Hunger strike till death in the UK by Tamil Activist Ambihai SelvaKumar

Mrs Ambihai Selvakumar has begun her hunger strike unto death in the UK. , She requests the UNHRC 47-member state including the Core Group on Sri Lanka to pass a strong resolution in the 46th UNHRC session. Her requests revolve around 4 main demands from referring Sri Lanka to the ICC, establishing an independent investigative mechanism, OHCHR to appoint a Special Rapporteur to continue to monitor Sri Lanka for on-going violations and a referendum to determine the aspirations of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. 


Tamil Solidarity empathises with Mrs Ambihai Selvakumar, other diaspora organisations  and individuals fighting to this day for truth, accountability and justice for the massacre endured 12 years ago. The Sri Lankan government has stepped up militarisation using the Covid situation as cover. But the so-called “international community” continued to turn a blind eye to the atrocities that are being committed. 


Building a strong campaign with political clarity is key if we are to make any progressive steps against the ongoing oppression and injustices of a chauvinistic state that is power drunk on a two thirds majority. 


We respect the dedication and the motivation of Mrs Ambihai Selvakumar. On the other hand we also need to understand that we lack a certain degree of political clarity. Taking Sri Lanka to the ICC is something that is not simply going to happen. 139 countries have signed the Rome statute and Sri Lanka has neither signed nor ratified it. 


The only way to see any light of justice is through a political struggle. If we are to make any progress towards achieving our goal we have to have a clear cut political perspective in place. Pleading with the Human Rights organisation for justice to be served, a body mostly run by the Western capitalist governments only points out our political weakness. 


The UK government is complicit in various war crimes in Sri Lanka committed on the Tamil people. How are we to get justice from a government that aided and collaborated with our oppressors to be the deliverers of justice? Once again it shows the level of political frailty that exposes the many weaknesses the diaspora organisations in GB tend to overlook or ignore. 


The United Nations is just another tool of the most powerful countries to achieve their own profit interests. The Eelam issue is somewhat a bargaining chip for these powerful nations and to think the UN wants to deliver the Tamils is like looking for fools gold. 


Foreign policy is an extension of internal policies. Major changes may have to take place in terms of who rules – or the character of the government that is in place for a favourable foreign policy to be adopted. For that to take place we need to work with our natural allies in our host countries to bring about a political change. Firstly we need to engage ourselves in local politics before we even think of making any kind of impact elsewhere. 


Most diaspora organisations’ political inadequacy in the past twelve years has only added more to the political vacuum that exists. A sense of defeat along with a lack of understanding the basic political perspective led us to choose the path to be at the “mercy” of big powers. This doesn’t have to be like this. A strong struggle can be built. Will the hunger strike unto death gather any momentum? We are yet to see after 8 days of fasting not one mainstream media has picked up on this. That is the nature of mainstream media that only serves the interest of the capitalists.


Organisational strength is vital in building a strong fight back. This is why TS stresses the importance of diaspora organisations building a strong solid foundation around the Tamil population. As mentioned before the UK government kept silent in 2009 when thousands stood outside Parliament protesting. It landed on deaf ears. We should not be ignorant enough to think the UK government would come running to our aid. 


We must build our own struggle. We should come forward to mobilise the Tamil masses for that. Hunger strikes how noble it may be, it has enormous political limitations. Energy and political dedication should be directed in doing mobilisation differently. We wish well for Ambihai Selvakumar and hope she finishes her strike soon to save her health.