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Media Release

The arrival of the vessel MV Sun Sea with 490 illegal migrants on board has drawn much focus in Canada and especially in the Canadian media. This human smuggling operation with links to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is an issue which needs to be seriously addressed.

In order to justify the organized crime, certain elements are now making wild allegations against the Government of Sri Lanka without any basis and with mala-fide intensions to project the impression that people are fleeing Sri Lanka as the conditions prevailing in the country are deplorable and that Tamils are being persecuted etc.

The adverse critics of the Government of Sri Lanka may note that there is complete peace in Sri Lanka since the three decades long conflict ended with the defeat of the secessionist terrorist outfit in May 2009. Approximately 300,000 people who were held as a human shield by the LTTE and rescued by the government were accommodated and provided with required facilities, with the assistance of the international community. Over 80% of these Internally Displaced People (IDPs) have been resettled and the remaining 30,000 IDPs live in the welfare villages and their early resettlement have been ensured. They have the freedom to move in and out of the welfare villages. The Government of Sri Lanka is addressing issues pertaining to the resettlement process such as clearing of 1.5 million land mines planted by the LTTE, livelihood for the IDPs and infrastructure development in the areas destroyed due to the conflict, etc.

The Government of Sri Lanka has also commenced a series of accelerated development programmes to rebuild the economy and infrastructure of the devastated areas in the North and East of the country.

In order to ensure that there would not be a recurrence of the unfortunate situation in the past, the Government of Sri Lanka appointed a Commission of Inquiry; “Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission” with a view to making recommendations to promote national unity and reconciliation among all the communities and the Commission of Inquiry commenced its proceedings recently. With the political stability brought about following the Presidential and Parliamentary elections, the Government is working on the need for a political settlement.

All the communities including the Tamils are now living in Sri Lanka peacefully. A large number of Tamil civilians including refugees who fled the country to escape from the LTTE are now returning to enjoy the peace prevailing in their motherland.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in their latest assessment of the situation in Sri Lanka has acknowledged the improved security situation in Sri Lanka and that there is no longer a need for group based protection mechanism for refugee status.

The need of the hour is for all communities in Sri Lanka as well as those living abroad to work together to build on the prevailing peace and help in developing the country so that all citizens would together enjoy the benefits of peace and prosperity.

High Commission of Sri Lanka