Election of Sri Lankan president: Tamil parties demand that reduction of military presence in Tamil areas be a condition to be supported
1) Stop settlements in Tamil areas 2) Police, land and financial powers of provincial councils 3) Northern and eastern provincial councils receive international funds directly
JAFFNA, SRI LANKA, July 19, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ —
As the presidential elections in Sri Lanka are to be held on July 20, the major Tamil political parties have jointly sent the attached note to the three presidential candidates of their position on their demands before deciding who to vote for.
“After hearing each candidate’s views in writing, we would decide who our parliamentarians should vote for on July 20, 2022.” says the note.
Below please find a memo:
MEMORANDUM TO PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES BY SIX TAMIL NATIONAL PARTIES INCLUDING THEIR MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT
– CONCERNING THEIR GRIEVANCE –
WHEREAS THE TAMILS AND SINHALAIS OF SRI LANKA ARE THE DESCENDANTS OF THE ORIGINAL INHABITANTS OF THIS ISLAND. BUDDHISM WAS RECEIVED IN THIS COUNTRY IN THE 3RD CENTURY BC. THE TWO COMMUNITIES HAVE OCCUPIED THIS COUNTRY FOR A LONG TIME AND HAD LIVED
FRIENDLY. THERE IS NO REASON THEY CAN’T LIVE IN BEYOND FRIENDSHIP TOO. THE TAMILS SEEK EQUALITY AND DIGNITY AND THE RIGHT TO LIVE AND GOVERN THEMSELVES IN THEIR REGIONS OF CONTINUOUS RESIDENCE, IN COMPLETE PEACEFULNESS, WITHOUT INTERFERENCE FROM OUTSIDE.
WHEREAS BEFORE THE BRITISH MERGER OF THE COUNTRY FOR ADMINISTRATIVE PURPOSES IN 1833, THERE WAS A DISTINGUISHABLE REGION OF TAMIL SPEAKING GOVERNED BY TAMIL LEADERS IN THE NORTH AND EAST OF THE ISLAND. DESPITE THE MERGER WHICH BECAME A FACT ACCOMPLISHED AT THE TIME OF INDEPENDENCE AND THE ADOPTION OF SUCCESSIVE UNITARY CONSTITUTIONS, THE MAJORITY IN THE NORTH AND EAST STILL SPEAK THE TAMIL LANGUAGE. THE 1987 INDO SRI LANKA AGREEMENT RECOGNIZES THE NORTHEAST AS THE HISTORICAL HABITATION OF THE TAMILS.
AND WHEREAS SINCE SRI LANKA GOT INDEPENDENCE THE TAMILS, INCLUDING THE SILVER TAMILS, HAVE BEEN SUFFERED A LOT OF DISCRIMINATION AND SLANDER DUE TO THE ETHNOCENTRIC POLICIES PURSUED BY SUCCESSFUL SRI LANKAN GOVERNMENTS.
AND WHEREAS THE UNITARY CONSTITUTION GIVEN BY THE BRITISH AT THE TIME OF THEIR DEPARTURE GAVE POLITICAL POWER TO THE SINHALAIS WHO WERE A MINORITY IN THE NORTH EAST BUT A MAJORITY ELSEWHERE. THUS, THE MAJORITY IN THE SEVEN PROVINCES OUTSIDE THE NORTHEAST HAS BEEN ABLE TO DOMINATE AND HEGEMONIZE THE TAMILS TILL NOW. THE IMPOSING OF THE SINGHALA LANGUAGE BY THE SINGHALA-SOLELY LAW OF 1956, IN AREAS WHERE THE MAJORITY SPOKEN TAMIL, WAS SYMBOLIC OF SUCH DOMINATION.
AND WHEREAS THE RAJAPAKS IN ORDER TO COVER THEIR CORRUPTED PRACTICES AND ACTIVITIES BOTH WITHIN THE ARMY AND ELSEWHERE, HAVE CREATED AN IMAGE THAT THE TAMILS ARE TERRORISTS AND THE MUSLIMS AS EXTREMISTS. In recent times, the Sinhalese majority has begun to understand the atrocities perpetrated against the Tamils and the sufferings they have suffered so far. VERY VOTERS TURNED AGAINST THEIR PRESIDENT FOR WHOM THEY PASSIONATELY VOTED.
