Archbishop Tutu voices support for 'freedom struggle' - paper

[TamilNet, Sunday, 21 December 1997, 23:59 GMT]
"The majority Sinhalese are in power and are unwilling to extend the political and social rights they enjoy to the Tamil people" said Archbishop Emeritus The Most Rev. Desmond Tutu in a recent statement issued in Capetown, South Africa, according to the Tamil Guardian newspaper.

Expressing his deep concern for the Tamil community, Archbishop Tutu said "I have been aware of the loss of lives and property caused by prolonged violence and war. I have been aware of the discrimination Tamils have endured for the last forty years".

"I believe we in South Africa can facilitate negotiations between alienated groups in other countries to bring about peaceful solutions", he said which was interpreted as an indirect signal of South Africa's willingness to do so in Sri Lanka.

Archbishop Tutu was speaking after meeting Rev. Dr. S.J. Emmanuel, the former Vicar General of Jaffna on December 8.

The Tamil Guardian quoted the Archbishop as saying "it had been a privilege to meet Rev. Emmanuel. He came to see me recently to seek my support and encouragement for the cause of peace and justice in Sri Lanka.".

The London based Tamil Guardian began publishing earlier this year. The former Rupavahini (the Sri Lankan state TV service) chairman, Mr. Vasantha Raja is its chief editor.

Mr. Vasantha Raja was formerly with the British Broadcasting Cooperation for many years, and headed the BBC's Sinhala service. He was invited as a consultant by the Sri Lankan government for free media reforms in State TV and radio, in 1994.

He was appointed as chairman of Rupahavini by the President, but later resigned over the Sri Lankan government's approach to the Tamil question. He was close to the Sri Lankan President and government circles during his term in office during the 1994 peace process. The Tamil Guardian has recently begun publishing on the internet as well.

 

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