Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Printer-Friendly Version

Letter to Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor

from Usha S. and Sri B. Sri-Skanda-Rajah, PhD (Cantab), January 20, 2006

We would like to bring to your attention the following concerns:

  • No mention of Sri Lanka Government Army and its Paramilitaries’ involvement in the alleged killings of civilians on the website of the Diocese
  • Statements of President Mahinda Rajapakse to Your Eminence are a less than accurate account of the truth  
  • Statements that the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka are both blaming each other for the killing of Mr. Pararajasingam falsely implies the LTTE had a hand in the assassination and thereby encourages more State Terror

His Eminence Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor
Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster, UK

Your Eminence,

Anguished by your alleged “Promise”

We are really dismayed and anguished to learn that Your Eminence had made a commitment to Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse that the "Catholic Church in the UK would pay attention and take action regarding Tiger activities in the UK" and also that you have "donated Rs. 75 billion to the government of Sri Lanka to rebuild tsunami devastated houses." This news, reported in the Colombo Page internet newspaper dated Jan 3, 2006, could not have come at a worse time - when Thamils all over the world are in mourning and are deeply concerned for and are in fear for the safety of their Thamil brethren in Sri Lanka.

The Thamils hope that this report is not true.

Please see link to the Colombo Page article:  

The Forgotten Thamils: Your Eminence, the Thamil people are pained that you have made this promise to the Sri Lankan President whilst, at least going by the report and in the perception of the Thamils, completely neglecting to address the interests of the Thamil people and their plight.

The failure of the International Community to condemn the real perpetrators: The Thamil-speaking people feel abandoned and hurt that you have failed to publicly condemn the atrocities perpetrated against them by the Sri Lankan Army, the Government of Sri Lanka and their paramilitary forces, or condole with the Thamil people over the loss of civilian lives in the NorthEast, in addition to those standing up defiantly for 'People Power,' including a great parliamentary stalwart and Thamil voice of freedom, Mr. Joseph Pararajasingham. The International Community and Your Eminence should vigorously take a stand against these outrages and condemn the government of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan Armed Forces.

We are appalled by statements made by the Sri Lankan President to Your Eminence during Your visit - reported in the website of The Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster. We are disappointed the Diocese website report shows a bias in favor of the government of Sri Lanka in its reporting and we feel this is due to, primarily, the misinformation that was fed by the government of Sri Lanka.

We would like to bring to your attention the following concerns:

  • No mention of Sri Lanka Government Army and its Paramilitaries’ involvement in the alleged killings of civilians on the website of the Diocese
  • Statements of President Mahinda Rajapakse to Your Eminence are a less than accurate account of the truth  
  • Statements that the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka are both blaming each other for the killing of Mr. Pararajasingam falsely implies the LTTE had a hand in the assassination and thereby encourages more State Terror

We would like you to read the following explanations on the above three points.

No mention of Paramilitaries’ involvement in killings: In the report Cardinal Meets Sri Lankan President, a mention of 50 soldiers killed since the ceasefire by the LTTE has been stated, while omitting to mention numerous killings of innocent civilians perpetrated by Sri Lankan Army Intelligence and its Paramilitary forces long before the death of any soldiers.

These violations are the cause for the peoples’ uprising. What about the innocent Thamil civilian lives killed during the Sri Lankan Government and Armed Forces Intelligence agents’ calculated campaign of violence and incitement using paramilitaries, in which the government forces call the shots from behind the scenes? Having signed the ceasefire agreement to end hostilities, the Government violated the terms of the agreement by giving paramilitaries the facilities to set up camps, recruit child soldiers and have a free reign to carry arms and move freely in the Sri Lanka Government and Armed Forces controlled areas to do the government’s dirty work and bidding to kill LTTE supporters and innocent civilians.

Your Eminence, the International Community and the European Union (EU) must be prevailed upon to understand that the "campaign of violence" blamed on the LTTE is the government of Sri Lanka's way of misleading them. There is irrefutable evidence that, despite the ceasefire agreement, the paramilitary forces of various guises funded, protected and operated by the government of Sri Lanka are involved in inciting and engaging in violence, including killings. The perpetrators are targeting journalists, Thamil speaking Muslims, human rights activists and political officials and cadres of the LTTE.

Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe has on his own admitted to the government of Sri Lanka's molly coddling of renegade Karuna, a recent recruit to the paramilitary groups operating with the Sri Lankan armed forces. Wickremesinghe revealed this collusion at the time of the presidential elections. Many of these killings took place long before any Sri Lankan soldiers died. It must not be forgotten that on 10 March 2003, while the peace process was still ongoing Sri Lankan Naval gun boats followed a LTTE merchant vessel attacked and set it on fire, killing eleven unarmed Tigers.

2.  Statements of President misleading: Although the website of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster does not report that Your Eminence agreed with the President’s request to stop Tiger activities, what the Sri Lankan President has told you, about his commitment to federalism and that such reforms cannot be implemented until the LTTE ceases killings, are a less than accurate assessment.

2.1 The report titled 'Cardinal Meets Sri Lankan President' in the Diocese website states that the President expressed his exasperation to your Eminence at the reluctance of the Tigers to come to the negotiating table in order to implement the commitment to federalism in the 2002 agreement. The President has not been very accurate with the truth to Your Eminence. The new President of Sri Lanka, aligned with the JVP and JHU,both ultra-racist and chauvinist fronts, won the presidential elections under a mandate which stood for a Unitary System of government to rule over the Thamil speaking people. He did not want to continue with the peace process hosted by Norway. And he was very much opposed to federalism. He wanted to end the Norway-mediated talks. Rather, he asserted that he wanted India to host entirely new talks. Please see the President’s election mandate - Mahindage Chinthanaya.

It is not true that the President invited the LTTE to implement the commitment to federalism. Such a commitment was neither made at the 2002 agreement, nor was there ever a strong inclination on the Government’s part towards such a commitment. That is the reason the peace process failed.

2.2 Tthe peace process fell apart, in our view, because the Government of Sri Lanka was procrastinating and lacked the will to consider even a Federalist model.

The peace process failed, in our opinion:

  • Due to a lack of genuine will on the part of the Sri Lankan government to recognize equal rights and the right to an autonomous state in the NorthEast, for example under a Federalist model for the Thamils whether they are Christians Muslims Hindus or of any religious denomination, based upon the principles of self determination, to bring to fruition their aspirations as a people; who previously enjoyed the same such privileges in the Thamil Kingdom before colonization by the west, and betrayal and oppression by successive Sri Lankan Governments since independence.
  • Due to a proposal put forward by the LTTE for an Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA), setting out the parameters for an interim administration in the NorthEast being rejected. The ISGA was drafted in consultation with experts from the Thamil Diaspora.  The ISGA contained ways and means to rehabilitate the internally displaced people of the war-ravaged NorthEast and was initiated by the LTTE to help the long-suffering displaced people and to provide an interim administration to implement reconstruction, infrastructure and development programs, and to formulate laws and policies to implement those laws until a political settlement is reached. The ISGA also proposed free and fair elections for the NorthEast with international observers in due time.
  • Due to the government of Sri Lanka breaching the ceasefire agreement which it signed with the LTTE to end hostilities specifically:
    • by using paramilitary forces to engage in violence against the LTTE and civilians
    •  for its failure to dismantle High Security Zones and return people’s properties
    • for the failure of the Sri Lankan Army to withdraw from areas of public habitation such as schools, farms and places of worship
    • for Sri Lanka Navy’s violation of fishing rights and its harassment of fishermen  
  • Due to the agenda being steered away from the main item for negotiation, which is a political solution to the Thamil national question. The agenda was turned instead into a forum for disbursement of funds, with too much emphasis on donor involvement. The LTTE initiated the discussions with a view to helping hundreds of thousands of Thamils who had been internally displaced by two decades of war. The Thamils did not anticipate the agenda being hijacked. A Donor conference in the US with the participation of one party to the exclusion of the other, the LTTE, the sole representatives of the Thamils, was repugnant to say the least and was very insulting to the Thamils. The government of Sri Lanka achieved its goal of shifting the focus from a political settlement to the funding of programs - so that it can get hold of the International Funding, which it needed badly and which it would not have otherwise obtained freely. It was happy to have some share given to the Thamils as long as the Co-Chairs or the International Community, not realizing the Government of Sri Lanka’s deception, did not require it to perform on its obligations to effect a just political settlement based on the principles of equality and self-determination.
  • Due to the mediators’ (whether Co-Chairs or Donors) failure to recognize Thamil aspirations - their inability to recognize that what the Thamils want most were their rights more than mere charity.

