09 January 2018

Citizens must oppose Political solutions: They do not solve People’s Problems - They solve Politicians Problems

We can all agree that democracy has become a farce in practice. Political parties will go down on their knees and beg for people’s vote promising to deliver the sun & the moon but after elections voters will see only a convoy of cars, bodyguards, advisors & be greeted with ‘Minister is too busy, come later’. The same can be said of the UN that was formed to stop another world war but only 10 countries in the world don’t suffer a conflict. However, every official is globetrotting, holding peace talks, ceasefires but conflicts continue, arms manufacture and sales continue & citizens end up having to foot every bill. Political solutions in reality are designed to share and distribute powers among politicians & other stake holders so that they can remain in power with a subtle understanding that they do not mind taking turns to be in power!

When the first JVP insurrection started in the 1970s the ‘solution’ was to kill and many thousands of Sinhala Buddhist youth perished. The same insurrection was planned to kill another set of Sinhala Buddhist youth plus people who were earmarked as future leaders. The ‘solution’ was to put to eternal rest these talented people and curb nationalist tendencies against the warped system of governance. Do you see the larger picture?

When with foreign assisted training and funding armed Tamil militancy was hijacked and turned into a mega global project with multiple agendas which began another wave of murders again wiped out not only promising Sinhalese leaders, armed forces personnel, civilians but also Tamil moderate leaders leaving only the remaining racist lot. The choice of targets, provide clues to the one’s kept alive to carry out the next phase of a larger plan in a scheme of logic that equates ‘you can remain in power so long as you politically agree to our conditions’. Do you now see the larger picture of things?

What good was the Indo-Lanka Accord when India did not fulfill the obligations of the clauses that held the mutual contract together? LTTE was never disarmed & India never closed its territory to LTTE cadres. So this agreement served no purpose to the citizens who were subject to LTTE terror.

However, the Indo-Lanka Accord did pave way to legitimize falsehoods & myths of a ‘traditional homeland’ combining both North & East, it even gave official language status to Tamil without the consent of the people. Clearly it was inserted for India’s advantage as Trincomalee Harbour was located in the East however other vultures were using India to advance their own designs. Why did the then UNP Government agree to sign and accept falsehoods? Who was the supposed Tamil king that ruled an ‘independent’ East Sri Lanka if such an independent state existed? The then Government & officials did not think of the damage caused by agreeing to sign against lies simply because they wanted to remain in power.

Every political solution has been arrived to address not the citizens wants or needs but to satisfy the political goals & objectives of politicians & their henchmen. None of these political proposals are what citizens have demanded. All of the political proposals are demands that cater to what politicians want and not what ordinary citizens want or need.

Therefore, the international community & the UN the supposed guardians of world peace are making a major error in thinking that political proposals are designed for the benefit of the People and are clauses demanded by the People.

These political proposals are most certainly not what the ordinary Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims want & these people comprise over 95% of the total population of a country.

By agreeing to sign the Indo-Lanka Accord, the then government made another faux pas by introducing the 13th amendment and with it the provincial council system dividing Sri Lanka into 9 provinces. The tax payer ends up footing Rs.600billion to run these 9 provinces – how have they benefitted except helping create political clans with PCs functioning as grooming schools to recruit favorites and families of politicians.

There were other agreements that brewed more trouble. Bandaranaike-Chelvanayagam pact, Dudley-Chelvanayagam pact were to address the whims and fancies of the politicians making & advancing the deals to advance their racism and agendas. Devolution and similar proposals have no value to the citizens in practice. They are just fancy words thrown into proposals and quoted by political pundits and promoted by entities who need proposals for their job survival.

Thimpu demands by LTTE, Oslo Declaration, Regional Council proposals, Draft 2000 constitution were all framed not to fulfill what the people wanted but what a handful wanted falsely claiming it was what the people wanted.

No citizen would ever ask to cut a country to pieces when it would mean they would have to take permission to enter each newly created state. No citizen would want to divide an island. Clearly all these divisions and devolutions and decentralizing proposals were not what people wanted or asked for but what a handful of people devised so that they could redistribute power among themselves and turn citizens into modern day slaves.
Notice how these politicians are tweaking laws & regulations to curtail our freedoms but give themselves immunity & impunity.  

The people didn’t ask for a ceasefire fire agreement in 2002 and the people certainly did not ask to include detrimental clauses that included placing a terrorist organization on par with the national army and giving legitimacy to a terrorist movement. No citizen asked that the army be kept in barracks but allow LTTE to roam all over the country armed! Ranil’s Govt gave LTTE 95% of their Eelaam and the rest the LTTE planned to secure through the ISGA/PTOMS with the former President playing Santa with Sri Lanka.

The ISGA proposals forwarded by LTTE in 2003 came with a USD5billion aid package. Elements of these ISGA proposals are now inserted into the new constitution. This is what R. Sampanthan, leader of the TNA and present Opposition Leader, said then “The ISGA proposal bears historical importance in the political history of Tamils in the island. The ISGA provides a base to find a permanent political solution to the Tamil national question”. This is what NGO maestro Jehan Perera commented “With its proposals for an Interim Self Governing Authority, the LTTE has given concrete form to its expectations in a manner that is essentially compatible with peaceful coexistence in a united Sri Lanka.” (2003)

Main elements of the present constitution were initially drafted by British solicitors in 1994 tasked Sri Lanka Peace Support Group formed within the Centre for Policy Alternatives. The names of those who sought the proposal and their current positions in the present government should shock all.  

