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Home > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Sri Lanka Accused at United Nations > UN Sub Commission 2004
UN SUB COMMISSION ON THE
PROMOTION & PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
56th SESSIONS: JULY/AUGUST 2004
- Oral Statement by Verena Graf, International League for the Rights and Liberation of Peoples (Non Governmental Organisation with Special Consultative Status at the United Nations) [email protected] under Agenda Item 2: Question of the violation of Human Rights and Fundamental freedoms 28 July 2004
"Lawlessnes in Sri Lanka - A general militarisation of society has taken place over the years helped on by the war. In the course of the civil war in the Northeast, 55,000 soldiers are reported to have deserted the ranks taking their weapons with them. Repeated proclamations of amnesties have not been headed, thus allowing for a wide circulation of weapons and the easy formation of armed bands ready to offer their services to politicians or business men. Thus, violence has become the preferred means of competition in politics and business to gain the upperhand against unwelcome competitors. The situation in Sri Lanka can be characterised as increasingly institutionalised lawlessness... There has been a widespread privatisation of violence..."
- Intervention by Charles Graves, Interfaith International (Non Governmental Organisation with Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC (e-mail: [email protected]) under Agenda Item 2:Question of the Violation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
"...The international community was perhaps shocked at the decision of the President the Hon. Chandrika Kumaratunga to dismiss key ministers and dissolve the Parliament just at the very time when the peace process with the Tamil LTTE was achieving results. These moves and the subsequent elections virtually destroyed the peace process while at the same time the LTTE or Tamil Tigers were showing a considerable openness to seek a resolution to the conflict..."
- Memorandum by International Federation of Tamils email: [email protected] under Agenda Item 4:Economic, Social and Cultural Rights - "Denial of Economic, Social and Cultural rights to Tamil people in Sri Lanka", 24 July 2004
- Press Release in Tamil by International Federation of Tamils, 31 July 2004
- Asian Legal Resource Centre Report proposal to Sub Commission for a New Agenda Item "to conduct a study regarding the exceptional collapse of rule of law in Sri Lanka " 14 May 2004 E/CN.4/Sub.2/2004/3
".. The extreme forms of torture, which were used against the suspected insurgents, became a usual habit within police stations and extreme forms of torture are being used on persons suspected of petty theft or even arrested for mistaken identity... The number of credible complaints of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment whilst in Police custody shows no decline.. The courts, prosecution and other mechanisms have completely failed and justice is tainted... "
- Sugeeshwara Gunaratna, Sri Lanka Representative - Exercise of Right of Reply Under Agenda Item 2: Question of the violation of Human Rights and Fundamental freedoms, 29 July 2004
- Statement by International Educational Development (Non Governmental Organisation with Special Consultative Status at the United Nations) under Agenda item 5 Prevention of Discrimination: Racism, 2 August 2004
"....perhaps the most serious situations in which governments' racist rhetoric has infected the international community have been in regard to the Kurdish people in Turkey and the Tamil people in Sir Lanka. Relentless anti-Kurdish and anti-Tamil rhetoric by the governments in question, buttressed by the United States political agenda, has been very effective - so effective that the racist nature of the attacks is completely overlooked, and attempts to bring to the attention of the international community the history of the Kurdish or Tamil peoples or the application of humanitarian law to the armed conflicts and cease fires in these two areas are frequently met with overt hostility. .."
- Final Report of the Special Rapporteur, Kalliopi K. Koufa on Terrorism and Human Rights under agenda item 6(c) Specific Human Rights issues: New Priorities, in Particular Terrorism and Counter Terrorism, 25 June 2004
"The most problematic issue relating to terrorism and armed conflict is distinguishing terrorists from lawful combatants...The controversy over the exact meaning, content, extent and beneficiaries of, as well as the means and methods utilized to enforce the right to self-determination has been the major obstacle to the development of both a comprehensive definition of terrorism and a comprehensive treaty on terrorism. The ideological splits and differing approaches preventing any broad consensus during the period of decolonization still persist in today's international relations..."
