Ilankai Tamil Sangam

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Apply Sanctions on Sri Lanka

by Vettivel, September 15, 2008

If the Sri Lankan state is allowed to receive all economic incentives while committing crimes against humanity, it is being interpreted as a sign of encouragement by this rogue state.

The international community should apply economic sanctions in order to force the Sri Lankan terror State to stop war crimes, crimes against humanity and even genocide, and comply with international human rights standards. As a prelude to full economic sanctions, Eelam Tamils want the international community to stop all aid and other privileges, especially the GSP + privilege of the European Union  to Sri Lanka immediately. Instead of helping ordinary people, almost all of these aid packages directly or indirectly help the Sri Lankan terror state to buy deadly weapons to wage a war on Tamils, and destroy Eelam Tamil lives and their economy.

If the Sri Lankan state is allowed to receive all economic incentives while committing crimes against humanity, it is being interpreted as a sign of encouragement by this rogue state. Thereby, it will continue to commit more killing and destruction with  a grand agenda of genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka. This is why Eelam Tamils want the international community to apply sanctions on Sri Lanka. 

Economic sanctions contribute to a decrease in individual states’ human rights violations against their own citizens and can be an effective enforcement tool for international law. The international community, including the U.N., should impose effective economic sanctions against states where gross human rights violations are taking place. Economic sanctions have been widely used by the U.N. since the end of the Cold War. It is very unfortunate to see that even when the Sri Lankan state commits  gross human right violations against Eelam Tamils, it still enjoys aid and privileges instead of economic sanctions.

Fundamental human rights have acquired a status of universality in the modern world, but the Sri Lankan terror state has violated Eelam Tamils' human rights and their fundamental rights for the last 60 years. The Sri Lankan government forces and their proxies carry out almost all the abductions and killings in Sri Lanka. Even after more than 70,000 Eelam Tamils have been killed and numerous other well-documented  crimes against humanity, still there is no tangible actions from the international community. This inaction worries the Eelam Tamil diaspora and raises serious question about the meaning of the universality of fundamental human rights.

The Sri Lankan government is well known for the ugly perversion of democracy, racism and human right violations. Instead of honoring the democratic rights of Tamils who decided to form a separate state in 1976 after oppression and state sponsored violence since 1948, the Sri Lankan state applied draconian laws and boosted the military to crush the Elam Tamils' freedom and destroy their homeland. From 1956 the Sinhala Only constitution to the decision to have the Sinhala symbol - the lion - in its national flag, Sri Lanka has clearly demonstrated its racist attitude towards the Tamil minority. From systematic colonization to annihilation and ethnic cleansing of 40% of the Tamil population in the Tamil homeland, which is called Tamil Eelam, the Sri Lankan state has clearly shown its mission, which is to completely eliminate the Tamil population. This mission will become a reality before another 60 years pass - if the first 60 years of independence are any indication.

State terrorism may include acts of violence or repression perpetrated by a national government. Unfair trials, torture, terror bombing, and extrajudicial execution are common practices of state terror, often used to terrorize domestic populations by sovereign or proxy regimes. Extrajudicial execution, or political murder, takes place when state agents kill citizens who are viewed as threats, or to intimidate communities. Extrajudicial execution may be carried out by the official military, police forces, or unofficial but sanctioned paramilitaries. In the latter case, the Sri Lankan terror state has strong ties between the paramilitaries and official forces, with an overlapping membership and/or a "blind eye" turned to illegal activities. The Sri Lankan government has all these attributes of state terror.

Usage of paramilitaries and the military to kill ethnic Tamil civilians is a very common practice in Sri Lanka. In fact, the Sri Lankan government gets caught in the dealings and ties with deadly paramilitary groups. The killings of 17 NGO workers of ACF  in Muthoor, 5 Tamil students  in Trinco, 600 Tamils civilians  in Chemmani, and many other  thousands of abductions and killings of Tamils provide enough evidence to declare Sri Lanka as a state terrorist.

In fact, the Sri Lankan economy is heavily dependant on aid packages and privileges from foreign countries. Sri Lanka spends almost 25% of its income on the armed forces and the war on Tamils. Iran, a rogue state itself,  is another vital  provider of significant financial assistance ($2 billion dollars) to Sri Lanka which is heavily being utilized purely for military purposes against Tamil citizens by the Singhala chauvinist regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP+) is a system that grants zero duty for even sensitive products imported by EU countries. It was awarded to an additional 15 countries in 2005. Unfortunately, SRI LANKA who is one of the top three human rights violators in the world and one of the top 20 failed states, was awarded the GSP+ status in light of the 2004 Asian tsunami.

The GSP+ is an incentive for developing countries to enhance their standards, mostly in human rights and living standards. When rogue countries like Sri Lanka use these privileges to wage war on Tamils, European nations must act responsibly. The UN, EU and other western countries have already urged Sri Lanka to respect human rights and to allow UN human right officials to establish offices to monitor and investigate human right violations. Sri Lanka rejected those proposals and even branded the UN officials Ms. Louise Arbour and UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes "terrorists".

In the past three years Sri Lanka  has failed to improve on the 27 conventions which the EU categorically demands from the states who enjoy the special privileges from the EU such as GSP Plus benefits.

Obviously, Sri Lanka does not want to respect human rights, and wants to carry out its Tamil genocide mission. In addition, Sri Lanka now has new friends such as Iran and Pakistan who do not  respect  human rights.

As civilized nations, the European Union must take punitive action against Sri Lanka. Otherwise, it will not only destroy Tamils, but also will be a threat to world peace.

Around one million Eelam Tamils who escaped Sri Lankan state terrorism now live around the world and identify themselves as the Eelam Tamil diaspora. Most of them support Eelam Tamil freedom and the 1977 democratic Tamil mandate that Tamils decided to form a separate state to seek freedom from state terrorism.  Many Eelam Tamils already boycott Sri Lankan products and services. Some Tamil social human right groups such as ‘Stop GSP+ for Sri Lanka' have taken some good initiatives. However, still a significant amount of Tamils consume products from Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan government is able to buy deadly weapons to destroy the Tamil Diasporas' kith and kins in Tamil Eelam with this export revenue. It is time for the rest of the Eelam Tamil Diaspora to boycott Sri Lankan products completely and urge the business establishments and other nations to do the same.

The civilized world has a responsibility to enforce and promote human rights. When states commit human rights violations and crimes against humanity, developed nations and the UN must act responsibly and take appropriate actions. Sanctions are a very common tool to enforce the protection of civilian populations. As a suffering and vulnerable community Eelam Tamils want the European Union to stop the GSP+ privileges to Sri Lankan state terrorists and appeal to the international community to apply sanctions on Sri Lanka.