FT: Fight for Eelam far from over, say young activists

[TamilNet, Monday, 14 December 2009, 01:18 GMT]
Popular British broadsheet Financial Times, on a follow-up article to October coverage on young Tamils, said that while the western crackdown on the Tigers’ financiers among the diaspora, has created despondency among this often wealthy migrant community, the "clued-up second-generation migrants were turning to political lobbying," and that, "[t]hese young activists said the fight for Eelam, an independent Tamil homeland, was far from over."

After mentioning Sri Lankan-born billionaire founder of Galleon Group, Rajkumar Rajaratnam's legal woes in the United States, the paper added, "the second generation’s political campaigning seems to be gathering strength. These activists are urging western governments to press Sri Lanka to free the remaining Tamils put in displacement camps after the Tigers were defeated. Ultimately, they hope for a two-state solution.

"And after much lobbying, the European Union looks increasingly likely to discontinue Sri Lanka’s “GSP plus” status, which waives certain taxes on exports to the EU," the Financial Times article said.

The article summarized the current state of the Tamil civilians in the military supervised internment camps as, "Sri Lanka has now accelerated the resettlement of displaced Tamil civilians, allowing them to come and go from the camps from December 1 and promising to close the camps by the end of January. Some 136,000 Tamils (out of an original 280,000) were still being held in late November, according to the island’s officials, who say the camps are necessary while landmines are cleared and remaining Tiger supporters located. They deny the releases are a response to international pressure."

“I’m really pleased with what I’m seeing,” the paper quoted Jan Jananayagam, a prominent British activist, as saying. “GSP plus is just one positive development.” She observes that British MPs are devoting increasing attention to events in Sri Lanka, holding an official debate on the camps in late October. Meanwhile, the US state department has released a report on human rights abuses allegedly committed by both Sri Lankan forces and the Tigers in the final throes of the war. “The diaspora is a big factor [in this trend]. They are getting the information out there,” Jananayagam says. “Otherwise, why would Sri Lanka matter like this to a country like Britain?” the paper quoted Jananayagam as saying.


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