Diaspora not spared in Sri Lanka

Diaspora not spared in Sri Lanka

14 August 2019 08:06 pm

What is a diaspora? The terminology originated from ancient Greek, meaning to “scatter / spread”.  It  defines a scattered population separated from its indigenous territories, in an unknown host territory where they are cordially welcomed.

When we consider the diaspora originating in Sri Lanka, it can be categorised into two main groups – Sinhala and Tamil. They are both scattered mostly on political grounds based on various reasons.

Every government in power in Sri Lanka tries to show the outside world that Sri Lanka is a peaceful country which has a democratically elected government. Within the last few decades – the UN, the international community, international organisations, human rights activists and the media have published extensive reports and documents about the actual situation in Sri Lanka.

The tyrant regime in power until 2015 was replaced with so-called ‘Good governance” consisting of hypocrisy and softly  spoken arrogance. This is the only difference between the tyrant regime and the present one. We, as close observers of Sri Lanka would like to name the present one as “Government of Indictment only”. Even though the vast majority of cases based on political grounds have been ignored, some cases from killings to corruptions, etc have led to indictment but nobody has been punished. We have many cases as examples.

Even a person charged with accusations of war crimes and corruption is ready to contest in the next Presidential election in Sri Lanka. These things should find a place in the ‘Guinness World Record’.

The Sinhala diaspora from journalists to political activists who sought asylum in foreign countries, based on the hostility of various Sri Lanka governments, go frequently on lavish holidays to Sri Lanka and return peacefully and happily. This is not the case with the Tamil diaspora.

The hereditary land of the Tamils, the North and East is under the rule of the government’s four pillars – Buddhisation, Colonisation, Sinhalaisation and Militarisation. Some Tamil diaspora’s need to visit Sri Lanka is unavoidable. But, their miserable journey starts from their arrival at Colombo airport. If they don’t pay any penny from Immigration to Customs, they are charged on some ground and end up in paying huge sums. Then the transporters, the police from various departments with the support of the members of Tamil paramilitary groups, harass them and some even end up in prison. We can quote many cases as examples of this.

Journalist from Norway arrested

The latest victim is a journalist from Norway, Mr Nadaraja Sethuruban. He attends the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and reports news concerning Sri Lanka to media in Norway and other countries. He visited Sri Lanka on 17th July to have his daughters ‘age attainment’ (puberty) ceremony in Jaffna. Unfortunately he was arrested on 3rd August by the Police in Point Pedro on a fabricated accusation and produced in a Court in Killinochi. He was remanded in the Jaffna prison and released on bail on 6th August.

When one considers Sethuruban’s arrest, it was purely a political revenge on him for two reasons. Firstly, when he was in Sri Lanka, the paramilitary organisation known as the EPDP’s Douglas Devananda was hostile to him. Secondly,  Sethuruban’s presence in the UN Human Rights Council was a threat to the Sri Lankan government.

In conclusion, political revenge and harassments are meted out purely on ‘diaspora Tamils' or Tamils. In this climate, how can any Tamil diaspora peacefully visit Sri Lanka?

This information is for the United Nations especially for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights including all mandate holders, International Human Rights organisations, Human Rights defenders and the media around the world.

The Sri Lankan government bears full responsibility for the safety of Mr Nadaraja Sethuruban and his family until they return safely to Norway.