Genocide Studies Center holds Sri Lanka event in Minnesota campus
During an event on Sri Lanka’s civil war sponsored by Center of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, the Human Rights Center, and the Genocide Intervention Network-Minnesota, and held Wednesday at the College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota, Dr. Ellen Kennedy, the Interim Director for the Center of Holocaust and Genocide Studies spoke of the 25 million IDPs in 25 countries with 425,000 IDPs in Sri Lanka alone. “IDPs own country is responsible for the well being of the IDPs, but it is mainly the same country by its own action creates the IDPs,” she said.
The event was held at the College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota drew academic scholars, students, and activists who sought additional information and wished to be educated about the current situation of IDPs in Sri Lanka.
The University administration said that they received many phone calls from irate callers opposing the event, and several emails in opposition to the event.
Dr. Kennedy led the seminar followed by an educational film “This Hard Ground: Remembering the Displaced.”
Dr. Kennedy spoke of the humanitarian crisis including the laws of war broken by both sides, and on issues related to screening, and confinement of the IDPs. She also spoke of the lack of freedom of movement, access to information, and the violence against women inside the internment camps.
During the event, several Tamils spoke about the injustices they faced growing up in Sri Lanka, and now the frustrations they have waiting to hear from their relatives held in the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) run internment camps.
A senior citizen now, who immigrated to the United States in 1965, addressed the audience on the issue of inequality he endured even though he graduated first in his university.
Several petitions were signed including a letter to Secretary Hillary Clinton and Congressman Keith Ellison, urging more aid from the UN and to urge the US to initiate legal action in the ICC (International Criminal Court) against Sri Lanka’s high level officials for complicity in war crimes against Tamil civilians.
Dr. Ellen expressed the importance of contacting congresspersons to make them aware of the atrocities Tamils face in Sri Lanka.