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Cablegate: Text of Tna Leader Sampanthan's Letters To

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DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INSB, S/ES-CR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF PHUM PTER EAID MOPS CE
SUBJECT: TEXT OF TNA LEADER SAMPANTHAN'S LETTERS TO
PRESIDENT OBAMA AND SECRETARY CLINTON

1. (SBU) During an October 19 courtesy call on Ambassador
(septel), Tamil National Alliance leader R. Sampanthan passed
copies of letters he and other Tamil members of parliament
sent to President Obama and Secretary Clinton in January
2009. The following are the texts of those letters for the
official records. Grammatical and other irregularities in the
originals have been preserved.
BEGIN TEXT OF LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA

Parliament
2D Summit Flats
Kepitipola Mawatha
Colombo-5

21 January 2009

His Excellency Barack Obama
The President of the United States of America
The White House
Washington D.C.
U.S.A.

Dear Mr. President,

THE TAMIL NATIONAL QUESTION IN SRI LANKA

We write to you as the representatives in the Parliament of
Sri Lanka of the Tamil people of the Northeast region
comprising the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri
Lanka-the areas of historical habitation of the Tamil
speaking people. Of the 23 Tamil representatives elected to
Parliament from the Northeast, 22 belong to our party.

May we extend to you our warmest congratulations and very
best wishes on your assumption of office as President of the
United States of America.

Your election to office of President of the USA is a source
of hope, encouragement, and inspiration to all peoples who
seek to be freed from injustice.

We write to fervently appeal that your administration should
address the Tamil National Question that has plagued Sri
Lanka ever since the country attained independence over six
decades ago in 1948. During this period the Tamil people have
suffered much injustice.

May we briefly outline the causes for this conflict and its
continuance.

1. Sri Lanka is inhabited by two distinct Nations of People,
the larger Sinhala speaking people and the smaller Tamil
speaking people. The Tamil speaking people have been an
overwhelming majority in the Northeastern region just as much
as the Sinhala people have been in the rest of Sri Lanka.
Instead of recognizing this reality, the Sri Lanka State
whilst trying to portray an inclusive Sri Lankan civic
identity, in fact is entrenched with a Sinhala Buddhist
supremacist nationalism that wants exclusive control over the
entirety of Sri Lanka. Consequently the Sri Lankan State has
failed to enact constitutional provisions that give the Tamil
speaking people the right to internal self-determination in
the area of their historic habitation-the Northeastern
region. This supremacist form of nationalism has resulted in
the Sri Lankan State altering the demographic composition of
the areas of historical habitation of the Tamil speaking
people through State aided Sinhala colonization. Despite
this, the Tamil speaking people remain a significant majority
in the Northeast.


COLOMBO 00000979 002 OF 004


2. Flowing from 1 above, the denial to the Tamil people of
physical security and the denial of the security of their
homeland; the Tamil people have been subjected continuously
to racial pogroms first in 1956, and thereafter in 1958,
1961, 1977, 1981, 1983 and such violence continues against
the Tamil people up to the present. Following such continuous
racial pogroms large numbers of Tamil people have left the
country and continue to do so.

3. Flowing from 1 above, the discrimination in the fields of
education, public sector employment, health care and social
services, economic empowerment and development, and in the
utilization of the natural resources in the Northeaster
region, to the detriment of the historical inhabitants-the
Tamil speaking people.

4. The prosecution of the war in the Northeastern region,
purportedly to militarily defeat the Liberation Tigers of
Tamil Eelam (LTTE), with total unconcern for the immense harm
inflicted on the non-combatant Tamil civilians resident
therein by aerial bombardment of, and the firing of multi
barrel rocket launchers and heavy artillery into Tamil
civilian populated areas resulting in death and injury to
substantial numbers of Tamil civilians including women,
children and infants, the destruction of valuable civilian
assets both residential and occupational and the inexorable
reduction of a people who have led respectable and contented
lives in their historical habitations to a state of
destitution and penury. It is our submission that the Sri
Lankan State prosecutes the current war in the manner
outlined above in the pursuit of a given ideological
position-the assertion of a Sinhala Buddhist supremacy
throughout the whole of Sri Lanka, and that in order to
achieve that objective a process of Genocide of the Tamil
people is in progress. The media does not have the freedom to
cover the war zone. The United Nations agencies and
International Non-Governmental organizations have been
directed by the government to leave the war zone.
Consequently no independent information is available to the
outside world, thereby facilitating the implementation of the
government's objectives.

