Genocide victims must create new forums for justice: TGTE
“UNHRC gave prominence to protest in south in which 10 people died – compared to silence of 70,000 Tamils killed in six months is shocking”
— Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE)
UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, Oct. 6, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — Today the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on Sri Lanka – 20 states voted against Sri Lanka. In March 2021, 22 states voted against Sri Lanka. 20 states voting against Sri Lanka demonstrate that the island country is considered a rogue state.
Tamils in Eelam, however, are disappointed that India again abstained from voting. Sri Lanka seems to have played its “Chinese card” well and silenced its giant neighbor India. We, the Tamils of Eelam, expected India, as a regional power and an emerging global power, to act on the basis of moral principles, boldness and conviction.
We, the Tamils of Eelam, are appalled by the insensitivity with which the Human Rights Council (HRC) has approached the issue of accountability for international crimes, namely war crimes, crimes against humanity and the genocide committed against the Tamil people. Victims, national Tamil leaders, national civil society and the Diaspora all with one voice have called for a referral of the situation in Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The TGTE would also like to point out that in 2015 nearly 1.6 million people around the world took part in the signature campaign calling for the referral of Sri Lanka to the ICC. However, the HRC has not even acknowledged let alone acted on it. In fact, the current HRC resolution is a step back from its own position taken in 2015. In 2015, the HRC called for a hybrid tribunal and when Sri Lanka said a big NO, the HRC recoiled and changed its own position from a hybrid court to a “domestic mechanism”. The observation by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in its report to the HRC this year that the trend in Sri Lanka is towards Sinhalese, Buddhist and majority ideology, with the support of the military and Buddhist monks and the HRC’s call for a national mechanism to bring justice to Tamils are mutually contradictory. The Sinhalese political system on the island of Sri Lanka will never accept any type of accountability mechanism due to the stigma of accumulated guilt that will transpire from the trial.
While the panel of experts appointed by then UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has explicitly stated that it is reasonable to believe that crimes against humanity and war crimes have been committed during the final stages of the war, the HRC reduced these international crimes to violations of human rights and humanitarian law. The HRC’s deliberate act of amnesia reminds us of Hitler’s infamous statement that “who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians.”
Furthermore, the significance given to the protest in the south in which 10 people died, compared to the silence on the armed conflict in which, according to the UN internal review report, in which 70,000 people killed during the final stages of the armed conflict is shocking.
As highlighted by the OHCHR in its report, the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defense received US$1.86 billion, which represented 15% of total government expenditure, making it the sector with the largest allocation of funds in 2022. It is also reported in the Financial Times, dated October 3, 2022, that the armed forces “employ more than 250,000 people in a country of 22 million people or nearly 3% of the active population “. According to the Oakland Institute in California, there is one military for every six civilians in the Tamil regions.
The military occupation of the Tamil nation is a bulwark for Sinhalese and Buddhism and also exploits the livelihood and economy of the Tamil people. The least that is expected of the HRC is that it demands the reduction of the armed forces and a timetable for its withdrawal from the Tamil areas.
The path to the ICC through the HRC is long and difficult because the HRC is a state-centered institution and not a truly independent body. The victims have no place at the table. It is not surprising that in state-centric institutions, human rights take second place to the harsh reality of power politics. It seems that the HRC has become another forum for real politics. And the vagaries of real politik keep the Tamils of Eelam as permanently betrayed people.
Thus, it is imperative that in addition, while utilizing existing forums, a victim-centered accountability mechanism is created. The evolution of international law and international relations offers it a space. In 2020, TGTE launched a project called Victims Driven International Justice (VDIJ). Last week, the TGTE sent a representation to the ICC Registrar adhering to its jurisdiction. This was done on behalf of the de jure State of Tamil Eelam, as the Eelam Tamils did not consent to the 1972 and 1978 constitutions of Sri Lanka, thus when Sri Lanka broke its ties with the British, Tamil sovereignty reverted to the Tamils.
We hope that the ICC will assume its jurisdiction and prosecute the crimes committed in the north and northeast of the island of Sri Lanka. Since the Tamil genocide, like others in Cambodia, the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, is committed by states, the TGTE will launch a legislative campaign to bring an exception for international crimes and torture to their laws on foreign sovereign immunity. This will allow civil legal action against the State itself by the victims themselves in the national courts of these countries.
TGTE will also work with victims and other diaspora entities to pursue legal action in various countries under universal jurisdiction. We hope OHCHR will share the evidence it has collected.
Fate of Tamils in the Hand of Tamils - The Thirst of Tamils is Tamil Eelam.
Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE)
*ABOUT THE TRANSNATIONAL GOVERNMENT OF TAMIL EELAM (TGTE):
The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) is a democratically elected government of over one million strong Tamils (from the island of Sri Lanka) living in several countries around the world.
TGTE was formed after the massacre of Tamils by the Sri Lankan government in 2009.
The TGTE has held internationally supervised elections three times among Tamils around the world to elect 135 MPs. It has two houses of parliament: the House of Representatives and the Senate as well as a Cabinet.
TGTE is campaigning to realize the political aspirations of Tamils through peaceful, democratic and diplomatic means and its Constitution stipulates that it should only achieve its political goals through peaceful means. It is based on the principles of nation, homeland and self-determination.
TGTE calls on the international community to hold accountable the perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide against the Tamil people. TGTE is calling for a referendum to decide the political future of Tamils.
The Prime Minister of TGTE is Mr. Visuvanathan Rudrakamaran, a lawyer based in New York.
Follow on Twitter: @TGTE_PMO
Email: [email protected]
Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam
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