Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home > International Tamil Conferences on Tamil Eelam Freedom Struggle > > International Conference on Tamil Nationhood, Canada 1999 > Freedom is our Right and Peace is our Objective

Proceedings of International Conference On Tamil Nationhood
& Search for Peace in Sri Lanka, Ottawa, Canada 1999

Freedom is Our Right and Peace is our Objective
Ethical Responsibility of the International Community
to help resolve the Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka

Dr. S .J. Emmanuel, Key Note Address,

bullet We wish that this Conference be held with Hope on the ultimate Triumph of Truth ...
bullet The long journey of death and destruction of the Tamils has reached a new turning point...
bullet The foundations of our aspirations for Freedom are Truth and Justice...
bullet Freedom is our Right and Peace is our objective...
bullet What do we expect of the International Community?
bullet We appeal to the International Community not to support further violence and war...
bullet We plead for a more active international contribution for conflict-resolution, peace- making and mediation...
bullet We appeal to the international community to examine the Sri Lankan credentials for freedom and democracy....
bullet We appeal to the international media for a better Service to Truth...
bullet We appeal to Human Rights Organisations to question more effectively the collective violations of human rights...
bullet We appeal to the Religions to go beyond mere humanitarian services...
bullet Helping us achieve Peace and Freedom is your Responsibility ...


We wish that this Conference be held with Hope on the ultimate Triumph of Truth ...

The involvement of the international community, in relation to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, has varied from country to country, depending on the interest they have in common with Sri Lanka, as well as on their degree of understanding of the conflict. There are some, who continue to help the victims of this prolonged war by their humanitarian services. They do it with the hope that the war will sooner than later come to a peaceful end. Our appreciation and gratitude go to them for their services under very trying conditions.

There are others, who condemn promptly any counter-violence on the part of the oppressed as terrorism. They preach human rights to the victims, yet are unable to go beyond the etiquette of international relationship to condemn the violence and war of the State. They justify their action, by the excuse that they are undertaken by the elected Government of the land as "security measures against terrorism".

There are still others, a third group, who continue to disappoint, and even scandalise us, by their inconsistent policies, double standards and questionable principles in their relation to Sri Lanka. They are wishing peace but in fact aiding war. They give unfortunately greater financial and militaristic support for the war, but do very little, if not nothing, towards a peaceful solution. We are deeply sorry about the type of their involvement.

Although the conflict, and the related violence and war, with its genocidal consequences have gone on for such a long time, they have evoked in the international community neither due sympathy for the victims, nor sufficient interest in them for active peace making. This is due to a number of reasons. First of all these horror events are happening within an island far away in the Indian Ocean, without immediate neighbours, and without attractive natural resources for the power centres of the first world.

Secondly it is a war now conducted behind a media blockade, censor.gif (4159 bytes)prohibiting diplomats and journalists from the conflict zones, and allowing only few guided tours of army occupied areas. Thirdly, and quite tragically, the Sri Lankan embassies abroad, are concerned more with soliciting financial aid and weapons to continue the war, than in enlisting any international support by way of mediation or facilitation for peace-initiatives.

Notwithstanding all these different discouraging factors, but still believing in the collective good-will and ethical responsibility of the international community, and hoping in the ultimate triumph of Truth and Justice, we want to make a passionate human appeal for international help, towards a just and peaceful solution of the ethnic crisis for the good of all in the country.

We propose to do this in just three simple steps. We will first state the main steps and change of direction, we have gone through during the last 50 years of our struggle, in arriving at the present turning point. Secondly, we place in terms of Truth and Justice, the Tamil aspirations for Peace and Freedom. Finally, on the basis of our past experience and present convictions, we will try question and spell out our appeal, to three different sections of the international community � namely, the governments, the non-governmental organisations and the religions.


The long journey of death and destruction of the Tamils has reached a new turning point.

The last fifty years, have seen us Tamils struggling with untold suffering, death and destruction, to live with dignity and honour in the land of our birth. Unfortunately the politics of the Sinhala majority, inspired by a Buddhist and Sinhala ethno-nationalism has bull-dozed its way, with its own reforms, without due consideration and respect for the other ethnic and religious communities.

