TNA calls on US to ensure GoSL fulfils its Geneva commitments

R Sampanthan with Rodney Frelinghuysen

The United States has been urged to ensure that Sri Lanka fully implemented the Geneva Resolution 30/1 co-sponsored by Colombo on Oct 1, 2015.

The Geneva resolution has proposed setting up of a hybrid war crimes court including foreign judges among other things.

A statement issued by the Office of the Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan quoted the veteran politician as having told a visiting delegation of US Congressmen accompanied by US Ambassador in Colombo Atul Keshap that their government should hold the Sri Lankan Government responsible the commitments they had made to the international community, particularly with regard to the Geneva Resolution.

MP Sampanthan said “Sri Lankan Government cannot shirl its responsibilty for fulfilling its commitment to the international community”.

Sampanthan and Jaffna District MP and TNA spokesman M.A. Sumanthiran in Colombo met the delegation on Aug 10.The Congress delegates led by Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (Republican -New Jersey) Chairman, House Appropriations Committee, comprised Rep. Henry Cuellar (Democrat – Texas) Member, House Appropriations Committee and other Officials.

Briefing on the progress of the framing of new Constitution Sampanthan alleged there was undue delay in this process as both the UNP and SLFP held on to their political future than looking at the interest of the country. Further, he said that after obtaining the majority in Parliament the new Constitution must be approved by the people at a referendum. Sampanthan highlighted that the opportunity should not be missed and “I am not speaking only on behalf of Tamils but for the whole Sri Lanka and its people”, he added.

Speaking further Sampanthan stressed that the Sinhala political leaders should go out and campaign on the new Constitution which was based on a united, undivided and indivisible Sri Lanka, if they did so not only this process would end in success but also it would clear all the unwarranted doubts that a section of the people had in their minds, he said.

“Over fifty per cent of the Tamil population has left the country due to this unresolved national question, and if we don’t find a reasonable solution more people will leave, we don’t want that to happen,” he added.

Sampanthan urged the delegates to bring to the notice of the Government hierarchy that uncertainty in the matter could not be continued and they should come together and resolve the national question by enacting a new Constitution which will have the maximum possible consent of both the people and the political parties.

Speaking on the issues faced by the Tamil People, Sampanthan highlighted that the Issue of the missing persons must be addressed without any further delay. He noted that though the Office of the Missing Person Act had been passed in Parliament it had not been operationalized yet. By setting up the Office of the Missing Persons and conducting credible investigations truth should be ascertained in the cases of missing persons and the Families of the missing persons should be provided with the relevant information as to what happened to their loved ones.

On the question of release of Lands, Sampanthan highlighted that the military in the occupation of those lands had been engaged in cultivation and they sell the produce to the owners of the same land. He said the situation was very disturbing as people had been deprived of their fundamental right to live in their land even after eight years since the war came to an end. Though the Government had taken certain steps in that regard the process was not rapid enough, Sampanthan added.

He said “I cannot let my people suffer indefinitely on these matters and this Government must realize that these fundamental issues must be addressed early as possible to avoid adverse situations emerging in the future”.

Speaking on the unemployment among the youth, Sumanthiran highlighted that Government seemed to have no concrete plans to create jobs. The unemployment issue had also been the root cause for many social issues faced by the young people in the country, he added. Sampanthan requested the delegates to initiate proposals in that regard and to support the young people of the country.

The congressional delegation thanked Sampanthan and said “We salute your courage and perseverance over two decades on these matters and assured that they would certainly take up his concerns when they meet with the Members of the Government”

(Source: The Island)