Ontario Centre for Policy Research Voice for Accountability and Justice

Webinar on February 27,2022 at 10:00 AM EST Canada & US
Questioning the purpose of UNHCR’s Sri Lanka Accountability Project (USLAP).
Is it an attempt to undermine Sri Lanka’s efforts on accountability and reconciliation? Register here

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Note by admin: UN has reported that Transnational Tamil Terrorist Group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had recruited over 7,000 child soldiers during the armed conflict in Sri Lanka. However, LTTE sympathizers’ propaganda campaign deliberately ignored the harm that LTTE has caused for Tamil children.

Statement by the Prime Minister on the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers
February 12, 2022
Ottawa, Ontario

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers, also known as Red Hand Day:

“All children have a right to a safe environment where they can grow and thrive. The use of child soldiers is wrong, inhumane, and a clear breach of human rights and international humanitarian law.

“Today, on the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers, Canada reaffirms its unwavering commitment to work with global partners to end the recruitment and use of children in armed conflicts.

“Since 2017, Canada has rallied more than 100 United Nations member states to endorse the Vancouver Principles on Peacekeeping and the Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers and established the Canadian Armed Forces’ Dallaire Centre of Excellence for Peace and Security to advance their implementation.

“No child should be forced to commit acts of violence. Canada continues to be a strong voice on the world stage against the recruitment and use of child soldiers through education, intervention, and prevention. By working together, we can protect children from harm and work to ensure they are given every opportunity to realize their full potential.”


                                                                             Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
                                        Statement by the Prime Minister on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

September 30, 2021
Ottawa, Ontario

“Today, I invite everyone across the country to recognize and observe the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. It is a day to reflect on the painful and lasting impacts of residential schools in Canada, and to honour survivors, their families, and their communities. It is also a day to remember the many children who never returned home, and an opportunity for us all to learn more, and to affirm the need for reconciliation and commit ourselves to the work ahead.

“The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation recognizes that at least 150,000 Indigenous children from across the country were forcibly separated from their families and their communities. Children were brought to residential schools where too many experienced abuse and were removed from their cultures, languages, and traditions. This federal day builds on the momentum of Orange Shirt Day, which was inspired by the story of Phyllis Webstad and chosen by Indigenous peoples to remember the legacy of residential schools and promote the path of reconciliation. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was established through legislation passed earlier this spring, and is a direct response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action number 80. As part of commemorations for this historic day, I was honoured to participate in a sunset ceremony to commemorate survivors and those who never returned to their families and communities, as the Peace Tower and other buildings near Parliament Hill were illuminated in orange, and a newly commissioned Survivors’ Flag from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation was raised.

“This year, the tragic locating of unmarked graves at former residential school sites across the country has reminded us of not only the impacts of colonialism and the harsh realities of our collective past, but also the work that is paramount to advancing reconciliation in Canada. Today, we also recognize the harms, injustices, and intergenerational trauma that Indigenous peoples have faced – and continue to face – because of the residential school system, systemic racism, and the discrimination that persists in our society. We must all learn about the history and legacy of residential schools. It’s only by facing these hard truths, and righting these wrongs, that we can move forward together toward a more positive, fair, and better future.

“Since 2015, the Government of Canada has been working in partnership with Indigenous peoples to close the gaps that still exist for far too many – and together we’ve made real progress. Over 80 per cent of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action that fall under the sole or shared responsibility of the federal government are completed or well underway. We’ve ended 117 long-term drinking water advisories, with a concrete plan to end all of them in the near future. We’ve passed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, protected Indigenous languages, and invested in education so thousands of Indigenous children are in new or better schools. We have also taken steps together to address the important issues identified in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Final Report and Calls for Justice, and we have co-developed Indigenous child and family services legislation to ensure that Indigenous children remain with their family and community. And we will continue to invest directly in Indigenous communities, as outlined in Budget 2021, to build a better future for everyone.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I encourage all Canadians to take this opportunity to learn more about the history of residential schools in Canada, listen to the stories of survivors and their families, and reflect on how each of us can play a part in the journey of reconciliation. I also encourage everyone to wear an orange shirt today to help spread awareness, because every child matters.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on Canada Day:

“On Canada Day, we celebrate the amazing place we call home – and the people we share it with. Whether you are firing up the barbecue or playing outside with the kids, this is a chance to reflect on where we are as a country, and where we are headed.