The PTOMs was promoted by the Sri Lankan leaders at the time because it came with a USD3billion carrot. Both agreements were advanced when Chandrika Bandaranaike & Ranil Wickremasinghe held powers in the period 2002-2004. Nationalist organizations protested vehemently against the signing of the PTOMS “”…all warnings were ignored.

Leaving aside the political solutions/agreements the trade agreements have been no better. The officials and advisors seem to be as clueless as the subject Minister and prepared to sign against any dotted line if commissions and personal perks are promised.

Some of the trade agreements have reaped no advantage to Sri Lanka and have left Sri Lanka giving tax holidays, concessions, opening the country to foreign labor without restrictions & regulations etc simply for a one-time investment cheque and monthly profits going to the foreigners with nothing much remaining for the country-Indo-Lanka FTA (ILFTA), CEPA, ETCA to name a few.

Leaders and officials have no qualms about compromising national assets, environmental impact, issues resulting from approving ventures in close proximity to sacred and heritage sites so long as some figures with lots of zeroes are shown to them!

How many of our national assets have we privatized and given to foreign or private hands with no checks and balances or controls by the government! A small island such as ours we are now even allowing foreigners to purchase land and even own condominiums from ground level & above.

As a result the ordinary people are facing adverse effects from being pushed into rural undeveloped areas, increase in taxes and hike in essential commodities, spirally gas and other essential items which should have been kept in government hands and turned into profitable ventures. Had transport not been privatized all benefits would have come to the government. The Colombo Municipality has given parking fees to an Indian company which charges Rs.50 even for 2minute parking – why couldn’t the municipality have done this and taken the profits directly without opting for a commission and giving all profits to the private company? Many more ventures wherein the state should have turned into profitable ventures the easy option of getting a lump sum and passing the entity to foreign hands was opted. These are detrimental and leading the country to rely on an import-economy with zero manufacturing income.

How many pacts have politicians signed over the years? How many of these have proved beneficial to the general public & the nation? We have nothing much to quote. It’s a tragedy that people who come as our representatives, enjoying luxurious living from our money end up wasting the country’s revenue, destroying the little island that has an over 2600year history & heritage and ruining the lives of the people as well while inviting all the enemies to set up shop and hasten and worsen the chaos brewing in Sri Lanka.

When will sanity prevail?

Shenali D Waduge

06 January 2018



In August 2013, President Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed a Presidential Commission to investigate complaints of abductions and disappearances”.  The terms of reference were expanded in July 2014 to    include an investigation into civilian loss of life at the end of Eelam War IV   in May 2009 and whether there were any violations of international law during this period.

The panel consisted of Maxwell P. Paranagama, former High Court judge (Chairman), Manohari Ramanathan, former Deputy Legal Draftsman and Suranjana Vidyaratne, Director General, Department of Census and Statistics. There was also an Advisory Council of three international legal experts, Sir Desmond de Silva, QC. (UK) as Chairman, with Sir Geoffrey Nice QC. (UK) and   David M. Crane (USA).  The committee continued to function under President Sirisena. The period examined was 2 January 2009 to 19 May 2009.  The report on the ‘second mandate’ was published in August 2015.

S.V.Kirubaharan and M.A.Sumanthiran objected to the inclusion of Desmond de Silva on the grounds of conflict of interest. Desmond had been consulted by Rajapaksa earlier. A group of   ‘civil society members’ wrote   to President Sirisena In August 2015 saying that the  Bar Standards Board of the United Kingdom has decided to initiate a formal investigation into the conduct of Sir Desmond de Silva with respect to his role in Sri Lanka.

The investigation had commenced on 20 July 2015. This group wanted Desmond removed from the Advisory committee. Centre for Policy Alternatives and World Evangelical Alliance were among the signatories.  However, Desmond de Silva was not removed and I am unable to find out what happened to the investigation against him in London.

The Paranagama Commission observed that none of the studies to date had provided a thorough analysis of the applicable international law on warfare or used it in analyzing the last phase of the Eelam war. The Commission wished to conduct a proper analysis of the final phase of the conflict, taking into account expert military and legal advice and recognizing the core IHL principles of distinction, military necessity and proportionality.

However, the Commission said that it was necessary, first of all, to correct a certain view of sovereignty that is no longer current but which is bandied about in Sri Lanka. Some people in Sri Lanka say that the international community has no right to investigate what took place in the final stages of the conflict. This violated the sovereignty of Sri Lanka. For example by the UNHRC setting up of a Commission of Inquiry into the conduct of the war.

The Commission pointed out that prior to World War II, there were no controls over the way wars were conducted. But now there are international laws regulating the conduct of war. Sovereign states are today subject to these international laws when they engaged in war, including internal wars like Eelam War IV. The law which applied to the Eelam War IV is International Humanitarian law as given in Additional Protocols I and II, 1977 of the 1949 Geneva Convention.

The Commission received advice on international and military law from the three legal experts on the Advisory Panel.  The commission also obtained the advice of Rodney Dixon, QC. (UK/ South Africa),  Michael Newton (USA) Vanderbilt University who formerly served as the Senior Advisor to the United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes, Commander William Fenrick (Canada) and  Nina Jorgensen of Harvard and The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

The Commission also referred the work of the International Court of Justice (‘ICJ’), and the proceedings of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (‘ICTY’), the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (‘ICTR’), and the Special Court for Sierra Leone (‘SCSL’).

