Sri Lanka: Absence of war does not mean peace

Melbourne-based Tamil activist Aran Mylvaganam.

The absence of war does not mean peace in Tamil Eelam — despite what we hear from the Sri Lankan and Australian governments.

The struggle for Tamil freedom continues on community radio station 3CR, 855AM. 3CR is one of the main platforms for Tamil activists in Melbourne. Aran Mylvaganam is co-presenter of the Tamil Manifest and Tamil Voice programs on 3CR.

He explains how the situation of Tamils in Sri Lanka is as desperate as it ever was.

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The Tamils in Tamil Eelam continue to suffer tremendous hardship at the hands of the Sri Lankan government, its military and supporters. At the moment, there are still more than 100,000 Tamils locked behind barbed wire in camps. Those who have been allowed to leave the camp are homeless.

There are about 12,000 young Tamils suspected of being Tamil Tigers being held in high-security prisons, facing torture. Many young girls and boys are disappearing every week, and people in the north allege it is being done by paramilitary groups linked to the Sri Lankan intelligence agency.

Meanwhile, the government is “Sinhalising” Tamil areas. Sri Lankan armed forces continue to demolish Tamil landmarks, such as the Heroes Memorial Monuments. Buddhist temples are being built in the north while families from the predominantly Buddhist Sinhala ethnic majority in the south are being paid to settle in the north.

If this goes on for another few years, Tamil identity will be wiped out from the Tamil homeland.

Our current campaign priority in Australia is helping the desperately vulnerable Tamils back at home. Not only do we need to push the Sri Lankan government to release those still locked up in camps, we also need to help those who have been resettled and are facing starvation.

There is also a need to support the thousands of Tamils who have managed to escape to countries like the US, Canada and Australia.

A recent achievement of our campaign has been the global, symbolic referendum for an independent and sovereign state of Tamil Eelam in the north and east of Sri Lanka.

About 10,000 Tamils voted in Australia on April 17 and 18. About 99.35% of Tamils voted in favour of an independent homeland. That shows more and more Tamil people are willing to take on the challenge of helping the Tamil community in Tamil Eelam.

The Tamil people need international support.

During the final days of May 2009, the rest of the world chose to remain silent. It’s time for the international community to stop cooperating with the Sri Lankan government. It’s time for the international community to unite with the Tamil diaspora, and boycott Sri Lanka like it did to South Africa in the 1980s.

Injustice must be exposed and war crimes charges must be laid, to support the Tamils on the road to a liberated Tamil Eelam.

[Tune in to 3CR 855AM or listen live on the 3CR website.
Tamil Voice (Tamil): Wednesday 6.30 - 8.30pm, Tamil Manifest (English): Saturday - 1.30pm, or contact Aran at .]

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