We demand that Hugh McDermott sustain his support for the Australian Tamil community.

We demand that Hugh McDermott sustain his support for the Australian Tamil community.

May 22, 2020
Petition to
MP Hugh McDermott
Signatures: 145,509Next Goal: 150,000
Support now

Why this petition matters

Hugh McDermott MP: State Member for Prospect – We aspire that you maintain your support for the Australian Tamil community who are attempting to receive justice for the genocide perpetrated against them by the chauvinist Sinhala Buddhist state of Sri Lanka.

MP, Hugh McDermott, the state member for Prospect, NSW, has recently expressed his condolences and solidarity with the Australian Tamil community in his acknowledgment of the Tamil genocide. His statement, however, was met with opposition from the Sinhala nationalist polity who have indulged in a hate campaign against him and his family. 

As Australian citizens of Tamil heritage, we extend our sentiment of gratitude for your solidarity with our community as we're continuously subjected to hate campaigns by the Sinhala polity who paint our quest for justice as "terrorism". On behalf of the 50,000 strong Australian Tamil community, we thank you for refusing to adhere to the Sri Lankan government's propagation that "Tamils are nothing more than terrorists, and terrorist sympathizers who shed crocodile tears"(Malin Abeyatunge, Melbourne author for the Sri Lanka Guardian). 

The Tamil genocide didn't commence in January 2009 as many are led to believe, it commenced immediately after the country's independence when the Sinhala chauvinist polity began subduing its Tamil minority with its political power. As a result, the Sri Lankan government, led by the Sinhala Buddhist majority, attempted to alienate the Tamil population, physically, politically, and economically. They implemented a series of anti-Tamil legislation, hoping to deteriorate the influence of Tamils on the island. They condoned and orchestrated anti-Tamil pogroms and violently suppressed peaceful Tamil demonstrations between 1948-1983. The demand for equality, neglected by the state and opposed through genocidal means, fuelled the desire to flee the island and receive asylum in Australia. During the war, the Sri Lankan Army pioneered the use of rape, torture, kidnappings, indiscriminate firing, shelling, and bombings against innocent Tamil men, women, and children, resulting in the deaths of 150,000 to 200,000 innocent Tamil civilians(At least, 75,000 of which, were killed between March 28th - May 18th, 2009, when the Sri Lankan army forced 300,000+ Tamils to take refuge in internationally recognized “NO FIRE ZONES” and then proceeded to shell them with artillery and other heavy weaponry.

The genocide has been officially recognized in the Canadian province of Ontario, who have recently passed Bill 104, "Tamil Genocide Education Week", where, between May 11th - 18th, Canadian students(Grade 1 - 12) annually learn about the genocide that was perpetrated by the Sri Lankan state against its Tamil population. Leaders in Canada, UK, US, India, and etc, have acknowledged the genocide and have displayed solidarity with their Tamil communities. As such, we aspire that you maintain your solidarity, and future MP's follow in your footsteps.

Navanethem "Navi" Pillay, a South African jurist who served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2008 to 2014 recently expressed her solidarity:

"Vannakam, I join in remembrance of the Tamil victims of the war that ended on the 18 May 2009. Close to 146,000 Tamils died across the six decades struggle for self-determination so on this remembrance day it is important that we honour the Tamil victims and we inspire ourselves to continue their struggle for justice, freedoms, and reparation for their losses. The United Nations investigations determinate that during the war in SL international crimes such as war crimes and crimes against humanity had been committed and yet there has been no judicial mechanism, no perpetrators have been brought to justice, and recently in a cynical move, the President pardoned and released from the prison the only one soldier and army sergeant who had been convicted by the courts and sentenced to prison for killing 8 civilians including a child(Mirusivil Massacre). And he was just released by the President last month. This is a far cry from justice. Tamils in Sri Lanka continue to suffer all kinds of prejudice, discrimination and violation of their human rights. The lands that was stolen from them by the military has not been restored. The Tamil language has now been excluded from the national anthem, in the past it was always two languages. And, almost 200 people are still in detention. This is why, because of the continuing violation of the continuing violations of the rights of Tamils, all of us should join the international community in collective action to realise the rights of Tamils people, to ensure that they have justice and reparations redress in Sri Lanka"