- Oral Statement by Verena Graf, International League for the Rights and Liberation of Peoples (Non Governmental Organisation with Special Consultative Status at the United Nations) [email protected] on Agenda Item 2: Question of the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms - Lawlessnes in Sri Lanka, 28 July 2004
In theory, the modern state derives its legitimacy from being the representative of all the people as the ultimate sovereign in whose name it acts and in whose general common interests it operates. Is is endowed with a bureaucracy functioning as a rational institution with a hierarchical structure dispensing its services in a neutral fashion. Moreover, it has a monopoly of violence both in terms of the control of arms restricted to specialised forces as well as in guaranteeing its typical substitution in the regulation of internal conflicts by the rule of law in conjunction with legal sanctions. Thus, the employment of violence in the internal affairs of society is reserved to strictly defined exceptional situations in order to re-establish the disturbed general order. This differs from the field of external relations, where the use of violence in the defence or the pursuit of national interests has been an established means entrusted moreover for its realisation to professionals specialized in the use of arms.
Against this background, the situation in Sri Lanka can be characterised as increasingly institutionalised lawlessness. Successive governments have ruled during most of the island's post-independence period with the help of Emergency Regulations and the Prevention of Terrorism Act (1979) replacing the rule of law and due process. Under the latter, the security forces have been practically given a free hand, allowing the use of torture, imprisonment without trial, widespread disappearances and extrajudicial killings. While the judiciary has been weakened, liable to political interference and corruption (Transparency International), the perpetrators of human rights violations have largely enjoyed impunity from persecution, if they have not been promoted. First widely employed in the fight against Sinhalese insurgents of the JVP (Janatha Vimukthi Perumana), they have later been used against the Tamil population to which the Chemmani mass graves or the single trial because of rape (Kumaraswamy) bear witness and to which the statements of numerous NGOs, the reports of a variety of thematic special rapporteurs or the three country reports on the human rights situation produced at the request of the UN Human Rights Commission over the years testify.
A general militarisation of society has taken place over the years helped on by the war. Thus, the army that comprised only 12.000 men in the early 1980s has been increased to over 100,000 not counting other para-military units. Moreover, the distinction between police and army has been blurred with the police being employed in military operations in the Northeast. In consequence, the related clear-cut difference in general societal task and employment of violent means of conflict regulations has been eliminated. Together with the rule by emergency, the rule of law has been superseded by the security forces increasingly out of civilian, including judicial control.
Instead of eliminating violence as a means of regulating conflict within society, it is being resorted to by the government itself as well as by the political parties in the fight for power. They have turned violence, including assassinations and murder, as recently exemplified in the process against the uncle and sons of the president and former chief of the armed forces, not only into an established means of political competition, not least at election time, but have used the government machinery in the persecution of the minority in particular, terror and intimidation of the population in general as means of rule.
Thus, hundreds of people were reportedly arrested in broad daylight, and disappeared forever; others were tortured and their dead bodies left floating for days in a lake in central Colombo; guards in high security prisons in league with Sinhalese inmates slaughtered Tamil prisoners; in another case Tamils held in a government re-education camp were brutally murdered by outsiders with the wardens looking on. Finally, the lawyer and human rights defender G.G. Ponnabalam, well known in UN human rights fora, was assassinated in central Colombo. A sharp and vociferous critic of the government in power, it has not been the only case where police investigations were delayed, key witnesses mysteriously disappeared or were murdered, feeding the suspicion of official involvement also in this murder.
There has been a widespread privatisation of violence: in the 1980s the then government officially distributed weapons to politicians for their security allowing them to build up their private armed forces; only a fraction of those weapons were ever recovered. In the course of the settlement drive of Sinhalese in traditional Tamil inhabited agrarian regions, armed home guards have been officially organised to cope with the ensuing conflicts; similarly, in their war against the LTTE, the government equipped Tamil opposition groups who gained notoriety because of their particular brutality. While effectively cooperating with the army, the latter could pretend its formal non-responsibility for the formers' massive violations of human rights. Finally, in the course of the civil war in the Northeast, 55,000 soldiers are reported to have deserted the ranks taking their weapons with them. Repeated proclamations of amnesties have not been headed, thus allowing for a wide circulation of weapons and the easy formation of armed bands ready to offer their services to politicians or business men. Thus, violence has become the preferred means of competition in politics and business to gain the upperhand against unwelcome competitors.
