The Tamil National People's Front (TNPF) called for an end to violence against women and gender equality within Tamil society as crucial for the struggle for the Tamil nation's liberation from Sri Lankan state oppression to succeed.
Endorsing the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign, the TNPF together with local civil society organisations called for the Tamil nation to look introspectively and address prevalent issues of gender based violence, such as domestic violence.
"We will only be able to succeed in our struggle for liberation, the day we treat Tamil women as equals," said the TNPF President Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam.
TNPF President Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam
The president of the Iranaimaadu Farmers Federation, Sivaprakasam, said:
"Whilst we have been victims of horrendous crimes at the hands of the Sri Lankan state, we are also victims of our own violations. We must get our own house in together as well [and this] must begin with examining the way we treat Tamil women and girls."
President of the Iranaimaadu Farmers Federation, Sivaprakasam
"I don't believe in 'minding my own business' when I hear the cries of my [female] neighbours when they are being assaulted by their husbands," he added. "I make it my business to go and ask him to stop."
"Not to ask why he is doing it, but just to stop, as there can be no justification for it," Sivaprakasam said.
Coinciding with UN Human Rights Day on December 10, the TNPF event was held in Kilinochchi, to raise awareness of the ongoing detention of two prominent activists from the region - the human rights campaigner, Balendran Jeyakumari and TNPF Kilinochchi district organiser, Jegatheswaran. Both are being held without charge by anti-terror police.
|Campaigners Balendran Jeyakumari and Jegatheswaran remain detained without charge by anti-terror police.|
Jeyakumari was detained along with her daughter, on March 13, in the run up to the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva where a resolution was launched calling for an inquiry into mass atrocities against the Tamil people.
Also attending the event, the human rights campaigner and Northern Provincial Councillor, Ananthy Sasitharan, spoke of the extensive campaign conducted by Jeyakumari against enforced disappearances by the Sri Lankan security forces.
Jegatheswaran was arrested by Terrorism Investigation Department (TID) officials a day before the TNPF was due to hold a protest against land grabs in Kilinochchi.
"He has been detained without charge for over 6 months by the TID," said the TNPF General Secretary S. Kajendran.