February 26, 2010 Comments Off on F*I*N*D – A Journey through past, present and future
F.I.N.D is an opportunity for people to explore and understand the culture of Tamil society from the North-Eeast of Sri Lanka in an interactive and conducive environment. In light of the continued focus on the armed conflict and the tragic humanitarian crisis, the opportunity to grasp and appreciate the fundamentals of Tamil identity and everyday way of life are rare. This event gives us a chance to “touch base” and explore these aspects within a social and historical context.
The event is also an opportunity for people to share their opinions on the situation faced by Tamils in our homeland and actively contribute ideas to shape future events held by TYO in order to raise awareness of the plight of Tamils attempting to re-build their lives amidst the aftermath of the armed conflict.
28th February 2010 9.30AM – 6.00PM
Sydney Baha’i Center 107 Derby St, Silverwater NSW 2128
Click here to find out how to get there.
If required transport, it will be provided from Lidcombe Station. Please let us know before hand.
Lunch and beverages will be provided.
Or send an email with your Full Name, Age and Contact details to:
f i n d . 2 0 1 0 @ h o t m a i l . c o m
FACEBOOK PAGE: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=303776108629&ref=mf
February 25, 2010 Comments Off on Miliband's full speech at GTF meeting in UK
Foreign and Commonwealth Office – The Future of Sri Lanka
I want to very warmly welcome all of you to the House of Commons if you’ve come from around Britain, and welcome you to Britain, those of you who’ve come from around the world. I think that it is very significant indeed that the Global Tamil Forum should have brought people together from fourteen countries. That in itself is a huge achievement. It is a reflection of the breadth of the Tamil diaspora around the world and I hope it speaks to a unity that will serve the rights and hopes of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka.
It’s also important to recognise the history that’s associated with Britain’s relationship with Sri Lanka. Father Emmanuel spoke about this. And I hope that not just historians, but Tamils will come to look back on this meeting in this building as being a time and a moment of significance for the future of Sri Lanka.
I also want to recognise on the platform with me here are three Members of Parliament who have played an outstanding role in the British debate about the future of Sri Lanka. Virendra Sharma on my right, Keith Vaz, Siobhain McDonagh have all been stout defenders of the rights of all Sri Lankans and I think it is right not just to recognise the role of Governments, but to recognise the work of parliamentarians and also to recognise the work of community groups. Some of them made by Tamils, but others made by churches, made by other groups of British people who’ve seen the plight in Sri Lanka and wanted to respond to it and I think it’s important to recognise that this is a grass roots movement in Britain, not just a Government led movement.
I also want to say that the foundation of the Global Tamil Forum, the inauguration of its international work, is an important moment for politics and above all politics in Sri Lanka, because there is no substitute for political voice in asserting political rights. Tamils know to their cost the price of violence against them and in their name. We know that the civil war is over, but the civil peace has yet to be built and it is the dedication of this organisation to build a lasting equitable and endurable political civil peace that I think is the test of all of our effort.
I want to commend very, very strongly your decision to, not just to support non violence, but to advocate non violence. I think that history has shown time and again that lasting peace is not found through weapons and through warfare but through politics, however hard it is to persevere with it. We’ve seen this in our own United Kingdom, notably in the state of Northern Ireland, but also in other parts of the world and the road ahead no doubt will be long and hard in some ways that I will describe in a moment. But I think the founding commitment not just to a fully inclusive political process, but to support non violence as the means to achieve it, is something that speaks to the deepest values of the Tamil people and actually, as I will say later, to the deepest values of people everywhere.
Perhaps I should say why I’m here. It’s not just that London is the venue for this important meeting. It’s that the importance of establishing a lasting peace in Sri Lanka matters. It matters because of the deep links that exist between Britain and Sri Lanka, the deep links that exist between British people and Sri Lankans of all kinds, and it’s also that the future of Sri Lanka is important for the future of South Asia more generally. And I think that any Foreign Secretary would want to be here to listen, but also to support about the way ahead. More
February 25, 2010 Comments Off on SL summons David Miliband over GTF
by Jeremy Page
Sri Lanka summoned the acting British High Commissioner in Colombo yesterday to protest over an address by David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, to a meeting of ethnic Tamil activists in the Houses of Parliament.
Rohitha Bogollagama, the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, told a news conference that the Global Tamil Forum was an “umbrella organisaton” for the Tamil Tiger rebels, who were defeated last year.
He said that Mr Miliband’s presence at the group’s inaugural meeting appeared to indicate his support for its “separatist agenda” and was “inimical to the national interest of Sri Lanka”. More
Story as reported on BBC Tamil service
February 24, 2010 Comments Off on David Miliband attends GTF meeting in UK
Jeremy Page, South Asia Correspondent
Relations between Britain and Sri Lanka are likely to hit a new low after David Miliband addresses a meeting of Tamil activists from around the world at the Houses of Parliament today.
