Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Conflict Resolution: Tamil Eelam - Sri Lanka > Broken Pacts & Evasive Proposals > All Party Representative Committee: a Continuing Farce - 2006/2008


 "A ridiculous
or empty show"

Comment by tamilnation.org More than  22 years after the The Thimpu Talks - July/August 1985, the Sri Lanka government and its apologists (including Tissa Vitharne, Chair of the APRC) continue to regard genuine  'federalism' as the unmentionable F word.  And they (together with the 'international community') refuse to address the simple question: who is to federate with whom? After all 'to federate' (federare) is 'to associate' with one another. The stand of the current Sinhala political leadership (as well as the Sinhala opposition of  Ranil Wickremasinghe) is no different from that which was enunciated by Dr. H.W. Jayawardene, the leader of the Sri Lankan government delegation to Thimpu:

"...it is clear that a political settlement of the Tamil question cannot be made either on the basis of the claim to be a separate nation or nationality distinct from other racial groups that are citizens of Sri Lanka or on the basis of a claim to be heirs to a territorially demarcated area styled the 'traditional homeland of the Tamils' transcending the provincial boundaries of the Northern and Eastern Provinces, since both such claims are inconsistent with and contradictory to a united nation..."

In the years since Thimpu, thousands of Tamils have died for no crime other than that they were Tamils and that they resisted Sinhala occupation of their homeland. Many have been tortured and raped for no reason other than that they were Tamils. Thousands have simply disappeared and many thousands more have been rendered homeless. The people of Tamil Eelam have suffered and each Tamil family, without exception, will have their own particular experience of that suffering - to a lesser or greater degree. It is a pain and suffering that has  served to consolidate Tamil togetherness. It is a pain and suffering that has strengthened the will of a people to resist the occupation of their homeland by an alien  Sinhala army. And, it is a strength which prompts them to continue to say with patience and without rancour, that 'we, too, are a people' and that two independent nations may agree to associate with one another in freedom and in equality but they cannot be compelled to live together within the confines of a single state by force of arms..."

[see also 1.Joint Response by Tamil Delegation At Thimphu Talks 17 August 1985 "..More than 50 years have passed since 1928 and we have moved from Provincial Councils to Regional Councils and from Regional Councils to District Councils and now from District Councils back to District/Provincial Councils. We have had the 'early consideration' of Mrs. Srimavo Bandaranaike and the 'earnest consideration' of the late Dudley Senanayake. There has been no shortage of Committees and Commissions, of reports and recommendations but that which was lacking was the political will to recognise the existence of the Tamil nation. And simultaneous with this process of broken pacts and dishonoured agreements, the Tamil people were subjected to an ever widening and deepening national oppression aimed at undermining the integrity of the Tamil nation..." more

2. Thirteenth Amendment to Sri Lanka Constitution: - Devolution or Comic Opera, March 1988  "..It is difficult to discuss the provisions of the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lanka Constitution seriously - they are so impossibly burlesque and farcical. Yet, they have a serious aspect. They show that Sinhala chauvinism, like all chauvinisms in the same predicament, has made the time honoured, ineffectual effort to evade a settlement of the real question by throwing belated and unacceptable sops to Demogorgon..." more

3. The Parliamentary Select Committee Farce, November 1993 "The Sri Lanka Parliamentary Select Committee after labouring for more than two years, has not simply produced a mouse. It has also produced a structure to further Sinhala chauvinism's long held desire to divide the Tamil homeland..." more


All Party Representative Committee (APRC):
a Continuing Farce - 2006/2008

3 February 2008 Interim APRC Report is a sham - Professor Kumar David

"The Interim Report of the APRC is a sham for two reasons; the Committee set aside its previous 18 months and 63 meetings of deliberations and trotted out the Presidential diktat pretending it was its own finding, and secondly the APRC is collaborating in a deception game since this interim palliative is all that the government will ever want out of these worthies; the government will sell this interim hogwash to India and the Co-Chairs"

27 January 2008 The Political Fraud behind the APRC Farce

"After labouring for 63 sessions, over 250 hours and spending millions of tax payers' rupees, the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) and President Mahinda Rajapakse last week delivered an ant in what is nothing short of a massive political fraud perpetrated on both the Sri Lankan people and the international community. "

22 January 2008 APRC proposals postponed again - TamilNet

Rajitha Senaratne, the Sri Lankan minister of construction and engineering services, on Tuesday said that the proposal by the All Party Representatives Committee (APRC), scheduled to be handed over to Sri Lankan president on Wednesday, would be delayed as the People's United Front (Mahajana Eksath Peramuna�MEP) and the extremist all monks Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) have demanded to reduce the level of devolution of provincial power in the draft proposal.

The proposals would be delayed till the independence day of Sri Lanka on February 04.

The main opposition UNP and the extreme nationalist JVP, have already withdrawn from the APRC. As a consequence, the APRC proposals would lack two-thirds of majority in the Sri Lankan parliament.

