Several organisations advocating for the liberation of Tamil people, and for Tamil human rights, marked the Thai Pongal festival today by addressing a letter of request to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
The signatories called on the Secretary-General to support a resolution establishing an international criminal tribunal on Sri Lankan war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide – making specific allegations regarding each. The organisations then requested that the Secretary-General support a UN mechanism overseeing a binding referendum on Eelam Tamil statehood, in accordance with the UN Charter and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
“Eelam Tamils assert that the exercise of our right of self-determination shall occasion an end to the dominion of one nation by another: an undesired unity that allows the anguished inheritance of history’s crimes to endure,” the letter reads. “The invocation of our own liberty is bound together with the promise of freedom to every nation and people.”
The organisations’ letter responded to an invitation from the UN’s Independent Expert on the Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, and author of General Assembly Report A/69/272 on self-determination, Dr. Alfred De Zayas. On November 14, 2017, the day before Sri Lanka’s Universal Periodic Review in Geneva, De Zayas promised to use his good offices to ensure that the Secretary-General would receive the letter.
Sowjeya Joseph, of the Tamil Civil Society Forum UK, said: “Today we celebrate Thai Pongal in foreign countries across the globe, separated from friends and family, because of a genocide that forced our people to live scattered in diaspora. This year, we have decided to renew our efforts to achieve the liberation of the Tamil people. Tamils have the right to determine their own future. We have received an apology from the previous Secretary-General for the UN’s inaction while a massacre took place. We hope that Mr. Guterres will be more proactive in promoting the rights of the Tamil people.”
The Tamil Civil Society Forum UK invited several Eelam Tamil and allied organisations to sign the letter. The following organizations endorsed it: Tamil Civil Society Forum UK (TCSF UK), Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE), People for Equality And Relief in Lanka (PEARL), Tamil Coordinating Committee (TCC), Tamil Movement, and May 17 Movement. The International Council of Eelam Tamils (ICET), and 20 of its affiliated organizations, also endorsed the letter.
The letter is available below: