Diaspora groups demand international action over MP’s slaying

[TamilNet, Saturday, 08 March 2008, 02:52 GMT]
Tamil Diaspora organisations Friday condemned the killing of Tamil parliamentarian K. Sivanesan Thursday in a fragmentation mine attack blamed on Sri Lankan commandos and called for international action against the Colombo government. Pointing out that Mr. Sivanesan is the latest Tamil MP to be murdered by suspected Army-backed paramilitaries or members of the security forces in recent years, expatriate organisations from Australia, Canada and Britain called for the Sri Lankan government to be held accountable and for international sanctions to be imposed.

Mr. Sivanesan, killed when four mines were detonated against his vehicle on Thursday, is the latest MP from the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to be assassinated. MP Joseph Pararajasingham was killed in December 2005 and Mr. Raviraj was killed in November 2006. Army-backed paramilitaries or security forces were blamed in both cases.

Several TNA candidates, party workers and former Parliamentarians, as well as relatives of TNA members have been murdered or abducted and ‘disappeared’ by Army-backed paramilitaries or security forces in recent years.

Tamil Parliamentarians from other parties who have been critical of the Sri Lankan governments have also been murdered by suspected security forces’ members.

“Mr. Sivanesan has become one among the many Tamil MPs assassinated for voicing the plight of Tamil people to the world,” the Tamil Canadian Congress (CTC) said Friday.

“The Sri Lankan government must be held accountable for these killings, disappearances and other serious human rights abuses occurring under its nose and in many cases with its complicity,” CTC said.

“We look to the Canadian government to provide leadership in the international community to pressure Sri Lanka to conform to international human rights standards,” the CTC said.

“We have heard countless stories of abductions, disappearances, and killings by agents of the Sri Lankan government,” said David Poopalapillai, national spokesperson for CTC.

“Sri Lanka has turned into a lawless state and the situation will only get worse now that the ceasefire agreement has been broken by the Sri Lankan government and peace monitors have left,” he said.

“The Canadian government should consider the recommendation from the HRW report and impose trade and aid restrictions on the Sri Lankan government if its human rights record does not improve,” CTC said.

The British Tamil Forum meanwhile said “along with rest of the Tamil community members we denounce the assassination of MP Sivanesan by Sri Lankan government forces.”

“The [security forces] are terrorising the Tamil community by targeting those people who are at the front seeking a peaceful settlement for the ethnic strife,” the BTF, which represents a coalition of 88 Tamil community organisations in the UK, said.

“In condemning this atrocious action, we yearn for the well-meaning Governments of other countries and the United Nations to take note of this Government’s terrorism which continues unabated,” BTF said.

The BTF pointed out that the much vaunted International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) which was to oversee Sri Lanka’s investigations into human rights abuses, “are leaving the country without achieving anything after more than two years because of non co-operation by the Government officials.”

Last week the BTF met Britain’s Foreign minister to stress the need for the international community to make support for Sri Lank’a sovereignty conditional on its coming to lasting solution that would satisfy Tamil political aspirations.

“Mr Sivanesan is the latest victim in a long list of Tamil intellectuals who had chosen to counter Sinhala state aggression through democratic means, at the behest of the international community, and have paid the ultimate sacrifice for it,” the Tamil Youth Organisation said in a statement in UK.

“Tamil MPs who have been democratically elected by the Tamils to voice their concerns in parliament have been brutally silenced, so what chance do ordinary Tamils have against the Sri Lankan state?”

“We would like to ask the International Community what hope the Tamils can place on the democratic process in Sri Lanka?” the TYO, a Diaspora-wide network of youth groups, asked.

The Australian Federation of Tamil Associations (AFTA) also condemned the assassination in a press statement titled “Sri Lanka kills another Tamil parliamentarian with impunity.”

“The Australian Tamils ask the Rudd Labor Government what diplomatic action it intends taking to pressure the Sri Lankan State to comply with international norms and negotiate with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a just political solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka,” AFTA said.

Apart from Norway, which condemned the assassination of Mr. Sivanesan, there has been no reaction by the international community to the slaying, which came as the 7th UN Human Rights Council began deliberations in Geneva.



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