"Colombo on genocidal war path" - Thamilchelvan

[TamilNet, Sunday, 10 December 2006, 23:50 GMT]
Liberation Tigers Political Head, S. P. Thamilchelvan, in his address on International Human Rights Day held in Kilinochchi Sunday, stated that the Sri Lankan Government, depriving the Tamil people of their fundamental birthrights such as the "right to life, right to national identity and the right to homeland," and disabling the Ceasefire Agreement with its presently introduced "Prevention of Terrorism" act, was on a "genocidal war path," violating not only human rights laws, but also the Geneva humanitarian laws by carrying out bombardments on hospitals and schools. "Tamil people stand deceived by the membership conferred on the Sri Lankan state to the newly formed Human Rights Council."

"Further, the deferment of the resolution proposed by the European Union at the second session of the Human Rights Council regarding the human rights violations in Sri Lanka, has brought disappointment and hurt to the Tamil people," he observed.

Following is the full text of Mr. S. P. Thamilchelvan's International Human Rights Day speech, released by the LTTE Peace Secretariat:

Mr. S. P. Thamlichelvan
On this day in 1948, the General assembly of the United Nations proclaimed the Universal declaration of Human rights as milestone in the forward march of civilization. Now we commemorate this day as the International Day of Human rights. This declaration was born as a lofty legal value enjoying – for the first time in history – international recognition for safeguarding the rights of all people living in the world transcending race, religion, language and nation. Although 58 years have rolled by since the provenance of this declaration of rights, yet even now there are in different parts of the world various peoples fighting determinedly for their human rights. The life of these people journeys on facing state oppression and the spectre of genocide.

Following the Declaration, a number of conventions, covenants, declarations and resolutions have taken shape as international human rights law. But as far as the Tamil people living on the island of Sri Lanka are concerned, from the very year 1948 when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed up to the present day, these human rights have remained empty words; not rights that they could actually enjoy. Such has been our history. Since 1948 when the island of Sri Lanka gained independence from British colonialism, the Tamil people have been facing extreme forms of oppression and human rights violations perpetrated by the successive Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinistic governments of this island. We wish to protect ourselves from this genocide and to live as a people endowed with the right of self-determination which ensures our enjoyment of all the rights in full. On the international plane, human societies are leading a life of dignity and just-peace by preserving such national identities as ethnicity, language, culture and country along with their human rights. It is precisely for such a life for ourselves that we have been conducting our freedom struggle. It is solely by being a people with the right of self-determination to determine by ourselves our own destiny that we can live as people with all human rights ensured. This is why the right to self-determination is enshrined in the customary law as an inviolable legal value.

But today our people find themselves deprived of their fundamental birthrights such as the right to life, right to national identity and the right to homeland. Against this backdrop, we have been pitch-forked into a situation where we are subjected to the most horrendous human rights violations as a result of the Sri Lankan Government's malicious propaganda that depicts our struggle for rights as terrorism, and the acquiescence of the international community with regard to these violations.

The cease-fire agreement signed in the year 2002 through the facilitation of Norway and the support of the international community, has been rendered defunct by the continuous attacks and military offensives carried out by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces. The cease-fire agreement has been further disabled by the Prevention of Terrorism Act presently introduced. This Prevention of Terrorism Act has encouraged enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detentions without trial, and has furthermore put into jeopardy such rights as the freedom of expression and freedom of the media.

The anti-Tamil human rights violations that have been taking place covertly and on a relatively small scale since the cease-fire agreement, are now being staged overtly since the appearance of the Rajapaksa-led government on the scene. It has now attained the proportions of a full-scale genocide through the unleashing of atrocities by the Sri Lankan armed forces: killings, aerial bombardments on hospitals, schools and residential areas; sexual violence on Tamil women, enforced disappearance and so on. Recent researches on the serious violations of human rights by the Sri Lankan State have produced statistics that clearly expose the extent of such violations in the Tamil Homeland. Since the cease-fire agreement came into effect, there have been 1392 civilian killings and 512 enforced disappearances. 210 000 people have been displaced owing to military offensives. In the last month alone 134 civilians have been killed and 28 disappearances. The civilian killings include 70 children.

