Feature Article

TamilNet releases LTTE documents of 2006 talks

[TamilNet, Saturday, 31 December 2011, 16:34 GMT]
A set of documents prepared by the LTTE’s Peace Secretariat during Geneva peace talks held in February 2006, in June 2006 in Oslo and in October 2006 in Geneva, some of which have not yet reached public domain, are being released by TamilNet to facilitate a deeper understanding of the peace process and its eventual collapse. While 2011 has been a "year of reports," the UN panel report, Norway’s ‘Pawns of Peace’, the genocide model LLRC report etc., the LTTE documents provide valuable insight into the Tigers' efforts undertaken to fulfill LTTE's commitment to the International Community. Though groups such as the International Crisis Group (ICG) reject the application of the concept of "earned sovereignty" to Eezham Tamils, the documents prepared by the Peace Secretariat show how the concept was validated in practice by the LTTE.

CFA in words and deeds
Late S.P. Thamilchelvan, head of LTTE's political division, personally handed these documents to TamilNet for safe-keeping and future use, following each of the peacetalks.

While external actors and peace-brokers were attempting to ‘transform’ Pirapaharan’s LTTE into a ‘non-state actor’ compromising Tamil sovereignty, they knowingly disregarded the real transformation that the LTTE was bringing about on the ground with a demonstrated commitment seeking a genuine peace process.

In that period, LTTE’s political division, which was already in a process of state formation, was responsible for managing around 50 different structures within the movement and the Tamil Eelam civil administration.

Since the commencement of the peace talks, the political division expanded under S.P. Thamilchelvan transforming ground cadres into participants in diverse political and administrative activities.

The collection of documents titled ‘CFA: In words and in deeds,' drafted for the February 2006 Geneva talks, demonstrate the expertise of trained personnel in documenting ground realities and political trends.

Pointing out to the calculated silence of observers like the SLMM on the GoSL operated paramilitary groups in the Tamil homelands, a phenomenon that the LTTE had been pointing out as early as January 2003 immediately after the signing of the CFA, the document provides early evidence of how such groups were operated by the SL military (Chapter 4: Partners in Crime: SL armed forces and paramilitaries).

LTTE leader Pirapaharan had asked Tiger intelligence chief Pottu Amman to hand over hard facts to the peace facilitators through the peace secretariat on how SL military was operating the paramilitary structure.

The evidence documented by the LTTE show that even in the period of the CFA, paramilitary camps were located close to SL army camps, that the GoSL openly ignored the evidence of the crimes committed by the paramilitary, which was operated and coordinated by the SL military at various levels ranging from Colombo to the corners of SLA camps located in the remote areas of the occupied areas of the Tamil country.

Through this documentation, the LTTE technically exposed the violation of Clause 1.8 of the CFA that related to the activities of paramilitary groups by the GoSL. Mahinda Rajapaksa's GoSL had to agree at Geneva I talks in February 2006 to disarm the paramilitary, a promise Colombo never fulfilled.

Sri Lanka’s State Intelligence Service, tasked with both external and internal operations, played a significant role in the operation of paramilitary groups. Previously known as the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB), they deliberately broke Clause 1.8 of the CFA and began a war of attrition against the Eezham Tamils through the use of Vietnam War US-military-style Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) deep into the LTTE-controlled territory, and through assassinations carried out by Tamil paramilitaries in SLA-occupied territory.

LTTE points out how the obvious bias of SLMM, which has its orientations from Norwegian brokers under the US counter-insurgency paradigm of post 9/11, tilted the balance of power on the ground to the favour of Colombo.

On the issue of child rights, the documents submitted by the Tigers reveal how the political division of the Tigers was co-operating with the International Community and the UNICEF in resolving the child soldier issue.

While pointing out the structural violence that the GoSL had in place against Tamil children, including discrimination in education, military occupation of schools, harassment, murder of parents, all of which made the children look up to the LTTE for succour, the records also give data of underage youth being systematically released by the LTTE through transits in the UNICEF and the NESoHR.

