A separate Tamil-nation, our destination….
A press statement has been released by Mr Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, Coordinator of the Committee for the formation of a Provisional Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam. The statement said: The legitimate campaign of the Tamils to realize their right to self-determination has been brutally crushed through military aggression, which has been in violation of humanitarian laws and all civilized norms. People all over the world are shocked and deeply saddened by the massacres of Tamils in the Vanni.
Of particular note, banned weapons and heavy shelling by the Sinhalese military were responsible for the massacre of an estimated 30,000 Tamil civilians in the no fire zone this year. Today the government of Sri Lanka continues to incarcerate 300,000 Tamils, who have been herded into internment camps guarded by the Sinhalese military. The UN, INGOS and other relief organizations and journalists have been barred from free access to these internment camps. Those Tamils who live outside the camps hardly fare better in terms of their safety and well-being. The Jaffna Peninsula is an open prison camp. The Eastern part of the island, part of traditional habitation of Tamil-speaking people, is occupied territory. The South of the island is under the control of an anti-Tamil government, and the Tamils who live there are securitized, harassed and live in constant fear of violence. All Tamil civilians are being targeted solely on account of their Tamil ethnicity. Tamils are on the verge of being annihilated as a nation, a people and a community through deliberate killing and disappearance, forced assimilation, ethnic cleansing and colonization.
Not only is the very physical survival of Tamils in danger in the island of Sri Lanka, but Tamils also do not have any political space to articulate their legitimate political aspirations on the island.
Politicians who articulate the voices of their people are in grave danger of their life. Three Tamil Members of Parliament have been killed since Pres. Rajapakse was elected in 2005, more have fled the country and the ones who remain are very brave. In addition, because of the systematic colonization of Tamil areas, the gerrymandering of electoral districts, the large numbers who were driven from or fled the Tamil areas because of violence and the lack of new voter registration, Tamil representation has decreased substantially in the legislature since independence. Moreover, the electoral process in the island of Sri Lanka is entrenched with pervasive racism and has resulted in further marginalization and oppression of Tamil people at each and every election as acknowledged by academics. Consequently the Tamils are denied effective participation in the political process of the island.
A symptom of this lack of political space is the 1983 Sixth Amendment which prohibits even discussion of a separate state in violation of freedom of speech. The physical insecurity of Tamils is embodied in the 1979 Prevention of Terrorism Act which has been described as “an ugly blot on the statute book of any civilized country” by the International Commission of Jurists, and in the Emergency laws that have allowed hundreds of thousands of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions, torture and rape of Tamils with total impunity by the perpetrators. There is no political space for the full articulation of Tamil political aspirations within the constraints of the Sri Lankan state’s constitutional structure, and, with the lack of personal security for Tamils within the island, the Tamils’ political campaign for their rights can be pursued only from outside the island.
We, the people of Tamil Eelam and its Diaspora, therefore, firmly believe that the formation of a Provisional Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam is imperative. It is a well accepted proposition in international law that the legal claim to establish a government in exile arises the more readily when the exclusion of its political leaders is achieved through acts contrary to principles of ius cogens, such as the unlawful use of force, abductions with a view to torture, genocide, war crimes, detention in internment camps or “open prisons,” the rape of women and the kidnapping of children.
In this connection, we, the people of Tamil Eelam and its Diaspora, propose to put together a committee for the Formation of a Provisional Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam. Our program and efforts in this regard are fundamentally democratic.
The Committee is given the task of structuring such a provisional government, with the view of
1. Uniting all Tamil entities and elements who subscribe to the fundamental tenets of Tamil political aspiration, namely the recognition of Tamil Nationhood, a Tamil homeland as recognized in the 1987 Indo- Sri Lanka Agreement, and the Tamils’ right to self-determination found in the 1976 Vaddukoddai Resolution, which was subsequently endorsed and mandated in the general election of 1977, the 1985 Thimpu Declaration and the 2003 Interim Self-Governing Authority (ISGA) proposals;
2. Working in partnership with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), considering that the political policies and aspirations articulated by the TNA at consecutive elections in 2001 and 2004 were strongly endorsed and, thereby mandated, by the Tamil people, and with any other Tamil political party or representatives of other parties that support and advocate for the realization of the Tamils’ right to self-determination.
3. Articulating positions for negotiations with the Sinhala nation;
4. Conducting voter registration among the Tamil Diaspora within various countries in collaboration with an internationally reputed firm in preparation for electing a constituent assembly to frame a Constitution and to vote at a referendum subject to international supervision with respect to a final resolution of the Tamil national question;
5. Establishing procedures for electing a Congress and an Executive;
6. Establishing direct links with foreign Governments and other international organizations;
7. Working for the social, economic and cultural well-being of the one million members of the Tamil Diaspora;
8. Building a political program with the participation of Muslim representatives, taking into account that the diversity of Tamil and Muslim regions has been used as a threat in the past against the realization of the Tamils’ right to self-determination;
9. Performing such other tasks as may be necessary to promote the interests of the Tamil people in the North East of the island of Sri Lanka and the Tamil Diaspora.
Given the urgent need to halt the ongoing genocide of Tamils on the island, the Committee is also given the task of liaising with international nongovernmental organizations and international organizations to ensure that Tamils’ physical survival is guaranteed; to stop the sexual violence against Tamil women; to stop the physical abuse of Tamil children by the Sri Lankan government’s mono-ethnic armed forces and ensure their speedy reunification with their families; to ensure the return of the 300,000 Tamils held in internment camps to their homes and to bring to justice those who have committed genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The Committee shall also liaise with organizations representing the global Tamil Diaspora from various parts of the world and, especially, the second generation, to realize its task.
Members of the Formation Committee consist of a core team and many subcommittees on a country and sector basis, and are now being recruited.
The Formation Committee is supported by an Advisory Committee of experts in various fields. Professor M. Sornarajah (UK), Professor Francis Boyle (USA), Professor P. Ramasamy (Malaysia), Professor Rev A.J.C Chandrakanthan (Canada), Professor Nadaraja Sriskandarajah (Sweden), Dr Murugar Gunasingham (Australia), Dr Sivanendran Seevanayagam (Australia), Dr A.L. Vasanthakumar (UK), Ms Karen Parker (USA), Dr N. Jeyalingam (USA), Mr Selva Sivarajah (Australia), Mr Paul Williams (Netherlands) and Professor Peter Schalk (Sweden) have agreed to function as Advisory Committee members.
We kindly request all committed individuals to come forward to work for the important task of the formation of a Provisional Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam.
The Formation Committee is expected to function until December 31, 2009. Upon completion of its term, the Committee is required to produce a report of its work. The Committee invites suggestions from the general public in the above matter. In this connection the Committee has setup an email address for the public to use – firstname.lastname@example.org