I am Anuradha Mittal, I am very sorry that I am unable to join British Tamil Forum and all of you who have gathered at Trafalgar Square to remember the horrendous crimes that were committed against the Tamils of Sri Lanka
May 18th marks the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka, when the Sri Lankan army indiscriminately bombed its own civilians in violation of the international human rights law
Our research at the Oakland Institute has clearly demonstrated, that despite the end of the war ten years ago, the long shadow of war continues to be cast on the victims.
It has been ten years yet mothers, fathers, wives and children continue to wait for tens of thousands of people who remain missing
It has been ten years and there are no answers, there is no closure.
It has been ten years that the Eastern and Northern provinces still wait for the return of their homes, their lands, that were taken away in the name of military operations, through military encampments, resorts, hotels, through viharas and victory monuments.
The Sri Lankan Army continues to dispossess the people of the north and the east.
It has been ten years, and the Sri Lankan government continues to act with impunity because it has been allowed to make a mockery of human rights.
It has been ten years that the perpetrators of war crimes continue to enjoy being in power
and yet, have not been brought to justice.
It has been ten years since the international political community has continued to play geo-strategic political games
It has been ten years, way too long for repression and torture to continue for the minorities of Sri Lanka
The victims and the families refuse to forget, they continue to work for justice, without justice, there can be no peace in Sri Lanka.
At the Oakland Institute, we will continue to work with those impacted, with the diaspora community, groups such as the British Tamils Forum, to ensure that there is peace and justice in Sri Lanka.
If we fail to bring transitional justice in Sri Lanka, we as the international community cannot ever think of bringing accountability to those who are victims of these massive human rights abuses.
This is not a domestic issue for Sri Lanka, violation of human rights is an international issue.
It is essential that the voice of those impacted are heard.
It is essential that those who wait for the return of their loved ones, have a say within the international community as to what should be done in Sri Lanka to bring justice.
It is very important that an independent international mechanism is set up for accountability in Sri Lanka
This is the only way forward to ensure peace justice and prosperity in Sri Lanka, and ensuring justice for all, who were impacted, who were tortured, whose homes and lands were taken away and who continue to face repression.
This is the only way forward to ensure a democratic state in Sri Lanka, where a state is not just for the Sinhalese, it is not just for the Muslims, it is not just for the Tamils but it is a state truly for the people of Sri Lanka.
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