Feb 26 2007
We, the Tamil Americans of the great country of the United States, that has historically championed human rights, freedom, justice and peace for oppressed peoples of the world, hereby declare our unequivocal support for the self-determination and political independence of the Tamils in NorthEast Sri Lanka.
Last week marked the completion of five years of the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) between the Tamils and the Sri Lankan state. The agreement, negotiated by the Royal Norwegian Government and supported widely by the International Community, failed to bring real peace to the Tamils. The Sri Lanka government defaulted on its obligations embodied in the ceasefire agreement and on commitments reached in the eight rounds of peace talks held with the Tamils.
Importantly, the half-a-million Tamil people displaced by the war were not allowed to resettle in their homes and rebuild their war-shattered lives in a situation accorded to other citizens of the country. The internationally assisted agreement to share Tsunami aid was not honored. The traditional Tamil homeland of the Tamils in the North and East that was unified under the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987 was once again bifurcated.
Emboldened by the muted response of the International Community to its violations of the CFA, the Sri Lankan State has intensified its campaign to subjugate the Tamils. Despite the ceasefire, over 1500 Tamil civilians were killed and more than 600 disappeared in the past year. Through aerial bombarding, shelling, grabbing Tamil land, and displacing another 210,000 Tamils the Sri Lankan State is now engaged in ethnic cleansing of genocidal proportions.
We Tamil Americans note and respect the legitimacy rendered by the Tamil people to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) by electing 22 legislators of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in 2004. Over 90% of Tamils voted for the TNA on the platform that the LTTE are the authentic representatives of the Tamils to advance their interests.
We commend the LTTE for not retaliating against Sinhalese civilians, despite intense provocations by the Sri Lankan government and its armed forces in terrorizing the Tamil population.
We plead with the International Community to not be an impediment to the Tamil people realizing their self-determination. The just aspirations of the Tamils should not be held hostage by fictitious claims of protecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of a failed state. Rather, the International Community must recognize the current de-facto Tamil state should their authentic representatives exercise the right to external self-determination.
We call upon the US Government to recognize the Tamil struggle for what it is – a legitimate freedom struggle. We should resist the propaganda by interested parties to portray their violence against the Tamil people and their political rights as a war against terrorism. Tamils’ quest for self-rule should be accepted just as much as we yielded to the ultimate wishes of the Kosova people without worrying about Serbian sovereignty.
Finally, we call upon our fellow Americans to stand with the Tamil Americans in support of the inalienable right of self-determination for the kith and kin we have left behind in the Tamil homeland.
Association of Tamil Americans
Carolina Tamil Americans
Center for Women’s Development and Rehabilitation – USA
Ilankai Tamil Sangam – California
Ilankai Tamil Sangam – Florida
Ilankai Tamil Sangam – USA
Ilankai Tamil Sangam – Vancouver-Portland – Washington
Midwest Tamil Sangam – Illinois
Ohio Tamil Association – Ohio
Tamil Heritage International – USA
Tamil Refugees Rehabilitation Organization – California
World Tamil Organization – Illinois
World Tamil Coordinating Committee – USA
World Tamil Women Organization – USA