On 23rd March 2021, the UNHRC passed a resolution against Sri Lanka with 22 countries led by the UK voting in favour, 11 countries voting against, and 14 countries abstaining. There is nothing new in this resolution and it is a weak one when compared to the previous ones passed in 2014 and 2015. The only welcome part is operational paragraph 6, which states:
Recognizes the importance of preserving and analysing evidence relating to violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes in Sri Lanka with a view to advancing accountability, and decides to strengthen in this regard the capacity of the Office of the High Commissioner to collect, consolidate, analyse and preserve information and evidence and to develop possible strategies for future accountability processes for gross violations of human rights or serious violations of international humanitarian law in Sri Lanka, to advocate for victims and survivors, and to support relevant judicial and other proceedings, including in Member States, with competent jurisdiction;
With the USA not being part of the UNHRC, it was the UK which took up the mantle of bringing this watered-down resolution. Today, if the Eelam Tamils are suffering, the British need to own up to their moral irresponsibility of handing over the Tamil areas to the Sinhalese and enslaving us under their rule. Britain has not done any favour by bringing this resolution and in the end, weak resolutions will only provide enough time for the Sinhala regimes to get off the hook and escape the noose.
There is no single word on war crimes and crimes against humanity, forget the use of genocide! The world knows that the Tamils suffered the worst genocide of this century, but everyone shies away from using this word and want to go soft on Sri Lanka respecting their so called “sovereignty”. Are human lives not sovereign?
Tamils who suffered this genocide feel betrayed, lost, frustrated and helpless as justice has been denied to us continuously in the name of geo politics. The UN failed to stop the war and acted against the Tamils by dereliction of duty by escaping from their responsibilities in 2008, when the Tamils needed their presence. Since then, despite all the evidences and proofs, the UN has failed to nail Sri Lanka, and has given them a long rope to walk at the expense of the cries of the Tamils for justice.
India and the resolution
Sri Lanka has always treated India with suspicion, yet one fails to understand how India, which sees Pakistan as enemy number one, has been so considerate with Sri Lanka. In 2009, they had sided with Pakistan and China to support Sri Lanka when the first resolution was passed. Subsequently in 2012 and 2013, they opposed Sri Lanka due to domestic compulsions from Tamilnadu. In 2014, they abstained after speaking for Sri Lanka.
At the 46th session, once again as Tamilnadu faces elections, India decided to abstain due to its domestic political compulsions! One fails to understand how India can be so casual and unconcerned about what is happening in its backyard? The Tamils always trusted India as their own motherland and we believed from the time of Mrs. Indira Gandhi that India would always be favourable to the Tamils because of our emotional connection. The Tamils have been India’s natural allies in Sri Lanka.
It is an open secret that the present regime is close to China and they prefer the Chinese investments and infrastructure over India’s. China has been controlling the Indian Ocean around Sri Lanka, how can India be so disconnected with the reality?
In the past India had intervened at Thimpu in 1985 and 1987 on behalf of the Tamil, even now the 13th amendment is the pet project of India, which has been long dumped by the Sinhala south. In this context in their own interest, the Indians must support and initiate securing Eelam Tamils a permanent political solution which is accepted by the Tamils who have trusted them and are their natural allies.
These betrayals by India time after time is hard for the Tamils to digest and we must realise that it is high time that we should stop imposing our blind faith in India.
Eelam Tamils world over need to unite as one entity and work towards securing justice and freedom by taking an unified common stand and also chart our own course of action rather than being dependent on any political party, state or grouping.
During the time of the armed civil war, it was the unity of Tamils all around the globe that was able to comply the international community to agree to and engage in peace talks with the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government. As such, Eelam Tamils need to unite as one entity and work towards securing justice and freedom.
Diaspora Tamils also need to strengthen the domestic organic struggles of our brethren in Tamil Eelam not just economically, but also supporting their advocacy and lobbying. The struggles of the mothers of the disappeared, the five day march from Pothuvil to Polikandy for justice held across the North and East clearly prove that our people are gearing for a non-violent struggle and are willing to mend fences with the Muslim community. Such initiatives must be encouraged and tapped.
This resolution has once again given Sri Lanka another eighteen months of time to relax and come out with some absurd excuses. Britain, India, the UN, and the rest of the world can wait. Do the victims who have waited for more than twelve long years for justice have the luxury of time to wait? It has also given us enough time to think that we should frame and shape our own destiny and future.
We need to work out strategies outside the purview of the UN as time and again we have been disappointed by the lack lustre approach of the UN and its defunct mechanisms which favour state structures than the victims.
It is time for us to work on improving international diplomacy by taking into account the geopolitical changes and creating strategies comprising of clearly established goals of our demands and expectations accordingly, to procure a long-term political solution.
In future, the Tamils should be well off by preparing their own strategies with a firm belief in consultations, consensus and standing together as one single Tamil community with the strengthened support of global Tamils. Our strength is in unity and we have proved it in the past. Let us not forget that we speak the world’s oldest living language and practise the oldest culture. Our clarion call should be unity, at all cost.
*The Author is a Member of the TGTE and seeks a peaceful political solution to the Tamil Right to Self Determination.