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British candidate calls Tamils victims of genocide

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 06:50 No Comment]

rachel_joyce Dr Rachel Joyce, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate, Harrow West, UK, in a statement circulated to her constituents, said she believes that since Sri Lanka’s independence "the acts perpetrated the Government of Sri Lanka on Tamils including the burning down of Jaffna library…disappearance of Tamil individuals…and the use of concentration-style camps for internally displaced Tamils should be classed as Genocide." Dr Joyce further made a campaign promise to "work with the Tamils to get the acts perpetrated on the Tamils classed legally as a genocide so that the UN Convention can be used to address the problems."

The text of Dr Joyce’s full statement follows:

Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group.

A legal definition is found in the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG). Article 2 of this convention defines genocide as "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."

I believe that since independence the acts perpetrated by the Government of Sri Lanka on the Tamils including the burning down of the Jaffna Library, the refusal to act on the Vattakottai resolution, disappearances of Tamil individuals, refusal to allow Tamil to be an official language of Sri Lanka, firing on the so-called "safe zone", the relocation of Tamils and moving in of Sinhalese into traditional Tamil areas, and the use of concentration-style camps for internally displaced Tamils should be classed as Genocide.

I will work with the Tamils to get the acts perpetrated on the Tamils classed legally as a genocide so that the UN Convention can be used to address the problems.

Dr Rachel Joyce

Conservative Parliamentary Candidate, Harrow West

Ms. Jan Jananayagam, British representative of US-based group "Tamils Against Genocide (TAG)" and who contested as an independent candidate in the the 2009 European Parliament elections in London, and secured a record 50,000+ votes for an independent candidate in an EU election, commenting on Dr Joyce’s statement, said: “Those of us who have been working towards legal recognition of Sri Lanka’s genocide are delighted by Dr. Rachel Joyce’s unequivocal pledge of support. I know she came to this principled position after a careful weighing of the facts. I also know that having arrived at this position, she will be both courageous and steadfast in her efforts to bring about legal recognition.

“While none of the British political parties has reached an official party position on Sri Lanka genocide, its heartening that individual politicians such as Dr Joyce are taking a clear stand on the issue. It is not possible to over emphasise the importance of international political will in bringing about recognition of, and redress for, genocide of the Tamils.

“These are, of course, early days, but Dr. Joyse’s statement is another important step forward. In 2009 a cross-section of British MPs expressed concern that a genocide might be occurring in Sri Lanka. For some, it is clear, this had personal resonance. For example, Lee Scott, another parliamentary candidate, whose grandparents come from the area surrounding Auschwitz, was firm in his conviction that Sri Lanka’s conduct last year during, and after, the war constituted a genocide," Ms. Jananayagam said.

Professor Francis Boyle of University of Illinois College of Law welcomed Dr Joyce’s statement which adopted his approach arguing "Tamils have been victims of GOSL genocide since independence," and added, "Radovan Karadzic is on trial for genocide overall in Bosnia (1993-95) and also for the massacre at Srebrenica (1995). It is the same case here.

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