Tamil-speaking refugees on a boat off the Indonesian coast have contacted Tamil Solidarity. Their continued suffering and the denial of their rights demands an urgent response.
Join the Tamil Solidarity protest
Monday 26 October
Australia House, Strand, London W2B 4LA
War and aftermath
Over the last year the brutal oppression of the Tamil-speaking people in Sri Lanka by the Sinhala nationalist government has reached new levels of horror. Under the Rajapakse regime these people have faced an unending nightmare. It is estimated that over 20,000 people were killed in the last week of the war alone.
Since the government declared the end of the war in May 2009 over 300,000 people have been forcefully detained in concentration-style camps and denied the right to return to their homes.
It is estimated that among those incarcerated, without proper access to shelter, food and medicine, are 31,000 children. While the government was prepared to pour an estimated $5 million per day into its vicious war effort, little is spent to protect those in the camp against the oncoming monsoon floods which threaten a humanitarian catastrophe.
While around the world the Tamil diaspora conducted a ferocious anti-war campaign, governments in the west and in Asia remained deaf to the suffering of the Tamil-speaking people in Sri Lanka, preferring to maintain trade links with and sell arms to the Sri Lankan government.
Now, forced by these horrendous conditions, a small number of Tamil-speaking people have managed to escape. Around the world there will be shock and anger to hear that these people, who have seen their families massacred, have so far been denied the refuge they seek.
Over 250 Tamil-speaking people remain on a boat in Merak harbour, Indonesia. 207 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers are held at the Immigration Detention Centre at Kuala Lumpar International Airport, and there are 108 Sri Lankan refugees detained at Pekan Nanas Immigration Detention Centre in Malaysia. After Canadian authorities intercepted a ship the 76 men on board were taken to jail for questioning.
Not only have these governments not acted decisively to assist the traumatised Tamil-speaking people, but they have extended their detention. That it has been suggested they be returned to Sri Lanka, to the situation they have fled, is a further indictment of the international ruling elite who has no interest in acting in the interests of ordinary people.
Tamil Solidarity has been in contact with the people on the boat in Merak harbour and calls for immediate solidarity action to assist their appeal for refuge. We call for a protest outside the Australian embassy in London and other countries to expose the rotten role of this government. It is clear that it is actions like this, of ordinary people in the Tamil diaspora and all communities in the trade unions, universities, schools and colleges, that are required to build a movement against the camps, against the racist discrimination against refugees and against governments who stand in the interests of big business and the rich no matter the consequences for ordinary people.
For the rights of all workers and oppressed people in Sri Lanka.
Contact Senan on 07908050217 or on firstname.lastname@example.org