Deprival of the voting rights of many thousands of Tamils of Indian origin by the stroke of a pen in 1949, making Sinhalese as the only official language of Ceylon in 1956, planned state-aided colonisation of Tamil areas with Sinhalese from 1949, open discrimination of Tamil students in admissions to Universities and employment from 1972 onwards - all these kept pushing the Tamils from pillar to post.

The Tamil leaders, who resorted only to non-violent and democratic protests, were beaten up by mobs, imprisoned by the government and even thrown out of Parliament by an anti-Tamil constitutional amendment. This type of state-violence went even as far as Jaffna, where the State forces baton charged innocent Satyagrahis within the very precincts of the residence of the then Government Agent in 1961 and 20 years later burnt the cherished Public Library of the Tamils an act of cultural vandalism against a people, without any provocation or reason, except, perhaps, an attempt to kill the soul of a people.

Thus decades before any Tamil youth rebelled, the State had rebelled against the peaceful and non-violent Tamils!

After a series of failures to rectify serious discriminations, after failing to agree, leave alone implement, even a reasonable use of Tamil, after two prime ministers tearing away even the pacts agreed with the Tamil leaders, the Constitution was drafted and redrafted by a Sinhala majority government(1972, 1978), taking away even the one Article 29 $2, left by the British for protecting the minorities. With these changes, Ceylon became Sri Lanka, the Sinhala Buddhist State without even the minimum protection for the minorities.

Thus many decades of democratic protests demanding a federal solution, within a unitary government to peacefully solve the Tamil problem was only responded by state-sponsored terrorism, resulting in death, destruction and displacement of peoples, and political deceptions paving the way for a Constitution of the Sinhala Buddhist State.

Therefore it became absolutely necessary for the Tamils, to defend themselves and their land against State-terrorism. It is in this situation, that the Tamils opted for a separate Tamil state, as the only way for their survival as a people and for protection of their homeland.

This change after 25 years from a federal demand to a demand for a separate Tamil state, won the approval of more than 70% of the Tamils at the parliamentary election of 1977 -the very last parliamentary election freely participated by all the Tamils living in the North and East of the country..

The 1983 Holocaust against the Tamils in which thousands of Tamils were killed or burnt alive, marked another turning point in our struggle. Thousands of Tamils, especially the youth, fled the country, seeking survival and a future, while others stayed on, risking their lives to protect their people and their land from the enemy.

It is the faithfulness to this demand for a separate state, as well as the enormous sacrifice thousands of youth of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) make, in resisting and repulsing State-terror, that make them the de facto leaders of the Tamil people.

The well known approach by the Sinhala majority government since the Independence of 1948, has been "to buy over some Tamil politicians" to carry on their genocidal policies under the guise of a democratically elected government. Unfortunately there has been throughout these 50 years such "cheap Tamil politicians" also available. Under the guise of being democratic and broad-minded, they served, not the cause of the Tamils for liberation, but their own hunger for power and positions.

Even today, after all these massacres, holocausts and mass-graves of Tamils, I am sad to say, such collaborators are available. Having gone away from the overall Tamil mandate of 1977 and their undersigning of the Thimpu principles in 1985, they not only support the government to stay in power and continue its anti-Tamil genocidal efforts, but also help in giving a wrong picture of the Tamil situation to the international community, and also postpone, if not prevent, a true and just solution of the problem.

Tamil Child in the VanniAnd during the last 15 years of a spiralling violence and war, the government under the pretext of fighting "Tamil terrorism" and supported by "hired and paid Tamil politicians", continue its inhuman ways of fighting, namely, not only indiscriminate aerial bombing of civilians, but also imposing an economic blockade against the Tamils and using even denial of food as a weapon of war.

Today it has become crystal clear, that the successive Sri Lankan governments of the Sinhala majority, and their self-centred politicians have not only failed to find a solution for the Tamil problem but also are leading the whole country on a suicidal path which spells disaster for all on that island. There are no signs of hope from the government towards a future solution.

The Sinhala political parties seem to have a basic consensus, yes, not towards any political solution that responds to the Tamil consensus as expressed at Thimpu Talks in 1985,but towards further subjugating the Tamils, either within a new but still unitary constitution (UNP) or within the minimum devolution of power to the peripheries(PA).

Even those courageous voices for truth, justice and peace, still raised by a few among the majority Sinhalese, are unfortunately getting drowned and weakened in recent years by the extremist-cries for war against the Tamils, and for the establishment of a Sinhala Buddhist State.

