Lancaster, Pennsylvania – report by Nimal Vinayagamoorthy – Chair, Conference Committee
In the legendary city of Lancaster (Pennsylvania, U.S.A) the birth place of Thaddeus Stevens, the immortal 19th century egalitarian and a leading champion for the emancipation proclamation, the Prime Minister of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam, Rt. Hon. Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran solemnly unveiled the Tamil Eelam Freedom Charter in the presence of a host of academics, Human Rights activists, legal luminaries, TGTE MPs, Senators, political pundits, and professionals and a large gathering of Tamils. They have travelled from countries far away as Norway to Australia and India to Italy to be present at this epoch-making event.
Enumerating the Cardinal principles of the Tamil nationhood, historic homelands with the Right of self-determination, the Prime Minister of TGTE Solemnly and eloquently read out the proclamation consisting of 21 articles of freedom. The traditional Tamil drum used by the Tamil Kings in Eelam in the pre-colonial era to herald any news to the people were sounded as a symbol of the heralding of the proclamation of the Freedom Charter.
Speaking on the Freedom Charter immediately after its official Proclamation, Professor Francis Boyle, one of the architects behind its formulation said that “.. Under International laws and covenants the Tamils of Eelam have not only the Right to self-determination but that right also includes the right to establish a free and sovereign State of Tamil Eelam consisting of their historical homelands. …And here I wish to quote from an international treaty to which the government of Sri Lanka is a party, thus implicitly recognizing that the Tamils of Sri Lanka have a right of self determination and this is from the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the government of Sri Lanka is a party. They are bound by their own treaty and it says quite clearly in Article One, “all peoples have the right of self-determination.” The Tamils of Sri Lanka are a people. “By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.” Those are rights that the Tamils of Sri Lanka have today even as recognized by the government of Sri Lanka…”
He explained that “.. Those are group rights and not just individual rights. And those are group rights that must be protected because the government of Sri Lanka has attacked the Tamils as a group, not just as individuals but as a group. So, since Tamils have been victims as a group, they must be protected as a group. And one of the basic rights of all that the Tamils have is this right of self-determination…”
He continued, “Eelam Tamils living across the world must establish social, political, economic and financial structures and institutions as if they are already an independent nation. Do not wait until your territory is liberated from foreign occupation..” He further illustrated that “Territorial claim is only one of the elements of State formation. The TGTE has already taken the right steps to form a government with a cabinet exercising multiform ministerial functions and this is a great march forward in the right direction. In this context your solemn venture and proclamation of the Freedom Charter in keeping with international norms and protocols is bound to receive the recognition and encouragement of other States and nations. Your position as an Observer in the United Nations like the State of Palestine is not far away. Now you must harness all your energies to attain that place ..”
Immediately following the Proclamation of the Freedom Charter, Dr. Nuran Nabi a freedom fighter who was once counted as the brain behind the Bangladesh Mukti Bahini Liberation Front, Dr. Ramsay Clark, former Attorney General of the USA and Hon. Daniel Mayan, a Representative of the newly formed Government of South Sudan reiterated their support to the cause of Eelam Tamils and emphasized the historic significance and importance of the freedom charter.
A two day International Academic conference exploring the means to realize the legitimate political aspirations of the Tamils of Eelam was held prior to the proclamation of the Freedom Charter in the Historic Freedom Hall of the city of Lancaster where Thaddeus Stevens the great Champion of the Rights of the oppressed slaves in America left behind a lasting legacy of advocating for free speech and abolition of slavery already in the early part of the 19th century. It is because of the symbolic importance of this place that the Prime Minister of TGTE chose to unveil the Tamil Eelam Freedom Charter in this legendary city.
Professor Francis Boyle a leading advocate for Freedom to the oppressed national communities was the resource person at this conference at which several research papers on an array of topics related to the Conference were presented by eminent scholars and academics.
Among the research topics discussed were: Eelam –Geopolitical Perspectives by Prof. Manivannan (Chennai), The Future of the Tamils of Eelam by Dr. Brian Senaviratne (Australia), Dialects of Unity and Separation by Dr. Satya Sivaram, Non-Violent Modes of Struggle for Freedom by Dr. Paul Newman, International Crimes Prosecution under Universal Jurisdiction Dr. Alkatout (Germany), Historico-Political Legitimacy for Tamil Nationhood by Prof. Chandrakanthan, (Canada) Inside Camps, Outside Battlefields by Dr. Nimmi Gowrinathan (Canada) The Abiding Spirit of Eelam Tamil Women by Prof. Saraswathi (Chennai), International Protection of Tamil Refugees by Prof. David Matas (Canada), Homeland , Nationhood and Self-Determination by Prof. Peter Schalk (Sweden), Remedial Self-Determination: War Crimes, Military Occupation and Inevitability of Eelam by Prof. M. Sornarajah, Mechanism for Protection of the Vulnerable by Mrs. Usha Sriskandarajah, (Canada), Absolute Sovereignty: A Moot Question by Mr. V. Thangavelu,(Canada), New States: A case Study of East Timor by Dr. David Suntha (UK), and Political and Diplomatic Strategies for Worldwide Recognition of Tamil Eelam by Prof. Frederic Fappani (Switzerland). Professor Sriskanda Rajah from Uppsala University in Sweden was the chief facilitator of this conference and stated that the proceedings of this Conference will be soon on the TGTE website.
The Tamil Eelam Freedom Charter can be viewed at www.tamileelamfreedomcharter.org
By Nimal Vinayagamoorthy – Chair, Conference Committee