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Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka should restart from Oslo declaration

The Rajapaksa regime of Srilanka is still seen celebrating the victory of its army in the civil war although the first anniversary had passed in February 2010. The continued jubilant celebration of Sinhala people and the endless silent suffering of Tamils confirm the fact that the island is so divided into two. The island is no more an unitary state as claimed by Sinhala racists.

The ground realities clearly show occupation of Sinhala army over the Tamil lands and it can never be a matter of acceptance by Tamil people. Those Tamil leaders who are now confined psychologically and physically in the island and who accept the ground realities to cooperate with Rajapaksa Sinhala regime are doing so only by fear of life and death

The island has witnessed such celebration of Sinhala in earlier occasions too in its history of 2500 years. Tamils have also demonstrated that they cannot be silenced forever.

The world has now understood better that there is an ethnic conflict in Srilanka between two races who live in their own traditional homeland. The world is aware of a bloody war and know that Tamils are fighting for life, freedom and liberty. And now the world should insist that Srilanka cannot drag its feet endlessly on conflict resolution. The country shall have to be pressurized and compelled to respect the commitments it made to International community for a meaningful settlement of the ethnic conflict.

Srilanka cannot be let loose by the world otherwise it will be considered as an island separated from the world on the account of its insensitivity towards human rights and war crimes. Historically Srilanka was responsible to invite international attention by its own misdeeds and barbaric inhuman treatment towards its own citizens.

It was massacre of thousands of Tamils in 1983 riots in Srilanka, sponsored by ruling Sinhala politicians which led to intervention of India and 1987 through Indo Srilanka agreement.

Through Indo lanka agreement, Colombo committed for devolution of power to the provinces, merger of the northern and eastern provinces, and official status for the Tamil language. By this agreement the Srilanka had acknowledged that Sri Lanka was a multiethnic, multi-lingual and multi-religious society , recognized that each ethnic group had a distinct cultural and linguistic identity and agreed that the northern and eastern provinces were “areas of historical habitation of Tamil speaking peoples”

Srilanka proceeded with the 13th amendment to their constitution to give effect to the Indo-Lanka Accord. The clauses in the amendment were cunningly crafted to hand over final authority to Sinhala parliament in almost everything leaving toothless provincial councils for Tamils. This itself had undermined the spirit of Indo Lanka accord.

In a judgment of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka on 16 October 2006 a five-judge bench ( consisting all Sinhala judges) ruled that the merger of northern and eastern provinces of the Island in 1987 was “invalid”. The court observed that the merger was in “excess of the powers reposed in the President” and leaving Parliament as competent to decide on such a subject.

The Sinhala establishment has shown its insincere attitude towards Indo Lanka accord by enacting law to provide powerless provincial councils and by allowing the Supreme court for demerger of Tamil areas in North and Eastern part of the island.

The Sinhala race constitute a majority in the island and they can adopt their own constitution to alternate between Executive president and Parliament as deciding authority to refuse Powers to Tamils within an unitary state. This has been clearly demonstrated in implementation of Indo lankan accord and 13th amendment. Tamils who cohabit with Sinhalese for many centuries were in a position to understand them well and their struggle evolved from peaceful struggle to armed struggle. The alternative was to carry begging bowls in front of Sinhala court/Parliament/President. These institutions in Srilanka can never deliver justice to Tamils.

Moreover India have already corroborated along side the Sinhalese army in a war against Tamils under pretexts ranging from assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, investments in Srilanka etc to China fear syndrome. The failed Indo Lanka accord can never constitute a key for a resolution of the conflict. It has become customary for Indian and Srilankan leaders whenever they visit each other to recall this accord for finding a solution and forget about it after entering their flight back home only to hoodwink the people of Tamil Nadu in India.

Under these circumstances it is meaningful to turn towards international laws based on the commitment made by Srilanka to the international community to find a just and lasting solution agreeable to Tamils.

The approved text of Oslo declaration says “the parties agreed to explore a solution founded on the principle of internal self determination in areas of historical Tamil habitation of the Tamil speaking peoples based on a federal structure within a federal framework within a united Sri Lanka.”

This declaration was a result of a peace process initiated by Norway Government endorsed by many countries including Europian Union Japan and all the donor countries who fill the treasury of Lankan Government.

The Oslo declaration can be a key to restart the dialogue with Tamil community leaders inside and outside Srilanka. But if the Sinhalese insist on gains over the defeat of LTTE and keep on celebrating their victory they will again fail ultimately. And any attempt to impose a remedy on a weakened Tamil population ignoring the long lasting solution shall again fail miserably.

Srilanka should atleast see its neighbor to learn its lesson about devolving powers to the states after combating the rebels. India implemented Rajiv Longoval accord on the grievances of the people of Punjab instead of celebrating the victory of Indian Army over the Khalistan rebels in Operation blue star.

But Considering the behavior of the Government of Srilanka in post war activities such as delaying the rehabilitation of Tamils, Sinhalisation of Tamil lands, Expanding Buddhism to East and North, Extension of Emergency, continued suppression of press freedom, controlled access to North and East etc, we have to wonder whether there is any international pressure on Srilanka for corrective actions on these accounts before moving forward to bring a political solution to the ethnic issue.

The international community who liberally donate for this poor country can call for time bound dialogue based on the Oslo declaration for settlement of conflict as a pre condition for the release of funds.

Since the countries like India, China, Russia and USA have focused their geo political interests as against the human rights, the UN and EU can show some sensitive approach towards Tamils. At this juncture the World owes an explanation to Tamils for the failure to intervene in preventing a massacre at Mullivaikkal.

In this direction we should welcome the decision of European Union to consider extending the GSP plus status for a limited period only if Colombo is ready give written guarantees on implementation of human rights laws. Another welcome sign is the recent appointment of War crimes panel by United Nations. However it is to be seen whether these actions could be enough to persuade racist regime in Srilanka to move towards the resolution based on Oslo declaration.

Tamils all over the world should double their efforts in a wise manner to mount pressure on Srilanka for conflict resolution and at the same time must collaborate with international agencies on human rights and war crimes to establish justice for Tamil community.

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ThiruValluvar

ThiruValluvar

ThiruValluvar

Wisdom is a weopon of defence
An inner fortress no foe can raze

Thirukkural (Porutpal 421) a Tamil book of wisdom

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Lee Kwan Yew

Lee Kwan Yew

Lee Kwan Yew

“Rajapaksa is a Sinhalese extremist… Tamils have been in the island of Sri Lanka as long as the Sinhalese and Sri Lanka is not a happy “united” country.The Sinhalese who are less capable are putting down a minority of Jaffna Tamils who are more capable… I don’t think they [Tamils] are going to be submissive or go away.”

Lee Kwan Yew, Former Prime Minister of Singapore

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