Tamil plight: 'More than a humanitarian crisis'

A June 23 forum on the Tamil struggle for self-determination drew 30 people to the Brisbane activist centre.

The meeting heard from Marty Gnanananthan from the Tamil Youth Organisation, Francis Xavier, a Tamil community leader, and Dr Brian Senewiratne, a long-time pro-Tamil activist. The forum discussed the dire situation for Tamils in Sri Lanka, as well as plans for more Tamil solidarity campaigning.

Gnanananthan detailed the history of the suppression of Tamils since Sri Lanka's independence in 1948. He pointed out that the Sri Lankan Army had almost doubled in size during the war.

Today, numbering 300,000 in a population of 20 million, the Sri Lankan army is the biggest army in South Asia per head of population.

Senewiratne told the meeting the situation for Tamils in Sri Lanka is "more than a humanitarian crisis. It is genocide."

He said about 30,000 Tamils were killed between January and May this year. The military has herded about 280,000 Tamils into 400 detention camps.

The forum also launched a new pamphlet, The Tamil Freedom Struggle in Sri Lanka, by Senewiratne, Vickramabahu Karunarathne and Chris Slee. The pamphlet can be ordered at www.resistancebooks.com.