Global Tamil Diaspora organisations representing over 1 million Tamils who fled from the island of Sri Lanka call on the United Kingdom to apply jurisdictional justice on the visiting genocidaire, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapakse, as a step towards transitional justice for the Tamil victims of genocide. We express our solidarity with the Tamil protests being held in different parts of the globe and particularly the protest to be held in Glasgow on 1 Nov 2021.
We wish to point out that the Global Tamil Diaspora is made up of the Tamil people from the island of Sri Lanka who had fled their homeland due to the blatant violations of individual and collective human rights, denial of parliamentary, constitutional, judicial, and non-violent agitations and the repeated state sponsored brutal violence directed against them with genocidal intent. The remaining, over 3 million Tamils in the island of Sri Lanka are subject to an ongoing structural genocide. Their traditional lands are being taken over by the state to expand military presence and to settle the Sinhalese from the south of the island.
The draconian laws like the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) still in place, absence of any credible and independent domestic judicial mechanism and the Sri Lankan unitary constitution that denies Tamil people in Sri Lanka to seek recognition of their right to self-determination, prevent the Tamil people from securing transitional justice to the victims of genocide and seek a dignified long term political solution. Therefore, the Tamil Diaspora has a legitimate role to help achieve the above imperative demands to find peace with justice.
Also, recently the Rajapaksa government has taken yet another authoritarian approach to governance of a multi-national society by convening a Presidential Task Force for ‘One Country, One Law’ led by Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero of the Bodu Bala Sena, a group accused of violence,hate crimes and monk himself found guilty in intimidating a court hearing of missing journalist and sentenced to jail, prematurely released by President Gotabaya under presidential pardon. This is seen as an attempt to deny the Tamil people of their language, religious, cultural and land rights that are protected by age-old customary laws of the north and east of the island.
We appeal to the United Kingdom who has a moral responsibility as the last colonial power that ruled Ceylon, leaving behind the Tamil nation without any constitutional arrangement to ensure their collective rights, safety, and political power sharing, following independence. The UK is also home for over 300,000 Tamils, has the moral responsibility to intervene at this critical juncture.
We also call on the European Union, who has an economic leverage such as the GSP+ and home for tens of thousands of Tamils to apply economic sanctions against Sri Lanka. Soft power diplomacy never works with a recalcitrant rogue state such as Sri Lanka.
At a time when Sri Lanka is in the throes of valiant diplomatic efforts to simply sweep under the carpet all the blatant mass atrocity crimes committed by them, refusing to divulge the fate of the victims of these crimes and their pretense on readiness to engage with the Tamil diaspora. At this point, we wish to draw the attention of the UK and the European Union to the recommendations made by Madam Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (HCHR), in her report dated 12 Jan 2021. The High Commissioner recommended amongst other international actions,
- Support a dedicated capacity to collect and preserve evidence for future accountability processes, to advocate for victims, and survivors and to support relevant judicial proceedings including in Member States with competent jurisdiction.
- Cooperate with victims and their representatives to investigate and prosecute international crimes committed in Sri Lanka through judicial proceedings in their host countries, including under the principles of extraterritorial or universal jurisdiction.
- Explore possible targeted sanctions such as asset freezes, and travel bans against credibly alleged perpetrators of grave human rights violations and abuses.
We also wish to point out that the Resolution A/HRC/46/1 adopted in March 2021 by the UN Human Rights Council highlighted the failure of domestic mechanisms of the past and the ongoing blatant violations of human rights. The same resolution emphasized the need for a UN managed evidence collection process and mandated the High Commissioner to devise and recommend international accountability measures.
Therefore we reiterate the need for swift international action against Sri Lanka and the war criminals including the visiting SriLankan President to end the pervading impunity that emboldens the Sri Lankan state to continue its structural genocide against the Tamil people.
Australian Tamil Congress (ATC): +61300660629, firstname.lastname@example.org
British Tamils Forum (BTF): +447814486087, email@example.com
Maison du Tamil Eelam (France): +33652725867, firstname.lastname@example.org
Irish Tamils Forum (ITF): 0035389959270, email@example.com
National Council of Canadian Tamils (NCCT): +14168307703, firstname.lastname@example.org
Solidarity Group for Peace and Justice (SGPJ – South Africa): email@example.com
Tamil Movement Against Genocide (Mauritius): +230 5728 5505, firstname.lastname@example.org
United States Tamil Action Group (USTAG): +12025953123, email@example.com
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