Sri Lankan President Rajapakse claimed that the liberation of the Northern Province from the LTTE terrorists as the East is not very far.
The President was addressing the United People's Freedom Alliance's May Day rally at the Mahaweli Stadium at Dehiattakandiya. The Freedom Alliance decided to hold its May Day rally in the Dehiattakandiya town, presided by the President, as a sign of respect to the armed forces. Hundreds of thousands of people representing all areas of the country joined in the Freedom Alliance May Day rally, which was held with the blessings of the Maha Sangha and the clergy of other religions.
The President was conferred the honour of the working class. A special memento was presented to the President. Further addressing the rally, the President was optimistic that the Eastern civilians will display their gratitude at the forthcoming provincial polls.
The President said it should be clearly mentioned that they are not ready to hand over the East, which was liberated. He opined that as Minister Maithripala Sirisena said this should not be a vote for Prabhakaran. It should not be forgotten that voting for UNP will be a vote for Prabhakaran. He said he is confident that the Eastern civilians will display their gratitude to the world. They are constructing roads and providing water and electricity for to reawaken the East. The President requested the people's support in this connection.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
Posted by media at 3:37 AM
Thursday, May 1, 2008
The Sinhala support for the Government's military campaign continues to be strong whilst their support for peace talks has dropped to 16.6% according to the results of the March 2008 Peace Confidence Index survey (PCI).
This survey is a repetitive public opinion poll begun in May 2001 and conducted by the Social Indicator at the Centre for Policy Alternatives.
This study covered a number of issues such as the Eastern Provincial Council Election, International Involvement, the APRC Debate, NGOs and possible solutions to the conflict. This particular wave of the PCI study, conducted during March and April captures the opinions of a sample of 1600 respondents. It should be noted that this particular wave of the PCI only covers the Sinhala, Muslim and the Up-Country Tamil communities in the areas outside the North. The Tamil community in this wave was surveyed using a non-random sampling technique which does not allow for the findings that reference this community to be generalised. Respondents from this particular community were chosen from Colombo, Ampara, Trincomalee and Batticaloa.
Majorities across the board agree that a political settlement is necessary to ending the present situation of conflict, with majorities in the minority communities agreeing that the ideal time to formulate this solution is while the war continues. A majority of 33.2% of the Sinhala community disagree, stating that the ideal time to design a settlement is after the war. At the same time, levels of awareness on the APRC - the institution set up to create this political consensus - are low, (Sinhala- 45.8%, Tamil- 42.3%, UCT- 43.2%, Muslim- 62.4%). Further, low levels of awareness are registered with regards to the contents of the 13th Amendment. However, support for Indian involvement as a mediator in the peace process is high.
While majorities amongst the Up-Country Tamil and Muslim communities disapprove of the abrogation of the CFA, the opinion of the Sinhala community differs. While 38.9% approve of the abrogation, a further 21.3% state that the CFA should have been abrogated earlier. The Tamil community surveyed also disapproves of the abrogation of the CFA.
President Rajapaksa's strong popularity amongst the Sinhalese also remains unchanged, with high levels of approval for his handling of the war. His approval ratings are however affected by dissatisfaction expressed by all ethnic groups with regards to his management of the economy (Sinhala- 63.6%, Tamil- 88.7%, UCT - 72%, Muslim- 78.3%).
Full report: CPA
Posted by media at 9:16 AM
COLOMBO: The International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP), which has overseen the proceedings of a Sri Lankan Commission investigating 16 high-profile cases of human rights abuses, quit the country on Wednesday in disarray.
Days before the panel’s abrupt end, IIGEP chairman, former Indian Chief Justice P N Bhagwati, broke away from the group and wrote a letter to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, virtually negating the group's trenchant criticism of the Sri Lankan government and its Commission of Inquiry (COI).
Bhagwati's letter was made public by the government and trumpeted as a clean chit from the IIGEP.
A panel member, Sir Nigel Rodley of the UK, cast doubts on the veracity of the contents of Bhagwati's letter. He said any such thing from the Sri Lankan government should be taken with "extreme skepticism."
There is much speculation as to why Justice Bhagwati broke ranks and "defected to the government side," as a media commentator put it.
Sources in the IIGEP told this website’s newspaper that being the only direct appointee of Rajapaksa on the panel, Bhagwati was beholden to him.
Sources in the Sri Lankan President's Office said that unlike the Westerners in the IIGEP, the Indian "better understood and appreciated" the conditions in Sri Lanka and its fight against terrorism.
The Secretary General of the government peace secretariat, Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, said Bhagwati backtracked because he realized that he was being "dragooned into supporting inappropriate positions" by other members of the IIGEP.
In his letter, Bhagwati said the IIGEP had not said that the Sri Lankan government "lacked the political will" to investigate the cases, especially when its own agencies or the security forces were involved. In his letter dated April 26, he said the IIGEP had only spoken of an "apprehension" about the absence of political will.
While the IIGEP had come down heavily on the lack of transparency in the working of the COI, and said its proceedings did not meet international standards, Bhagwati said the Commission was "doing very good work" and that its members "have had the best of cooperation" from the COI.
This came as a surprise to the rest of the 11-member IIGEP. The IIGEP’s public statement on April 15, justifying its decision to wind up prematurely, had been very critical of the Sri Lankan government.
Posted by media at 8:38 AM
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Sri Lanka military liberation of Wanni (in the North) from the Tamil Tigers (LTTE). 28 April 2008.
Posted by media at 10:44 PM
Hyderabad, India - Suchirindia, a Hyderabad-based business group with its roots in real estate, has ventured in to construction of a twin towers of 30 floor and a 70 floor marvel at Colombo, Sri Lanka. The tower complex, undertaken in collaboration, with NEB Rapid Infrastructure and Government of Sri Lanka at Colombo is being developed at a cost of US$ 255 Milion.
The company is executing the project under the name “Suchir NEB Projects Pvt Ltd” an SPV formed for this purpose along with our partners.
The towering complex comprises of a 30 floor commercial tower and a 70 floor residential tower. The total built-up area for the commercial tower including convention centre and the residential tower would be Three Million Sq. ft.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Y. Kiron, CEO of Suchirindia said, “Working in close association in Sri Lankan on this project has been a pleasure, and we hope to lay our footprint in many more areas in the future.”
The project site is located close to the Parliament house and main terminus of metro railway. The joint venture Partners for the development of this project include reputed International Financial services company.
The Metro Rail in Colombo is being developed by the Joint venture partner “NEB Rapid Infrastructure Projects Pvt Ltd”
Incorporated in 2005, SUCHIRINDIA DEVELOPERS (P) LIMITED, is an ISO 9000: 2001 and ISO 14001 certified company, is engaged in land development, premium group Housing , construction, infrastructure and resorts.
Suchirindia, along with its associate companies has developed over 24 prestigious commercial and residential projects.
Suchirindia is developing amusement parks and hotels in Hyderabad and Bangalore and is coming up with Suchir Kingdom, a first of its kind adventure park in India at Hyderabad.
Concept PR, Hyderabad
040 2339 3003
Posted by media at 3:08 PM
NEW DELHI: Jairam Ramesh's globe-trotting as the junior commerce minister is coming in handy in his new role as minister of state for power. While on a visit to Colombo in February for promoting trade between the two countries, he also brokered a meeting between NTPC and Ceylon Electricity Board to speed up a 500 mw power project the Indian state-owned generation utility was planning to set up in that country.
Not to stop at that, Ramesh followed the issue up with power minister Sushilkumar Shinde and external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee for clearance of the project site. Those eforts have now yielded results, with the external affairs ministry clearing Sampur in Trincomalee as the location. The choice of site had been hanging fire since NTPC expressed apprehensions over the political fallout in India on the suggestion made by the Sri Lanka government. The proposed area, identified as Site 5 in Sampur, was wrested from the LTTE and is at present approachable only by boats.
NTPC had signed an MoU in December 2006 with the Sri Lanka government and Ceylon Electricity Board for setting up the 500 mw power project in that country. In January this year, the Sri Lanka government took a visiting NTPC team for inspection to four sites it had earmarked. These sites were in Tambalgam Bay, two in Clappenburg Bay and one in Sampur area.
The NTPC team recommended that the project be located south-west of Clappenburg Bay; suggested Tambalgam Bay for the project township and wanted to re-examine the Sampur area as a site for setting up another power project at a later date.
NTPC's choice of site for the power project, however, ran aground with the Sri Lankan defence ministry on technical ground. Sri Lanka is re-establishing the Air Force Flying Academy in China Bay and south-west Clappenberg Bay falls within the circuit flying area. Thus, any major construction in the area is seen as hampering pilot training.
Besides, since the suggested project site is within 4,464 metres of the air strip, no structures higher than 45 metres can be constructed. The project site is also adjacent to a Sri Lankan naval dockyard and construction of a power project is seen as hindering naval deployment in the area.
The Sri Lankan government had suggested the Sampur area as an alternative and told NTPC that it has embarked on a project for providing infrastructure facilities such as access roads and jetties in the area. NTPC, however, felt building the power plant on this site could have political fallout in India as this was this was wrested from the Tamil Tigers.
Besides, the area is at present accessible only by boats and would require huge investments in building infrastructure such as bridges etc. NTPC has now sought external affairs ministry's views on the issue.
Courtesy: Times of India
Posted by media at 7:58 AM
Sunday, April 27, 2008
SRI LANKA UNITED NATIONAL ASSOCIATION
We refer to an unsigned report claiming to be ‘A Citizens Report’ titled “Sri Lanka and the Breakdown of the Rule of Law – An Action Plan” released in Scarborough, Canada, on April 18, 2008 by the pro-Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) lobby at a fundraiser for a prospective Conservative Party candidate named Chuck Konkel who hopes to run in the federal riding of Scarborough – Guildwood. The news report filed by Stewart Bell in the National Post edition of April 19, 2008 states that the report calls for the imposition of sanctions on Sri Lanka, and that it has been written by a group of Ontario lawyers and Canadians of Sri Lankan origin, none of whom have been named. The authors identities though withheld, their links to the banned LTTE terrorist group becomes obvious as the report receives instant publication in the Tamilnet.
At the very outset, we would like to state that contrary to what the report attempts to convey in its title, the rule of law has been further enhanced following the defeat of the terrorist forces of the LTTE and re-taking of the areas of the eastern province that had been usurped by the terrorists and freeing the entrapped civilian population, and further empowering the people by restoring their democratic rights and freedoms and bringing about normalcy to their lives after a lapse of 14 years.
This report is just a collection of statements which are not supported by factual evidence but a rigmarole of alleged failures and shortcomings on the part of the Government of Sri Lanka, which is a reflection of the paucity of the legal minds that compiled it. Unfortunately, similar reports put out by well known international human rights bodies also fall into the same category as they too lack accuracy, merely blurting out hearsay as a substitute for facts, in their eagerness to shame and blame Sri Lanka in order to build up momentum for their agenda to bring in international human rights monitors on top of the multitude of foreign funded observers already nosing around the countryside. One is left to wonder if these foreign agencies and LTTE lobby groups are working hand in glove and sharing the same data base from which they spew forth all this junk and venom. We will attempt to briefly deal with the various aspects of this report as stated hereunder:
In the reports overview they have omitted the small minority of Malays and Burghers who also form part of the ethnic mosaic of Sri Lanka. The armed conflict launched by the Tamil separatist militants has lasted over 25 years. It is incorrect to state that the national minorities and vulnerable groups such as women and children have been targeted and repressed by the government and its armed forces. The 27000 Sinhalese living in the Jaffna region were forcibly evicted by the Tamils in the early 1970s.