Before starting on its investigation, the Commission did a considerable amount of desk research. The Commission looked at the relevant UN reports, NGO assessments and US reports made on the Eelam wars. The commission studied, inter alia,  Reports to Congress by the US State Department (2009), the  ‘Darusman Report’ (2011),  ‘LLRC Report’ (2011),  Report of the Secretary General’s Internal Review Panel on United Nations Action in Sri Lanka, 2012 (Petrie Report) and  the Sooka Report (2014) ‘An Unfinished War: Torture and Sexual Violence in Sri Lanka 2009—2014’. The Committee also read reports by the International Crisis Group, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna).

The Commission also looked at the classified cables from the US embassy in Colombo, published by Wikileaks.  Such cables were now accepted in courts of law abroad as evidence. These cables shed light on matters hitherto unknown or only guessed at, said the Commission.

Finally, the Commission consulted a number of books and other published accounts of the Sri Lankan war, some of which were hostile to the government of Sri Lanka. They included the writings of Gordon Weiss, Frances Harrison, John Holmes and Rajan Hoole. The Commission has cited from these sources, sometimes to illustrate points, which have not been considered before. These writings have been cited fully ‘so that those who may wish to consider their texts more fully can do so.’

Tamil Separatist Movement has alleged that successive Sri Lankan governments have committed genocide against Tamils.  The Commission points out that Genocide is a legal and not a political term and simply citing numbers will not do.  Genocide is a very precise legal concept with definite meaning.  Genocide is defined in Article 2 of the 1948 Genocide Convention.

A charge of genocide must show a specific intent to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnic, racial or religious group and there must be very strong evidence to prove this. The International Court of Justice rejected claims of genocide by both Croatia and Serbia. The intent to destroy the group in whole or in part has to be convincingly shown. ICJ wanted the highest standard of proof ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.

Paranagama Commission categorically says that the government of Sri Lanka did not practice genocide in the final phase of the Eelam war.  It could jolly well have done so if it wanted to. Major General Holmes in his military report to the Commission,   pointed out that if the   Sri Lanka   military wanted to wipe out the Tamil civilian population it could have done so within two to three days of shelling. Its multi barreled rocket launchers, with fierce fire power and high firing speed could have done the job easily.

The Commission rejects the idea that the government and Sri Lanka army deliberately targeted Tamil civilians with intent to destroy the Tamil race.  It quotes Jacques de Maio, head of ICRC operations in South Asia, told US Ambassador Clint Williamson, In a US diplomatic cable, 2009 that any crimes that may have been committed by Sri Lankan forces did not amount to genocide. University Teachers for Human Rights, Jaffna, in its report of June 2010 also said ‘there is no evidence of genocide. It is hard to identify any other Army that would have endured the provocations of the LTTE, which was angling for genocide, and caused proportionately little harm.’

The Commission has made no attempt to suppress or whitewash killings and disappearances. The Commission   says it has been clearly established in the evidence given at its public sittings that several individuals who handed themselves in or who were handed in to the SLA were put on buses or other transport and that those individuals now remain among the disappeared. Furthermore, where there is evidence that persons who went missing were subsequently mistreated and/or killed, this may constitute an allegation of a violation of Common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions, namely murder, cruel treatment, torture or the carrying out of executions without prior judgment, as war crimes.
Here are some of the disappearances and killings placed before them and listed in the report.

1.  Typical of the evidence taken by the Commission at a public sitting in Mullativu on 4 November 2014, said the Commiiosn, was the case of the two brothers Selvakumar and Raja whose mother Murugesu Sellamma gave evidence that on 17 May 2009 she handed over her two sons, 29 and 26 years of age, to the army. One of them had been forcibly taken by the LTTE, whilst the other had not been involved in the LTTE in any way. Neither of them has been seen again
ii     Vasanthan Regina giving evidence before the Commission at Pudhukudiyiruppu on 6 July 2014 referred to handing over her 35 year old husband at Vattuvaahal Army check point on 17 May 2009. He had been an LTTE cadre but had escaped and joined his family. She testified that she was him when he handed himself in as a result of an announcement by the Army directed at those who were or had been members of the LTTE. She witnessed him being put on to a bus with others who had also surrendered. She was informed by the Army that those who were taken were going to be inquired into, after which they would be returned.  She never saw her husband again.564

iii. Bageerathan Perinbanayagi giving evidence before the Commission sitting at Pudhukudiyiruppu on 5 July 2014 informed the Commission that her husband Selvarajah Paheerathan, who had been in the security service of the LTTE, surrendered to the army on 18 May 2009. She was with him at the time of the surrender. Her husband was one of roughly 50 people put on to a bus after they surrendered. He was never seen again.565

Iv. Chandrakumar Dayalinie gave evidence before the Commission at Mullativu on 5 November 2014. Her evidence related to her brother aged 42, whose name was Thirichelvam Mailwahanam. He was a member of the LTTE. Her evidence was that he was one of many people who responded to the call by the army for LTTE members to surrender. He surrendered at Wattuwal on 17th May 2009. She gave evidence that neither his wife nor family have seen him again.566

2014.  Thanabalasingham Pushpabal gave evidence before the Commission at Mullativu on 3 November 2014. She gave evidence about her son aged 32, Thanabalasingham Wijayapaskar. She accompanied her son when he handed himself in to the army at Mulliwaikkal on 19 May 2009. She was separated from her son who was taken away for the purpose of inquiry and put onto a red bus by the army, with about 40 others. She got on to another bus. She was taken to Chettikulam Zone 4 in Vavuniya and the last she saw of her son was him waving to her from the bus in which he was. She knew three other boys of the 40 that were loaded onto the red bus with her son. She has seen none of them again although she had carried out searches at army camps within Vavuniya. They were all members of the LTTE.567

