Noting how the UK-USA governments helped the GoSL during the genocidal war on the Eezham Tamil nation owing to geopolitical interests, former UN Assistant Secretary-General Dr. Denis Halliday said that “as long as they don’t stop the genocide and block the land grabs, and help us to turn it around, they are still complicit in my book.” In an exclusive interview to TamilNet, Dr. Halliday, who was also one of the judges at the Bremen-PPT, condemned Britain’s historical role in “creating a problem” that is the unitary state of Sri Lanka noting that “there was no reason, no justification, to conclude that you need a unitary state.”He also emphasised that Britain should relook its neo-colonial policies and own responsibility for the Tamils soon. “This genocide is going to destroy Tamil Eelam if we do not stop it soon,” he said.
Dr. Halliday spoke to TamilNet in wake of the event on land grabs in London conducted by the British Tamils’ Forum (BTF).
Full transcript of TamilNet’s interview with Dr. Halliday follows:
TamilNet: In this land grab conference, you were very consistent in linking land grab to genocide. Why?
Dr. Halliday: It is very easy to answer. When people lose their lands, they lose their homes, they lose their identity, they lose their livelihood. So what are they left with? They become refugees, or IDPs. They leave the country. Or they are dumped somewhere else into a camp. It is life destroying. One way of destroying people is to take their land.
TamilNet: As regards the UK’s and USA’s complicity in the genocide in the island, why were you very specific on using the word ‘complicity’?
Halliday: Because it is a definition which is contained in the International Court of Justice. And a country like the United States or Britain who cooperates and supports a perpetrator of genocide, as in the regime in Colombo, they themselves become complicit. Because they know fully well that genocide is ongoing, and they are making it more effective, making it more worse.
TamilNet: Would you say that American and British and maybe even Indian complicity in the genocide of Eezham Tamils is still continuing?
Halliday: Absolutely. The British and Americans. I cant speak for the Indians because in Bremen we didn’t really address India very well. But the suspicion is that India is complicit also. But in the case of United States and Britain, we know that they are providing arms, weapons, perhaps cluster munitions, maybe advice, additional training. They are committed to using Trincomalee as a port. That requires trade-off with Colombo. Its a game. Its a big game. China of course is sniffing around the port also. I think they are both still complicit. And as long as they don’t stop the genocide and block the land grabs, and help us to turn it around, they are still complicit in my book.
TamilNet: Now Britain in particular has a historical role in creating the unitary state of Sri Lanka. Now given the context of genocidal land grabs which is happening at the moment, is there anything in particular Britain should do to own up?
Halliday: Well, it would certainly be helpful if they admit. As a colonial regime they were disgusting. They created a problem here which wasn’t there before. There were monarchies, though they were squabbling and probably fighting, but everybody managed to live in one island. And of course, after the changes they (Britain) brought about, there was no reason, no justification, to conclude that you need a unitary state. This island is large. There is no reason why there couldn’t be two states. Its not complicated. There is room for two states. Two nations working side by side in collaboration, in cooperating in trading together, common policy on shipping or aircraft, all sorts of things. It is not a problem. It should not be a problem.
TamilNet: So in the current situation, what should Britain be doing to redress the grievances of the genocide-affected nation?
Halliday: I would like to think that Britain is a sophisticated country with a humane record. They care about human rights. They are committed to human rights. And they should realise that their policies, colonial and neo-colonial policies of today is ruinous, is damaging as genocidal for Tamils of Tamil Eelam. They know it as well as you and I. Now they need to do something about it. And I hope that just somehow this diaspora in Britain of 450000 Tamils, some of whom are well known to Westminster can somehow convince these people that it is time to change the policy. And Cameron the Prime Minister made a statement that he is demanding an international investigation. Well that’s nice. But we want much more than that. We want it now. Not next year or the year after that. Its too late. This genocide is going to destroy Tamil Eelam if we do not stop it soon. You cant wait five years, ten years. Too late. Just like the Palestinians. Its too late.