Tamil Eelam - A Nation without a State
International Tamil Eelam Research
Conference, United States, 1991
International Federation of Tamils
& Department of Government, California State University,
Sacramento, California, U.S.A.
Venue: California State
University, Sacramento, California, U.S.A.
Dates: July 20th and 21st, 1991
Conference Chairman : Professor
California State University, Sacramento
Text of Preliminary Announcement
International Scholars, both Tamil and non Tamil, will participate, in a
research orientated academic conference which will focus on the issues concerned with the
continuing struggle of the people of Tamil Eelam for self determination. The conference
will be sponsored by the International Federation of Tamils, US Section, and the
Department of Government, California State University, Sacramento, California, U.S.A.
Venue: California State University, Sacramento Campus, Sacramento, California, U.S.A.
Dates: July 20th and 21st, 1991
RESEARCH PAPERS ARE INVITED ON ANY OF THE UNDERMENTIONED TOPICS
- the brief explanations to each topic heading are not intended to exclude other
matters appropriate to the topic in the context of the theme of the conference
- a paper may cover all or any part of the matters related to a particular topic heading.
1. Colonial and pre colonial political history of the people of Tamil Eelam
- early growth of the identity and separateness of the people of Tamil Eelam, the
linkage and influence of Hinduism, Christianity and Islam as the three major religions,
the growth of the Tamil language, the shared economic life rooted in land, existence of
Tamil and Sinhala kingdoms, advent of the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British,
influences of Indian national struggle and Tamil cultural renaissance in South India, the
growth of the Sinhala Buddhist identity and its impact on the people of Tamil Eelam.
2. Government sponsored colonisation of Tamil homeland
- the fact of such colonisation, the re drawing of district and provincial boundaries,
the resulting demographic changes , whether such colonisation was a deliberate and
systematic effort of the Sinhala majority to encroach into Tamil majority areas and
thereby hasten the assimilative process, and if so, whether this assimilative 'melting
pot' approach was workable in the case of the Tamil people and the Sinhala people.
3. Legislative Adminstrative & Economic discrimination
- disenfranchisement of plantation Tamils, discriminatory policies in respect of
employment and allocation of resources for agricultural and industrial development of
Tamil Eelam, discrimination in educational opportunities, constraint of development in a
third world economy and its impact on the aspirations of the people of Tamil Eelam.
4. Peaceful protest, Sinhala response of genocidal proportions and rise of militancy
- the non violent protest movements of 1956, 1958, 1961 and 1970 to 1976, the
Bandaranaike Chelvanayagam Pact of 1957, the Dudley Senanayake - Chelvanayagam Agreement
of 1965, the new Republican Constitution of 1972, the Presidential Commission of 1981, the
reasons for the failure of the negotiating process, the increasing resort to violence by
the Sinhala majority - beginnings of militancy in 1972, connection with standardisation of
admissions to University, the relevance of the absence of Tamil participation in the JVP
insurrection of 1971, the origins of the Ilaingar Peravai, the Vaddukodai Resolution of
1976 for a separate state as a response to pressure from the early militant movement -
widespread and deepening oppression by the State, the enactment of the Prevention of
Terrorism Act, extra judicial killings and torture in 1979 and thereafter, violence of
1981, the burning of the Jaffna public library in 1981, the planned attack on the Tamil
people in 1983, and whether cumulatively the attack on the people of Tamil Eelam was
genocidal in intent.
5. Consolidation of the armed struggle and its legitimacy in international law
- initial growth of different militant groups, attempts at unity, limited Indian
support for militant groups, the ideological uniqueness or otherwise of the armed struggle
of the people of Tamil Eelam and whether the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has emerged
as the leaders of the struggle - right of an oppressed people to defend themselves,
whether the cumulative actions of successive Sri Lankan governments and their agents
amount to genocide, recognition of existence of armed conflict within the meaning of the
Geneva Conventions and recognition of the LTTE as combatants in international law
6. Right to Self Determination of the people of Tamil Eelam
- historical, socio-anthropological and legal approaches - are the people of Tamil
Eelam a 'people' within the meaning of that expression in the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, the application of the principle of self determination in a post colonial
world, what does the right of self determination include - does it include the right to
7. World Bank, IMF & Tamils for past 40 years
- increasing dependence of Sri Lanka on international aid, whether international aid
given to Sri Lanka was denied by the government to the people of Tamil Eelam and
furthermore was also channelled to attack them.
8. Economic Viability of Tamil Eelam
- natural resources of Tamil Eelam - fisheries, agricultural products, energy, tourism
- the capacity of the people of Tamil Eelam to build a stable and successful economy, the
material base for the demand for a separate state.
9. Financial Institutions for Tamil Eelam
- Bank of Tamil Eelam, how it may be established (legal framework and functional
structure) and in what way it may directed to serve the needs of people of Tamil Eelam.
10. Political Model of Tamil Eelam
- future needs of the people of Tamil Eelam and the possible political structures for
the independent state of Tamil Eelam, the impact of the armed struggle on such structures.
11. Negotiations with Sri Lanka
- the Annexure C Parthasarathy Proposals, the Thimpu Talks of 1985, the Indo Sri Lanka
Agreement of 1987, the LTTE-Sri Lanka Talks of 1989/90, efforts at international
mediation, whether a mediatory process to resolve the conflict through negotiations should
be structured around the recognition of the right of self determination of the people of
Tamil Eelam, the role of international mediation.
12. International Lobbying
- the need for international lobbying, the limits of such lobbying, the need to
counteract the propaganda war carried out by the Sri Lankan Government, and the
organisational steps that should be taken to secure international recognition of the right
of self determination of the people of Tamil Eelam.