Saturday, 25 October 2014
Home Tamil Affairs International Affairs Editorial Opinion Feature Culture & Community Interviews
Latest Entries:
A particularly British failure
Jan Jananayagam Tamil Guardian 20 May 2011 Print ArticleE-mail ArticleFeedback On Article
   

The unimaginable horrors that were inflicted on the Tamil people have now been documented by the UN, by INGOs and by the International media.

We are here to remember their lives, their dreams and all that they stood for. The values of the Tamil people are epitomized in a single line in the UN report released just last month.

This line describes how as hospitals were relentlessly bombed by the Sri Lankan army, as the army blockaded food from the people in order that they would be weakened from hunger and would die, after the international aid agencies including the UN had abandoned them, even as there was no anaesthetic for operations and the wards were filled with the dying, even then ordinary people continued to come forward to donate blood to those who were in need.

They who were hardly in a position to look after themselves risked the shells, risked infection, thus risked their lives so that their countrymen might live. Such courage and generosity are the highest values of the Tamil people.

They will live for eternity in our memories and in the monuments that we will build to them. Let us remember their tremendous achievements under conditions of utter adversity.

In 1995 the people of the Vanni chose to flee the Sri Lankan state, a state where the Tamil people continue to live in fear of xenophobic pogroms, in fear of physical violence at military checkpoints, where masked soldiers and paramilitaries randomly enter their homes at night to abduct, rape and murder, where men in unmarked vans take away their sons, daughters and family members never to be seen again – all because of their ethnicity, their race.

The people of the Vanni fled an apartheid state and carved out for themselves a free country out of inhospitable jungle land, the free de-facto state of Tamil Eelam.

It is a failure of the British government, that it did not support the aspirations of the Tamil people for a free state. Far worse, it failed to intervene to prevent the genocide that was committed on an innocent people. It now delays in punishing genocide, an international treaty obligation. All this in contrast to the interventions in Libya, Afghanistan and other recent military endeavours.

This a particularly British failure because of the historic obligation of Britain in Sri Lanka. For the modern, unitary state of Sri Lanka was artificially created by the British state – thereby setting in motion the conditions for genocide. 

The British government’s delay in seeking international justice for victims of genocide must be a matter of continuing shame for our country.

We as British citizens demand that the British government lives up to its international obligations, that it recognizes formally that genocide has occurred in Sri Lanka and it moves the UN Security Council, the Human Rights Council and General Assembly for an international investigation.

I know that the entire British people stand with us in this demand. Because it is consistent with fairness and the rule of law, both of which are deeply held British values.

A failure to hold Sri Lanka accountable for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide can only have wider repercussions for Britain. The precedent set by Sri Lanka’s impunity with regard to the rules of war enshrined in the Geneva conventions and in the ICC statutes can only make other conflicts more dangerous for British soldiers.

Military cooperation with Sri Lanka either in UN peacekeeping missions or, as recently revealed by Wikileaks, to assist in Afghanistan can only serve to export their particular brand of war crimes to other regions of the world creating more resentment and radicalisation.

This unspoken quid pro quo where Sri Lanka avoids accountability for war crimes in return for military and security cooperation is morally repulsive. It must be openly opposed by the institutions of British government including the Foreign Office and the MoD.

Each of the 40,000 whom we count as dead and the 100,000 and more that remain unaccounted and are presumed dead, each of these lives was precious. Each of them demands justice.

The principle of the rule of law – hard won over centuries in this country - is not one that can be negotiated away for temporary gain and convenience. Such a compromise would diminish us all.

 
Share on Facebook Print ArticlePrint Article E-mail ArticleE-mail Article Feedback On ArticleFeedback On Article
 
 
HIGHLIGHTS
  Tamil Affairs
Tamil Guardian 24 October 2014
Body of missing mother found in Vadamarachchi
The body of a mother of two children was found on Friday morning in the Mulli region of Vadamarachchi, reports Uthayan. The 36 year old mother, who was from the Nagarkoyil area of Jaffna, [more]

Tamil Guardian 24 October 2014
Budget besties
TNA MP Maavai Senathirajah and leader R. Sampanthan delighted to shake hands with President Rajapaksa. [more]

Tamil Guardian 24 October 2014
The people's budget

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in his last budget presentation before the presidential election in January, granted several concessions and handouts to the people of Sri Lanka. [more]

Tamil Guardian 24 October 2014
Tamil Civil Society Forum endorses North-East councillors' call for genocide inquiry
A network of Tamil civil society groups in the North-East, the Tamil Civil Society Forum (TCSF), endorsed the call by councillors in the Northern and Eastern provinces for an international inquiry into the crime of genocide. [more]

Tamil Guardian 24 October 2014
Commonwealth secretary general to visit Sri Lanka on 5 day trip
The Commonwealth secretary general will visit Sri Lanka tomorrow to brief the Sri Lankan president on Commonwealth goals and review progress made by Sri Lanka in their national development plan and post-conflict plans, reports Colombo Page. [more]

Tamil Guardian 24 October 2014
Sri Lanka warns of increased 'LTTE rump' activity after EU ruling
The Sri Lankan military spokesperson Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said they would be vigilant of "acts of [LTTE] rump groups" following the decision by the General Court of the European Union to annul the anti-terror measures against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on procedural grounds earlier this month. "The LTTE through its network of 'Sencholai' schools promote their doctrine of separatism and inculcate a negative image of the country, [more]

Tamil Guardian 24 October 2014
Body found in Nuwara Eliya plantation
The body of a 41 year old Tamil man was found floating in a pond in Meraya plantation, in Nuwara Eliya, this week. The man, identified as father of two, Ramasamy Ramachandran, went missing after leaving his home one morning, reports Uthayan. [more]

Tamil Guardian 24 October 2014
Sri Lanka hires another American lobbying firm
Sri Lanka hired its eighth American public relations firm this year to reach out to US media, officials and policy makers. Levick, an organisation subcontracted to the Liberty International Group, [more]


Print Editions

 
 

Contact Tamil Guardian
www.tamilguardian.com