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US Congress Members Introduce Historic Resolution Calling for Independence Referendum for Eelam Tamils

Tamil State of the Union - 2024 Library of Congress, Washington DC

Tamil State of the Union - 2024 Library of Congress, Washington DC

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US Congress Members Introduce Historic Resolution Calling for Independence Referendum for Eelam Tamils to Resolve the Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka

Congressman Nickel joined by other Members of the US Congress, introduced a landmark resolution calling for an Independence Referendum for the Eelam Tamils as a solution to the conflict in Sri Lanka.”
— Tamil PAC
WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES, May 16, 2024 /EINPresswire.com/ -- Congressman Wiley Nickel (NC-13), joined by 7 other Members of the House of Representatives of the US Congress, introduced a landmark resolution calling for an Independence Referendum for the Eelam Tamils as a solution to the conflict in Sri Lanka. The Resolution, known as H-RES 1230, urges the US Administration to strengthen diplomatic channels with the Eelam Tamils and calls for the Independence Referendum based on their right to self-determination to find a permanent solution peacefully and democratically.

The Resolution, aligned with the 15th anniversary of the end of the ethnic war in Sri Lanka, recalls the pre-colonization period when the Sinhalese and Tamil people had their separate sovereign kingdoms on the island. It emphasizes the merger of the Sinhalese and Tamil territories in 1833 under a single unitary administration by the British. It highlights the Tamils’ Vaddukoddai Resolution of 1976, when the Tamils asserted their right to self-determination and called for the restoration and reconstitution of an independent, free, sovereign, secular Tamil Eelam as the solution.

It acknowledges that the 13th Amendment to Sri Lanka’s constitution was introduced without any consultations with the Tamils and points to its rejection by the Tamils' leaders as a solution to their aspirations. It observes that the 6th Amendment infringes upon the Tamils’ freedom of expression and claims that the Tamils’ homeland remains a non-self-governing territory.

The Resolution quotes the then Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher’s implicit recognition of the Tamils’ right to self-determination during his visit to Sri Lanka in 2006. Drawing parallels, the Resolution points to South Sudan, Montenegro, East Timor, Bosnia, Eritrea, and Kosovo, where Independence Referendums were successfully conducted with the support of the United States to resolve their respective conflicts.

Heralding the Resolution as a historic milestone, the President of the Tamil Americans United Political Action Committee, Ms. Meena Ilancheyan, said, “This resolution is historic in that it is addressing the origin of the conflict. After 405 years since the Tamils lost their sovereignty to the European invasion, a new beginning towards correcting past injustice has begun. The Tamils are very hopeful now and thank the US Congress Members led by Congressman Nickel for this initiative to bring a permanent solution democratically, peacefully, and rightfully.” She added, “Many similar conflicts around the world have been resolved via the Independence Referendum, and it’s the most appropriate way to resolve this long conflict that killed hundreds of thousands of people.”

Welcoming the Resolution, Dr. Murugiah Muraleetharan, the vice-president of the Tamil PAC, said, “The right to self-determination is international law, and it must be applicable to the Tamils. The Tamils cannot be the exception. The Tamils have not been allowed to exercise their right to self-determination until now. In accordance with international law, the Eelam Tamils are eligible for self-determination and independence.” He added, “The Tamils’ issue is finally put on the right track. The British handed over the sovereignty of the Tamils to the Sinhalese in 1948 without the Tamils’ mandate. It was an improper and incomplete decolonization. The Independence Referendum is the most appropriate democratic, peaceful tool to exercise the self-determination of the Eelam Tamils.”

The Resolution is seen as a major pivotal moment in Tamil politics following years of conflict marred by violence. Fifteen years after the brutal end of the ethnic war, the United Nations Human Rights Council is still attempting to address the genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity charges without any significant progress. The Resolution represents a substantial stride toward ensuring non-recurrence of past violence and fostering stability and peace in the Indo-Pacific region.

Primary tenets of the Resolution include:

1. Urging the US to strengthen diplomatic channels with the Eelam Tamils

2. Urging the US and the international community to work toward a permanent political solution based on the Tamils’ right to self-determination through an independence referendum

3. Recognizing the Tamil Genocide committed by Sri Lanka

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