The democratic process in general can not be said to have been strengthened by the introduction of the system of an Executive Presidency. The constitution not only concentrates the powers of head of state, head of government and head of armed forces in a single hand, but degrades parliament to a rubber stamp and/or leaving at the whims of the president who at his/her discretion can dissolve it at any time, 12 months after the last elections, an example of which has been provided in the machinations leading to the elections of April 2004. Introduced in 1978, all major parties have promised during election campaigns to do away with it only to retain it once in power. Successful negotiations to end the war pursued in good faith for a just peace can lay the foundation on which a democratic society with a lawful and law-abiding government can hopefully be erected in Sri Lanka.
- Intervention by Charles Graves, Interfaith International Intervention with Special consultative status with ECOSOC (e-mail: [email protected]) under Agenda Item 2:Question of the Violation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
Interfaith International is intervening under Item 2 of the agenda on the question of inter-community conflict and violence in Sri Lanka. Knowing well that the Sub-Commission cannot make resolutions on country situations per se, still our concern is that the experts of the Sub-Commission take time to consider seriously the situation in Sri Lanka which seems to defy solution.
Moreover the government of Sri Lanka needs international support to develop a realistic strategy to solve the long-standing conflict involving its various communities, Tamil, Sinhala and others.
The international community was perhaps shocked at the decision of the President the Hon. Chandrika Kumaratunga to dismiss key ministers and dissolve the Parliament just at the very time when the peace process with the Tamil LTTE was achieving results. These moves and the subsequent elections virtually destroyed the peace process while at the same time the LTTE or Tamil Tigers were showing a considerable openness to seek a resolution to the conflict. Fortunately, the Cease Fire still holds. But given the present economic and social deterioration of the state of affairs in the north of the island, we wonder for how long the Tamils will be patient and willing to negotiate.
What can this Sub-Commission of experts do to help the government of Sri Lanka solve its internal problem? Our organisation perhaps could make a few suggestions for consideration:
(1) The leading personalities and forces in Sri Lanka must be encouraged to tackle the Racism, xenophobia and intolerance among the ethnic and religious groups in Sri Lanka. The politicians must be encouraged to promote multiculturalism.
(2) The political forces in Sri Lanka should be encouraged to establish as a priority the end of the inter-ethnic conflict and support the peace process as the only solution for the good of their country and its economic and social development.
(3) The political forces on the island must be encouraged to see that economic and social needs of the Sri Lanka population as a whole should be an integral part of the peace process.
(4) The political leaders of Sri Lanka must be encouraged to listen to, and accept the help of, the international community vis à vis the methods of conflict resolution and how to act in accordance with established covenants of the United Nations.
It is evident that the internal political battles of the majority groups in Sri Lanka have hindered the peace process. How can these these purely national struggles for power be subordinated to a global bi-partisan search for peace with the LTTE? How can the international community or wise voices inside Sri Lanka call upon the rulers of the country to place the economic and social well-being of the country ahead of party politics and struggle for power? These questions are certainly within the domain of the experts on the Sub-Commission. The NGO community is quite limited as to its role in convincing governments to act in according with United Nations principles, but the experts of this Sub-Commission on Promotion and Protection of Human Rights must certainly see the relevance of doing something during this session and convincing Sri Lanka leaders to solve the problem of conflict in Sri Lanka.
Our organisation Interfaith International includes many members from South Asian countries. We have drafted, together with other NGOs, several papers on the Sri Lanka situation and have made suggestions regarding the solution of the inter-religious aspects of the conflict involving Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Christians and others. Inter-religious suspicion complicates the peace process, but normally the religious communities should be able to come up with peace proposals. We hope the Sri Lanka religious communities will also take a stand along with politicians for conflict-resolution and the peace Process.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
- Memorandum by International Federation of Tamils under Agenda Item 4 Economic, Social and Cultural Rights - Denial of Economic, Social and Cultural rights to Tamil people in Sri Lanka, 24 July 2004 (also in pdf)
In February 2002, the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) signed a Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) with the support of the Royal Norwegian Government and the International Community (IC). As a result, the GoSL and the LTTE were involved in six rounds of negotiations to resolve the long-standing ethnic conflict that claimed more than eighty thousand civilian lives, mainly in the Northern and Eastern parts of Sri Lanka. One of the main objectives of the negotiations was to find an effective interim administrative structure to oversee the urgent humanitarian and development projects in the war affected areas of Sri Lanka. The need of an interim administrative structure in the Tamil areas was discussed at great length , and ultimately accepted by the GoSL, LTTE and the IC.
