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article imageElected Tamil Representative discusses Black July, NCCT (video) Special

By Andrew Moran     Jul 26, 2010 in Politics
Toronto - National Council of Canadian Tamils (NCCT) National Youth Representative Siva Viamalachandran spoke to about the significance of Black July, the purpose of the NCCT and the goals of Tamils everywhere.
Digital Journal reported about the historic National Council of Canadian Tamils (NCCT) election that was held one month ago where a large number of community members and leaders were voted to represent the interests of Tamils across Canada.
During the Black July commemoration ceremony at Queen’s Park in Toronto on Sunday, Digital Journal had the opportunity to speak with NCCT National Youth Representative Siva Viamalachandran about Sunday’s remembrance event, what happened in that fateful month and the significance of the NCCT.
What is Black July?
“We’re here today to commemorate an annual event we do for the memory of the Black July 1983 riots that took place from July 23 to 28. This event was marked by over 3,000 Tamils losing their lives predominantly in the Colombo region in Sri Lanka but also there were riots and massacres in other parts of Sri Lanka as well.”
Viamalachandran explained that they’re there to commemorate the day because it was “a tragic day” where the Sri Lankan government “dehumanized” the Tamil minority in the country. The NCCT elected member said the government gave the Singhalese mobs precise information as to the specific whereabouts of Tamils such as their homes and businesses.
These mobs burned down Tamils’ residences, vandalized and destroyed their shops and businesses and most were killed in the streets. The result from this violence was more than $1 million in damages and hundreds of thousands of Tamils fleeing the country or being internally displaced.
Siva Viamalachandran  youth representative for the National Council for Canadian Tamils delivering a...
Siva Viamalachandran, youth representative for the National Council for Canadian Tamils delivering a speech at Black July ceremony.
The Youth Representative explained that the most recent act of genocide against the Tamil people was last year where approximately 40,000 Tamil civilians died and added, “The similarities between these two cases are remarkable.” The reason why they’re similar is because there is a lack of respect for international law, domestic law, human life and human rights.
“We’re here today to voice our concerns about that. We’re here also to show that these events are not isolated. They’re all stemming from the exact same cause, which is the discrimination and the hatred towards the Tamil minority, and the complete lack of human rights given to that minority within Sri Lanka. We’re here today to commemorate those lives lost in both 2009 and ’83 riots.”
United Nations investigation panel into alleged war crimes by Sri Lanka
The Tamil youth leader stated that many at the rally are there also to discuss the possible United Nations investigation panel, established by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, into the alleged “war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide” committed by the Sri Lankan government.
Even though some Canadian Members of Parliament and Provincial Parliament have supported the Tamils, such as New Democratic Party MPs Olivia Chow and Jack Layton and Liberal MP Bob Rae, Viamalachandran is asking both federal and provincial governments to “take a stand on the issue and support the UN’s investigation.”
“If they want justice for the Tamil people, that justice has to come with the violators of human rights, international law and being prosecuted under international law and war criminals being brought to justice.”
NCCT youth movement
In June, tens of thousands of Canadian Tamils headed to the polls to elect national, provincial and regional representatives that would best represent the Tamil community in Canada. When covering the election, it was quite apparent that the general theme of the election was: a strong youth movement.
Viamalachandran noted that the NCCT is a grassroots organization that was formed after the numerous demonstrations that were held since May 2009 in Canada and elsewhere in the world. However, the NCCT member stated that the council is a youth-led organization “because we demonstrated day and night on the streets. After the demonstrations were done, we analyzed the situation and we figured out what our weakness and what our strengths were.”
Kavitha Senathilmurugan  representative for National Council for Canadian Tamils.
Kavitha Senathilmurugan, representative for National Council for Canadian Tamils.
Their conclusion was that the Tamil people need a democratic national body to best represent “us” in Canada on all three levels of government: federal, provincial and municipal. The initiative became successful that they partnered with officials in Europe.
“We see the progress and the evolution and adaption of our people as a whole.”
What’s the role of NCCT?
The roles that NCCT representatives play, according to Viamalachandran, is to lobby for the Tamil people and to communicate with members from all levels of government to let them know what the Tamil community wants and needs.
NCCT leaders are in constant communication with MPs, MPPs and Councillors through e-mails and telephone calls.
Canadian officials from all three parities were quite surprised by the results of the NCCT that some openly stated that Elections Canada could even learn from the organization to ensure fair and democratic results.
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