Human Rights in Sri Lanka?

This year of the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a poignant one for the Tamils of the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka. Whilst the Sri Lankan government has been celebrating its 50th anniversary of independence from Britain, Tamil people throughout the world have been protesting against 50 years of genocide.

The Sri Lankan army, 99% Sinhalese, is forcibly occupying parts of the Tamil homelands, and there is an embargo on food, medicines and basic supplies to those areas for the Tamil population. Tamils are being tortured, "disappeared", raped and murdered by security forces. The Tamil Liberation Movement is fighting for freedom and to protect the people who wish to live in their own land, Tamil Belam. Areas under Tamil control are bombed from the air and sea by government forces. These are indiscriminate bombings of schools, hospitals and churches: a military strategy designed to break the spirit and political will of the people's call for self determination. In spite of this and the fact that half a million Tamils are homeless, refugees in their own country, the Tamil people struggle on.

The international Commission of Jurists have produced a report stating that, "a culture of impunity has developed" in the government armed forces. Amnesty International has appealed for an independent investigation into mass graves of Tamils in the north of the island which were discovered in July. Five months later, the government has still not permitted this.

The situation in Sri Lanka is rarely reported in a truthful way. The Tamil people ask to be heard and for the deplorable situation that they are in to be taken seriously.

Campaign Against State Terrorism in Sri Lanka (CASTIS), Dept. 131, 1 Newton Street, Manchester M1 1HW