The leader of Tamil National Peoples' Front (TNPF) Mr Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam has welcomed the student community of Jaffna University for taking a well-researched principled position in advancing the struggle of Tamil political prisoners in the island. Mr Ponnamabalam, an experienced human rights lawyer who is also well-versed on the political foundations of the Tamil struggle, was particularly appreciating the appeal document prepared by the Student Union of the Jaffna University on Tuesday. The fact that the University community has come forward to struggle for the right of the political prisoners, legally arguing why Tamil prisoners were entitled to international rights as Prisoners of War under the Geneva Conventions and demanding the most responsible actors to at least recognize them as political prisoners is a “game changer”, Mr Ponnambalam said.
The students have addressed the document to the most appropriate international actors who are morally responsible for the current plight of the Tamil political prisoners in the island, the former Tamil parliamentarian said.
The 5-page appeal, formulated on the basis of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and which was also basing its arguments on the democratic foundations of the Tamil cause, was addressed to UN Human Rights Chief, President of the current cycle of the UN Human Rights Council and particularly to Genva-based US permanent representative, who has been pre-occupied with trading the plight of Tamils in the island to make the SL State an agent State for the geopolitics of the USA.
It is very strong on its fundamentals and very clearly identifies the conflict between the Tamil nation and the Sri Lankan State as an international conflict of colonial rule, he said.
It is also articulated in such a way that it educates the Tamil people themselves who are ignorant of the principles that actually applies to these matters, Mr Ponnambalam said.
“For the first time, particularly since the end of war, we are seeing the Jaffna University student community taking a lead role in what I would call principled politics,” he said citing the significant role of Jaffna University community in the 1970s and in the 2000s.
“One of the main target audience of this petition is the USA. I think it is correct,” he further said.
More than 1,500 Tamil students marched towards American Corner in Jaffna, UN Residential Office and to the Governor‘s Office in Jaffna demanding the UN and US agenda-setters in Geneva to recognise PTA detainees as Political Prisoners.