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HomeTamils - a Nation without a State > Struggle for Tamil Eelam  >  Human Rights & the Tamil People >Tamil Centre for Human Rights (TCHR) > A few facts not considered by the European Union


Tamil Centre for Human Rights (TCHR) on
A few facts not considered by the European Union
[see also European Union Declaration, 26 September 2005]

18 October 2005

The European Union decision concerning Sri Lanka on 27 September 2005 is in total contradiction to the "conditions laid out by the European Union on Turkey to join the EU". The EU is supporting a government, which has a worse human rights record than Turkey.

The EU has failed to consider seriously many ground realities which the Tamil people are undergoing in Sri Lanka. In the recent past, many Tamil members of Civil society have been killed by the Sri Lankan government. Most of these killings left ample evidence to trace the assassins, but until today have not had proper investigations nor have any culprits been brought to book and punished. The culprits of these killings still remain in service unpunished and impunity reigns in Sri Lanka.

The EU failed to comprehend the reality of the killings in Sri Lanka. It is well known to everyone, including the UN Special rapporteur on extra-judicial and arbitrary killings and international human rights organisations that killings in Sri Lanka where the government has been suspected of involvement, were neither properly investigated nor were the culprits brought to justice

A few facts are given below:

1) The EU has failed to take into consideration that since independence (1948) from the British - racist legislation and Sinhala racism have been at the heart of the political problems in Sri Lanka. Racist policies implemented on citizenship, language, education, land and other areas discriminate severely against the Tamil people in the island.

In 1972, twenty-four years after independence from British rule, the dominant Sinhala Buddhist majority gave itself an autochthonous constitution, renamed the island as 'Sri Lanka' (Sinhala name) and ensured that the Constitution secured a dominant role for Buddhism. The constitutional safeguards, which had hitherto debarred the enactment of discriminatory legislation, were scrapped.

2) The EU has failed to take into consideration that, as a result of 58 years of State planned Sinhala colonisation in the Tamil homeland (North and East), the Sinhala governments and its destructive agents plundered and robbed 50% of the ancestral lands of the Tamils in the North East of Sri Lanka.

3) The EU has failed to take into consideration that in the past, several agreements signed between the Tamil leaders (Parliamentarians) and the Sinhala leaders (Prime Ministers) to resolve the political turmoil in the country were unilaterally abrogated by then Prime Ministers in power. (In 1957, the "Banda Chelva" pact and in 1965 the "Dudley-Chelva" pact). These agreements were based on a quasi-federal system devolving certain powers to the Tamils in the North East province.

4) The EU has failed to take into consideration that many anti-Tamil programs (including those in 1956, 1958, 1977, 1981, and 1983), unleashed by various Sri Lankan governments, Sinhala extremist groups and thugs, ruined the socio-economic and the political rights of the Tamil people. Thousands of Tamils were massacred, burnt or hacked to death, women were raped and millions of rupees worth of properties belonging to the Tamils were looted and destroyed.

5) The EU has failed to take into consideration that more than 35 years of peaceful non-violent struggle by the Tamils to protest against the Sinhala oppression, were suppressed by violent means by the Sri Lankan security forces, inflicting loss of many lives and much material damage to the Tamils.

6) The EU has failed to take into consideration that, in July 1977, the Tamil people in the North East overwhelmingly voted to establish and exercise the �Right to Self-determination� in the North East. This mandate is still ignored by the Sri Lankan government and the international community.

7) The EU has failed to take into consideration that, rule under Emergency Regulations (ER) has become the norm - for more than 34 years since independence. The Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary provision) Act - PTA, made permanent in 1982, gives free hand to the Sri Lanka security forces to arrest, detain, torture, rape, kill and dispose of the bodies of Tamils with impunity.

8) The EU has failed to take into consideration that in 1998, the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances stated that, "Sri Lanka had the second highest number of disappearances in the world, ranking next to Iraq". Also Sri Lanka was the only country that the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances has visited three times. So far no proper remedies have been found for these disappearances.

9) The EU has failed to take into consideration that, over 79,000 Tamil people have been killed or �disappeared�; more than 12,500 Tamil women raped and killed; more than 2500 buildings of Tamils' religious places of worship (Churches and Temples) have been destroyed in aerial bombings and artillery shelling and that billions of rupees worth of material damage has been caused to the Tamils by the Sri Lankan government.

10) The EU has failed to take into consideration that, as a result of well planned ethnic cleansing by the Sinhala State, nearly 800,000 Tamil people were internally displaced and more than 500,000 Tamils' have sought political asylum in Europe and other countries. During the last three years of cease-fire, the victims have not found either redress or remedies.

11) The EU has failed to give attention to many years of reports of the UN Special rapporteurs and treaty bodies, wherein are recorded massive and horrible human rights violations committed by the Sri Lankan state. Also the EU has failed to consider several reports by Parliamentarians belong to European Union countries and other countries. These were published only after visiting the North East of Sri Lanka.

12) The EU has failed to take into consideration that, in the recent past, Sri Lanka�s attitude towards the United Nations, its Secretary Generals and some International NGOs has been disturbing. This blatantly antagonistic method of hiding the truth from the International Community should not be brushed under the carpet in a civilised world.

13) On 7th January 2005, the UN Secretary General made a humanitarian visit to Sri Lanka to see the Tsunami affected areas. When Kofi Annan requested to visit the North East, the areas in the island most affected by the tsunami, the Sri Lankan authorities deliberately prevented him from making a humanitarian visit there. The EU has failed to take into consideration that this is a serious violation of the United Nations Charter, Chapter XV Article 100.

14) The EU has failed to take into consideration that in the last General elections in Sri Lanka (April 2004), the political party "Tamil National Alliance (TNA)" won overwhelmingly in 22 electorates in the North East. Their election manifesto stated, "Accepting LTTE�s leadership as the national leadership of the Tamil Eelam Tamils and the Liberation Tigers as the sole and authentic representatives of the Tamil people, let us devote our full cooperation for the ideals of the Liberation Tigers� struggle with honesty and steadfastness".

The EU decision of 27 September 2005 is against a party to the peace process, and a party to the Ceasefire Agreement in Sri Lanka. In other words the EU decision is highly likely to be a stumbling block to a peaceful negotiated settlement in Sri Lanka.

Overall, the EU's partial and discriminatory decision will encourage the government of Sri Lanka to find a military solution to the Ethnic conflict, thus paving the way for more bloodbaths, loss of lives and further destruction in the island.

Placing the undeniable facts before the people of Europe and UK, we urgently appeal to the European Union that the decision of the 27 September 2005 be immediately reconsidered and overturned in the interests of peace and humanity in Sri Lanka.



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