Tamils appeal to UNESCO to safeguard Tamil heritage

[TamilNet, Friday, 01 July 2005, 17:23 GMT]
Expatriate Tamil activists in France held an awareness vigil in front of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Headquarters in Place de Fontenoy, Paris, at 10 AM Friday urging UNESCO to safeguard the cultural heritage of Tamils in their homeland against unlawful and politically motivated erection of Buddha statues in Hindu temple sites, sources in Geneva said.

Tamil activists demonstrate in front of UNESCO Headquarters

Tamil activists demonstrate in front of UNESCO Headquarters
Tamil activists demonstrate in front of UNESCO Headquarters
Participants carried placards containing statements against unlawfully erected Buddha statues in Tamil homeland.

"In the Eastern province, wherever there is a Saiva (Hindu) Temple, a Buddhist shrine is built in close proximity. Near every Bo tree (Peepul-tree), a Buddhist temple is constructed. In areas where are no Bo-trees or Buddha statues, Buddhist monks are planting Bo saplings," placards carried by the protestors said.

Paris based Tamils Centre for Human Rights (TCHR) organised the vigil.

At the end of the vigil, a memorandum addressed to the Director General of UNESCO was handed over to Mr. Gadi G.Y. Mgomezulu, Director of UNESCO's Division of Cultural Heritage, sources said.

The memorandum stated that resurgence in Buddhist religious activism is politically motivated. Sri Lanka's President Ms Kumaratunga with executive powers to arrest the escalating tension in Trincomalee on the controversial statue of Buddha has refused to take any action. The Court's order on 18 May giving authority to the Police to remove tha status went unheeded, the Memorandum added.

Colombo Court of Appeals decision to issue a restraining order on 17 June on the Trincomalee Police preventing them from removing the Buddha statue was a discriminatory decision not based on the rule of law, the memorandum said.

The statue matter was instigated by elements opposed to peace to create tension among ethnic communities, the memorandum concluded, urging the Director General of UNESCO to intervene to ensure that justice prevailed. The two orders by district courts in Trincomalee directing the Police to remove the statue should be respected without further delay, the memorandum said.

"The legal judgement of the appeal court is biased towards the Sinhala community," the memorandum said.


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