The following is a pre-civil war recollection of anti-Tamil legislation passed by the Sinhala chauvinist state:

Citizenship Act(1948): After the country’s independence, the new government, dominated by the majority Sinhalese, passed the Ceylon Citizenship Only act. The Bill intended to discriminate against Indian Tamils by denying them citizenship, hence, preventing them from voting. Indian Tamils made up 11.7% of the Sri Lankan population in 1948 compared to 4.1% in 2019. The Act specified that anyone wishing to obtain citizenship had to prove that they were, at least, 3rd generation immigrants, which was an impossible task for the majority of Indian Tamils. Those who were, at least, third-generation immigrants rarely had the necessary documentation since they rarely registered births or printed birth certificates, hence, they could not prove they were citizens and were deported. About 5,000 Indian Tamils qualified for citizenship while over 700,000 Indian Tamils,  were denied citizenship and deported. The Act successfully disenfranchised plantation Tamils and significantly dropped the voting power of the Tamil population

Amita Shastri, a political science professor at the University of San Fransisco, stated:

"This orientation was made evident in the citizenship and franchise laws Sri Lanka passed soon after independence to exclude the plantation Tamil workers from the political nation. The actions of the Sinhalese elite led by D.S. Senanayake were loaded with an ethnically divisive content where new laws distorted the pattern of political incentives, alignments, and party competition in the emerging system, and systematically skewed it to favor the most traditional segment of the Sinhalese electorate. This created an intractable dynamic of ethnic outbidding between the two major Sinhalese‐dominated parties to attract the Sinhalese voting base, at the expense of the Sri Lankan Tamil minority. This directly contributed to the latter's alienation, support for secessionism, and the outbreak of ethnic violence and civil war in the 1970s and 1980s"

Sinhala Only Act(1956): By independence, Tamils constituted over 30% of government services admissions, 50% of the clerical personnel of railway, postal and customs services, and 40% of other labor forces. In the 1956 parliamentary elections, the SLFP led and founded by Solomon Bandaranaike, campaigned on largely nationalist policies, and made one of their key election promises. The policy, being severely discriminatory, placed the Tamil population at a serious disadvantage and prevented them from attaining high positions in politics and federal services. Tamils, who once dominated the working class, civil service jobs, and government offices, were now forced to resign from their positions due to their illiteracy in the Sinhala language. Tamils retaliated by staging a peaceful protest and hunger strike in demand for the removal of the act, the Sri Lankan state responded by violenting suppressing the peaceful demonstrators and orchestrated two anti-Tamil pogroms in 1956, and 1958 in retaliation.

Sinhalese academic, A. M. Navaratna Bandara expressed his concern over the acts structural genocide against the Tamil population:

"The Tamil-speaking people were given no option but to learn the language of the majority if they wanted to get public service employment. [...] A large number of Tamil public servants had to accept compulsory retirement because of their inability to prove proficiency in the official language. The effects of these policies were dramatic as shown by the drastic drop of Tamil representation in the public sector. In 1956, 30 percent of the Ceylon administrative service, 50 percent of the clerical service, 60 percent of engineers and doctors, and 40 percent of the armed forces were Tamil. By 1970 those numbers had plummeted to 5 percent, 5 percent, 10 percent, and 1 percent, respectively.

