Expressing deep concern for the rapidly deteriorating human rights situation in the island of Sri Lanka, Danish politicians from both the ruling left parties and the opposition party, academics, Eezham Tamil politicians from the island and the diaspora, Sinhala journalists, and other civil society activists called for an independent international investigation into the crimes of the Sri Lankan state during the war and after, in a conference organized in the Denmark Parliament on Wednesday. The event titled “A forgotten conflict: Conference on Human Rights in Sri Lanka” saw a general consensus among participants that Sri Lanka was incapable of investigating its crimes through its own mechanisms.
Speaking at the event, Mogens Lykketoft, current Speaker of the Parliament and former foreign minister, opined that the international community had a responsibility to provide justice for the Tamils. He also hoped for India to take a stronger position on Sri Lanka.
Mr Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, President of the Tamil National People’s Front, spoke about how the Sri Lankan state was carrying out a policy of Sinhalization and militarization of the Tamil homeland with genocidal intent.
Referring to the pro-LLRC US resolution that was passed in Geneva, he said that this resolution was of no use to the Eezham Tamils, elucidating how it did not meet any of the aspirations of the Tamil nation.
Exiled Sinhala journalist Bashana Abeywardane was of the opinion that the least the International Community can do is to recognize the genocide of the Tamil nation. Likewise, referring to international legal principles, he said that the proof of the genocide was the deliberate targeting of the Tamil population by the Sri Lankan sate in over thirty years of war.
Per Stig Moller from the Conservative party said that while it was hoped that the Sri Lankan government would keep up its promises to the world at least ‘post-war’, what was left was only a sense of betrayal.
Academic Mikkel W. Kaagaard, author of ‘Sri Lanka: From Independence to Suicide Terrorism’, was of the opinion that the main Sri Lankan political parties in order to capture or retain power oppressed the Tamils as a policy.
Jeyashanker Murugiah from the TGTE spoke about the cultural genocide of the Eezham Tamil nation being executed by the Sri Lankan state.
The conference also had a panel discussion involving Danish statesmen, journalist, and a representative from the Denmark Federation of Tamil Associations (DFTA). Agreeing on several breaches of international law by the Sri Lankan state, they were of the common opinion that only an independent investigation on Sri Lanka would suffice.
Maheswaran Ponnambalam, president of the DFTA, emphasised on the illegal detention of Tamil prisoners of war, calling for their immediate release.
The conference was jointly organized by the Social Democratic party, which forms the major bloc in the ruling coalition in the Denmark government, and the DFTA.