"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 

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Selected Writings by Nadesan Satyendra
- நடேசன் சத்தியேந்திரா

Sri Lanka Foreign Minister's 'Internal Matter'

21 February 1997, (from the Tamil Circle)

Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar has matched the genocidal war launched by his Government on the Tamil people with his own belligerence. He told Reuters on 20 February:

"Third parties coming here is absolutely out of the question. This is an internal matter.. several governments, individuals and non governmental organisations had offered out of goodwill to help end the war but…. It (mediation) becomes an interference in our internal affairs and we will not tolerate it at all."

Tamil people will hope that the ‘several governments and non governmental organisations’ who had 'offered out of goodwill to help' will take the Foreign Minister at his word and also stop giving external aid to the tune of more than 860 million US Dollars - which aid has served to prop up and support Sri Lanka’s genocidal war on the Tamil people. After all, as Foreign Minister Kadirgamar has been at pains to point out, the conflict is an ‘internal matter’ and there is no reason why taxpayers in foreign countries should foot the bill for the Sinhala dominated Sri Lanka government’s ‘internal’ military adventures.

Again, hopefully, the United States too will take Foreign Minister Kadirgamar’s warning seriously and withdraw its Green Berets and technical aid. The conflict in the island is an ‘internal matter’ and Sri Lanka, it appears, will not tolerate foreign offers even when made 'out of good will to help'.

However, perhaps even Foreign Minister Kadirgamar will admit that there are matters in relation to the conflict which are not internal. Human rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are not internal matters. The humanitarian law of armed conflict and the Geneva Conventions are not internal matters. Genocide is not an internal matter. It is an international crime.

Under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, acts of murder committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group as such are considered as acts of genocide.

During the period commencing May 1995 and continuing uptodate, the actions of the Sri Lanka authorities in their war on the Tamil people in the North-East of the island of Sri Lanka amount to genocide. The fact of the murder and rape of members of the group, of torture and grave attacks on their physical and mental integrity and of the subjection of the group to conditions leading necessarily to their deaths are clearly proven by the evidence.

Margaret Trawick, Professor of Social Anthropology, Massey University Palmerston North, New Zealand was moved to comment on 28 April 1996:

"I have been struggling in my mind against the conclusion that the SL government is trying to kill or terrorize as many Tamil people as possible; that the government is trying to keep the conditions of the war unreported internationally, because if those conditions were reported, the actions of the military would be perceived as so deplorable that foreign nations would have no choice but to condemn them. And this would be embarrassing to everybody. But it seems now that no other conclusion is possible..."

And, under cover of press restrictions which the Non Governmental Organisation Article 19 has described as going ' far beyond any legitimate interest in protecting national security or public order' Sri Lanka's genocide continues to the present day.

The Commander in Chief of the Sri Lanka armed forces, President Chandrika Kumaratunga and the Sri Lanka government have celebrated the genocidal onslaught on the Tamil people at victory ceremonies evoking memories of earlier conquests of the Tamil homeland by Sinhala kings. They have failed to investigate the genocidal acts committed by their armed forces and para military agencies. They have refrained from intervening to prevent the genocide. The U.S. Department of State, Sri Lanka Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1996 concluded that " immunity for those responsible for human rights abuses remained a problem". The attitude of President Kumaratunga and her Government amounts to incitement to crime and criminal negligence and must be judged as severely as the crimes actively committed by those under their command.

The fundamental rights and freedoms of the people of Tamil Eelam are of direct concern to the international community, which is entitled and duty bound to ensure that these rights are respected, particularly when they are openly breached by one of its member states. Genocide is not an internal matter. It is an international crime - and transcends state boundaries.

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