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INDICTMENT AGAINST SRI LANKA
Remembering Black July '83
25 July 2008
Around 200 Tamil and non-Tamil Australians defied the heavy rain to rally at
Sydney CBD at 11AM on Friday 25 July 2008 to highlight the continuing
discrimination, abuse and killing of Tamil civilians by the Sri Lankan State.
25 years ago, Tamils on the island of Sri Lanka witnessed Black July � a government backed anti-Tamil pogrom which left over 3000 Tamils dead and over 150,000 homeless.
50 years ago, hundreds of Tamils died in the 1958 anti-Tamil riots, the first of many to follow.
60 years ago, the island gained independence and within months 33% of the island's Tamils citizens were disenfranchised and lost their right to vote.
Today, the Sri Lankan Government has withdrawn from a peace-agreement and entered into war, thousands of Tamils have 'disappeared' over last few years and Tamil journalists, aid workers, human rights activists and politicians have been assassinated.
A member of the Tamil community shared the devasting story of watching her father and brother being burnt alive with burning tyres. Two young Tamils addressed the partipicants.Whilst thanking their home, Australia, for providing a safe abode, priceless education, and equal opportunities, members of the Tamil Australian community joined others in remembering the incident that made so many their families homeless and destitute overnight.
Participants marched from Martin Place Station to Town Hall Station."History keeps repeating itself in Sri Lanka. Tamils are being killed and abducted on a daily basis, but the news just doesn't get as much publicity as Zimbabwe or Darfur. So we decided to beat some drums and make some noise about it!" said Raj Jega, a member of the youth group. Volunteers from the group also maintain a website, www.blackjuly.info which was initially created to commemorate the Black July massacre, but now also serves as an archive of information on human rights abuses against Tamils in Sri Lanka.