Today and throughout the month of May, I, along with Canadians of Tamil heritage and Tamils throughout the world remember the tragic events in 2009 and the approximately 40,000 lives lost during this month four years ago.
The 26-year conflict saw an estimated 80-100,000 deaths and thousands more were displaced from their homes.
Tens of thousands of lives were lost and families were torn apart as the international community looked away.
New Democrats have consistently stood in solidarity alongside Tamils. We called for the international community to protect innocent lives, pursue peace and to show compassion to those like my family who came to Canada in search of safety.
The world failed to speak up in 2009 and we must not allow the government of Sri Lanka to get away with impunity in 2013.
Since the end of the conflict, the Sri Lankan government continues to show a lack of respect for democracy, human rights and ignore calls for accountability.
Reports of continuing abductions, systemic lack of basic security for women, increasing lack of freedom of information, settlement of the Northern Areas and a lack of linguistic freedoms for minorities are ongoing.
Critical voices have been silenced including voices of university students and journalists who have been silenced, smeared, assaulted and forcibly disappeared.
The United Nations Panel of Experts revealed that there are credible allegations of serious violations of international laws including war crimes and crimes against humanity. The allegations must be independently investigated and perpetrators need to be brought to justice. The truth needs to come out-reconciliation is not possible without identifying the truth.
The New Democrats have repeatedly called on the government to take a strong and principled position on Sri Lanka including calling on the Prime Minister to commit to a full boycott of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting being held in Colombo, Sri Lanka this November.
We need to work together to build a sustainable process for peace in Sri Lanka based on respect, dignity and justice for all of the victims of this horrific war.