In a letter sent to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop V. James Weisgerber, requests that the Government of Canada support the efforts by the United Nations to facilitate humanitarian aid to refugees and other victims of the conflict in Sri Lanka, in view of encouraging a lasting peace as well as the mutual respect of human rights.
The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street
Dear Prime Minister:
Although the international community several months ago witnessed the end of the civil war which had lasted 37 years between the Sri Lankan army and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), there are reports that hundreds of thousands of Tamil refugees remain in detention camps in Sri Lanka.
This past April, Mr. John Holmes, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator for the United Nations, met with the President of Sri Lanka, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, to express the concerns of the United Nations about the civilians who had been caught in the conflict zone and about the urgency of bringing emergency food and medical supplies to this region. Following the conclusion of fighting in the region, United Nations General Secretary Mr. Ban Ki-moon indicated the same concerns, noting especially the toll on civilians.
Following up a request sent to you on 19 May 2009 by the President of the Canadian Council of Churches, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops requests that the Government of Canada support the efforts by the United Nations to facilitate humanitarian aid to refugees and other victims of this conflict, and to establish a fruitful dialogue between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Tamil minority, in view of encouraging a lasting peace as well as the mutual respect of human rights.
Thank you, Prime Minister, for considering this request.
Most Reverend V. James Weisgerber
Archbishop of Winnipeg
President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops