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TNA statement on UNSG Advisory Panel Report

(This is the full text of a statement by the Tamil National Alliance)

We have read the disclosure made by the media, said to be the Executive Summary of the Report submitted by the Advisory Panel to the United Nations Secretary General (UNSG).

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), as the democratically elected representatives of the Tamil People of the North East, who have been the worst affected victims of the recently concluded war, we consider it our duty to respond to same, while reserving a fuller response to the full Report after it becomes available to us.

We recall here with deep anguish, that for over the past half a century, we have consistently urged an acceptable and reasonable political solution to address the root causes of the ethno-nationalist conflict in the country and the exclusion of the Tamil People from meaningful powers of governance. It is the failure on the part of successive governments of the Sri Lankan State to deliver on such a political solution that has been the primary cause for the exacerbation of the conflict and the consequences thereof. The Sri Lankan State has over the years, systematically and continuously unleashed violence against unarmed Tamil civilians in order to suppress and subjugate them and to deny and deprive them of the realization of any legitimate power-sharing.

We have consistently emphasized that the Sri Lankan government had a duty to ensure that unarmed Tamil civilians are protected and not harmed in the course of whatever military operations the Government conducts against armed combatants. However, the Sri Lankan government has persistently bombed civilian populated areas, used heavy artillery and multi-barrel rocket launchers in such areas, carried out attacks by deep penetration units resulting in the death of and serious injury to tens of thousands of unarmed Tamil civilians, displaced hundreds of thousands of such Tamil civilians from their homes, destroyed their homes and all their occupational equipment and other assets, reducing them to a state of destitution, deprived such unarmed Tamil civilians of shelter, food, medicines, drinking water and other essentials, shelled hospitals and relief centers and prosecuted their military operations with scant regard for the safety, well-being and dignity of the unarmed Tamil civilians in conflict areas. The extra-judicial execution and enforced disappearance of unarmed Tamil civilians and the scourge of the white vans has continued unabated. These and other accounts of horrendous incidents were contemporaneously placed on record in Parliament by the TNA and brought to the notice of all concerned.

We observe that the Report of the Advisory Panel to the UNSG confirms the truth of what happened to the unarmed Tamil civilians in the course of the conduct of the recently concluded war and is an irrefutable confirmation of the accounts of the events as reported by us to Parliament as and when they occurred. We welcome the finding by the panel that “credible allegations, which if proven, indicate that a wide range of serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law were committed both by the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE, some of which would amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. Indeed, the conduct of the war represented a grave assault on the entire regime of international law designed to protect individual dignity during both war and peace.”Especially the Panel has also found credible allegations associated with the final stages of the war and that the Sri Lankan Army’s military campaign into the Vanni using large scale and widespread shelling caused large numbers of civilian deaths. The Panel states that this campaign constituted persecution of the population of the Vanni, of around 330,000 civilians. The Government’s estimate of the population in the Vanni at this time was only 70,000. The Panel also asserts that these credibly alleged violations demand a serious investigation and the prosecution of those responsible. The Panel also notes that “the Government’s notion of accountability is not in accordance with international standards.” The Panel also requires that the Government genuinely addresses the allegations of violations committed by both sides and to place the rights and dignity of the victims of the conflict at the centre of its approach to accountability, if its measures are not to fall dramatically short of international expectations. In this context, the Panel has recommended certain measures, which as a whole, it hopes will serve as a framework for an ongoing and constructive engagement between the Secretary-General and the Government of Sri Lanka on accountability. We welcome the recommendations made by the Panel and trust that they will be honestly implemented.

Most importantly, the Panel has observed that an environment conducive to accountability which would permit a candid appraisal of the broad patterns of the past, including the root causes of the long-running ethno-nationalist conflict, does not exist at present. It would require concrete steps towards building an open society in which human rights are respected, as well as a fundamental shift away from triumphalism and denial towards a genuine commitment to a political solution that recognizes Sri Lanka’s ethnic diversity and a full and inclusive citizenship of all its people, including Tamils as a foundation for the country’s future.

The TNA on its part has always been committed and continues to be committed towards achieving a genuine political solution that recognizes Sri Lanka’s ethnic diversity and a full and inclusive citizenship of all its Peoples, including Tamils as a foundation for permanent peace and stability in the country.

We therefore urge the Government of Sri Lanka not to miss this opportunity and to constructively engage in a process which would result in all the Peoples of Sri Lanka being the beneficiaries of genuine democracy, equality and justice.

R Sampanthan

Parliamentary Group Leader
Tamil National Alliance

18th April, 2011

6 Comments

The positions of the Govt and of the TNA show both on opposite sides which will hardly help to lower existing tensions. The President calling the people to "get together against the UN Report" on May Day throughout the country is no different to Al Bashir of Sudan working his own people against the UN - and having a travel ban thrust on him. The cries from the punishing Cost of Living - increasing day by day and bound to increase further with the imminent rise in bread/flour products as well as Petroleum items - will be met by the call to put the country once more on a war-footing with no real "war" around.

Fortunately, capable and thinking men like Nihal Rodrigo, Jayantha Dhanapala and others caution the Govt not to get into a sparring round with the UN. Having Ban Ki Moon and Nambiar on the Govt side with able support from Bell Pottingere and their associates in the US has not helped much - although billions we cannot afford would have been spent on failed PR exercises. It is infantile to talk of "going over to the Chinese and Russian sides" because both are in the heirarchy of the UN and have/will vote with the rest.

The time is now for sensible and professional diplomacy. Theatrics before the UN office here and yakkos on raised sarong mode will not do in the heat foolishly generated. We will have to reap what we sowed.

ISS

Posted by: Ilaya Seran Senguttuvan | April 18, 2011 09:41 PM

Well the West can not fool others forever; they are using moral (democracy and human rights) as a weapon to divide others in order to keep others under them. We do not have sandbags in our head, we have brain too. In due time the Asian, Arab and African fools will come to know the truth and stand with their own country and people.

Posted by: Antany | April 19, 2011 09:15 AM

The TNA,being the sole representative of the Tamils,is expected to play a mammoth task in formulating a framework that can foster unity whilst recognising the aspirations of all Tamils within and outside srilanka.It is not unreasonable for the TNA to delay the 'fuller response' till the Panel's Full Report and the s/l govt's reponse become available.

Posted by: Tony Francis | April 19, 2011 07:49 PM

i did not read this A.,but i would like to ask the tna and specially sambandan,what made them to support the so called war hero fonseka in 2010.fonseka the sinhale chauvenist was the candidate of the national socialist party the jvp.sambandan why did you keep your mouth shut,,not talk about the h.r.v. of the ltte.now that the ltte is not there.the uno should make you responsible for the h.r.v. of the ltte,after all your party was the sole rep.for the tamils. ranjit de mel berlin/colombo

Posted by: ranjit demel | April 19, 2011 09:36 PM

The lackeys or one may call proxies or YES ment of the LTTE..
Now Sampanthan's & the TNA members stripes and part of the tail is clearly visible.

Times up to show them the PTA.

Posted by: dagobert | April 20, 2011 10:18 AM

TNA response clearly shows that they cannot be trusted as honest partners for building long term peace. Their strategy of running with the hare while hunting with the fox cannot fool Sri Lankan masses. TNA seem to have got a sniff that there is an opportunity for a regime change and re-open the way for setting up the mono ethnic, exclusive utopia which is their ultimate goal (that they have never deviated from).

Posted by: Hela | April 21, 2011 03:37 AM

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