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.
“In July 1983, anti-Tamil pogroms swept across Colombo, Sri Lanka, following decades of unrest and rising tensions in the country. Thousands of Tamils were killed and countless others were displaced. These riots sparked 26 years of armed conflict in which tens of thousands more lost their lives, devastating communities and leaving lasting physical and emotional wounds.
“Canada responded by opening its arms to those fleeing violence and persecution 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.”