தமிழ்த் தேசியம்

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."

- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

Home

 Whats New

Trans State Nation Tamil Eelam Beyond Tamil Nation Comments Search
Home > International Tamil Conferences > World Federation of Tamils Conference UK, 1988

CONTENTS
OF THIS SECTION
Last updated
05/06/07

Conference Aims & Programme
Message from Velupillai Pirabaharan
India & the Struggle for Tamil Eelam - A.P.Venkateshwaran, Former Indian Foreign Secretary
Sinhala Buddhist Chauvinism & the Buddhist Clergy - Brian Senewiratne
The Tamil Struggle - A Brief Historical Survey - David Feith

India's Influence as a Major Regional Power
and The Reasons for The Indo-Sri Lanka Accord
- A. Jeyaratnam Wilson
Professor of Political Science, University of New Brunswick

Conference Resolutions
Conference Conclusion - Press Release

"The fate of the Tamils
 in Sri Lanka remains
 a matter of
 international concern...": ICJ
 "The Tamil demand for a separate state is predicated on the conviction that as an identifiable people with a defined territory, they are entitled to self determination under international law... Articles 1 of both the Civil and Political Covenant and the Economic, Social and Cultural Covenant provide that 'All peoples have the right to self determination. By virtue of the right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development;'... The Tamils could be considered to be a 'people'. They have a distinct language, culture, a separate religious identity from the majority population, and to an extent, a defined territory... The application of the principle of self determination in concrete cases is difficult. It seems, nevertheless, that a credible argument can be made that the Tamil community in Sri Lanka is entitled to self determination. But ultimately, it will not be the legal principle of self determination which will solve the problem of Sinhalese-Tamil relations in Sri Lanka but rather a willingness on the part of both groups to work out a political settlement. Self determination does not necessarily mean `separation', as pointed out in the Principles of Friendly Relations. It may be exercised while remaining in association or integration with an existing state...What is essential is that the political status of the 'people' should be freely determined by the 'people' themselves... The fate of the Tamils in Sri Lanka remains a matter of international concern."
- Professor Virginia Leary, Report of a Mission to Sri Lanka in July-August 1981 on behalf of the International Commission of Jurists.
 

Ezhuga

Tamil National Struggle
&  Indo Sri Lanka Peace Accord

An International Conference organised by the World  Federation of Tamils at the Middlesex Polytechnic, London
30 April & 1 May 1988


Conference Aims & Programme

The Conference is intended to explore the central issues of the Tamil national struggle and examine the extent to which the Indo Sri Lankan Peace Accord of July 1987 satisfies the aspirations of the Tamils of Sri Lanka, and in particular their claim to the right of self determination.

The Conference is being convened at a time when there are around 125,000 Tamil refugees in India, more than 50,000 in Europe, and more than two hundred thousand in their own homeland in Sri Lanka. Hundreds of Tamils have been victims of extra judicial killings and hundreds more have been subjected to torture. And this assault on the Tamils in the island of  Sri Lanka continues even today.

The focus of the Conference will lie in the area of the interface between politics and human rights. Politics which is unconcerned with human rights becomes a cynical pursuit of power for its own sake. And human rights separated from politics often becomes the platitudinous expression of utopian ideals.

The Conference will consider the need to give the thick edge of action to the comments made by Professor Leo Kruper in 1984 in the Minority Rights Group Report on International Action Against Genocide - comments which have today assumed an urgency and an immediacy in view of the conduct of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in the Tamil homelands in Sri Lanka:

"Genocide continues to be an odious scourge on mankind..,there are also at the present time many immediate issues related to genocide which call for the most urgent action...(such as) the communal massacres in Sri Lanka, in a context of societal conflict which threatens genocide... Some of these genocidal massacres arise out of struggles for greater autonomy, and might be regulated by recognition of the right of self determination...there is a great need for delegations of member States (of the United Nations) with a strong commitment to human rights, and for non governmental organisations with consultative status, to continue their efforts to recall the United Nations to its responsibilities for international protection against genocide and other gross and consistent violations of human rights. These efforts should include...attempts to develop norms...for the exercise of the right of self determination in a decolonised world..."