Sadly, 30 months after the CFA was signed and $4.5 billion of humanitarian and development aid promised by the IC, there is at present very little progress in the economic, social and administrative conditions of the North and East of Sri Lanka.
In practice the GoSL prohibits Tamil people from exercising their economic, social and cultural rights through an effective interim administrative structure. There has been no progress in peace negotiations since April 2003, due to the power struggle between two main Sinhala political parties led by Ranil Wickremasinghe and Chandrika Kumaratunga. President Kumaratunga sacked the stable government lead by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe and called for elections in April 2004. In these elections, a coalition of several parties, lead by President Kumaratunga formed an unstable government. This unstable government's inability to form a unanimous policy on the peace process is the major tumbling block that denies the war affected people of the North East, to restore their inalienable rights under international bill of human rights.
Education, health and infrastructure developments are still at primitive stages in the North and East of Sri Lanka. More than 500,000 internally displaced people (IDP) are living in temporary shelters. There are no proper health and transport infrastructures. Many schools are still completely closed. Large proportions of the agricultural land and houses in the North and East are termed "high security zones" (HSZ) and are occupied by the Sri Lankan armed forces.
This report examines three major social and economic indicators - education, health and economy.
The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has described education as an 'empowerment right'. It is an essential factor in sustainable development and also 'the primary vehicle by which economically and socially marginalized adults and children can lift themselves out of poverty and obtain the means to participate fully in their communities.
" I went to a school in Chavakachcheri where I saw students using broken furniture to sit on and learn. The school is without a laboratory and library facilities. Even the basic facility of a blackboard was not provided. Only one room was available for students to study. I have not seen such a situation anywhere I visited. There is an acute dearth for English teachers in Jaffna," (Mr.Rajaguru. Senior Consultant from Malaysia who visited north East for an international mission to study the educational situation. 5th Feb 2004.)
"The Asian Development Bank funded National Institute of Education (NIE) functioning under the line ministry of education is preparing textbooks only in Sinhala language for Sinhalese students… Audio and videocassettes supplied to Tamil medium schools under the cultural programme are only in Sinhala. Some video cassettes depicting Kandyan dance have been supplied to Tamil schools," (Mr. Mahasivam , General Secretary of the Ceylon Tamil Teacher's Union)
In the North East of Sri Lanka, the GoSL continue to deny Tamil people the basic right to education. Currently, 156 schools are closed due to the refusal of SL armed forces to vacate these places. Another 144 schools are functioning in shifting locations under trees and in poorly built huts. Further, the SL armed forces occupy one third of a major city (Jaffna) in the North and identifies it as high security zone (HSZ). These forces prevent people from returning to their homes and resuming their education. UNICEF estimates that in the Vanni region of north, one third of school aged children have dropped out from or have never attended schools.
The Jaffna civil administration recently observed that the Jaffna student population, which was more than 240 000 in 1995, has now dwindled to 140 000.
According to one study carried out with the assistance of World bank and Asian Development bank;
-The drop out rate in the North East is 15 - four time higher than the national average;
-The vacancy rate in the North East for primary teachers is more than 40%;
-Nearly 15000 classrooms and 500 schools were severely damaged or totally damaged during the conflict;
-Water and sanitary facilities in the most Schools of North East are damaged;
-Universities are damaged and lacks facilities to continue and upgrade their services.
Literacy levels, once the highest level in the whole of Sri Lanka, have been reduced drastically in the North and East in the last 15 years. Children have missed years of schooling as they and their families have been displaced several times within the last 10 years due to war. According to the Ceylon Tamil Teachers Union (CTTU) there are thousands of vacancies for teachers in the North East schools. The war has left many severely disabled and mentally traumatized children in the North East. The special needs of these children are not recognized and hence they are left as destitute.
