FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tamils Welcome Free, Fair Parliamentary Elections in Sri Lanka
Prime Minister, Ruling Coalition Win Parliamentary Election
WASHINGTON, DC (August 20, 2015) – Monday’s election in Sri Lanka saw President Sirisena, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe of the UNP and the UNFGG alliance win the parliamentary election, thereby allowing them to form a national government of unity. The Tamil community in the North East of Sri Lanka voted overwhelmingly for the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) who ran on a platform of a re-merged North-East region and a federal form of government within a united Sri Lanka. The TNA also voiced strong support for an international accountability process.
Commenting on these results which will directly affect the island’s future in the aftermath of war, Dr. Karunyan Arulanantham, executive director of the Tamil American Peace Initiative (TAPI), a nonprofit that promotes peace, prosperity and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, said:
“President Sirisena now has the ability to make good on the promises he has made to Sri Lankans and to the Tamil community to build an inclusive, fair society and address the root causes of the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. This is a hopeful moment for Sri Lanka, but there is much work to be done.
“Sri Lanka’s civil war ended in May 2009. Since then no progress has been made on accountability, most land that has been illegally seized by the Sri Lankan military has yet to be returned to its rightful owners, the military still maintains a large and menacing presence in the North and East, and tens of thousands remain missing.
“Political arrangements in Sri Lanka are fragile and the new government’s freedom of action may be constrained,” Dr. Karunyan cautioned. “Tamils have repeatedly expressed no faith in any domestic processes to ensure accountability for the war crimes committed by both sides during the civil war and to end the culture of impunity that exists to this day. We call upon the new government to accept the findings of the UN Human Rights Council’s report on war crimes which is due to be released in the coming weeks, and agree to a fully mandated international accountability process.”
Notes to Editors
· With all votes counted, the UNFGG alliance won 106 out of 225 seats.
· UPFA, the alliance of former president Rajapaksa, won 95 seats. Both major parties ran on platforms to protect the military from investigation and reform, and to maintain the current ultra-centralized form of government.
· The Tamil American Peace Initiative (TAPI) was formed by a group of Tamil Americans to help bring lasting peace, justice, democracy and economic development to Sri Lanka; to work toward true reconciliation in Sri Lanka by promoting justice, accountability and transparency; and to support a Sri Lankan government that will defend the rights and well-being of all its citizens.
Tamil American Peace Initiative (TAPI)