The Conference will examine in depth the process of discrimination and differentiation which led to the emergence of Tamil nationalism in Sri Lanka, the justification for the armed struggle of the Tamil people, the significance of the 1985 Thimpu Declaration by all the Tamil Liberation Organisations, calling for a political settlement on the basis of the recognition of the right of self determination of the Tamils in the island of Sri Lanka, the international frame of the Tamil struggle and India's role as a regional power, and the reasons for the continued failure of the Indo Sri Lankan Peace Accord to secure peace and the consequences of such failure.

The Conference will also consider the need to give practical effect to the Reports of Amnesty International, the International Commission of Jurists, the Lawasia Human Rights Standing Committee, the United Kingdom Parliamentary Human Rights Group, International Alert, the World Council of Churches, Australian Parliamentary Group of Amnesty International, the Emergency Committee on Sri Lanka, the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, and several other non governmental agencies and independent observers on the gross and consistent violations of human rights in Sri Lanka. In this context, the Conference will consider the need to call upon the international community to address itself to the root cause of these violations -namely, the failure to develop norms for the exercise of the right of self determination by the Tamils of Sri Lanka.

The Conference will consider the need to persuade member States of the United Nations and non governmental organisations with consultative status, that a reluctance on their part to espouse the division of the sovereign state of Sri Lanka, should not lead them to deny the political reality that that there are in Sri Lanka today two nations -the Tamil nation and the Sinhala nation and that a political settlement of the conflict in Sri Lanka can be achieved only on the basis of recognising this political reality. And in this context the Conference will consider the significance of the words of Professor Seton-Watson:

"The belief that every state is a nation, or that all sovereign states are national states, has done much to obfuscate human understanding of political realities. A state is a legal and political organisation, with the power to require obedience and loyalty from its citizens. A nation is a community of people, whose members are bound together by a sense of solidarity, a common culture, a national consciousness"

The central theme of the Conference will be that the Tamil nation and the Sinhala nation may agree to live together by force of reason - but they cannot be compelled to live together by force of arms - and that it is the rejection of reason by successive Sri Lankan governments that has led to, and provides the justification for, the armed struggle of the Tamil people.

The Conference will consider the need to re affirm the reasoned framework of the Thimpu Declaration which called for the recognition of the Tamils of Sri Lanka as a nation. The Conference will focus on the need to secure the right of self determination of the Tamils of Sri Lanka in practical terms, and in this context the Conference will consider the need to secure international recognition of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam as the true leaders of the Tamil national struggle today.

PROGRAMME

SESSION I :

The Tamil national struggle: a brief historical survey - the aspirations of the Tamil people, the process of differentiation and opposition leading to the emergence of Tamil nationalism and the Vaddukodai resolution; the emergence of Sinhala chauvinism, the role of the Buddhist clergy, the vedamathya, the vernacular school teacher and the coming of the Sinhala peasant into the Sri Lankan body politic and the growth of the majority minority complex; the role of the Muslims and plantation Tamils in relation to the struggle.

SESSION 2:

The Dialectics of the Struggle - the contradictions and the emerging consensus: the role of the armed struggle and the role of the militant groups, the role of negotiations and that of the negotiators; the Thimpu negotiations and the failure to reach a political settlement and the reasons for such failure.

SESSION 3:

The International Frame of the Struggle - geo political and socio economic: India’s influence as the major regional power and the underlying reasons for the Indo Sri Lankan Peace Accord; the influence of the super powers and the last colonising power in tine Indian region; other international participants and pressure groups and their possible areas of influence and intervention.

SESSION 4:

The Present and the Future: the failure of the Indo- Sri Lankan Peace Accord and the reasons for such failure as well as the consequences of such failure; the possible future direction of the struggle; the part that the Tamils of Sri Lanka can play, the part that the Tamils of Tamil Nadu can play, the role of the expatriate Tamil community and their area of influence, and the co-ordination of these efforts with those in the forefront of the struggle

Mail Us up- truth is a pathless land - Home