December 10th is observed as the International Human Rights Day around the world. After the end of the Second World War, the United Nations proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 which was endorsed by 48 countries. The International Human Rights Day was observed starting from 1950. Ceylon attained independence from the British in 1948. However, 1948 also marks the beginning of the oppression of Eelam Tamils by the Sinhalese who continued to use their “majoritarian” power. Eelam Tamils who were the indigenous people of the island were subjected to the biggest genocidal onslaught of the 21st century by the Sinhala Buddhist government. The International Human Rights Day rings hollow to them. Those who lost their homes and lands to the occupying forces, and their loved ones to the abductions by the Sinhala Buddhist army are protesting for over 1000 days in front of government offices and street sides. They are still awaiting justice.
The Human Rights of the Tamils is caught between the competing geopolitical interests of powerful nations and the Sinhala Buddhist government bent on decimating the Tamils in the island.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed so that the humankind can live in peace. However, a vast majority of countries do not seem to respect these lofty ideals. If we go around the world, only a small number of countries seem to abide by these ideals while a large number disregard these ideals.
A Sinhala Buddhist person who headed the chain of command responsible for the genocidal massacre of over 100,000 Tamils in May 2009 has been elected as the President of the “failed State” called Sri Lanka. In addition, the then commander of the Division has been appointed as the Army Commander while another alleged war criminal has been appointed as the Minister of Defense. These acts show that Human Rights is dead in Sri Lanka.
The Sinhala Buddhist government continues to want to subjugate the Tamils under heavy military occupation. The Human Rights of the Tamils continue to be violated while the government is paying lip service to the notion of reconciliation. The government is bent on dismantling the traditional lands of the Tamils by colonizing with Sinhalese. Sri Lanka has violated all of the 30 articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The foundations of the fledgling State of the Tamils such as, land, livelihood, economy, culture, are all being systematically destroyed by the government. Sri Lanka has violated all 30 articles in the “UDHR.” The genocidal massacre in Mullivaaikkaal, the rape of Tamil women and girls, are proof that Sri Lanka is at odds with the UDHR. It should be noted that when a group of people are subjected to persecution on the basis of their language, and ethnicity, their legal right to defend themselves is also protected by the law.
If the rights of the Tamils are to be respected, there needs to be a major overhaul of the political system. It should recognize Eelam Tamils as a Nation with their traditional homeland.
The inaugural address by the current President forewarns the Tamils by proclaiming to develop their lands. In the absence of an educated Tamil workforce, colonization of Tamil areas by skilled Sinhalese will be disguised as “development.” Any resolution of the National Question should recognize the Tamils’ right to self-determination and the geographically contiguous lands. These agreements should be guaranteed by a third government acting as an honest observer/enforcer. After the 2009 massacre and the consequent destruction of the de facto State, the International Council of Eelam Tamils expects all Tamils to come together to formulate an action plan to regain their rights.