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Justice for Genocide: Tamil Americans to Hold UN RallySalem-News.com
146,000 Tamil civilians were lost to the Sri Lankan state during the last eight months of the war.
(NEW YORK CITY) - On May 18, 2012, the Tamil Diaspora of North America will be holding an awareness rally and candlelight vigil in front of the United Nations in New York City paying their solemn respect to the victims of Tamil Genocide in the Island of Sri Lanka and to observe the Tamil National Mourning Day. The rally participants will once again reiterate their demand for an independent, international investigation into the war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide perpetrated on the Tamil civilians by the leaders of the Sri Lankan government and its military.
The UN Secretary General appointed a Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka to investigate the mass atrocities, international humanitarian law and human rights violations. The Panel of Experts submitted its report in April 2011 calling for international independent investigations into the deaths of up to 40,000 Tamil civilians, mostly caused by Sri Lankan government’s indiscriminate military assault on civilian enclaves and “no-fire-zones” and blocking of emergency food and live-saving medical supplies. The report confirmed violations of international humanitarian law which could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The well respected Catholic Bishop of Mannar, Rev. Dr. Rayappu Joseph has publicly stated that a total of 146,679 civilians who lived in the area of the conflict are unaccounted for in the final two years of the conflict. Ms. Suba Suntharalingam, speaking for the groups organizing the rally said, “In the absence of credible international investigations to ascertain the truth, we Tamils hold the Sri Lanka government responsible for the deaths of up to 146,000 Tamil civilians in the final months of the blood bath on the beaches of the Tamil homeland.”
Sri Lanka came under severe criticism at the UN Human Rights Council meeting held in Geneva in March. The UN body passed a resolution calling for accountability, investigation of incidents of grave violations of international humanitarian law and immediate implementation of positive recommendations of Sri Lanka’s own internal commission. It also mandates the UN Human Rights Commissioner and Special Rapporteurs to monitor and report progress back to the Human Rights Council.
“While we welcome the UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka, we note it fell short of the UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts’ call for Independent International Investigations,” said Ms. Suntharalingam. “The captive Tamil population is heavily militarized, and abductions, disappearances and deprivations continue in the Tamil homeland. We will continue to push for independent probes, accountability and compensation. The call of the hour is the establishment of an effective International Protection Mechanism,” she added.
The UN rally for “Justice for Genocide” will take place on May 18, 2012 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at 1st Ave and E 44th Street, New York, NY 10017. A candlelight vigil will also be held from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the same venue.
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