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‘A true friend’ – Tamils across the globe pay tribute to Desmond Tutu

A joint statement by numerous global Tamil diaspora organisations pays tribute to life of human rights advocacy and justice lived by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his continued support for the Tamil nation.

“Archbishop Tutu has always been our inspiration to provide guidance and leadership to exert political pressure on Sri Lanka to end its national oppression of the Tamil nation with genocidal intent. Archbishop Tutu not only spoke loud for justice but has always matched it with his own and collective actions” the statement reads.

The joint statement goes on to detail his 2013 call, amongst other eminent world leaders, “for an independent and credible international investigation into alleged violations of human rights and international humanitarian law perpetrated in Sri Lanka”.

This action, the statement notes, “was aimed at urging the Commonwealth to seriously reconsider appointing Sri Lanka as its chair for 2013-15”. Tutu would later call upon the Commonwealth heads of governments to boycott their attendance at the 2013 CHOGM conference which was held in Colombo.

The statement further lauds Tutu’s achievement’s noting his reception of the Nobel Prize for Peace and his chairing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that was set up to unearth atrocities committed during the apartheid South Africa.

“His contributions to struggles against injustice, locally and globally, are matched only by the depth of his love and respect for the fellow human beings. He was an extraordinary human being. A great thinker and leader” the statement notes.

Tutu was “praised for his outspoken voices on human rights, dignity and peace for the oppressed peoples around the globe including for the Palestinians and the Tamil nation in Sri Lanka”.

“We the Tamil Diaspora are saddened by the departure of Archbishop Tutu, a true friend and wish to share the grief, pain and the celebration of his life and contribution to humanity. We take a pledge to use the moral strength and courage that Archbishop Tutu passed on to us, to continue our advocacy for truth and justice for our fellow Tamils in Sri Lanka who needs to be freed from the decades long genocidal oppression with no further delay” the statement concludes.

The statement was signed by the Australian Tamil Congress (ATC);  British Tamils Forum (BTF);  Irish Tamils Forum (ITF); Maison du Tamil Eelam (France);  National Council of Canadian Tamils (NCCT); Solidarity Group for Peace and Justice (SGPJ - South Africa); Swiss Tamil Action Group (STAG); Tamil Movement Against Genocide (Mauritius); and United States Tamil Action Group (USTAG).

Read the full statement here.

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