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Sri Lanka's victorious Tamil party ready to work with government in power devolution

Written By Freedam to the nation resettlement of IDPs on Sunday, September 22, 2013 | 8:35 AM


Sun, Sep 22, 2013, 08:50 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Sept 22, Colombo: After emerging victorious in a landslide at the polls for the Northern Province yesterday, Sri Lanka's main Tamil party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) said it is ready to work with the government to solve the ethnic problem.
Addressing a media briefing in Jaffna following the party's landslide victory, the TNA leader R. Sampanthan said his party is ready to participate in the Parliament Select Committee appointed to resolve the national issue if the government agrees to a meaningful measure to devolve power.
He said the party is ready to assist the government to fully implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.
Sampanthan said that the new council will move forward step by step.
The newly elected Chief Minister of the Northern Provincial Council C.V. Vigneswaran said the Council needs to work with the government in some areas and once the Council is in operation they will discuss the pressing issues that need to be addressed such as the land and police powers.
Meanwhile addressing a media briefing in Colombo Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, who was in charge of the development in the war-torn North, said the government is willing to work together with the TNA within the framework of the Constitution.

Minister Rajapaksa stressed that now the TNA has received the power they have responsibility to fulfill the needs of the Tamil people. He expressed hope that the Tamil party would not lead the northern people to another separatist struggle.

TNA win the Northern province

 Tamil National Alliance sweeps Sri Lanka's Northern Province polls
Sun, Sep 22, 2013, 01:22 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Sept 22, Colombo: Sri Lanka's major Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has secured a landslide victory in the first ever provincial council elections held in the Tamil dominated Northern Province.
The party fielding former Supreme Court judge C.V. Wigneswaran as the Chief Minister candidate for the Northern Provincial Council won all five districts in the Province with a clear majority and secured 30 of the 38 seats for the newly formed Council.
The ruling United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) has managed to secure seven seats and the Muslim party Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) got one seat in the Council.
The voters in the Northern Province have clearly rejected the main opposition United National Party (UNP).
Election for the administration in the Northern Province, which for 30 years was under the control of the Tamil Tiger terrorists until their defeat in May 2009, was held for the first time since the establishment of the provincial council system in 1987.
In the Jaffna district, the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) the party representing the TNA won 84.37 percent of the votes while the UPFA came in second with 14.20 percent of the votes. Voter turnaround in Jaffna was 64 percent.
In the former Tamil Tiger stronghold of Kilinochchi district ITAK won 81.57 percent of the total votes while the UPFA received 17.37 percent of the votes.
In Mannar district ITAK won 62.22 percent, UPFA received 28.38 percent and SLMC 8.59 percent of the votes.
ITAK received 66.10 percent of votes in Vavuniya district and 78.56 percent of the votes in Mullaitivu while the ruling party got 26.67 percent in Vavuniya and 20.04 percent in Mullaitivu.
The TNA, once considered as a proxy for the terrorist group LTTE during the war, contested the polls with an election manifesto that called for self-determination in the Tamil-dominated North under a federal structure.
In its election manifesto, the TNA called for establishing power sharing arrangements in a unit of a merged Northern and Eastern Provinces based on a Federal structure.
The southern polity of the country says the demand to re-merge the two provinces is an LTTE separatist agenda and the Tamil party's call for re-merger is aimed at establishing an Eelam state in the region.

However, the government takes pride in the progress it has made in the democratic process in the war-torn region by holding the elections.

Memorandum which hand over to the UN Commissioner

Written By Freedam to the nation resettlement of IDPs on Monday, September 16, 2013 | 10:42 PM

Minister of resettlement-News

68,058 currently in 110 TN welfare camps 5628 returned home since end of war
The repatriation of over 100,000 Sri Lankan refugees from India would feature at the next meeting of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission early next year. During different periods of the war, a large number of affected persons sought refuge in Tamil Nadu, India. Currently, 68,058 Sri Lankan refugees remained in 110 welfare camps in different parts of Tamil Nadu. Besides, 34,471 refugees were staying with their host families in India.

Resettlement Ministry Secretary Janaka Sugathadasa told that 5628 refugees had returned to the country since the end of the war in 2009, through the voluntary repatriation process facilitated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Likewise, 2400 more refugees had consented to return to the country and resettle in their original places in the north and the east.

Mr. Sugathadasa said the authorities of the two countries had included the repatriation of Sri Lankan refugees in the agenda of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission which met for the first time in January this year."With the assistance of the UNHCR, returnees would be given free air tickets, exit permits from India, and also a reintegration allowance of Rs.25, 000," he said. Most of the refugees, he said, appeared to be well absorbed into Indian society.

"The state government of Tamil Nadu has given various incentives to them during their stay expanding over 20 years. Some of their children are well-educated. There are some, studying at medical colleges," he said. "We are encouraging them to return through a voluntary repatriation process."

16.09.2013



  

Who will benefit from these projects?

* Japan to assist Sri Lanka's tourism industry, formulate a free trade policy
Mon, Sep 16, 2013, 08:45 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Sept 16, Colombo: Taking measures to deepen already strong Japan-Sri Lanka bilateral relations, Japan has offered assistance to boost Sri Lanka's tourism industry and materialize a free-trade deal between the two countries.
Japan's Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Minoru Kiuchi, who visited the island last week, has assured that steps will be taken to assist Sri Lanka to boost the island's booming tourism industry and to launch projects to produce industrial goods.
Co-chairing the sixth meeting of the Japan-Sri Lanka Government-Private Joint Forum co-with Sri Lanka's Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa, on Friday (13) in Colombo Kiuchi has also expressed hope that the two countries could focus attention on formulating a free trade policy relating to selected export items and service.
Participating in the bilateral trade conference with the representatives from the Japan Chamber of Commerce, the visiting Minister has commended the progress Sri Lanka has achieved with Japan's assistance in the areas of agriculture, industries, information technology and mass communications, power and water resources and in developing infrastructure facilities.
Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa presided over the conference with the participation of Finance Ministry Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, Industry and Commerce Ministry Secretary Anura Siriwardena and other senior officials.
Kiuchi's two-day visit to Colombo was a follow-up to the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's visit to Tokyo in March this year and to the visit of Deputy Prime Minister of Japan and Minister of Finance, Taro Aso to Sri Lanka in May this year.
Addressing the conference Minister Rajapaksa has said that Sri Lanka's eco-friendly environment has attracted an increasing number of foreign investors during the past several years and the facilities they require have been provided in accordance with the regulations of the Chamber of Commerce. Sri Lanka's correct procedure on taxation and related matters had helped to commence production in a short time, Minister Rajapaksa has pointed out.
The Sri Lankan Minister has appreciated the assistance Japan had given for developing the tourism industry in helping to restore the Hamilton Canal and other such projects.
He has indicated to the Japanese delegation that Sri Lanka hopes to increase exports of green tea, ornamental fish and cut flowers to Japan and expects Japan's assistance in formulating a free trade policy.
Dr. Jayasundera has expressed the government's appreciation for the assistance Japan has given in among others building a television network, port development, constructing the Jaya Dock Yard, power plants, expressways, bridges, launching drinking water projects, constructing the Sigiriya Museum.
Japanese Ambassador in Sri Lanka Nobuhito Hobo, BOI Chairman Dr. Lakshman Jayaweera, representatives of leading Japanese companies and high ranking Japanese government officials also attended the conference.


Legal action against the TNA election manifesto

Thursday,12 September 2013 - 07:20 PM Cabinet Spokesperson Minister Keheliya Rambukwella states that a group is preparing to go to courts with regard to the election manifesto presented by the Tamil National Alliance for the Northern Provincial Council election. Speaking at the cabinet decisions press briefing held at the Government Information Department Minister Rambukwella stated that the government expresses its regret that the TNA presented such an election manifesto. Minister Rambukwella responded in the following manner to a question raised by a journalist who queried if the TNA wins the Northern Provincial Council election would that not be the equivalent to the public of the North accepting the TNA’s election manifesto. Another journalist queried the minister regarding the Northern Provincial Councilor Major General G. A. Chandrasiri, who is a government official, engaging in propaganda activities for the United People’s Freedom Alliance, to which the minister responded in the following manner. Speaking further Minister Rambukwella also stated that despite the Jathika Hela Urumaya withdrawing from the Parliamentary Select Committee appointed to solve the national issue, the activities of the PSC will continue. The United National Party is currently making various requests for a national election. Upon inquiry by a journalist with regard to this, the Minister Keheliya Rambukwella in response stated that a presidential election will not be held in 2014.

