Italy sends wrong message with Tamil arrests

July 19, 2008

The below statement was released by Tamil youth living in Australia.

The Tamil Australian youth urge the government of Italy to reconsider their recent arrest of 33 Tamil Italian youths. We believe mass arrests such as these demonise the Tamil community.

The government of Sri Lanka is not just waging a war of genocide against the Tamils residing in the island, but it has also embarked on a propaganda war.

We have come to understand that the arrests were made a day after the Sri Lankan foreign minister released a statement expressing disappointment in the European Union for allowing public demonstrations showing support for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

While Sri Lanka enforces severe media restrictions on journalists in its country (as reported by a June 4 AFP article) including abducting, attacking and even killing journalists who report against the government, the foreign ministry continues its agenda of dispersing propaganda among the international governments.

Italy, a country that despite the refusals of Sri Lanka, once allowed its parliamentarians to visit LTTE-controlled tsunami-ravaged areas, is now turning on its Tamil citizens.

Tamil Italians celebrated when Italy recognised the lack of funding the Sri Lankan government provided the Tamil people affected by the tsunami, and donated relief funds directly to the Tamil areas.

We believe the Italian government has the compassion and understanding to appreciate that the Tamils are the true victims of the current war in Sri Lanka. We urge the Italian government to thoroughly investigate allegations made by Sri Lanka before embarking on arrests and prosecutions.

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