It is in this situation of "enough is enough", with only faint hopes of a peaceful solution, that we turn to the International community for help. Those who want to rule us, have no consensus towards Peace-Talks. But we Tamils do have at least some basic agreements, undersigned by all the Tamil political parties in Thimpu in 1985.

For the majority Sinhalese, it is a question of how much rights they can afford "to give" to the Tamils, to win their hearts, minds and their ego, so that the Sinhalese can still monopolise the reigns of power at the centre.

For us Tamils, it is not a question of giving or taking away the rights of others or ruling over others. It is a question of surviving in our land of birth, as respectable human beings, enjoying the same human rights as any other people in this world.

Let the world come to know the whole Truth and decide in good conscience, what is a Just Peace for all of us in Sri Lanka.


The foundations of our aspirations for Freedom are Truth and Justice

The strength for persevering in this journey for freedom lies, not in our military might to face the forces that attempt to kill and destroy us but in our firm conviction that our aspirations for freedom are well founded on Truth and Justice. We will not succumb to falsehood and injustice, even on a political platform.

Truth will liberate all of us.

We believe that true and lasting Peace can never be achieved on the foundations of half truths twisted for selfish reasons and made to appear attractive. We abhor the danger of trying to create "new truths" by malicious repetition of lies.

Peace cannot be built on old myths, by a twisting of history or by rewriting text-books on histories to suit political interests, nor by labelling all opposition to state-terrorism and racism as Tamil-terrorism. Peace cannot be achieved by going on a witch-hunt for the Tamils, easily suspected as terrorists by any Sinhalese or as scapegoats for all violence in the South. It can only be built on the ability of the conflicting parties to face the Truth, however bloody and challenging it may be.

Both sides of the conflict are called to face the truth - the truth of history concerning the land and the peoples, the truth of political events which have driven us to this war, the truths about death and destruction mostly faced by the Tamils, the truths of sub-human situations into which the Tamils have been forced into, both within and without Sri Lanka.

We stand by these truths. We are calling the world to be our judge, because we stand by the truth. We are calling for mediation of a third party, because we want, not us, but the truth to triumph. We are neither hiding behind media blockade, nor preventing journalists from getting into war zones, nor fighting shy of any international organisation getting into the war zone.

In this respect we like to ask, how can the Sri Lankan government, which stands already accused by the majority of the Sinhalese for not telling the whole truth about the war for purposes of their electoral victory, be expected to tell the whole truth about the Tamil problem to the world? Why is the Sri Lankan government fighting shy of truth, fighting shy of a third party mediation, and spending large sums of money for media-agencies to block the truth and twist the truth? Why are they converting their embassies into anti-Tamil propaganda agencies? Are these not clear pointers to the stark reality, that the Sri Lankan Government and its Forces have a heap of skeletons hidden, not only in the mass graves of Tamil victims in the North and East, created by the state forces, but also in the cupboards of the Sri Lankan government for the last five decades?

Besides presenting the Tamil problem merely as a "terrorist problem" only needing a military response and without having the courage to meet a single Tamil organisation, Sri Lanka�s foreign minister with a Tamil name, is going about accusing all the organisations of the expatriate Tamils, as belonging to front organisations and fund-raisers for terrorism. Instead of doing the home-work of finding a solution for the problem and making it possible for the Tamils to return with dignity to their homeland, the minister is going on a witch-hunt of those fleeing from his government�s genocidal policies.

In this sad context, of Truth becoming the most tortured victim in the hands of the Sri Lankan government, we feel, the Tamil expatriates must step up their campaign of exposing the whole truth about the Sri Lankan situation as an indispensable service to Peace in Sri Lanka. We are only sorry to note that the expatriate Tamils are not doing enough, to effectively campaign for Truth. We would like the educated and the enlightened among the expatriate Tamils to do much more and in a better co-ordinated manner, to expose the truth of the Sri Lankan Tragedy to their host-governments and human-rights organisations.

With truth on our side, why should we be frightened by the propaganda of hired ministers and their loyal servants?


Justice is the only way to durable Peace and Freedom

We want justice. What is due to other peoples and nations of the world is also our right. This sacred right has been denied too long and we have been unjustly subjugated, discriminated and deceived, in our own land of birth, by the government. We want only justice meted out to us, nothing more nothing less.