"Two decades of war has destroyed many hospitals. In Liberation Tigers controlled areas of Vakarai, Pullumalai, Unnichchai and Karadiyanaaru areas in Batticaloa district efforts are underway to renovate damaged hospitals. However, work is being delayed by the inability of the Sri Lanka Government to provide adequate funds.
"Provincial Health Ministry is unable to fund rehabilitation of damaged hospitals or to make permanent more than 2065 volunteer health service workers who have been helping the hospitals for the last 15 years without any wages. Basic health service provision to people of NorthEast is deteriorating to dangerously inadequate levels," (Dr.M.Kumaravetpillai, Commissioner of Health Services of NorthEast. 26 Jan 2004)
The Health infrastructure in North East has been ruined. Only two teaching hospitals and a general hospital are in service for whole northeast region. These hospitals do not have sufficient facilities to handle even basic needs of the people. The other small base hospitals and dispensaries are practically functioning only as emergency centers.
In his recent presentation (15 July 2004) the chief of Jaffna teaching hospital, Dr.S.Sathurmugam, told that many patients are sleeping on the floors in the wards. He requested for an intensive care unit and children ward for his hospital. Tamil people in Vanni area of the North of Sri Lanka have no basic health care. Over 400,000 people are serviced by one district hospital. This hospital lacks infrastructure, specialist doctors and support staff. Many peripheral health institutions are non-functional due to the economic embargo during the war and need urgent repair.
Recently the Government of Japan provided support to this hospital.
In the needs assessment study dated 07 april 2004, assisted by World Bank, summarized the health situation as follows:
-the referral system has broken down in North East;
-health infrastructure has suffered heavy damage or destruction in the North East;
-25% of health institutions are totally damaged or closed;
-50% of mothers are malnourished;
-52% of the population have no access to sanitations;
-Nearly 50 % of children under age 5, are underweight.
Multiple displacements of persons led to a high level of malnutrition in the North and East. Health indicators such as the infant mortality rate, neo-natal mortality rate, malnutrition rate among children under age 5, and iron deficiency rate among pregnant and lactating mothers are the worst in the North and East.
Child trauma is common and other needs to be addressed urgently. The needs of severely disabled children due to war and special needs children are completely ignored. Lack of water and sanitation faculties, transport infrastructure and unhygienic temporary shelters for IDPs in war torn North and East are the main causes for an increase in preventable diseases (diarrhea, malaria, cholera, typhoid, etc) and child infant and maternal mortality rates. Women and children have the extra burden of walking long distance to fetch water.
III. Economy and infrastructure
The Asian Development Bank (news release dated 15th June 2004) estimates the poverty level of north east is 60%-90%. It is much higher than the rest of Sri Lanka.
The Press statement of ADB further states,
"..A cease-fire agreement was signed in feb.2002, bringing a measure of normalcy to the country. However, the vast majority of affected people still suffer from lack of basic infrastructure and social service."
The economic life in northeast mainly consists of agriculture and fishing. This region does not have industrial or IT developments.
The denial of economic development since 1948 was one of the major causes behind the armed conflict. Relentless military offensives combined with complete isolation of north east by the GoSL, worsened by The Economic Embargo, severely affected these basic sectors.
Fishermen in the North and East undergo immense difficulties in running their day-to-day lives due to several restrictions imposed by the Sri Lankan Navy (SLN). Some fishermen were killed or injured by the SLN during fishing after CFA
Fishermen were also harassed and their nets and fishing boats were damaged by the SLA on regular basis.
While Tamil fishermen were not allowed to fish in their seas, foreign nations are allowed to take the sea resources from the North and East with the help of the GoSL with out the consent of natural owner of the sea, the people of the region.
One estimation points that nearly 65% - 75% IDPs are from coastal areas of the region, engaged in fishing for their live livelihood.
According to the need assement study, 90% of fishing boats and engines were lost or unusable and 12000 fisherman lost their houses. No infrastructure development in fisheries industry area.