2.3 Violence and killings perpetrated by Sri Lanka Government Armed Forces, its Intelligence agents and Paramilitaries on innocent Thamil civilians. The Diocese website statement that the LTTE is resorting to killings and federalist reforms cannot be implemented because of LTTE killings is not true. Your Eminence, it is State Terror that is responsible for the civilian deaths.   

NorthEast under State Terror: The NorthEast is under siege by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces (SLAF). A lethal state “Terror” is being unleashed on the civilian population by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and its (para) military minions under the guidance of the new army top brass appointed by the new president, Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse. The NorthEast has become a killing field and no one is being spared from the wrath of the Sri Lanka Armed Forces.

These disturbing events in the NorthEast are against all democratic principles or norms - whether the people are protesting against the intimidating presence of an "alien" army of aggressors occupying the historical and traditional Thamil Homeland, or whether they are recording such acts of aggression to inform the rest of the world.

The rape of Tharshini is part of a pattern of disturbing events and revenge killings perpetrated in the NorthEast by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces. The sexual assault of many women and the rape and murder of Tharshini Elayathamby have become the SLAF's way of using rape of women as a weapon against the Thamil people to force the Thamil people in to submission. Please see the 2002 Amnesty International report on rape of women in police custody found on

The Sri Lankan Armed Forces are shooting indiscriminately at people who want to exercise their democratic right to protest or to demonstrate. In fact, a protest march that was on their way to file a legitimate complaint with the offices of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission about the brutal rape and murder of Tharshini Elayathamby was blocked by SLAF personnel and, when the marchers protested such interference, the SLAF personnel opened fire, injuring several protesters comprising the Member of Parliament for Jaffna, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Jaffna and other senior members of the Faculty.

Mass arrests/disappearances of Thamil civilians: There have been "Gestapo style" mass arrests/detentions/disappearances of Thamils in Colombo and in the NorthEast in recent months. Even though the government has reported that it has released most of those arrested, it is not true. People are being killed or are disappearing. The Bindunewewa Prison Massacre, where racially motivated mobs killed ethnic Thamil prisoners held under the PTA must be remembered. . Many of the prisoners killed were under eighteen      ( and were picked up from the NorthEast because they were young and Thamil. No one has yet been successfully prosecuted for this crime. Although prison officials who stood by and, in some instances, participated in the massacre were initially found guilty of murder, the Supreme Court freed them on appeal.

Slaying of innocent Youth: The brutal slaying of five innocent men in Trincomalee is an atrocity that the International Community cannot ignore. Please see the recent January 11, 2006 AI report. The peoples’ grief no doubt has turned into anger. Anger that they were innocent youth; that their young life has been snatched from their loved ones by the cruelest of deeds; that they had so much to offer to their grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters and to the Thamil community and to the world. Anger that the killers tried to frame the victims by saying they were planting a bomb and it had accidentally detonated. Anger that the victims were targeted and shot at close range because they were young, they were students and they were Thamil. Anger that the crime was premeditated with the intention of forcing the community into becoming submissive and slavish. Anger that the world, the International Community, has failed to condemn the atrocity and all other atrocities committed against the Thamil community. Anger that some of the members of the International Community believe the lies put out by the Sri Lanka Government and the Armed Forces.

