Tamil diaspora observes Friday as black day

Tamil diaspora observes Friday as black day

"In conjunction with the Tamil populations in Europe, the Canadian Tamils will observe Friday as a black day. We estimate that more than 25,000 innocent civilians have been killed by the Sri Lankan forces and many more displaced," said Canadian Tamil Congress spokesman David Poopalapillai.

He said the 300,000-strong community will wear black dress to mourn the "victims of the Sri Lankan genocide."

Poopalapillai said Tamil communities in Europe will gather in major cities to share their sorrow and mourn their dead.

"In Toronto, we will gather at the Ontario provincial assembly in the heart of city for a condolence meeting.

"Many non-Canadian speakers and our sympathizers will speak during the daytime. In the evening, we will observe a candle-light vigil till 9 p.m."

The Tamil leader said, "The brutal Sri Lankan regime has no regard for the displaced civilians. We will appeal to the international community to pressure Colombo to let in food, clothing and other basic amenities to the displaced people."

Meanwhile, Canadian foreign minister Lawrence Cannon and international cooperation minister Bev Oda on Thursday appealed to Sri Lanka "to allow full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to all civilians affected by the conflict in that country and to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian workers."

The two ministers said Sri Lanka must ensure immediate humanitarian assistance for the affected people.

They said Sri Lanka must also allow freedom of movement to internally displaced people and facilitate their return to their homes "in safety and with dignity as soon as possible.

"We urge the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure that the protection of and assistance for internally displaced persons are consistent with international standards."

The Canadian ministers asked Colombo to immediately launch a political process to "ensure that all the people of Sri Lanka can live in safety and receive the full protection of their human rights and fundamental freedoms."

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