Ottawa: The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) calls on the Canadian Government to treat Tamil migrants, due shortly to arrive on Canadian shores, with fairness and afford them the due process guaranteed by Canadian immigration law.
According to news reports, the ship MV Sun Sea containing up to 500 Tamil migrants has entered Canadian waters and is due to land in Victoria. Many of those onboard are reportedly gravely ill and require immediate medical assistance.
WSO senior policy advisor Gian Singh Sandhu said, “Canada is known as an international protector of human rights. The arriving Tamil migrants must be treated fairly according to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Each case deserves to be individually assessed and if the migrants are found to be genuine refugees, they should be protected. If any onboard are found to have engaged in terrorist activities then they should be turned back. “
According to human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch, Tamils in Sri Lanka have been subjected to serious human rights violations. Thousands of Tamils continue to languish in squalid detention camps after the end of the 25-year Sri Lankan civil war. 76 Tamil migrants arrived in Canada last October and were detained by Canada Border Services but were eventually released after being investigated for terrorist links.
WSO President, Prem Singh Vinning said, “Canada has a duty to protect refugees escaping persecution. It is part of what makes us Canadian. Individuals fleeing for their lives aren’t queue jumpers and shouldn’t be treated as such. If these Tamil migrants are genuine refugees, we cannot turn them away. Doing so may prove deadly for those onboard that ship.”
The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of the Sikh Diaspora, as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status.
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Gian Singh Sandhu