There are an estimated 55% of men and women were engaged in farming activies in the region. As a result of the displacement and economic embargo, the agriculture sector started to dwindle. A continuous embargo on fertilizer costs sever damages to the productivity. Even after CFA, many farming families are denied of their livelihood. Many farm lands of the Tamil people in the North and east are occupied by the Sri Lankan armed forces under the name of HSZ or declared as areas with anti-personnel mines.
Tamil people still rely on old methods in cultivation as no modern machineries, fuel or farming fertilizers are available. An un-official embargo is still in affect. This has led to the destruction of a once thriving food production. Agro-industry as a whole is kept at the primitive stages of development.
The continuous military offensive against this part of the region has severely damaged the infrastructure. The GoSL did not invested in this sector for nearly two decade.
Almost all the roads have been damaged. The power supply has been cut off to most of the region. Telecommunication and other sectors were nonfunctional.
After CFA, some selected projects were carried out. But these initiatives only helps the southern business community to market their products. The local population does not feel any real sense of development in these small initiatives.
GoSL asked 621 million dollars from donors to invest on this sector. But donors are reluction to allocate fund to these projects as there are no effective mechanisms in the region to carryout this major work.
Tamil people used to be proud to own a home for their livings. Prior to the military offensives, nearly 90% of the Tamil population in the region of NorthEast owns a house. But military offensives and aerial bombardments shattered their life and houses. Nearly 400 000 houses in Jaffna damaged and owners of those houses are living somewhere in refugee camps, homes of their relatives or living as refugees in some other places.
According one IDP survey states, 90% of the houses of these IDPs were damaged, representing 43% of damaged houses.
The need assessment study funded by the World Bank estimates nearly a 1.3million workforce in the north East affected by the war. Other report estimates that 40% unemployment level persists in northeast. Due to lack of educational and vocational training facilities the major part of the Tamil work force is unskilled. The GoSL does not have any of its own programms to provide employment to them. The GoSL listed its outdated handloom rooms and pottery projects as their industrial development programme. Yet only a few hundred people are employed in this with meager pay.
Article 1 of the International Covenant on economic, Social and cultural Rights states that all peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. And article1.2 states, In no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence.
Tamil people of Sri Lanka are denied this basic right. During the six rounds of peace talks between the LTTE and GoSL, an agreement was reached on 18th November 2002 to form a taskforce; the Subcommittee on Immediate Humanitarian and Rehabilitation Needs in the North and East (SIHRN), to oversee the humanitarian and development projects. Unfortunately, to date no effective interim mechanism has been established due to delaying tactics and power struggle in the majority Sinhala political community.
The LTTE submitted a proposal to establish an interim self-government authority (ISGA) to the GoSl and asked to restart the direct talks on this basis.
The Tamil people of northeast voted in the last parliamentary elections to support the proposal for this Interim Self-Governing Authority (ISGA).
Various International donor nations and agencies, including the World Bank, recognised the necessity for institutionalising an Interim Authority. But the GoSL, by various means of delay, has refused to accept this urgently needed arrangement for the Tamil People.
We appeal to the 56th session of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights to recommend to the commission on Human Rights and the High commissioner of Human Rights;
To recognise the right of Tamil people to exercise their rights under the international covenants, in particular the right to form an interim self administration.
To urge the GoSL to vacate all its military camps and to facilitate the return of the Tamil people to their homes.
To Urge the GoSL to vacate all its military camps to facilitate the children to resume education.
To Urge GoSL and LTTE to restart direct talks and to institute an interim mechanism for North East.
To Urge to the GoSL to submit its periodical reports on this subject to the Committee on Economical, Social and Cultural Rights.
- Tamil Press Release by International Federation of Tamils, 31 July 2004
இடைக்கால நிர்வாக அமைப்பை பெறும் உரிமையை ஐ.நா அங்கீகரிக்க வேண்டும் - -பரிந்துரைக்குமாறு ஐநா மனிதஉரிமைகள் உபஆணைக்குழுவிடம் அனைத்துலக தமிழர் கூட்டமைப்பு கோரிக்கை -
சர்வதேச மனிதஉரிமைகளுக்கான சட்டங்கள் மற்றும் உடன்பாடுகளுக்கு அமைய தமிழ் மக்கள் தமது உரிமைகளை பிரயோகிக்கவும், தமக்கான இடைக்கால நிர்வாக அமைப்பொன்றை உருவாக்கவும் உரிமை கொண்டவர்கள் என்பதை ஐ.நா அங்கீகரிப்பதற்கான பரிந்துரையை ஐ.நா மனிதஉரிமைகள் உப ஆணைக்குழு செய்திட வேண்டும் என ஜெனீவாவைத் தலைமையகமாகக் கொண்ட அனைத்துலக தமிழர் கூட்டமைப்பு கோரியுள்ளது.
தற்போது ஆரம்பித்துள்ள ஐ.நா மனிதஉரிமைகள் பாதுகாப்புக்கும், மேம்பாட்டிற்குமான உப ஆணைக்குழுவின் 56வது கூட்டத் தொடர் முன் இது தொடர்பான மனுவொன்று கையளிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது.
இம்மனுவில் தமிழ் மக்களின் இன்றைய வாழ்நிலை தொடர்பாக ஆராயப்பட்டுள்ளது. குறிப்பாக தமிழ் மக்களிற்கு எதிரான பொருண்மிய சமூக மற்றும் பண்பாட்டு உரிமை மீறல்கள் விபரிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது.
கல்வி, சுகாதாரம், உள்கட்டமைப்பு மற்றும் பொருளாதார வாழ்வில் தமிழ் மக்கள் எதுவித முன்னேற்றங்களுமின்றி தொடர்ந்து துன்பங்களையும், புறக்கணிப்புக்களையும் அனுபவிப்பதை இம்மனு கோடிட்டு காட்டியுள்ளது. அத்துடன், இடம்பெயர்ந்த மக்களின் பிரச்சனை மற்றும் உயர் பாதுகாப்பு வலயம் எவ்வாறு தமிழ் மக்களின் பொருண்மிய சமூக பண்பாட்டு உரிமைகளை மீறுகின்றது என்பனவும் சுட்டிக்காட்டப்பட்டுள்ளது.
இந்தப் பின்னணியில் போரினால் மிக மோசமாகப் பாதிக்கப்பட்ட தமிழ் மக்கள், உலகளாவிய பொருண்மிய சமூக பண்பாட்டுப் உரிமைகளிற்கான சாசனத்தி;ன் கீழ் தமக்கான உரிமைகளைப் பேணுவதற்காகவொரு தம்மை தாமே ஆளும் நிர்வாக அமைப்பை உடனடியாகவே பெறுவதற்கான உரிமைகளைக் கொண்டவர்கள் என்பதைச் சுட்டிக்காட்டியுள்ள இம்மனு இன்றைய சூழலில் ஒரு இடைக்கால நிர்வாக அமைப்பைப் பெறுவதற்கான உரிமையைக் கொண்டவர்கள் என குறிப்பிட்டுள்ளது.
ஐ.நா மனித உரிமைகள் ஆணைக்குழுவின் கீழ் செயற்படும் இவ் உப ஆணைக்குழு உடனடியாகவே இந்த வேண்டுதலைப் பரிசீலித்து இது தொடர்பான பரிந்துரையை ஐ.நாவிற்கு வழங்க வேண்டும் என உலகத் தமிழர் கூட்டமைப்பு கோரியுள்ளது.
1975ல் கையொப்பமிடப்பட்டு, 1997ல் சிறீலங்கா அரசினால் ஏற்றுக்கொள்ளப்பட்ட அனைத்துலக பொருண்மிய சமூக பண்பாட்டு உடன்படிக்கையின் முதலாவது பிரிவு, மக்கள் பொருண்மிய சமூகப் பண்பாட்டு மற்றும் கலாச்சார உரிமைகளைக் கொண்டவர்கள் என்பதையும் அதனை அவர்கள் பெறுவதற்கும், பிரயோகிப்பதற்கும் எதுவித தடையும் எவரும் விதிக்க முடியாது என்பதையும் இவ்வாவணம் சுட்டிக்காட்டியுள்ளது.
