Canada Sending Former Spy Chief To Sri Lanka To Prevent Human Smuggling

Canada sending former spy chief to Sri Lanka to prevent human smuggling

News Desk, Sri Lanka.
Fri, Sep 10, 2010, 11:26 am SL Time,

Sept 10, Ottawa: The Canadian government is sending a former head of an intelligence agency to Sri Lanka and other Asian countries as a special envoy on human smuggling to prevent illegal immigrants entering into the country, the Canadian Press reported Thursday.

According to the report, Canada's Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has said that the former Canadian Security Intelligence Service director Ward Elcock will visit Sri Lanka, Thailand and other countries to improve co-operation and information sharing.

Minister Kenney addressing the media has said that the government cannot eliminate the human smuggling but can reduce the frequency of those by cooperating with other countries.

“There's nothing that we can do to eliminate the possibility of human smuggling. There are some things we can probably do to decrease its frequency or its likelihood. One of those things is better co-operation with countries in the region,” the Minister was quoted.

The Minister has said that Elcock's visit to Asian countries including Sri Lanka is part of that effort.

The Thai cargo ship MV Sun Sea, modified to carry human cargo, reached Vancouver In August with 492 Tamil asylum seekers on board.

Intelligence reports say another ship is being prepared in Thailand to take another load of migrants to Canada.

Canadian authorities have begun the process of confirming the identities of the migrants on board MV Sun Sea and evaluating their asylum claims. Identities of only 40 migrants have reportedly been verified so far. However, no one has been released yet from custody. One of the 492 immigrants is being held on suspicion of having links to the Tamil Tiger terrorist group LTTE.

Earlier this week, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has launched a public awareness campaign to fight human trafficking.

According to the Immigration and Refugee Board most of the refugee claimants in Canada are from Sri Lanka's Tamil community and Sri Lankan Tamil refugees have the highest acceptance rate.

Sri Lankan authorities say the Tamil migrants are economic refugees who are taking advantage of Canada's relaxed immigration laws.