5. Sri Lanka's record on human rights is one of the worst in
the Comity of Nations. It consequently failed recently to
succeed in its attempt to be re-elected to the United Nations
Human Rights Council. The repeated requests of the UN High
Commissioner for human rights to set up a UN human rights
monitoring mechanism in Sri Lanka to monitor the grave human
rights situation particularly in view of the prevalent state
of impunity, has been consistently rejected by the Sri Lankan
State. An International Independent Group of Eminent Persons
(HGEP) was appointed consequent to international pressure, by
the government of Sri Lanka to ensure that a local Commission
of Inquiry appointed to investigate certain identified
violations of human rights, functioned in keeping with
international norms and standards. Consequent to unwarranted
government interference the HGEP have withdrawn stating
publicly the reasons for their conclusion that the Sri Lankan
State does not have the political or institutional will to
inquire into human rights violations in keeping with
international normal and standards. Recording of evidence
through teleconferencing was being done in two cases. (i)The
assassination of 5 students in Trincomalee. (ii) The
assassination of 17 aid workers of the INGO "Action Contre la
Faime" in Muthur, Trincomalee. In both these cases witnesses
had left the country consequent to intimidation. The
recording of evidence by teleconferencing has been stopped
due to government interference. Four members of the
Commission of Inquiry too have subsequently resigned
presumably also due to such unwarranted government

COLOMBO 00000979 003 OF 004


interference. A bill entitled "Protection of Victims of Crime
and Witnesses Bill" was tabled in Parliament to afford a
measure of protection to victims and witnesses. The bill has
now been abandoned. The Commission of Inquiry which was the
Sri Lankan State's only visible exercise on human rights has
thereby lost credibility. Extra judicial executions, enforced
disappearances and other grave human rights violations
continue to be a regular feature in Sri Lanka.

6. Sri Lanka's purported steps to evolve an acceptable
political solution to the Tamil National Question are no more
than a mere charade to mislead the international community
into the belief that the State is committed to an acceptable
political solution. On the contrary the Sri Lankan State has
reneged on commitments already made such as the purported
de-merger of the merged Northern and Eastern provinces, which
were constituted as a single politico-administrative unit
under the Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement of 1987, on the
incontrovertible basis that the said two provinces
constituted the areas of historical habitation of the Tamil
speaking people. Sri Lanka seeks thereby to unilaterally
abrogate an international treaty which it cannot do under
International Law. The merger of the Northern and Eastern
provinces was accepted by the international community as the
corner stone of the peace process, and the purported
de-merger is despite the strongest advice by the
international community that the merger should not be
disturbed.

The Sri Lankan State we submit is committed to perpetuate the
ideology of a Sinhala Buddhist supremacy with all its
consequences throughout the whole country. This we submit is
the prime cause of the conflict.

The Sri Lankan State today pursues its policies clearly on
the basis that it is answerable to no one for whatever it
does. This we submit is a very dangerous trend and will
inevitably cause immense harm to the Tamil speaking people
living in Sri Lanka, instability in the region, and promote
majoritarian ethno religious nationalism, authoritarianism
and hegemony.

Consequently, we would like to urge that the policy of the
United States of America towards the resolution of the Tamil
National Question reflects the existence of two distinct
Nations of People inhabiting Sri Lanka and where these two
nations are encouraged to associate with one another by
pooling their sovereignties to form the State.

We would earnestly urge you to utilize your good offices to
ensure that the Sri Lankan State in the words of President
Abraham Lincoln "thinks anew and acts anew" to ensure justice
to all its peoples.

Whilst we sincerely appreciate the very onerous nature of the
duties that you have assumed, we seek your indulgence to
state that the Tamils in Sri Lanka face extinction as a
People. In the circumstances, may we most earnestly urge that
our appeal receives your earliest possible attention and that
as a first step to a final acceptable resolution of the Tamil
National Question, the current war be brought to an end.

Thanking you and with our warm regards.

Yours sincerely
(signature)
R. Sampanthan M.P.
Parliamentary Group Leader
Tamil National Alliance


COLOMBO 00000979 004 OF 004


END TEXT OF LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA


BEGIN TEXT OF LETTER TO SECRETARY CLINTON

Parliament
2D Summit Flats
Kepitipola Mawatha
Colombo-5

21 January 2009

Ms. Hilary Clinton
Secretary of State
The Department of State
Washington D.C.
USA

Dear Secretary of State,

THE TAMIL NATIONAL QUESTION IN SRI LANKA

We write to you as the representatives in the Parliament of
Sri Lanka of the Tamil people of the Northeast region
comprising the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri
Lanka-the areas of historical habitation of the Tamil
speaking people. Of the 23 Tamil representatives elected to
Parliament from the Northeast, 22 belong to our party.

May we extend to you our warmest congratulations and very
best wishes on your assumption of office as Secretary of
State of the United States of America.

We annex herewith a copy of the letter we have addressed to
President Barack Obama.

We would earnestly urge you to use your good offices to
address the issues that we have raised in the said letter.
We are confident that during your term as Secretary of State
there can be a turnaround in the Situation in Sri Lanka.

Thanking you and with your warm regards.

Yours sincerely
(signature)
R. Sampanthan M.P.
Parliamentary Group Leader
Tamil National Alliance

(attachment: copy of letter to President Obama)

END TEXT OF LETTER TO SECRETARY CLINTON
BUTENIS

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