Statement by the Co-Chairs gives the Genocidal Government of Sri Lanka the Licence to Kill – British Tamils Forum
Response to the statement issued on 3 February 2009 by the co-chairs (Norway, Japan, US and EU) of the 2003Tokyo Conference on Reconstruction and Development of Sri Lanka
The statement demonstrates that the Co-Chairs are either out of touch or colluding with Colombo to oppress the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil people. Whatever the reasons may be, the statement has shattered the trust that the British Tamils and the Tamil Diaspora have placed upon their respective governments and the trust the Tamils of Sri Lanka had in the international community. British Tamils Forum wishes to urge the international community to understand that today’s statement by the Co-Chairs, will pave the way for the racist State of Sri Lanka to ethnically cleanse the Tamils.
The statement that expresses 'great concern' but no actions except the call for "LTTE to discuss with the Government of Sri Lanka the modalities for ending hostilities, including the laying down of arms" will not bring an end to the suffering of Tamils in the island or a permanent end to the conflict. The statement shows that the international community has not learnt from lessons of the past. During the apartheid regime in South Africa, the ill advised, then UK government’s refusal to impose sanctions made Britain being isolated in the international arena. The lack of political will from the international community to act on time in Darfur and Rwanda which resulted in millions of innocent civilians being displaced and killed. Once again, instead of demanding the aggressor to stop instead the international community has decided to punish the oppressed.The Co-Chairs statement ignores the democratic mandate given by the Tamils of Sri Lanka for the liberation struggle. Through various demonstrations and protest marches, the support shown for the same by the Tamil Diaspora, including over 100,000 British Tamils who turned up on bitterly cold Saturday afternoon in London, only last week to show their solidarity for the liberation struggle have been blatantly ignored as well.
The Forum urges the international community, particularly the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to respect the will of the British Tamils and Tamils around the world.
Once again the British Tamils Forum demands that the international community, including HM’s Government not just to call for a ceasefire but to implement a permanent ceasefire through a United Nations Resolution, instead of placing unrealistic demands on one party to the conflict. We also urge that the international community to send immediate humanitarian relief and calls for immediate political negotiations to begin between the two principle parties to the conflict, which are the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL).
Statement by the Tokyo co-chairs
3 February 2009
The Co-Chairs call on the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka not to fire out of or into the no-fire zone established by the Government or in the vicinity of the Puthukkudiyiruppu hospital (or any other medical structure), where more than 500 patients are receiving care and many hundreds more have sought refuge.
They also call on both sides to allow food and medical assistance to reach those trapped by fighting, cooperate with the ICRC to facilitate the evacuation of urgent medical cases, and ensure the safety of aid and medical workers. The LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka must respect international humanitarian law.
International efforts to persuade the LTTE to allow the civilians freedom of movement have failed. There remains probably only a short period of time before the LTTE loses control of all areas in the North. The LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka should recognize that further loss of life – of civilians and combatants – will serve no cause.
To avoid further civilian casualties and human suffering, the Co-Chairs:
- Call on the LTTE to discuss with the Government of Sri Lanka the modalities for ending hostilities, including the laying down of arms, renunciation of violence, acceptance of the Government of Sri Lanka's offer of amnesty; and participating as a political party in a process to achieve a just and lasting political solution; and
- Call on the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE to declare a temporary no-fire period to allow for evacuation of sick and wounded, and provision of aid to civilians.
The Co-Chairs will work with the Government of Sri Lanka, India, the United Nations and others to ensure:
- The internally displaced people from the north are transferred to temporary camps where UN agencies, the ICRC, and humanitarian organizations will have full access and the IDPs will be treated according to international standards and resettled in their original homes as soon as possible; and
- An inclusive dialogue to agree on a political settlement so that lasting peace and reconciliation can be achieved.