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Relatives of the disappeared call on Tamils to boycott elections in Sri Lanka

Tamil families of the disappeared in Vavuniya urged Eelam Tamils to refrain from casting their vote in the upcoming elections in Sri Lanka, as they marked 2635 days of continuous roadside protests in pursuit of answers to the whereabouts of their forcibly disappeared loved.

The secretary of the Vavuniya Families of the Disappeared association, Gopalakrishnan Rajkumar told a media briefing that it has been four years since a president was elected in Sri Lanka, however, their grievances are unaddressed to date. 

“Boycotting this election will convey to the country and the world that Tamils in Sri Lanka do not accept the Sinhalese version of democracy,” adding that repeated governments have continuously favoured the Sinhala Buddhist majority while continuing to disregard, arrest and intimidate Tamils who continue to search for their loved ones. 

Rajkumar also called out members of the Canadian Tamil Congress for working with the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) in their ‘Himalayan Declaration’ which has been widely criticised by Tamils across the globe. 

“We recently came to know of Canadian Tamil Congress members visiting Sri Lanka only to bow down to touch the feet of Buddhist monks and pay homage in Kandy, including meeting with the Rajapaksa,” he said. “These acts are disrespectful and dishonour the sacrifice and struggles of the Tamils in Eelam. Their supposed attempt to amplify efforts of reconciliation have only promoted Sinhalese aggression and oppression against the Tamils.”

The CTC, is a Toronto-based Tamil community organisation that has been functioning for over 20 years. In the past, the CTC, like many other Tamil diaspora groups, demanded justice and accountability for the massacre of tens of thousands of Tamils by the Sri Lankan state in 2009.

However, the CTC and GTF meeting with Sri Lanka’s former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who was directed the massacre of tens of thousands of Tamils at the height of the 2009 genocide triggered outrage. CTC members met him and several Buddhist monks during their visit in December 2023. The meeting drew widespread condemnation from the Tamil diaspora who called it a ‘betrayal beyond belief’.

The Sri Lankan government-approved ‘Himalaya Declaration’ initiative has seen CTC and GTF members tour the island, following the signing of the agreement.

In the North-East, Tamil families of the disappeared, women’s organisations, students and clergy rejected it, accusing it of “totally ignoring Tamil grievances and the pain and suffering Tamils have undergone since independence”. Elected Tamil parliamentarians refused to meet with them, whilst dozens of diaspora organisations denounced the initiative, accusing it of undermining calls for an international justice and accountability process.

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