Tamil Diaspora Organizations call for action on the eve of Sri Lanka’s 70th Independence Day

Canberra,London, Washington DC Feb 4, 2018:

On February 4 Sri Lanka marks its 70th year of independence from Britain. Historically, this day has been a painful one for the Tamils both who live in Sri Lanka and those who have been forced into exile by discrimination and anti-Tamil violence. Tamil dignitaries and politicians did not attend the ceremonies celebrating the event from 1972 to 2014 in protest for the exclusion of the Tamil population from the political, economic, and cultural life of the country and the elimination of protections for non-Sinhalese Buddhist communities left embedded in the constitution at independence.Tamil politicians only attended the ceremonies for the past 3 years in recognition of the promises that the current government made about reconciliation, equal rights and a new federal constitution. Progress on these promises has been virtually non-existent and we call on Tamil dignitaries to express their displeasure at such stalling through re-considering their terms of engagement in appropriate ways.Not only has there been little progress on reconciliation, transitional justice and political reform, but serious human rights abuses continue against the Tamil and Muslim communities, as well as journalists, human rights defenders and political dissidents. The brutal security apparatus remains in place, undiminished and unreformed, if not as visible under the current government, but ready to be deployed as those in power wish.>>

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