Commemorating 12 years since the genocidal massacre at Mullivaikkal, People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL) has issued a statement remembering the approximately 40,000 to 169,796 Tamils slaughtered and noting that despite the passage of time, Sri Lanka has failed to take “any genuine steps towards accountability and justice”.
“The trauma of Mullivaikkal lies in our collective grief, alongside the sorrow associated with the end of the armed resistance against Sinhala-Buddhist nationalist oppression” their statement read.
PEARL reminds us that the abuses of the Sri Lankan state are ongoing with “the same government”, responsible for the mass atrocities at Mullivaikkal, continuing to rule the country with fear, violence, and oppression”. They further add that:
“The election of Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the appointment of accused war criminals to high-ranking political, military, and diplomatic posts shows not only the absence of democratic processes, but the further emboldening of this genocidal regime”.
PEARL further criticises the international community noting their failure to bring justice and continued engagement with those accused of previous war crimes.
PEARL also highlights the destruction of Mullivaikkal monuments and maintains that it “demonstrates that the Sri Lankan government perceives the truth of its genocidal actions to be a threat to its own Sinhala-Buddhist nationalist narrative”.
Sri Lanka has further exploited the COVID-19 pandemic as a means to prevent memorialisation. This has been enforced through increased surveillance and military presence on the island. PEARL condemns the “the military’s restriction of commemoration through the isolation of three areas in the Mullaitivu district, despite a Mullaitivu court order permitting commemorative events”. They further call on the international community to condemn this abuse of power and ensure the safety of the Tamil people from the growing repression by the Sri Lankan state.
Despite the efforts of the Sri Lankan state, they have not dampened Tamil efforts to defy authorities and hold remembrance events and activities.
PEARL concludes noting that they will continue to advocate for “accountability for mass atrocities, genocide recognition, and self-determination for the Tamil people” and to do so with the memory of the past - “a central tenant of the struggle”.
They further note that:
“Sri Lanka will remain a failed state until Tamil peoples’ demands are addressed”.
Read PEARL's full statement here.