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Let Our People Free: Joint Statement of Tamil and Muslim Parties

Full Text of Statement

The Tamil speaking peoples of Sri Lanka have suffered great hardships for many decades since Independence. They have faced discrimination and had to suffer ethnic riots, pogroms and ethnic cleansing; in the pogrom in 1983 sections of the state were involved. In the last thirty four years Sri Lanka was consumed by an ethnic civil war in which the Tamil and Muslim people and others in the North and East and elsewhere were victims.

The Tamils in particular bore the brunt of the suffering. During the last stages of the war the people of the Vanni suffered traumatic pain which, despite the conclusive end of the war, has still not abated. While we are deeply concerned about the human rights violations everywhere in our island such as death threats, the killing of civilians, and the disappearance of journalists and others, we feel the need to prioritise in this communiqué such collective and unbearable pain of large numbers of our population as compels immediate intervention.

We the undersigned affirm the following and call for an immediate end to these intolerable conditions, and in particular:

• We state that the forcible detention of hundreds of thousands of Tamil citizens of Sri Lanka in camps for Internally Displaced Persons is illegal,

without basis in the Constitution and in gross violation of international human rights norms.

• These people should be released immediately to return to their homes and permitted to resume without hindrance their traditional livelihood activities such as farming and fishing, or to take up residence with friends and relatives, or to exercise their lawful right to abode elsewhere at their discretion. Those likely to face criminal charges should be produced in a court of law without further delay.

• We strongly urge that the camps, for so long as they exist, should be open to
relatives, religious functionaries, parliamentarians, provincial councillors, civil society, UN agencies, journalists, and national and international aid and humanitarian organisations.

• We urge that immediate arrangements be made to allow the Muslim people who were evicted from the North and have suffered acute hardships for nearly two decades to return to their homes and to resume their economic and social activities without hindrance.

• Similar arrangements must be made to re-settle in their original homes all those in the East, who remain displaced and continue to suffer greatly.

• The restrictions on movement in and out of the Northern Province and some
locations in the East should be lifted and the need for permits to enter or leave should be rescinded forthwith. In particular, any form of quarantine of the Northern Province is a violation of basic rights and should be lifted.

• The curfew and other restrictions on normality in many parts of the Northern Province and elsewhere are unjustified and we demand that normality be returned without delay. People in certain parts of the country live in fear, avoid even essential travel, and are inhibited in employment related and social activities.

• We call for an end to military administration and restrictions placed on civilians, and we urge the restoration of full civilian administration to facilitate return to economic and social normality.


V.Anandasangaree
Leader, TULF

Mano Ganesan, M.P.
Leader, DPF

Rauff Hakeem, M.P.
Leader, SLMC

Dr. K. Vigneswaran
Leader, AITUF

R. Sampanthan, M.P
Leader, ITAK, Leader, TNA

3 Comments

How is it that even the laws of the land and the constitution are held in abeyance when it comes to the question of Tamil IDP's? Then who will dispense justice to these dispossessed people? Not the Government of Sri Lanka, nor the President of the land, neither can Parliment nor the courts of Justice.
Then can the ordinary people help their unfortunate counterparts in the North? Perhaps yes we can, by speaking up and exposing the unjust actions of the Government. Actions devoid of humanity, devoid of justice, devoid of compassion, devoid of any human feeling.
If we do not help these people, who will. There is a supreme power, call it God, Nature, Karma. Justice will be done, surely. Then there will be no time to repent and the wrongdoers will be punished. Also we will be punished for our silence.

Posted by: Justice | October 1, 2009 11:52 AM

For the first time in a long time, I am seeing something signed by both Sampanthan and Sangaree.

On this blog, Sangaree's signature comes first and Sampanthan's last. TamilNet has it in reverse. Not sure if the TN editors made the change. I think it matters because it may be relied upon to show who is taking the lead on this issue.

Posted by: Expatriate | October 1, 2009 11:51 PM

There are leaders of political parties and members of parliament signed this statement.Why not they take this issue with the government instead of going to the people? Either they work with the Govt. and find a speedy recovery or come out to the public and propose how the people can help them.
There are several statements but are of no avail.Then it becomes a statement only.We need results not statements.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 2, 2009 12:52 AM

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