“The last few months have been difficult for all Canadians, but throughout this pandemic, we have been there for one another. We are neighbours helping neighbours, small businesses being there for their communities and their staff, Armed Forces answering the call to help protect our most vulnerable, and doctors and nurses keeping our families healthy. Because that’s what it means to be Canadian.

“Canada’s success is because of its people. People who strive to live up to our shared values of peace, equality, and compassion, and know that diversity is our strength.

“People who know that, only together, we can build a better country, where every senior has a safe place to live, and where we say no to racism, injustice, and hate. A country where we understand that our work to ensure everyone has an equal and fair chance at success is never finished.

“What makes Canada special is not the belief that this is the best country in the world – it’s the knowledge that we could be, and that we will keep working to build that country. Because no challenge we face will be too great, if we face it together.

“I invite all Canadians to join this year’s virtual celebrations and the #CanadaDay conversation online. Today, we celebrate the country we share and tomorrow, we look to the future and move forward, together.

“Happy Canada Day, everyone!”


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister announces new members of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians

The Government of Canada continues to do everything it can to keep communities safe. Canadians can count on our country’s national security and intelligence agencies to respond to threats while ensuring that their work protects the rights and freedoms of all citizens.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced five new members of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. With these new appointments, all seats on the Committee are now full.

Chaired by the Honourable David J. McGuinty since its launch in 2017, this multi-party Committee includes representatives from both the House of Commons and the Senate. It provides a non-partisan approach to the review of national security and intelligence activities carried out across the Government of Canada. This includes activities undertaken by the Canada Border Services Agency, the Communications Security Establishment, Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, among many others.

The Committee provides the Prime Minister with an annual report, and special reports when needed. The reports, which include findings and recommendations, are tabled in both the House of Commons and the Senate.

Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau

Statement by the Prime Minister on the 12th anniversary of the end of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the anniversary of the end of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka:

“Today, on the 12th anniversary of the end of armed conflict in Sri Lanka, we remember all those who were killed, or injured, and all who were impacted by the many years of conflict, including during the last phase of the war in Mullivaikal. We also offer our deepest sympathies to the survivors and their families, and to everyone living with the pain and trauma caused by this conflict.

“Twelve years later, the wounds and scars of this conflict linger as survivors and all those who faced adversity, suffered loss, and endured trauma still seek answers, including on the fate and whereabouts of missing family members and loved ones.

“Canada was part of the core group at the United Nations Human Rights Council this past March where the High Commissioner for Human Rights was given the mandate to ‘collect, consolidate, analyse and preserve information and evidence’ relating to violations in Sri Lanka. 

“On this anniversary, Canada reiterates its call to the Government of Sri Lanka to find a solution to the underlying drivers of the conflict. We will continue to advocate for a meaningful accountability process and extend support to all those working toward justice, reconciliation, and inclusion, all of which underpin long-term peace and prosperity in the country.

Statement by Canada Following UN Security Council Session on the devastating violence in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza
May 16, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario – Global Affairs Canada

“Canada is appalled by the ongoing violence, rising tensions, and the devastating loss of life. The toll —particularly on civilians, including women and children — has already been too great. Canada continues to express grave concerns over the escalating violence in Israel, West Bank, and Gaza. Canada joins its allies and friends in urging all parties to take steps to immediately end all violence, prevent further loss of life, protect all civilians, and de-escalate tensions. All parties must uphold international law.

“The continued indiscriminate barrage of rocket attacks fired by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad into Israel against civilians is completely unacceptable and must cease immediately. Those foreign entities which support Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad must end their material and financial support to these groups. Canada supports Israel’s right to live in peace with its neighbours within secure boundaries and fully supports Israel’s right to assure its own security. This right also comes with immense responsibility and obligation to act in accordance with international law. The use of force has led to significant civilian loss of life and we urge utmost restraint.

Statement by the Prime Minister on Israel Independence Day

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel Independence Day:

“Today we join Israelis, Jewish communities, and others in Canada and around the world to celebrate the 73rd anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel.

