Just after 3 years British took over the island, the first British Colonial Secretary wrote to the British Government that there were two nations in this island.
Points to make: British brought the unitary state for administrative ease (1815) When the British Left in 1948, left it as a unitary rule – favoring the Majority
Points to Make: Even the Sri Lankan Supreme Court has ruled against Tamils - Post Tsunami Operational Management Structure (PTOMS) - designed by the international donor nations (2005) - NorthEast de-merger ruling (2006)
Points to make: Unitary rule does not work because: 77 % of the population is Sinhalese - 14 % Tamils. 225 Parliamentarians – 25 Tamil (9%) – No voice in the Parliament 60 ministers – (Only one is Tamil) – always appointed by the president namesake Tamil – his portfolio is not significant. 200,000 +.. Armed Forces… Only less than 1 % is Tamils. .. More than 99% of it is Sinhalease. Though claimed as a democratic system – constitution does not provide guarantees for the minority rights.
Centralized unitary government didn’t work work, when rights of the minority is violated – the system fails. Institutional discrimination against Tamils through laws. - citizenship act (1948) - language act (1956) - Buddhism declared state religion in the new constitution in 1971 - education/employment/development – Tamils neglected - demographic change in East of Sri Lanka by planned colonization by Sinhalese since independence
The Sinhala oppressions started right after the British left in 1948. Our political actions have been peaceful – Non-Violence – following Gandian principles.
Tamil party leaders – disagreeing with government policies on Tamils More details of those days…
Organized Sihala thugs: Example: Methodically picking the Tamil names from nation voter list to Kill Tamils Government sponsored attack on Tamil businesses and Residence Give a brief History.. Starting from 1956….. Government Security forces – More than 99% SL forces are sinhalese. Tamils (Less than 1%) in the forces are restricted to admin duties
An Example: Sihala Thugs sponsored by the Government torturing a Tamil Man in 1983. After torturing him, they poured gasoline on him and burnt him alive
Deciding that the only real solution to protect ourselves is by self determination – in an all Tamil Party conference brought the resolution This was put in a referendum in the 1977 general elections Over 90% of the tamils voted to uphold the resolution Immediately following the election – The government’s response was yet another genocidal violence against the Tamils in the south Sinhala leaders made public statements encouraging the violence Youth armed rebellion Primary form of defense against Sinhala Atrocities – focused against the Govt Security forces
Points to make: Started in 1972 and gained momentum by 1976, and again in 1983. Today, a formidable Tamil national conventional Military of , Army, Navy and Air force, Police, Intelligence Services – The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE)
Fast forwarding several years – Recent Developments: SL Government and LTTE – agrees on a Ceasefire in 2002.
This was signed by both parties in front of international facilitators headed by the Norwegian Government. Richard Armitage assistant sece of state – south asia was also present.
Broken Agreements: Give a very brief detail about these 5 agreements.
Point to make: Let’s not forget what his campaign platform was…
Rajapakse – supported by the Buddhist Clergy The Buddhist monks in SL – not necessarily role models for the Buddhists of the world Burning the Norwegian flag in front of their embassy in Colombo, while the police are watching and possibly encouraging Just because Norway is facilitating a Peace treaty…
Targeting Tamils leaders, intellectual and business people, Journalists Selective killing of the Tamil notables is the Govt’s grand plan of slowly but surely wiping the Tamils out from SL The French NGO requested the SLMM to help them search for the missing workers but the SLMM was denied access to the area Few days later the 17 workers were found shot dead – execution style The chief of SLMM reflects…
A small example of recent violence by the Rajapakse Govt: Mother raped – Children brutalized and Hanged, Father forced to see all these before he was shot dead.
Another Incident: Give brief detail about the Sencholai Attack.
Points to Say: This 5000 people has been killed after Rajapaksa elected.
Points to make: This measure does not related to National Security: This is just a policy issue. The US authorities clearly know that the LTTE was, or is, or will never be a threat to the USA or to the western world.
We want the US government to stop all kinds of Military assistance including intelligence to Sri Lanka, under any program. When financial aid is given for developments, ensure funds are distributed to all regions including North-East. Funds are not used for military purposes, at all. Be just in making public statements – Recognize the issues of both sides. When civilians are killed condemnations should be for all civilians killed. don’t be one-sided Stop Quiet diplomacy and get involve directly: Open dialog with both parties. Treat both parties openly and with fairness.