2015.  Yasmin Sooka, Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights in South Africa and former UN Adviser on Post-war Accountability issues in Sri Lanka has made an allegation to the UNHRC supported by a list of 110 names of those it is alleged surrendered to the SLA on 18 May 2009 and were loaded onto busses. These individuals who were last seen in the custody of the military, it is alleged, have never been seen again by their families. This number includes a Catholic Priest, Fr. Francis Joseph.568

vii. November 2013 Channel 4 Television released footage of Shoba alias Isaipriya as a prisoner of the SLA. She was a high profile member of the LTTE press and communication wing. Images of her dead body also shown by Channel 4, clearly suggest arbitrary execution. The Commission has also received first hand information of this disappearance from the family of Isaipriya.

viii. Channel 4 also showed T. Thurairajasingham alias ‘Colonel Ramesh’ video and photographic material obtained by Channel 4 and other sources depict this LTTE commander being interrogated by the security forces. the faces of interrogators are shown The metadata from the recording device, taken some days after this, with ‘still’ images of Colonel Ramesh’s mutilated body would again suggest arbitrary execution.

2009.  In February 2013, a series of photographs emerged depicting Balachandran Prabahakaran, the 12-year old son of the LTTE leader. The images suggest that he was in a bunker alive and well in May 2009. The allegation is that he was then in the custody of the SLA. Not long afterwards he is shown dead on the ground with his chest pierced by bullets. Whilst both sets of photographs are said to have been taken, a few hours apart with the same camera. Forensic pathologists instructed by Channel 4 suggest that the child was executed. Clearly if this allegation is proven, this is a clear breach of the laws of war.
During the course of these hearings it was evident to the Commission, that some of the complaints would have to be further investigated by a special investigation team. There are credible allegations, which if proved to the required standard, may show that some members of the armed forces committed acts during the final phase of the war that amounted to war crimes. These matters must be the subject of an independent judicial inquiry, said the commission.

The Commission also wished to establish whether a discernible pattern of widespread or systematic conduct emerged. Furthermore, where there is evidence that persons who went missing were subsequently mistreated and/or killed, this may constitute war crimes. Thus individual investigations are required before guilt can be established. The Commission recommended a judge-led inquiry of all these incidents.

The Commission therefore asked for a separate investigation unit, so that the Government and the public would be satisfied that investigations were being carried out in a transparent, unbiased manner.  The Commission    turned down the initial offer of a team from Terrorist Investigation Department (TID) and Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Sri Lanka Police. In July 2015 a team comprising of investigative officers drawn from all ethnic communities and headed by retired High Court Judge was appointed.  A female investigating officer will be selected from the district in which the investigations are to be conducted.

The Commission briefed the team on the manner in which the investigation should be carried out. A code of ethics and terms of reference were given to the team setting out details of the requirements of responsibility, accountability, honesty, integrity, caution, thoroughness and other essential requirements that should govern their approach in order to achieve the highest standards in the conduct of the investigations.

The commission stated in its report that work of the newly appointed investigative team has begun and is continuing. The Commission heard first hand testimony on one of the incidents dealt with in the Channel 4 allegations. It was about the alleged forced disappearance and alleged summary execution of approximately 100 persons who boarded a bus during the last days of the war. There is reasonable basis to believe, having heard evidence on this issue, that these individuals may have been executed.  The investigation team was looking into it.

The commission’s approach to the Channel 4 video is interesting. The Commission said that the authenticity of the video footage is not an issue that this Commission can resolve, It is not possible for the Commission to form any valuable opinion on whether the footage is fake, in whole or part, without having access to all relevant material and discussing the issue with at least one, and possibly more than one, of the relevant experts who have already contributed different opinions.
The Commission accepts that despite some opinions to the contrary, the weight of independent expert analysis of the video footage of the Channel 4 video”, suggests the images are unlikely to be faked. Forensic pathology and other corroborative expert evidence support the video footage as genuine. Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, had commissioned three experts who authenticated the footage while accepting that a small number of characteristics in the footage could not be explained.

As the UN has used a number of pathologists and firearms experts of world renown, who have now corroborated this footage, the Commission has acted on the assumption, which of course can be displaced by evidence, that the images depicted are genuine.
In the Commission’s view, the Channel 4 programmes provide enough material to form a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes may have been committed, warranting a proper judicial enquiry.  Having heard some primary evidence on at least one allegation contained in the documentary, this Commission requested an investigation team to be appointed to conduct a full investigation into what it has found to be credible allegations of criminal conduct.

The Commission takes the view that the extra-judicial executions of 18 May 2009 that were dubbed ‘White Flag Killings’ in the Channel 4 programmes must also be the subject of an independent judicial inquiry. These events are alleged to have led to the deaths of Balasingham Nadesan, the head of the political wing of the LTTE, and Seevaratnam Pulidevan, the LTTE’s head of the peace secretariat, and others who are said to have emerged under the protection of a white flag and on assurances of their personal safety. If proven, such conduct undoubtedly qualifies as a war crime under the Hague and Geneva Conventions.

The Commission took the position that the  depiction of executions and of bodies said to have died in circumstances suggesting they were executed points to the need to investigate, even if that investigation were ultimately to show that all the adverse scenes had been ‘stage managed’ by the LTTE. These are not images that can be set aside simply because the journalism is extravagant. The true central issue is not the journalistic standards of Channel 4 but the death and maltreatment of people who had the right to be properly treated. The reputation of the SLA is indeed at stake, but proper accountability is of equal, if not greater importance.

