Canadian MP raises concern on Sri Lanka's Human rights situation

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 11 July 2007, 01:30 GMT]
Mr Mark Holland, Liberal Member of Parliament for Ajax-Pickering in a communication to Canadian Prime Minister Harper, expressed his "deepest concern about the deteriorating human rights situation in Sri Lanka," and supported fellow parliamentarian Dan McTeague's call to "opening a consulate in Jaffna that is capable of providing immigration services."

Mark Holland
Full text of the letter follows:

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister
Langevin Block
80 Wellington St.
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

Dear Prime Minister:

PDF IconMark Holland's letter to Prime Minister Harper
I am writing to you to express my deepest concern about the deteriorating human rights situation in Sri Lanka, and also to urge the Government of Canada to take necessary measures to serve those in the northeast who cannot easily access the Canadian High Commission in Colombo.

Last month’s expulsion of about 400 Tamils from Colombo has been soundly condemned by reputable human rights organizations and by the international community. I have seen statements by the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence claiming that only those who could not provide a valid reason for being in the capital were evicted. Such statements only confirm that Sri Lankans of Tamil origin do not have freedom of movement in Sri Lanka, or free access to the capital.

My constituency office staff as well as constituents of Tamil origin have told me of the great difficulties experienced by those in the northeast who need to travel to the High Commission in Colombo, especially on immigration matters. In one case, a family member of a constituent died during the long delays attempting unsuccessfully to send paperwork and subsequently to travel to the capital. For many, travel to Colombo is impossible.

My colleague, Hon. Dan McTeague, has written to you to ask that Canada consider opening a consulate in Jaffna that is capable of providing immigration services. I strongly support this suggestion, if it can be done securely and without undue risk to personnel.

I urge your government to take immediate steps to address this situation, and I would appreciate being kept informed of how your government is responding.

Sincerely,

Mark Holland, M.P.
Ajax-Pickering


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