Tamil Group Says Tamils Suffer for the Tokyo Co-Chairs' Bias

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Tamils for Obama posted a letter to senior diplomats of the four bodies comprising the "Tokyo Co-Chairs" in which the Tamil American group detailed their grievances with the international group's work. Tokyo Co-Chairs is a group of four parties: Norway, Japan, the U.S., and the E.U. who brokered cease-fire talks between the Tamil Tigers and the government of Sri Lanka. Tamils contend that the Tokyo Co-Chairs were not honest brokers because they consistently took actions and positions favorable to Sri Lanka. One reason that bloodshed continues in Sri Lanka is the biased and half-hearted work by the Tokyo Co-Chairs.

Tamils for Obama has written a letter condemning the four Tokyo Co-Chairs for their biased and half-hearted work on behalf of peace in Sri Lanka. The Tamil American group maintains that by conducting an insincere and ineffectual negotiating process the four members actually assisted the Sri Lankan government's campaign of ethnic cleansing.

In the letter, Tamils for Obama explains why they think the harsh judgment of the Tokyo Co-Chairs actions is justified. However, the Tamils begin with praise for the Tokyo Co-Chairs, calling them "sincere, well-intentioned, justice-loving, and humane persons and institutions," but then note that "the well-intentioned work done by the Tokyo Co-Chairs has made this bad situation worse."

Tamils for Obama states that "The flaw in the Co-Chairs work was a lack of even-handedness."

Tamils for Obama gives a number of examples of partiality in the Tokyo Co-Chairs' mediation. These include:

1. After talks between the Government Of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and the Tamil resistance (Tamil Tigers) had gone on for a while, the Tokyo Co-Chairs moved the talks to the U.S. This was convenient for all parties except the Tamil resistance. The Tokyo Co-Chairs invited the GOSL but not the Tamils. In this period of the negotiations, only one side was allowed to speak, or even to be present.

2. The Tokyo Co-Chairs took the GOSL's position--that Sri Lanka could not be divided--from the start and ruled out the Tamil's wish for their own state and with it any compromise position, such as a federated state. The Tokyo Co-Chairs refused even to consider some measure of self government for the Tamils in the negotiation. Since this was the principal goal of the Tamil resistance, ruling out the Tamil resistance's main objective exposed the Tokyo Co-Chairs' pro-GOSL bias.

3. The Tokyo Co-Chairs should have taken a firmer position with the GOSL when the GOSL dissolved their government and fired their negotiating team for even considering the Tamils' proposal for an Interim Self-Governing Authority (ISGA).

4. Despite the GOSL's long history of ethnic cleansing and state terrorism, the Tokyo Co-Chairs consistently and loudly condemned actions by the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) while ignoring atrocities committed by the GOSL.

5. While ignoring terrorist acts by the GOSL, the Tokyo Co-Chairs urged the E.U. to add the Tamil Tigers to their list of terrorist organizations, thus freezing all of the Tamil Tigers' assets in E.U. countries. At the same time the Tokyo Co-Chairs not only turned a blind eye to the GOSL's atrocities, but the Tokyo Co-Chairs' members provided money, arms, and military training to the GOSL's armed forces.

6. In 2002 the Tokyo Co-Chairs brokered a cease-fire between the GOSL and the Tamil Tigers. When the GOSL unilaterally broke the cease-fire, the Tokyo Co-Chairs expressed regret but took no firm action against the GOSL.

Tamils for Obama concludes that the Tokyo Co-Chairs have not been honest brokers. Their actions in mediating talks between the belligerent parties have been biased, showing favoritism for the GOSL. In this way they have assisted in the GOSL's campaign of ethnic cleansing and have worsened the bloodshed in Sri Lanka.

To read the whole letter go to: http://www.tamilsforobama.com/Letters_to_Co_Chairs.html
To read this Press release in Tamil, go here: http://www.tamilsforobama.com/Letters_to_Co_Chairs_tamil.html

Tamils are an ethnic group living mainly in the northeast of Sri Lanka and southern India. They are a minority population in Sri Lanka, and are currently bearing the brunt of a civil war they regard as genocide. One third of the Tamil population has fled the island and formed a substantial diaspora overseas. Tamils for Obama is comprised of Tamils who have settled in the U.S. or who were born in the U.S.

To contact the group, call at (617) 765- 4394 and speak to, or leave a message for, the Communication Director, Tamils for Obama.
http://www.TamilsForObama.com

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