillai, reports the Montreal Gazette. “The Sri Lankan government brands all Tamils as terrorists. If they come, they should be given due process. Although the Sri Lankan government declared that war is over, there is no peace…(Tamils) are still a persecuted minority.”
Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ambra Dickie stated on Friday that the Canadian government is aware of the media reports and although they are unaware of the ship’s exact location, they are taking necessary steps to ensure the law is imposed, reports the Vancouver Sun.
“Those responsible for migrant smuggling will be pursued, investigated and prosecuted to the full extent of Canadian law and in accordance with the provisions of international conventions and protocols."
Tamil Protests in Toronto
Tamil protesters in front of the United States Consulate and Consulate of India in Downtown Toronto.
Andrew Moran
Dev Fakruddin, a Toronto Tamil activist, told Digital Journal in an e-mail that he is quite upset over the media coverage of this matter. Fakruddin explains that the media portrays those in the vessel as terrorists instead of victims of a tyrannical government.
“I’m really amazed,” stated Fakruddin. “I’m amazed at how our Canadian media just parrots a government-owned newspaper in Sri Lanka without doing any investigative journalism. Why don’t they report about the 300,000 Tamils who were locked up in barbed-wire camps? Why don’t they report that the Tamil victims need help, refuge and safety? Why don’t they report the psychological trauma that young Tamil children are going through?”
Fakruddin added Dickie’s comments are completely inappropriate because the Tamils are escaping from violence, oppression and tyrannical laws that discriminate Tamils.
“This is one of the reasons why I lost faith in the Canadian establishment because they don’t discuss truth. Dickie wants to prosecute these people to the fullest extent of the law? For what? Escaping suffering? Escaping the bloodshed? Escaping the concentration camps? We say shame to the Sri Lankan government, but if the Canadian government prosecutes these people, we all should yell out shame at the federal government.”
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