However, the Commission warns that neither television programmes nor reports of commissions of inquiry can ever be substitutes for a proper investigation and accountability process. It is a common occurrence in the modern media age to assume guilt from the findings of UN and INGO reports without the proper testing of allegations and evidence.

The Commission is critical of Channel 4 for not releasing the original video footage to the government of Sri Lanka. The Commission also notes that the video does not show who was doing the shelling. There is abundant evidence that the LTTE were both shooting and shelling their own civilians. The video also forgets that since the LTTE had failed to accept the Government’s No Fire Zone (‘NFZ’) that under international law there were no NFZs in existence. The commission observed that the Channel 4 allegations were made the subject of proceedings before a Military Court of Inquiry in Sri Lanka in 2014. But the findings have not been made available to the Commission.

The Paranagama Commission recommends the creation of a War Crimes Division within the Sri Lankan law court system, as a domestic mechanism for the purpose of investigating international crimes that apply in all conflicts, including non- international armed conflicts.  At the same time the core crimes applicable in non-international armed conflicts must be added to statute law so that they could be used to investigate and prosecute crimes of the Eelam war, In particular, the doctrine of command responsibility, which is part of customary international law for all conflicts and thus applicable to the Sri Lankan conflict, should be incorporated into Sri Lankan law. This has occurred in many other countries through the adoption of specific legislation to create certainty about the applicable law. Once the relevant provisions of international law have been incorporated into domestic law there is no difficulty in establishing a new jurisdiction to try war crimes within the existing Sri Lankan court structure. Other countries like Fiji and Gambia have done so. 

31 December 2017

Sri Lanka’s Peril: Attempting to go beyond a Federal constitution as a solution to an unknown problem

We seem to love to go round the mulberry bush and in circles. Why do we need a new constitution? Who is asking for a new constitution? What in the present constitution needs to change, why and who wants it changed and are all these changes aligned to what the common & ordinary public wants? Is there a list of hands-off, cannot be touched, no-compromise areas in the present constitution that cannot be changed in any new constitution? Will these new changes have any adverse effects and have remedial actions & solutions been considered? Have these basic fundamental questions being answered before turning the present constitution upside down and drafting a new one? We certainly doubt so. Without such we should not proceed any further. As a citizen you are bound to ask these questions and seek answers. Don’t just live in a nation, be a valuable stakeholder and contributor.

What we see by the statements from both government & foreign envoys is that a new constitution is a must to meet the aspirations of the Tamil minority. Do these foreign nations change their constitutions to meet the aspirations of the minorities in their countries?

If discrimination is the benchmark why has everyone ignored and neglected to reverse the 443 years of discrimination Sinhalese suffered when invaders confiscated their rule that had lasted over 2600 years!

What is this new constitution promising the Sinhalese for the discrimination they have suffered? If the Government & foreign envoys are hailing the new constitution as catering to the Tamils what are the majority Sinhalese getting in return? Can the MPs that come from the Sinhala vote please respond.

No constitution can take stock of only the demands of one community totally disregarding the views of all others.

No community can make demands if by its implementation it affects the rights of other communities.

These are fundamentals that the government cannot ignore.

Irrespective of what political party you belong to think about these questions & seek the answers yourself.

It is the TNA that is making the demands on behalf of the Tamils. But, how representative of the Tamils is the TNA? The 2015 General Election only 515,963 voted for TNA which means that only ¼ of Tamils support the TNA.

So why is the Government taking the views of a party that is yet to be investigated for links with the LTTE given that every election manifesto of the TNA has openly canvassed for the Eelam demands of the LTTE.

The TNA leader, who is also the Opposition Leader is now demanding the merger of the de-merged North East provinces. What the TNA is presently demanding is exactly what the LTTE fought with the gun to achieve. Are we then insane to be legally setting the stage for its realization? Does the MPs in the present government have no brains to realize the danger of appeasing to these demands?

No constitution can be allowed to create exclusive ethno-religious ghetto areas or provinces while that ethnic group reserves the right to live, own land and work in all other parts of the island.

Aren’t these questions important? Don’t you want to know the answers?   

This does not align whatsoever with the peace doves who are preaching reconciliation and peaceful coexistence though they also happen to be also promoting these ethno-religious ghettos conclaves!

No constitution can be drafted with petty objectives in mind given that it is a document that is relevant to the country and its citizenry. Nonetheless, some clauses appear to be targeting only one family and meant to prevent or obstruct them from standing for elections.

No constitution should be drafted if it is being promoted and funded by vested interests and external forces for enough of such newly drafted constitutions and newly formed ‘independent’ countries now facing chaos should suffice for us to not fall into the same soup. Anyone in doubt please refer the chaos in Kosovo and South Sudan.

The simple logic should be – how can you unite a country by dividing it?!

Have you seriously given thought to these questions?

As Mr. C Wijeyawickrema says ordinary Tamils are not asking for police or land powers or even the merger of the north & east and they certainly do not care whether King Devanampiyatissa is Tamil or Greek.

What they do want now is to be able to live in peace, to educate their children, to earn a living, save some money and live in harmony with others. These are the same wants that the ordinary Sinhalese & Muslims too share but these are not the same wants of elite Sinhalese, Tamils or Muslims & the politicians they move with. 

No constitution can be prepared to cater to the demands of controversial characters. There is little to hide that this government is in power as a result of a well-planned and executed regime change. The statements issued by leaders of Western governments and India suffice to confirm this. No foreign force helps a government to come to power without expecting them to carry out a list of promises they have committed to implement once in power. Voters should not be naïve to these realities in particular the supporters of the parties that campaigned to bring this government in power.

