Release: Rallies Across Canada to Support Tamil Refugees; Communities Demand “Let Them Stay”

Posted by admin on Aug 20th, 2010

August 20, Vancouver – The immigrant and refugee rights group No One Is Illegal is organizing rallies across Canada to demand that Canadian government officials respect the human rights of the 492 Tamil migrants aboard the MV Sun Sea. Rallies will be taking place in Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Victoria, Kitchener-Waterloo and unsurrendered Wet’suwet’en Territories throughout the week. In Vancouver, hundreds are expected to gather on Saturday August 21 at the Vancouver Art Gallery (Robson Side) at 3:30 pm. Details for other cities can be found here

According to Harjap Grewal, a member of No One Is Illegal, “We are concerned that public officials and the media are stereotyping these migrants as queue-jumpers or terrorists based on unsubstantiated speculations. The migrants have survived military atrocities in Sri Lanka as well as a long and arduous journey. We believe they should be welcomed and demand they be released from detention immediately.”

Dozens of other community groups have also expressed their public support for the detained Tamil asylum seekers. According to the South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy “We condemn the Government of Canada’s hypocritical use of the discourse of human rights and its current racist fear-mongering against Tamil refugees. We demand fair and humane treatment for the refugees who have come on the Sun Sea and all people who seek Canada as a refuge to rebuild their lives following the cynical and brutal abuse of human rights by their governments and/or the devastations of war.”

Similarly, the Canadian Peace Alliance, Canada’s largest peace network, urges the government of Canada to respect the human rights of the Tamil refugees arriving in British Colombia. A variety of statements can be found here:

“The Canadian government is relying on fear-mongering to justify their new prison budget and the violent incarceration of asylum seekers, many of whom are women and children. The Conservative government throws around the catch-all phrase ‘terrorism’ or ‘criminal smugglers’ to create an atmosphere of paranoia and to prevent any public or media scrutiny of their actions. This is reflected in a growing trend of anti-refugee policies and sentiments under Minister Jason Kenney,” further states Grewal.

No One Is Illegal has released a factsheet on Myths and Realities about the 490 Tamil asylum seekers aboard MV Sun Sea, encouraging people to educate themselves rather than rely solely on sensationalist sound-bites. This factsheet is available here:

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