The Sinhalese stream in the University of Jaffna was forcibly closed in 1981 with the 400 students having to be evacuated to safety under armed escort whilst Tamil students in the southern universities were unharmed. The 100,000 Muslims of Jaffna were driven out by the LTTE on 48 hours notice in 1990. The Tamils who were displaced in the south during the unfortunate race riots of 1983 caused as a result of built up tensions and triggered by the claymore bombing and machine gunning of 13 soldiers from the Sinhala community, have been able to return to their homes and live peacefully with their Sinhala neighbours, whereas the ousted Sinhalese and Muslims were not able to get back to their former places of residence. Subsequent attempts to provoke the Sinhalese into retaliation by brutal attacks on Buddhist pilgrims, sacred shrines, ethnic cleansing attacks on Sinhalese villages have been overlooked by the Sinhalese showing that the ugly riots of 1983 was indeed an aberration. The Sinhala community has publicly apologised for harm done to their fellow Tamil citizens. If Sinhalese leaders referred to Tamils as terrorists, it is because they resorted to every form of terrorism including suicide bomb attacks mainly against civilians, and also because the Tamil leaders and the community in general referred to the terrorist cadres in endearing terms such as “the dear boys” although they did not engage in what may be termed as harmless, boisterous behaviour.
The state has had to introduce special legislation such as the Prevention of Terrorism Act in the face of several armed Tamil separatist groups waging guerrilla warfare, just as Canada introduced the War Measures Act to deal with the October Crisis of 1970 when the Front de Liberation de Quebec (FLQ) comprising less than 40 members used propaganda and terrorist acts to pursue an independent , socialist Quebec.
No names of judges said to have been removed for making decisions unfavourable to the government has been given. It is true that some journalists had been questioned by the government in the interest of national security. The LTTE should answer for those Tamil journalists who were done to death, as they were silenced for their criticism of the LTTE. It is simply a canard to claim that opposition parliamentarians who voice criticism of the government are abducted and assassinated, when it is the normal expectation that opposition members would voice contrary positions, that the government would take such drastic steps to provide the requisite armed security to such parliamentarian and blast them along with their security contingent made up of police personnel. The party responsible for such killings has been the LTTE, even though they do not publicly accept responsibility for such crimes. TNA Parliamentarian Joseph Pararajasingham was similarly killed on Christmas Day 2005 following the Midnight Mass, but posthumously honoured by the LTTE Chief Prabhakaran as a “Mamanithar” or Great Man, making it an absolute mockery. The LTTE has killed over 50 prominent Tamil leaders in their attempt to be the self declared sole representative of the Tamil community, in addition to leaders from the other communities plus two heads of state of Sri Lanka and India. Details of the persons so assassinated could be accessed at the following web pages:
Notwithstanding what is said in the report, Sri Lanka’s Judiciary has acted independently with learned judges from all communities acting freely and making judgments based on law and natural justice. A few examples of their independent decision making includes the striking down of the P-TOMS administrative set up drawn up by the previous President of Sri Lanka, creating an anomalous situation where the terrorist LTTE would have wielded a controlling power in the utilisation of international aid for rehabilitating tsunami affected regions from their headquarters in Kilinochchi, invalidating the conditional merger of the northern and eastern provinces by Presidential Decree, and ordering the return of 376 Tamils lodgers who were bussed out of Colombo on grounds of security as it was feared that they harboured LTTE’s suicide bombers sent to carry out attacks in the city, under the freedom of movement guaranteed by the constitution.
The anonymous writers of this report are merely repeating the unsubstantiated allegations which they had manufactured in respect of disappearances, extrajudicial killings, political assassinations, etc. for which they try to blame the Sri Lankan authorities, whilst saying nothing about the LTTE with its trained squad of black tiger suicide bombers, pistol gang assassins, that is the culprit hiding behind carefully laid out minefields, and explosives laden booby traps, inside its crumbling bastion in the jungles of the Vanni, whom they want to shield and rescue from defeat. It is a shame that international human rights agencies also repeat the same litany of allegations without credible evidence to prevent the defeat of the terrorists, making one wonder if these INGOs and foreign funded NGOs want the armed conflict to continue without end, so that they could retain their observer status churning out reams of so called useless research data and justify the large scale funding from their sponsors to maintain their lifestyles in the sun and sand of Sri Lanka.
The report claims that Nadarajah Raviraj, a TNA parliamentarian and NGO activist was gunned down in November 2006 by agents or supporters of the government. The police suspect that Mr. Raviraj had been assassinated by a LTTE hit man based on available evidence. According to investigations, Mr. Raviraj had received many phone calls after he criticised the LTTE leaders for sending their children abroad from a mobile telephone operated within the LTTE dominated Vanni, for which no subscriber was listed by the phone company. Scotland Yard Police too were invited to assist, and certain items have been taken with them for forensic testing, the results of which are not known yet.
Certain human rights violations have taken place during the ongoing conflict, and the government has taken steps to openly look into the complaints through Commissions of Inquiry. The International Independent Group of Eminent Persons ( IIGEP) too were invited to observe the ongoing investigations, but they unfortunately decided to withdraw at the end of March 2008. The gathering of evidence that could be sustained in a Court of Law, finding witnesses, apprehending the alleged perpetrators many of whom have run away to hide in the territory usurped by the LTTE, has been an extremely difficult task, but the inquiries are proceeding and making progress. Some members of the security forces and police who have been found guilty of such crimes have already been brought to justice and dealt with according to the law.
With regard to the killing of seventeen local aid workers employed by the French NGO, Action Contre la Faim – ACF (Action Against Hunger) in August 2006, during the height of the battle in Muttur, when government troops were seeking to flush out the LTTE forces that occupied the town in a lightning strike following their retreat from Mavil Aru, it has so far been established that ACF had irresponsibly sent these workers into a war zone, did not heed the suggestion of the Sri Lankan Navy to have them ferried to safety prior to the onset of military action nor did they accept the advice of a church official to re-locate to the safety of the church, only to become victims in the early hours of August 4, 2006. The LTTE was in control of the town according to the Tamilnet website from July 31st till they made a tactical withdrawal on August 5, 2006. The bullets extracted from the victims bodies have been found to be of the 7.62 calibre variety used by the LTTE forces as confirmed by the Australian Forensic Expert Dr. Dodd who assisted in the investigations. The evidence points to the LTTE being responsible for their deaths, possibly carried out with the intention of creating a serious human rights issue and pinning the blame on the government’s security forces. The findings of the Presidential Commission inquiring into this and several other such crimes is awaited.
There is also a Commission of Inquiry to look into numerous lists of "Missing Persons" submitted to the government through NGOO, diplomats, etc. Several of those listed as missing have since been located unharmed. Details provided in the lists are inadequate in most cases for follow up. Another striking feature is that the immediate family members have submitted names of their relatives said to be missing to various organizations, (some of which are spending their resources to discredit the government and cause embarrassment) without making their complaints directly to the authorities. Delays in reporting and inadequate information makes the task of tracing the movements of the supposedly missing persons a doubly difficult job. Nevertheless, the authorities are making their best effort to follow up on the lists submitted as well.
Amnesty International's report dated February 1, 2006 blamed most of the H.R.violations in the eastern province on the LTTE and the breakaway Karuna group. Some of the violations even spilled over to the capital city of Colombo due to the bitter rivalry and enmity caused as a result of the split within the LTTE. The defeat of the LTTE in the east and their being forced out of the area has immediately brought about a considerable improvement in the human rights situation, and at the same time lifting the veil of fear and harassment that prevailed under the jackboot of the fascist LTTE. The clearing operations currently engaged in by the Sri Lankan forces to neutralize the LTTE’s military capability and free the Tamil civilians in the Vanni region living under the harsh regime imposed upon them by the terrorists, will not only eliminate the human rights violations presently committed with impunity by the LTTE through its vast horde of brainwashed suicide bombers, pistol gangs and assassins who target members of all communities, but also provide space for other Tamil voices to exercise their democratic freedoms and participate with the rest of the communities in building a better tomorrow for all citizens of this long suffering nation, which has been held to ransom by extremist terrorists for almost three decades.
Background on Sri Lanka:
It is not surprising that the background data provided in the report is a twisted version of the actual situation, and the usual exaggeration of the number of Tamils to make it appear a significant percentage of the total population. Sri Lanka emerged as an independent nation in 1948, having being subjected to colonial rule by the Portuguese and the Dutch over her coastal regions from 1505 to about 1795, after which the British came on the scene and controlled the entire island from 1815 onwards following the ceding of power by the Sinhala Chieftains over the island called SINHALE under the terms of a Treaty known as the Kandyan Convention which the British violated from the very inception.
The British took over the lands belonging to the indigenous Sinhalese peasantry and ruling classes in terms of the infamous ‘Waste Lands Ordinance’ without a penny in compensation and sold it to British capitalists at a price of just Fifty Ceylon Cents per acre which was merely the surveying costs, and thereafter brought in Indian Tamils as indentured labour from Tamilnadu, South India, who were willing to work for a pittance on the new plantations set up on the confiscated lands. These Indian Tamil migrant workers or transient workers would work for short periods and go back to their homes in South India, as they did not have a permanent interest in the virtually slave labour camps set up by the British in Ceylon. At the time of regaining independence in 1948, the new government adopted a Citizenship Act which required these Indian Tamils to have a residency of seven (7) years with absence on any one occasion not exceeding 12 months in order to qualify for citizenship as agreed to by India in 1941, with the support of the leaders of the Tamil Congress in parliament. These Indian Tamils were migrant workers who were British subjects and did not enjoy a franchise as permanent residents of Ceylon, and therefore there was no disenfranchisement of any domiciled Indian Tamil by the Citizenship Act. Appeals made to the courts including the Privy Council of Britain upheld the provisions of the Act. At that time, India too refused to take back the Indian Tamils who failed to qualify for Ceylon citizenship as they were British subjects, fearing other Indians who had similarly migrated to other distant British colonies would also want to return home. The case of the stateless Indian Tamils was amicably settled between Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike and India’s Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shasthri in 1964. A detailed paper on this subject serialised in the Island Newspaper in March 2008 could be accessed at the following url:
The Tamils whose homeland is in Tamilnadu, South India, where 61 million Tamils live, have invaded Sri Lanka from the earliest times to plunder and pillage, and on occasions captured parts of the northern territories for short periods before they were defeated by the indigenous Sinhalese people and driven back. They first came in as settlers only around the 11th century, with the bulk of the Tamils coming much later in the 18th and 19th centuries as indentured labour brought in by the Dutch and British colonialists for work on tobacco, coffee, and tea plantations. Those brought in by the British are referred to as Indian Tamils whilst the rest are called Sri Lankan Tamils.
