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From The Socialist newspaper, 21 February 2018

Facebook sides with state repression - reinstate the Tamil Solidarity page

Tamil Solidarity on a solidarity demonstration in East Ham, 22.1.17, photo Tamil Solidarity

Tamil Solidarity on a solidarity demonstration in East Ham, 22.1.17, photo Tamil Solidarity   (Click to enlarge)

Tamil Solidarity statement

Facebook shut down the Tamil Solidarity campaign page on 9 February.

This followed a peaceful protest organised by Tamil Solidarity and other Tamil community groups against the threatening behaviour of a Sri Lankan army brigadier, and against the ongoing oppression of Tamil-speaking people in Sri Lanka.

In shutting down Tamil Solidarity's page, Facebook has attacked freedom of speech and the right to protest. It is unacceptable, and we demand that our Facebook page be reinstated immediately.

It would appear Facebook's action follows a malicious campaign by Sinhala nationalists, supporters of Sri Lankan state oppression. But surely there must be some process whereby Facebook tests any allegations of inappropriate content - completely false in this case - before such drastic action is taken?

Facebook made no attempt to contact Tamil Solidarity to check out the claims made against us. Yet just a glance at our website, tamilsolidarity.org, would be enough to show Tamil Solidarity is a legitimate campaigning organisation, with the backing of numerous trade unions in Britain, working alongside activists from other oppressed communities including the Refugee Rights campaigns.

Furthermore, the strapline of Tamil Solidarity reads: "For the rights of workers and all oppressed people in Sri Lanka." That means that we not only take up issues concerning Tamils, but also Tamil Muslims, Upcountry people, and workers and students from the majority Sinhala population - from Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Christian or any other ethnic or religious background.

Of course, given the scale of the oppression in Sri Lanka, the campaign for Tamil rights is our main focus. After all, Tamils were massacred in their tens of thousands at the end of the civil war in 2009.

Hundreds of thousands were then held in open prison camps. Thousands are still imprisoned. Thousands have been disappeared.

There is an effective military occupation in the north and east of Sri Lanka. There has been no genuine investigation of war crime allegations, and widespread abuse of power continues with impunity.

This has all been well documented and condemned by the United Nations, Human Rights Watch, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and many other agencies. It has been exposed in numerous Channel 4 documentaries, by the Guardian newspaper, and in countless other media reports.

Tamil Solidarity has every right to speak out against this injustice and oppression. There is no justification for the Facebook ban. Tamil Solidarity's Facebook page must be reinstated immediately.

We will not be silenced.

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In The Socialist 21 February 2018:


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