Self-determination is 'might is right'-Thamilmaran

[TamilNet, Sunday, 21 October 2001, 14:20 GMT]
"A people's right of self determination is not always recognised by the international community because it is inherently just. It is more often the case that it is accepted only when a people succeed in their armed struggle to secede. When a people lose the war to gain independence the international community rejects their right of self-determination. This was the experience of Biafra. It lost the war for independence from Nigeria and its people's right of self determination was not recognised," said Mr. V.T Thamilmaran, senior lecturer in law in the University of Colombo delivering the Mylvaganam Nimalarajan commemoration lecture in Batticaloa Sunday. The lecture 'The challenges to the State in the 21st Century' was organised by the East Lanka Journalists' Association and the International Broadcasting Corporation (Tamil).

The lecture arranged to mark the first death anniversary of Mylvaganam Nimalarajan, the Jaffna journalist who was murdered by gunmen at his home in the Sri Lanka armyís high security zone in Jaffna town on 19 October last year.

thamilmaran_v_t.jpgMr. Thamilmaran observed that the international order and the UN system are heavily biased towards the state. The international legal systems that are in place and those which are evolving do not allow for a fair hearing or treatment of non-state parties, he added.

The Venerable Mahagalkadawela Punyasara Thero from Kurunagala who was the guest speaker said: "I invite the Buddhist monks who assert that there is no Tamil problem in this country but only a terrorist problem to debate the issue with me to determine the truth. If anyone asks me whether the Tamil people have a problem I say that they do not have one but myriad problems. My life might be threatened by groups such as the Sihala Urumaya and the JVP for speaking thus. The chauvinists say that there should be one Sinhala state and one Sinhala state in this country".

"But where did the Sinhala people come from? Many rulers of Sri Lanka in the past were Tamils. Many rulers married Tamil from South India. The soldiers and commanders of ancient and medieval kingdoms in Sri Lanka were largely Tamils from South India. Even the special bodyguards of Sinhala kings were Tamils. None of these went back. They married and settled in various parts of the island. The Tamils in the north and east of the country are therefore our kith and kin. We are of common descent. There is no unique Sinhalaness as such".

"Two elite families have ruled Sri Lanka from the time of its independence. They set the fire of ethnic acrimony from Colombo. They will never solve the Tamil problem," the Buddhist monk said.

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