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Pasumai Thaayagam speaks on genocide, land grab and militarisation at UNHRC

26 September 2013 Speaking on behalf of the non-governmental organisation Pasumai Thaayagam at the United Naitons Human Rights Council General Debate, Anbumani Ramadoss, outlined the continuing genocide of the Tamil people in the North-East of Sri Lanka.

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Also speaking at the General debate of the United Nations Human Rights Council, a representative of Pasumai Thaayagam, Tasha Manoranjan outlined the on-going land grab and militarisation in the North-East of Sri Lanka. The full statement can be found below. Thank you Mr. President. Pasumai Thaayagam welcomes the High Commissioners visit and oral update on Sri Lanka. We would like to expand on the High Commissioners report on the governments confiscation of Tamil land to build military camps in Trincomalee, Mullaitivu, Jaffna and Kilinochi. The Sri Lankan state has a long history of intentionally seizing Tamil land to re-engineer demographics and permanently marginalize the Tamil people. Successive governments have encouraged and financially incentivized the Sinhalese to settle Tamil lands, and thereby strip Tamils of even the facade of self-determination. However, the Rajapakse regime has taken this strategy to unprecedented

levels. In February, Namal Rajapakse, the Presidents son and a member of parliament, inaugurated a new Army-constructed settlement for 2500 Sinhalese families in the northern Tamil village of Kokkachaankulam. In May, 1474 Tamils filed a lawsuit against the Governments confiscation of their land near Jaffna. The Government now plans to build a 6381-acre Army base there. These new Sinhalese settlements create artificial Sinhalese constituencies and members of parliament, further diluting Tamil political representation. Since the end of armed conflict in 2009, the Sri Lankan Army has forcibly occupied more than 7000 sq km of Tamil-owned land. The army uses this land to run private hotels and businesses even growing fruits and vegetables, which it then sells back to the very Tamil people it displaced. The Sri Lankan governments confiscation of Tamil lands constitutes ongoing structural violence. It is not a haphazard phenomenon, but a central plank in the states genocide of the Tamil people. Therefore, we urge the Commissioner and the Council to investigate Sri Lankas attempts to permanently alter the demography of the island. We echo the High Commissioners prior calls for an international investigation into Sri Lankas war crimes and crimes against humanity, and request that the crime of genocide also be investigated. The Tamil community, nation and very identity may depend on it. Thank you Mr. President.