International Community and EU must realize both Government paramilitaries and Sri Lanka Army behind the violence against a defiant “People Power” movement calling for the end of Sri Lanka Army occupation: Your Eminence, it is important that the Sri Lanka government's propaganda outfit does spread lies against the very defiant stand the Thamil people are taking to stop the Sri Lankan Army occupation of the Thamil Homeland.

According to TamilNet, Mr. Anton Balasingham, theoretician and chief negotiator involved in the "peace process," has pointedly told Mr. Erik Solheim and the Norwegian delegation who met him that "the non-implementation of some crucial obligations of the February 2002 ceasefire agreement was the main cause for the subversive violence… and that Sri Lankan military's intimidation, harassment and persecution of Thamils have increased manifold since the hardliner General Sarath Fonseka became Chief of the Army… The armed forces are adopting high-handed repressive methods, utilizing brutal force to suppress peaceful demonstrations by students and civilians, thereby generating public resentment and unrest in the Northern city."

The International Community did not condemn the paramilitary killings. Only when the people started rising against such killings did the International Community start to take notice and now are blaming the crimes on the LTTE, not on the real perpetrators.

Sri Lanka Army’s repressive actions against Democratic Freedoms and People Power: Resurgence movement activists, students and their relatives are being targeted and killed for their beliefs, for standing up defiantly to the Sri Lanka Armed Forces, and for fighting to end army occupation in the NorthEast. Army revenge attacks on civilians are rampant.

Thamil people in the NorthEast want peace, Your Eminence, but a peace based on justice and autonomy for the Thamil-speaking people. They are protesting the Sri Lankan Armed forces’ ceasefire violations and the use of paramilitaries to perpetrate killings on innocent civilians and are fighting back against such atrocities. They have lost faith in the Sri Lankan Government ever meeting its obligations to effect a negotiated political settlement. The lack of genuine will on the government’s part in the peace process has made the people resolute to fight for their rights. The International Community must heed their call.

3. Statement in the church website alleging the LTTE and the Government are both blaming each other for the killing of Parliamentarian Pararajasingam falsely implies the LTTE had a hand in the crime and thereby encourages more State Terror: The report, posted under the title Cardinal prays for peace, justice and toleration in Sri Lanka, falsely accusing the LTTE for the violence and the killings of civilians including that of Mr. Joseph Pararajasingam, allows the government of Sri Lanka to carry on with its mission to terrorize the Thamil people undeterred and unfettered.

The ambiguity expressed as to the killers of Mr. Joseph Pararajasingam makes a mockery of Truth and lets the real perpetrators off the hook. The assassination of Joseph Pararajasingam, Member of Parliament for Batticaloa, in cold blood inside a Catholic church inside the Sri Lanka Armed Forces' High Security Zone, whilst his wife and he were at Christmas midnight mass, taking Holy Communion before Bishop Kingsly Swampillai, has left the Thamil people deeply despondent. The alleged assassins are believed to be agents of the Sri Lanka Army Intelligence and its paramilitary minions and, by killing Mr. Pararajasingam, they were aiming to silence a man known for his deeply entrenched Thamil nationalist beliefs and who persistently challenged in parliament the Sri Lankan government’s human rights record.

See "Open Letter to the President – from Mr. Parajasingam’s relatives" written by Rev. Father B J Alexander and we quote the following paragraph: “ The Thamils are aware that your government has blamed the LTTE for this murder.  We are more than convinced that it is a false propaganda.  The friends and family are still wondering as to why such strategic slayings repeatedly occur within the Government designated High Security Zones?  Eye-witness’ account at the Christmas-eve mass seem to suggest that Joseph’s bodyguards that are given by the State were totally inactive while this operation was underway.  It goes without saying, Sir, that your Government will have to take responsibility for the assassination of a senior Thamil politician.”

Thamils need your interventionto stop “Unitary” president and religious intolerance and persecution: Your Eminence, the Thamil people need your intervention in saving our Thamil brethren in Sri Lanka from persecution. We know you would be even handed and act with informed understanding. By forcing on the Thamils a Sinhala Buddhist ideology which is at variance with true Buddhist teachings, in that it does not believe in religious tolerance, but thrives on the wanton destruction of other religions and races, the Thamils are yet again at the mercy of a racist Government aligned with the JVP and JHU that will thwart and crush their every aspiration.