“For over 70 years, Canada and Israel have been close friends, steadfast allies, and partners in many international organizations. Our personal ties and common values unite us, including our commitment to freedom, democracy, and the rule of law.

“Canada is proud to stand with Israel. We will continue to oppose efforts to isolate Israel internationally and to condemn BDS and any movement that attacks our Israeli friends, Jewish Canadians, and the values we share. On this important day, Canada reiterates its commitment to lasting peace for all people in the Middle East.

“We also reaffirm our promise to fight antisemitism and hate wherever and whenever they occur, including through our support for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism, which we adopted as part of our Anti-Racism Strategy.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I wish everyone celebrating this historic day a Yom Ha’atzmaut Sameach.”

Statement by the Prime Minister announcing a National Day of Observance for COVID-19

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement to announce the Government of Canada is designating March 11, 2021, as a National Day of Observance to commemorate the people who lost their lives and the significant impacts we have all felt because of COVID-19:

“Early last year, our lives, and the lives of everyone around the world, were forever changed by the emergence of COVID-19. Today – one year after the first known death of a Canadian to the disease – we now mourn the tragic loss of more than 22,000 parents, siblings, friends, and loved ones.   

“COVID-19 has infected over 864,000 other Canadians, and has had an immeasurable impact on how we all work and learn, connect with friends and family, and live our daily lives. All Canadians have experienced sacrifice and loss over the past year. Our kids have missed birthday parties, seniors have felt isolated from the ones they love, and for far too many, this virus has meant the loss of their job or the closure of their business.

“Our health care and other essential workers have put themselves at risk, working long hours, so we could get the services and care we needed. And as efforts continue to get vaccines to every Canadian as quickly as possible, we thank them now more than ever.

“During this crisis, Canadians have remained resilient. They have helped neighbours, given to organizations, put signs in their windows to support our health care workers, and lent a hand wherever possible. As we continue to deal with the impacts of the global pandemic, your government will continue to do whatever it takes, for however long it takes, to support you – because here in Canada, we help each other through challenging times.

“We all have a role to play in ending this pandemic, and the crisis is not over yet. In recognition of how far we have come and how far we still have to go, the Government of Canada is designating March 11, 2021, as a National Day of Observance. On this day, I invite all Canadians to join together in honouring the memory of those we have lost, and the people they left behind. We will also recognize everyone who has been impacted by COVID-19, and pay tribute to all those who continue to work hard and make incredible sacrifices in our fight against the virus. Together, we will beat COVID-19.”

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Tamil Terrorists have recruited 7,634 child soldiers as young as ten years and put them into battle, with cyanide capsules around the neck in Sri Lanka. Child soldiers have been used for hard labour and sexual pleasure for senior LTTE cadres.

In Canada, Tamil terrorist supporters display Tamil terrorist flags and put forward children for their separatist campaign against innocent Tamils in Sri Lanka. This practice must end. 


The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers, also known as Red Hand Day:

“Children have the right to grow up in a safe environment, to access basic care, to pursue an education, and – above all – to be children. Taking them away from their families and putting them on the front lines of conflict robs them of these fundamental rights.

“Whether they are trained to fight, armed with deadly weapons, used as spies, sexually exploited, or forced into marriage, child soldiers face unimaginable violence and abuse, and suffer long-lasting, scarring effects. These horrible practices must stop.

“That is why, every year on this day, we reaffirm our long-standing commitment to help end the recruitment and use of children in armed conflicts. Since 2017, Canada has mobilized close to 100 countries to endorse the Vancouver Principles on Peacekeeping and the Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers. These commitments, which were developed in partnership with the Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace and Security, the United Nations, UN Member States, and other organizations, help protect children through education, training, and prevention.

“No child should bear the brunt of conflict and be forced to participate in acts of violence. Canada will continue to be an unwavering advocate against the use of child soldiers and to bring countries together to endorse and implement the Vancouver Principles. Children have the right to be children, away from the atrocities of war.”