The Foreign Secretary is due to make the opening speech at the inaugural meeting of the Global Tamil Forum, which campaigns for selfdetermination for Sri Lanka’s ethnic Tamils and to bring to justice perpetrators of alleged war crimes during the island’s 26-year civil war.
William Hague, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, is to make the closing address to the meeting, which will be attended by several other MPs in an unprecedented display of cross-party support for Sri Lanka’s Tamils after the defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels last year.
“It’s great support for us,” S. J. Emmanuel, the president of the forum, told The Times. “The British Government, more than any in the world, knows our history and are most competent to understand our situation.”
He said that the group advocated non-violence and an international boycott of Sri Lankan goods and wanted war crimes charges brought against Mahinda Rajapaksa, the President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Defence Secretary, and Sarath Fonseka, the former army chief.
Sri Lanka’s Government is sure to be incensed as it regards many of the forum’s members, especially the British Tamils Forum, as fronts for the Tigers, who are banned as a terrorist organisation in the EU. Sri Lankan officials have long accused Britain of secretly supporting the Tigers.
The Foreign Office defended Mr Miliband’s decision to address the meeting. A spokesman said: “The UK firmly believes that the only way to achieve lasting and equitable peace in Sri Lanka is through genuine national reconciliation. The UK will engage with all members of the Sri Lankan community who share this goal, whether overseas or in Sri Lanka.”
The Tigers launched their armed struggle to create an independent homeland for Tamils in northeast Sri Lanka in 1983 to try to protect them from discrimination at the hands of the ethnic Sinhalese majority.
February 24, 2010 Comments Off on Supreme Court says no to Fonseka's release
Radio Australia (22/02) – Detained SLankan presidential candidate not in luxury: wife
The Hindu (22/02) – Sarath Fonseka to lead new alliance
February 24, 2010 Comments Off on ICG on Tamil diaspora
Colombo/Brussels, 23 February 2010:
Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora groups should move away, once and for all, from the failed agenda of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and instead put their energies into the quest for a sustainable and just peace in a united Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora after the LTTE,* the latest report from the International Crisis Group, examines political dynamics within the Tamil diaspora since May 2009, as Tamils abroad adapt to the LTTE’s defeat. It also looks at the potential for new forms of militancy within the diaspora, especially among the younger generations, radicalised by the deaths of thousands of Tamil civilians in the final months of the war. While there is little chance of the Tamil Tigers regrouping in the diaspora, most Tamils abroad remain profoundly committed to a separate state of Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka.
“New diaspora initiatives attempt to carry forward the struggle for an independent state in more transparent and democratic ways, but they must repudiate the LTTE’s violent methods”, says Robert Templer, Crisis Group’s Asia Program Director. “And they must also recognise that the LTTE’s separatist agenda is out of step with the wishes and needs of Tamils in Sri Lanka”.
The gap between the diaspora and Tamils in Sri Lanka has widened. Most in the country are exhausted by decades of war and are more concerned with rebuilding their lives under difficult circumstances than in continuing the fight for an independent state. Without the LTTE to enforce a common political line, Tamil leaders in Sri Lanka are proposing substantial reforms within a united Sri Lanka. While Tamils have the democratic right to espouse separatism non-violently, Tamil Eelam has virtually no domestic or international backing. With the Sri Lankan government assuming Tamils abroad remain committed to violent means, the diaspora’s continued calls for a separate state feed the fears of the Rajapaksa administration and provid e excuses for maintaining destructive anti-terrorism and emergency laws.
The Sri Lankan government must address the legitimate grievances at the root of the conflict: the political marginalisation and physical insecurity of most Tamils in Sri Lanka. The international community needs to press Colombo much more strongly for political and constitutional reforms. Donors should insist that money given to redevelop the north and east is tied closely to the demilitarisation and democratisation of the region. This should include giving Tamils and Muslims a meaningful role in determining the future of the areas where they have long been the majority. Donor governments and the United Nations must also insist on an independent investigation into the thousands of Tamil civilians killed in the final months of 20fighting in 2009.
“Tamils in Sri Lanka currently have little appetite for a return to armed struggle”, says Robert Templer. “But should the Sri Lankan state continue to fail to respond to their collective aspirations, some may eventually seek a solution through violence and could find willing partners in the diaspora”.
February 24, 2010 Comments Off on Trouble for tamil newspaper in Toronto
Globe and Mail (22/02) –Tamil newspaper vandalized after publisher warned of trouble
CBC.ca (22/02) –Toronto Tamil newspaper office vandalized
Toronto Star (21/02) – Tamil newspaper’s Scarborough office attacked