Peace for the World

Peace for the World
First democratic leader of Justice the Godfather of the Sri Lankan Tamil Struggle: Honourable Samuel James Veluppillai Chelvanayakam

Monday, February 15, 2010

Thiranjala Weerasinghe sj.- One Island Two Nations

Your War Our Lives

Posted by Thiranjala Weerasinghe sj
Srilanka-Ilankai (in Tamil) / Lanka (in Sinhala)
An island located in the Indian ocean, off the southeast tip of India
Three times as larger than the state of New Jersey - 25,000 sq miles in area
Shared History Dates Back to 500BC.
• Sinhala-speaking people - 77%,
• Tamil-speaking people - 23%
When Portuguese took possession of the island in 1505 there were 3 Kingdoms
• Tamil Kingdom in the North-East - Tamil Homeland - (yellow)
• Sinhalese Kingdoms in the South-West (grey).
1505 -1658: Portuguese held the island
1658 – 1796: Dutch usurped control
1796: the British took over
Portuguese and Dutch ruled the Tamil and Sinhala Kingdoms separately, but, the British artificially joined them for their administrative convenience only in 1833.
On Feb. 4, 1948 - British left the Island leaving it as one country, CEYLON, leaving political power in the hands of the ‘majority’ Sinhalese.
THE PROBLEM: First Element
Two Historically Feuding Ethnic Groups
Two Historically Feuding Ethnic Groups.
Centralized Unitary Government.Citizens are not treated equally… …Rights of the Tamils are violated
‘Mistreatment’ of Tamils – 60 years!
Two Historically Feuding Ethnic Groups.
Centralized Unitary Government.
Constitutionally entrenched Sinhala Rule. SINHALESE COMMAND
1948 – 1 million Tamils declared as non-citizens
1949 – Sinhalese colonization in traditional Tamil homeland
1956 – Sinhala made sole official language of the country
1970 – “ethnic standardization” slashes university admission to Tamils
same entrance exam, but Tamils need to score 30% more
1972 – New constitution without Tamils participation
Unilateral name change from Ceylon to Sri Lanka
Declaration of Sri lanka as a republic
Buddhism made state religion
1977 - Prevention of Terrorism Act
State-sponsored anti-Tamil violence in 1956, 1958, 1961, 1974
(1948 – 1976)
(Since 1956)
Systematic Genocide of Tamils1956.. 1958.. 1961.. 1974.. 1977.. 1979.. 1981.. 1983.. .. 2008
Resolution for Independence: Vaddukoddai Resolution
30 year struggle for equality denied.
multiple pacts for regional autonomy not honored.
non-violent agitations by Tamils met by State violence
The Elected Tamil Political Leaders convened and resolved to restore Tamil Sovereignty by declaring an Independent Tamil state in the North-East of Sri Lanka.
1977 Election: Tamils ratify the call for independence by 82% popular vote
Tamil Legislators thrown out of parliament by the government.
Tamil Armed Rebellion takes hold Lead by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
1983 – State Sponsored Anti-Tamil Pogrom
Thimpu Talks Declaration – July 13th 1985Mediated by Indian government failed
Monitored by Scandinavian Countries
(Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission - SLMM)
CEASEFIRE AGREEMENT Signed by the SL Government and the LTTE on 22 February 2002
…forward defence localities (borders) have been established, the Sri Lankan armed forces and the Liberation Tigers’ fighting formations shall hold their ground positions…
…Neither Party shall engage in any offensive military operation nor shall move munitions, explosives or military equipment into the area controlled by the other Party.
THE OSLO DECLARATION:Signed by the SLG and the LTTE on 25 November 2002
…the parties have agreed to explore a political solution founded on the principle of internal self-determination in areas of historical habitation of the Tamil-speaking people, based on a federal structure within a united Sri Lanka.
Within 3 years… 2002-2005
Dissolving High Security Zones – Withdrawing military from Houses, School, Worshiping places (February 2002)
Sub-Committee for Immediate Humanitarian and Rehabilitation Needs in the North and East (SIHRN) (February 2002)
North East Reconstruction Fund (NERF) (November 2002)
Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA) (31 October 2003)
Post Tsunami Operational Management Structure (PTOMS) (June 2005)
November 2005Election of President Rajapakse
Campaign promises:
No recognition of Tamil Homeland or right to Self-Rule.
No to Federal Solution
No to International Mediation
After the Election of President Rajapakse ESCALATION OF VIOLENCEby the SL Armed Forces and Government sponsored Paramilitary.
47 humanitarian workers were kidnapped and killed.
5 Tamil Parliamentarians were assassinated.
Many leading Tamil Journalists were murdered.
Hundreds of Tamils were abducted for ransom & killed.
17 Humanitarian Workers of a French NGO (AFC)Murdered by SL Army in an execution style on 5 August 2006
Violence after Election of President Rajapakse
Targeted Killing of Tamil Civilians
SL government de-merged the Tamil Homeland. (North-East)
Sri Lanka government officially unilaterally abrogated Ceasefire Agreement from January 16, 2008
Sri Lanka government is intensifying a full scale war on the Tamil Homeland to impose Military Solution & calling it as “War on Terror”
No credible political solution is under discussion by SL government.