We also have other Representatives in the US congress who express their strong support to a just solution for Tamil people in Sri Lanka. OH – Sherrod Brown (He is now a Senator) NC – David Price IL – Danny Davis – visited Vanni District in North SL on a personal capacity
Point to Make: In this case, the USA should support the Tamils’ struggle for Freedom, in the same way it support the People of Kosovo.
Points to Make: If the LTTE remain in the FTO list, the US government cannot persuade or put pressure on the Sri Lankan government to negotiate with the Tigers. US wouldn’t have any moral rights to tell the SL to talk with the LTTE, when US itself considers the LTTE as a Terrorist. If the LTTE remain in the FTO list, US is compelled to help the SL government in it's "war on terrorism". So, the SL government would be encouraged to conduct the war and cause more Human Rights Violations. The SL government would have the moral and military support to conduct the war. it would never go for peace talks. If the LTTE remain in the FTO list, US cannot come to a direct/indirect, or official/unofficial understanding with the LTTE. If there is no mutual understanding with the LTTE, the USA wouldn’t be able to play a productive diplomatic role. Last, but not least: When US authorities and intelligence services have no credible evidence that the LTTE was, or is, or will ever be a threat to the USA or to the western world. So, why spend money and waste resources on containing the LTTE, instead of spending them on the real "war on REAL terror"?.. Why weaken already-suffering Tamil people and make them suffer more?... The SL government not does not respect the Western world, and is associating itself with the anti-US powers, such as China, Iran and Russia. In this backdrop, instead of removing the LTTE from the FTO list and help the Tamil people, who have always been friendly with the western world, why the US wants to see the Tamils as terrorists and disassociate with them?
Sri Lanka: One Island, Two Nations Presentation for:Tamil Americans and Friends (TAaF) 1
Srilanka-Ilankai (in Tamil) / Lanka (in Sinhala)• An island located in the Indian ocean, off the southeast tip of India• Three times as larger than the state of New Jersey - 25,000 sq miles in area• Shared History Dates Back to 500BC. • Sinhala-speaking people - 77%, • Tamil-speaking people - 23% 2
History• When Portuguese took possession of the island in 1505 there were 3 Kingdoms • Tamil Kingdom in the North-East - Tamil Homeland - (yellow) • Sinhalese Kingdoms in the South-West (grey). 3
History The Cleghorn MinuteIn 1799 June, Sir Hugh Cleghorn, the first British Colonial Secretary wrote to the British Government…“ Two different nations from a very ancient period have divided between them the possession of the Island. First the Sinhalese, inhabiting the interior of the country in its Southern and Western parts, and secondly the Malabars (Tamils) who possess the Northern and Eastern Districts. These two nations differ entirely in their religion, language and manners. 4 ”
History• 1505 -1658: Portuguese held the island• 1658 – 1796: Dutch usurped control• 1796: the British took over• Portuguese and Dutch ruled the Tamil and Sinhala Kingdoms separately, but, the British artificially joined them for their administrative convenience only in 1833.• On Feb. 4, 1948 - British left the Island leaving it as one country, CEYLON, leaving political power in the hands of the ‘majority’ Sinhalese. 5
THE PROBLEM: First Element1. Two Historically Feuding Ethnic Groups •Tamils in the North-East (Yellow) •Sinhalese in the Central and South-West (Gray) 8
THE PROBLEM: Second Element1. Two Historically Feuding Ethnic Groups.2. Centralized Unitary Government. Citizens are not treated equally… …Rights of the Tamils are violated ‘Mistreatment’ of Tamils – 60 years! 9
THE PROBLEM: Third Element1. Two Historically Feuding Ethnic Groups.2. Centralized Unitary Government.3. Constitutionally entrenched Sinhala Rule. SINHALESE COMMAND ABSOLUTE POWER …and, it is PERMANENT! 10
THE PROBLEM: ‘Mistreatment’ of Tamils• 1948 – 1 million Tamils declared as non-citizens• 1949 – Sinhalese colonization in traditional Tamil homeland• 1956 – Sinhala made sole official language of the country• 1970 – “ethnic standardization” slashes university admission to Tamils – same entrance exam, but Tamils need to score 30% more• 1972 – New constitution without Tamils participation – Unilateral name change from Ceylon to Sri Lanka – Declaration of Srilanka as a republic – Buddhism made state religion• 1977 - Prevention of Terrorism Act • State-sponsored anti-Tamil violence in 1956, 1958, 1961, 1974 11
TAMIL POLITICAL ACTIONTamils Response to State Discrimination: NON-VIOLENCE (1948 – 1976) 12
TAMIL POLITICAL ACTION NON-VIOLENCE Tamil Political Leaders protested against the “Sinhala only Act”, in front of the parliament (5 June 1956)Sinhalese assaulted the picketers and the attack spread the whole island. 13
TAMIL POLITICAL ACTION NON-VIOLENCESchool Girls Marching against ethnic based standardization (1972) 14
TAMIL POLITICAL ACTION: NON-VIOLENCE GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: VIOLENCE (Since 1956)1. State Organized Sinhala Thugs: • Repeated Anti-Tamil Pogroms: Ethnic cleansing2. Government Security Forces: • killing Tamils with impunity99% of the Armed Forces are Sinhalese 15
Systematic Genocide of Tamils1956.. 1958.. 1961.. 1974.. 1977.. 1979.. 1981.. 1983.. .. 2008 Anti-Tamil Pogrom 1983 Government sponsored Sinhala Thugs tortured a Tamil Man, then poured gasoline on him and burnt him alive (July 1983) 16
TAMIL POLITICAL ACTION: NON-VIOLENCEGOVERNMENT RESPONSE: VIOLENCETURNING POINT - 1976 17
TURNING POINT - 1976• Resolution for Independence: Vaddukoddai Resolution – 30 year struggle for equality denied. – multiple pacts for regional autonomy not honored. – non-violent agitations by Tamils met by State violence – The Elected Tamil Political Leaders convened and resolved to restore Tamil Sovereignty by declaring an Independent Tamil state in the North-East of Sri Lanka. – 1977 Election: Tamils ratify the call for independence by 82% popular vote• Tamil Legislators thrown out of parliament by the government.• Tamil Armed Rebellion takes hold Lead by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)• 1983 – State Sponsored Anti-Tamil Pogrom 18
Thimpu Talks Declaration – July 13th 1985 Mediated by Indian government failed Statement by the Tamil Delegation (Elected and Rebel)“ Any meaningful solution to the Tamil national question must be based on the following four cardinal principles: •Recognition of Tamils as a Distinct Nation. •Recognition of the Tamil Homeland and its Territorial Integrity. •Recognition of the right of Tamil National Self-Determination. ” •Recognition of the Right to Citizenship of all Tamils. 19
1983 - 2002– Entire Tamil Nation rallied behind LTTE and carry outarmed struggle for independence.– 75,000 civilians died: 97% of them were Tamils, killed bythe Sri Lankan armed forces.– Tamils sacrifice 18,000 youths to achieve parity of statuswith Sri Lanka.– LTTE becomes a formidable Tamil military force and thesole-representatives of the Tamil people, gains control ofsignificant areas of the North- East, and establishes civiladministration services. 20
TAMIL NATIONAL MILITARY (LTTE)Today, a Conventional Tamil Armed Force.(Ground Forces, Naval Force, Air Force, Police, Intelligence Service) 21
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING 2002 Ceasefire Monitored by Scandinavian Countries (Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission - SLMM) Direct DialogueFacilitated By the Royal Norwegian Government 22
CEASEFIRE AGREEMENTSigned by the SL Government and the LTTE on 22 February 2002“…forward defence localities (borders) have been established, the Sri Lankan armed forces and the Liberation Tigers’ fighting formations shall hold their ground positions……Neither Party shall engage in any offensive military operation nor shall move munitions, explosives or military equipment into the area LTTE Northern Com. Col. Theepan & controlled by the other Party. SL Northern Com. Maj. Gen. Fonseka ” [at the northern FDL February 2002] 23
THE OSLO DECLARATION: Signed by the SLG and the LTTE on 25 November 2002In the presence of US Deputy Sec. of State Mr. Richard Armitage ,Norwegian Foreign Minister Mr. Jan Petersen, UK Sec. of State Ms. Claire short, Japan Special“ Envoy Mr.Yasusi Akashi …the parties have agreed to explore a political solution founded on the principle of internal self-determination in areas of historical habitation of the Tamil-speaking people, based on a federal structure within a united Sri LTTE’s Dr. Anton Balasingham, Lanka. ” SLG’s Prof. G.L.eiris, at the Oslo Conference, 25 November 24
BROKEN AGREEMENTSWithin 3 years… 2002-20051. Dissolving High Security Zones – Withdrawing military from Houses, School, Worshiping places (February 2002)2. Sub-Committee for Immediate Humanitarian and Rehabilitation Needs in the North and East (SIHRN) (February 2002)3. North East Reconstruction Fund (NERF) (November 2002)4. Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA) (31 October 2003)5. Post Tsunami Operational Management Structure (PTOMS) (June 2005) 25
