Joint Statement from the North-East & South on the Economic & Political Crisis

by 32 Civil Society Groups, Sri Lanka, April 19, 2022

Joint Statement by North East and South civil society on economic and political crisis

We would like to state that these regimes have
committed a crime against humanity against the Sinhala oppressed classes in 1971 and
1987-1989 and unleashed a genocidal process against the Tamils for decades which
reached its climax in 2009 in Mullivaikkal in view of protecting the unitary state
structure. We believe it is absolutely necessary to recognise the interrelations between
the distinct struggles of the peoples in the North-East and South for us to form a
formidable resistance to both authoritarianism and racial state structure…

In essence, we would like to
state that glorifying the security forces for winning the war and protecting the rights of
the oppressed is contradictory. The armed forces have been utilised all the time by the
respective regimes against the resisting peoples, both in the North-East and South. The
armed forces have always served the interests of the regimes and the state…

This racial ideology has been constantly used to tame resistance arising from the
Sinhala masses. The more the Sinhala masses hold on to the racial ideology and the
unitary state structure the more they allow their regimes to deceive and torment them.

The successive constitutions and constitutional amendments have always been shaped
by the Sinhala majoritarian point of view, primarily to repress the non-Sinhala
communities, especially Tamils. Ultimately the character of the state has also been
determined through this. The Sinhala constituency has been shaped by the unitary
character of the state that determines how the country’s resources and the economy
should be managed. It also gave the cultural/political space to the power holders to
manoeuvre the collective psyche of the Sinhala population to be indifferent to the gross
mismanagement of the economy and the financial corruption. We need to acknowledge
the fundamental connection between the political structure and the economic realities of
the present…

Structural Changes: Transformation of the State and Regime Change
The current protests have created space for us to realise the absolute necessity to
oppose both the corrupt regime and the racist state structure. This implies that a mere
change of regime is not the ultimate solution, though advocated as a temporary measure.
The Rajapaksas should go. There is no argument about it, but seeking to address the root
cause of the problem, amidst the demands of the South, such as abolition of the executive
presidency being the primary demand, vesting parliament with power rather than
consolidating power in the president, and the rest, should not be separated from changing
the state structure that oppresses Tamils and Tamil speaking Muslims. We strongly resist
the opportunistic agenda that proposes ‘ let us send Rajapaksas home first and then
address the Tamil issue later’…

The system change that the South is talking about cannot be separated from the
transformation of the state that the Tamils have been demanding. Unity between all
peoples of the island can be built only by a common platform that recognises the distinct,
but interrelated struggles of Sinhala and Tamil/Tamil speaking Muslim peoples.
Demands for regime change and structural change of the state that recognises Tamil right
to self-determination should be made together.

Signed by
1. Priests and Religious for Justice and Peace North-East
2. Christian Solidarity Movement, Colombo
3. Eastern Regional Council, Church of the American Ceylon Mission
5. Kithusara Group, Colombo
6. Muslim Town Federation, Akkaraipattu
7. Volunteers for Life, Mannar
8. Commission for Justice & Peace of The Catholic Diocese of Jaffna
9. Shramabimani, Seeduwa
10. Women’s Action Network, Mannar
11. Janawaboda Kendraya, Negombo
12. Jesus Today Collective, Colombo
13. Mannar Association for Relief and Rehabilitation
14. Thamil Thesiya Valvurimai Iyakkam, Mannar
15. Federation of Community Based Organisations, Mannar
16. Tamil Civil Society Forum, North-East
17. Church of the American Ceylon Mission, Eastern Region, Batticaloa
18. Child Development Initiative, Vavuniya
19. Interreligious Forum, Batticaloa
20. Civil Society Initiative, Batticaloa
21. Women’s Voice, Interreligious Committee, Batticaloa
22. Youth Representative, Interreligious Committee, Batticaloa
23. Peace Commission, Church of the American Ceylon Mission
24. Civil Society Forum, Amparai
25. Tamil Heritage Forum, Mullaitivu
26. Ilavalai Deanery of Priests, Jaffna
27. Islands Deanery of Priests, Jaffna
28. Freedom Fellowship, Colombo
29. Vanni Mission, Church of the American Ceylon Mission, Kilinochi
30. Thalam, Trincomalee
31. White Peacock Orgaisation, Batticaloa
32. Methodist Church, Kalmuna

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