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Canada’s minister of foreign affairs, Hon. Marc Garneau Clarifies governments’ position to Tamils

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Canada’s minister of foreign affairs, Hon. Marc Garneau Clarifies governments’ position to Tamils

Canada’s Foreign Minister Marc Garneau

“Canada recognizes the importance of an independent and credible justice process that has the trust and confidence of victims….” – Marc Garneau.

TORONTO, CANADA , July 8, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ –Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Marc Garneau, in a remarkably candid response to a Tamil petitioner, clarified Canada’s stand on the long standing Tamils’ issue that has been a matter of concern for 12 years to the International Community and the UNHRC.

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The minister responded to an online petition with three prayers, filed by a Canadian Tamil Citizen on Feb 10. The petition, in its preamble, highlighted facts drawn from the UNHRC high Commissioner Michelle Bachelet’s report released on Jan 27.

  1. Work with members of the Co-Group, and garner support from other council members, to adopt a new resolution at the upcoming February and March 2021 sessions, guaranteeing justice to victims of international atrocity crimes;
  2. Ensure the new resolution incorporates mechanisms to refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court; and

  3. Ensure the new resolution mandates non-recurrence of mass atrocities and proposes a referendum with international monitors and victims’ participation, to determine the Tamils’ political future, as remedial justice, – were the three prayers in the petition.

As part of his elaborate responses to the prayers, Minister Marc Garneau, while mentioning about the Mar 23 UNHRC resolution and Canada’s role in it, pointed that,

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“ The resolution also requests the OHCHR to enhance its monitoring and reporting on the situation of human rights in Sri Lanka, including the preparation of a comprehensive report with further options for advancing accountability to be presented at the Human Rights Council fifty-first session (September 2022). Canada and the international community will consider these options for future accountability processes – which may include an international investigation – when the OHCHR presents its comprehensive report. “

Roy Wignarajah the initiator of the petition said, “The foreign affairs Minister Hon. Marc Garneau’s responses are a milestone. The response has put unequivocally on record, Canada’s stand, in the pursuit of justice and equality for Sri Lanka’s Tamils.”

I see the government’s response as a message that possesses the worthiness to be presented to the Canadian and world Tamil polity and every domestic and international stakeholder working to see equality and justice delivered to Sri Lanka’s Tamils. While my sincere appreciation and gratitude goes to the government of Canada and Hon. Marc Garneau the Minister of Foreign affairs, it is my duty to give due credit to the 683 fellow Canadians and the initial four supporters who signed the petition.

On behalf of everyone that supported the petition, I take pride in acknowledging the Canadianism shown by Heather McPherson MP, Edmonton Strathcona New Democratic Party Caucus Alberta, in accepting the petition and presenting it in the House of Commons. Also on behalf of all the Tamil Canadians and the Tamils of Sri Lankan descent, I thank Hon. Marc Garneau MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the government of Canada’s for the unequivocal response to the Tamils he further said.

The petition and the response by the government of Canada: e-3168 (Foreign affairs) E-petition Initiated by Roy Wignarajah from Scarborough, Ontario Original language of petition: English Petition details Petition to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

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Whereas: Canada is a member of the Sri Lanka Co-Group at the UN Human Rights council; ·

The High Commissioner of the Council released the Sri Lanka report on January 27, 2021; · The High Commissioner urges the Member States to take steps to refer the situation in Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court, in paragraph 59 of the report; · Twice before, the UNHRC has leant its support to domestic accountability and reconciliation initiatives, culminating in resolution 30/1, from which Sri Lanka unilaterally withdrew in March 2020; · The High Commissioner indicates that Sri Lanka has now demonstrated its inability and unwillingness to pursue a meaningful path towards accountability for international crimes and serious human rights violations; · In March 2011, the UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts and Internal Review Panel on Accountability in Sri Lanka reported that as many as 40,000 Tamils were killed and 70,000 people were unaccounted for in the final six months of the war ending in 2009; and · The failure to refer Sri Lanka to the ICC will embolden it to continue international atrocity crimes unabated, against the Tamils.

We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Minister of Foreign Affairs to:

  1. Work with members of the Co-Group, and garner support from other council members, to adopt a new resolution at the upcoming February and March 2021 sessions, guaranteeing justice to victims of international atrocity crimes;
    2. Ensure the new resolution incorporates mechanisms to refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court; and
    3. Ensure the new resolution mandates non-recurrence of mass atrocities and proposes a referendum with international monitors and victims’ participation, to determine the Tamils’ political future, as remedial justice.

Government response tabled Response by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Rob Oliphant Canada had long supported UNHRC resolution 30/1 and its successors, and was disappointed when the Government of Sri Lanka withdrew its support from the resolution and its consensual framework in February 2020. Canada, along with its partners in the Core Group on the Sri Lanka resolution, believes that previous domestic processes have proven insufficient to tackle impunity and deliver real reconciliation.

At the Council’s 46th session (February-March 2021), Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs highlighted Sri Lanka’s deteriorating human rights situation. At the Session, through Core Group efforts, the Council adopted a new resolution which advances accountability in Sri Lanka by mandating the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights ‘to collect, consolidate, analyse and preserve information and evidence’ of gross violations of human rights and humanitarian law. The continued reporting and the attention of the UNHRC will assist in monitoring ongoing human rights concerns in the country.

The new resolution 46/1 strengthens the capacity of the OHCHR to collect and preserve information and evidence of crimes related to Sri Lanka’s civil war that ended in 2009. The resolution also requests the OHCHR to enhance its monitoring and reporting on the situation of human rights in Sri Lanka, including the preparation of a comprehensive report with further options for advancing accountability to be presented at the Human Rights Council fifty-first session (September 2022). Canada and the international community will consider these options for future accountability processes – which may include an international investigation – when the OHCHR presents its comprehensive report. UNHRC resolution 46/1 does not incorporate a mechanism to refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Only the United Nations Security Council can refer cases to the ICC if the country concerned is not a party to the Rome Statute or has not accepted the ICC’s jurisdiction. That said, Canada recognizes the importance of an independent and credible justice process that has the trust and confidence of victims and believes this remains necessary for reconciliation and long-term prosperity.

The OHCHR’s new mandate will be critical for establishing future accountability processes. Canada also encourages all non-States Parties to consider acceding to the Rome Statute of the ICC. Resolution 46/1 emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive approach to dealing with the past to ensure accountability, to serve justice, to provide remedies to victims, and to avoid the recurrence of violations of human rights and to promote healing and reconciliation. The resolution further calls upon the Government of Sri Lanka to protect civil society actors, including human rights defenders, and to investigate any attacks and to ensure a safe and enabling environment as well as to foster freedom of religion or belief and pluralism by promoting the ability of all religious communities to manifest their religion, and to contribute openly and on an equal footing to society. The resolution reaffirms the UNHRC’s commitment to sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.

Canada will continue to urge Sri Lanka to uphold its human rights obligations, end impunity and undertake a comprehensive accountability process for all violations and abuses of human rights. Canada believes that resolution 46/1 is a step toward securing a safe, peaceful and inclusive future for Sri Lanka, and, to this end, we stand ready to support efforts that work towards this goal.

Link to the petition and governments response:

https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-3168

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p class=”contact c6″ dir=”auto”>Roy Wignarajah
Roy Wignarajah
+1 416-457-1633
[email protected]

Author: Aalto University
Read more here >>> The European Times News

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Canada’s minister of foreign affairs, Hon. Marc Garneau Clarifies governments’ position to Tamils
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