Please see 'God looks After' Christians in Sri Lanka amid Buddhist Opposition Source: Strang Communications - January 12, 2005. The article talks of the persecution of Christians, actions proscribing conversions, the practice of religious intolerance and the desecration of 160 churches in Sri Lanka. Please see the link below.

Thamils want equal rights: Your Eminence, the Thamils are asking to be treated equally. What is meant by equality and self determination is having the equal right for a nation of people to organize the affairs of state as they see fit and as architects of their own destiny. With absolutely no decision-making power in their hands for determining the affairs of state, their economy, their security and their foreign affairs, and devoid of the power to create legislative enactments and effect policies to bring to fruition their desires as a people, the Thamil-speaking people are at the mercy of decisions made elsewhere and imposed on them against their will, by another race of people with their own set of desires. Motivated naturally by their self-interest the people of the South give mandates to Sinhala governments who have systematically carried out that mandate to deprive the Thamil-speaking people of their rights; and sadly the Thamils are powerless to prevent it.

Most International Tsunami funds other than from NGO, INGO and private donations never reached the victims: Your Eminence, it is a sad testimony of the situation the Thamils are in. You can see this evidence in the way that the Thamils are powerless to negotiate for funds themselves with the International Community. Racist elements in the government killed the Post-Tsunami Operational Mechanism Structure (P-TOMS) by raising legal impediments to prevent its implementation. It is a crying shame that the bulk of the Tsunami funds promised by the International Community never arrived for the Thamil speaking people in the NorthEast, despite the fact that they were the people who were most affected. We must acknowledge the yeoman service that humanitarian relief organizations such as the TRO and religious institutions like the Catholic Church have rendered, but the aid promised by countries has not reached the victims.

Your Eminence, the NorthEast people are crying for significant international assistance which has not reached them and the concern the Thamil speaking people have is that your donation of Rs. 75 Billion would not be evenly distributed, judging by the records of successive Sinhala governments. Please, Your Eminence, we beg you that a mechanism for a fair distribution of the funding with safeguards to prevent corruption is absolutely necessary and, if not already in place, should be imposed as a condition before the money is given to the Sri Lankan government.

Elections are a means to gain Power to subjugate the Thamils: Thamil participation or, for that matter, nonparticipation in the Sri Lankan Presidential elections should be understood for its underlying ineffectiveness under a "system" that uses the majority will to persecute, discriminate and marginalize. By voting in the elections the Thamils would have once again be giving legitimacy to an inequitable process that has left them in the doldrums for far too long. How could the Thamil-speaking people participate in a presidential election, under a unitary system of government, dictated to and dominated by the will of a Sinhala majority in the island taken as a whole? Is it not evident that both candidates belonged to political parties which do not represent the aspirations of the Thamil-speaking people of the NorthEast? In such circumstances how may the Thamils expect, by exercising their vote, for that vote to count for anything? How could that vote produce any tangible, beneficial outcome for the Thamils?

It is paramount not to ignore the fact that the Sinhala "Establishment" composed of Sinhala political parties, successive Sinhala governments, so called Sri Lankan presidents, prime ministers and nearly all the presidents' and prime ministers' men and women have repeatedly reneged on promises, have fooled the Thamils with lies and deception and have aligned themselves with racists and fascists who should be having no place at all in the society of today, yet keep enjoying the trappings of power along with political and legal protection.

Mr. Lunstead and the International Community must understand the issues at stake for the Thamils. Whether the Thamils are part of the political process or not, whether inside parliament or outside of it, it would not make an iota of difference - except participation in the process drags them to a state of decay and ruin. History would bear witness to the undeniable fact that Sinhala hegemony and its supremacist ideology has raced ahead unimpeded whilst the Thamils by their election time endorsement have only virtually given these fascist governments a "stick to beat them with" i.e. the power to oppress them with.