The Sri Lankan Tamils were provided with greater access to English education and given preferential treatment by the British colonial administration under their divide and rule policy, which enabled them to dominate in all areas despite their small number. Prior to the grant of independence, the 11 percent Sri Lankan Tamil minority sought equal representation with the 78 percent Sinhalese majority in the new parliament referred to as the 50:50 cry, but same was rejected by the Soulbury Commission which considered it an insidious way to make a minority of a majority and instead transferred power on the basis of universal franchise for all eligible persons over 21 years of age. With the diminishing of their dominant status after independence, the Tamils who have always been organised as a communal political group started to seek a separate region to be controlled by the Tamils culminating in the passing of the Vadukkodai Resolution in 1976 declaring their right to a separate state made up of the north and east of Sri Lanka based on the false premise that it was their traditional homeland from time immemorial. They lacked historical, archaeological, legal or other evidence to support their claim, and was only supported by a minute made by one ignorant British civil servant named Cleghorn who was later dismissed from the service. The Sinhalese have over 3000 rock inscriptions (which exceeds that found in the whole of China, a photo record of which are archived at the Cambridge University) and ancient Buddhist shrines found in all parts of the island to prove their antecedence and claims to their only motherland.
According to the census carried out in 1981, the Sinhalese made up 74.5%, the Sri Lankan Tamils stood at 12.8%, the Muslims (Moors) 7.0%, Indian Tamils 5.2%, with the Malays and Burghers making up the balance 0.5%. The Sri Lankan Tamils exploited the riots of 1983 to seek greener pastures in the developed west with as many as 800,000 to one million Tamils migrating to countries such as Canada, USA, UK, EU, Australia, New Zealand, etc. Their number within Sri Lanka has been largely reduced, with the LTTE even preventing a census being taken in the north and east in 2001 to avoid exposing the real position. The World Fact Book places the number of Sri Lankan Tamils at 3.9 percent. It is presumed that the proportion of Sri Lankan Tamils as a percentage of the island’s total population estimated at around 20 million is now about 7.8 percent. The combined total of Tamils including the Indian Tamils adds up to a maximum of 13.2 percent and not the 20 percent projected in the report.
In 1956, Sri Lanka switched from English spoken by less than 5 percent to Sinhalese spoken by over 75 percent as the Official Language, and did not in any way change the status of the Tamil language. Civil servants who were not proficient in the official language were allowed 5 years to acquire a working knowledge of Sinhala assessed at the Grade VIII level, or retire with full pension benefits. Whilst it was essential to know the official language to serve the majority of the people, Sinhalese civil servants working in predominantly Tamil areas were similarly required to acquire a working knowledge in Tamil. The Reasonable Use of Tamil Language Act of 1958 guaranteed education in Tamil from the kindergarten to the university free of any charges and further specified the Tamil linguistic rights. Further concessions were granted in 1965 by the UNP regime headed by the Hon. Dudley Senanayake.
Tamil was made a National Language and Language of Administration by the Second Republican Constitution of 1978 enshrining an array of rights that far exceeded the language rights enjoyed by English Canadians in Quebec or the French Canadians in the rest of Canada. Tamil has since been further enhanced as an Official Language and brought on a par with Sinhalese, whilst making the study of English also compulsory.
The Tamils continue to mislead by misrepresenting the Standardization Scheme adopted in 1970 to grant opportunities for students in rural districts with poorer education facilities such as the lack of good teachers, science laboratories, libraries, extra curricular programs, as compared to the better facilitated city schools, by requiring such students to score a lower aggregate in order to gain admission to universities. This affected students were not only those in the developed districts of the predominantly Tamil Jaffna and Batticaloa, but also students in other districts such as Colombo, Kandy, Kurunegala, Galle, Matara, etc. in the southern areas inhabited by the Sinhalese. The rural students who were admitted with the lower scores were able to perform well in university. The same scheme is today helping students from the Jaffna district as stated by Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole, to gain admission to the universities as the standards in these schools have dropped markedly due to the ongoing conflict, making it a disadvantaged area that qualifies. It was intended to be a temporary measure pending improvement, to assist the rural students in the interim period, and not to discriminate against Tamil students, as it benefited Tamil students in disadvantaged areas such as Kayts, Vavunia, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu as well.
The Tamils are a community or a group of people enjoying equal rights as citizens of Sri Lanka and are not recognised as a separate nation, as the Tamil Nation exists in their homeland of Tamilnadu in South India. They are a minority which is an integral part of the Sri Lankan Nation, and have no right to self determination or claim any part of the island as an exclusive homeland of the Tamils. Sri Lanka is the common homeland of all her people belonging the various ethnic, cultural and religious communities.
The Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) of 2002 drawn up by Norway was a flawed document which attempted to equate the legally and democratically elected Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) with the designated terrorist group called the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Sri Lanka formally withdrew from the failed CFA effective January 16, 2008, in order to defend her territorial integrity and sovereignty in the face of flagrant violations on the part of the LTTE, whom the Nordic SLMM (www.slmm.lk) ruled had violated it on 3830 occasions including the murder of hundreds of Tamil dissidents, Sinhalese and Muslim civilians, members of the security forces and political leaders of the calibre of Hon. Lakshman Kadirgamar, by violent means including suicide bombers, smuggling in 11 shiploads of weapons, forcibly conscripting adults and children, torturing, extorting and denying democratic and fundamental rights to the trapped civilians within the illegally usurped territory, as against 351 minor violations on the part of the GOSL.
Suggested Call for Action:
The report calls on Canada to encourage Sri Lanka to restore the CFA and resume talks with the LTTE through internationally supported peace negotiations.
Sri Lanka has already made five attempts to seek a negotiated settlement during the past two decades by having direct talks and twice with international mediation. The Indo-Lanka Peace Accord of 1987 mediated by India’s Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi which the LTTE signed was reneged on by the latter group, who later assassinated the mediator by unleashing a suicide bomber. The LTTE agrees to peace talks when they are militarily weak and talk nothing less than the division of Sri Lanka, to buy time to rearm and rebuild their forces, only to unilaterally break off the talks and resume hostilities. Talks have proven to be meaningless and a waste of time as the LTTE has not moved one iota from their end goal of a separate state. Even the last round of talks in Geneva were boycotted by the LTTE, who instead launched their so called final war of liberation beginning in December 2005, which was intensified in mid-2006 by shutting off water from Mavil Aru to 30,000 farming families, resulting in the Sri Lankan forces being compelled to retaliate leading to the defeat and eviction of the Tiger terrorists from the eastern province. The GOSL is currently taking measures to neutralize the military capability of the remaining LTTE forces and re-taking the territory usurped in the Vanni region, liberating the entrapped civilians and extending the writ of the state.
The report also calls for economic and diplomatic sanctions on the Sri Lankan government for gross human rights violations against the Tamil minority, and tying aid to improvements in the HR situation. The human rights situation vastly improved in the east following the ouster of the LTTE, and the people have been able to elect their leaders to the local councils with 60 percent voter participation. The heavily mined and booby trapped usurped territory held by the Tamil Tigers is rapidly diminishing with the current military operations. The LTTE is making every effort to create serious human rights violations by targeting civilians and using those living under their clutches as human shields. The LTTE will soon have to come to terms to make peace or succumb to the circumstances leaving the space for Tamils within the democratic stream to reach a fair arrangement with all of the other communities to live in a multi-ethnic Sri Lanka.
Special UN Human Rights Monitors or Envoys are not needed in Sri Lanka, as Sri Lanka has accommodated all envoys and INGO personnel to visit the country upon request. There are already enough and more UN personnel, Diplomatic Corp, INGO, NGO and other officials roaming the country at the present time. The international community cannot impose solutions as wished for by the report writers such as the creation of a distinct Tamil Province within a Federation, as such decisions have to be taken by the people of Sri Lanka. Most Sri Lankans are opposed to devolution based on ethnicity, and would make alternate arrangements that are just and fair. We recommend establishment of district councils at the periphery and sharing of power at the centre with greater freedom of movement that would make it a truly multi-ethnic country, which will move away from ethnic enclaves that would create future fault lines of disharmony and destabilisation.
Yours very truly,
Posted by media at 7:41 AM