Following the International Enforced disappearance day commemoration, Tamil Diaspora TGTE along with various diaspora activists organised a meeting in the parliament on the 4th of September 2019.
This meeting was chaired by MP Siobhain Mcdonagh, the labour party for Mitcham and Morden constituency. This meeting took place in order to commemorate all those who had disappeared under the successive governments of Sri Lanka and also to let the international community know about the roadside protests taken up by the brave women of the North and East of Sri Lanka over two years ago.
Various speakers ranging from the President of TGTE to local UK and TGTE activists spoke at this parliament meeting. Barristers such as Shivani Jegarajah gave an in depth analysis of how the international community have been misled and have been lied to by the GOSL. Whist Barrister Patrick Lewis stressed on how the enforced disappearances are still taking place and how the GOSL uses underhand tactics to suppress victims or their families coming forward.
The event also had a Holocaust survivor who spoke extensively about war crimes. Dr. Martin Stern stressed that since World War 2, there have been over 50 genocides. He also mentioned how the UN is an ineffective body and how individuals will have to look towards attaining justice through the medium of private prosecutions. The limitation of so called ‘international community’ to deliver justice was exposed by many participants. There is a general agreement that we must build our own independent strength and link up with others in struggle. Dr. Martin Stern categorically mentioned of linking the Tamil Struggle with other diasporas such as Kashmir, Sudan etc. Identifying ourselves with our natural allies is key.
Mr. Robert Evans mentioned that the GOSL rewards and promotes war criminals such as the appointment of Shavendra Silva as the chief of the Sri Lankan Army. He was also quick to criticise the UN in doing very little for the Tamil problem. Broken promises by the GOSL goes unasked instead awarded with extension after extension.
ICPPG director Ambigai Seeviratnam read out a damning report of how successive GOSL have used instrumental violence in the form of genocide on the minorities of Sri Lanka. For example she mentions , ‘a victim went missing after being arrested by the Police of Sri Lanka, the victim’s brother in law goes to the police to find out what has happened, the brother in law is tortured, killed and his severed head is left in his village as a reminder to others as to what will happen if the authorities are questioned’. She went on to state that victims’ families have been forced to sign death certificates of their beloved. This was done by using the living ones as pawns.
The meeting then comprised of personal victim testimonies. The details of each and every single testimony was sickeningly stomach churning. Almost all testimonies had a pattern. The pattern of state sanctioned violence on its minorities, the sinhala Budhist chauvinism’s deep rooted belief that all other religions and ethnicities are second to it, the perpetrators getting away scot free and to add insult to injury are celebrated as decorated war heroes.
To sum up one thing was crystal clear. Neither the UN nor any Prime Minister or president of any country is going to deliver the truth, hold perpetrators accountable and deliver Justice to the Tamils of Sri Lanka. That battle is in the hands of each and every diaspora Tamil to link up the struggle with our natural allies in other words link the struggle with all other oppressed class, set up a watertight war crimes unit in every country, collate a list of all the possible culprits, then work with legal practitioners to aim towards a private prosecution and finally complacency from our part is inexcusable.