Hundreds of Australian Tamils and supporters gathered for an evening vigil in Sydney’s Martin Place on May 18 to commemorate two years since the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
The LTTE had fought a 30-year-long battle for an independent Tamil homeland in the north-east of Sri Lanka.
In April, a leaked United Nations report said the Sri Lankan government had committed serious war crimes as the war came to a close, which led to the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians.
The UN said “the conduct of the war represented a grave assault on the entire regime of international law designed to protect individual dignity during both war and peace”.
Members of the Tamil Youth Organisation (TYO) spent most of the day in Martin Place leafleting passersby about the significance of the day.
TYO’s Seran Sribalan told Green Left Weekly: “We’ve had an overwhelming response from the Australian community. A lot of people have stopped to ask questions and a lot of people have taken flyers from us today.
“Two years to this day marks the second anniversary since the war in Sri Lanka ended. In May 2009, we know there could be over 40,000 Tamil people that died.
“The UN panel report basically says the Sri Lankan government has a lot to do with a lot of the killings.”
He said the TYO was calling for “an independent investigation into the Sri Lankan government’s war crimes and its continuing genocide against the Tamil people”.