South African Tamils demand action against Colombo (Lead)

May 21st, 2009 - 9:59 am ICT by IANS  

By Fakir Hassen
Johannesburg, May 21 (IANS) The Tamil diaspora in South Africa has sought strong international action against the Sri Lankan government for “atrocities” against the country’s minority Tamil community.

Mickey Chetty, president of the South African Tamil Federation (SATF), Wednesday called on the UN Human Rights Commission to take note of the human rights violations and crimes perpetrated by the government troops during the conflict with the Tamil Tigers in northern Sri Lanka.

“We detest the vicious atrocities, slaughter and human rights violations perpetrated by the Sri Lankan government who, collectively, must be brought to justice by the World Human Rights Commission,” Chetty said.

The Sri Lankan government announced earlier this week that it had won the battle against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who had been fighting for a separate state for the Tamil people, claiming oppression by the minority Sinhalese.

The military claimed that all the top leadership of LTTE, including its chief Velupillai Prabhakaran, have been killed in the fighting. The pictures of battered LTTE supremo and his son Charls Anthony have also been shown on national televison to substantiate the claims.

Chetty also appealed to all affiliate members of the SATF across South Africa to host memorial services for the thousands of Tamil people killed in the bloody fighting which has brought an end to two decades of civil war in Sri Lanka.

“The Federation and its affiliates also express their heartfelt and deepest sympathy to all the bereaved families, friends and associates around the world who have lost their loved ones in the brutal massacre and treacherous killings of our Tamil people in Sri Lanka,” Chetty said.

Chetty said the SATF had over many years lobbied with the South African government and other authorities, “but sadly our efforts were considered ‘a storm in a tea cup’ when compared against the other evil and wicked forces in world intervention”.

The South African Tamil community makes up about two-thirds of the 1.4 million South Africans of Indian origin, the majority descended from the first indentured labourers who arrived here to work on sugar cane farms from 1860.

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