The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) yesterday said that it would continue to take on the Sri Lankan government on multiple fronts. Sri Lanka’s second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Nov 1 would give the GTF an opportunity to confront the ``dictatorial’’ GoSL, UK based GTF spokesman, Suren Surendiran told The Sunday Island.
The GTF recently made its own submission to the UPR process, the official said. "We are part of the review process. Our President Father S.J. Emmanuel will be in Geneva with several others," he said, adding that he, too, would be there.
The recent consultations between the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Indian leadership, too, were part of the overall process aimed at winning the legitimate demands of the Tamil community, the GTF official said. The Tamil community would campaign overseas to propagate the plight of the community in post-war Sri Lanka, he said, adding that the recent affiliation of British Tamil Conservatives (BTC) with the Conservative Party, too, would strengthen their campaign said.
Commenting on TNA delegation led by its leader R. Sampanthan having high level talks in New Delhi, Surendiran said: " India’s interest in Tamil affairs in Sri Lanka is vital in achieving a just political solution for the Tamil National Question, equality, dignity and justice for Tamils. India is not just a regional power, it is growing to be an international power. Having a regional alliance with the Tamil Nation is not just important for Indian security but also significant to establish a stable region.
"For the current Indian Government, the politics in Tamil Nadu is key to sustain the existing coalition and in the elections that are due in less than two years. In those circumstances, it is vitally important the elected representatives of the Tamil people, the TNA, to engage India at the most senior levels of the establishment. We are encouraged by the Indian Prime Minister’s remarks that `India would never backtrack from its position that Tamils in Sri Lanka should lead a life of dignity and self respect in a peaceful environment’ as reported in the local Indian media.’’
Surendiran asserted that their struggle had reached an important stage with the Tamil community making headway on the international front. India’s role in the process would be of pivotal importance. In fact, it could be the most important factor, he said.
He emphasized that the Tamil community wouldn’t give up calling for an international independent inquiry into atrocities committed during the final phase of the conflict. He expressed confidence that the vast majority of people living in the South would support their efforts. Tamil diaspora organizations would continue their efforts regardless GoSL attempts to portray them as fanatics.
Surendiran said: "The diaspora is united in its fundamentals. Therefore be it at the UNHRC or any other international forums we, collectively will continue to demand for an international independent investigation to establish the truth on what happened at the last leg of the war that ended in May 2009. The fact that human rights conditions for Tamils, particularly for young women and generally for the youth has deteriorated since the end of the war will be exposed with credible evidence at every international opportunity presented to us.
"We will continue to work with likeminded and progressive forces in the south to expose the oppressive and dictatorial ways of this regime. We will highlight through constitutional experts and human rights bodies how the basic fabric of democracy is broken in Sri Lanka by the introduction of the 18th Amendment to the constitution and the consequences that are felt at every election process since, the lack respect for law and order, destroyed general governance, the lack of media freedom and most serious of all the interference and subjugation of the judiciary."
By Shamindra Ferdinando
Courtesy –Sunday Island-