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-Tamil community activist, Toronto, January 2006 Between 19, the armed conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE or Tamil Tigers) cost an estimated 60,000 or more lives, and was marked by gross human rights abuses and violations of the laws of war on both sides.
The war prompted nearly one-quarter of Sri Lanka's Tamils to leave the country, many fleeing government abuses, creating a Tamil diaspora that now numbers approximately 600,000-800,000 worldwide.
Others were warned they would be "dealt with" or "taught a lesson." After refusing to pay over Cdn,000, one Toronto business owner said LTTE representatives made threats against his wife and children.In February 2006 we submitted questions in writing to the LTTE in Sri Lanka regarding the issues covered in this report, but did not receive a response.In February 2006 we also contacted the British Tamil Association by both telephone and electronic mail with questions related to this report, but did not receive a reply.As Sri Lankan Tamils established themselves in Canada, the United Kingdom (U.K.) and other Western countries, the Tamil community became a significant source of financial and political support for the LTTE in its struggle to establish an independent state, "Tamil Eelam," for the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka's North and East.
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The assessed "rate" is often Cdn$1, 1, or 1 per day for the length of time they have lived in the West, so individuals who have been abroad for years may be asked for thousands, and told they may not leave until they produce the requested amount.