The 2009 Mullaivaikal Genocide has etched an indelible mark on the national psyche of Eelam Tamils. Those were days our people were chased down and murdered, anywhere and everywhere – in their homes, in the street, in the temple, in the hospital, in wedding ceremonies, in tunnel services – there was no place to hunker down; if you were Tamil, no place was a safe haven . The Mullaivaikal Genocide also dismantled the de-facto state of Tamil Eelam and thereby destroyed the political space through which they articulated their political aspirations fully before May 2009. Today, due to the Sixth Amendment, which criminalizes even peaceful advocacy for an independent state, clearly violating the freedom of speech, as well as military strangulation and pervasive racism, the Tamils are not in a position to articulate their political aspirations fully. Thus, new political space emerged transnationally with the formation to the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE).
Following the Mullaivaikal Genocide, the Government of Sri Lanka has accelerated the structural genocide of the Tamils. The Tamils are subject to extrajudicial killing, torture, white van abduction, etc. Tamil lands have been colonized; the Tamil land has been grabbed; Tamil historic and archaeological places have been destroyed; in short, the Tamil’s very right to life, right to existence, is in danger. Not only the Tamils, but also our Muslim brethren have been targeted. The Tamils and the Muslims are made sacrificial lambs for the altar of Sinhala supremacy.
The call of the hour is the establishment of an international protection mechanism. We call upon the state to pone consulates in the North Eastern part of Sri Lanka. We also call upon the special rapporteurs in the UN to request a visit to the North Eastern part of Sri Lanka. Last week, North Korea has agreed to allow the special envoy from Sri Lanka. If North Korean can be made to open its doors to UN special envoys, why can’t Sri Lanka? All that we need is consistent and coordinated action on our part.
Brothers and sisters, due to the lack of political space within the island of Sri Lanka, history has placed the Tamil National Struggle on the shoulders of the Tamil Diaspora. The relevance and importance of the Tamil Diaspora is felt more so now than ever before. The recent statement of the International Community, public utterances of the Sinhala hegemony, and the private communication of our brethren back home demonstrate this.
Starting from the defense agreement between Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom and continuing through Sri Lankan independence and the India-Sri Lanka accord, it is clear that the Tamil National Question has always had an international dimension. Due to Tamil Eelam’s strategic location in the Indian Ocean and the increasing importance of the Indian Ocean attributable to the sea lanes which account for more than half of the world’s container traffic, the Tamil National Question is increasingly becoming an international issue. For us, for the Tamil Diaspora to play an effective role in the international arena, we should become a power center. We need not come under one umbrella, however, we should have a unified political position and coordinated political program. We should set our own agenda, we should set our international strategy, instead of acting on a chessboard set by others. We should shape and determine our future.
While we do so, we should pay attention to the change occurring around us in the international arena. Within the last two decades, 26 new countries have been born. Increasingly, national questions are resolved through referendums; the Kosovo referendum, the South Sudan referendum, the Serbia-Montenegro referendum, the Scottish referendum, the upcoming Northern Ireland referendum, and the upcoming Bougainville referendum are all testimonies to this trend. If the right to choose and decide their own future can be conferred upon the Kosovo people, South Sudanese people, Northern Irish people, Bougainville people, why should the same right not be granted to the people of Tamil Eelam? Are we children of a lesser god?
Brothers and Sisters, the recent EU court decision has pointed out the importance of procedural due process. Thus we should have a unified position that a referendum is the baseline to resolve the Tamil National Question. I call upon the delegates to pass a resolution calling for a referendum.
The Thirst of Tamils is Tamil Eelam.
*The Prime Minister of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) was addressing the Penang International Tamil Conference 2014 held on the 7th 8th and 9th of November in George Town, Penang, Malaysia where he once again laid out the case for a referendum on Tamil Eelam and called on the conference to pass a resolution to that effect.