Earlier this month a dilapidated vessel, the MV Sun Sea, was escorted to a British Columbia harbour by a flotilla of Canadian authorities. Soon after docking, there emerged from her hold a desperate collection of nearly 500 Tamil men, women and children, all at the ready to seek asylum in Canada. They had just spent a harrowing four months at sea, living literally cheek by jowl, with little more than a litre of water a week to drink. Their claims for asylum are based on a genuine fear of persecution if returned to their homeland, Sri Lanka, because as Tamils, they had come out on the losing side of a 26-year old bloody civil war that took the lives of 100,000 people.
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