Bringing OISL to NorthEast is IC responsibility: Tamil politicians

Tamil politicians who met the British Deputy High Commissioner Lara Levis, who was on a trip to North and East, urged the diplomat to pass a message to her government and the international community to exert maximum pressure on Colombo to allow the Geneva-based OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) to visit the homeland of Eelam Tamils in the North and East of the island. “The Deputy High Commissioner, who listened to our complaints on the human rights violations of the Tamil people, was silent. We urged her to impress upon her government and the international community to enable the OISL to visit the island,” TNA parliamentarian P Selvarasa from Batticaloa said.

The Sri Lankan military brought the entire Eastern Province into its control seven years ago in 2007. The Batticaloa district is under the Sri Lankan military grip as all other districts in the Northern and Eastern provinces, Mr Selvarasa told the visiting British Deputy High Commissioner.

Detailing the Sinhala colonisation going on in East, the Tamil parliamentarian said Ma’nmunai South-West (Paddippazhai), Ea’raavoor-pattu (Chengkaladi) and Koara’laip-pattu South (Kiraan) divisions have been particularly targeted by Sinhala intruders. The intruders have been provided with housing by the SL government in Paddippazhai, he told the visiting diplomat.

When the Divisional Secretary was supporting legal action against the colonisation, the Sri Lankan land authority instructed the divisional secretary not to proceed with legal action. Colombo government is actively involved in the move. At the same time, a Buddhist monk is also behind the scheme, he said. The legal actions taken against the move are still pending in Colombo Appeal Court, he said.

When announcements are made to jobseekers to apply for the vacant posts in the public sector, a standard text is displayed that the ethnic ratio [in the district] would be preserved in the employment. But, Sinhalese were being appointed to almost all the public sector positions ranging from the development officers to the drivers, Mr Selvarasa explained the discrimination prevailing in the district despite the fact that the entire district was predominantly Tamil-speaking. The Tamil applicants who scored the highest scores satisfying the qualitative requirements have also been neglected, he said.

SL military is still in present in some of the school buildings in Batticaloa even after 7 years of the end of war, he said.

Eelam Tamils from Champoor came to Batticaloa as uprooted people during the war. The people of Batticaloa looked after them. But, they were taken back to Trincomalee district by the SL government that promised resettlement. They are still stationed in temporary huts elsewhere in the district without humanitarian supplies, he said.

“For 24 years we were able to observe remembrance of 184 Tamil civilians who were massacred at the Sri Lanka Army camp at Chaththurukko’ndaan. But, this year, when we wanted to light the candles in memory of the massacre victims who were all non-combatants, the SL police intervened and blocked the memorial event with a court injunction.

These are all grave violations of the collective human rights of the Tamil people in Batticaloa, Mr Selvarasa told the visiting Deputy High Commissioner of Britain this week.

In the meantime, the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) on Wednesday called upon the Government of Sri Lanka to cooperate with the UN and allow the OISL team to enter the country to perform its mandate of comprehensively investigating the alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights, and crimes.

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