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A Government in Exile the Gateway to a Global Community

[MISC, Saturday, 27 June 2009 19:37 One Comment]

By Satheesan Kumaaran

The situation in Sri Lanka has changed dramatically. Now, the Tamils are without leadership. They are victims of greater oppression with about 300,000 Tamils in internment camps. Access to the camps is denied to the world community and even to local NGOs and media by Sri Lanka. While the LTTE fought on behalf of Tamil freedom militarily, the Tamils in Sri Lanka and elsewhere faced difficult times. The Tamil Diaspora are seen as not only supporting the LTTE, but are viewed by Sri Lanka as members of the LTTE as well. In the immediate aftermath of the defeat of the Tamil militant leadership and in the wake of the untold suffering and injustices of the Tamil people in the Vanni, there is fluidity in the thinking among the Tamils as to what form the Tamil clamour for self-determination and freedom should take.

We are in the third phase of the Tamil struggle with the political centre of gravity shifted outside of Sri Lanka. The Tamil provisional leadership has announced that they have renounced violence and shall support diplomatic actions by establishing a “Provisional Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (PTGTE).” This is one of the proposals put forward and is left to be seen whether the diasporic Tamils will choose to continue to proceed with the LTTE baggage or shed it to explore other avenues as proposed by other political activists, thinkers, and analysts. There is now a cauldron of political thinking on the future struggle of the Tamils.

The PTGTE is the first step of next phases the successors of the LTTE’s struggle for Tamil Eelam. Besides its political ideology, there is also the question of the credentials and the credibility of their leadership as befitting the original leadership. The question is also whether the idea has been hastily conceived. There is information of a plethora of meetings and groups being held amongst the Tamil Diasporas the world over. There is also the idea of the independent Democratic Republic of Tamil Eelam in Exile which is also gaining very wide acceptance. One such organisation is the World Tamil Congress advocating Tamils join the organisation at the country level as individuals and not as nominated groups, leaving behind the past images. The details of the structure are still to be worked out, but the idea is to have electoral colleges to elect representatives at the country level to be represented at the world Tamil Congress.

The Tamil Diasporas hope that a workable consensus will be reached before forging ahead. It would indeed be a tragedy if there is a repetition of the spectacle of the militant organisations fighting with each other as in the early 1980s and thus undermining the Tamil cause. Reaching consensus is a painful, arduous, and tedious process involving much patience and tolerance, but is well worth it.

The concept of the Tamil homeland springs from the fact the programme of marginalising Tamils began from the day Sri Lanka was granted independence with sate sponsored massacres in1956. It has become increasingly clear that the Tamil and Sinhala people cannot live in harmony under a unitary form of government; on the other hand, two independent states will be able to exist side by side with harmony and prosperity.

Post war, the Tamil homelands are already under threat of Sinhala colonization initiated by President Rajapaksa who has appointed a special envoy to facilitate colonization of the traditional Tamil lands with Sinhalese and changing the Tamil names into Sinhala. On June 5, Rajapaksa’s wife and son visited Jaffna peninsula with a statue of Sangamitha, Emperor Asoka’s daughter and the first woman Buddhist missionary to arrive in Sri Lanka, in the newly built Buddhist temple in Mathakal, a predominantly Christian village. Rajapaksa’s family visit to Jaffna with the intention of donating the statue for the newly built Buddhist temple shows the general public that the Sri Lankan government will open up many more Buddhist temples and thereby colonize the predominantly Tamil-speaking Hindu, Islam, and Christian territories. However, the mute colonization scheme, which has taken place in Tamil areas since the island gained independence in 1948, will continue after the absence of LTTE fighters as relentless as never before.

Around 80 million Tamils around the world are grief-stricken and shocked over the recent events in Security Zone (HSZ) in Vanni. It is believed that their support will be solicited for the establishment of Tamil Eelam government in exile.

Diaspora Tamils on Tamil Eelam

Diaspora Tamils have passed a resolution recently after Sri Lanka claimed military victory, which resolved that restoration and reconstitution of the Free, Sovereign, Secular Socialist State of Tamil Eelam, based on the right of self-determination inherent to every nation, has become inevitable in order to safeguard the very existence of the Tamil nation in this country. And whereas it further declared –

“(a) that the State of TAMIL EELAM shall consist of the people of the Northern and Eastern provinces and shall also ensure full and equal rights of citizenship of the State of TAMIL EELAM to all Tamil speaking people living in any part of Ceylon and to Tamils of EELAM origin living in any part of the world who may opt for citizenship of TAMIL EELAM.

(b) that the constitution of TAMIL EELAM shall be based on the principle of democratic decentralization so as to ensure the non-domination of any religious or territorial community of TAMIL EELAM by any other section.