SUMANTHIRAN RESPONDS TO CRITICISM OF TNA’S ELECTION MANIFESTO

SUMANTHIRAN RESPONDS TO CRITICISM OF TNA’S ELECTION MANIFESTOSeptember 14, 2013 04:03 pmBookmark and Share The Tamil National Alliance today said it will not bow to the ‘staggering’ reactions towards the party’s controversial election manifesto, which has been termed as ‘extremist’ and ‘separatist’ by the government and its coalition parties. “We are unwaveringly convinced of our stance and will not be bullied into distancing ourselves from statements that we have made,” TNA parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran said in a written response to the criticisms. He claimed that it is a “new trend” that commenced with the government’s disapproval of the TNA’s Chief Ministerial choice, retired judge C.V. Vigneshwaran and that the government arrogates to itself the right to approve or disapprove of other political parties’ choices and decisions. The Jaffna District MP charged that the TNA doesn’t even seem to have the right afforded to other parties in the country. “Not merely does the government attempt to foist criminal elements upon the Tamil speaking people through their own party, but they are unashamedly trying to deny the TNA its prerogative of nominating decent, upright, educated candidates for election to the Northern Province. “It is this patronising attitude that has led them to comment on the Election Statement put forward by the Tamil people,” Sumanthiran said. He stated that as elected representatives of the Tamil people, the TNA therefore reiterates their right to exercise self-determination through a federal structure within a united Sri Lanka. “We therefore insist on the full implementation of the Thirteenth Amendment and movement beyond as a necessary albeit insufficient step to resolving the national question,” he said.. Following is the Full Statement issued by M.A. Sumanthiran: The NPC Election Campaign took a new turn last week with the government and many of its hard line allies protesting against the TNA Election ‘Manifesto’ released in Jaffna on 3rd Sept 2013. This is a new trend that commenced with the government ‘s disapproval of the TNA’s Chief Ministerial choice. It is interesting that the government arrogates to itself the right to approve or disapprove of other political parties’ choices and decisions. In fact the TNA doesn’t even seem to have the right afforded to other parties in the country. Not merely does the government attempt to foist criminal elements upon the Tamil speaking people through their own party, but they are unashamedly trying to deny the TNA its prerogative of nominating decent, upright, educated candidates for election to the Northern Province. It is this patronising attitude that has led them to comment on the Election Statement put forward by the Tamil people. The fact that the statement was issued by the TNA – the credible representatives of the Tamil people – clearly entails that there is no necessity for the statement to have the approval of the government or those saddled with making the government’s case. The TNA is not a minor coalition partner willing to take orders from the government, however much this reality grates on a government intent on keeping the Tamil people subservient to a numerical majority. In their zeal to smear our Election Statement, they have accused the TNA of violating the constitution. Nothing can be further from the truth. The content of this Statement is not new. It contains the political positions of the Manifesto of 2010 for which the Tamil people gave the TNA a clear mandate. These positions have been articulated by the ITAK for over 60 years. Indeed, the call for a federal structure of government from the Tamil people and fronted by the ITAK emerged only during the 1950’s. It was first articulated by SWRD Bandaranaiake a quarter of a century before in 1926 as the best form of government for ‘Ceylon’ when he delivered a series of lectures in Jaffna and penned six letters to the Ceylon Morning Leader. The Kandyan League articulated this same idea when they made recommendations for a federal form of government to imperial commissions. More recently, on the 5th December 2002 in Oslo, the Sri Lankan government delegation led by Prof. G.L. Pieris, the current Minister of External affairs “…agreed to explore a solution founded on the principle of internal self determination in areas of historical habitation of the tamil speaking peoples, based on a federal structure within a united Sri Lanka.” The TNA’s election Manifesto of 2010, which is quoted in the NPC Election Statement 2013, does not move an inch beyond what Bandaranaike and the Kandyan League articulated long years ago, or to which Prof G.L. Pieris agreed on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka. What I understatedly call ‘interesting’ – indeed ‘staggering’ may be a more apt description – is that when the TNA articulates the very solutions that SWRD Bandaranaiake and GL Pieris previously committed to, and indeed which are contained in several proposals of the Sri Lankan government between 1993 and 2008, that same position becomes ‘extremist’, ‘racist’, or ‘separatist’. This is further proof that the Tamil people or their political representatives do not in fact have equal rights to the Sinhalese people and their political representatives. It seems the Tamil people are considered second-class citizens after all! It is a goebellsian lie to claim that the TNA’s position on the need for federalism is a form of secessionism. When our Election Statement refers to “our right to exercise our option to determine what is best for us to ensure self government in the Tamil Speaking North-East of the country within a united Sri Lanka”, that is precisely what we mean. But in the gaze of this regime and its apologists - united is separate. Analogies to an Orwellian dystopia have been made before, and this is not surprising, for with this government war is indeed peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength. It is essential for reconciliation, therefore, that vicious lies about the ‘other’ - whether about infertility inducing sweets being distributed at Muslim owned clothing stores, or about Tamil federalists being secessionists – are rubbished and rubbished early. The purveyors of this form of hate have no place in a plural society. In considering the specific positions taken by the TNA, it is appropriate to consider the proposal and promises made by the Sri Lankan state itself. The 1992 Parliamentary Select Committee proposals (also called the Mangala Moonesinghe proposals) to improve upon the 13 Amendment suggested the abolition of the concurrent list or radically downsizing it by moving those powers into the provincial list. Although it claimed that there should not be provisions for merger of the provinces, it suggested an Apex Council for only the North and East as a special case. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge’s proposals of 1995, 1997 and August 2000 abandoned the unitary state model, and although it did not explicitly describe the state as federal, in content it was in fact federal. There was no concurrent list and the question of merger of the North and East was left open to be decided in consultation with the Tamil and Muslim parties. President Mahinda Rajapaksa was a member of the cabinet when all three government proposals were put forward and the new Constitution Bill was brought to Parliament with cabinet approval as a government bill. President Mahinda Rajapaksa himself appointed the All Party Representatives Committee (APRC) and an Experts Committee and addressed them both in July 2006. This is what he said: “We must explore past attempts from the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayagam Pact onwards. We must draw appropriate lessons from the experience of other countries. I will not impose a solution on the country. But you will through your deliberations provide a solution to the national problem… “People in their own localities must take charge of their destiny and control their politico-economic environment. Central decision-making that allocates disproportionate resources has been an issue for a considerable time. In addition, it is axiomatic that devolution also needs to address issues relating to identity as well as security and socio-economic advancement, without over-reliance on the centre. In this regard, it is also important to address the question of regional minorities… “In sum, any solution needs to as a matter of urgency devolve power for people to take charge of their own destiny. This has been tried out successfully in many parts of the world. There are many examples from around the world that we may study as we evolve a truly Sri Lankan constitutional framework including our immediate neighbour, India… “Any solution must be seen as one that stretches to the maximum possible devolution without sacrificing the sovereignty of the country given the background to the conflict.” [emphasis added] The Experts Committee made a recommendation for extensive devolution of power and proposed three different options on the question of the merger of the North and East. After the war came to an end, President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the government of Sri Lanka made several assurances to the UN and to India through joint communiqués and to the international community that “ …the full implementation of the 13 Amendment to the constitution and building upon it so as to achieve meaningful devolution” would be the primary means of reconciliation. There are two limbs to this promise. The first is the full implementation of the 13 Amendment which is already part of the constitution and contains a measure of devolution in respect of police and land powers to the provinces, as well as provision for amalgamation of two to three adjacent provinces. The relevant decision makers in this regard are those within the relevant Provinces only, and not those from other Provinces. Therefore, by calling for the full implementation of the 13 Amendment, the TNA is upholding the constitution. It is also an extension of our cooperation to the President to fulfil the promises he is now tasked with doing. The second limb of the President’s promise is that of going beyond the 13 Amendment in the direction of more meaningful devolution. This can only mean movement in the direction of a more federal structure. Therefore the TNA’s call for meaningful devolution in a federal structure must be construed as an act of cooperation with the President and the government of Sri Lanka in fulfilling their own promises. How this cooperation may be termed as ‘violating the constitution’, ‘ LTTE agenda’, and ‘separatist’ is mindboggling to say the least! What must be made clear is that the TNA will not bow to the reactions of all and sundry. We are unwaveringly convinced of our stance and will not be bullied into distancing ourselves from statements that we have made. As elected representatives of the Tamil people, we therefore reiterate our People’s right to exercise self-determination through a federal structure within a united Sri Lanka. We therefore insist on the full implementation of the Thirteenth Amendment and movement beyond as a necessary albeit insufficient step to resolving the national question.

TNA’s Northern Provincial Council Election Manifesto –

Full Text: TNA’s Northern Provincial Council Election Manifesto – 2013 September 3, 2013 | Filed under: Colombo Telegraph,Most Popular,News,Popular Stories,STORIES | Posted by: COLOMBO_TELEGRAPH The Mandate Given To The Tamil National Alliance The Tamil People overwhelmingly gave the TNA a mandate at the General Election held in April 2010. The TNA has continued to act in accordance with that political mandate and is now facing the Northern Provincial Council Election as a necessary step in the fulfilment of that objective. It is pertinent to recall the salient features of that mandate: Wigneswaran-with-Sambanthan At the time of independence from colonial rule in 1948, Ceylon was foisted with a unitary type constitution with simple majoritarian rule. In 1949 a sizeable number of Tamils of Recent Indian Origin were disenfranchised. State aided colonization of the preponderantly Tamil Speaking territory, particularly the Eastern Province, with the majority community intensified. The Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) was formed as a consequence in December 1949. In this background in April 1951 the ITAK articulated its claim that the Tamil People in Ceylon were a Nation distinct from that of the Sinhalese by every test of nationhood and were therefore entitled to the right to self-determination. As a necessary corollary to the exercise of this right, we demanded a federal arrangement in the North and the East, where the Tamil Speaking Peoples are a predominant majority. In 1956 Sinhala was made the only official language of the country, again by the use of the parliamentary majority that was available to the majority community. Various peaceful agitations were organized between this time and the late 1970s to win back the right to self-determination that was lost first through foreign conquests and later due to a system of government not accepted by the Tamil People that reinforced majoritarian hegemony. Agreements were also entered into between two Prime Ministers, S W R D Bandaranaike and Dudley Senanayake, and S J V Chelvanayakam, the leader of the Tamil People in 1957 and 1965 respectively, relating primarily to the alienation of state land in the North-East. Both were unilaterally abrogated by the governments of the day. In 1970 a Constituent Assembly was formed to enact an autochthonous constitution. ITAK also participated in this exercise and urged the inclusion of provisions to share powers of governance with the Tamil Speaking Peoples on the basis of shared sovereignty within a united country in keeping with their democratic verdicts. Those proposals were defeated by majority votes and the members of the ITAK left the Constituent Assembly. Similarly the Tamil People did not grant their consent to the enactment of the 1978 Constitution. Thus the first and second Republican constitutions entrenched a Unitary State, continued with Sinhala as the only official language, gave to Buddhism the foremost place and were enacted without the consent of the Tamil People. Systematic State-sponsored colonization was carried out since independence in 1948 in order to change the demographic pattern of the North-East, which are the areas of historic habitation of the Tamil Speaking Peoples. This continues with full vigour in the North after the end of the war in 2009. The government retains an oppressive army presence in the Northern Province and is engaged in acquiring large tracts of land for ‘military purposes’. In addition to the acts of discrimination, including standardization which affected the tertiary education of the Tamil youth and discrimination in employment in the state sector, organized violence was periodically unleashed against the Tamil People in the country in 1956, 1958, 1961, 1977, 1981 and 1983. No protection was provided by the State to the Tamil victims. On these occasions, affected Tamil People from other parts of the country were transported by the State to the North and East thereby recognizing these two provinces to be their homeland. POWER SHARING ARRANGEMENTS Soon after the anti-Tamil pogram in 1983, attempts were made to solve the Tamil national question by means of an alternate political arrangement in which greater autonomy would be granted to the Tamil Speaking Peoples. An arrangement was introduced in 1987 consequent to the Indo-Lanka Accord. These changes paved the way for the setting up of Provincial Councils with minimal powers, and promises were made at the highest levels that it will be improved upon. Several such attempts resulted in the 1993 Mangala Munasinghe Select Committee Proposals, the Government’s proposals for constitutional reform of 1995, 1997 and 2000 under President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and the APRC multi-ethnic expert committee majority report in December 2006 under President Mahinda Rajapakshe. While no progress was being made on the political front to solve the burning national issue, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continued its armed struggle. Though initially there were several military outfits, since 1987 the LTTE emerged as the sole military force in pursuing the struggle. Successive governments entered into negotiations with the LTTE and in February 2002 the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka signed a Ceasefire Agreement and later agreed on a set of principles called the Oslo Communiqué, which is as follows: “[T]o explore a solution founded on the principle of internal self determination in areas of historical habitation of the Tamil-speaking Peoples, based on a federal structure within a united Sri Lanka.” MILITARY ONSLAUGHT AND ITS AFTERMATH However, the ceasefire did not last and hostilities broke out between the government forces and the LTTE with the military confrontation coming to an end on 19th May 2009. The 30 year old hostilities and war has ravaged the Tamil speaking North-East and left the Tamil People destitute. Over One Million Tamils have fled to other countries for safety and another half a million Tamils have been displaced within the country. Over One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Tamils have been killed over the years of the conflict and it is estimated that well over seventy thousand civilians have been killed in the last stages of the military onslaught. Many more have been maimed and grievously injured and suffer from traumatic disorders. In addition over 500,000 Tamil people were rendered homeless and most were interned in detention camps against all civilized and international norms. The resettlement of these people in their original places, though promised to the international community and to the United Nations, is still to be completed. OUR STAND ON