Ilankai Tamil Sangam

24th Year on the Web

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Pongu Rally Speech at UN

by V Rudrakumaran, September 23, 2011, Dag Hammarskold Plaza, New York

Our presence here sends a message to the Sinhala persecutors that although you have killed tens of thousands of Tamil people, you have not broken the political will of the Tamil people...

Even after May 2009, the structural Genocide still continues.  In fact, according to the UN Panel Report, the exclusionary policies to the detriment of the Tamils are still on-going: the aggressive Sinhalese colonization of the Northeast from Point Pedro to Tharukkovil; the construction of Buddhist Viharas and the installation of Buddhist statues in the Northeast;  the confiscation and declaration of seven Hindu historical wells in Kannyia as an archaeological site by the government agent in Trinko in October, 2010; the loss of freedom of movement by Tamil fishermen; the continuing practice of pass system and restriction on deep sea fishing; the existence of high security zones; etc. are manifestations of that.

When a Nation is subject to Genocide, when a people is subject to Genocide... -- as a matter of self-preservation, as a matter of self-defense -- that people can establish an independent state as a remedy. 

With profound respect for the martyrs to the cause of Tamil freedom, I greet you warmly on behalf of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam.

As the voice of our kith and kin who were subjected to an act of Genocide in Mullaivaikal, as the voice of our sisters and brothers who were subjected to crimes against humanity and war crimes, as the voice of our sisters who were subjected to sexual violence, we are here demanding justice.  We are here clamoring for remedial justice in the form of an independent and sovereign state of Tamil Eelam.

Our presence here sends a message to the international community that until justice is done, the Tamil Diaspora will not rest.  Our presence here sends a message to the representatives of Sinhala domination that we will not let them escape international justice.  Our presence here sends a message to the Sinhala persecutors that although you have killed tens of thousands of Tamil people, you have not broken the political will of the Tamil people.  Our presence here also demonstrates to the perpetrators of the international crimes that although you have razed the cemetery of the heroes, the Tamils are still rising.  Our presence here sends a message to our brothers and sisters back home that we will make every effort to focus international attention on their plight, that we will be a catalyst to ensure that they will enjoy the fundamental freedoms guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

I vividly remember, in 2006 September, we were here in the same place pleading with the UN not to abandon our brothers and sisters to the wolves of Sinhala racism and leave the conflict area of the island of Sri Lanka.  We told them that the GOSL’s lame excuse that they couldn’t provide protection for the UN officials was a pretext for the impending Genocide.  However, the UN, which is established to promote peace, which has endowed itself with the responsibility to protect people, that is perceived by the millions of people around the world as a citadel of justice, left hundreds of thousands of innocent, unarmed people in the lurch and packed its bags.  Since then, we told the international community that hospitals were being bombed by the Sri Lankan armed forces composed almost exclusively of Sinhalese.  We told them that safe zones were being bombed by the Sri Lankan armed forces composed almost exclusively of Sinhalese.  We told them that tens of thousands of innocent Tamil people were being killed in droves by the Sri Lankan armed forces composed almost exclusively of Sinhalese.  We also told the international community that the massive, disproportionate use of force revealed the intent of the government of Sri Lanka to destroy the Tamil Nation whole or in part solely on account of their Tamil ethnicity.  In short, we told them that what was taking place was, and still is an act of Genocide.

However, the powers, the UN, which is a club of states, turned a blind eye to these atrocities.

We have finally been validated by the Report of the Expert Panel appointed by the UN Secretary General.  The Report explicitly states that there is credible evidence that crimes against humanity and war crimes have taken place.  Even though the Report did not explicitly state that what happened in Mullaivaikal was an act of Genocide, the Report contained constitutive elements of an act of Genocide.  We congratulate the Secretary General for appointing this panel.  We congratulate the Secretary General for sending this Report to the Human Rights Council. 

We should be aware that there is always a danger that the UN Expert Panel Report might end up in the dustbin of history due to political considerations.  Thus, it is imperative that we continue to spread the word of this Report among the world’s people.  It is imperative that we generate awareness of this Report among the international population.  To this extent, the TGTE has started a signature-campaign, asking the UN Secretary General to establish an independent commission as recommended by the Panel or to refer the matter to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court for investigation.  I am proud to say that thus far, we have collected nearly one and a half million signatures around the world.

We urge all members of the diaspora to lobby their respective governments to push for action on the Secretary-General’s Report.

Even after May 2009, the structural Genocide still continues.  In fact, according to the UN Panel Report, the exclusionary policies to the detriment of the Tamils are still on-going: the aggressive Sinhalese colonization of the Northeast from Point Pedro to Tharukkovil; the construction of Buddhist Viharas and the installation of Buddhist statues in the Northeast;  the confiscation and declaration of seven Hindu historical wells in Kannyia as an archaeological site by the government agent in Trinko in October, 2010; the loss of freedom of movement by Tamil fishermen; the continuing practice of pass system and restriction on deep sea fishing; the existence of high security zones; etc. are manifestations of that.

When a Nation is subject to Genocide, when a people is subject to Genocide, as the Canadian Supreme Court stated in the Quebec Opinion and as the International Court of Justice observed as a dicta in the course of our case, the people concerned -- as a matter of self-preservation, as a matter of self-defense -- can establish an independent state as a remedy.  Needless to say, not only international law, but morality also dictates the above outcome in such situations.

Brothers and sisters, the tide is changing slowly but surely in favor of justice, in favor of truth.  The representatives of Sinhala racism are on the run.  They can run, but they cannot continue to hide behind the veil of immunity.  Today, lawsuits are being filed around the world seeking justice.  Even though these are civil lawsuits at the moment, the days are not very far off when criminal prosecutions will take place in international forums or domestic forums of various countries.  We are also confident that eventually the Tamils will be given remedial justice in the form of an independent and sovereign Tamil state.  The Tamil Nation is on the march to the promised land where we realize our right to self-determination and exercise our sovereignty.

The thirst of Tamils is the establishment of Tamil Eelam.