Reports and Campaigns
Reports and campaigns:
Sri Lanka: One year after the war
A CONSTANT stream of Tamils flowed into Parliament Square, London, on Tuesday 18 May. Many thousands assembled to mark the first anniversary of the Sri Lankan government's declaration of victory in the brutal civil war that had raged for nearly 30 years. This was an important event, bringing people together in solidarity - and also defiance. Unfortunately, it was hardly covered in the mainstream media.
Manny Thain, Tamil Solidarity national secretary
Several of the speakers in the Square were MPs from Britain's establishment political parties. But none of them have any solutions for the Tamil-speaking people. On the contrary, successive governments have strengthened economic and military links with Sri Lanka.
The leaflet distributed by Tamil Solidarity, for the rights of workers and all oppressed people in Sri Lanka, was very well received.
We put forward he importance of drawing together Tamil-speaking people alongside other working-class and poor who are suffering at the hands of Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa's authoritarian rule.
In Britain, an important part of that is taking the issues into the trade union movement, with the aim of developing direct links between workers.
There has been some media coverage of a report, published on 17 May by the International Crisis Group, which calls for Rajapaksa's regime to be investigated for war crimes, such as the repeated shelling of civilians, hospitals and humanitarian operations. And Tamil Solidarity will continue to do all we can to expose and campaign against the government hypocrisy and repression in Sri Lanka.
For a longer statement on the ICG report: www.tamilsolidarity.org
For the report itself: www.crisisgroup.org
Manchester day of action
TAMIL SOLIDARITY leafleted Manchester city centre on 19 May. With placards demanding human rights and the closure of the detention camps in Sri Lanka, we gave out several hundred leaflets.
A Tamil Solidarity meeting in the evening started with a minute's silence in memory of the tens of thousands of Tamils killed in the civil war.
Lawrence, a Tamil comrade, reported on the magnificent commemorative event outside parliament the day before (see left). He also recalled the highlights in the activity of Tamil Solidarity over the last year - protesting at embassies worldwide, taking the struggle to the European parliament and challenging New Labour government ministers.
A lively and wide-ranging discussion followed, covering the key role of the working class in the so-called developing countries, the prospects for Tamil self-determination, and many other issues.
Our work in the North West continues. We are determined to follow up on trade union affiliations, especially NUT, PCS, Unison and RMT branches.
We will use freshers' week at Manchester University to re-launch our solidarity work there and with the help of a Tamil comrade in Unite, we will organise a photographic and video display of the struggle in Sri Lanka.