A POLITICAL SOLUTION The principles and specific constitutional provisions that the TNA considers to be paramount to the resolution of the national question relates mainly to the sharing of the powers of governance through a shared sovereignty amongst the Peoples who inhabit this island. The following salient features of power sharing are fundamental to achieving genuine reconciliation, lasting peace and development for all the Peoples of Sri Lanka: • 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. MATTERS OF IMMEDIATE CONCERN FOR THE TAMIL PEOPLE In addition to continuing to pursue a just and lasting solution, we will actively engage in addressing the immediate and current concerns of our People. We will seek to enforce the recommendations made by the Panel of Experts appointed by the UN Secretary General and the Resolutions adopted at the UN Human Rights Council in March 2012 and March 2013. The specific matters are as follows: • There must be meaningful de-militarization resulting in the return to the pre-war situation as it existed in 1983 before the commencement of hostilities by the removal of armed forces, military apparatuses and High Security/Restricted Zones from the Northern and Eastern Provinces • Tamil People who have been displaced in the North and the East due to the conflict must be speedily resettled in their original places; housing provided, their livelihoods restored and their dignity respected • An Independant International Investigation must be conducted into the allegations of violations of international human rights and humanitarian laws made against both the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE during the last stages of the war, the truth ascertained and justice to victims and reparation including compensation must be ensured • Persons who are detained without charges must be released promptly and a general amnesty should be granted to all other political prisoners • There must be finality reached with regard to thousands of missing persons and compensation must be paid to the next of kin Tamils who fled the country must be permitted to return to their homes and a conducive atmosphere created for their return • A comprehensive programme for the development of the North and East including the creation of employment opportunities for the youth will be undertaken with the active support of the Sri Lankan State, the Tamil Diaspora and the International Community We, the Tamil People of Sri Lanka are a distinct People in terms of the interpretations maintained in relation to International Conventions and Covenants. We as a People want to continue to live in our country in peaceful co-existence with others, with dignity and self respect, with freedom and liberty and without fear, as equal citizens not subject to majoritarian hegemony. We as a People would thus be concerned about our historic habitats, our Collective Rights that accrue to us as a Nation and our right to exercise our option to determine what is best for us to ensure self government in the Tamil Speaking North-East of the country within a united Sri Lanka. The present constitutional arrangements in this regard have proved to be unsatisfactory. A constitutional framework which favours the majority and a majoritarian hegemony is what is in place. Democracy in a plural society cannot function without a constitutional framework that provides for equity, equality, peace and security. It is in this context that we view the forthcoming Northern Provincial Council Election. The TNA firmly believes that sovereignty lies with the People and not with the State. It is not the government in Colombo that holds the right to govern the Tamil People, but the People themselves. In this regard the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka is flawed in that power is concentrated at the Centre and its Agent, the Governor. Our political philosophy is rooted in a fundamental democratic challenge to the authoritarian state. Our political programme is therefore rooted in the needs and aspirations of the Tamil Speaking People for justice and equality. To achieve the above and self-reliance it is imperative that we need self-government. We have set out a two stage constitutional process to secure this. Whilst we do our utmost to play a positive role in promoting self-government for the Tamil Speaking Peoples in the North-East, we will carry on with our political negotiations for meaningful sharing of powers of governance. We cannot emphasise more the immediate necessity for a democratically elected body with legislative, executive and fiscal powers – to take over those functions of government rightly belonging to us. The North-East of the Island has been traumatized by three decades of armed conflict. The human costs are not only the result of direct violence – casualties among combatants, undisciplined behavior of troops, deliberate targeting of civilians and the sowing of landmines – but also arise from hunger, forced migration and the collapse of public services due to the breaking down of the economic and administrative structure of the North-East. INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS The internally displaced persons (IDPs) have a right to a durable solution and often need assistance in their efforts. The Provincial Council will pay immediate attention to the rights of IDPs and formulate durable solutions, articulate the responsibilities of authorities, and facilitate the assistance of humanitarian and development actors in achieving these. The TNA recognizes that the primary duty and responsibility to establish conditions, as well as provide the means, which allow IDPs to return voluntarily in safety and with dignity, to their homes or places of habitual residence, should be left in the hands of the Provincial administration to ensure credibility and accountability. MUSLIMS The Muslims who were resident in the Northern Province prior to their displacement in 1990 had been the traditional residents of the areas which they occupied. It is regrettable that they were compelled to abandon their properties and move to other parts of the country and undergo untold hardships. We are committed to ensuring that all the Muslims who left the Northern Province return to their respective areas and resume their livelihood activities as soon as possible. They would be encouraged to return and the Northern Provincial Council would provide all the help needed to enable them to re-start their lives. Any issues concerning the welfare of the Muslims will receive the same treatment as those of the other communities living in the Northern Province. The Provincial administration will ensure that all communities living in the Province will receive just and equal treatment. WAR WIDOWS The war has left