Standardization(1971): The government, led by PM Sirimavo Bandaranaike, implemented a policy of standardization to restrict Tamil students from post-secondary institutions. Sinhalese nationalists and politicians sought to dilate Tamil presence in education, and the civil administration. From 1971 to 1977, the “standardization” policy ensured that the number of students qualifying for university entrance from each language was proportionate to the number of students who sat for the university entrance examination in that language. Meaning, that Tamil speaking students had to score much higher than Sinhalese speaking students to gain admission to universities. Not only did the chances of Tamils to gain access to higher education plummet, but so did the overall process of ethnic relations. The benefits enjoyed by Sinhalese students also meant a significant fall in the number of Tamil students within the Sri Lankan university student populace.
Sri Lankan Tamils made up over 70% of university students in the country. Tamils constituted 35% and over 45% of students in Medical schools. The act significantly dropped the number of Tamils enrolled in universities on the island. The University admissions process in 1971 was calculated considerably based on the language of said applicant. Numbers of allocations were proportional to the number of participants who sat to the examination in that language. In 1969, the Northern province, which is 94% Tamil and makes up 7% of the general population, provided 27.5 percent of the entrants to science-based courses in Sri Lankan universities, standardization had reduced this to 7%. However, the hardest hit population group were the Tamils in the Western provinces, Colombo and etc, which was reduced to 26% from 69%. 

Sinhalese historian, C.R. de Silva, states:
“By 1977 the issue of university admissions had become a focal point of the conflict between the government and Tamil leaders. Tamil youth, embittered by what they considered discrimination against them, formed the Tamil United Liberation Front(TULF). It was an object lesson of how inept policy measures and insensitivity to minority interests can exacerbate ethnic tensions”

The following is a list of state-sponsored and orchestrated massacres against innocent Tamil civilians by Sinhalese mobs(Funded by the government), the Sri Lankan armed forces, and the Federal Police Force: 

Pre-Civil War(1948-1983): 

1. Inginiyakala massacre ‐ 05.06.1956
2. 1958 anti-Tamil pogrom                                                                                          3. Tamil research conference massacre ‐10.01.1974                                                 4. 1977 anti-Tamil pogrom                                                                                            5. 1981 communal pogrom                                                                                          6. Burning of the Jaffna Public library ‐01.06.1981                                                        7. 1983 Black July riots

Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, recently expressed his solidarity with the Canadian Tamil community with the anniversary of the Black July Holocaust, which many consider being the "Krisitllnacht for Tamils": 

“Today, we remember the thousands of Tamil people who lost their lives and the countless others who were displaced from their homes during the 1983 anti-Tamil pogroms in Sri Lanka. Black July was a week of violent riots and horrific destruction that followed decades of unrest and rising tensions in the country. It led to a conflict that lasted 26 years, killing tens of thousands more people and leaving lasting wounds in communities across Sri Lanka. Thanks in large part to the advocacy of Tamil-Canadians, Canada implemented a Special Measures program in 1983 to welcome more than 1,800 Tamils. We see the resiliency of Tamil-Canadians in the tremendous contributions they make to Canada every day. I extend my deepest sympathies to all those who suffered and lost family, friends, and neighbours during Black July and the conflict that followed. Canada continues to offer its full support to those working toward meaningful justice, accountability, peace, and reconciliation in the country"

Massacres perpetrated by the government against innocent Tamil civilians during the civil war(1983-2009): 

Thirunelveli massacre ‐ 24, 25.07.1983

Sampalthoddam massacre ‐ 1984

Chunnakam Police station massacre ‐08.01.1984

Chunnakam market massacre ‐ 28.03.1984

Mathawachchi – Rampawa ‐ September 1984

Point Pedro – Thikkam massacre ‐ 16.09.1984

Othiyamalai massacre ‐ 01.12.1984

Kumulamunai massacre ‐ 02.12.1984

Cheddikulam massacre ‐ 02.12.1984

Manalaru massacre ‐ 03.12.1984

Blood soaked Mannar ‐ 04.12.1984

Kokkilai‐Kokkuthoduvai massacre ‐ 15.12.1984

Vankalai church massacre ‐ 06.01.1986

Mulliyavalai massacre ‐ 16.01.1985

Vaddakandal massacre ‐ 30.01.1985

Puthukkidiyiruppu Iyankovilady massacre 21.04.1985

Trincomalee massacres in 1985

Valvai‐85 massacre 10.05.1985

Kumuthini Boat massacre 15.05.1985

Kiliveddi massacre in 1985

Thiriyai massacre ‐ 08.06.1985

Sampaltivu ‐ 04 to 09.08.1985

Veeramunai massacre ‐ 20.06.1990

Nilaveli massacre 16.09.1985

Piramanthanaru massacre ‐ 02.10.1985

Kanthalai‐85 massacre ‐ 09.11.1985

Muthur Kadatkaraichenai ‐ 08, 09, 10.11.1985

Periyapullumalai massacre in 1986

Kilinochchi Railway Station massacre ‐ 25.01.1986

Udumbankulam massacre ‐ 19.02.1985

Vayaloor massacre ‐ 24.08.1985

Eeddimurinchan massacre ‐ 19, 20.03.1986

Anandapuram shelling ‐ 04.06.1986

Kanthalai‐86 massacre ‐ 04, 05.06. 1986

Mandaithivu sea massacre ‐ 10.06.1986

Seruvila massacre ‐ 12.06.1986

Thambalakamam massacres ‐ 1985, 1986

Paranthan farmers massacre ‐ 28.06.1986

Peruveli refugee camp massacre ‐ 15.07.1986

Thanduvan bus massacre ‐ 17.07.1986

Mutur Manalchenai massacre ‐ 18.07. 1986

Adampan massacre ‐ 12.10.1986

Periyapandivrichchan massacre ‐ 15.10.1986

Kokkadichcholai‐87 massacre ‐ 28.01.1987

Paddithidal massacre ‐ 26.04.1987.

