Feature Article

Colombo stands further exposed by contradictory messages from SL President, Foreign Minister

[TamilNet, Monday, 03 October 2016, 23:20 GMT]
The continued seizure of pasturelands in Koa'ra'lippattu South (Kiraan) division in Batticaloa, where dairy farmers with more than 150,000 are forced to take to the streets. The land grab is a wide-scale issue across North-East, causing increased ethnic tension. Social problems are on increase as many families in the district have fallen victims to the vicious circle of bank loans and debts after 2009. In the meantime Colombo government’s poverty alleviation ‘Samurdhi’ programme stocks savings of people amounting to 2,500 millions of rupees at the banks without being utilized. And the war-affected people are being told that their perpetrators will not be subjected to criminal investigations even if they were to be identified. SL President and SL Foreign Minister speak differently. Justice is far from the island, says S. Sivayoganathan, the president of NGO Forum in the district.



The affected people, particularly those searching for their kith and kin subjected to forced disappearances, are being told that their perpetrators will not be subjected to criminal investigations even if they were to be identified through the mechanism of the OMP.

The NGO Forum was involved in ‘transitional justice’ projects being advanced through Colombo's mechanisms. The experience of I'naiyam in the project has been mixed, both good and bad, according to Sabaratnam Sivayoganathan.

Ex-LTTE fighters are harassed and are not prepared to take part in consultations and open processes. Some of them requested private meetings. They remain highly reserved as the PTA is in force and the intelligence personnel are harassing them after attending the consultation meetings held under the so-called transitional justice Zonal Task Forces, the chairman of the NGO Forum told TamilNet in a video interview this week.

Politicians belonging to all parties have not taken forward the demands of the people and they have failed to address the burning issues, he said.

There have been several massacres in the district in the past and the people on the ground want international investigations.

We have seen what happened to the investigations on massacres during the presidency of Chandrika Kumaratunga. She appointed a presidential commission and the commission submitted the report of its findings. Nothing further happened. This is how the current process is also going to end, the people fear, he said.

The contradictory speeches coming from the SL ministers, particularly the messages that come from the SL President Maithiripala Sirisena and SL Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera have dashed even the meagre hopes and expectations, he said.

SL Politicians engage in propaganda directed towards the international community. At the same time, certain diplomats representing the external powers also engage in deception through falsely praising Colombo for so-called good-governance.

The NGO Forum has three focus areas targeting social responsibility on improving education, addressing the worsening menace of vicious bank loans and strengthening the delivery of transitional justice, Mr Sivayoganathan said adding that the role of the civil society was crucial in achieving justice and restoring a society with proper sociocultural system.


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