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Sri Lanka’s State Responsibility for Historical and Recent Tamil Genocides

Reports of genocide committed by the Sri Lankan state against Eelam Tamils need to be “addressed and recognized” wrote Tasha Manoranjan and Meruba Sivaselvachandran in Opinio Juris last week, 37 years after the Black July pogroms that killed thousands of Tamils.

“Eelam Tamils have suffered at least two genocides: Black July of 1983 and the Mullivaikkal Massacre of 2009," said the piece.

“It is important that these allegations of genocide are addressed and recognized. And the Tamil people, like the Rohingya people, require justice for the mass atrocities against them, over time, by the state. There has been no legal accountability for the crimes committed during Black July in 1983.”

The piece outlines legal arguments that support a finding that the events of Black July constituted genocide, discusses state responsibility for genocide and the importance of genocide recognition.

“Canada’s lower house and the Presidents of France, also home to sizeable Eelam Tamil populations, of Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Turkey as well as the Prime Minister of Malaysia have asserted that Myanmar committed genocide against the Rohingya people,” the piece concludes. “The same level of courageous leadership is needed to end impunity for Sri Lanka’s decades of genocide and other mass atrocities against Tamils as individuals and as a people.”

Read the full text of the piece at Opinio Juris here.

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