AND WHEREAS THE COUNTRY HAS NOW REALIZED TO A GREAT EXTENT THAT THE POLITICIANS OF SRI LANKA HAVE, FOR THEIR OWN PERSONAL BENEFIT, CREATED THE SPREAD OF TERRORISM AND EXTREMISM, BUT RECONCILIATION BETWEEN THE DIFFERENT PEOPLE OF THIS ISLAND IS EFFECTIVELY POSSIBLE IF UNDERSTANDING DAWNS.
AND WHEREAS IT IS NECESSARY THAT WHEN THE COUNTRY POLITICALLY TURNS A NEW LEAF, WE DO NOT REPEAT THE WRONGS COMMITTED SO FAR AND WE FIX THE POLITICAL WRONGS COMMITTED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. THEREFORE, WE, THE LEADERS OF SIX TAMIL NATIONALIST PARTIES, SET OUT BELOW THE MEASURES THAT MUST BE TAKEN IMMEDIATELY TO END THE LONG DELAYED ETHNIC CRISIS.
1. Sri Lankan Tamils are entitled to the right to self-determination under Article 1 of the provisions of the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. They form a Nation under the Law. Steps must therefore be taken to put an end to the hegemonic administration and governance practiced so far by the Centre. This must take place within six months of the election of the new president.
2. Pending the promulgation of a new constitution, remedies must be found for the existing immediate problems of the Tamils-
a. Withdraw the Prevention of Terrorism Act as promised at the UN.
b. Release under a special amnesty all Tamil political prisoners convicted, detained and taken into custody under the PTA. Needless to say, the provisions of the PTA are contrary to the normal criminal law of the country.
vs. Release all lands to the people in the Northern and Eastern Provinces which have been expropriated from the people by the Archaeological Commission, Mahaweli Authority, Forestry Department, Wildlife Department and Military Forces et al.
D. Reduce the army in the north and east by substantially returning the vast lands and number of buildings to the people or the respective district secretaries, as deemed appropriate. There are new lands recently appropriated by the military. You have to ask the soldiers to give them back to
owners or the respective district secretary of the area concerned.
e. Take steps to investigate enforced disappearances without delay.
F. Cease all land grabs taking place in the North East to settle people from outside the provinces with a view to changing the demographics of the Tamil speaking areas.
g. Review all boundary demarcation in the North East undertaken by the state with a view to reducing the parliamentary representation of Tamil-speaking people and take necessary steps to give adequate representation to the inhabitants of the region as opposed to those brought in from the outside the provinces. There is no need for delimitation for the new electorates in the Northeast and in the Hills.
h. Review the electoral procedures adopted so far with a view to reducing the representation of Tamil speakers. Proportional representation should continue.
I. Implement all existing provisions of the Thirteenth Amendment, including land and police powers, before a proper constitution recognizing the Tamils’ right to self-determination is put in place. The financial power now in the hands of the Governor must be transferred to the Provincial Councils.
d. Arrange for the northern and eastern provinces to receive investments without any hindrance being placed by the central government. The Tamil Diaspora is ready to contribute a large amount of capital despite the desperate situation in which the country finds itself, if sufficient guarantees in terms of international business practices are given by the government. To overcome the current economic crisis, Sri Lanka needs foreign investment. We have almost 1.5 million Tamil Diasporas all over the world and a good number of them are ready to invest in this country. But they have no confidence in the governments of Colombo. If the Northern and Eastern Provincial Councils have the power in this interim period to invite and protect international investment, many would like to come and invest here. Under an appropriate constitution that recognizes the rights of the nation or nations within its fold, these powers would automatically vest in federal unity. Tax relief powers and other relevant concessions like land, infrastructure, etc. must be given to provincial councils until a proper constitution is in place. If we make it easier for investors, we would be able to invite significant foreign direct investment.
After hearing each candidate’s written opinion, we would decide who our parliamentarians should vote for on July 20, 2022.
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