And even worse the International Community uses its own stick to beat the Thamil community into participating in their own demise as a people by repeating the government’s lament. The government’s crocodile tears for the Thamil people, whom they allege were deprived of voting, as though they are the protectors of the community’s rights and interests, should be explained and exposed for what it really is i.e. Elections are a means to gain/grab power to subjugate the Thamils. The International Community should have the sensitivity to realize that. The question is: Why have they not? The answer is: They must walk in our shoes to understand.  

By closing doors to the LTTE, the EU and the International Community hears only one side from well oiled SL propaganda machinery: Your Eminence, in reference to the EU imposing travel restrictions on LTTE delegates, the Thamils are astounded by the International Community's inability to put a finger on the problem in Sri Lanka. The International Community continues their chastisement of the LTTE, when all evidence points to the real culprits being the government of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka Armed Forces, who are falsely portrayed as the "defenders of righteousness" and the LTTE as the "villains of the peace."

The Thamils cannot disagree more forcefully with this unfair and unbalanced portrayal, based not on fact but on fiction manipulated and directed by a huge government propaganda machinery composed of a retinue of hired fiction writers and lobbyists effectively assisted by the government of Sri Lanka's diplomatic channels, where the free and unrestricted flow of misinformation is delivered to the "International World" including the media. The International Community, whilst continuing to having their doors open to Sri Lanka's well oiled and massive misinformation campaign, have closed it to the LTTE by barring LTTE delegations from entry. The campaign of misinformation is pursued vigorously by the hired hands of the government of Sri Lanka in the run of cocktail circles, ambassadorial dinner parties and in the corridors of foreign power, including closed door meetings in foreign and diplomatic offices. For this very reason the information that is being distilled into the confines of the international diplomatic arena is one sided.

Before the Ceasefire the Government of Sri Lanka deliberately killed the NorthEast economy and debilitated the Thamil People by its embargo and, through media censorship, effectively blocked the outside world and muzzled any opposition: Your Eminence, before the ceasefire the government of Sri Lanka had effectively taken its case to the international arena, propagating false information, whilst it imposed a cruel and well coordinated economic embargo on the people of the NorthEast. Under government censorship, regulations fully clamped down on the dissemination of information from the NorthEast by preventing the foreign and local media from reporting any news. During the last war Sri Lanka cultivated the International Community by dictating the management of information. It was at this time that Sri Lanka successfully persuaded the United States amongst others to ban the LTTE through a massive and expensive disinformation exercise that paid off with huge returns, eliciting a tide of condemnation from the international community against the LTTE.

Your Eminence, despite the armed occupation of the NorthEast by the Sri Lankan Army and the genocidal war waged by the government of Sri Lanka that killed more than 65,000 people, devastating the landscape of the NorthEast, choking it from all avenues of sustenance and debilitating its people, the international community did not lift a finger. It is this type of economic embargo or worse that is feared would be used against the Thamils if the International Community turns a blind eye to the earnest request of the Thamils to chart their own course, including the economy of the Thamil Nation.

Your Eminence, despite the massive human loss and displacement that took place, despite its callous treatment of the people of the war ravaged NorthEast of Sri Lanka  and the atrocities it committed, the government of Sri Lanka was not called to account for being responsible for human rights abuses of yet untold proportions. On the contrary, it successfully enlisted human rights organizations to promote its agenda, focus on the LTTE's alleged violations and steer those groups away from ever looking at its own violations.

SLMM and UNICEF have no power to investigate, only to record, the number of complaints of ceasefire violations: Your Eminence, even after the ceasefire, the Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission (SLMM), set up to monitor cease fire violations, has a limited scope of activity in terms of responsibility and powers. Both UNICEF and the SLMM do not have the institutional backup to look into and investigate incidents of ceasefire violations and complaints from both sides. They simply record violations, which makes them open to ridicule, affecting their credibility as neutral entities because, although they may have many recorded incidents of alleged LTTE violations in government and army controlled areas that maybe without basis and open to question because of government acts of sabotage and paramilitary acts of violence, the suspicion for both kinds of acts is turned on the LTTE. And because of the limitations of the SLMM and UNICEF the LTTE has to take the brunt of the accusations. Only now the SLMM is beginning to talk about Karuna’s camps in the East. But they knew about them long ago, so they say now.

