Ilankai Tamil Sangam

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Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Tamil Eelam Compared with Kosovo

The right to self-determination of the Tamils of Sri Lanka (Ceylon)

by Tamil Centre for Human Rights, March 7, 2008

  Kosovo Tamil Eelam
Sq. Kilometers 10,887 km² 19,509 km²
Coastal area ---- More than 400 kms
Capital Pristina Trincomalee
Annexed with Serbia in 1989 Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in 1948
Conflicting peoples Serbs vs Kosovars Singhalese vs Tamils
Population 2,000,000 3,598,000 (census in 1979) 93% Tamils
Domination by Serbs Singhalese
Military composition 100% Serbs 99% Singhalese in all forces
Colonisation Kosovo region by Serbs North East by Singhalese
Settlers ? over 300,000 Singhalese colonists
Negotiations started 1989 1927
Failed negotiations Several Between Sinhala & Tamil leaders 1927, 1971,1977-82,1985, 1986, 1989, 1994, 2003-2006
Abrogation of pacts by state


Unilaterally abrogated by Sri Lanka 1956, 1965, 1987, 2002, 2005
Democratic mandate Sept 1991 & May 1992 1977 general elections - Tamils voted overwhelmingly for independence
Armed conflict March 1998 July 1983 to date
Freedom fighters Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
Civilians killed over 5,000 over 100,000
Disappearances over 4,000 over 28,000
Rapes 20,000 over 12,600
Mass graves 526 Numerous
Internally displaced 250,000 single displacement over 800.000 multiple displacements
Refugees 61,000 over 600,000 in western countries & India
Press & Fredom of Movement Denied Denied
Property damage figures not known over US$ eight billion
Houses destroyed 128,000 over 300,000
Attacks on religious buildings 500 2,375 (both Christian & Hindu-Saivite)
Villages demolished figures not known over 500
Political prisoners nearly 2,000 (Dec. 2001) over 3,000 at present
Ethnic cleansing/violence 1990 Since 1956, esp. 1956 , 1958, 1977, 1981 & 1983 onwards
Economic embargo not enforced since 1987 with a few interludes. now in force.
Forces Army Army, navy, air force, police & auxiliary
Courts Judicial Development Division (JDD) Tamil Eelam Courts, including an Appeal Court & Law College
Human Rights institutions Ombudsperson Institution of Kosovo North East Secretariat for Human Rights (NESoHR)
Financial institutions Banking & Payment Authority of Kosovo (BPK) Bank of Tamil Eelam
Education Kosovar education system Education Council of Tamil Eelam
Welfare & sociation institutions Insitution of social welfare Homes for the aged, widows, children & war-affected adults & children
Violation of signed UN instruments Serbia has not signed many UN treaties Sri Lanka has violated the UN Charter, UDHR, ICCPR*, ICESCR, ICERD, CEDAW*, CAT & CRC*
Visit by High Commis. for Human Rights yes Visited only the Sri Lankan government-administered areas
UN/EU intervention yes NONE
UN resolutions yes NONE
International monitoring yes NONE
Visits by VIPs yes

VIPS who met with LTTE leadership:
Spe.Rep of UNSec Gen.Mr Olaru Ottunu-1997
EU Commissioner – Mr Chris Patten
Norway’s Foreign Minister & Deputy
Norway’s Minister for Intern. Development
Norwegian special envoy – Erik Solheim
Japanese special envoy Yasushi Akashi
US Congressman – Danny Davis
Australian MP – Ms Virginia Judge
Iceland’s Foreign Ministry official – Bjarni V
Martin McGuinness – Sinn Fein, North reland
All EU and other Diplomats in Colombo
UNICEF Executive Director
UN Special Representative  Allan Rock
UN Spec.Rapporteur–Extra-judicial killings
UN Spe.Rapporteur – Religious intolerance
Head of UN agencies in Colombo

VIP visits prevented ---- Sri Lanka prevented visits to LTTE-administered areas for:
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan
His Royal Highness Prince Charles – UK
Ex-Presidents of USA W Bush and B Clinton

Secretary  of State, USA
Prime Minister of Canada
Prime Minister of South Korea
Ministers from Japan, Netherlands, Finland, Germany and many other countries
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Spec. Rep of UN Sec Gen. Sir Holmes
Spec. Rep of UN Sec Gen on IDPs
UN Sep. Rapporteur on Torture

(Updated from the TCHR reports submitted in March 2001 and March 2007)

ICCPR*- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

ICESCR - International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

ICERD- International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

CEDAW* - Convention on the elimination of Discrimination against Women

CAT - Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment....

CRC* - Convention on the Rights of the Child

* optional protocols


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