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Massacre commemoration rally in front of UN headquarters

[TamilNet, Thursday, 19 May 2011 08:26 No Comment]

Nearly one thousand expatriate Tamils from the U.S. and Canada held a protest rally in front of the United Nations headquarters near the Dag Hammarskjold park in Manhattan New York on the second anniversary of the Mu’l’livaaykkaal massacre of May 2009, appealing to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to act on the recommendations of his expert panel to conduct independent war crimes investigations in Sri Lanka. Protesters’ chants of “UN, UN, Never again” and “Ban Ki-moon, Act Now” echoed off the white metal building where Secretary General Ban’s office now is, Inner City Press (ICP) which covered the protest reported.

NY2011IMG_0931 ICP also reported that an appointment with a delegation of protesters agreed to by the UN officials ended up in a farcical encounter with an official who alleged walked with the petition into an entirely empty UN building.

NY2011IMG_0943_93293_218 Amid continuing calls by many human rights organizations for independent investigations into war crimes, the convergence of resolve to continue to fight for justice was palpable in the Tamil expatriate groups, as several hundred Tamils resident in Montreal and Toronto crossed over the border to New York to attend the rally, an attendee said.

Protesters of various age range and from different shades of Tamil acivist groups appeared united in the call for justice.

NY2011IMG_0932_93281_218 Dr K. Thayaparan, a key organizer of an earlier 4-month long White House protest, told TamilNet, "the US embassy was clearly aware of the impending massacre as revealed by the cables recently made public, but failed to stop the massacre of 40,000 Tamil civilians. Now the UN expert panel’s report is out, and it is incumbent upon the Obama administration to seize this moment and make amends by asserting its will for an independent international investigations into the war crimes."

NY2011IMG_0936_93285_218 Professor Glenn Morris, Professor of Political Science at University of Colorado, and a well-known native American activist who attended the protest, told the attendees, "Tamil struggle is a precedent setting example to suffering oppressed people across the world. The determination, resilience, intellectual capacity, cultural unity to withstand tremendous amount of adversity, are all shining models of character traits all of us can emulate." Prof. Morris also served as a delegate to the UN Commission on Human Rights.

NY2011IMG_0937_93289_218 Legal actions filed in the U.S., Norway, U.K., and International Criminal Court, and the resulting restriction of mobility of Sri Lanka’s alleged war-criminals have brought increased optimism within the diaspora seeking justice to the crimes at Mu’l’livaaykkaal, an attendee to the protest said, adding, "the emergence of new evidence of crimes, States supporting Sri Lanka will soon find themselves to be in an untenable position. The world must know that Tamils are not going to give up this fight," the protester added.

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