Concluding that the only way for Eezham Tamils to live with freedom and peace is in a sovereign Tamil Eelam, a range of Italian academics, left parties, antiracist groups, civil society activists, immigration groups and NGOs endorsed the Tamil Sovereignty Cognition declaration at a conference titled “Tamil, l’identita negate” (Tamil, a denied identity) organized in Palermo, Sicily on 28th July. Speaking at the event, academics from the University of Palermo argued that what happened in the island of Sri Lanka was genocide against the Tamil nation, besides pushing for an independent international investigation into war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan state. "In the diaspora, the youth organizations should work with solidarity groups, political groups, and NGOs using this historic declaration as an action plan," Stefano Edward Puvanendrarajah from Giovani Tamil told TamilNet.
The conference was jointly organized by Giovani Tamil and the Italy Council of Eelam Tamils at Palazzo delle Aquile in Sala delle Lapidi, where the Palermo municipal council assembly takes place.
Italian anthropologist Fabio Pettirino provided the conceptual basis for the title of the conference, sources in Italy told TamilNet.
NGOs from Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mauritius and Ghana were also present at the conference.
Prof. Giuseppe Burgio from the University of Palermo talked about the armed struggle phase of the liberation movement of the Eezham Tamils, talking extensively about the de facto state of the LTTE and the popular support it enjoyed among the Tamil people.
Complementing him, Prof. Fulvio Vassallo spoke on the negative impact the EU ban on the Tamil Tigers had, urging the international community to press for an independent international investigation into war crimes by the Sri Lankan state.
Giving a conceptual understanding on war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes against peace, and genocide, Prof. Clelia Bartoli who specializes in Human Rights alleged that what happened to the Eezham Tamils was an intended genocide. She further criticized the media silence and the failure of state institutions in Sri Lanka, attributing it to the vested economic interests of powers like India and China. Prof. Bartoli opined that it was the duty of the IC to stand by a solution favourable to the Eezham Tamils at least now.
After the presentation of the case of human rights violations and genocide against the Eezham Tamils by Italian academics, besides Tamil diaspora activists, Barbara Evola, the Palermo minister in charge for education, said that she would do her best to push for action corresponding to the situation.
Sergio Cipolla from CISS, a NGO concerned with developments in the global south, and Prof. Provenza from Amnesty international also shared their thoughts.
Citing the UN panel report on Sri Lanka, Prof. Provenza argued for an independent international investigation into war crimes in Sri Lanka.
Anthropologist Fabio Pettirino gave suggestions on how the Tamil diaspora can take their case to the establishments and how to get aid for positive plans from the states in the West.
Stephano Edward, Thanushan Guhathasan and Braveen Nagendram from the Giovani Tamil spoke briefly at the event about the work that their Tamil youth organization and the country councils are doing in Italy. Mr. Edward also briefed the audience about the history of the genocide of the Eezham Tamils in unitary Sri Lanka.
Sebastiampillai Dunstan Rajakumar from the Italian Council of Eelam Tamils presented the Tamil Sovereignty Cognition declaration to the audience, explaining its significance in the contemporary scenario. Following this, the gathered individuals signed a resolution favouring the creation of a state of Tamil Eelam, as implied in the declaration.
Speaking to TamilNet, Mr. Rajakumar said "To Tamil people, a proper and just solution is only sovereign Tamil Eelam. This declaration, after being passed in Italy, should be replicated in other countries as it contains vital concepts for our struggle. All Tamil organizations in the diaspora should take forth the declaration and the proposals elaborated in it in their political interactions."
Adding that the declaration being approved by such a wide range of Italian activists was historic, he said that this declaration contains all the important conceptual requirements for the Eezham Tamil people.