behind over 50,000 widows in the Northern Province alone. There is a need for a clear policy to build their capacity and uplift the lives of the war widows. These widows have become economically and socially vulnerable. In the circumstances the Provincial Council will take the responsibility to swiftly and effectively create livelihood programmes and other necessary measures to alleviate their present condition. Other segments that need to be simultaneously attended to and uplifted include war affected children, elders, disabled and also refugees who have fled the country to escape from violence, in particular, the refugees in Tamil Nadu in India. POST WAR LAND ISSUES Even four years after the end of the war the government still designates areas as High Security or Restricted Zones and prevents the inhabitants from re-settling in those areas. Large amounts of lands have been seized by the government from the owners without due process. No democratic government has the right to seize land without due process. The government will have to respect the rights of private property owners and restore such lands to the rightful owners. A significant proportion of those evicted from these lands are living in very harsh conditions. The government’s draconian regulations on land acquisition and re-occupation has deprived thousands of Tamils of rich agricultural lands and restrictions imposed on fishing has denied thousands of Tamil fishermen their livelihood. There is an urgent need to address issues relating to the forcible acquisition of land and use by the State in the North-East. TNA is committed to the Provincial Administration retaining control over land in the North-East. TNA believes that there can be no reconciliation without the reform of the existing policies over land ownership, control and use that target the linguistic and cultural identity of the North-East. LAW AND ORDER The Northern Province is facing a law and order crisis and its people are overpowered by fear and insecurity. The perpetrators of crime have managed to get away in most instances. There is neither justice nor accountability for people who have suffered serious violations of their human rights. Perpetrators are not brought to justice and the victims and survivors do not receive redress. This situation constitutes a serious breach of Sri Lanka’s international obligations to protect and promote human rights. Impunity for violations of human rights and humanitarian law has been the rule rather than the exception in Sri Lanka in the North-East and elsewhere. The TNA believes that the most effective police force for the North-East would be those directed by the Provincial Council. Currently there is no trust between the people and Police service in the Northern Province. The People have no confidence in their police officers and are often afraid to approach the police with concerns about crime and conflict in their communities. JOB CREATION Any Provincial Council would want to tackle unemployment and should have the tools to do so. Indeed, an attack on the root causes of unemployment in the Northern Province will be one of TNA’s priorities. TNA favours supporting the enterprise and business sector of the economy to maximise employment opportunities. This is particularly true when it is remembered that there is work to be done in our communities: safeguarding and improving the environment; improving public transport; better community care; combating crime and vandalism; investment in new infrastructure. These are all crying needs for which the present Government offers no solution. Its attitude has signally failed the Tamil people. In comparison, TNA advocates reintegrating the industrially and socially disenfranchised people and promoting sustainable growth. DEVELOPMENT WITH NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE Post war reconstruction requires an integrated pro-poor approach which addresses the legacy of war, support market institutions, and hence creates the capacity for long term growth in private sector output. TNA would engage with the Sri Lankan State, international community and the Tamil diaspora to address the issue of long term investment and aid in the province. The Tamil diaspora is an important segment in the securing of regeneration and well being for the affected people and we would obtain their invaluable aid and expertise, not only in the area of development but also in our quest to find a just, workable and durable political solution. Community participation plays an important role in community development. However, with the escalation of the conflict the activities of, for example, the co-operative societies in the Northern Province faced a setback. Now that the war is over, the Provincial administration will take necessary steps to revive the community development activities such as development of palmyrah based products, agriculture and fishing. THE ROLE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY The Tamil People have always worked with commitment towards a reasonable and acceptable resolution of the national question through domestic processes. It is the Sri Lankan state which has spurned these opportunities and sought to suppress the Tamil People through repeated anti-Tamil pograms. It was such conduct on the part of the Sri Lankan state that internationalized the national question and compelled the Sri Lankan state to accept an international role. Tamil militancy, which also was an inevitable consequence, has now ended. The Sri Lankan state is now endeavouring to undo even the minimum progress achieved through international involvement. This can only result in the Tamils ceasing to exist as a People in Sri Lanka. The TNA is firmly of the view that justice to all Peoples who inhabit Sri Lanka and genuine reconciliation through permanent peace is only achievable under international auspices. The TNA wishes to point out that it was the inability of the Sri Lankan state to re-structure itself to meet the aspirations of the Tamil People and thereby resolve the national question, and the unleashing of violence against the Tamil civilian population that resulted in the role of the international community increasingly becoming inevitable. In such situations, the international community has rightfully played a vital role in several instances around the world. CONCLUSION The lives of our People must be rebuilt while maintaining our distinct identity as a People. We must also regain our political rights as a People. We therefore appeal to the Tamil Speaking Peoples to courageously stand up and demonstrate their resolve at this Election by voting for the Tamil National Alliance contesting under the name of Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi and its ‘House’ symbol.

