US and UK urge political settlement in SL, Canada wants SL ceasefire

April 10, 2009 § 1 Comment

AFP: US urges political settlement in Sri Lanka
The United States on Wednesday urged Sri Lanka’s government to reach a political settlement with the Tamil minority and urged Tamil rebels to free civilians trapped in the bloody conflict.

UK Special Envoy to SL writes:
…There are credible reports that civilians are being killed and wounded daily because of the fighting…Unfortunately, the Government of Sri Lanka still refuses to accept an envoy, even though President Rajapakse said before the appointment that his government would work with one. Their response is obviously disappointing. It is also difficult to understand…

Click here for more.

National Post: Canada wants Sri Lanka ceasefire, Tamil protests continue
Rejecting a call by the Sri Lankan envoy to Canada to end days of disruptive protests in Ottawa, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said Thursday that Canada is pushing the United Nations for a ceasefire in the troubled South Asian country…Mr. Cannon rejected a call by the Sri Lankan high commissioner to Canada to crack down on the protesters because they were waving banners that depict a tiger in front of a pair of crossed guns. “It’s not up to me to put an end to protest,” said Mr. Cannon. “People are allowed to protest in Canada. We live in a democracy. People are allowed to go and express their ideas, their concerns.” Mr. Cannon’s remarks fly in the face of the assessment of Sri Lankan envoy Daya Perera, who said Wednesday that: “there is a limit; the freedom of expression has to stop somewhere.”

Media coverage of Tamil rallies in Sydney + Melbourne

April 8, 2009 § 1 Comment

Sydney Morning Herald: CBD blocked by Tamil protest [watch from source]

SBS World News: Tamils protest in Melbourne [watch from source]

ABC Radio Australia: Sri Lankan Tamil’s Melbourne protest

Sydney Morning Herald: Protest closes CBD block in rush hour
SBS Photo Gallery: Tamil protests
NineMSN: Tamils rally in Sydney over rebel deaths
Macquarie National News: Protest causes Sydney CBD peak hour chaos
ABC News: Tamil supporters stage protest in Melbourne CBD
Brisbane Times: Tamils rally in Sydney over rebel deaths



Foreign Secretary David Miliband issues a written ministerial statement on SL

April 3, 2009 Comments Off on Foreign Secretary David Miliband issues a written ministerial statement on SL

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (David Miliband): Together with my right hon Friend the Secretary of State for International Development, I would like to update the House on the current situation in Sri Lanka, our continuing concern and the action we have been taking.

The fate of civilians caught up in the fighting in the north of Sri Lanka between the government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is the most pressing concern. It is vital that they are able to move away from danger to safety.

Link to article

International Tamil Diaspora Conference calls for Independent Tamil State

March 30, 2009 § 1 Comment

World Tamils Forum London Conference - Jesse Jackson

World Tamils Forum London Conference - Participants

45 Tamil dignitaries from 21 countries gathered in London on Wednesday and Thursday to resolve that an immediate ceasefire in Sri Lanka was essential and that humanitarian access to the Vanni should be permitted immediately. The delegates also said that the Eezham Tamils should determine their own destiny and emphasized that the people of the traditional Tamil homeland had not only given their democratic mandate to the homeland concept, but they also have reiterated that mandate at every juncture of their political discourse.

Read full report and World Tamils Forum: London Conference, 26 March 2009 Conference Resolution here.

British Tamils Forum, assisted by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPG-T), hosted an international conference, titled “World Tamils Forum”, on Thursday, 26 March 2009 at the Crown Plaza Hotel in London. Rev Jesse Jackson from the USA was the key-note speaker. The 45 delegates gathered over two days to discuss and draw up a declaration addressing the humanitarian tragedy facing Tamils in Sri Lanka, exposing the Genocidal War, reinforcing the need for a political process and the role that international actors would need to play. The Former Defence Secretary and the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to Sri Lanka Rt. Hon. Des Browne, Former Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer, Labour National Executive Committee (NEC) Member Mr Mike Griffiths, Entertainer and Charity Worker Sir Jimmy Savile, Members of Parliament from the UK and Sri Lanka, Dignitaries and Civil Servants also attended the conference.

Read full British Tamils Forum press release here.

Watch GTV video coverage (in Tamil) here.

The Tamils' Right to Self-Determination

March 17, 2009 Comments Off on The Tamils' Right to Self-Determination

“The Tamils’ right to self-determination” is a term that pops up on numerous occasions when discussing the current conflict in Sri Lanka. A few readers have asked us about this term. Here are two articles we believe may help.

Understanding Self-Determination: The Basics by Ms. Karen Parker, JD, Specialist in Humanitarian Law and NGO Rep. UN

“…the facts set out in the above-outlines situations where people have the right to self-determination but have not yet realized it…Unfortunately, many of the states involved in attempting to militarily obliterate the peoples with valid self-determination claims try to reduce these conflicts to “terrorism”. So depending on which side of the fence you are on, group A is either a terrorist or a freedom fighter. Some of these regimes’ friends either acquiesce or actively support this erroneous assertion. Apart from the mud-slinging, the tragedy is that states are in open violation of their jus cogens and erga omnes obligations to defend the principle of self-determination. And also, very sadly, not enough people know sufficiently both the law of self-determination and the law of armed conflict to properly redirect the dialogue. The defenders of self-determination are in a very vulnerable position, charged with terrorism. The supporters of the groups fighting for the realization of national liberation may also be labeled or unduly burdened by laws against terrorism at the extremely serious expense of not only human rights but rights under the Geneva Conventions, other treaties and customary laws of armed conflict.”

Read more here.

The Tamil people’s right to self-determination by Deirdre McConnell, Cambridge Review of International Affairs

This article provides an overview of the crisis in Sri Lanka and states why an armed conflict has developed in the northern and eastern parts (north-east) of the country. The Tamils’ accusations—of discrimination, denial of the right to self-determination, abrogated agreements and violations of international human rights and humanitarian law amounting to genocide by successive Sri Lankan governments—are supported by specific evidence given by international human rights and legal experts, international human rights non-governmental organizations and other relevant entities. The democratic parliamentary efforts and the non-violent resistance struggle of the Tamil people prior to the outbreak of war are traced over several decades. The article includes an outline of social and law and order achievements in the north-east under the de facto administration of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and concludes with some current international dimensions of the situation.

Read more here.

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