Calls for war-crimes probe escalate as Tamils commemorate massacre
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 18 May 2011, 02:49 GMT]
Amid increasing calls by world's premier human rights NGOs, newly elected Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for independent international investigations into alleged accusations of war-crimes committed by Sri Lanka on Tamils, Tamil expatriates in several countries in the West are preparing to commemorate the massacre of Tamil civilians during the final phase of Sri Lanka war. In the United Kingdom, youth groups are organizing a vigil in Trafalgar Square and planning protest campaigns against visiting Sri Lanka cricket team, while in the U.S. in a show of unity, multiple Tamil organizations are participating in a protest and vigil in front of the United Nations building. Organizers of both events said they are expecting a large turnout.
|Calls for War-Crimes Probe|
"Thousands of Tamils will hold a vigil in Trafalgar Square on Wednesday evening to mark the second anniversary of the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka and to call for an independent international investigation into allegations of war crimes and human rights abuses," British daily Guardian reported on the Trafalgar Square event.
MPs from the UK's main parties – among them Simon Hughes (Liberal Democrat), Virendra Sharma (Labour) and Theresa Villiers (Conservative) – are expected to attend the event, the paper said, adding
"[a]t the end of the vigil, demonstrators will deliver a memorandum to Downing Street, urging the prime minister to honour the call he made in October for an independent investigation into the allegations of war crimes and human rights abuses."
The press release issued by the U.S. groups organizing the UN protest, said, “[i]n the name of fighting terror, the government of Sri Lanka indiscriminately bombed the Tamil homeland, using large-scale and widespread shelling including deployment of banned chemical weapons....From January to May 2009, over 80,000 Tamil civilians were slaughtered by the Sri Lanka state apparatus, including 40,000 in the last three days.”
Spokesperson for the US protest said, "dissident voices, independent journalists, and elected Tamil Members of Parliament have been silenced by threats, brutality, and assassinations carried out by government-sponsored death squads....In order to give voice to the voiceless, our coalition and the widespread Tamil Diaspora are determined to carry forward the struggle for justice and freedom in the international arena."
Further, Tamils in Canada, have declared the month of May as "Genocide Month," and have been focusing their efforts at grassroots and towards the diplomatic missions in bringing the Tamil concerns to the global community, according to the organisors of the National Council of Canadian Tamils (NCCT), the democratically elected country council of Eezham Tamils in Canada. Meanwhile, Tamil Youth Organisation (TYO) launched an awareness campaign through social media on Tamil genocide and was conducting signature campaign urging the International Criminal Court to investigate the Sri Lankan state.
Meanwhile, in the NorthEast, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) urged Tamils to have religious observances in memory of those who were killed in the war.
More than 600 students from all the faculties of Jaffna University observed "Mu'l'livaaykkaal Remembrance," defying the threatening presence of Sri Lankan riot police commandos, Sri Lanka Army soldiers and intelligence operatives at the University premises between 11:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Noting that "International diplomacy is not about the truth. The truth can be ignored most of the time," Stephen Keim, president of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights,
in an opinion column in the ABC news "Drum section" questioned "if the UN panel's conclusions will be acted upon and whether the international community will realise that the game is up and everyone knows what it has been trying to ignore. Or will it sit on its hands and hope that the illusion of the emperor’s new clothes again get to cover the nakedness of those who committed serious crimes during the final months of the Sri Lankan civil war."
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