Update November 9th: Ship linked to terrorist group, here.
Update October 24th: One of the 76 has been identified as a member of the Tamil Tigers, here.
Update October 20th: Excellent opinion piece about what this is going to cost Canada with more information about problems with Tamil immigrants in the past.
I have avoided getting into the whole Sri Lankan Tamil refugee issue, maybe just out of laziness—too weary perhaps to learn a whole new set of issues involving a new group of refugees that I wouldn’t be surprised end up in the US at some point. It seems we can’t resist collecting more ethnic groups (see Rohingya are here). Diversity is beautiful and all that! Right?
But over the weekend a boatload of illegal aliens, believed to be Tamils, have landed in Vancouver, BC so I feel compelled to no longer avoid the issue. Before you read further, look at this map of Asia and note that Sri Lanka is on the east coast of India! Why the heck, if they are just “asylum seekers,” did they need to come that far—there are a few places between Sri Lanka and Canada they could have landed! And, these boats filled with all men are pretty fishy if you ask me.
From the Daily Mirror:
VANCOUVER, B.C. — Dozens of people, suspected to be Sri Lankans, who were aboard a mystery ship that was seized off Canada’s West Coast and towed into Victoria over the weekend were loaded onto buses on Sunday and ferried to the Vancouver-area for further screening.
The 76 males were found when the RCMP boarded a vessel displaying the name Ocean Lady on Friday near Port Renfrew and took control of the ship.
The Canada Border Services Agency and the RCMP have revealed little else about the group, their origin or how they ended up on a ship sailing towards Canada.
The seizure has prompted speculation the case may involve human smuggling and potential refugee claims, possibly by Tamils fleeing Sri Lanka, but border agency officials confirmed none of that.
“The individuals have been transported to . . . a corrections facility in Vancouver, where the CBSA will continue to examine their admissibility to Canada,” Rob Johnston of the Canada Border Services Agency said in a brief statement Sunday.
“We are acting quickly to meet the immediate personal and health needs of these individuals, and we are processing them in an efficient manner and in accordance with Canadian law.”
On Friday afternoon, a naval vessel approached the Ocean Lady and armed RCMP officers boarded it and took control.
A challenge to the Canadian immigration system indeed!
Perrin, a former adviser to the federal immigration minister, said it’s important that whatever happens, the fate of the group from the Ocean Lady be determined quickly rather than languish in Canada’s slow-moving immigration and refugee system.
“If our immigration and refugee system does not work to quickly offer support to legitimate refugees and deny that protection where the claims are bogus, then it’s not going to help anyone,” said Perrin.
“This case will undoubtedly test Canada’s refugee process yet again, and I expect it will be additional pressure to the federal government.”
Who are the Tamils?
Tamil Tigers are considered one of the most organized, brutal and ruthless terrorist groups in the world. That is according to Time magazine here. I am not saying these illegal immigrants are Tamil Tigers, it’s just that when you do a little searching around the internet that is one of the first pieces of information one discovers about the decades long effort to create a Tamil state in Sri Lanka.
Tamils invented suicide belts and child suicide bombers—great huh!
The Tigers were defeated in May of this year by the Sri Lankan military, thus creating this exodus of Tamils.
A Human Rights Watch report released in March 2006 said the Tamil Tigers were using threats and intimidation tactics to extort money from Sri Lankans living in Canada. Fundraisers, often working in pairs, knocked on the doors of Tamil families to solicit donations.
The fundraisers were quoted as saying they were “collecting for the final war against the Sri Lankan government.” The donation drive targeted Tamil families in Toronto, home to one of the largest Tamil populations outside Sri Lanka.
“Tamils unable to pay say they have been told by LTTE fundraisers to borrow the money, make a contribution on their credit card or even re-mortgage their home,” Human Rights Watch said in a news release.
In April of 2006, the Canadian government added the LTTE to its official list of terrorist organizations for its use of suicide bombers and child soldiers in the conflict. The designation made it a crime to fundraise for the group.