Project Truth seeks to gather evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka. As of September 2011, the government of Sri Lanka has not initiated any meaningful investigation of crimes committed by its armed forces in the final stages of the conflict in January to May 2009. No individuals or parties have been held accountable for the credible allegations of war crimes described by a UN Panel of Experts and reports from watchdog groups like International Crisis Group, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Thousands of Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka are still seeking justice for the crimes committed against them and their families. Click here for more information.
PEARL has launched a campaign to actualize Tamils’ right to self-determination. Tamils have been systematically subjugated by successive Sinhalese-dominated governments since Sri Lanka gained independence 60 years ago. PEARL is campaigning for Tamils to have the opportunity to exercise the collective right to self-determination, enshrined in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and other international covenants and resolutions.
Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions
Thousands of Americans have decided to become conscious consumers. Purchasing products made in Sri Lanka supports the Sri Lankan government in perpetrating human rights violations against innocent Tamils. By boycotting products made in Sri Lanka, individuals can help secure peace and justice for Tamils in Sri Lanka. Please join us in boycotting Sri Lanka.
PEARL organizes national lobby days on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, to educate and mobilize Congressional offices towards a sustainable solution in Sri Lanka. Previous lobby days have been held in conjunction with protest rallies, or in conjunction with semi-annual PEARL conferences. Traditionally, lobby days are held in March, July and November. PEARL’s most recent legislative effort was to send letters to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, urging them to take leadership in protecting Tamil civilians from the Sri Lankan government’s military onslaught. Prior to this effort, PEARL focused on stopping U.S. military funding to Sri Lanka, which it effectively accomplished with Section 699 of HR.2764, which restricted military aid until Sri Lanka met human rights requirements.
PEARL launched PEARL International in the fall of 2008, and quickly tripled its membership. PEARL now has over 2700 members in the United States and over 7000 members abroad. iPEARL mobilizes activists from around the globe to pressure key international bodies, such as the United Nations and the European Union. iPEARL’s focal campaign was to prevent Sri Lanka from gaining a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. iPEARL submitted an official report to the UN regarding Sri Lanka’s egregious human rights violations, ranging from extrajudicial “disappearances” to indiscriminate bombing and shelling to targeted attacks at Tamil community, religious, and political leaders. This report was cited in the UNHRC explication of its refusal to award Sri Lanka a seat on the UNHRC.
Starving for Peace
In February 2009, PEARL launched a 10,000-meal fast to call attention to the ongoing genocide in northern Sri Lanka. Eight PEARL members continuously fasted for 19 days, and were joined by thousands of supporters across the United States and across the world. Through this, media coverage was seen in the Boston Globe, Houston Chronicle, and other major papers. Senator John Kerry (D-MA) extended a personal invitation to one of the eight fasters to attend a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Sri Lanka.
Commemorate Black July
July 2008 marked the 25th anniversary of Black July: the state-sponsored pogrom against Tamils across Sri Lanka. Over 3000 Tamils were killed in ten days of bloody violence, as the Sri Lankan forces instigated, participated, or enabled attacks against Tamil civilians, homes and businesses. Many attribute the start of Sri Lanka’s war to this tragic episode. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of Black July, PEARL organized a rally in conjunction with the U.S. Campaign for Burma, to protest China’s funding of rogue regimes such as Sri Lanka and Burma. PEARL also worked with Congressional offices to introduce a resolution in the House of Representatives to officially acknowledge and commemorate Black July.
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