Appealing for peace in Sri Lanka where hundreds of Tamil civilians have been reportedly killed in the ongoing conflict between Army and the LTTE,veteran American civil rights activist Reverend Jesse Jackson has said that the world has a “moral obligation” to stop the killings.
Jackson who addressed the diaspora Tamil conference in London on Thursday said that “we [the global community have a moral obligation to stop the killings” in Sri Lanka,the Pro-LTTE website Tamilnet said.
The American civil rights activist also raised the need to increase the international awareness of the crisis and asked what his organisation,the Rainbow Push Coalition could do to help,the website said.
Jackson stated that the crisis can only be resolved by “thinking it out,and not by shooting it out.”
He called for a commitment to a ceasefire because “we cannot negotiate to the sound of bullets whizzing over our heads,” the Tamilnet said.
“We know that there has to be a cessation of violence to get back to the table to resolve the conflict. Whenever there is human misery,whenever there is fear,we have a moral obligation,” he said,saying that he was aware of the crisis in Sri Lanka and asked “what can we do to help?”
Referring to the political accommodation that has been achieved in Northern Ireland,Jackson spoke about the achievements of the civil rights movement,including marches calling for an end to segregation and to free (Nelson) Mandela.
“There are those who still think that violence is a solution,” he said. “I believe it is not.”,he said. Asking what his organisation can do to help,he said one reason for being at the conference was to get the “Tamil story told”,the Tamilnet website said.
“Your witnesses must be able to testify and not be drowned out by the sound of bullets and the quiver of fear.” What can the world do to get you back to the table and away from the battle field?” Jackson asked.
In Sri Lanka also,we need affirmation of respect for international law,human rights,self-determination and economic justice,he said.
“Let us choose negotiation. Let us work it out and not fight it out. If the cause is right,you will prevail,” the website quoted Jackson as saying.
It means co-existence not co-annihilation. It means talking with both the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil people and it means convincing all involved that beyond the pain on war is a peace that’s possible,he said.
Jackson concluded his speech by stating that “We must live to see the end of the crisis in Sri Lanka as another victory in our quest to make the world a better place in which to live”,the website said.