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Press Release: Uphold the Rights of Tamil Migrants aboard MV Sun Sea

by NOII Vancouver

Press Release: Uphold the Rights of Tamil Migrants aboard MV Sun Sea

Originally posted on NOII Vancouver's website.

Approximately 200-500 Tamils have risked their lives in an extremely long and dangerous journey looking for a place where they can live in safety. We say: LET THEM STAY!

No One is Illegal - Vancouver calls on all allies, fighters, trouble makers and social justice activists to organize and fight the racist and anti-immigrant sentiments and policies of the Canadian government and society. Stay tuned for more information on how to support. For now, take a minute to post the following image as a your facebook profile pic, or print it and display it on your window, office, school, etc:


Uphold the Rights of Tamil Migrants aboard MV Sun Sea

August 11, Vancouver – The immigrant and refugee rights group No One Is Illegal is demanding that Canadian government officials respect the human rights of the estimated 200-500 Tamil migrants aboard the MV Sun Sea. The boat is expected to land by the weekend and the detainees will be
transferred to Fraser Regional Corrections Centre and Allouette Correctional Centre for Women, who have both prepared for a 3-4 month incarceration. Based on reports in the media, the group includes up to 100 women and children, and there has been at least one death during the voyage.

According to Magin Payet Scudalleri, a member of No One Is Illegal, “Public officials and the media must refrain from stereotyping these migrants as queue-jumpers or terrorists based on unsubstantiated speculations. The migrants have survived a long and arduous journey in the hopes that the Canadian state will fully comply with its international refugee and human rights law obligations to the right to asylum.”

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has previously warned that “The association of irregular migration with criminality promotes the stigmatization of migrants and encourages a climate of xenophobia and hostility against them.”

Harsha Walia, member of No One Is Illegal, states “We saw a similar unfounded hysteria last October with the 76 Tamil migrants. All were eventually released when Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) was forced to admit they had no evidence of a LTTE connection. In fact, based on a lack of evidence, CBSA consented to the release of the last group of 25 detained refugees in January 2010.”

“The Canadian government is relying on fear-mongering and racist stereotypes 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’ 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 Walia.

Rohan Gunaratna, the Canadian’s government’s primary source, has already
been discredited by lawyers as well as an Immigration and Refugee Board
adjudicator. They have questioned his sources as well as his credibility
given his ongoing close relationship with the Sri Lankan government.

In a March 2010 meeting with Kenney, United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees Antonio Guterres warned that refugee claimants from countries
with human rights violations including Sri Lanka are faced with a
“shrinking humanitarian space”. This is evident in the Australian
government’s recent repressive decision to no longer accept refugee claims
from Sri Lanka, despite well-documented human rights violations against
Tamils and mass displacement into refugee camps. UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon has appointed a panel to investigate war crimes committed by the
Sri Lankan military against Tamils last year.

Despite this, Kenney met with the Sri Lanka High Commissioner in Ottawa
this month to discuss greater cooperation with the Sri Lankan government.
“It is clear that the Canadian government is more interested in promoting
a relationship with a government known to commit massive human rights
violations, military atrocities against civilians, and indiscriminate
killings; rather than supporting the victims of such a regime,” further
states Scudalleri.

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What's everyone's problem?

Canada has not said they are turning these people away, if anything a whole entire hospital floor has been dedicated to them already!!!

precedent, dear Baglady999

Last time there was a ship landing like this everyone was put in jail. It has been reported they have prepared 200 spaces in a Maple Ridge prison for this group. Hello?

I heard from a neighbour that

I heard from a neighbour that the ship is coming in tommorrow to a naval base in Victoria. Better start planning something if you wanna organize a support rally

Its at the CFB Esquimalt

Its at the CFB Esquimalt Naval base...

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