November 2005 Election of President Rajapakse Campaign promises:• No recognition of Tamil Homeland or right to Self-Rule.• No to Federal Solution• No to International MediationRajapaksa was elected as President by the Majority of Sinhala people. 26
November 2005 Election of President Rajapakse Supported by Extremist Buddhist Monks Party (JHU),view Srilanka as a Sinhala-Buddhist nation, Burning Norway Flag Associated Press Photo27 November 2005
After the Election of President Rajapakse ESCALATION OF VIOLENCEby the SL Armed Forces and Government sponsored Paramilitary. • 47 humanitarian workers were kidnapped and killed. • 5 Tamil Parliamentarians were assassinated. • Many leading Tamil Journalists were murdered. • Hundreds of Tamils were abducted for ransom & killed. • 17 Humanitarian Workers of a French NGO (AFC) Murdered by SL Army in an execution style on 5 August 2006 Chief of the Ceasefire Monitoring mission Maj. Gen. Ulf Henricsson told: "I have experienced this in the Balkans before. When youre not let in, its a sign that theres something they want to hide". [ Reuters; 12 Aug 2006] 28
Violence after Election of President Rajapakse Targeted Killing of Tamil Civilians Mother raped and killed. Children brutalized and Hanged. Father forced to see all these, and shot dead. (Venkalai, 9 June 2006) 29
Violence after Election of President Rajapakse Targeted Killing of Tamil Civilians • Sri Lankan jets bombed a childrens home in Mullaithivu • 67 schoolgirls and 7 teachers were killed • 129 were wounded when (14 August 2006)A Government minister acknowledged it, and argued,“There is nothing wrong in killing future child soldiers”. 30
After Election of President Rajapakse: Current Situation SL government de-merged the Tamil Homeland. (North-East) Sri Lanka government officially unilaterally abrogated Ceasefire Agreement from January 16, 2008 Sri Lanka government is intensifying a full scale war on the Tamil Homeland to impose Military Solution & calling it as “War on Terror” No credible political solution is under discussion by SL government. Tamil civilians being targeted: Disappearances, Daily aerial bombings, Road-side bombs, Shelling, Extra-judicial killing. Over 5000 Tamils have been killed since election . Average of 7 Tamils killed daily 31
US Foreign Policy & RoleToward Sri Lanka and Tamils 32
US Policy & Role• In 1996 Sri Lanka influenced US to designate LTTE as FTO.• In the post 9/11 scenario US sort partners for War on Terror.• SL depicted the Tamil armed struggle as acts of Terrorism.• SL declared its human rights violations as inevitable occurrences in the War on Terror.• US promotes democracy and freedom, and acknowledges Tamils’ legitimate aspirations for freedom.• In 2004 elections, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) accepted the LTTE as the National Leadership of the Tamils, and won 97% of Tamils’ votes.• However, since LTTE is in its FTO list, US is in a paradox that it is unable to treat both parties equally and help Tamils achieve their legitimate aspirations for freedom. 33
The USA had placed LTTE on the FTO list R. Nicholas Burns, Under Secretary for Political Affairs, (Colombo, Sri Lanka - January 23, 2006)“ We brand LTTE as terrorist organization for using violence as a ‘political weapon’. But the Tamil population has legitimate grievances, and they must be respected by the majority population, and there has to be a way for the Tamils to be able to articulate those grievances. I must say that this long conflict is only going to come to an end when the LTTE and the government sit down and find a ” way forward to end this conflict. 34
US ROLE1. Military Assistance to SL Army • Stop It2. Financial Aid to SL Government • Monitor it3. Public Statements • Be fair to both nation4. ‘Diplomacy’ • Treat both parties Equally 35
US CONGRESSRep. Frank Pallone – On Autonomy of Tamils:• “I echo this sentiment and support a solution that grants a level of autonomy to ethnic minorities like the Tamils. We have seen very similar successful situations throughout the world. Places like Quebec in Canada, Wales and Scotland in Great Britain are all part of their Federal Nations but have significant autonomy. “ (September 2006)Rep. Rush Holt – On Human Rights Violations Against Tamils• “I urge US Secretary of State Dr. Rice to appoint a special envoy to emphasize USs commitment to peace in Sri Lanka and to include in the envoys mandate efforts to increase monitoring of human rights violations," (September 2006) 36
US GOVERNMENT Mr. Richard Boucher Assistant US Secretary of State [Colombo; 26 June 2006]“ Though we reject the methods that the Tamil Tigers have used, there are legitimate issues raised by the Tamil community and they have a very legitimate desire, as anybody would, to control their own lives, to rule their own destinies, and to govern themselves ” in their homeland, in the areas they’ve traditionally inhabited. - 37