Statement by the Prime Minister on International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau

January 27, 2021
Ottawa, Ontario
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day:

“Today, I join Canadians in paying tribute to the over six million Jews who were murdered and the countless other victims who suffered under the heinous crimes perpetrated by the Nazi regime. The pain and loss endured during the Shoah will never be forgotten. We also honour the survivors whose stories and memories paint a vivid portrayal of suffering, courage, and hope in the face of such despicable acts.
“The atrocities of the Holocaust have left an unfathomable stain on our history, yet antisemitism, discrimination, xenophobia, and violence remain a lived reality for Jewish communities, both here at home and around the world. That is why the Government of Canada will not waver in its commitment to combat antisemitism and all forms of hatred. Through the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism, adopted as part of our government’s Anti-Racism Strategy, Canada is equipped with the tools and resources needed to combat antisemitic attitudes and Holocaust denial. In an increasingly digital and interconnected world, we will also continue to fight against disinformation and hate online, including by supporting the Inter-Parliamentary Task Force on Online Antisemitism and the government’s Digital Citizen Initiative.
“Only through effective education, research, and remembrance can we foster a society free of prejudice and discrimination. In November, I appointed the Honourable Irwin Cotler as Canada’s Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism. By leading Canada’s delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, Mr. Cotler is collaborating with domestic and international partners to preserve the memory of the Holocaust for generations to come and strengthen human rights both at home and abroad.
“Learning from our past is key to building a more inclusive future. On this International Holocaust Remembrance Day, I encourage Canadians to remember the victims, survivors, and heroes who bore witness to the Shoah. Together, we will vow ‘Never Again’.”

Statement by the Prime Minister on Thai Pongal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

January 14, 2021, Ottawa, Ontario.
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on Thai Pongal:

“This week, the Tamil community in Canada and around the world will celebrate Thai Pongal.”

“During the four-day festival, family and friends usually gather to give thanks for the year’s bountiful harvest and share Pongal, a sweet rice pudding. While things will be different this year as we continue to follow public health guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19, I know people will still find new ways to bring to life the values of peace and community at the centre of this festival.”

“January also marks Tamil Heritage Month in Canada. This month, we recognize Tamil Canadians’ contributions to building a better, fairer, and more inclusive country. I encourage all Canadians to learn more about the history, resiliency, and strength of the vibrant Tamil community in Canada and around the world. Recently, we saw Tamil-Canadians from coast to coast to coast come together in solidarity to condemn the destruction of the Mullivaikkal memorial at the University of Jaffna, in Sri Lanka, and call for its reinstatement. It is a reminder for all of us that commemoration is essential for reconciliation.”

“On behalf of our family, Sophie and I offer our wishes for peace and good health to everyone marking Thai Pongal, here in Canada and around the world.”

“Iniya Thai Pongal Nalvazhthukkal.”

January Tamil Heritage Month 
(Photo credit, Twitter)
A unanimous decision was made at the House of Commons, Canada declaring the month of January as Tamil Heritage Month. The Tamil Heritage month will “recognize the contributions that Tamil-Canadians have made to Canadian society, the richness of the Tamil language and culture, and the importance of educating and reflecting upon Tamil heritage for future generations.”  

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau


The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement to mark the fifth anniversary of the release of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada:

“Five years ago today, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released its final report. Established on June 1, 2008, the Commission worked to uncover the truth in one of the darkest and most painful chapters in Canadian history – the Indian Residential Schools system – and the tragic legacy that continues today.

“The report is an appeal to mobilize all orders of government, as well as organizations and individuals, to make concrete changes in Canadian society. It lists 94 Calls to Action to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of reconciliation in Canada.

“The Government of Canada has accepted its responsibilities and its failings, which is why it offered an apology to former students, and has taken important steps to fully implement the Commission’s recommendations. We have worked across all federal government organizations and with our partners so that 80 percent of the Calls to Action implicating the Government of Canada are now completed or well underway. This includes introducing legislation to allow for the full adoption and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to move forward on the shared path of reconciliation, as well as passing the Indigenous Languages Act to support the revitalization, maintaining, and strengthening of Indigenous languages in Canada.

“We recently announced over $542 million in funding over five years to advance First Nations, Inuit, and Métis engagement to co-develop the implementation of the Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families, and to assist Indigenous communities and groups in building the capacity to establish their own child and family services systems. This funding is in addition to the $3 billion that we have already invested, starting in 2019, to continue delivering and improving the government’s funding support for First Nations child and family services.

