Since inauguration, GTF has striven to keep Sri Lanka firmly on the international agenda with activities focussed on raising awareness of the on-going plight of Tamils and seeking accountability for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the conflict.
GTF will continue to engage with all Tamil stakeholders and different segments of civil society in Sri Lanka, the Tamil diaspora, governments, international institutions, diplomats, academics, decision- makers and opinion formers to mobilise support internationally and to strengthen the hand of the elected and other Tamil representatives in Sri Lanka, with the objective of achieving justice, peace and a political resolution.
Work with TNA
GTF has developed a strong working relationship with the democratically elected Tamil leadership in Sri Lanka and has actively engaged with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to strengthen their voice in the international arena.
Over the past few years, we have held bilateral talks with the TNA on a number of key issues such as human rights, accountability, reconciliation and the need for a negotiated, political settlement.
GTF and the TNA had the honour of being invited to South Africa in 2012 to participate in the African National Congress’ centenary celebrations. A senior delegation from the TNA, including their leader Hon. Mr Sampanthan MP, attended our 3rd Anniversary Conference in 2013. In the same year, a GTF and TNA delegation visited South Africa and Botswana for high-level talks with key decision-makers on Tamil and Sri Lankan issues, including meetings with the Botswana Foreign Minister, Hon. Mr Phandu Skelemani MP.
We will continue to strengthen our links with the TNA in the months and years ahead. You can find out further information on the TNA via their website: http://tnapolitics.org/
GTF also engages with all Tamil stakeholders and different segments of civil society in Sri Lanka. In addition, we seek to mobilise support internationally for the elected Tamil representatives on the island by engaging with the Tamil diaspora, governments, international institutions, diplomats, academics, key decision-makers and opinion formers.
Four Piller Programme
Our road map to peace is built on a four-pillar programme, which we believe are fundamental to realising our objectives. These are:
1. Seek truth, accountability and justice by calling for an independent, international inquiry into the alleged breaches of international human rights and humanitarian law committed by both sidesduring the war. GTF will support the work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights as it undertakes it investigation in Sri Lanka;
2. Arrive at consensus among all Tamils and Tamil-speaking people, through their political and civil society representatives from Sri Lanka and in the diaspora, in order to articulate their political aspirations through a ‘Common Declaration’;
3. Engage, without prejudice, with the civil society on the island, representing all communities, to facilitate a better understanding of each other’s point of view and aspirations; and
4. Address the socio-economic needs of people living in the war affected areas.
GTF has complied and released compelling evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Sri Lanka. GTF wrote a detailed submission on such matters to the UN Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts inquiry.
We engage closely with key decision-makers and opinion-formers at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and other relevant UN and international forums - GTF’s President, Rev. Dr S.J. Emmanuel has addressed the main chamber of the UNHRC.
GTF has helped to organised screenings of Channel 4’s award winning “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields” documentaries in various parliaments around the world.
Engagement with Sri Lankan, Indian and international mainstream media is key to raising awareness of the situation on the ground in Sri Lanka. A significant part of this programme involves facilitating investigative journalism and exposing evidence of alleged war crimes, despite the challenges arising from restrictions place on access and threats to media freedom and journalists in Sri Lanka.
GTF has received coverage from international media agencies, both in print and broadcast media including CNN, Sky News, BBC, Reuters, Aljazeera and The Hindu, as well as interviews in leading Sri Lankan newspapers, including The Sunday Leader, The Island and Ceylon Today amongst many others.
GTF, through its constituent country organisations, contributes to relief and rehabilitation efforts in the North and East of Sri Lanka.
Advocacy and International Engagement
Our international advocacy and engagement has been crucial in countering misconceptions that the end of the war has brought a just peace to the island and that the political grievances of Tamils, which were the root cause of the conflict, need no resolution. By adopting a well-defined role in international advocacy, GTF has become a credible diaspora organisation, trusted as a partner for peace in the international arena by state actors and key NGOs.
Engaging with the India is an integral part of our strategy, as the country is the regional super-power with increasing global influence and is home to over 70 million Tamils. GTF will continue to engage with all stakeholders in India, including the southern state of Tamil Nadu.
We have secured meetings with the likes of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon; the UK Prime Minister, Rt. Hon David Cameron MP; senior members of the African National Congress and the South African government; Indian Congress President, Sonia Gandhi; US Assistant Secretary of State, Nisha Biswal; Government Ministers and diplomatic staff from around the world, as well as many others.