The rights and security are ensured by the articles of the cease-fire agreement related to the restoration of normalcy and other articles. Both at the first and the second rounds of talks that took place in Geneva, Switzerland, we stressed the need for the complete implementation of the cease-fire agreement and resolving the humanitarian crisis that has developed in the Tamil Homeland. But instead of protecting the rights of the Tamil people by respecting the cease-fire agreement, the Sri Lankan government has exploited human rights as a means for its petty political gains.

The Sri Lankan armed forces and the para-militaries operating in league with those forces are now unleashing horrible violations of human rights in the Tamil Homeland and creating a massive humanitarian disaster by weaponizing food. In a shell attack by the military on 08.11.06 on a school where IDPs were taking refuge, 47 civilians were killed and over 300 wounded. Representatives of the SLMM, UNICEF and ICRC who were immediately rushing to the site were intercepted. The Sri Lankan government is on the genocidal war path and violated not only human rights laws but also the Geneva humanitarian laws by carrying out bombardments on hospitals and schools. In the aerial attack near the Kilinochchi general hospital the latter was damaged and five civilians were killed. The patients, expectant mothers and new-born babies had to be evacuated which created tremendous human misery. The atrocity that caused immense pain and kindled anger in the hearts of the Tamil people occurred on 14.08.06, 55 young girls fell victim to a bomb attack by the Sri Lankan air force on a Children's Home.

Today, while on the one hand the human rights violations continuously taking place in the Tamil Homeland are being brought to light by UN special rapporteurs, ambassadors and Amnesty International and UN aid organizations, on the other the elimination and enforced disappearances of Tamils in the Tamil homeland go on unabated. Amnesty International has condemned the barbarous act of hacking and shooting to death of 13 civilians including aged children four months and four years at Allaipiddy in May 2006. Amnesty International also claimed that it had credible evidence of the presence of the EPDP para-military and Sri Lankan navy at the site of the incident.

The UN representatives, particularly that of the UN Under-Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict Mr.Allan Rock, and the Special Rapporteur on Extra-judicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions have revealed without any bias the human rights excesses perpetrated by the Sri Lankan armed forces in the Tamil Homeland. Besides, on May 24 th Madam Louise Arbour, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressed her deep concern over the human rights violations in Sri Lanka and condemned, moreover, the killings and grave violations of human rights laws and breaches of humanitarian laws. The special representative Mr.Allan Rock exposed to the world that the Sri Lankan armed forces are operating in complicity with the Karuna para-military group in the recruitment of children.

While the Tamil people in the Tamil Homeland are faced with genocide, Tamil intellectuals and, in particular, politicians, people's representatives and media personnel who are courageously exposing to the international forum the human rights violations against the Tamil people and the justification of their struggle have come under threat and been stripped of the freedom of expression. Since the cease-fire agreement Tamil Members of Parliament and people's representatives like Chandra Nehru, Joseph Pararajasingham, Raviraj, Vanniasingham Vigneswaran and Arumugam Senthilnathan have been murdered; and so have senior press personnel like Nadesan and Sivaram.

For the Sri Lankan government, it has become a habit to commit murders, enforced disappearances and rapes, and to hoodwink the international community by appointing commissions to investigate them when they come to light. The Commissions appointed to investigate the gross violations that have been committed so farm particularly the mass graves discovered at Chemmani and the hundreds of enforced disappearances have been pretentious, aiming only to satisfy the international community.

Given this background, the Tamil people who have been clamouring for fair investigations into the injustices against them and for urgent measures to prevent violations of their rights, stand utterly deceived by the membership conferred on the Sri Lankan state to the newly formed Human Rights Council.

Further, the deferment of the resolution proposed by the European Union at the second session of the Human Rights Council regarding the human rights violations in Sri Lanka, has brought disappointment and hurt to the Tamil people. It is worth noting that in the statement it released on 6th October 2006 in Human Rights Watch too expressed its disappointment.

With utter disregard for human rights and humanitarian laws the Sri Lankan government is continuing to perpetrate human rights atrocities against the Tamil people. We have now been driven to protecting ourselves from the genocidal campaign of our aggressors who are carrying out their acts of murder, abduction and rape with absolute impunity. On this day we resolve to retrieve the rights we have lost to the aggressors and breathe the air of freedom as a people enjoying the right of self-determination.


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