A two-day seminar on the theme 'Problems, fears, needs and aspirations of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka in the post-war scenario', organized by Caritas Colombo-Seth Sarana of the Archdiocese of Colombo, was held on 4th & 5th June 2013, at the Archbishop’s House, Borella.
The seminar was organized by the Director of Seth Sarana, Rev. Fr. Rohan de Alwis and the Staff of Seth Sarana and His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo presided at the Seminar and the discussions held.
Addressing the gathering on the above theme, Rev. Fr. M.V.E. Ravichandran, Youth and Laity Commission Director, Diocese of Jaffna detailing the problems faced by the people said that though the people were resettled, the effectiveness of it has not been achieved due to meager shelter facilities. Widows created by the war and their Children have been very much affected. Programmes conducted by different NGO’s to empower them by giving psycho-social help are restricted by the Government and this has led to suicides, domestic violence, drug abuse, robberies and murder. Ex-militants are still under suspicion and the constant monitoring is driving them to a life of frustration. Their lives are extremely difficult, Fr. Ravichandran said.
Though the development banks, financial institutions and other similar institutions have been opened, the local industries are neglected causing delusion and unemployment among the youth. Moreover discriminative Sinhala settlements and a heavy military presence in Tamil-prone areas is also taking its toll, aggravating killings and sexual harassment.
Outlining further, Fr. Ravichandran said, that the North and East are completely militarized and the presence of the forces are found in every nook and corner. Acquiring of private land by the military in the form of a Buddhist cultural invasion, thereby causing dissent are met with harsh punishment leading to a rule of panic and terror. Independent impartial investigation and justice being meted out, which could partly provide relief to the Tamil community in the afflicted areas.
Thus the most important aspiration of the Tamil community in this country is that they should have a form of governance whereby they will be able to live as citizens of this country, who can maintain their identity. Only an accepted solutions can bring lasting peace in the country, he said.