Is it true ?

Written By Freedam to the nation resettlement of IDPs on Sunday, September 15, 2013 | 10:20 PM

This is open chalenge for the Jaffna people,Civil organizations and Political leaders .So can we recahlenge the Minister .So If you have any information please share with us and We will plan to give more details later .
There was no land grab so far during President Rajapaksa’s government in the Jaffna Peninsula – Minister Basil Rajapaksa
Wed, 2013-09-11 11:19 — editor
By K.T.Rajasingham
Colombo, 11 September, (Asiantribune.com):

Not an inch of land has been grabbed in the Jaffna Peninsula after November 2005 – under the presidency of Mahinda Rajapaksa, pointed out Basil Rajapaksa.
In a media meet held yesterday at Jaffna, at the Green Grass Hotel Auditorium, Minister for Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa assured that the Northern Provincial Council Election will be free and fair, without the interference of the Army and allayed the fears and concerns of the media personnel who raised this issue.
When responding to a question about the land issue in the Peninsula, Minister Basil Rajapaksa traced the history of the land acquisition. He said it dated back to the period of the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF).
Minister clarified that it was the IPKF who started the acquisition of lands in the Peninsula. He added following the land acquisition by IPKF, it was followed by acquiring lands under Emergency Regulations and under various laws and regulations.
When the Minister told that initially lands were acquired by the Indian Peace Keeping Forces, a journalist took exception.
But Asian Tribune Editor who was one of the media person present at the Press Meet, strongly agreed with the Minister and said most of the journalists who were present in the Press Meet were either not born when the IPKF forcefully took over the lands from the Jaffna civilians or they were toddlers and they were not aware of such forceful appropriation of lands by the IPKF.
When speaking on the Land Issue Minister Basil Rajapaks said this Government would follow the law to the very alphabet and lands if it is needed for development purposes and for security reasons would be taken over by informing the owners of the intention of taking over such land, legal notices would be sent, gazetted and arrangements would be made to pay compensation to such lands according to the value of the intended land that will be taken over by the Government.
Minister Basil Rajapaksa when further responding to a media person’s question as to when the lands belonging to the Vali North people would be returned , he said that Government under Mahinda Rajapaksa has already started giving back lands that are not needed for any government purposes to the rightful owners.
He further said that recently the Election Commissioner has contacted him and pointed out that handing back lands to the owners during the Northern Provincial Council elections constitute violation of election laws and request to desist from handing over lands during the elections. Minister said that returning of lands would continue after 21st September, after the polling to the Northern Provincial Council.
In the meantime Asian Tribune Editor brought to the notice of the Minister that there are more than 2000 acres of Government land available in the Vallai Veli, very close to Palaly and that land could be made use for the construction of an Airport and those lands lie very close proximity to Palaly and the airport too can be called as Palaly.
Minister Basil Rajapaksa said the suggestion of put forward by Editor Asian Tribune has to be studied and actions may be taken in the near future for the same.
Minister continued to explain that the Hhigh Security Zone was erected in the Peninsula due to 30 years of war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and it was mooted initially by the Indian Peace Keeping Forces.
He added after their (IPKF) return to Indi and those appropriated lands were not returned back to the people.
However, he said, the appropriated lands for High Security Zone were not returned back by any of the previous governments . But he said after 2005 during the Presidency of Mahinda Rajapaksa not an inch of land has been taken over.
He went on to say that after 2009, the Government has taken measures to gradually return the lands back to people back.
Minister pointed out that lands were continuously appropriated for important projects not only in the North but also in the South.
Already many blocs of lands have been taken over in Endaramula located in the Gampaha district for the construction of the Colombo – Jaffna Expressway. He said that the people of Endaramulla of course are not going to be benefited by the construction of an Expressway, but the people in the Jaffna Peninsula would greatly benefit.
Similarly in Sampur in the East, lands are being acquired for the construction of a coal based Power plant to be constructed by India and agreement for the same with India has been signed way back in 1987.
Therefore, he appealed that appropriation lands for the welfare of the people should not be made an ethnic issue and ethnic color should not be painted and tainted.
Minister Basil Rajapaksa reminded that during the last Pradeshiya Sabah election time, the Tamil National Alliance in its election campaign said that they could develop the North without any assistance and help from the Sri Lanka Government.
He said it was unfortunate that elected TNA Pradeshiya Sabah Councilors were unable to do any development works even with the funds allocated by the government.
He brought to the notice of the media persons that two years ago he spent Rs. 500 million to construct the Chavakachcheri Pradeshiya Sabah building and up to date, it was unfortunate he said, that the completed building was not even declared open by the TNA controlled Pradeshiya Sabah.
When I last visited Chavakachcheri, Minister Basil Rajapaksa said, I found the Fish Market in a very bad condition and I found that it needed urgent renovation. After my visit to the fish market, I provided funds for the same. Unfortunately even today the condition of that fish market remains the same.
When the TNA Pradeshya Sabah Councilors were unable to do any development activities, there is no guarantee that a Provincial Council under the Tamil National Alliance would be able do anything to the people of the North.
Minister Basil Rajapakse says the election manifesto presented by the TNA is not aimed at the northern provincial council election. It is aimed to create a conflict between the public in north and the south.
He said, the TNA tries to arouse racial feelings of the southern people and create a terror situation in the country again. It is another attempt to point out the election internationally as a one that could be used to gain the right to self-governance.
Minister Basil pointed out that it was pity that TNA was unable come up with a Chief Minister candidate – one from the nearly 495 ,000 voters in the Jaffna Peninsula.
He said that he tried to find the address of the TNA candidate in the North voters register and there was no listing of Mr. Vigneswaran’s name.
He said that when he checked the voters list of Colombo Central, he found at 16 C Cambridge Terrace, Cinnamon Gardens, Colombo 7 the name of Gnanasabapathy Viswalingham Vigneswaran.
He added that Vigneswaran is one of the elites living in a place like Cinnamon Gardens. How he can understand the problems of an ordinary Tamil of the North, Minister Basil asked.
He said: "The TNA candidate contesting for the Chief Minister's post came to the North only after the war, that too was to hand over his nomination. I have visited the North more than 200 times after the war to solve the people's problems.
Therefore he added The people of the North should take all these things into consideration and the public of the north should cast their vote to the UPFA if they want to fulfill their expectations.
- Asian Tribune -



MONTHLY EVALUATION AND PLANING MEETING

Written By Freedam to the nation resettlement of IDPs on Thursday, September 5, 2013 | 3:59 AM

We have evaluation and planing meeting in every month at NAFSO training center.Al the coordinators and animators participated that meeting . So we had that meeting 04 of September


Ampara DIFSO coordinator Isaideen present his progress report   

Mannar Animator present the report 

Trinco -Animator 
  

What is the meaning of development if people are in the CAMP?

Cabinet approves USD 4 bn S'pore investment in Sampur
The Cabinet has approved USD 4 billion Industrial Park in Sampur, Trincomalee by Singapore based Gateway Group.
The proposal will be presented in Parliament today by Minister of Investment Promotion Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, for debate.
The mega project, which would be completed in three phases, within seven years, would facilitate heavy industries, mainly from Singapore and would self-facilitate infrastructure and other requirements for operations without the government having to provide them.
Singapore based Gateway group would invest more than USD 700 million within the first two years, followed by USD 1.3 billion, which would develop infrastructure, education and other facilities to support the industries. That would be followed by a further USD 2 billion capital infusion coming from industries to be set up there.
Minister Abywardena, addressing the media in Trincomalee, said that the project would take off soon and enhance the development of the eastern province, particularly Trincomalee. He said that the government was aiming to capture another mega scale project for the Northern Province as well.
Highlighting the opportunities in the area, he said Trincomalee was the second highest contributor to the national economy since the war ended in 2009 and it had a great potential.
He said the tourism zone in Passikuda, which was located in close proximity to Trincomalee, had made progress and was nearing completion. Ten of the 14 hotels had been completed so far, as well as the infrastructure.
Courtesy : President Media Unit


Open letter to visiting UN human rights commissioner




War crimes and dispossession in Sri Lanka: Open letter to visiting UN human rights commissioner
BY 
| AUGUST 26, 2013