“We are implementing Jordan’s Principle to make sure all First Nations children in Canada can access the products, services, and supports they need, when they need them. In 2019, we implemented a new policy and funding approach for funding First Nations education on reserve – co-developed with First Nations representatives – to transform First Nations education funding to be more directly comparable to provincial education systems. The new approach also provides full-day kindergarten on reserve for children ages four and five, and $1,500 per student, per year, to support language and culture. We are also working with provincial, territorial, and Indigenous partners, to respond to the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the Calls for Justice, to develop a national action plan to end the systemic causes of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and LGBTQ and two-spirit people.

“We recognize that there is still much more work to do. We will continue to work in partnership with Indigenous peoples, provinces, and territories to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. As we outlined in the Speech from the Throne, the government is committed to not just moving forward, but moving faster, on ending the unacceptable injustices that too many Canadians still face. That includes addressing systemic inequalities in the criminal justice system, closing the infrastructure gap in Indigenous communities, and legislating First Nations policing as an essential service.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I invite all Canadians to honour the courage of the former students and families who came forward to share their stories of pain and losses, and to reflect on how we must all play our role in the implementation of the Calls to Action and in our journey of reconciliation.”

Prime Minister’s remarks for the Global Conference for Media Freedom
November 16, 2020
Ottawa, Ontario

Hello everyone. Thank you for being with us today for the second Global Conference for Media Freedom.

I am pleased to be here with you, along with Canada’s outstanding Minister of Foreign Affairs, François-Philippe Champagne, and Minister Morwaeng of Botswana, who will be co-chairing today’s conference. At the last global conference in London a year and a half ago, we would never have known the challenges that 2020 would bring. But what we already knew was that press freedom would be part of the solution.

In the last few months, we have seen how free, open debate – based on facts – is the only way forward. Not only is press freedom a cornerstone of democracy – it’s a fundamental building block of strong, healthy societies. When journalists can do their jobs, when citizens can get good, reliable information – everyone does better. Now, that’s how things should be. But as you all know, all too often that’s not how things are. Today, we see citizens calling for change – from Hong Kong to Belarus – only to have the authorities attack the freedom of the press.

We see journalists casting light on human rights abuses and on this pandemic – people like Kyaw Soe Oo, Wa Lone, and Maria Ressa – only to face repression and violence. It is never acceptable for a journalist to be attacked for doing their job. It is never acceptable for a reporter to be thrown in jail for interviewing a peaceful protester. And it is never acceptable for anyone, anywhere, to have their freedom of expression denied. A crackdown on the media puts democracy in danger. It puts lives in danger. So when we see it happening, we can’t turn away. We can’t wait for someone else to act. After all, a free, independent press doesn’t happen by itself. It happens because as citizens, we know it is vital to our shared future – and so we accept nothing less. Canada will always stand up for freedom of the press, just as we will always stand up for freedom of expression.

At home in Canada, we have taken the lead by investing in local journalism, and internationally, through initiatives such as the G7 Charlevoix commitment and the Media Freedom Coalition. Together, we are doing some very important work. So, thank you for getting involved. A little later today, Minister Champagne will have more to say about how Canada will continue to invest in global initiatives that defend free media and push back against disinformation. I know you’ll also be discussing the findings of the High-Level Legal Panel of Experts on Media Freedom – a group on which Canada is very ably represented by The Honourable Irwin Cotler. This panel is a great example of the power of working together – as civil society, government, and global organizations – to stand up for the kind of future we all want to build. When living in times of change, it is up to us to seize the opportunity and decide what to do next.

It’s up to us to fight for a fairer and healthier society where everyone, everywhere, is free to make their voice heard. Together, I know we can do it. Thank you again for participating in this conference, and thank you for all your hard work.

Statement by the Prime Minister on Global Dignity Day

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement to mark Global Dignity Day in Canada:

“Today, students and young people in Canada are marking Global Dignity Day. On this day, we reaffirm that everyone – regardless of who they are or where they come from – deserves a fair and equal chance at success, and acknowledge that together, we still have a lot of work to do in achieving a fairer and more inclusive world.  

