The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the 35th anniversary of Black July:
“On this day, we remember the victims of the 1983 anti-Tamil pogroms in Sri Lanka that took thousands of lives and displaced so many from their homes. We join Tamil-Canadians and members of the Tamil community around the world to mourn families and friends lost during Black July, and to reflect on the enduring human cost of the conflict in Sri Lanka.
“Black July was a week of destruction and horrific violence that followed decades of escalating tension. The ensuing armed conflict resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people and affected the lives of many more.
“In September 1983, Canada implemented a Special Measures program to respond to the violence in Sri Lanka. This measure helped more than 1,800 Tamils find their way to safety and freedom in Canada, and we thank them for contributing so greatly to the country we enjoy today.
“The civil war ended in 2009, but the process of reconciliation is ongoing. Canada is working closely with the Sri Lankan government and civil society to encourage lasting peace and reconciliation, including a meaningful accountability process that will have the trust and confidence of the victims of war.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I extend my deepest sympathies to those who suffered and those who lost loved ones during Black July. Together, we look to the future with hope for accountability, meaningful reconciliation, inclusion, lasting peace, and prosperity.”