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Feb-18-2014 00:33printcomments

Pressure Mounts on Sri Lanka, but Tamils Must be Alert Against US-India Manipulations

"If a referendum can happen in South Sudan, East Timor and Kosovo, why not in Sri Lanka." - Prime Minister of the transnational government of Tamil Eelam, Visvanathan Rudrakumaran

Richard Burr
Richard Burr

(MELBOURNE) - A Congress resolution calls on the Senate to commend the representatives of the United States on their leadership on United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution (UNHRC), adopted by the UNHRC on March 21, 2013, which promotes reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka. The commendable part of it is that it also calls on the United States and the international community to establish an independent international accountability mechanism to evaluate reports of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other human rights violations committed by both sides during and after the war in Sri Lanka.

The resolution also urges the Government of Sri Lanka to allow unimpeded access for media, international aid agencies, and human rights groups into all regions of the country, as well as to detention sites that may hold political and war prisoners and to end its media restrictions, including the obstacles to the flow of information in the North and East, and bring to justice those responsible for attacks on journalists and newspaper offices.

On the next part of the resolution the Tamils will have to be elert. It also calls upon the President to develop a comprehensive policy towards Sri Lanka that reflects United States interests, including respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law, "economic interests, and security interests." Whatever the US does it takes care of its personal interests. The Tamils internationally will have to make sure that this doesn't happen in UNHRC 2014. Their eyes will be on money making interests and the security of the Indian Ocean sea lanes.

SV Sivakaran

"The resolution tabled by the two US Senators, Richard Burr and Bob Casey, only shows that the US defence establishment is adamant on seeing that any investigation on Sri Lanka should not focus on genocide," said Youth Front General Secretary of the Ilankai Tamil Arasuk Kadchi (ITAK), Mr Subramaniam Sivakaran, urging the global Tamils to be vigilant on what is taking place. “What are the Tamils in the USA doing,” he asked, “The time has come for us in the homeland to raise the question.” India is in partnership with the USA in suppressing international investigation on the genocide. Our homeland will be totally lost while the IC deliberates on impractical reconciliation, he further said.

The resolution, commending the USA on its leadership at the UNHRC in promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka, called upon the USA and the international community to “establish an independent international accountability mechanism to evaluate reports of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other human rights violations committed by both sides during and after the war in Sri Lanka.”

Commenting on the tabled resolution, Sivakaran said that what needed was investigation on the genocide. While ample evidences exist to prove that what did take place was genocide, resolutions that do not even mention the word Tamil, do not refer to the combined North-East homeland of Tamils, and do not come out with solutions appropriate for the national question, are dangerous, Sivakaran said.

We Eezham Tamils can’t accept the approach to our question through a unitary Sri Lanka concept, which is a confirmation of genocide. The very theme of unitary Sri Lanka is genocide. There is no space for reconciliation in it. While the international community is deliberating on the impractical, our homeland will be totally lost, Sivakaran said.

We Eezham Tamils can’t accept becoming scapegoats for the militarily approached geopolitics of a power. Sivakaran said. Of all the parts of the resolution tabled by the Senators, it is the fifth one that clearly shows the intention, Sivakaran cited.

The fifth part called upon the US President “to develop a comprehensive policy towards Sri Lanka that reflects United States interests, including respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law, economic interests, and security interests.” We strongly condemn the act of twisting the genocide we face as war crimes of both sides and the act of belittling us as pawns in the imperialistic competition of the USA, China and India, Sivakaran said. In demonstrating where Eezham Tamils, being as Eezham Tamils, should place the scale of them, Sivakaran urged the Tamil organizations in the USA to first send a copy of the Bremen Tribunal report to the two Senators.

Last week the Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh told a group of visiting Sri Lankan journalists in New Delhi that the Government of Sri Lanka must resume a substantive dialogue with the TNA for a political settlement and reconciliation. “India has consistently urged the Sri Lankan Government to take forward the process of broader dialogue so that we can see some concrete movement towards a meaningful devolution of powers including the implementation of the 13th Amendment and beyond,” she said.

In response to her comments, Sumanthiran told The Sunday Leader that the Sri Lankan Government has consistently agreed with India that they would ‘implement the 13th amendment in full and go beyond that to achieve meaningful devolution’ and this is even contained in joint communiqué between the two governments.

However, he noted that the promise has not been kept and far short of even implementing the 13th amendment in full, the Government has not allowed the Northern Provincial Council to function in the way other provincial councils function. “The law requires the Chief Secretary to be appointed with the concurrence of the Chief Minister. But after repeated assurances even that simple action has not been taken,” he said.

Sumanthiran also noted that India has consistently urged the government to engage with the TNA to arrive at an acceptable political solution. “The Government, after commencing dialogue with the TNA in January 2011, did not respond to the TNA’s proposals for a full year and then, contrary to agreement walked away from the bilateral talks. Thereafter the Government keeps insisting the TNA join the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC). This too is contrary to the agreement reached with the TNA, which are all recorded and confirmed in the minutes of the bilateral talks. This is the reason the TNA is unable to join the PSC,” he added. Moreover PSC is composed of members mainly from the majority community. As a result no benefit will out for the Tamils in any PSC deliberations.

On the other hand the DMK on 16 February urged the Centre to support a US-backed resolution against Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The US is planning to move a resolution at the UNHRC in March over the alleged war crimes committed by Sri Lanka during the war against LTTE rebels.

A resolution passed during party's two-day convention in Trichy also demanded the UPA government at the Centre propose a separate resolution in the UN against the Island nation. "India should move a resolution separately at the UNHRC seeking a referendum among the Sri Lankan Tamils to ascertain the political solution required for them," the resolution said. The resolution added that there should be an international independent inquiry into the alleged war crimes committed by the Lankan government.

The DMK passed 15 resolutions at the convention. A resolution condemned the Centre for its affidavit filed at the Madras high court which said Katchatheevu belongs to Sri Lanka and Indian fishermen don't have any fishing rights in the waters near it. The DMK urged Center to hold talks with Sri Lankan government to protect the rights of the Indian fishermen.

Prime Minister of the transnational government of Tamil Eelam, Visvanathan Rudrakumaran, on 14 February 2014, appealed to all parties in India to include the issue of Tamil Eelam in their manifestos and urged the Centre to prevail upon the international community to pave the way for a referendum in SrLanka.

Addressing journalists through video-conferencing from the United States, he said the people were aware of the genocide committed against Tamils during the last phase of the war in Sri Lanka, and the sentiments had snowballed into a vote bank. "If a referendum can happen in South Sudan, East Timor and Kosovo, why not in Sri Lanka." India was morally, diplomatically and strategically positioned to take the lead in reaching out to the Tamils. The government should either sponsor or co-sponsor a resolution in the upcoming United Nations Human Rights Council session for an international independent commission, Mr. Rudrakumaran said.

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