The Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) urged people to submit evidence to the OHCHR Investigation into Sri Lanka (OISL), launching a document in Tamil with a sample submission form and information leaflet.
“In order to assist people who wish to submit evidence, and in order make it easy to submit evidence, we have produced a question and answer document, which we are releasing today,” Visva Manivannan of the TNPF said at a press conference Wednesday.
Encouraging people to submit their evidence through the official means if at all possible, Manivannan stressed however that ultimately submitting evidence by any means necessary was crucial.
“The most important thing is that the evidence must reach the UN investigators. The UN office must be overflowing with evidence. All the atrocities committed against us must be fully recorded on an international level,” he added.
Asking people not to under estimate the importance of their own individual testimonies, Manivannan urged people to “record every incident you know of to your best ability.”
“The evidence you submit on this occasion, we may get the opportunity to use it again in another court even in 20 years time.”
Echoing his calls, TNPF president Gajen Ponnambalam and General Secretary S. Kajendran called on as many people as possible to submit evidence as their own personal obligation to the tens of thousands that were slaughtered.
Asked by a journalist whether witnesses could be guaranteed their safety following submission of evidence, Gajen Ponnambalam said:
“We too are affected by the [Sri Lankan] state, therefore we cannot express any sort of guarantee of safety. However, beyond the issue of fear, today, the international community’s eyes are focussed on Sri Lanka. Today, particularly the issue of the UN inquiry, has great importance internationally. In this situation, every action of the Sri Lankan state is being scrutinised by the international community. Beyond fear, we too have a duty to seek justice for the atrocities committed.”
“If only a few people are going to take part in this, they will be isolated and it will be easy for the state to action against them. However, if we stand together in our thousands, as a nation or as all those affected, then the state cannot act against everyone.”