The National Council of Canadian Tamils (NCCT) released a statement this week, requesting that the Canadian Federal government reject Former Air Force commander, and accused war criminal, Sumangala Dias as Sri Lankan Ambassador to Canada.
Within their letter to Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, the NCCT stated that the Sri Lankan government headed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, “both credibly accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity… have been appointing former senior military personnel to top government positions.” One of which was Air Marshal Sumangala Dias.
The NCCT went on to state this was to “take advantage of diplomatic immunity” and was “a deliberate attempt to “whitewash” their crimes by hoodwinking the international community.”
Within their statement, the NCCT listed several instances in which Air Marshal Dias, who “held high positions in the chain of command of the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF)” committed war crimes;
(I) Dias “was appointed as Base Commander at SLAF Hingurakgoda Base, Sri Lanka, on June 1, 2005, from which many of the indiscriminate bombing missions against civilian targets originated.”
(II) “In 2008, he was appointed Senior Air Coordinator for the final stages of war in 2009, coordinating SLAF operations with the ground operations of the 57, 58 and 59 Divisions of the Sri Lanka Army, which has been credibly accused of war crimes.” The NCCT highlighted that “thousands of Canadians of Tamil origin lost family members and friends due to these genocidal attacks under Sumangala Dias’s command.”
(III) The NCCT further went to state that while Dias held high positions in the SLAF, “Trophy footage taken by army personal themselves show the killing and maiming of innocent civilians by aerial bombardments of hospitals and government announced “No Fire Zones” where Tamils were urged to take refuge by the Government of Sri Lanka.” The NCCT further highlighted that, “many of the relatives of victims who survived these genocidal attacks are Canadian Citizens. They are working extremely hard to move forward from their traumatic experience.”
In the statement, the NCCT urged the Canadian government, “to thoroughly vet the credentials of appointees before accepting them. Our government should not fall prey to the machinations of the Government of Sri Lanka. Please reject the appointment of credibly accused war criminals as ambassadors,” they stated.
They were joined in their call by Gurratan Singh, MPP for Brampton East, who called Dias “a credibly accused war criminal who aided in the Tamil Genocide”. “Canada must reject this appointment,” he added.
People for Equality And Relief in Lanka (PEARL) also called the appointment an affront to human rights and to Canada’s role as a leader for justice and accountability for Tamil-Canadians”.
“We ask that Air Chief Marshal Dias be investigated and prosecuted in Canada for war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide,” the group added.