Commemorating this day allows us to ensure such a tragedy is never repeated again.
The Tamil community in the country is one of the largest concentrations of Tamils outside southeast Asia. Tamil-Canadians have families still suffering in their homeland in the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka. They have lost their loved ones and have been physically or mentally traumatized by the genocide that the Sri Lankan state perpetrated against the Tamils during the civil war which lasted from 1983 to 2009, and especially so in May of 2009.
Genocide is the deliberate and organized killing of a group or groups of people, with the intention of destroying their identity as an ethnic, cultural, or religious group. The United Nations Organization estimates that in the final months of the civil war alone about 40,000 to 75,000 Tamil civilians were killed. Other estimates place the death toll at 146,679 civilians.
These figures only reflect the death toll in 2009 leading up to May 18, the day on which the civil war ended. The loss of Tamil civilian lives during the genocide, which continued for decades in Sri Lanka, is much higher.