Tamil National Liberation Movement (TNLM) has questioned the choice of Sri Lanka as the venue for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and called for its expulsion from the meeting in light of the “genocide and human rights abuse” against Tamils in the country during the war against the LTTE.
Even as the Tamil Nadu Government moved a resolution demanding that India boycott the meeting next month, TNLM general secretary Thiagu told a press meet here on Sunday that Sri Lanka should be rejected as a venue, just as its bid was rejected in 2009 in view of war crimes against Tamil civilians. Mr. Thiagu said that Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapaksa has been indicted by various international organisations and media such as the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Dublin tribunal findings and the video footage broadcast by Channel 4.
“The Commonwealth is based on certain values such as pluralism, world peace and the rule of law. Holding CHOGM in Colombo is antithetical to these principles,” said Mr. Thiagu who had earlier been on fast to oppose the participation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the international meet. He added that it was on account of the backing of India and the United Kingdom that Colombo got to host CHOGM this year.
“Tamils in Sri Lanka are afforded no protection as minorities, and the racial regime in Sri Lanka is no different from South Africa’s Apartheid regime,” he said and added that South Africa did not get to host the Commonwealth meet until Apartheid was lifted in the 1990s.
Mr. Rajapaksa “should be brought to book and punished as per the international law of justice,” Mr. Thiagu said at the press meet organised by the Karnataka Tamil Makkal Iyakkam.
Asked about the new provincial government formed by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in northern Sri Lanka, Mr. Thiagu said that the TNA government, much like the other provincial governments in Sri Lanka, had little power and was not much more than an “extension of a local corporation or panchayat.”