Tamil demands, which are open for international scrutiny and recognition, are not based on myths and theories about the origin of the Tamils. Nor do we claim any fictitious superiority over the others. We do not claim privileges. We do not wish anything more or special for us Tamils. We wish the Sinhalese to grow to be a great nation and their Buddhism to glow with all its glory. But, do we not have the right to wish the same for ourselves?

Is it not possible for different ethnic groups to live together, within the borders of a single country, as friends and neighbours without any wish to subjugate the other? Unfortunately, these last 50 years have proved beyond doubt that the Sinhala dominated government, following the colonial administrative unity of the country, will never accept us as equal people with dignity and honour.

They have burnt and killed a great part of our people, destroyed our properties including temples and churches, even bull-dozed the graves of those respected by the people as heroes of the land, even the vegetation and the historic monuments of the cities, and also dispersed a great part of the population. What have they spared in their genocidal drive?

Even the remaining few thousands are struggling for survival against bombs, economic blockade, media blockade, rape, murder, and mass-graves   in the land of their birth. Let the International community and their organisations hasten to mete out justice due to us as a people.


Freedom is our Right and Peace is our objective to live as Human Beings with Dignity on our own Land and as we ourselves determine (Self-determination)

The colonial powers took away our freedom for over four centuries. And the British left us in the hands of a Sinhala majority. The latter have asserted themselves in the manner of a neo-colonialist as the one Sinhala nation with the one religion of the country. They have written and re-written Constitutions over our heads and now trying to force the Tamils to their knees by inhuman methods, to further subjugate them within the cover of a unitary state.

Though our rights have been denied, our dignity trampled, our land occupied and we are being forced to subjugation, we will hold on to values and principles, which can never be taken away from us nor suppressed for long.

It is on the basis of Truth and Justice, we demand our Freedom and build up our Peace. Freedom is recognising our humanity and the human rights flowing from it. Once that is done, then Peace is built on the people seeking Justice in Truth. If we hide the Truth or go by myths and partial truths, then true justice cannot be meted out and consequently no durable Peace can be achieved.

Hence our reasonable quest for freedom should not provoke anger and opposition from civilised people or their elected governments, not in the least any mob-terror and state-terrorism against us. Nor should a democratic and respectable government deny freedom and go for temporary peace-arrangements, which will only lead to further ruin.

Our hope now lies in the respect the international community gives to these same values of Truth, Justice, Freedom and Peace.


What do we expect of the International Community?

We do not plead for any military intervention, not even on our own behalf.

We are the victims already of two direct military interventions one by the Sri Lankan forces, with the aid given directly and indirectly by major powers, and the other by the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF). We are not for another military intervention.

The Indian Peace Keeping Force, that came to protect us from the aerial bombings and economic blockades of the Sri Lankan government soon turned out to be a failure, with unnecessary loss of lives both of Tamils and of Indian soldiers. We soon realised, that their intervention was neither a humanitarian exercise, nor a selfless concern for the rights of an oppressed people but part of a political strategy in their own interest.

Recent events in the Balkan have also brought to light many aspects of international military intervention and the hidden motives therein. On one side we see the similarities between the ethnic atrocities done by the Serbian forces recently in Kosovo and by the Sri Lankan forces, for many decades in the Northeast of Sri Lanka. On the other side we see the dissimilarities of international concern and intervention. The inconsistencies and duplicity of foreign policies and the criteria by which they select their areas of intervention point to some hidden agenda of the major powers.

Their less concern or no-concern for some conflict areas, while fuelling the other has only aggravated situations towards greater humanitarian catastrophe where the "operation may be successful but the patient is dying". Those possessing military might have a tendency to use their hammer even on a mosquito.

Having had a direct experience of two military interventions, and now seeing clearly how some major powers can have their own agenda and selective arguments for military interventions, we will never wish for a military intervention in Sri Lanka.

We do not believe in a "war for peace", as proclaimed by the Sri Lankan government, nor do we believe in solving any problem by military might. The Tamil youth were forced into military action, to protect the people and their land in the face of a prolonged and mounting military operation for over 25 years. Now the initiative to end this spiral of violence and war must come from those who started the oppression and terror, namely, the government. The earlier this lesson is learnt and the earlier we get out of this military path, the better are the chances for us all to survive, prosper and build up the country.


We appeal to the International Community not to support further violence and war...

Not wishing a foreign military intervention does not mean allowing the war to continue. Nor does it mean that the international community do nothing to help resolve the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. No. The international community in general and the foreign powers having closer contact with Sri Lanka in particular, can undertake a lot of morally justifiable and praiseworthy steps to help resolve this conflict. Surely this demands a certain abnegation of self-interests, political profit etc. and a courage of statesmanship to stick to moral and ethical values of truth, justice, sincerity etc.

Hastily, and somewhat irresponsibly calling the Tamil struggle for self determination as Tamil terrorism, and conveniently overlooking or ignoring the democratically voted consensus of the Tamil people for autonomy, some major powers are fuelling the war machines of the Sri Lankan government with their weapons, funds and even personnel.

The NATO intervention if at all it has done anything good, it has drawn the attention of the world to the genocide that was going on within Yugoslavia as understand the anger of the NATO countries in overstepping the Yugoslavian claim of sovereignty.

It is in this context we pose a question of conscience to the world in general, and to some major powers in particular, what does the world expect of the Tamils, when they are faced with long decades of anti-Tamil discrimination, death and destruction carried out by the Sri Lankan state as part of imposing Sinhala nationalism on the Tamils?

Under the false pretext of fighting Tamil-terrorism, the Sri Lankan government is escalating its war to impose Sinhala nationalism on the Tamils. The armed forces have increased tenfold and thirty percent of the annual budget of a begging economy is spent on this war. This is possible, only with the donor countries drawn into believing government propaganda, about the need to fight the "war against terrorism".

The NATO claim that the military intervention is taking the Balkan towards a peaceful solution has already raised many serious questions about the sincerity of the major powers. It is even more questionable, and much more criminal for any powers to militarily aid an oppressive government that hides the truth, pretends to fight terrorism and rejects offers for peace-talks. Fighting a known devil is not so bad as helping an unknown devil.

If the major powers cannot contribute anything to peace building in Sri Lanka, we will wish that they do nothing to worsen the conflict which is fast degenerating into a national suicide.


We plead for a more active international contribution for conflict-resolution, peace- making and mediation

While the Tamils keep repeating their readiness for talks, under conducive atmosphere and with the help of international mediation. The opposition party as well as some enlightened sections in the South are encouraging such peace-talks. But a government that carries this war on a begging economy, is bluntly refusing peace-talks and third party mediation, on the grounds that it is an internal conflict and that they can resolve it. The government is almost saying "give us money, weapons and personnel to fight the war, but keep out of the war zone, ask no questions about the people in the war zone and keep to yourself your expertise or facilitation for peace-talks".

At least this arrogant attitude must open the eyes of those who aid the war in some way.

We will like the donor countries to insist on peace-talks as a condition for further aid.

We will like the United Nations and other organisations for conflict resolutions to spend more resources to study the situation closely and go into the hidden reasons of the government for refusing all mediation offers.


We appeal to the international community to examine the Sri Lankan credentials for freedom and democracy

International community as a whole and individual countries, tend to justify their assistance to Sri Lanka by considering Sri Lanka as a free and democratic state where the values of freedom, justice and human rights are upheld. But in reality the situation is quite the contrary.

Where are the guardians of democracy and freedom when Sri Lanka tramples under foot the basic human rights of a people for such a long time? When non-violent and democratic protests are met with baton charge, torture and killing? When even prisoners are massacred in their cells under the eyes of its guardians? When parliamentary elections are fought with the might of the military?

Where are the guardians of democracy when an elected government is bombing and shelling a whole population and starving them to bend their political will and force them to their knees, to make them accept only what they decree?

On the one hand we appreciate the good will and assistance of many western powers having good relationship with Sri Lanka, and helping it in its socio-economic growth. But on the other hand, we are deeply saddened, if not scandalised, by the duplicity of approach and the immorality with which some countries aid and abet a prolonged oppression, if not extermination, of a people within the county.

How can foreign powers , who do not have access to the whole truth, whose diplomats are prevented from going into war-zones or contacting those engaged in the war, knowing that this small island ranks second in the world, second only to Iraq, in the number of unaccounted disappearances, justify their aid to war?