“This year, the Global Dignity movement’s #UniteKindness campaign aims to connect young people around the world through positive actions during the global COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign is also a reminder to be kind to one’s self and to others. Demonstrating that by being there for others and by showing compassion, and recognizing everyone’s worth, we can appreciate that everybody deserves dignity – no matter their identity, beliefs, or circumstances.

“As Canada and the world continue the fight against COVID-19, let us remember that we must all do what we can to uphold and respect the dignity of every human life. That includes ensuring Canadians can put food on the table, pay their bills, and have access to the supports they need to keep themselves and their families safe and healthy. During this difficult time, Canada will also continue to work with our partners to help build a world guided by compassion, equality, and dignity – because we know that we can’t end the pandemic in Canada without ending it everywhere. Together, we can build a more resilient Canada and a world that is fairer, safer, and more inclusive for everyone.

“As one of Global Dignity’s National Role Models, I call on Canadians and everyone around the world to rally behind young people and to show that, by working together as a global community, we can help advance human rights and dignity for all.  

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I applaud all those involved in the Global Dignity movement for their passion and hard work, and wish them success with this year’s activities.”

Deadliest terrorist attacks in the history of the United States shook Canadians – National Day of Service – September 11, 2020
We remember… Never forget…Denounce all terrorist activities against civilians 

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and on the National Day of Service:

“Nineteen years ago today, the deadliest terrorist attacks in the history of the United States shook Canadians and people around the world.

“On this solemn anniversary, we remember the tragedy of 9/11 and its nearly 3,000 victims, including 24 Canadians. We offer our condolences to all those who lost loved ones, and those whose lives were forever changed.

“We also recognize the bravery and sacrifice of first responders, including the hundreds who lost their lives while trying to protect and save others. Firefighters, police officers, military personnel, paramedics, and ordinary people climbed the steps of the burning towers to rescue those inside. They battled flames at the Pentagon, tended to the injured through rubble and smoke, and attempted to take back control of a hijacked plane. Amidst the fear, panic, and horror emerged incredible courage, heroism, and selflessness.

“On this National Day of Service, we honour first responders in Canada and around the world, and all those who come to the service of their neighbours, their communities, and their country. We are reminded of the people of Gander in Newfoundland and Labrador who opened their hearts and their homes to thousands of stranded airline passengers on 9/11. They showed us that compassion conquers hate, and that our values of diversity, inclusion, and peace can overcome the darkest of days.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I invite Canadians to take part in acts of service today – by giving back in ways big or small – to honour those who courageously and selflessly helped others on 9/11.”

International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, 30 August

Report on Sri Lanka: Activity of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka, including arrests, whether LTTE members have been responsible for extortion, disappearances or bombings since the government defeated the LTTE, and whether the LTTE has the capacity to regroup within Sri Lanka with financial and material support of Tamil Terrorist LTTE sympathizers specifically in Scarborough Rough Park, Canada. Read more

During the bloody armed conflict, from 1983 to 2009, between the Sri Lankan government and the separatist Tamil terrorists, LTTE committed numerous abuses, including enforced disappearances. Most of them had been taken by the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) or forcefully conscripted.

UN member states at the Human Rights Council in late February should call upon Tamil terrorist LTTE proxies to comply with its international legal obligations, protect victims and witnesses, and keep its UN pledges in a time-bound manner.

“Family members of Sri Lanka are many ‘disappeared’ have a right to know what happened to their loved ones,” Ganguly said. “The UN Human Rights Council is the one flicker of hope many families have that the fate of those disappeared will one day be known and that justice will be done.”

Enforced disappearance has frequently been used as a strategy to spread terror within society. The feeling of insecurity generated by this practice is not limited to the close relatives of the disappeared but also affects their communities and society as a whole. Enforced disappearance has become a global problem and is not restricted to a specific region of the world. Hundreds of thousands of people have vanished during conflicts. Read more

Rohingya crisis needs lasting solutions, renewed commitment amid COVID-19 pandemic 
                                      – UN refugee agency
The Rohingya Crisis
3rd anniversary of the 2017 Mass Exodus August 25, 2020

August 25 marks the third anniversary of the 2017 mass exodus of Rohingya from in Myanmar when over 700,000 Rohingya were forced to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh. In November 2019, the Gambia initiated a case against Myanmar for violations of the UN Genocide Convention at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The ICJ has issued a prevention of Genocide provisional measures. Read More

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
Statement by the Prime Minister on the anniversary of Black July
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the anniversary of Black July:

“Today, we remember the horrific events of Black July in Sri Lanka and honour the memory of its victims.”

