Activists from homeland, diaspora address UNHRC
The Deputy Chairman of Valikaamam North Piratheasa Chapai (PS) and the president of Vali North Displaced Peoples Rehabilitation Organisation, S. Shageevan spoke at UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday demanding global focus on the ideology-driven genocide against Tamil people in the North and East of the island. In the meantime, Tamil diaspora activist Krisna Saravanamuttu from the National Council of Canadian Tamils (NCCT) addressing the Council on the same session said that Tamil people are enduring a slow, but relentless, genocide. “The Tamil struggle today is about the survival of our people against genocide by the Sri Lankan state to destroy our sovereign national existence in the island’s NorthEast,” Krisna Saravanamuttu said.
The Tamil activists were addressing the Council under General Debate on Agenda Item 9 on Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance.
I stand here representing victims of racism and a long-term genocide in my homeland in the North and East of the island of Sri Lanka.
Tamil people are subjected to a long-term genocide.
After the end of genocidal war, many places of worship have been attacked and destroyed in the Tamil homeland.
In those places, icons and temples of a different religion, not found among the people, are installed by the military. After this, a systematic colonization is carried out.
A genocidal land grab is going on in the Tamil homeland. I represent thousands of families who are still IDPs as the military has taken over their lands.
There is an ideology behind this on-going genocide.
We seek the global community to focus on this serious issue.
Krisna Saravanamuttu’s address:
Over the last three years there’s been a debate in the halls of Geneva about Sri Lanka, reconciliation and accountability. Unfortunately, this official narrative, as far as the Tamil Nation—the aggrieved party in the conflict—is concerned, ignores the actual nature of our problem.”
The charge is genocide; the struggle is for liberation.
Sri Lanka’s brutal violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law—before, during, and after— the height of the island’s war in 2009 emerges out of a historic, systemic oppression against the Tamil Nation in the NorthEast of the island. But let me be unambiguously clear: the Tamil struggle today is about the survival of our people against genocide by the Sri Lankan state to destroy our sovereign national existence in the island’s NorthEast.
Our problem, then, is not exclusively with the current Sri Lankan government of Mahinda Rajapaksa, but rather, with the unitary Sri Lankan state structure itself.
Every single government since independence committed genocide through the appropriation of land, discriminatory and exclusionary policies, and organized state violence.
Today our people are enduring a slow—but relentless—genocide.
The 2009 massacres in the Vanni were carried out to kill civilians, cause serious bodily and mental harm, and impose conditions of life that produce partial and gradual physical destruction — all with little meaningful opposition from global capitals.
It is within this context that we ask the international community and the Human Rights Council to recognize our sovereign nation’s right to self-determination and the problem in Sri Lanka for what it is: genocide.