Surely the question must be posed by the foreign powers, why Sri Lanka continues to impose a media blockade, why it prevents foreign missions from visiting war zones or talking to the LTTE, why it drags its feet on questions of mass-disappearances and mass-graves, why foreign finance and weapons are needed but not foreign assistance for peace-making.

Attack is the best form of defence, and the Sri Lanka government, conscious of the many skeletons of democracy and human rights in its cupboard, takes up to eloquence in international assemblies, about establishing democracy and fighting world terrorism.

Let the international community, its structures and assemblies, come to terms with lies repeated and sustained by Sri Lanka and demand more order and transparency in its own house. Their silence is already sinful and their connivance makes it criminal.

We expect the international community to rise above such sins and connivance. We expect them not to betray the confidence and trust, the poorer and weaker and the not-yet-internationally recognised nations of the world, have on them as defenders of freedom and advocates of justice.


We appeal to the international media for a better Service to Truth

The importance of the Media for our noble cause of freedom and peace cannot be exaggerated. The ethnic problem degenerating into violence and war and failing to reach any understanding or solution is also due to the low, if not false, principles and priorities guiding the media.

The difficulties faced by the media in conflict situation, in getting the truth and serving the truth cannot be exaggerated. The local media divided into three language streams, Sinhala, Tamil and English have already played a divisive role in the past, contributing hardly anything for building up unity and understanding. They find themselves in the sad situation of being further conditioned by their ethnicity as well as by the government restriction on their travel to the war zone to ascertain the truth.

The international media prevented from taking a journey into the war zones of the North and East of Sri Lanka, depend to a very great extent, on the few limited sources in Colombo. While giving into the restrictions on the sources in Colombo, they tend to speculating on half-truths and lies, least realising the fatal consequences for the victims of an unjust war. Influenced by the government propaganda that that there is only a terrorist problem, they tend to dismiss all Tamil sources as terrorist-sources.

We appeal to the international media for an honest service to Truth, especially to the true aspirations of a people struggling to liberate themselves from an aggressive state.

Our goal is peace with justice. And true justice is meted out only on the basis of the whole Truth. Hence if the media loses its freedom by the insidious restrictions placed on them by the government, or if they tend to serve only the commercial interests of those who own it, or if they are emotional participants of extremist policies, then Truth is twisted. It cannot any more serve Justice nor bring about durable Peace.


We appeal to Human Rights Organisations to question more effectively the collective violations of human rights

We are thankful to the humanitarian services rendered by the international Non-Governmental-Organisations in spite of many difficulties in their work. In channelling the humanitarian assistance of the international community to the victims of war and violence, they suffer very often undue restrictions placed on them by the Sri Lankan government, and which are contrary to the spirit of their own conventions. They are even unjustly suspected and accused as helping the terrorists. We wish that these NGOs continue assisting our people.

While their humanitarian services to war victims are made known in the donor counties, the aid given to the war machine by these same countries is not known.

Since they are allowed to work with the victims of war without questioning the conflict that produces them. We can only appeal to them, to reflect the whole truth about the depth of human suffering faced by the people and their own difficulties in channelling aid to them.

The NGOs concerned with Human Rights are often concerned too much with the end result of the conflict , namely, the violations of human rights in and during the exchange of fire, or with regard to arrests and detention. They list the violations and appeal to the parties in conflict, to respect the Human Right Declarations. We believe that they can go beyond the listing of individual violations, to collective violations of the rights of peoples.

It is in this spirit we ask: Why are the guardians of human rights, not effectively questioning the Sri Lankan government about the many mass graves of military victims discovered in Jaffna ? For more than an year, we are expecting some sincere effort of the government to get international experts to examine these graves. In the meantime many other mass-graves attributed to military violence are coming to light. We are painfully aware that the Sri Lankan government is capable of setting up Human Rights Commissions and even staging pseudo judicial procedures to deceive the world of its record of human rights.

Hence we appeal to the Human rights organisations to monitor closely the events connected with mass graves.


We appeal to the Religions to go beyond mere humanitarian services...

In the context of the Sri Lankan crisis is relevant to examine the role of the four major religions Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity in building unity peace and understanding among people. We have seen during the past racial riots, especially that of 1983, how ethnic emotions and false nationalism overtake religious and even human values. It was one of the clearest signs for the failure of religions with regard to peace and nation building.

