On May 5-7, 2018, academics from around the world came together to take part in the ‘Second International Conference on Tamil Nationhood and Genocide in Sri Lanka’ at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.
This conference, organized by Tamil organizations in Canada whom had a focus on the Tamil struggle, was attended by a wide audience, from young diaspora activists to academics from around the world, as well as those who have lived through the final massacres of the armed conflict.
The conference had a focus on five themes: Sinhala Buddhist ethno-nationalism and its consequences in Sri Lanka, human rights violations and the search for justice, genocide by any other name, diaspora resources and responsibilities, and rebuilding the Tamil nation in today’s geo-political context. A final session was dedicated towards examining the way forward.
Throughout the conference, over 20 contributed papers were presented, all by a number of researchers, distinguished scholars, authors, columnists, and activists. Two keynote speakers addressed the opening sessions on each day; Ms. Anuradha Mittal from the Oakland Institute in California, and Dr. Richard Mann from the College of the Humanities at Carleton University in Ottawa.
Anuradha Mittal stated “this is an international issue of human rights, which requires international solutions and the international community to be involved here” and spoke on the militarisation of the Tamil homeland and the continued occupation by the Sri Lankan military.
Dr. Richard Mann stated “the Sri Lankan government’s constructed definition of Tamils as terrorists, separatists, and anti-national, is an attempt to disguise state violence against the Tamil community in Sri Lanka as anti-terrorists as opposed to state-generated violence, better called genocide.”
Speakers throughout the weekend touched on a range of issues, including on the search for justice, the recognition of the genocide of the Tamil nation in Sri Lanka, the future of the Tamil struggle and post war rebuilding of the Tamil nation. The organizing committee also together brought a resolution to be presented at the Canadian parliament.