“Canada responded by opening its arms to those fleeing violence in Sri Lanka. Through a Special Measures program introduced in the months following Black July, more than 1,800 Tamils resettled in Canada to rebuild their lives – and help build a better country. Their contributions in the face of tremendous loss and adversity helped shape a stronger, more inclusive Canada, which is now home to one of the largest Tamil diasporas in the world.”

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I extend my deepest sympathies to all those who suffered and lost loved ones during Black July and the ensuing conflict.”
“Canada remains committed to facilitating an accountability process that has the trust and confidence of all victims, which is central to achieving lasting peace and reconciliation. We continue to offer support to all those working toward these goals.”

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism:


“Thirty-five years ago today, an explosion on Air India Flight 182, bound for the United Kingdom from Canada, killed the 329 innocent people on board, including 280 Canadians.

“The attack was an act of unspeakable malice and remains the deadliest terrorist attack in Canadian history. It was a shock to our country and a threat to our collective sense of security. Terrorism in Canada did not begin with this heinous act and, sadly, did not end there either.

“Today, on the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism, I join Canadians across the country to remember and pay tribute to all Canadian victims of terrorism. We offer our deepest sympathies to families and friends who have lost loved ones, and to everyone living with the pain and trauma caused by these senseless acts of violence.

“Those who commit these cowardly acts seek to instill fear and divide us. They will not succeed. Canadians will always choose compassion over hate and acceptance over intolerance. We are at our best and most resilient when we embrace diversity and equality, and these acts of terrorism only strengthen our resolve to build a more inclusive Canada.

“We stand in solidarity with all those affected by terrorism worldwide and will continue to work closely with our international partners to end violent extremism, promote inclusion, and defend peace and justice within our global community.

“Today and every day, we will honour those we have lost to terrorism by continuing to fight hate and intolerance and work to make Canada and the world a safer and more secure place for everyone.”

Statement by the Prime Minister on the 11th anniversary of the end of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, issued the following statement today on the anniversary of the end of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka:

“As we mark the 11th anniversary of the end of armed conflict in Sri Lanka, my thoughts are with the victims, their families and loved ones. This is a time to reflect on the 26 years of conflict, including the last phase of the war in Mullivaikal, and the lives that were lost, and to remember those who were injured, went missing or were displaced from their homes and communities.

“Over the past 11 years, I have met with many Canadians, who were personally affected by this war. Their stories of incalculable loss, tremendous adversity, and continued resilience are a solemn reminder of the need to continue working toward lasting peace and reconciliation.

“Learning from the past is crucial to building for the future. Canada continues to offer its support to the Sri Lankan government and all those working toward justice, reconciliation and inclusion, all of which underpin long-term peace and prosperity in the country.”

“Canada is made stronger by its diversity, and the many cultures and heritages that that call this country home.”

Romeo Dallaire wins UVic’s first-ever Public Humanist award

Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire. Image (copyright): Michelle Campbell

Retired lieutenant-general, a former Canadian senator and best-selling author Roméo Dallaire will receive the first-ever Public Humanist award this month from the University of Victoria’s Faculty of Humanities for his tireless efforts to change the world for the better.

Dallaire’s deep humanitarian commitment evokes the spirit, impact and importance of the humanities. His life’s work enriches human dignity, provokes critical inquiry and inspires humane feelings. Twenty-five years ago, as commander of the United Nations’ peacekeeping-mission during the Rwandan genocide, Dallaire tried to protect the country’s vulnerable minority Tutsi population even as world leaders ignored his warnings of the coming violence. Some 800,000 people were killed.

Since Rwanda, Dallaire has dedicated his life to humanitarian efforts and is striving to eradicate the use of children in conflict. He has also worked tirelessly as an advocate for veterans returning from combat.

UVic Dean of Humanities Chris Goto-Jones says the retired lieutenant-general embodies the ethos of the faculty’s newly launched Humanitas Awards. Full report please read here