There are some political pundits clamouring to promote a ‘middle path’ believing they can fool the Buddhist majority who continues to question why TNA demands should be entertained when it has not been investigated for LTTE links & when TNA is basically making the same demands as the LTTE terrorists. But this is the path that some political pundits are schemingly advising. Negotiating the concurrent list is taking the LTTE/TNA path. The 13a should be scrapped because it is taking the path of division and destability and it is on account of this that both India & West wants its continuance.

Why leaders are shy to declare abolishing of the 13a is not because the people want it but because external parties influencing the people want to keep it. However, if a political party genuinely sees the dangers in maintaining the 13a and decides to revoke it, having appraised the public of its dangers the voters will overwhelmingly accept it. Sinhalese or Muslim voters see no advantage in the 13a and only Tamils can be externally influenced to object. If a honest strategy is adopted 13a can be revoked without much trouble. Why are politicians shy to do so?

Let’s also not forget that the ITAK constitution of 1949 was amended in 2008 removing its objective to a confederal from a federal replacing Samashthi with Innaipachchi. Legal fraternity should also seek court clarification on the Vaddukoddai Resolution of 1976.

ITAK’s calls do not align to a federal option it claims to demand. ITAK calls for referendums when only the Central Government can seek referendums & not provincial states. The calls for a ‘united’ Sri Lanka ‘collaboration’ ‘coexistence are all aligned to confederate model of governance as states are held together only by a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ which can easily be broken. The demands and clauses that provide the state with powers that makes it impossible for the Centre to reach the citizens of the provinces is also confederal elements and not federal.
Our governments have made mistakes. Our leaders have been influenced. We have gone through much turmoil & chaos. If we do not learn lessons we deserve what we are getting. When external forces forced an incursive agreement (Indo-Lanka Accord) in 1987, when external forces forced us to tweak our constitution (13th amendment), when external forces created terrorism that lasted 30 years and cost us not only loss of lives, tears and reversed our development, surely we need to ensure our territory is kept safe from these external forces!

We need to identify the enemies from the friends whether they are local or foreign. We need to seriously address the needs of the nation and not a handful of selfish and destructive people. Why should external forces and people who only live in Sri Lanka because it serves their personal interest dictate what type of constitution we should have. As far as we know no one in the general public want or have even asked for a new constitution. So why are we wasting time drafting one! What is ridiculous is that those drafting the constitution are those dying to divide the nation.

We have made plenty of mistakes. Some are now irreversible. However, we cannot make another major faux pas by allowing a new constitution that is being drafted for the wrong reasons by the wrong people.

Give some serious thought to this.

Shenali D Waduge

23 December 2017

Racism & Separatist mentality of Tamil leaders with evidence

Even to dance the tango the two have to dance to not only the same tune but to the same steps. What is clear from the very statements by Tamil leaders and their representative parties over the years is that their demands remain fixated while they expect the other party to be compromising and virtually giving in to their demands. What is equally shocking is that the so-called international community & the UN system well aware of these racist & separatist demands of the Tamil political players are very happy to play along as they see opportunities for their agendas in the demands made by these Tamils.       

On 20th November 1947 the President of the ACTC sent a telegram through the Governor’s Office to the Secretary of State for the Colonies:
“The Tamil people of Ceylon have rejected the Soulbury Constitution in as much as at the general elections not one Tamil candidate of the U. N. P. was elected to Parliament and all but one of the Tamil Representatives who voted for the acceptance of the White Paper of 1945 in the defunct State Council were (sic) defeated. The All Ceylon Tamil Congress demands a free constitution for Ceylon conferring sovereignty on its people with equal freedom for all communities and calls for a constituent assembly to frame a constitution acceptable to all sections of the people. An Unitary Government with present composition of legislature and structure of executive totally unacceptable to the Tamils. In the absence of a satisfactory alternative we demand the right of self-determination for the Tamil people.” 

It was only in 1951 that, for the first time, Tamil politicians defined the Tamils as a distinct nation. The first annual convention of the Tamil Federal Party (ITAK) declared:
"the Tamil speaking people in Ceylon constitute a nation distinct from that of the Sinhalese by every fundamental test of nationhood"

The Federal Party summoned its national convention in the naval port of Trincomalee in the eastern province. That convention, held on 19 August 1956 immediately after the passing of the June 1956 Official Language Act, passed the following resolutions:
1. the replacement of the present pernicious constitution by a rational and democratic constitution based on the federal principle and the establishment of one or more Tamil linguistic state or states incorporating all geographically contiguous areas in which the Tamil speaking people are numerically in a majority as federating unit or units enjoying the widest autonomous and residuary powers consistent with the unity and external security of Ceylon;
2. The restoration of the Tamil language to its rightful place enjoying the absolute parity of status with Sinhalese as an official language of the country;
3. The repeal of the present citizenship laws and the enactment in their place of laws recognizing the right to full citizenship on the basis of a simple test of residence for all persons who have made this country their home;
4. The immediate cessation of colonization of the traditional Tamil speaking areas with Sinhalese people.

