Harim Peiris

Political and Reconciliation perspectives from Sri Lanka

  • June 2011
    M T W T F S S

Implement the 13th Amendment?

Posted by harimpeiris on June 30, 2011

It should make even the casual observer wonder why the stridency of International calls for accountability in Sri Lanka has been increasing over time and has now reached a multi faceted crescendo. From the Indians to the UN system, from the US to the EU,from the Commonwealth Secretariat to the British Foreign Office, from the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu to the Shadow Foreign Secretary of Britain, the calls for Sri Lanka on alleged violations of international laws in the context of conflict has been increasing. To add to that a law suit has been filed against President Rajapakse in the Federal District Court system in the USA, under the principal of command responsibility.

A difficult situation likely at the UNHRC in September

It is speculated that Sri Lanka only received a brief breathing space in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, earlier this month. Come the September sessions, a resolution that will essentially start the ball rolling on follow up action on the Experts Panel report or the Darussman report as the state media have been instructed to call it, may be mooted by the EU. Anything less than a sterling defense of Sri Lanka by India, even an abstention, would mean that those sitting on the fence and those that are influenced by India, will swing against the Lankan regime. Thumbing our noses at Indian suggestions to implement the 13th amendment (it is after all our constitution and basic law), together with their need to accommodate Jayalalitha, it is interesting to see how India can defend Sri Lanka come September.

This columnist has long argued that the world is really concerned about is not so much the past but the future. Not really our war, which it considered just and indeed supported by banning the LTTE and in many other ways. It is the nature of our peace, that the world is looking at askance and with some concern. As we celebrated the second year anniversary of the end of the war with a grand military parade, our post war reconciliation process leaves was being questioned. Two years after the end of the war, a state of emergency exists in the country.

Remember we had no emergency even during the CFA years, survived and won the war when it resumed. Two years after the war, the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) elections have not been held. With presidential and general elections concluded, there is no excuse for not holding the NPC election. The resettlement process is allegedly moving at a slower pace, the 50,000 Indian housing scheme is yet to get off the ground and no one else, and including the government or INGOs has built houses either. Accordingly the resettled Wanni civilians are living in temporary shelters and tents, unless personal resources enable rebuilding their own homes. With rural infrastructure for agriculture and fishing in the North destroyed in the fighting there is not much support for livelihoods either.


Making a case for the 13th amendment

Sri Lankan society needs national reconciliation after the LTTE’s defeat and the war’s conclusion. The claim that the Tamil polity is divided is hollow. True, it is diverse in a party sense, but dominantly represented by the TNA. Only two Tamil parties are represented in parliament. The TNA and the EPDP. Douglas too wants the 13th implemented now, wants an NPC election soon held and for him to be the UPFA chief ministerial candidate. The EPDP party program, calls for the re-merger of the North and East. The 13th amendment is already a part of our basic law and implemented everywhere else in the country. It is overdue for the North in a free and fair election.


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