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Tamils demonstrate in Geneva

About 2,000 Tamils demonstrated in Geneva on Monday, calling for the establishment of a tribunal to judge alleged “war crimes” committed by the Sri Lankan authorities in 2009.

This content was published on March 5, 2012 - 18:08
swissinfo.ch and agencies

The Tamils, who had come from all over Europe, marched from the station to the United Nations headquarters, carrying the flags of Tamil Eelam, Britain and France. They also had placards calling for self-determination.

Tamil Eelam is the name given by Sri Lankan Tamils to the state they wish to create in the northern and eastern parts of the island.

The demonstration was the culmination of a “march for justice” organised by three exiled Tamils who had walked from Brussels to Geneva over the past month.

A statement put out by the Swiss Tamil Coordination Committee said that in the three years that had passed since the Sri Lankan government had announced the end of the war, nothing had been done to respond to the aspirations of the people of Tamil Eelam.

Among other things it called for an independent international inquiry into the “systematic genocide of the Tamils” practised by successive governments, for the withdrawal of the army from the Tamil-inhabited areas of Sri Lanka, and for a general amnesty for political prisoners.

The demonstrators carried placards with similar demands.

A 26-year military campaign to achieve an independent Tamil state was ended by the Sri Lankan army in 2009. It is estimated that up to 100,000 people died during the war, and many fled into exile.

Both sides have been accused of serious human rights abuses. The Sri Lankan government has strongly denied that its forces committed war crimes, and has resisted any international investigation.

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