Professor C. Suntharalingam - The man who fathered the Tamil Eelam concept and introduced the word EELAM into the Ceylonese political vocabulary. He created the Eela Thamil Ottrumai Munnani (Unity Front of Eelam Tamils) in 1959.
"We have made up our minds, come what may, that we shall constitute a separate state of Eelam"

Statement by S. J. Chelvanayagam after winning the by-election for the Kankesanturai Parliamentary seat, held belatedly on 7 February 1975
"I wish to announce to my people and to the country that I consider the verdict at this election as a mandate that the Tamil Eelam nation should exercise the sovereignty already vested in the Tamil people and become free." 

In 1975 its leader Chelvanayakam declared secession to be the goal of the Tamil people. In 1977, the Tamil United Front (TUF) was Reformed as the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), and in the subsequent general election asked the Tamil people for a mandate to secede as the separate State of Tamil Eelam. The TULF stated in its election manifesto
“The Tamil nation must take the decision to establish its sovereignty in its homeland on the basis of its right to self determination. The only way to announce this decision to the Sinhalese government and to the world is to vote for the Tamil United Liberation Front.”

In 1972 combining the ACTC and ITAK (Federal Party) Tamil United Front was formed which later became TULF in 1976. Vaddukoddai Resolution emerged from the first National Convention of the Tamil United Liberation Front meeting at Pannakam (Vaddukoddai Constituency) on the 14th day of May, 1976 by Chairman S.J.V. Chelvanayakam. www.sangam.org
5 objectives were declared
1.      State of Tamil Eelam to consist of North & Eastern provinces to all Tamil speaking people
2.      Constitution of Tamil Eelam based on principles of decentralization. No foremost place to any religion or territorial community.
3.      Tamil Eelam will assure equal status to all
4.      Tamil Eelam will be a secular state with equal protection to all religions
5.      Tamil will be language of the State but Sinhala speaking minority can educate and transact in Sinhala subject to reciprocity of Tamil speaking minority in Sinhala state.  (didn’t they demand equal language rights – if so why make only Tamil language of the state?)

26 March 1977 Chelvanayagam said ,
“My advice to the Sinhalese leaders is to allow us to go our way .. Let us avoid bitterness and agree to part peacefully. This will pave the way for greater cooperation between the two nations on a footing of equality. The Tamils are not with any other alternatives. Bitterness is growing in the midst of the younger generations. Without allowing it to grow any further, which may lead to inevitable confrontation leading to foreign intervention, therefore a method of peacefully working out this entanglement is necessary. We are confident that the truth will ultimately triumph and we will win in the war of endurance.”

Tamil United Liberation Front General Election Manifesto, July 1977
·     "to establish an independent sovereign, secular, socialist State of Tamil Eelam...".
·     “Even before the Christian era, the entire Island of Ceylon was ruled by Tamil Kings, Senan, Kuddikan and Elara  (Ellalan)” (These are all Indian – Tamil Nadu kings and Elara was not a Tamil)
·     “The Tamil nation must take the decision to establish its sovereignty in its homeland on the basis of its right to self determination. The only way to announce this decision to the Sinhalese government and to the world is to vote for the Tamil United Liberation Front”
·     “either by peaceful means or by direct action or struggle.”

When the UNP government put forward its conventional policy statement in August 1977, Amirthalingam, the leader of the opposition, proposed an amendment to it:

“It [the policy statement] studiedly refrains from referring to the mandate given by the people of Tamil Eelam to the TULF for the restoration and reconstitution of a free, sovereign, socialist, secular state of Tamil Eelam . . . Government policy has failed to take note of the fact that the Tamils are a separate nation by all internationally accepted standards . . . and are therefore entitled to exercise their inalienable right of self determination”

President Jayewardene in October 1982
"They can't separate, and what we give them can't be different from any other part of the country."

Yogaratnam Yogi, on behalf of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam speaking at a public meeting to commemorate the 15th death anniversary of Thanthai Chelva on April 26 1992 at Nallur, Jaffna
"Thanthai Chelva was the elder statesman who opened the path for the present struggle of the Tamils. He had to carry the struggle forward under great difficulties. We of the LTTE accord Thanthai Chelva and his sincere followers a respected position in the Tamil Eelam liberation struggle.”

In 2001 when Tamil National Alliance was formed comprising the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), the All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC), the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO) and the Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) their immediate demands were: -
·      The immediate lifting of the economic embargo currently in force in parts of the northeast province
·      The withdrawal of the residential and travel restrictions foisted on the Tamil nationality
·      The immediate cessation of the war being currently waged in the northeast
·      The immediate commencement of the process of negotiations with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam ( LTTE) with international third party involvement.

TNA 2001 election manifesto
1.   Recognition of the Tamils of Sri Lanka as a distinct nationality. 
2.   Recognition of an identified Tamil homeland and guarantee of its territorial integrity.
3.   Based on the above, recognition of the inalienable right of self-determination of the Tamil nation.
4.  Recognition of the right to full citizenship and other fundamental democratic rights of all Tamils who look upon the island as their country.’

R. Sambathan leader of TNA & present Opposition Leader (2003)
"The ISGA proposal submitted by the LTTE to the UNF government bears historical importance in the political history of Tamils in the island. The ISGA provides a base to find a permanent political solution to the Tamil national question,"

TNA 2004 election manifesto key areas www.tamilnet.com / www.thesundayleader.lk
·      The high security zones and armed forces camps…. should be removed
·      The political prisoners ……should be released (LTTE cadres are not political prisoners)
·      …. removing the restrictions put in place by certain countries on the LTTE

2009 Tamil Diaspora global referendum conducted by TGTE.
"I aspire for the formation of the independent and sovereign state of Tamil Eelam in the north and east territory of the island of Sri Lanka on the basis that the Tamils in the island of Sri Lanka make a distinct nation, have a traditional homeland and have the right to self-determination."