US GOVERNMENT Richard L. Armitage Deputy Secretary of State [December, 2002“ … the United States is greatly encouraged that the LTTE has made a commitment to the political solution and has agreed to settle this conflict through peaceful means... … the United States government is also encouraged by the vision of the LTTE as a genuine political entity. If the LTTE can make a convincing case that it is committed to a political solution, the United States will certainly consider removing the LTTE from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, as well as any other terrorism-related... ” … A US – LTTE direct contact is worth Trying. 38
EU followed US and placed LTTE on the FTO list Maj. Gen. Ulf Henricsson Chief of the Ceasefire Monitoring Mission. [ Reuters; 12 Aug 2006]“ EU cant say they didnt know or at least have any signal about what could happen, I think the EU thought that the government of Sri Lanka was a responsible government, who could take the appropriate decision and work for peace instead of war... …I would say, EU’s decision to ban the LTTE is a mistake, it was a wrong decision, because the LTTE and the government ” have signed the ceasefire agreement as equal partners.” 39
US DIPLOMAT Teresita C. Schaffer Former US Ambassador to Sri Lanka (June 2005)“ The United States’ designation of the LTTE a ‘Foreign Terrorist Organization’ has affected U.S. diplomacy in Sri Lanka… …The effect of U.S. terrorism law and of the terrorist organization list has been a problem for U.S. diplomacy, and one that has not always been ” wisely handled.” 40
US CONGRESS Rep. Brad Sherman March 15, 2006“ I’ve urged the State Department to design a road map for the Tamil Tigers, so that they would know what steps they would need to take to get off the terrorist list… …What is the difference between terrorism on the one hand, and waging a legitimate guerrilla struggle on the other?.. Seeking some degree of autonomy for North-East ” Sri Lanka is not a terrible objective. 41
US DIPLOMAT Jeffrey Lunstead Former US Ambassador to Sri Lanka [May 2007]“ …Direct US-LTTE links would have helped in convincing the LTTE to move away from terrorism… … direct communication with the LTTE would have had concrete benefits including the ability to deliver a clear U.S. message about possible delisting of the ” LTTE as an FTO (Foreign Terrorist Organization) 42
60 Years... The result: • More than 100,000 Tamils Killed and Disappeared • More than 20,000 Tamil orphaned children • More than 35,000 Tamil widows • Hundreds of Thousands of schools, houses, hospitals, churches, temples, villages and livelihood destroyed. • More than 600,000 Tamils Internal Refugees • Nearly 1 Million Tamils made to flee the country If this is not ETHNIC CLEANSING, then what is?Fighting for Survival is NOT Terrorism… 43
• Two Ethnic Nations, separated by – History, Language, Culture, Economic Life, Territorial Homeland. • A Tamil Conventional Military fighting the Sri Lankan Military. – Defense against genocide of Tamils • A large enough Tamil Territory – Defensible and sustainable for self governance – Roughly the same size as Israel or Kuwait or Slovenia. – Bigger in area (19,509 sq. km.) than at least 41 countries in the UN (including Singapore) • A De facto Tamil Government – Police, Judicial, Finance, Economic-Developments,etc, …in existence. – Bigger in population (3.6 million – in 1979 - ) than at least 59 countries in the UNA Struggle for Freedom – NOT Terrorism 44
The Future…If the Sri Lanka government does not accept Tamil Homeland, Tamil Nationhood and Tamil self-rule, the basic and cardinal principles, that have been guiding the Tamils in their struggle to find a peacefully-negotiated political arrangement…and…If the Sri Lankan government not willing to share power with the Tamils under a Con-Federal system or some form of a two- state solution…Tamils will be forced to continue their struggle for their National Self-Determination and a Separate State. 45
Kosovo & Tamil EelamWhat is good for Kosovo is good for Tamil Eelam 46
What the Tamil Americans expect from the Government of the United States: Play a leadership role to find a political solution to the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil People. Remove the LTTE from the Foreign Terrorist Organizations list, and Treat both parties equally. Recognize the Tamil National Self Determination. Permit Tamil people to choose their destiny in internationally supervised plebiscite. Facilitate the birth of the Tamil Nation, Tamil Eelam 47