Although there was difference of opinion on the interpretation of UNICEF figures on child soldiers, and despite GoSL's intransigence, there was clear commitment from the LTTE in ensuring a steady release of under-age youth into society.

Another document prepared by the LTTE Peace Secretariat on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was submitted in Oslo in June 2006, also has an extensive study of the systemic problems faced by the Eezham Tamil children, and the LTTE’s commitment in arriving at a humane solution.

Though the number of children sexually abused in the South, a phenomena that is spreading in the occupied Tamil lands after the Mu’l’livaaikkaal genocide, dwarfed the number of underage youth involved in the Tamil struggle, these issues were rarely taken up by the global Human Rights agencies.

In the other documents, the Peace Secretariat brought out evidences of the genocidal intent of the Sri Lankan state in its creation of High Security Zones in the Tamil homeland, the wanton violations of rights of Eezham Tamil people by the Sri Lankan state apparatus through arbitrary arrests, killings, rapes and disappearances, curtailment of media freedom, all of which constituted blatant disregard for the CFA. The documents use graphical presentations to show how these violations were carried out with impunity by the SL state.

Another document titled ‘Civilians killed & disappeared & displaced & denied livelihood by GoSL operated forces in during the CFA period’, that was submitted at the June 2006 talks in Oslo, also provides detailed information on these violations and how the LTTE’s response even to grave provocations was conditioned by their commitment to the CFA.

In their own way, the LTTE fully co-operated with the ‘Earned Sovereignty’ paradigm. Yet, the powers that monitored the CFA and the SLMM, exercised an explicit conceptual and political bias towards the SL state, LTTE documents show.

The documents not only offer a reference point of study of what transpired during the CFA period, they also reflect on the political acumen of Pirapaharan’s LTTE in dealing with local and global issues in a manner consistent with a properly functioning state apparatus.

Breaking the earlier organization structure, where all communication to the external world was mediated through a key person, the LTTE political division made institutional efforts in creating locally trained individuals to engage in international diplomacy.

Although they were technically skilled, as demonstrated by the documents released here, they were reluctant to engage with world powers on key issues of confrontation.

Looking for means to bring about an attitudinal change among the powers, the soft Tiger diplomacy preferred off-the-record communication to pass their response on geopolitical issues, except in the responses to the Tokyo move and the stand on the direct role of EU Member States in the SLMM after the EU ban on the LTTE. Therefore, a real study of how LTTE dealt with the peace process has to be objectively analysed.

The result of these initiatives, besides the vibrant Peace Secretariat, were the formation of human rights institutions like the NESoHR, LTTE’s formal liaisons unit with the NGOs and the UN agencies, women’s development institutions, leading humanitarian organizations like the TRO that received wide recognition following the Tsunami catastrophe, Centre for Health Care, the Planning and Development Secretariat (PDS), the development coordination authority and the revival of the Economic Consultancy House (TECH).

A Statistical Unit created by the LTTE operated as a functioning state’s data collection and compilation agency.

The ISGA proposal of 2003 was another example of how Pirapaharan's LTTE was involving experts from the ground and the global Tamil community, which was a marked shift from the earlier modus operandi in involving experts as well as the grassroots. Mr. Pirapaharan was personally involved in conceptualising the ISGA proposal as well as the details of it while Mr. Thamilchelvan coordinated the process.

Richard Armitage, the then US Deputy Secretary of State, was sufficiently impressed with the proposal to remark that "the LTTE's proposal is the first time I've seen such a comprehensive delineation of the aspirations of the LTTE, and in this regard I think it's significant," despite his belief in preserving the territorial integrity of the entire island.

The failed peace broker of Norway Mr. Erik Solheim, during the presentation of ‘Pawns of Peace’ report, revealed the intentions behind Indian and Western Establishments in creating an ideological divide within the LTTE during the CFA period.

In light of the prevailing expressed opinions of stake holders, the reports that have come out this year from various actors involved in the conflict, and now the LTTE documents being brought into the public domain, there is a need to undertake an objective assessment of Pirapaharan's LTTE from the perspective of Tamil sovereignty.


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