Many voices being raised around the world calling for a boycott of the Commonwealth Summit being held in Sri Lanka are a clear declaration that Truth and Justice shall not be compromised under any circumstances.
While the support for holding the Summit in Sri Lanka might have been based on short term political interests of some states, the recent calls for boycott are clearly anchored in justice and Dharma, echoing the words of the great Tamil poet, Subramaniya Bharathy, who wrote “The sanctity of Dharma may be gambled away, only for it to ultimately prevail”!
Among the world-wide calls for a boycott, Tamil Nadu was a beacon and shining example of the unmitigated opposition to the Commonwealth Conference and a historic one. As we have said on many occasions earlier, the foreign policies of a country can and will be influenced by its domestic polity. This has been amply demonstrated by Tamil Nadu in relation to India’s foreign policy. It is only due to the opposition of Tamil Nadu that the Prime Minister of India has chosen not to participate in the Summit.
In the international arena, the position taken by India, as the regional power of South Asia, in relation to neighbours such as Sri Lanka is significant, and one that heavily influences other countries in their relationship with Sri Lanka. The boycott of the Commonwealth Summit by the Mauritius Prime Minister as a condemnation of the human rights violations by the Sri Lankan government is a testimony to the fact that Sri Lanka is being isolated in the international arena.
There is a difference between the decisions taken by Canada and Mauritius and the decision by the Indian Prime Minister to skip the conference. The decisions by Canada and Mauritius were made based on policy and principle while the Indian decision was made in order to placate the people of Tamil Nadu. Moreover, India’s announcement that its Foreign Minister will head their delegation has angered Tamil Nadu to the extent that a further motion was passed in the State Assembly on Nov 12, 2013 in opposition to this move by India.
It is with immense gratitude that we welcome this motion and the efforts taken by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Selvi Jeyalalithaa, and other Tamil political leaders along with the student movements who have stood by the Eelam Tamil cause.
The question of whether to isolate an oppressive state or to engage with it in order to effect change has been a perennial one among the states in their foreign relations policies.
There was a time when many states preferred to engage with South Africa to bring about change in its apartheid policies rather than isolate it. However, when those efforts failed to bring the anticipated change, the world community finally imposed sanctions in order to isolate South Africa to the point of bringing down its odious policy of apartheid.
Today there are many States who believe that changes could be brought about in Sri Lanka through active engagement. India holds this position as well. It is due to such a policy of engagement and appeasement that India has been hesitant in arriving at a decision about participation by its Prime Minister at the Summit. Moreover, the appeasement agenda is clearly articulated by India’s decision to still send a high level delegation led by the Foreign Minister.
In the same way as how the engagement and appeasement approach failed in the case of South Africa, so will it be in the case of Sri Lanka. Such an eventuality has been clearly understood and articulated by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Selvi Jeyalalithaa, whose motion on Aug 06, 2011 passed unanimously in the Tamil Nadu State Legislature included a call for economic sanctions against Sri Lanka. In the same vein, we call upon the world leaders to impose a range of sanctions against Sri Lanka today to isolate her from the world stage.
Coinciding with the period of the Commonwealth Summit, many protests and demonstrations are being undertaken in the Tamil Eelam homeland in opposition to the oppressive ways of the Sri Lankan State. The Tamil Diaspora, the people of Tamil Nadu, and many others sympathetic to the Tamil cause throughout the world, are engaged in various acts of protest in support of the campaign of the Tamils in the island of Sri Lanka and in opposition to the Commonwealth Summit in there. We urge our brothers and sisters in Tamil Eelam, Tamil Nadu, and in the Diaspora, to intensify their efforts at this very moment when the attention of world leaders and international media is focused on Sri Lanka and the Commonwealth Summit it is hosting.
The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) stands together with all protesters across the globe in solidarity and with an utmost sense of responsibility. The Thirst of Tamils is Tamil Eelam.
*Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran – Prime Minister – Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE)