Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK) leaders met here to discuss the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka, and demanded the immediate intervention of the United Nations on the issue of their rights and rehabilitation.
Tens of thousands of civilians were killed in 2009 in the final months of Sri Lanka's 25-year civil war, a United Nations panel said last year, as government troops advanced on the ever-shrinking northern tip of the island controlled by Tamil forces fighting for an independent homeland.
Sri Lanka should ensure government troops who committed war crimes towards the end of its war against Tamil rebels are brought to justice, the U.N. Human Rights Council said in March this year.
The Geneva-based forum adopted a resolution brought by the United States urging the Sri Lanka government to implement the recommendations of an official domestic probe. That commission called for the prosecution of soldiers guilty of misconduct.
The conclave called by the DMK leaders focused on the lack of basic human rights for the Tamils in Sri Lanka. The regional party has been demanding a separate state for the Tamil Eelam.
"This conference is meant to address the issues which are prevailing in Sri Lanka and to protect the rights of Tamils in Sri Lanka. People are deprived of their basic rights, for livelihood even," said DMK lawmaker Tiruchi Siva.
In spite of the Indian Government's help, people there are suffering a lot. So, the motive or the main purpose of this conference is to suggest acceptance of resolutions passed at the Geneva conference, and those countries which were party to that, should take further steps to implement them," added Siva.
The DMK leaders were also disappointed with the lack of support shown by the central government in advertising the case of the Sri Lankan Tamils.
"This is something, which the DMK has taken up for years, and it has fought for the people over there, and sometimes it's been a lone battle, so I don't think it really matters," said Kanimozhi.
The U.N. panel said it had "credible allegations" that Sri Lankan troops and the Tamil Tigers both carried out atrocities and war crimes, and singled out the government for most of the responsibility for the deaths.
Sri Lanka has acknowledged that some civilians were killed in the last months of the offensive, but says the numbers cited by the U.N. panel are vastly exaggerated. It has also said the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam fighters - a group classified as a terrorist organisation by more than 30 countries - often dressed in civilian garb, making it unclear who was a combatant.
Minority Tamils have long complained of persecution by successive governments dominated by the Indian Ocean Island's Sinhalese majority since independence from Britain in 1948. (ANI)