The LTTE born out of necessity – a desperate act of self preservation - and a military organization: Your Eminence, it must not be forgotten that the LTTE was born when the inequality perpetuated on the Thamil community since independence by successive Sinhala governments nearly brought it to its knees. If not for some brave men and women who were born out of sheer necessity to defend the dignity and the rights of Thamils when all else failed, the Thamils would be destroyed as a nation. It is a desperate act of self preservation necessary to defend one's land from the tyranny of racists, chauvinists, thugs, deceitful politicians, an alien government and an occupying force behaving as aggressors to protect that land against government sponsored colonization intended to blur the demography of the Thamil homeland. The LTTE are Freedom Fighters in the eyes of Thamils.

Characterization of the LTTE as terrorist organization is politically motivated: On the subject of the EU proposing to ban the LTTE as a terrorist organization, I would like to refer to what Karen Parker, a San Francisco lawyer and expert on international law and human rights law, who has testified on the Thamil conflict before the UN and the US Congress, says in her article titled "Thamils Fighting for Freedom are not Terrorists." "Characterization of the LTTE as a terrorist organization is politically motivated, having no basis in law or fact….The Liberation Tigers of Thamil Eelam, or LTTE, is not a ' terrorist' organization, but rather an armed force in a war against the government of Sri Lanka."

Further, according to Karen Parker "The LTTE are organized militarily, with a military commander and military chain of command. The LTTE uses traditional, modern military weaponry in its combat against the military forces of the government of Sri Lanka. The LTTE uses a variety of military tactics, including open warfare, raids or guerrilla warfare. The government armed forces use similar military means against the armed forces of the LTTE. Most armies in the past 200 years have utilized essentially the same tactics. The war in Sri Lanka may be characterized as a civil war or war of national liberation in the exercise of the right to self-determination. A civil war exists if there is armed conflict inside one country between government armed forces and at least one other force having an identifiable command and having sufficient control over territory to carry out "sustained" and "concerted" military action and the practical capacity to fulfill humanitarian law obligations. The LTTE has clearly met this test for more than 10 years. With the forced unitary rule, first as a result of colonization and then under the post-colonial Sinhala majority rule, the Thamil people were increasingly threatened. In the late 1970s, after nearly 30 years of attempted peaceful resolution to profound differences, the Thamil people began forming armed defense forces. At present, Thamil forces are consolidated in the LTTE, which continues to defend Thamil areas in a war against the Sinhala government's armed forces, "home guards" and other armed entities."

Outside states required to be neutral: Karen Parker says further “if the war in Sri Lanka is a civil war, outside states are required to be neutral- a civil war is by definition an internal affair of a state. This is known as the duty of neutrality. If the war is a war of national liberation, outside states are required to support the side with the self-determination claim- the Thamil side. This is because of the jus cogens nature of the right to self-determination. This does not mean another state must provide direct aid to the Thamil armed force. However, the other states must not engage in any activity with the Sinhala government that in any way undermines the realization of self-determination by the Thamil people."

She adds "The international Court of Justice decided that all states have an obligation under Article 1 common to the Geneva Conventions to "ensure respect" for the Geneva Conventions even when not directly or indirectly involved in a conflict. From my point of view, this requirement mandates at least that the international community insist that the government of Sri Lanka allow both humanitarian reliefs to all victims of the conflict and international, impartial fact-finding to take place"

Sri Lanka is preparing to use its whole arsenal against the Thamil People: Unfortunately, one would wish the day would come when Armies are banned universally and there were no proliferation of arms worldwide. But, sadly that is not how the world operates. The LTTE has to be strong and resilient and has to retain its military capability to defend the territorial integrity of the Thamil Homeland and the security of the Thamil people, for which it was created and democratically and unanimously mandated in 1976 under the Vaddukoddai Resolution.

