"Struggle to achieve self-rule will continue"- American Tamils

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 24 July 2007, 00:53 GMT]
In the peace rally attended by nearly one thousand American Tamils from several states across the United States in front of the Capitol Building, in Washington D.C. Monday from 12:00 noon to 3:00 p.m., the participants said: "We, the Tamil Americans, hereby proclaim that Eelam Tamils constitute a Nation. We resolve that our struggle to establish the right of Tamil people to Self-Determination, and to establish self-rule in the territories Tamil people have made their home for centuries will continue until our goal is achieved," in a declaration released to the press at the conclusion of the rally.

Peace Rally Photos

PDF IconDeclaration at the Peace Rally (97kb)
PDF IconMemorandum delivered to Congresspersons (84kb)
"We appeal to the legislators, the Administration and the people of the United States who fought and won their freedom to empathize with the Tamil people, and help to establish our right to Self-Determination from the remnants of the Sinhala colonial State," the declaration further said.

Peace Rally Photos
Peace Rally Photos
Peace Rally Photos
Mrs Kandaswamy, 80, braved 200 mile bus-ride to attend the rally from New Jersey. She said she had stood in front of the Parliament in Canberra in 2003, in front of Britain's Houses of Parliament in 2005, and that she is happy stand in front of the Capitol Building with her adult son at the rally today.
Expatriate Tamils, including a large contingent of second generation American Tamils, from far-away states including Florida, Ohio, California, and Boston, and from several other states attended the peace rally.

Participants carried colorful placards, wore sun-visors and T-shirts carrying the message of peace and the right of Tamil for self-determination, and shouted slogans throughout the rally.

Tamil youth group which has organized a pre-, post-rally congressional lobbying campaign, read messages of support from several Congresspersons between the speeches by International Human Rights Lawyer, Karen Parker, New York Attorney Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, Ellyn Shander, a Medical Doctor from New Canaan, Connecticut who had visited the NorthEast to provide care and grief counseling to the tsunami survivors, and several others to the participants.

Chris Gaston, Senior Aide to Congressman Rush Holt from New Jersey met with the contingent that attended the rally from the Congressman's home state.

Ms Parker said: "Because of the right to self- determination, the Tamil areas belong to the Tamils. It is their land. The civilian government and the military force - the LTTE - have a right de jure (by law) to this State. Tamils presence in their own land is not de facto and their government is not a de facto one.

"The Sri Lankan government’s occupation of part of the historic Tamil Eelam is de facto. They are there by the clear facts on the ground but they don’t have the legal right to it," Ms. Parker added.

The declaration read at the conclusion of the rally also noted that 100,000 Tamils have died and more than a million have been internally displaced during the struggle, and that Tamils did not participate in Sri Lanka's 1972 and 1978 constitutions which "institutionalized discrimination" and "denied Tamils effective role in decision making process."
Peace Rally Photos


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