The Tamil Civil Society Forum (TCSF) has called upon Pope Francis to visit the war-torn areas in the North and East and visit the survivors of the war against Tamils, as part of his visit to Sri Lanka in 2015.
The TCSF – a group of Tamil civil society activists from the North and East, in a letter to the Pope on Sunday (13) had requested him to openly call upon the Government of Sri Lanka to genuinely address grievances of Tamils during his meeting with President Rajapaksa.
The civil society activists had requested Pope Francis to raise the following issues during his visit:
- Militarisation and colonization of Tamil lands
- Restoration of troop presence in the North and East to pre-war levels and end violence against women
- Genuinely address issues concerning disappearances including that of Rev. Fathers Jim Brown and Frances Joseph
- Release those arbitrarily detained and allow people to mourn their dead
“We have no faith in the Sri Lankan establishment. Hence we urge you to raise these issues during your meeting with the President to that they may receive more prominence,” the TCSF has written.
They have requested the Pope to visit the Madhu church as well as Mullivaikkal and pray for those who died in the war and call for accountability, justice and a genuine political solution.
Meanwhile, the TCSF has also warned Pope Francis concerning the possibility of the government exploiting his visit to further their political agendas.
“While we welcome your visit, which may provide to be a blessing for the war affected Tamil people, the government may use it to boost its standing amongst the international community,” they have written while asserting that necessary steps should be made to avoid such crude political instrumentalisations of his visit to Sri Lanka by the GoSL.