BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE LAST STAGES OF THE MASSACRE OF TAMILS IN MULLIVAIKAL
Successive Sinhalese governments embarked on serious discrimination and violence against the Tamils. The first act of an independent Parliament was to disenfranchise the Tamils in the hill country of Sri Lanka in 1948. In 1956, they made Sinhala the only official language of Sri Lanka, thereby denying jobs to Tamils in the public service – the major source of employment for Tamils. On education, Tamil students were required to get 20% higher grads (marks) than their Sinhalese counterparts to get admitted to Universities (reverse form of affirmative action). When Tamils peacefully protested, they were violently repressed. Major anti-Tamil pogroms took place in 1958, 1977 and 1983. Peaceful methods of pursuing their rights having failed and mainly after 1983 pogrom, Tamil youth took to arms. The struggle through arms for realizing the rights of the Tamils was ended in a battle in Mullivaikal in 2009. The Sinhalese army waged a war with scant regard to the norms of international humanitarian law, and according to UN’s internal review report on Sri Lanka killed around 70,000 Tamils in six months in 2009. In addition, it is also alleged that the army used weapons prohibited by international law.
In September 2008, Sri Lankan military and security forces began a brutal campaign against Tamils. Sri Lankan forces under the command of high level officials conducted ground, aerial, and naval assaults against the predominantly civilian Tamil population.
Credible witness accounts and evidence demonstrate that the Sri Lankan Air Force committed numerous indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks consisting of artillery bombardment and aerial bombing. These included attacks on the government – proclaimed “safe zones” and on clearly marked hospitals, schools and food distribution centers.
As highlighted by the Sri Lankan governments order that humanitarian operations leave the Vanni in September 2008, the government significantly limited food and medicine distribution to hundreds of thousands of displaced Tamil civilians in the area, resulting in severe shortages resulting in malnutrition and starvation deaths. Humanitarian operations came under frequent fire from the Sri Lankan security forces, killing and wounding civilians, including many women and children, and destroying critical humanitarian supplies.Read More