Feature Article

Time for Canadian Eezham Tamils to chart next course of diaspora action

[TamilNet, Thursday, 20 June 2019, 23:39 GMT]
The political parties in Canada have unanimously called upon the UN to “establish an international independent investigation into the allegations of genocide against Tamils committed in Sri Lanka including the last phase of the armed conflict in 2009” along with two other demands to Colombo. A resolution was unanimously adopted extending condolences to all of the victims of violence while demanding the SL government to deliver justice to the Easter Sunday attacks, including protection of all religious places of worship and to fulfil its obligations made in Geneva within a clearly specified timeframe. Welcoming the move, the Tamil activists in the island urged the Canadian Tamil diaspora to concentrate on educating their host country on the unworkability of transitional justice in the island without international investigations on the genocide taking precedence over the other two demands.

The Canadian Parliament Hansard carried the following unanimously passed motion from June 19, 2019:

HANSARD, House of Commons Debates, Extract from page 29434
"That the House, (a) extend its condolences to all the victims of violence and war in Sri Lanka; (b) call on the Government of Sri Lanka to promote justice for those affected by the Easter Sunday attacks, protect the rights of religious minorities and defend all places of worship; (c) reaffirm Canada's call for Sri Lanka to implement its obligations within a clearly specified time frame, as mandated under the UN Human Rights Council resolutions 30/1 and 40/1 as well as Canada's support in advancing accountability, peace and reconciliation among all people on the island; and (d) call upon the United Nations to establish an international independent investigation into allegations of genocide against Tamils committed in Sri Lanka, including during the last phase of the armed conflict in 2009."

The coordination of the advocacy work of the country council of Eezham Tamils in Canada, the National Council of Canadian Tamils (NCCT), on convincing the political parties in Canada in shaping the demand on the international investigations on Tamil genocide was particularly appreciated by the informed Tamil activists on the island.

The latest Canadian move is also a lesson for the dormant Tamil diaspora groups in London, the activists in Jaffna further said.

Supplementary report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
The Canadian society is at-least prepared to move forward, scrutinising itself on the State responsibility of genocide against the indigenous people. But, the ‘Sri Lankan’ society and its unitary state are going in the opposite direction, they said.

“It is time to call it as it is: Canada’s past and current colonial policies, actions and inactions towards Indigenous Peoples is genocide,” was the conclusion of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The finding of "deliberate, race, identity and gender-based genocide," was made public also this month.

“Ending the Canadian genocide of Indigenous Peoples requires an honest and active process of decolonization and indigenization of structures, institutions, legislation and policies,” said the supplementary legal analysis document representing the views and opinions of the National Inquiry.

“Our Prime Minister has publicly accepted the missing murder of numerous indigenous women as genocide,” Professor R. Sri Ranjan, the chairperson of the NCCT said when contacted by TamilNet.

In this context, it is vital for Eezham Tamils in Canada to concentrate on convincing the key actors in Canada to realise the international responsibility caused by the geopolitical ‘choices’ which were made by the British as well as scrutinising how the post-colonial world order adopted the same approach in grooming the genocidal state of Sri Lanka.

The British colonialism was replaced with Sinhala colonialism as far as the nation of Eezham Tamils in the North-East and other Tamil-speaking peoples in the island are concerned.

The colonial British transformed the power to the Sinhala establishment without heeding to the warnings made by Tamils in 1948. The British establishment was forcing Tamils into the post-colonial construct it wanted to maintain in the island.

The ‘choice’ was made mainly based on its strategic access to Trincomalee harbour in the East and to other military facilities in the South.

The manifestation of the unitary state of Sri Lanka has been thoroughly genocidal.

As the late doyen of the Federal Party (ITAK), V Navaratnam, who was living in exile in Canada reiterated several times, the 1972 ‘creation’ of ‘Sri Lanka’ was utterly illegal.

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in England delivered judgments in two cases for Ceylon pronouncing that Article 29(2) in the Soulbury Constitution contained entrenched provisions of the law for the protection of the Tamils and other minorities and therefore can never be amended or repealed under any procedure.

The formation of the SL state in 1972 was a deliberate act of getting rid of this protection, Navaratnam argued.

Within the two years of the inception of ‘Sri Lanka’, SJV Chelvanayakam, the other co-founder of the ITAK, was making an appeal to the 20th Commonwealth Conference in 1974:

“This memorandum is presented to you in the hope that through you, world conscience will be awakened to the present plight of the Tamils in this country, who are being systematically subjected to a denial of human rights, various forms of racial discrimination and other practices which could lead to the genocide of the Tamils,” he said.

Furthermore, Mr Chelvanayakam noted in his appeal that “[t]he Sinhalese leaders have one objective, of converting the bi-national, bi-lingual, multi-religious state of Ceylon into a uni-national state with one nation - the Sinhalese, a uni-lingual state with the Sinhala only and with one religion-Buddhism, involving genocide against the Tamils.”

The British didn't table it for discussions at the Commonwealth is another point to note here.

As the late Sivaram Dharmeratnam (Taraki), who was a senior editor of TamilNet, observed in the article ‘Negotiating Tamil Sovereignty’ which he co-edited with Muthuthamby Sreetharan, there were three conjunctures of state formation in the island. Also, in all three, the Tamils of the northeast refused to accede their sovereignty, on the grounds that the Sinhalese were only intent on establishing a unitary system of government that would concentrate power over the affairs and wealth of the island solely in their hands, Sivaram argued.

The unitary state of Sri Lanka is a genocidal state, and it cannot be reformed through internal discourses of reconciliation and truth-seeking mechanisms while it is systematically accelerating demographic, economic, cultural and heritage genocide, which the Eezham Tamils describe as the structural genocide.

The recent Easter Sunday attacks have accelerated the structural genocide even further.

Therefore, the international investigations on genocide must take precedence over all other recommendations of ‘Sri Lanka’ living up to its promises made in Geneva, and it is also vital that Canada, as a host country to the largest Eezham Tamil diaspora, is made to realise this.

Related Articles:
19.05.19   Metanarrative of Mu'l'li-vaaykkaal, geopolitics and seculari..
10.12.13   Sri Lanka guilty of genocide: PPT verdict
04.12.13   Reminding Britain of its geostrategic injustice against Eezh..
22.02.10   Myth of Sri Lankan state and the historic responsibility of ..
22.12.06   1972 Sri Lanka Constitution illegal - Navaratnam
21.06.03   Negotiating Tamil sovereignty

External Links:
The Conversation: Colonial genocide is a composite act: A human rights analysis
The Conversation: Canada’s genocide: The case of the Ahiarmiut
TamilNation.Co: SJV Chelvanayakam's TUF Memorandum to the Commonwealth


Latest 15 Reports
Find this article at: