Tamil Self-determination

Policy background

The Socialist Alliance recognises that Tamils are an oppressed nation within Sri Lanka, and supports their right to self-determination.

This means that Tamils should have the right to choose whether they wish to be part of a united Sri Lanka, to break away and form an independent Tamil state in their traditional homelands in the north and east of the island, or to have some intermediate form such as federalism or autonomy.

Regardless of whether Sri Lanka remains a single state or whether the Tamil areas become independent, the rights of minorities must be protected. 

This includes the rights of Tamils, Muslims and other minorities in Sinhalese areas, and the rights of Muslims and Sinhalese in Tamil areas.

The Socialist Alliance calls for full political, religious and linguistic rights for such groups.

The Socialist Alliance demands of the Sri Lankan government:

  • That all Tamil political prisoners be released, including former LTTE fighters; 
  • That the Sri Lankan armed forces be withdrawn from traditional Tamil areas; 
  • That Sri Lankan armed forces bases in Tamil areas be closed down, and the land returned to its rightful owners; and 
  • That the establishment of Sinhalese settlements in traditional Tamil areas cease. 
  • SA demands of the Australian government that it: 
  • Cease deporting Tamil asylum seekers back to Sri Lanka, and give a fair hearing to their claims for refugee status; 
  • Cease any collaboration with the Sri Lankan armed forces and police; 
  • Support the demand for a UN-supervised referendum amongst Tamils on whether they want an independent Tamil state, raising this demand at international forums including the UN Security Council; 
  • Support international war crimes trials for Sri Lankan government and military personnel; and 
  • Demand free access to Tamil areas for NGOs. 

The Socialitst Alliance recognises that while Tamils are the main victims of repression in Sri Lanka, members of other ethnic groups also suffer from murder, unjust arrest, torture and disappearances at the hands of the Sri Lankan government. We therefore support the campaign for democracy in Sri Lanka. 

The Socialist Alliance supports the sporting boycott of Sri Lanka as a means of applying pressure to achieve these aims.