Sri Lanka

The British government continues to license millions of pounds in arms to the Sri Lankan regime despite suggestions that they may have been used in war crimes, the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) said on June 15.

New evidence of alleged atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan state in 2009 in its purge of a stronghold of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009 emerged this week in a Channel 4 documentary screened in Britain
on June 14.

For more than two decades, until its defeat in 2009, the LTTE fought for an independent Tamil state in Sri Lanka's north-east.

The British government continues to license millions of pounds in arms to the Sri Lankan regime despite suggestions that they may have been used in war crimes, the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) said on June 15.

New evidence of alleged atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan state in 2009 in its purge of a stronghold of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009 emerged this week in a Channel 4 documentary screened in Britain
on June 14.

For more than two decades, until its defeat in 2009, the LTTE fought for an independent Tamil state in Sri Lanka's north-east.

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 following statement was released by the Socialist Alliance in Australia. For more information, visit www.socialist-alliance.org .

* * *

Two years ago, a war without witness was executed by the state against the Tamil people in the island of Sri Lanka.

In September 2008, after ordering all United Nations personnel, non-government organisations and media out of the Vanni region, the Sri Lankan government embarked on a vicious military campaign.

While it informed the world it was fighting the Tamil Tiger rebels and was following a “zero civilian casualty” policy, photographs, video footage and phone conversations with our relatives in the war zone told us a different story.

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) member of the Sri Lankan parliament M. A. Sumanthiran, addressed a meeting organised by the Australian Tamil Congress on March 26.

He said that even though Tamils in Sri Lanka are a nation with the right to self-determination, the formation of a separate state is not a realistic option because of the opposition of the “international community”.

Article 1 of the United Nations charter speaks of the right of self-determination of peoples. However, in the 1960s the UN General Assembly put some restrictions on this right.

A number of Wikileaks revelations have shown that US officials, despite their public stance, have been well aware of corruption and human rights abuses of regimes it has supported. In some cases, the US funded these regimes and trained their military.

* * *

Indonesia

A leaked September 2009 US cable indicates that US officials are aware that in West Papua, the Indonesian military (TNI) are responsible for serious human rights abuses and corruption.

“Mum’s dead”. The gloomy faced Sujendran Gunesekaram greeted me, as we met in person for the first time. His mother died of a heart attack on September 5, after suffering for three years.

Sujendran is a 27-year-old Sri Lankan Tamil originally from Muttur in Trincomalee, the war-hit town in the east. He was one of 254 asylum seekers on the Australia-bound boat Jeya Lestari that moored off at the port in Merak, Indonesia in October 2009.

Men in uniform, mainly young soldiers holding AK 47 rifles, are seen all around northern Sri Lanka, from Mannar in north-west to Mullaitivu, the last battlefield in the north-east. In Mullaitivu, there are said to be more soldiers than civilians.

This is the situation in the largely Tamil north of the island one-and-a-half-years after the end of the Sri Lankan Army’s war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Tens of thousands of Tamil civilians were killed by the SLA in the last months of the conflict.

It seems no one bothers about “them” in Sri Lanka. No lawyer or rights groups in the country dare to talk of “their” basic rights. Do they deserve to be abandoned or “disappeared”?

Alleged former members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE — popularly known as the Tamil Tigers), an armed group that fought for an independent state for the Tamil ethnic minority, have become indefinite “prisoners of war” ever since the LTTE was militarily defeated by the Sri Lankan state in May 2009.

Pages

Subscribe to Sri Lanka