ERASING THE EELAM VICTORY Part 19E3
Posted on October 24th, 2021

KAMALIKA PIERIS

Revised 25.10.21

The Tamil Separatist Movement is very much in existence today, in the Pohottu period. The webinar Sri Lanka: Quest for Justice, Rule of Law and Democratic Rights”, co-hosted by the Global Tamil Forum (GTF), Centre for Human Rights and Global Justice – New York University, Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice and the Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC), was held in February 2021. It attracted more than 3,000 live viewers.

At this webinar, M.A. Sumanthiran, stated that on its own, Sri Lanka will not deliver on accountability or justice. Sri Lanka is incapable and unwilling to deliver justice through domestic mechanisms, and there has to be international pressure. This is the time for strong international involvement to prevent future violent conflict.

The webinar welcomed the OHCHR report. Participants called for a strong resolution in the upcoming UNHRC session, which should incorporate the High Commissioner’s recommendations including a strong reporting function for OHCHR on human rights, a dedicated facility to collect and preserve evidence and the application of universal jurisdiction, targeted sanctions, asset freezes and travel bans. It was argued that international pressure, including economic leverage selectively applied, could be effective.  Both enlightened local leadership and strong international involvement were crucial.

The People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL) said in 2021 that decisive international action is the only way to achieve justice and a sustainable peace in Sri Lanka. PEARL referred to the UNHRC resolution of 2021.The resolution mandates the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to collect and preserve evidence of serious violations of international law that occurred in Sri Lanka and report on opportunities for accountability for these crimes. Though the resolution falls short of the robust demands made by Tamil civil society, this is a positive step that has the potential to lead to an international accountability mechanism, which Tamils have long demanded.

We welcome the Core Group’s leadership and their engagement with Tamil groups throughout the process,” PEARL said. The limitations of the Human Rights Council have once again become apparent. The Council is limited, by its scope and its inherently political nature, to act decisively, particularly when dealing with intransigent states.” As a result, the resolution falls short of the joint demands made by Tamil political parties and civil society groups,  that the UN should seek alternative avenues for justice such as through universal jurisdiction or the International Criminal Court (ICC).

PEARL believes that member states of the UN must pursue decisive action beyond the Council. As highlighted in the High Commissioner’s report, member states should utilize the full breadth of tools and sanctions under international law to support justice and accountability for Sri Lanka. PEARL continues to encourage countries to pursue accountability for Sri Lanka’s mass atrocities in venues such as the International Court of Justice, the ICC, or through the establishment of a special ad hoc tribunal.

PEARL also encourages countries to leverage the evidence gathered through the OHCHR to work with Tamil victim-survivor communities to initiate investigations and prosecutions in countries’ own domestic courts. Sri Lanka’s response today, like its actions over the years, shows that decisive international action is the only way to achieve justice and a sustainable peace on the island.”

Eleven Tamil political parties and civil society organizations wrote a joint letter dated January 15, 2021 to 47 member-countries of the UN Human Rights Council, making   requests that went beyond the UNHRC, said critics.

This group asked that

  • Other organs of the United Nations including the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly take up the matter and send Sri Lanka to International Criminal Court or any other international court that will inquire into genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
  • The President of the UNHRC refer the matter  of Sri Lanka war crimes back to UN Secretary General  for this purpose
  • Member States to mandate the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to open an OHCHR field office in the country.
  • Take steps to establish an evidence gathering mechanism similar to the International Independent Investigatory Mechanism for Syria. This must be established as a subsidiary body of the UN General Assembly with a strict time frame of twelve months duration.

The signatories to the letter are: R. Sampanthan, Leader, Tamil National Alliance (TNA), G.G. Ponnambalam, Leader, Tamil National People’s Front, Justice C.V. Wigneswaran, Leader, Tamil Makkal Tesiya Kootani, Rev. Fr. Leo Armstrong, Tamil Heritage Forum, Mullaitivu, Sabharathinam Sivayhoyanathan, Eastern Province Civil Society Forum, Rasalingam Vikneswaran, Amparai Civil Society Forum, Amarasingham Gajenthiran, Tamil Civil Society Forum, Yogarasa Kanagaranjini, Association of Relatives of the Enforced Disappearances North and East, Subramaniam Sivaharan, Tamil Thesiya Vaalvurimai Iyakkam, Velan Swamikal, Sivaguru Aatheenam and Rt. Rev. Dr C. Noel Emmanuel, Bishop of Trincomalee.

Marches and demonstrations continue. In 2021 Tamil political parties launched a protest march at Nallur Jaffna, demoing justice for those who had suffered under the military operations during the war. They urged the UNHRC to refer Sri Lanka to the ICC without further delay.

To disrupt Sri Lanka’s 73rd Independence Day celebration in 2021, a handful of Tamil activists and politicians organized a protest march from Ampara to Jaffna from February 3 to 6, 2021, said Rohan Gunaratne.  The face of the march was the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) that had suffered electoral defeat. To revive, the TNA highlighted among others, investigations into disappearances and called for the release of imprisoned LTTE terrorists. To enlist Muslim support, the TNA also raised the burial issue and to enlist plantation workers’ support, they demanded for them a Rs. 1,000 salary increase.

Commonly known as P2P, the march originated in Potuvil and ended in Polikandy. After the protesters left the east, the march was heavily infiltrated by LTTE supporters and sympathizers. A hundred red and yellow flags without the Tiger emblem were paraded. The rally ended with protesters saluting Millar, the first LTTE suicide terrorist and Thileepan, an LTTE leader.

