M.K.Sivajilingam at the UNHRC in Geneva

sivajilingamThe Tamil people in Sri Lanka have suffered tremendously for the last 70 years, and today more than ever, they are counting on you, the UN and the International Community to give them justice and their political rights, and assure their protection. The injustice against the Tamils continues even today, at this very moment.

The Tamil people have long history of disappointment and deception by the successive governments of Sri Lanka. After numerous reports, resolutions, and investigations by the UN, Sri Lanka finally agreed last year, and co-sponsored a Resolution calling for a judicial mechanism that will include foreign judges, prosecutors and investigators.

Not too long after its promises, several high-ranking members of its government, including the President and the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka have clearly, categorically, and publicly retracted from their promises made to the UN, declared that they will not allow foreign judges, prosecutors and investigators, and vowed to “protect” their military.

Tamil people are not at all surprised at this deception by Sri Lanka, as they never expected justice from Sri Lanka by its own, but it clearly illustrates to the UN, the insincerity of Sri Lanka over its own commitment it has made just last year. If Sri Lanka can attempt to deceive the UN in this fashion, please imagine, how will they deal with the Tamil people.

Anyone who is familiar with the track record of Sri Lanka over the past several decades knows that Sri Lanka is incapable of meting out justice to the Tamils. The Tamil people want all crimes committed against them to be investigated, including the crime of Genocide. There will not be any justice to the Tamils without the involvement of foreign judges, prosecutors and investigators.

Sri Lanka has been promising many things that the world wants to hear, but they haven’t taken any tangible actions to significantly fulfill those promises or improve the conditions. The majority of the lands that belong to the Tamil people, but were illegally taken by the military still remain with the military. They have been building Buddhist temples in the traditional Hindu areas with the goal of demographically changing the Tamils’ homeland. The military is interfering in every aspect of the life of the Tamil people.

The Tamil people urge the International Community and the UN not to get distracted by the empty promises by Sri Lanka, but judge by their actions. The International Community and the UN must put more pressure on Sri Lanka and urge them to deliver on their promises, otherwise their promises will remain as promises forever.

While subjecting the Tamils with oppression and occupation, the Sinhala regime shamelessly talks about reconciliation; but there will not be any reconciliation until and unless the Tamil people are given justice, and their political rights are restored. Until these issues are resolved, the permenent peace and the stability of the island will continue to elude.

On behalf of the victimized Tamil population, I would like to respectfully request you to consider the following: The UN must firmly and categorically require Sri Lanka to fully implement each section of the Resolution 30/1 without any delay. The UN must ensure that the judicial process consists of foreign judges, prosecutors and investigators as stated in the Resolution, and if Sri Lanka continues to delay and deceive, the UN must take further measures.

The UN/OHCHR should open its offices in the North-East region where the crimes were committed, so that it can facilitate the victims, and provide some protection to the witnesses.

The UN should press Sri Lanka to end the military occupation of the North-East region, and create normal condition, so that the victims will be able to participate in the judicial process without fear. The UN must require Sri Lanka to accept the UN mediation for finding a permanent political solution that can address the root cause of the war, prevent recurrence, and bring permanent peace.

The victimized Tamil people are counting on you, the UN, and the International Community. We seek your assistance. We seek your help. Above all, we seek your protection and assurance against recurrence.

Thank you.

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