Ilankai Tamil Sangam
17th Year on the Web
Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA
Resolutions passed at the 14th Annual ITAK Convention –
by Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi, 27th May 2012, Batticaloa
Meaningful devolution is necessary
Power must be handed over to our people in the North and East of Sri Lanka that is adequate to realize their political, social, economic, educational and cultural aspirations through meaningful, maximum devolution. Although such a political solution has been proposed on behalf of the Tamil people, the national question remains unsolved due to the government’s unwillingness to confirm their position concerning this. The Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi, at its 14th Annual Convention appeals that the government must agree, without any further delay, to a solution that is based on these principles and that also realizes the aspirations of the Muslim people.
Resettlement, Rehabilitation, and the Return of land taken by force
All those of the Tamil and Muslim communities who were displaced from the North & East due to the conflict must be resettled in their places of origin with proper and adequate housing facilities, and be provided with rehabilitation and opportunities to build up their livelihoods. Rehabilitation must be provided for female heads of households who have lost their husbands and thus been left destitute, to children who have been orphaned, and to those who have been disabled due to the conflict. The democratically elected representatives of the people must be included in this process. Adequate financial aid must be distributed without racial, religious, social or political discrimination.
The militarization of the North and East must be brought to an end. An environment conducive for the full realization of the land and livelihood rights of the people there must thus be created. The military interference into the day to day lives of ordinary civilians must be brought to an end. Similarly, military intervention into civil administration of the area must be brought to an end. Human rights violations committed against those suffering in the North and East that continue unabated must be stopped immediately. Military officials, Government agents and other officials of the Sinhala community who are not proficient in the Tamil language must be removed from the North and East. The destruction of symbols of our culture, religion and language must be stopped immediately. The sinhalization of our lands must be stopped and this situation must be reversed.
A speedy solution to the problem of disappearances and arrests
Investigations must be conducted into cases of disappearances and cases of those who have disappeared after surrender. Those responsible must be identified and suitably punished. The affected families must be given death certificates and appropriate compensation. Amnesty must be granted to all Tamil political prisoners arrested and detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and Emergency Regulations, following the examples of the 1970s and 1980s.
Relieving people of the heavy burden of the abnormally high cost of living
While the entire country suffers under the rising cost of living, the living conditions of the people of the North and East who were affected by the war, and who lost livelihoods and income is the most desperate. Steps must be taken to give them relief. Employment opportunities must be provided to the unemployed, particularly to graduates from the North and East. The Tamil people have been badly affected as Tamils constitute less than 5% of the public service. Immediate steps must be taken to raise the ratio of Tamils in the public service to national ratios.
To our kin in the Diaspora
We appeal to our kin in the Diaspora to recognize and understand the political aspirations of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka and support the efforts taken by the representatives in whom the people have placed their trust. We also appeal to our kin in the Diaspora that material and technical assistance for the resettlement of our people are given in accordance with a particular work plan.
To the international community
While thanking the international community for its contribution thus far towards the realization of the political rights and the protection of the Human Rights of the Tamil people, it must continue to protect the Tamil people from violence, and render its assistance towards the secure realization of their political and Human Rights and thus make way for stable reconciliation, fairness and harmony based on justice, truth, and equality.
To the Tamil people in Sri Lanka
While requesting that our people wholeheartedly support the demands we have made in a reasonable manner, we appeal to our Sinhala and Muslim brethren and other progressive influences in this country for their co-operation in this regard.
An international investigation
An independent international investigation must be conducted into allegations concerning violations of Human rights and Humanitarian law during war that ended in May 2009, in accordance with the recommendation of the Panel of Experts appointed by U.N. Secretary General. Similarly, recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission appointed by the President, excluding recommendations relating to accountability, must be implemented. The Resolution passed at the UN Human Rights Council in March 2012 must be fully implemented. It is only if these requirements are met that the country will achieve stable reconciliation, harmony, dignity, equality and peace.
Announcement of non violent peaceful agitation
At this Convention, we have placed very reasonable demands before the Sri Lankan government. The Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi clearly declares at its 14th Annual Convention that if the Government rejects these demands it will launch a campaign of non violent peaceful agitation at the appropriate time in the appropriate manner and work tirelessly until these goals are achieved.