The world Parliament of Religions, in its Assembly in Chicago from the 28th.August to 4th.Sept. 1993, was unanimous in saying, that there cannot be better world order without a basic consensus among religions on ethical values. Religions are meant to serve the values of Truth, Justice and Peace among humanity. Nations and States are built on virtues and values which are already sown, fostered by religions. Hence a fundamental consensus among religions is a prerequisite to Peace among people.

But for religions to feed and foster those values of Truth and justice, they themselves must be liberated from their weaknesses. It is with this conviction, we underline the importance of religions for peace-building in Sri Lanka. It is unfortunate that political chauvinism and religious fundamentalism, have often overtaken the very religious values preached by the religions, with respect to human life and human rights.

It is a grave responsibility of the majority Buddhists of Sri Lanka followers of a world renowned religion of Peace to give up their demonstrations in support of a war that only kills and destroys to give up their opposition to peace-talks and to give up their opposition to offers of mediation and facilitation for peace-talks.

In the name of the Enlightened One, may I appeal to my Sri Lankan Buddhist brothers and sisters to liberate themselves from their "mahavamsa mind-set", and its inherent desire for possession of the whole country and support a united and peaceful country of two nations.

The Buddhists of the international community have a role to encourage the Sri Lankan Buddhists to practice the teachings of the Great One.

As a Christian and a churchman, it is my duty too to make an appeal to the world churches whatever confession they may belong to and irrespective of whether the have a constituency in Sri Lanka or not.

We all know that the churches in Sri Lanka and their social and charitable organisations, helped by their sister churches all over the world, are involved in helping the victims of war. They are doing a valuable service and we wish that they continue them. But as long as we take care of the dead and wounded of the war in our hospitals and cemeteries, the war is not going to stop. As Christians we are called to go beyond these acts of mercy and take up the cause of Truth and Justice as taught by the gospels.

The churches have witnessed two world wars, as if it were from the sides of the battlefield. Their silence and inaction have cost millions of lives. They have had time for the last 50 years to consider their role in the midst of an armed conflict. They cannot make the same mistake of silence, neutrality, diplomacy and allow any genocide to continue.

But given the minority situation of the churches in Sri Lanka vis a vis the majority, and the false belief among the leadership that they have to survive on the mercies of those in power, the Christians are not able to give that specific witness to Truth and Justice as taught by their churches.

Hence it is incumbent on the world churches, to take a close and unbiased look at the Sri Lankan situation, inform the international community the true situation and do all that they can to encourage the local churches to stand up for truth and justice and in their own way at the international level demand Justice for Sri Lanka.


Helping  us achieve Peace and Freedom is your Responsibility ...

We Tamils are at a turning point in the history of our struggle for Justice and Freedom.

We are deeply sorry that we cannot take in any more suffering from the hands of an anti-Tamil Sinhala government and its extremist supporters. We appeal to all our brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka as well as to the international community for help.

We say first to those of good will in the South of Sri Lanka: Let us wait no longer, let us resolve this suicidal conflict in all truth and justice, to redeem all that is left of the country and the peoples.

Instead of allowing the extremists to go ahead with their military efforts of exterminating and conquering a people and a land, of imposing a majority-dominated unity to be kept by force, or a pseudo devolution that still subjugates and denies rights, let sanity prevail in uniting the forces for good. Without clinging on to a unitary system of government that does not solve but only aggravate ethnic tensions and problems, without covering up the deep wounds of discrimination with an apparently magnanimous devolution, we should go for the triumph of truth and justice, to build up a united country, whereby the aspirations of all the communities are acknowledged, respected and durable provisions made for.

We are distinct peoples living on that island for so many centuries with our rich distinct linguistic, cultural and religious heritage. Let us assure each other a peaceful and co-operative coexistence as good neighbours and friends within one country, without any fear of domination or hatred for one another. Let us wish ourselves nothing more than what we wish for others.

We appeal to the international community: You have witnessed the events in our country at least for the last few decades. You have helped in some way the victims of war. But we are saddened by the assistance given by some of you to the Sri Lankan government for escalating the war against us. You have not believed the cries of the oppressed and the dying. You have stood by the mighty, given financial aid and weapons to fuel the war but done very little to acknowledge the truth of our claims. Now help us positively in resolving our conflict.

Let all the peoples of Sri Lanka go before the conscience of the world and accept its verdict for a Just Peace in Sri Lanka!



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