from ‘ICET,’ February 8, 2018
Rome Declaration in Italian & English – Rome_Declaration-english-italy-2018
Rome Declaration – 5 February 2018
1. The seven decades long genocide being committed by successive governments of Sri
Lanka should be investigated by an international independent body outside the scope of
Sri Lankan government-controlled judiciary.
2. Those tens of thousands who are still missing did not simply disappear. They were
taken into custody by the government forces in front of their relatives as witnesses.
The whereabouts of those who were taken into custody should be made public.
The armed forces personnel responsible for the involuntary disappearance of those
taken into custody should be brought before an independent international court of
justice. The UN should open an office for assisting the relatives of missing person
because the government accused of these crimes cannot be considered an impartial
3. Those responsible in the Chain of command in the Sri Lanka Government for the massacres
of civilians in hospitals and other places of refuge should be brought before the
International Criminal Court on the recommendation of the UN.
4. The modus operandi of successive Governments of Sri Lanka in committing genocide is
to destroy the Eelam Tamils as a nation by colonizing their lands by armed aggression,
destruction of their lives and properties by unleashing periodic pogroms, and denial of
language rights, destruction of cultural treasures such as libraries, churches and
temples. Therefore, any solution should recognize the traditional homeland,
nationhood, and sovereignty of Eelam Tamils.
5. Eelam Tamils should be recognized as a nation by virtue of a long history of existence
as a people with a distinct language and culture in their own contiguous land with their
inalienable right to self-determination. Any solution should explicitly and irrevocably
recognize this status.
6. The colonization of traditional Tamil homeland prior and after the British left the island
in 1948 resulted in the loss of the eastern part of the island by Sinhala colonization.
Planned and illegal colonization by Sinhala settlers engaged in farming, fishing, and
businesses with full assistance of the government after driving away native Tamil
inhabitants from their own land, establishment of Buddhist shrines where no Buddhists
live, expansion of land grab by the armed forces to settle their families should
immediately cease and be removed. We need an international protection mechanism
against land grab which is a form of ethnic cleansing and genocide.
7. Tens of thousands of acres of Tamil owned lands have been taken over by the armed
forces under the guise of security. While the Tamils driven out of their lands are left
destitute the army is cultivating their agricultural land to flood the local markets with their
produce to destroy the local economy. Tourist resorts are being built and operated by
the army after Tamils have been driven out of their lands and beaches used for fishing
for generations. All lands grabbed by the military should be returned back to the people.
8. Nine years after the three-decades-long war came to an end, the Tamil people still do
not have access to the cemeteries of their loved ones or the freedom to mourn. The
Government has bulldozed and erased the tombstones of the Tamils who fought for
their freedom and built military offices on top of the graves, thus preventing access to
the graveyards. These widespread desecrations of the cemeteries are barbaric acts that
should not be condoned by anyone. The military should withdraw immediately from the
cemeteries they have desecrated and continuing to occupy.
9. Sri Lanka must repeal the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) as stated in their
undertaking given to the UNHRC and release all detainees who have been in jail for
decades based on confessions obtained under torture.
10. Sri Lanka should repeal the 6th amendment to the constitution, which violates
international conventions, and facilitate the conduct of a UN sponsored referendum
among Tamils from the traditional homeland and among the Tamils forced to flee the
island to freely determine their own future.
An international conference on Eelam Tamils organized by the International Council of Eelam Tamils (ICET) titled “Seventy Years of Oppression of Eelam Tamils by Sri Lanka” on Monday, February 5, 2018, at the Hotel Nazionale Rome in Italy was very successfully concluded with many Italian human rights activists, politicians, lawyers, and academics presenting papers on the continuing genocide in Sri Lanka. Although, the Government of Sri Lanka organized Independence Day celebrations in 118 countries to “white wash” its genocidal actions, the ICET made a major impact proclaiming the “Rome Declaration 2018” at the conclusion of the conference exposing the ground reality of and the need for justice for the Eelam Tamils.
The Italian politicians, lawyers, and non-governmental organizations, and human rights activists gained valuable information enumerating the seven decades long genocide and vowed to highlight the plight of the Eelam Tamils and their struggle for survival under increasingly militarized oppression and occupation of their traditional lands. The attendees endorsed the ten-point “Rome Declaration 2018” by signing the document and pledging to help publicize and work towards the realization of the points raised in the declaration.
Members of the ICET and activists from Europe, Canada, and Australia participated in this conference adding their collective voice representing a wide cross-section of Eelam Tamil diaspora. The active participation of the younger generation of Italian born Eelam Tamils in providing trilingual translation, interpretation, and organization of the conference should send a clear message to the GoSL and their international abetters that the Eelam Tamil diaspora will not rest until justice is served and their loved ones in their homeland can live in real peace with dignity.