Thonithiddamadu massacre ‐ 27.05.1987

Alvai temple shelling ‐ 29.05.1987

Eastern University massacre ‐ 23.05.1990

Sammanthurai massacre ‐ 10.06.1990

Xavierpuram massacre ‐ 07.08.1990

Siththandy massacre ‐ 20, 27.07.1990

Paranthan junction massacre ‐ 24.07.1990

Poththuvil massacre ‐ 30.07.1990

Tiraikerny massacre ‐ 06.08.1990

Kalmunai massacre ‐ 11.08.1990

Thuranilavani massacre ‐ 12.08.1990

Eravur hospital massacre ‐ 12.08.1990

Koraveli massacre 14.08.1990

Nelliyadi market bombing ‐ 29.08.1990

Eravur massacre ‐ 10.10.1990

Saththurukkondan massacre ‐ 09.09.1990

Natpiddymunai massacre ‐ 10.09.1990

Vantharamullai‐90 massacre ‐ 05, 23,09,1990

Mandaithivu disappearances ‐ 23.08.1990, 25.09.1990

Oddisuddan bombing ‐ 27.11.1990

Puthukkudiyiruppu junction bombing - 24.7. 1990

Vankalai massacre ‐ 17.02.1991

Vaddakkachchi bombing ‐ 28.02.1991

Vantharumoolai ‐ 09.06.1991

Kokkadichcholai‐91 massacre ‐ 12.06.1991

Pullumalai massacre ‐ 1983‐1990

Kinniyadi massacre ‐ 12.07.1991

Akkarayan hospital massacre ‐ 15.07.1997

Uruthrapuram bombing ‐ 04.02.1991

Karapolla‐Muthgalla massacre ‐ 29.04.1992

Vattrapalai shelling ‐ 18.05.1992

Thellipalai temple bombing ‐ 30.05.199

Mailanthai massacre ‐ 09.08.1992

Kilali massacre ‐1992, 1993

Maaththalan bombing ‐ 18.09.1993

Chavakachcheri‐Sangaththanai bombing ‐ 28.09.1993

Kokuvil temple bombing ‐ 29.09.1993

Kurunagar church bombing ‐ 13.11.1993

Chundikulam‐94 massacre ‐ 18.02.1994

Navali church massacre ‐ 09.07.1995

Nagarkovil bombing ‐ 22.05.1995

Chemmani mass graves in 1996

Kilinochchi town massacre ‐ 1996‐1998

Kumarapuram massacre ‐ 11.02.1996

Nachchikuda strafing ‐ 16.03.1996

Thambirai market bombing ‐ 17.05.1996

Mallavi bombing ‐ 24.07.1996

Kaithady Krishanthi massacre ‐ 07.09.1996

Pannankandy massacre ‐ 05.07.1997

Konavil bombing ‐ 27.09.1996

Vavunikulam massacre ‐ 26‐09‐1996, 15‐08‐1997

Mullivaikal bombing ‐ 13.05.1997

Mankulam shelling ‐ 08.06.1997

Thampalakamam‐98 massacre ‐ 01.02.1998

Old Vaddakachchi bombing ‐ 26.03.1998

Suthanthirapuram massacre ‐ 10.06.1998

Visuvamadhu shelling ‐ 25.11.1998

Chundikulam‐98 bombing 02.12.1998

 Manthuvil bombing ‐ 15.09.1999

Palinagar bombing and shelling ‐ 03.09.1999

Madhu church massacre ‐ 20.11.1999 .

Mirusuvil massacre ‐ 19.12.2000

Pesalai housing scheme massacre – 23 December 2005

Trincomalee students massacre – 2 January 2006

Manipay family massacre – 24 January 2006

TRO employees disappearance –29 January 2006

Trincomalee riots – 12 April 2006

Puthoor massacre – 18 April 2006

Muthur bombing – 25 April 2006

Uthayan Daily Press Office attack – 2 May 2006

Nelliyadi massacre – 4 May 2006

Manthuvil Temple massacre – 6 May 2006

Allaipiddy massacre – 13 May 2006

Vadamunai pressure mine – 7 June 2006

Vankalai family massacre – 8 June 2006

Kaithady mass grave – 6,7,8 June 2006

Pesalai church massacre – 17 June 2006

Action Faim INGO staff massacre – 5 August 2006

Nedunkerni ambulance claymore – 8 August 2006

Eastern bombing and shelling – August - December 2006

Allaipiddy shelling - 13 August 2006

Senchcholai orphanage bombing – 14 August 2006

Pottuvil massacre – 17 September 2006

PTK bombing - 16 October 2006

Kilinochchi hospital precicnts bombing – 2 November 2006

Vavuniya Agriculture School massacre – 18 November 2006

Padahuthurai bombing – 2 January 2007

Silavathurai claymore attack – 2 September 2007

Periyamadu shelling – 25 October 2007

Tharmapuram bombing – 25 November 2007

Iyankulam claymore attack – 27 November 2007

Madhu school bus bombing - 29 January 2008

Kiranchi bombing – 22 February 2008

Murukandy claymore attack – 23 May 2008

Nahathambiran temple pilgrim claymore attack

PTK bombing – 15 June 2008

Mullaitivu petrol station and bus depot bombing - 2 January 2009

Thevipuram and Vaddakachchi shelling - 8 January 2009

Tharmapuram Hospital shelling - 8 January 2009

Visuamadu shelling - 17-20 January 2009

Suthanthirapuram, Thevipuram, Udayarkattu and Vallipuram shelling - 20 January 2009

Vallipuram Hospital shelling - 22 January 2009

Suthanthirapuram shelling - 24 January 2009

Suthanthirapuram and Udayarkattu shelling - 26 January 2009

Puthukkudiyiruppu shelling - 26-31 January 2009

Udayaarkaddu Hospital shelling - 26 January 2009

Puthukkudiyiruppu Hospital shelling - 1-3 February 2009

Suthanthirapuram shelling - 3 February 2009

Ponnambalam Memorial Hospital bombing - 5-6 February 2009

Mahtalan, Moongilaru, Suthanthirapuram, Thevipuram, Udayarkattu and Vallipuram shelling - 6 February 2009

Puthukkudiyiruppu shelling - 7 February 2009

Putumattalan shelling - 7 February 2009

Suthanthirapuram shelling - 7 February 2009

Devipuram shelling - 9 February 2009

Pokkanai bombing - 9 February 2009

Mattalan shelling - 9 February 2009

Mattalan, Thevipuram and Vallipuram shelling - 11-12 February 2009

Iranaipalai shelling - 13 February 2009

Puthukkudiyiruppu Hospital shelling - 13 February 2009

Thevipuram and Vallipuram shelling - 14 February 2009

Mullivaikkal and Putumattalan bombing and shelling - 15 February 2009

Valayanmadam shelling - 15 February 2009

Mattalan shelling - 16 February 2009

Valayanmadam shelling - 17 February 2009

Ampalavanpokkanai, Idaikdu and Puthukkudiyiruppu shelling - 18 February 2009

Valayanmadam bombing - 19 February 2009

Ananthapuram, Iranaipalai, Mullivaikkal and Puthukkudiyiruppu shelling - 19 February 2009

Valayanmadam shelling - 20 February 2009

Ananthapuram, Iranaipalai, Pokkanai, Puthukkudiyiruppu and Valayanmadam shelling - 20 February 2009

Ampalavanpokkanai, Mattalan, Mullivaikkal, Pokkanai and Valayanmadam shelling - 21 February 2009

Ananthapuram and Iranaipalai shelling - 21 February 2009

Iranaipalai shelling - 23 February 2009

Puthukkudiyiruppu bombing and shelling - 25-26 February 2009

Ampalavakanai shelling - 4 March 2009

Mattalan and Valayanmadam shelling - 5 - 7 March 2009

No Fire Zone shelling- 12 March - May 18 2009

Mattalan, Mullivaikkal and Pokkanai shelling - 13 March 2009

Valayanmadam bombing - 17 March 2009

Valayanmadam shelling - 20 March 2009

Mullivaikkal, Putumattalan and Valayanmadam shelling - 2 March 2009

Pokkanai shelling - 7 - 19 April 2009

Pokkanai shelling - April 2009

Valayanmadam makeshift hospital bombing - 21 April 2009

Valayanmadam shelling - 23 April 2009

After the war, 200,000 Tamil civilians were imprisoned in government internment camps. The camps were infamous for indulging in acts of rape against Tamil women, malnutrition, and disease, resulting in the suicides of many Tamils and the disappearance of over 20,000 Tamils, the families of which, have continuously protested for over 1000 days in demand of their whereabouts and an official response from the government, both of which, have not happened. 

Sri Lanka is a genocidal state controlled by the Sinhala Buddhist nationalist clergy who continue to conduct a structural genocide against the Tamil people through the ongoing militarization of the North, the state-sponsored destruction of Tamil cultural sites, forced settlements in Tamil majority areas, and the subjection of widespread abuses against the Tamil community at the hands of the army and police force. The recent acquittal of Sgt. Sunil Rathnayake, an army sergeant who conducted the Murusivil Massacre in 2000, which left 8 Tamil civilians(Including 3 children) dead alongside the recent decision by the Sri Lankan government to withdraw the Tamil version of the national anthem and only play the Sinhala version(Despite Tamil being recognized as a national language and spoken by over 3,000,000 citizens). As members of the Australian Tamil community who were lucky enough to flee the genocide and live an equitable and sustainable life in Australia, we not only applaud you for your solidarity but hope that you sustain your sympathy with our community. 

Mr. MP, we thank you for protecting Australian values and your help to rebuild our economy and society during the COVID-19 crisis while standing by the Tamil community who have long been subjected to genocidal ambitions by the Sri Lankan state and its high commission here in Canberra.  

Australian Tamils stand by you and your efforts as proud Australian citizens and hope that you maintain your solidarity and do not succumb to the vitriol perpetrated against you and your family by the Sinhalese chauvinist polity.

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Signatures: 145,509Next Goal: 150,000
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Decision Makers

  • MP Hugh McDermott