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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Sri Lanka: Tamil civil society and Diaspora organisations oppose ‘Himalaya Declaration’

(Tamil Guardian) A collection of Tamil civil society groups which includes families of the disappeared, women’s organisations, students and clergy from across the North-East rejected an initiative led by the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) and Sinhala Buddhist monks for “totally ignoring Tamil grievances and the pain and suffering Tamils have undergone since independence”.

In a statement released this week, the various organisations said they were “disappointed” in the initiative, which has already come under widespread criticism in the diaspora and across the Tamil homeland.

“Since the war ended fourteen years ago, we have expressed our grievances directly through mass rallies like P2P,” said the organisation, referring to a 2021 mass rally that saw hundreds of thousands march across the North-East, despite attacks by Sri Lankan security forces.

TNA later said that They are not linked to the declaration.

“Tamil University Students and victim groups like Families of the disappeared and others also held numerous protests, hunger strikes and marches to express Tamil grievances,” it continued.

“None of their grievances were addressed in this “Declaration.””

The statement went on to highlight various demands, including Sri Lanka being referred to the International Criminal Court, demiltiarisation of the Tamil homeland, an end to state-sponsored colonisation, and reiterating their call for an internationally monitored referendum.

See the full statement and a list of signatories here.

A collective of Tamil organisations have spoken out against a declaration signed by the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) and Sinhala Buddhist clergy, which was shortly followed by a meeting with Sri Lanka’s former President, and accused war criminal, Mahinda Rajapaksa.

In a joint statement, the collective of Tamil organisations labelled the initiative as “treacherous” writing:

‘The treacherous initiative by a few individuals from GTF and its colluders is a despicable attempt to shield Sri Lanka from the international community and UNHRC scrutiny under the pretense of negotiating with imposters!”

The statement also claimed that whilst the GTF was formed to represent Tamils, the umbrella organisation had been “undemocratically hijacked by a few individuals and deviated from the legitimate and fundamental aspirations of the Tamil people”. This resulted in all organisations except the Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) and Norwegian Tamil Forum (NTF) disbanding from the group.

The statement further slammed both the GTF and CTC highlighting both organisations “have refused to advocate for the genocide committed or the legitimate and fundamental aspirations of the Tamil people, thus abandoning the Tamil people they claim to represent”.

The collective statement details how several Tamil organisations continued to campaign for the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil people. It further highlights that Tamils on the island continue to struggle under the thumb of increasing militarisation, Sinhala land grabs and abuse from the Sri Lankan police.

The statement further adds that:

“Successive leadership, including the current one in Sri Lanka, came to power vowing to protect every Sinhala soldier responsible for crimes committed against Tamil people. Therefore, no one can expect Sri Lanka to pursue any form of genuine justice for the genocide committed against the Tamil people nor deliver a permanent political solution that fulfils the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil people”.

The statement concludes by calling on the international community to disregard GTF’s initiative. They stress the need to deliver justice for the genocide committed and “find a long-lasting political solution based on the recognition of the Tamil People’s right to self-determination”.

It was signed by the International Council of Eelam Tamils (ICET) and endorsed by the following organisations:

  1. National Council of Canadian Tamils – (Canada)
  2. Norwegian Council of Eelam Tamils (Norway)
  3. Italian Council of Tamils (Italy)
  4. Council of Eelam Tamils in Germany (Germany)
  5. National Council of New Zealand Tamils (New Zealand)
  6. Dutch Tamil Forum (Netherland)
  7. Tamil Cultural Centre Belgium (Belgium)
  8. Finland Tamil Forum (Finland)
  9. National Council of Sweden Tamils (Sweden)
  10. Campaign for Tamil Justice (Australia)
  11. Danish Federation of Tamil Associations (Denmark)
  12. Maison du Tamil Eelam France (France)
  13. Swiss Council of Eelam Tamils (Switzerland)
  14. Council of Eelam Tamils – UK (United Kingdom)
  15. Tamil Movement Against Genocide (Mauritius)
  16. Solidarity Group for Peace and Justice in Sri Lanka (South Africa)

See the full statement below.

TG

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