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Mobilization Against War & Occupation
Statement on the Recent Arrival of Tamil Refugees

August 16, 2010

On August 14, 2010, 490 Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka arrived in BC’s waters aboard the MV Sun Sea. These refugees are fleeing war torn Sri Lanka, where in 2009 the government of Sri Lanka launched a war against the Tamil people who were fighting for their self-determination. These 490 Tamil refugees are part of hundreds of thousands of Tamils who were persecuted and detained by the government of Sri Lanka. Upon their arrival, they were met by Canadian military, RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency personnel and taken to jails while they await their immigration hearings. “Families are now being separated, with many children being taken by the Ministry of Child and Family Development. The refugees now face the threat of incarceration and eventual deportation,” according to a statement by No One is Illegal in Vancouver.

The government of Canada has made it clear that the doors will be closed to these Tamil refugees. Before the MV Sun Sea had even neared BC’s coast, the Canadian and BC governments had already begun a negative and deceptive campaign against the refugees, labeling the asylum seekers as ‘terrorists’ and ‘human traffickers’. On Thursday August 12th, Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews said, “Human smugglers and human traffickers are now watching Canada’s response to judge whether or not they can continue to take advantage of us… We will send a message loud and clear to other criminals: ‘if you do this, then you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.’”

This statement and other similar statements by the government of Canada and BC are part of the racist fear mongering against the Tamil people. We must not let this negative and deceptive campaign divide poor and working people, or isolate the Tamil community – this is not just a Tamil issue, but one of human rights and dignity, that all peace loving people must unite around. In this crucial time of attacks against refugees in general and Tamil refugees in particular, unity is essential.

The refugee and immigration problem today is created by imperialist countries like Canada on two fundamental basis. Firstly, the effect and impact of colonial and imperialist policies on third world countries, such as the destruction of their economy and domestic agriculture, and crisis of market dysfuctionality, as well as the creation of political crises in these countries, has created hundreds of millions of refugees and immigrants around the world. Secondly, the racist and inhuman immigration policies of imperialist countries have brought this immigration and refugee problem to its state of tragic crisis for immigrants and refugees. Tamil people are suffering from imperialist exploitation, as well as being victims of the Sri Lankan government’s war against them – a war which was the result of divisions imposed by the legacy of colonialism in Sri Lanka, and supported by imperialist countries, like Canada, the US and Britain who declared The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to be a terrorist organization. We as human and peace loving people must support the Tamil people’s human and democratic rights to self-determination. People in Canada and the US must demand that the doors be opened unconditionally to all Tamil refugees.

Join Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO) in supporting No One is Illegal’s National Day of Action in support of the Tamil refugees, by attending as well as promoting these actions. MAWO will actively promote the actions though announcements to our lists of thousands of our supporters, and by distribution of posters and leaflets. For further information go to:

Stop Jailing and Deporting Refugees! Let the Tamil Refugees Stay! Grant the Tamil Refugees Asylum Immediately and Unconditionally! End the Racist Immigration and Refugee Policies!

Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO)