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ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry strongly hit back at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his comment on the 14th anniversary of the end of the civil conflict in the island nation.

Sri Lanka’s successive governments have rejected the alleged war crimes and deliberately targeted unarmed civilians in the final phase of the 26-year war. Sri Lankan government forces have been alleged of indiscriminately killing civilians, mainly ethnic minority Tamils in a no fire zone the government announced earlier.

Prime Minister Trudeau said tens of thousands of Tamils lost their lives, including at the massacre in Mullivaikal, with many more missing, injured, or displaced.

“Our thoughts are with the victims, survivors, and their loved ones, who continue to live with the pain caused by this senseless violence,” Trudeau said in his statement on Thursday (18).

“The stories of Tamil-Canadians affected by the conflict – including many I have met over the years in communities across the country – serve as an enduring reminder that human rights, peace, and democracy cannot be taken for granted.”

“That’s why Parliament last year unanimously adopted the motion to make May 18 Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day. Canada will not stop advocating for the rights of the victims and survivors of this conflict, as well as for all in Sri Lanka who continue to face hardship.”

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Affairs rejected Trudeau’s statement, citing it was containing outrageous claims of genocide relating to the past conflict in Sri Lanka.

“Such irresponsible and polarizing pronouncements by the leader of a nation breeds disharmony and hatred both in Canada and Sri Lanka, instead of promoting peace and reconciliation,” the Ministry said in a statement late on Friday (19).

“Sri Lanka urges Canada and its leaders to refrain from making pronouncements from Canada which promote hatred, misinformation and extremist views and to cease its unhelpful focus on Sri Lanka based on distorted facts.  This runs contrary to the Canadian Prime Minister’s stated objective of “safeguarding human rights across the world”.”

It said Sri Lanka vehemently rejects the “unsubstantiated narrative of ‘genocide’ which has been deliberately constructed by politically motivated anti-Sri Lanka elements whose so-called recognition in Canada depends on spreading misinformation and a false narrative of hatred”.

“We urge caution at a time when the world is combatting the dangers of misinformation, including through social media platforms.

The Ministry said Sri Lankans have suffered for more than three decades from the brutal terrorism waged by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), “one of the world’s most ruthless terrorist organizations which suppressed the lives and democratic rights of all communities, Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese in all parts of the country”.

“We urge the Canadian Government and its leaders to leverage this platform to form bonds of friendship and harmony between people and to refrain from polarizing communities in both Canada and overseas.” (Colombo/May 20/2023)

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