Eelam Tamil Struggle has 70 years long history, however there were only few formal academic conferences conducted in the past in order to document and analyze. In 1999, the conference in Ottawa held in May from 21th and 22nd with more than 20 academic papers and proceedings were released in October. The proceedings, more than 300 pages book consists of many submitted papers, discussion summary and conclusion. 1999 Ottawa conference served many purposes, and one of them is to study and explain the Tamil struggle via academic perspective at that time. Even after 20 years, still most of the 1999 Ottawa conference papers (http://tamilnation.co/conferences/cnfCA99/index.htm) remains valid.
Since 1999, the first 10 years had several peace talks between Tamil leadership and Sri Lankan government under Norway’s facilitation, Tamil leadership proposal for federal based solution and Tamils having a functioning de-facto State Tamil Eelam. Tamil leadership was eliminated and several war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Sri Lankan government in 2009. The 10 years from 1999 to 2009 was significant history that includes living as De-facto State with dignity, desperate times, and Genocide and it remains in Tamil’s memory in the world and keep reminds for justice. Even though several UN resolutions, many documentaries, political conferences, and books written by authors, a formal academic conference still a pending.
Since 2009, Channel-4’s No Fire Zone, several Tamil Diaspora and human rights activists tireless efforts in raising awareness, the UN conducted its own internal review and then it followed by several UNHCR resolutions and extensions for implementations. Even yesterday, UN rights chief call to explore other avenues including the extending the Universal jurisdiction (https://newsin.asia/un-rights-chief-moots-universal-jurisdiction-foster-accountability-sri-lanka/) as Sri Lanka continues to fail justice and continue its Genocide against Tamils. Tamil political parties in Eelam and Diaspora Tamil organizations also advocated and their work in the past also not so well documented or discussed formally at a conference.
All these history in the past 20 years need to be academically reviewed and properly documented. In addition, analysing what Tamil Diaspora can do in near and far future also need to be discussed. A 2nd International conference can fill that needed work. Also, it’s commendable that Canadian Tamil organizations jointly hosting this conference. This collaborative joint effort must be appreciated and should get overwhelming support from Tamil community all over the world.