(c) that in the state of Tamil Eelam caste shall be abolished and the observance of the pernicious practice of untouchability or inequality of any type based on birth shall be totally eradicated and its observance in any form punished by law.

(d) that TAMIL EELAM shall be secular state giving equal protection and assistance to all religions to which the people of the state may belong.

(e) that Tamil shall be the language of the State but the rights of Sinhalese speaking minorities in Tamil Eelam to education and transaction of business in their language shall be protected on a reciprocal basis with the Tamil speaking minorities in the Sinhala State.

(f) that Tamil Eelam shall be a Socialist State wherein the exploitation of man by man shall be forbidden, the dignity of labour shall be recognized, the means of production and distribution shall be subject to public ownership and control while permitting private enterprise in these branches within limit prescribed by law, economic development shall be on the basis of socialist planning and there shall be a ceiling on the total wealth that any individual of family may acquire.”

Further, Diaspora Tamils declared the establishment of the “Government of the Democratic Republic of Tamil Eelam in Exile”. The Government in exile shall function until the coming into force of the constitution framed by the Constituent Assembly, as hereinafter set out. The citizens of the Republic shall, upon our return to Eelam, have the power to frame a Constitution by an elected Constituent Assembly and to vote at a referendum, whether or not the Republic should enter into any confederal or other arrangements with any other nation. The election of the Constituent Assembly and the conduct of the referendum shall be subject to international observation. Without prejudice to the ultimate power of the said Constituent Assembly to decide the qualifications required for citizenship, all persons, irrespective of whether they belonged to the Tamil, Muslim, Sinhala or any other community, who were domiciled in Tamil Eelam on or before 4 February 1948 and their descendents shall, irrespective of the country where they now reside, be deemed to be citizens of the Republic.

However, only persons of or above the age of 16 years shall be eligible to register in the electoral register and to vote. The Republic shall be a secular, pluralistic, and democratic state. The Tamil speaking Muslims of Eelam will have their own Canton consisting of non-contiguous areas exercising autonomous powers over their affairs, except for certain specific powers reserved for the central Government. The Sinhala speaking and all other ethnic citizens of Eelam will have equal rights, including the right to communicate with the Government in their own language. The Republic of Eelam will have a legislative assembly, judiciary and executive. There will be a separation of powers enshrined in the constitution. The judiciary will be completely independent of the legislative assembly and the executive. Political Parties will be allowed to be formed and contest at elections to the legislative assembly. The first election will be conducted under international observation. Any Tamil-speaking person living in any part of the world, who does not qualify to be a citizen, shall be entitled to obtain Persons of Tamil Speaking Origin (PTSO) status by making an application to the government. Upon acceptance of their application, PTSO cards will be issued. A PTSO card holder will be entitled to carry on any business and make any investments in the Republic. All persons who were settled by the Sri Lankan government under colonization schemes after 04 February 1948, shall not be entitled to citizenship. However, the status of all other persons, irrespective of the community to which they belong, who were domiciled in Eelam after 04 February 1948, shall be set out in or under the constitution formulated by the Constituent Assembly. Human Rights shall be enshrined in the constitution and there shall be established an independent Human Rights Commission, with jurisdiction to inquire into any violation of human rights.

Powers of Tamil Eelam government

The government of the Republic of Tamil Eelam in Exile has full plenary powers over all the land of Eelam, and over the territorial sea adjacent to the land and the air space above, in accordance with the international law. This includes natural resources under the sea bed and land mass. It shall be the duty of the Government in Exile to achieve Tamil Diasporas return to Eelam, through peaceful means, with the support and assistance of the International Community and Tamil Diasporas. The Government in Exile shall be entitled to establish a Diplomatic Mission or an Eelam Economic and Cultural Office, in any country.

There shall be established a Parliament of the Democratic Republic of Tamil Eelam in Exile. The Parliament shall consist of members elected by Electoral Colleges, as hereinafter set out. The Parliament shall elect an executive body, consisting of a President and a Cabinet of Ministers not exceeding eight persons, from among the members of Parliament. The primary function of the President, Cabinet of ministers and members of Parliament shall be to achieve the return to Eelam, through peaceful means, with the support and assistance of the International Community and of Tamil Diasporas. They shall be entitled to exercise all such powers as may be necessary and incidental for such purpose, including the formulation of an interim Constitution.

Whatever is finally agreed upon should have long term and short term prospects of success and should be pragmatic.

(The author can be reached at e-mail: satheesan_kumaaran@yahoo.com)

Courtesy: The Tamil Mirror

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One Comment »

  • a.carunakaran said:

    i wish u all success.my support is there.pl continue the good work.

    if there is anyway i could be of service, pl letme know.

    wishilg to see the birth of tamileelam