Dear Dr. Pillay,
With your visit to Sri Lanka from August 25th-­31st, we urge you, as global citizens concerned with the deteriorating situation in the island, to investigate militarization, settlements, and the systematic rape of Tamil prisoners of war. These three issues, the most immediate threats to peace and justice today, lay new seeds of dispossession, inequality and bitterness. Ultimately, an international investigation cannot delink the 2009 massacres from the ongoing suffering of the Tamil people in the here and now.
The Sri Lankan army is building military bases throughout the Tamil peoples' lands. The Sri Lankan army presence of 85,000-­86,000 in the North and East is contrary to peace building and amounts to a Tamil civil society under occupation. According to ground reports, armed soldiers control every area of civilian life from schooling to public meetings; soldiers even place restrictions on humanitarian, developmental and psychiatric work for the war ravaged Tamil people. [1]
Through the occupation, the Sri Lankan Armed Forces seize land from Tamil civilians while settlers from the South are brought in to colonize the land. From the Jaffna Peninsula in the North to the Trincomalee harbour and beyond in the East, the traditional homeland of the Tamil Nation is subjected to occupation and settlements. This situation exacerbates socio-economic deprivation, for Tamil people are denied the ability to cultivate their appropriated lands and must compete for fishing with the superior technology of Sinhalese settlers.
With Tamil villages renamed in Sinhala and Buddhist Stupas emerging where none were before, Sri Lankan's 'reconciliation' program is triumphalism over a people under siege. We deeply suspect that the Sri Lankan state's land-grab scheme is part of a much more insidious agenda: a slow and relentless genocide that seeks to eradicate the Tamil Nation and render them without their traditional territory. In fact, land-­grabs are simply a continuation of an age-­old state policy that lies at the heart of Tamil grievances in their homeland. [2]
Finally, we call for an international mechanism to protect the rights of Tamil prisoners of war from persecution and rape, which the government hides with its rhetoric of reconciliation and rehabilitation. Sri Lanka has a long history of prison brutality. In June 2012, the Special Task Force attacked a group of Vavuiya prisoners, which left 15 people seriously injured, and one dead from critical injuries [3], but even Tamil prisoners released from internment continue to endure persecution. Doctors and social workers on the ground report that many of the released ex-­LTTE cadres are subjected to a systematic program of harassment, sexual abuse and rape. [4] If the International Community is serious about the rehabilitation of ex-­LTTE cadres, then it must pressure the Sri Lankan government to immediately stop its brutal treatment of ex-­LTTE cadres who are attempting to rebuild their lives.
We believe that these matters must be addressed to ensure peace and stability, and urge you to investigate them in Sri Lanka. We -- the undersigned organizations and individuals -- hope to hear about these urgent issues at your oral report to the UNHRC in September.
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Sincerely,
Academy of Tamil Studies
Action for Human rights in Tamil Eelam and Sri Lanka
Angela Regnier, Canadian Association of University Teachers Bashana Abeywardane -­ Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka Belgium Tamil Forum
Bruce Haigh, author and former Australian diplomat to Sri Lanka
Canadian Peace Alliance
Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (University of Sydney)
Centre of Education. Research and Development (CEDAR) Child Development Initiative
Chris Nash, Professor, Monash University (Melbourne) Coalition for Tamil Rights 
Council of Temples Malaysia
Country Council of Eelam Tamils-­Germany
Danish Tamil Forum
Dr Krishnasamy -­ Puthiya Tamilakam Tamil naadu India
Dr. Cheran Rudhramoorthy, poet, journalist, professor (University of Windsor) Dr. Jude Lal Fernando, lecturer and research fellow, Trinity College (Dublin) Dutch Tamil Forum
Federation of Indian Non-­Governmental Organisations
Group of Concerned Citizens
Imperial College Tamil Society
Indian Malaysian Active Generation (IMAGE)
International Council of Eelam Tamils
Italy Council of Eelam Tamils
Jake Lych, Director for Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies
Johor Tamizhar Sangam
Julian Burnside, AO QC, Australian barrister, human rights and refugee advocate, author Kuala Lumpur Indian Entrepreneurs and Professionals
London Metropolitan University Tamil Society
London School of Economics-­Tamil Society
Maison du Tamil Eelam, France
Malaysia Indian Progressive Educational Society
Malaysia Tamil Artiste Association
Malaysian Association of Indian University Graduates
Malaysian Dravidian Association
Malaysian Hindu Youth Council
Malaysian Indian Business Association
Malaysian Indian Development & Unity Association
Malaysian Indian Entrepreneurs and Professionals
Malaysian Indian Historical Association
Malaysian Indian Youth Development Foundation
Malaysian Selangor Tamil Sangam
Marie George Buffet, Member of Parliament, France
Mauritius Tamil Temples Federation
Meena Kandaswamy, author, poet, activist
Mr Maruthappa Natarajan Editor Puthiyapaarvai Tamilnaadu India National Council of Canadian Tamils
Nationwide Human Development And Research Centre
Neethan Shan, activist and educator
Norweigian Council of Eelam Tamils
Selangor Indian Entrepreneurs and Professionals
Semparuthi Iyakkam Selangor
Solidarity Group for Peace & Justice in Sri Lanka (South Africa) Stephen Gatignon, Maire de Serren France
Suaram Malaysia
Sydney Peace Foundation
Tamil Cultural Organization-­Belgum
Tamil Forum Malaysia
Tamil Refugee Council
Tamil Solidarity
Tamil Youth Organization Germany
Tamil Youth Organization UK
University of Birmingham Tamil Society
Viraj Mendiz, Internationaler Menschenrechtsverein Bremen e.V Wendy Bacon, Professorial Fellow, University of Technology, Sydney World Tamil Federation – Malaysian Chapter
York University Tamil Students Association


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