Some Tamils in Sri Lanka are trying to get their lives together after decades of discrimination which continues to this day. But in the Diaspora, maintaining pressure on Colombo is essential. Impunity is not the answer:
Another successful nationwide boycott campaign against clothing made in Sri Lanka was conducted Saturday, September 25, 2010 between 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM local time in several US cities and in London, UK. The United States Tamil Political Action Council (USTPAC) has been conducting Sri Lanka Boycott Campaign in 16 major cities across the US, with the aim of informing the consumers how they can make a difference in a far-away country to end oppression of people based on ethnicity and promote equality. ACT NOW, a human rights group based in London held simultaneous protests in front of GAP stores in six locations to high-light continuing oppression of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka.
The Boycott Sri Lanka rally was joined by hundreds of members, activists and supporters in major cities in California, Florida, Ohio, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington DC. The rally gained significant momentum in California from the students from the Stanford University joining the rally in San Francisco in front of GAP and Victoria’s Secret stores. An activist who joined with the Stanford University students said, “as long as the oppression of the Tamil people and the occupation of their land continue, we will carry on with our anti-apartheid style campaign against the 21st century apartheid regime in Sri Lanka.” He added “We call upon all the US companies that do business in Sri Lanka to pull out, as we see, it is an un-ethical business practice.”
The protesters held signs depicting the genocidal situation in Sri Lanka and calling to check the label and not to buy if it were made in Sri Lanka. The vice-president of USTPAC Dr. Ellyn Shander, leading the protest in New York city stated “It is imperative that consumers all over the world fight genocide and war crimes by boycotting companies doing business in countries with immoral human rights records and blood stained polices of genocide.” The activists passed out hundreds of flyers making the consumers aware of their unintended contribution to an oppressive regime. “We are asking Victoria’s Secret, GAP and other garment companies to get out of Sri Lanka and stop supporting genocide of the Tamil people,” said Dr. Shander, adding “We the consumers can make a difference! We walk in the shoes of those who broke apartheid in South Africa with the boycott of that oppressive government.”