The International Community must realize that the LTTE are the legitimate guardians of the Thamil people to protect against the enemy. The areas under the LTTE are governed by a de facto government with an exemplary civil administration, in addition to having a military defense capability that is essential in any event – if the Thamil People’s repeated calls for the fulfillment of their aspirations for autonomy are not heeded or if the enemy launches an offensive to annihilate the Thamil People.

Sri Lanka is using money that should be allocated for social and humanitarian needs to purchase arms and military hardware. Yet again in a civil war, the Sri Lanka State is preparing itself to use its whole arsenal against the Thamil People in the NorthEast as it has done before.

And in a disturbing revelation, the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Mr. Lunstead has confirmed that the Bush Administration is providing America’s arsenal and military support to Sri Lanka to make the war bloodier and more savage. This means the Bush Administration would have to answer for the carnage and the annihilation of the Thamil people.

Sri Lanka’s “War for Peace” strategy was intended to annihilate and subjugate the Thamils: Your Eminence, it was the LTTE who, as history would show, took the initiative towards a political settlement and recently it has done so by twice unilaterally declaring a ceasefire, first in December 2000 and again in December 2001. The then President Chandrika Kumaratunge was not prepared to accept the LTTE’s peace offer, but was committed to pursuing her “War for Peace” strategy which was to cripple the LTTE militarily and to regain as much lost territory as possible by intense land, sea and air attacks.

Under these circumstances the LTTE announced it could no longer sustain a self-imposed truce which the enemy has been exploiting to his military advantage. President Chandrika Kumaratunge’s policy of “War for Peace” strategy was intended to annihilate and subjugate the people of the NorthEast. Sri Lanka waged a cruel and brutal war against the Thamil people in the NorthEast and agreed to a ceasefire in February 2002 only after the Sri Lankan armed forces were defeated by the LTTE in their offensive “Operation Fire Flame” and the LTTE launched a daring attack on the Sri Lankan main Air Force base at Katunayake.

Critical for International Community to help remove obstacles to peace in an even handed manner that would reflect Thamil Aspirations: May we bring to your attention, Your Eminence, that the ceasefire agreement was signed by the LTTE at the outset with the desire to enter into negotiations for the sole purpose of finding a political solution to the Thamil national conflict.  It would not be fair not to acknowledge that the LTTE’s crucial and pivotal role is to fulfill the Thamil people’s aspirations towards a political settlement. It is so critical for the International Community, including the EU, to address and help remove the obstacles and impediments to peace in an even handed manner and to play a constructive role in bringing about a political settlement that would reflect the true aspirations of the Thamil people.

The Peace process agenda should be about a political solution based on equal rights and autonomy for the Thamils to chart their destiny, Sri Lanka's government lacks the genuine will even for federalist autonomy and is using deception to woo the International Community: Your Eminence, this is the reality.

What the Thamils seek is justice and freedom from oppression and persecution. So, please help us to achieve freedom for the Thamils in the NorthEast. In our humble opinion, by helping the Thamils receive freedom and justice, Your Eminence will be serving God’s children better, rather than by appeasing the oppressor, who will soon turn his sights on Sinhalese Christians and Catholics! As has been amply demonstrated, “appeasement of the oppressor” is never the right solution!

Peace and Prosperity: A peace based on equality and justice on the premise that there will be two nations working with solidarity for the prosperity of both their peoples governed by principles of mutual respect, tolerance, understanding and the highest values cherished by both nations, promoting a strong and endearing relationship which would free both peoples to pursue their own aspirations, is a vision that could become a reality if the International Community make the effort.

Need your support: Your Eminence, we would like you to know the Thamil people need your compassionate support, help, empathy, prayers and mediation at this time. Thanking you in anticipation.

Respectfully yours,


Cc His Grace Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Savundranayagam

     His Grace Rt. Rev. Dr. Rayappu Joseph

     His Grace Rt. Rev. Dr. Kingsley Swampillai

  • Publication date: