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cv wigneswaranThe Real Pandemic for the Tamils in Sri Lanka - Documentary Film Premiere and Panel Discussion were held on September 25, 2021. Justice C.V.Wigneswaran thanks participants:

“I am very pleased to invite all of you to the virtual screening of the documentary ThaaiNilam: Land Grabbing - The Real Pandemic for the Tamils in Sri Lanka. ThaaiNilam contains new information, never-before-seen footage, and interviews; all recorded directly from Sri Lanka’s occupation of the Tamil homeland.”

The screening will be followed by an online panel discussion entitled “Sri Lanka’s Ethnocratic Land Grabs: Methods, Consequences, and Tamil Land Defence.” The premiere of this important film was held via Zoom and Youtube, on September 25, 2021, at 5:30 PM IST (Jaffna and Trincomalee) / 1:00 PM GMT (London) / 8:00 AM EST (Toronto and New Jersey), and lasted for four hours. Details are as follow: The vicious and racist land dispossession activities carried out by the Sri Lankan government for the last 70 years—with the aim of dividing our homeland in the North and East of the island, depriving us of our livelihood, existence and identity—have now intensified.

The situation of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka has become very dangerous and developed into a difficult situation in which we are unable to protect and reclaim our lands. Along with our land, we are rapidly losing our lives and our identity of over 3,000 years. Thus, we are standing at a critical juncture where we have to fight against this land grab by combining all the opportunities, resources and strength we have. Activists all over the world fighting against oppression, injustice and human rights violations must speak out against this colossal repression against us and express their opposition to the activities of the Sri Lankan government and ask that it stops its land occupation and return the lands that they have stolen from our People. Against this backdrop, I have organised a screening of the documentary on land grabbing and a panel discussion with renowned international academics and human rights defenders—to create awareness among the Tamil people around the world and the international community about this heinous violation of our land rights by the Sri Lankan government against us. This event forms the launch of the Our Nilam campaign to preserve the Tamil homeland from Sri Lanka’s land grabs.

The documentary speaks through various sources about the land grabbing that the Sri Lankan government has been carrying out for the past 70 years in the North-East, the native homeland of the Tamil-speaking people of Sri Lanka, and its methods, trends and consequences. I am pleased to announce that veteran politician Hon. R. Sampanthan, former Opposition Leader, Parliamentarian and Leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), who is worthy of my respect and honour, will join me in launching this event.

The list of event participants includes the following. • Keynote address: Prof. Oren Yiftachel, Lynn and Lloyd Hurst Family Chair of Urban Studies, Geography Dept. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Be'er Sheva, Israel • Panelist: Dr MedhaPatkar, Indian social activist and founder of Narmada Bachao Andolan and the National Alliance of People’s Movements. • Panelist: MsAnuradhaMittal, Executive Director, The Oakland Institute, California, USA • Panelist: Professor RamuManivannan, Department of Politics & Public Administration School of Politics & International Studies, University of Madras, Chennai, India • The panel discussion will be followed by a musical performance by Canadian Tamil artist, Shan Vincent de Paul.

This event is organised as a continuation of the international conference held on March 20, 2021, entitled "Loss of the Tamil Homeland: Identifying Issues and Creating Strategies to Preserve Tamil Land”, attended by academics, human rights defenders, and parliamentarians including Dr Navanetham Pillay, former judge of the International Criminal Court and former UN High Commissioner on Human Rights; David Matas CM, prominent international human rights lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize Nominee; Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw, Chairman and Information Commissioner of the Right to Access Information, Sierra Leone, Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of the Oakland Institute, California, Wiley Nickel, former Obama White House Staffer and Democratic Senator for North Carolina and Rajavarothiam Sampanthan, Parliamentarian and former Leader of Opposition, Sri Lanka. I thank you for your participation in this important film premiere and campaign launch.

- Justice C.V.Wigneswaran, Member of Parliament, Jaffna District, Sri Lanka


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