The following account is based on interviews to Tamils Against Genocide . Personal details of Kumaran (not his real name), place names and dates have been changed to protect his identity. Illustration Keera Ratnam When Kumaran wakes up in the room he has been given by the Home Office, it takes him a few minutes to adjust to his present surroundings. Sleepless nights, recurrent nightmares and depression help contribute to this disorientation. He feels an overwhelming sense of claustrophobia, of the walls moving in, caging him once again. His room, his present day cage, reminds him of the cell he had been kept prisoner in for two years. It is difficult for him to differentiate between the nightmares of his sleep and his present reality. For Kumaran, life in his room in the UK is one of living torture: uncertainty and threat of deportation mirror the uncertainty and fear which shadowed him when locked away for so many months. For Kumaran the years ahead seem to hold nothing but ceaseless striving: to reconcile the trauma of his past with the relative security of his present.
Illustration Keera Rat nam The following account written by Paul M.M. Cooper is based on survivor interviews to Tamils Against Genocide (TAG). Personal details of Mayuran (not his real name), place names and dates have been changed to protect his identity. Mayuran was in his mid-30s when the Sri Lankan army advanced into the LTTE-controlled North-East of Sri Lanka in its final assault. He first joined the LTTE when he was sixteen, and had been part of a team that laid claymore mines along enemy positions and also taught combat to new recruits. In Mayuran's own words, here is what he saw. In...
Illustration Keera Rat nam The following account written by Paul M.M. Cooper is based on survivor interviews to Tamils Against Genocide (TAG). Personal details of Ainkaran (not his real name), place names and dates have been changed to protect his identity. Ainkaran volunteered in a hospital in the contested North East of Sri Lanka when the government began its final offensive on the Tamil separatists. It was 2009, and the outlook was grim for the LTTE. The cadres had set up fortified settlements far behind the frontline in order to escape the artillery of the Sri Lankan Army, but there were some shells, with a range of 3-5km, that could still reach even these safe havens.
Illustration by Keera Ratnam The following account written by Paul M.M. Cooper is based on a survivor interview to Tamils Against Genocide (TAG). Personal details of Ahalya (*not her real name) and her family members, place names and dates have been changed to protect their identities. Ahalya was in her late twenties when the war in the Northeast of Sri Lanka came to an end. She was the sister of an LTTE fighter who was killed fighting in the war, and since his death had been determined to do what she could to alleviate the suffering of the Tamil-majority population of the LTTE-controlled zone. During the war, Ahalya assisted in the hospital in Oru Kiraamam, while her mother and father stayed at home and looked after her little son. It was hard work, and at first dealing with the wounded and the sick made her heart tremble. She grew tougher, though, and before long her work at the hospital, along with caring for her child, became the focus of her life.
Today’s resolution is a turning point in the battle for the human rights of the Tamil people. It opens up the possibility to obtain justice via international mechanisms for all those who lost their loved ones in the course of the mass atrocities of 2009 and in the seven years prior.
Marking the 30 year anniversary of the anti-Tamil pogrom of Black July, Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) released the following statement. Extracts reproduced below, full statement can be found here . " Impunity keeps the scars of 1983 fresh . Wholesale lack of accountability set the conditions for continued abuses, on greater scales, to the present. There has never been accountability nor adequate reparations for Black July . Today in place of Justice, the Sri Lankan State offers countless denials and parades in triumphal fashion, emboldened by decades of international misunderstanding and...
A witness recalls the horrors of her walk towards the Sri Lankan Army controlled territory on the penultimate day of the conflict, the 17th May. “I walked, following many others, thousands. As I walked I saw the scale of the destruction, there were pools of blood and many wounded or dead. I saw a truck laden with people that had been hit by a shell not long before - the wounds were fresh. There was a mother dead, her baby still alive beside her.” What then followed was months in an IDP camp, months punctured by torture, and upon release, the constant fear of persecution. This, 4 years on from those final days of death and surrender, is the reality of life for many Tamils in Sri Lanka. On this anniversary, we remember those who lost their lives and those who survived them and we ask, what progress has been made in the fight for justice? The answer is sobering – far too little. This in spite of incontrovertible evidence of the crimes perpetrated by the Sri Lankan state against its own citizens, this despite the manifest failings of the Sri Lankan state to provide justice, this despite much international condemnation by states, INGOs, and, especially of late, the international legal community.