 In parallel, the LTTE international network staged their P2P march in the UK on February 7, 2021. The march was disrupted when the British police stopped the LTTE motorcade in Harrow, Middlesex and noted their vehicle numbers for investigation.

There were attempts to stage P2P marches in Canada, Switzerland, and Australia where LTTE flags were flown, cutouts of Velupillai Prabhakaran paraded, decorated lamps were lit, LTTE slogans sung and other LTTE memorabilia displayed. Police investigations revealed that the LTTE headquarters group and other LTTE entities partly funded the protest.

 The P2P protests witnessed Tamil children carrying LTTE flags including the son of Pulavar alias Thumpan, the deputy leader of the LTTE headquarters group in the UK. An arms trafficker from North Korea, Pulavar was based in Indonesia moving weapons to Sri Lanka. Like most LTTE functionaries that engaged in terrorist support activity, Pulavar masquerades as a human rights activist continued Rohan Gunaratne. In addition to the HQ group, known as World Tamil Historical Society, the P2P has been funded by the Tamil Coordinating Committee, another LTTE front led by Nediyawan.

The current strategy by the separatists is to masquerade as human rights activists and provoke Government overreaction. The LTTE is working both on the political and terrorist fronts. In addition to plotting intermittent attacks, the LTTE network overseas is building a support infrastructure in the north and the east.

The extent to which Tamil and Muslim groups have come together in adversity over this issue is demonstrated by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) sponsored march from the south eastern coastal town of Pottuvil to Polykandy in the north in February 2021, said the media. As they proceeded along the Muslim towns of Kalmunai and Kattankudi, Muslim hoteliers and others stopped the march and vied with each other to serve participants with free refreshments, said the media.

GFT issues statements at every opportunity to keep a high profile. In 2021 Suren Surendiran   issued a statement on behalf of the GTF to mark the 12th anniversary of the final battle in Mullivaikkal The GTF joins Tamils worldwide in commemorating the 12th anniversary of the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka. The final phase of the war is one of the most brutal in recent history and mass atrocity crimes were systematically committed against the Tamil people. It is estimated that 40,000 to 70,000 Tamil civilians were killed in the final months alone, and this constitutes only a fraction of the total deaths, destruction and displacement suffered by the Tamil community during its 70-year political struggle for equality and justice in Sri Lanka.”

The LTTE is remembered and kept alive. C.V. Wigneswaran, elected to Pohottu parliament, first visited the LTTE memorial at Mullivaikkal before taking oaths in Parliament. He vowed before the LTTE memorial at Mullivaikkal that he would fulfill the aspirations of the Tamil people.  He said he wanted to make a commitment at Mulliwaikkal before taking oaths as a member of parliament on August 20. Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, another Tamil politician elected to Parliament, also visited the location with his supporters.

But it is not all smooth sailing for the Tamil Separatist Movement . In March 2021 the British government received a   petition with over 13,500 signatures, calling on the British government to refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court. The UK said that this was not possible, citing insufficient UN Security Council support”. Sri Lanka is not a signatory to the Rome Statute  and it could only be referred to the Court through the UN Security Council, whose members may veto such a referral. What  UK  did not say was that even  if Sri Lanka was referred to the ICC, it had to get past the ICC Prosecutor first, before it goes before the ICC.

The Ministry of Defence issued a Gazette notification  In March 2021, proscribed seven overseas Tamil organizations and  424 individuals living in different parts of the world for terrorism”. However, the media noted, that  these persons and  organizations are located overseas whatever actions they are engaged in,  will continue. LTTE continues to be active even in the in the countries where  it  is banned. So why the proscription?

In March 2021,The Criminal Investigations Department (CID)  filed a B report in Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court against MP C.V. Wigneswaran for allegedly making statements to the media in a manner of inciting racial or religious hatred among ethnic communities. This was based on a complaint made by Attorney Dharshana Weraduwage. Weraduwage had lodged a police complaint urging to take legal action against Parliamentarian C.V. Wigneswaran regarding his offensive remarks.

In his complaint, Weraduwage alleged that Wigneswaran had made offensive remarks through prime time news aired by two private television channels on August 30, 2020.The complainant alleged that Wigneswaran had stated that the  LTTE organization is not a terrorist organization. The complainant further alleged that Wigneswaran had leveled unfounded allegations against the Sri Lanka Army  and that Buddha Statues are being installed in the Northern Province in an arbitrary manner.

The complainant alleged that Wigneswaran had committed punishable offences  under Section 3(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Act No. 56 of 2007, section 2(1)(h) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act and section 120 and 290 (b) of the Penal Code. The complainant urged the police to commence an investigation against Wigneswaran immediately and take steps to impound his passport. This interview can be  seen  in Derana  6.55  news  on   30.8.20. The URL is  https://youtu.be/t0YG9OU1XC4 at 26.12.

 in 2020 Following a Defence Ministry directive, the Northern Provincial Council’s Education Department has written to all schools in the north not to allow school activities that would reflect or inspire” the ideologies of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

In March 2021 Terrorism Investigation Division conducted a raid at an office situated at Navalar Street, Jaffna and arrested two persons for maintaining a website and YouTube channel  promoting LTTE terrorist propaganda. It promoted the LTTE ideology, it carried speeches of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakaran and the symbols of the LTTE terrorist organization. The channel and a website  had been operating for months.  ( Continued)

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