TNA 2010 election manifesto transcurrents.com
·      Tamil people a distinct nationality
·      Tamil speaking Northern & Eastern provinces are historical habitation of the Tamil people peoples.
·      Tamil people are entitled to right of self-determination
·      Power sharing arrangement must be established in a unit merged Northern and Eastern Provinces based on a federal structure
·      Devolution of power over land, law and order, socioeconomic development including health, education, resources and fiscal powers
·      Direct foreign investment in the North & East
·      Tertiary education
·      Demilitarization return to pre-war 1983
·      Resettlement of Tamil people in their original places, housing and livelihood to be restored.
·      Compensation paid to loss of lives, maimed as a result of military campaign
·      Releasing persons detained without charges
·      Tamils who fled country must be allowed to return
·      Creation of employment opportunities for youth with participation of International Community & Tamil Diaspora
·      No displaced persons
·      Special commission to  uplift socially and economically disadvantaged sections of society
·      TNA will raise standard of living of fishing communities providing them access to modern technologies
·      Increasing salaries of government servants and private sector employees
·      Equal status to women,
·      TNA assures to secure employment opportunities to unemployed graduates

Sampanthan’s speech at the 14th Annual ITAK convention in 2012 Batticoloa covered the following points : www.tamilcanadian.com a must read to understand what the demands are
“Our expectation for a solution to the ethnic problem of the sovereignty of the Tamil people is based on a political structure OUTSIDE that of a UNITARY GOVERNMENT, in a UNITED SRI LANKA in which Tamil people have all the powers of government needed to live with self-respect and self sufficiency’. (this is echoing the 1947 demands by ACTC to the British)
“The struggle is the same, but the approaches we employ are different. Our aim is the same, but our strategies are different. The players are the same, but the alliances are different. That is the nature of the Tamil people. Although we still have the same aim, the methods we use are now different.” 

TNA 2013 election manifesto (Northern Provincial Council election)
·      The Tamils are a distinct People and from time immemorial have inhabited this island together with the Sinhalese People and others
·      The contiguous preponderantly Tamil Speaking Northern and Eastern provinces is the historical habitation of the Tamil Speaking Peoples
·      The Tamil People are entitled to the right to self-determination
·      Power sharing arrangements must be established in a unit of a merged Northern and Eastern Provinces based on a Federal structure, in a manner also acceptable to the Tamil Speaking Muslim people
·      Devolution of power on the basis of shared sovereignty shall necessarily be over land, law and order, socio-economic development including health and education, resources and fiscal powers.

TNA 2015 Parliamentary Election Manifesto - issued by the TNA comprising of ITAK, TELO, EPRLF and PLOTE.
·      The Tamils are a distinct People with their own culture, civilization, language and heritage and from time immemorial have inhabited this island together with the Sinhalese People and others (slight change to their earlier stand)
·      The contiguous preponderantly Tamil Speaking Northern and Eastern provinces is the historical habitation of the Tamil People and the Tamil Speaking Peoples
·      The Tamil People are entitled to the right to self-determination in keeping with United Nations International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, both of which Sri Lanka has accepted and acceded to
·      Power sharing arrangements must continue to be established as it existed earlier in a unit of a merged Northern and Eastern Provinces based on a Federal structure. The Tamil speaking Muslim historical inhabitants shall be entitled to be beneficiaries of all power-sharing arrangements in the North-East. This will no way inflict any disability on any People.
·      Devolution of power on the basis of shared sovereignty shall be over land, law and order, enforcement of the law so as to ensure the safety and security of the Tamil People, socio-economic development including inter-alia health, education, higher and vocational education, agriculture, fisheries, industries, livestock development, cultural affairs, mustering of resources, both domestic and foreign and fiscal powers.
·      Direct foreign investment in the North-East should be facilitated resulting in new industries and employment opportunities being created for youth
·      Avenues for tertiary education should also be set-up so that those who cannot enter universities can pursue higher education in relevant fields

V Rudrakumaran, LTTE lawyer and present ‘President’ of TGTE
"...a social group characterized by distinct objective elements such as a common language and a common struggle, acquire subjective elements such as a sense of solidarity, of sameness or oneness and has a relationship to a defined territory," such a group clearly constitutes a "people" and-is entitled to self-determination... the Tamils of Sri Lanka, who are united on the basis of such objective factors as a distinct language etc., and by such subjective factors as a passionate yearning for freedom, and who have a long-established relationship to the Northern and Eastern provinces constitute a people, and are therefore entitled to self-determination in the form of secession, in the face of denial of effective representation in Sri Lanka's existing constitutional and political situation...."

Feb. 10, 2015 Northern Provincial Council headed by C V Wigneswaran tabled a resolution alleging genocide of Sri Lankan Tamils, since 1948 (he cannot however explain how Tamil population is increasing after genocide)

Racism of Chief Minister Wigneswaran is exposed through these examples http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2017/04/04/racism-of-chief-minister-wigneswaran/

There are plenty more racist and hateful statements made by these so-called Tamil leaders most of these comments for want of space is not included. What is shocking is that no one seems to be bothered with their racism & separatist objectives.

Take all of the Tamil organizations/associations overseas and study their aims, objectives – every event they organize uses LTTE colours, LTTE flags, LTTE memorabilia, LTTE maps etc.

If the demands have not changed why should the other side only be the one to have to compromise, virtually give into demands that have no historical basis, factually incorrect, strenghtened by blood-money & illegal and illicit profits.

Shenali D Waduge