Tamil civilians being targeted: Disappearances, Daily aerial bombings, Road-side bombs, Shelling, Extra-judicial killing.
Over 5000 Tamils have been killed since election .
Average of 7 Tamils killed daily
US Foreign Policy & Role Toward Sri Lanka and Tamils
US Policy & Role
In 1996 Sri Lanka influenced US to designate LTTE as FTO.
In the post 9/11 scenario US sort partners for War on Terror.
SL depicted the Tamil armed struggle as acts of Terrorism.
SL declared its human rights violations as inevitable occurrences in the War on Terror.
US promotes democracy and freedom, and acknowledges Tamils’ legitimate aspirations for freedom.
In 2004 elections, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) accepted the LTTE as the National Leadership of the Tamils, and won 97% of Tamils’ votes.
However, since LTTE is in its FTO list, US is in a paradox that it is unable to treat both parties equally and help Tamils achieve their legitimate aspirations for freedom.
The USA had placed LTTE on the FTO list
Military Assistance to SL Army
Stop It
Financial Aid to SL Government
Monitor it
Public Statements
Be fair to both nation
Treat both parties Equally
Rep. Frank Pallone – On Autonomy of Tamils:
“I echo this sentiment and support a solution that grants a level of autonomy to ethnic minorities like the Tamils. We have seen very similar successful situations throughout the world. Places like Quebec in Canada, Wales and Scotland in Great Britain are all part of their Federal Nations but have significant autonomy. “ (September 2006)
Rep. Rush Holt – On Human Rights Violations Against Tamils
“I urge US Secretary of State Dr. Rice to appoint a special envoy to emphasize US's commitment to peace in Sri Lanka and to include in the envoy's mandate efforts to increase monitoring of human rights violations," (September 2006)
Mr. Richard Boucher
Assistant US Secretary of State
[Colombo; 26 June 2006]
Though we reject the methods that the Tamil Tigers have used, there are legitimate issues raised by the Tamil community and they have a very legitimate desire, as anybody would, to control their own lives, to rule their own destinies, and to govern themselves in their homeland, in the areas they’ve traditionally inhabited.
Richard L. Armitage
Deputy Secretary of State
[December, 2002
… the United States is greatly encouraged that the LTTE has made a commitment to the political solution and has agreed to settle this conflict through peaceful means...
… the United States government is also encouraged by the vision of the LTTE as a genuine political entity. If the LTTE can make a convincing case that it is committed to a political solution, the United States will certainly consider removing the LTTE from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, as well as any other terrorism-related...
… A US – LTTE direct contact is worth Trying.
EU followed US and placed LTTE on the FTO list
Maj. Gen. Ulf Henricsson
Chief of the Ceasefire Monitoring Mission.
[ Reuters; 12 Aug 2006]

EU can't say they didn't know or at least have any signal about what could happen, I think the EU thought that the government of Sri Lanka was a responsible government, who could take the appropriate decision and work for peace instead of war...
…I would say, EU’s decision to ban the LTTE is a mistake, it was a wrong decision, because the LTTE and the government have signed the ceasefire agreement as equal partners.”
Teresita C. Schaffer
Former US Ambassador to Sri Lanka
(June 2005)
The United States’ designation of the LTTE a ‘Foreign Terrorist Organization’ has affected U.S. diplomacy in Sri Lanka…
…The effect of U.S. terrorism law and of the terrorist organization list has been a problem for U.S. diplomacy, and one that has not always been wisely handled.”
Rep. Brad Sherman
March 15, 2006
I’ve urged the State Department to design a road map for the Tamil Tigers, so that they would know what steps they would need to take to get off the terrorist list…
…What is the difference between terrorism on the one hand, and waging a legitimate guerrilla struggle on the other?..
Seeking some degree of autonomy for North-East Sri Lanka is not a terrible objective.
Jeffrey Lunstead
Former US Ambassador to Sri Lanka
[May 2007]
…Direct US-LTTE links would have helped in convincing the LTTE to move away from terrorism…
… direct communication with the LTTE would have had concrete benefits including the ability to deliver a clear U.S. message about possible delisting of the LTTE as an FTO (Foreign Terrorist Organization)
60 Years... The result:
More than 100,000 Tamils Killed and Disappeared
More than 20,000 Tamil orphaned children
More than 35,000 Tamil widows
Hundreds of Thousands of schools, houses, hospitals, churches, temples, villages and livelihood destroyed.
More than 600,000 Tamils Internal Refugees
Nearly 1 Million Tamils made to flee the country
A Struggle for Freedom – NOT Terrorism
Two Ethnic Nations, separated by
History, Language, Culture, Economic Life, Territorial Homeland.
A Tamil Conventional Military fighting the Sri Lankan Military.
Defense against genocide of Tamils
A large enough Tamil Territory
Defensible and sustainable for self governance
Roughly the same size as Israel or Kuwait or Slovenia.
Bigger in area (19,509 sq. km.) than at least 41 countries in the UN (including Singapore)
A De facto Tamil Government
Police, Judicial, Finance, Economic-Developments,etc, …in existence.
Bigger in population (3.6 million – in 1979 - ) than at least 59 countries in the UN
The Future…
If the Sri Lanka government does not accept Tamil Homeland, Tamil Nationhood and Tamil self-rule, the basic and cardinal principles, that have been guiding the Tamils in their struggle to find a peacefully-negotiated political arrangement…and…
If the Sri Lankan government not willing to share power with the Tamils under a Con-Federal system or some form of a two-state solution…
Tamils will be forced to continue their struggle for their National Self-Determination and a Separate State.
Kosovo & Tamil Eelam
What the Tamil Americans expect from theGovernment of the United States:
Remove the LTTE from the Foreign Terrorist Organizations list, and Treat both parties equally.
Recognize the Tamil National Self Determination.
Permit Tamil people to choose their destiny in internationally supervised plebiscite.
Facilitate the birth of the Tamil Nation, Tamil Eelam.