அனைத்துலக தமிழ் அமைப்புக்களின் கூட்டமைப்பு
31 யூலை 2004
Statement by International Educational Development under Agenda item 5 Prevention of Discrimination: Racism, 2 August 2004
International Educational Development has for many years studied situations in which ethnic nationalities, peoples and groups seeking to realize the right to self-determination or involved in civil wars have been so "demonized" by racist language used by the opponent or occupying governments in question that the international community itself succumbs to this racism.
Governments seeking to legitimize their occupation and political control of these ethnic nationalities, peoples and groups seek to avoid any implications of the right to self-determination, or indeed the application of humanitarian law.
One common tactic is to "reduce" these nationalities, peoples ands groups to "minorities", while at the same time using inflammatory language - labeling then "terrorists" for example, to discredit them.
These governments are bold in their positions because they rightly have discovered that there is neither a commitment in the international community to actually study the history of the situations nor any established practice to evaluate application of humanitarian law, as is mandatory when force has been used. Sadly, much of the international community is unable to articulate the rules of either civil war or wars in the exercise of the right to self-determination so the offending governments reap a great propaganda advantage.
While demonization of ethnic nationalities has been a key feature of government policies by the authorities in many countries, the spill-over effect in the international community as been especially apparent regarding Burma, Indonesia, India, China, Sri Lanka, and Turkey. Burma, for example, labels the Shan people as "narco-terrorists." The Karenni are labeled "Karenni separatists." Both these labels are ill-founded, especially since the post-colonial Constitution gave ethnic nationalities the right to "opt out" of the "Union of Burma" and the vast majority of the Shan people are uninvolved with the poppy trade. In similar fashion, China is effectively demonizing the Uighur people, calling them terrorist traitors.
India refers to the Kashmiri people as "Islamic terrorists" or "Islamic separatists" - parroted in the media. Clearly this generates hostility to the Kashmiri people and their plight - a hostility that is clearly noticeable here. Yet the Security Council granted the Kashmiri people the right to self-determination more than 50 years ago and established a plan for a plebiscite -- to date unrealized. People who have the right to self-determination cannot be called "separatists." Further, as any one would be aware were they to look seriously into the issue, the question for the majority of Kashmiris is not religion but nationality. They seek the realization of their right to self-determination not because of religion but because they are Kashmiris.
Indonesian authorities use some of the same tactics against peoples under its control, in spite of the fact that all ethnic nationalities were given the right to be independent under the UN-authorized de-colonization plan - the Round Table Conference Agreements. The Moluccas exercised this right and re-established itself as an independent country. However, independent Moluccas was militarily attacked and brutally overtaken by Indonesian forces in direct violation of the Agreements.
Fifty-three years later, the Indonesian authorities are carrying out an equally brutal campaign against the Moluccans who have been seeking to restore their country. While religion has never before been an issue in the Moluccas, Indonesian authorities are using anti-Christian sentiment and overtly encourage armed Islamic extremists groups from outside the Moluccas to enter and foment riots and destruction of Christian Churches. Many Moluccan leaders from the several independence groups have been arrested. Many have sought asylum. Yet because of the constant anti-Moluccan rhetoric of the Indonesian authorities, it appears that the international community has a tainted attitude towards Moluccans and a curious disinclination to study the history of the situation. In fact, key documents of the Security Council Commission on Indonesia are still embargoed.
Leaving aside the Palestinian question in which the international community appears to be paralyzed in the face of United States and Israeli policies, perhaps the most serious situations in which governments' racist rhetoric has infected the international community have been in regard to the Kurdish people in Turkey and the Tamil people in Sir Lanka. Relentless anti-Kurdish and anti-Tamil rhetoric by the governments in question, buttressed by the United States political agenda, has been very effective - so effective that the racist nature of the attacks is completely overlooked, and attempts to bring to the attention of the international community the history of the Kurdish or Tamil peoples or the application of humanitarian law to the armed conflicts and cease fires in these two areas are frequently met with overt hostility.
We have hoped in vain for many years that the Sub-Commission would be immune to overtly racist attitudes that have seriously impeded resolution of these situations and can only hope that this year will see change.