22 October 2016, London
Global Tamil Forum welcomes the UN Special Rapporteur’s statement on minority rights and calling on Sri Lanka to act decisively to not to lose the momentous opportunity to bring lasting peace and reconciliation among all communities
The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) welcomes the end-of-mission statement by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on minority rights, Rita Izsak-Ndiaye, urging the Government of Sri Lanka not to lose the momentum gained in January 2015, and show its commitment to minority rights through concrete action.
We commend the Special Rapporteur for her forthright assessment and concur with her observation that to achieve peaceful co-existence “a comprehensive, well-planned and well-coordinated truth, reconciliation, healing and accountability process must take place.” Her call for the Government of Sri Lanka to “put in place some urgent, important and concrete measures to clearly demonstrate its political will and commitment to better protect the dignity, identity, equality and right to participation in all walks of life, of Sri Lanka’s minorities,” could not have been timed better.
Ms. Izsak-Ndiaye’s recommendation that the most pressing and emotive issues for minority communities – disappeared persons, return of occupied land, release of security-related detainees, as well as demilitarisation – must be addressed urgently, and her call that the views and aspirations of the minority communities must be taken into proper consideration in the Constitutional reform process, resonate fully well with the Tamil community.
Special Rapporteur’s warning regarding stalled progress and the urgent need for concrete action to sustain the momentum for change, reflect the prevalent view among several key observers on Sri Lanka. In fact, lack of urgency towards demilitarisation-normalisation in the North and East, insufficient effort to include all communities into the reconciliation processes, and mixed messages emanating from the top political leadership on accountability and good governance, are all contributing towards re-emergence of cynicism and pessimism among the Tamil people, a trend that ought to be addressed without delay.
GTF earnestly appeals to the Government of Sri Lanka to embark upon focussed and targeted initiatives towards accountability, political resolution and reconciliation, so that the unique opportunity exists today to convert Sri Lanka into a modern, democratic, plural and prosperous country will not be squandered. To its part, GTF will do all it can to pro-actively contribute to consolidate and accelerate the progressive transition presently underway.