The MEP, led by Dinesh Gunawardene, is a nationalist party in Mahinda Rajapaksa's UPFA government.

The JVP, the extreme nationalist party, which has been opposed to the CFA and the P-TOMS, succeeded in October 2006 in getting the five-bench Sri Lankan Supreme Court to declare the 18-year-old merger of NorthEastern Province (NEP), constituting the Northern and Eastern provinces as one unit, was invalid. Rajapaksa government de-merged the NEP following the Supreme Court judgement.

20 January 2008 APRC: key to peace or an albatross?

"J.R. Jayawardena's Government claimed that the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution passed in August 1987 fulfilled the promises made in the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord, to 'devolve power' on the Tamil people. Liberation Tigers dismissed the legislation outright, and said it allowed "perpetuation of the domination, oppression and exploitation of the Tamil masses by the racist Sinhala state," and N. Satyendra, a constitutional scholar and attorney who represented ex-militants in Sri Lanka trials, ridiculed the legislation as a "comic opera." "

6 January 2008 JVP noose around APRC neck Tamilnet

"While State media continues to provide an air of credibility to the All Party Representative Committee (APRC), insiders revealed to the Sunday Leader that APRC committee has decided to "delay discussing the contentious issues until the end but that they have now reached a deadlock with the JHU and SLFP insisting on a unitary state while the other parties have objected to the use of that terminology." The Sunday Leader further said that while several members have insisted on a set of proposals which goes beyond the 13th Amendment, the JVP has warned that they would topple the government if any proposals resembling a federal formula is forwarded in February. "

9 December 2007 UNP decides to boycott APRC

UNP spokesperson, Gayantha Karunatilake, said that there was no purpose in participating in the APRC process as Mr. Rajapakse has violated the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by his party with the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), main constituent of the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government last year on six identified issues giving top priority to find a solution to ethnic conflict.

27 August 2007 All Party Representative Committee is dead, says UNP

After the meeting of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) on Constitutional Reforms on 14 August 2007 was abruptly halted and adjourned indefinitely due to demands from Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) members, and failed to "finalise a draft report by today to keep to a deadline set by the United National Party UNP," the opposition UNP spokesperson said the "APRC process is dead in the water," the Morning Leader reported in the Wednesday edition.

"When formed in June 2006, the APRC was tasked to produce a report before the expected peace talks between the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka in the last week of October. When the 17-member panel of "Legal/Constitutional Experts" finally 'completed' its task, there were four separate, competing reports."

23 May 2007 Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam on the APRC, 23 May 2007

"The SLFP proposals took a good one and a half years to be unveiled. Now the APRC can deliberate for many more moons to give sufficient time for the Sri Lankan Government�s military project to be unveiled... Sri Lanka will not pursue a political solution until it finds itself unable to prosecute a military solution, and the only option open for peace is for the LTTE to demonstrate that Colombo's military agenda will not succeed. This unfortunate reality is the direct result of the International community's demonstrated unwillingness to stop the Sri Lanka Government from proceeding with the military agenda.

5 May 2007 SLFP proposals, an outrageous offer, says Edirisinghe

"Deriding the claim that the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) proposals pave the way for a "lasting and honourable solution to the ethnic issue," Dr.Rohan Edirisinha, head of the Legal and Constitutional Unit of the Colombo-based think-tank Center for Policy Alternatives (CPA), says in an opinion column in Saturday issue of daily mirror that the proposals go back to the failed district council proposals of the 1980s and "are potentially dangerous for democracy, good governance and the existence of independent institutions," and "demonstrates that those responsible for the proposals are completely out of touch with the realities of constitutional reform for conflict resolution."  also in PDF

1 May 2007 SLFP Proposal to APRC
21 April 2007 SLFP political package, not of APRC - Tissa Vitarane

The proposed devolution proposals to be submitted by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) will not be of the United Peoples' Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government or of the All Party Representative Council (APRC). Devolution proposals would be submitted by SLFP, said Tissa Vitarane, Chairman of the APRC. Mr. Vitarane's comment came in the wake of reports that the SLFP, main constituent of the UPFA is to submit its political proposals to the APRC during the first week of May. APRC would formulate a political package based on recommendations submitted by all political parties, he added. Vitarane is a senior minister in the UPFA government and also the General Secretary of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP), one of the constituents of the UPFA government."

5 April 2007 �Mahinda Chinthana� to be basis for government�s proposals

The government�s proposals will be based on Mahinda Chinthana, the hardline Sinhala nationalist manifesto on which President Mahinda Rajapakse was elected in November 2005, the Daily News quoted him as saying. �Mahinda Chinthana accepts the devolution of power within one country and the proposals will be entirely based on Mahinda Chinthana and formulated within Mahinda Chinthana�

3 April 2007 Panchayat Raj brought back in Rajapakse deliberations

Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa, while on his visit to the 14th SAARC Summit being held at New Delhi had discussions with Mr. Mani Shanakar Ayyar, Indian Central Government Minister on Panchayat Raj system Sunday at the Maurya Sheraton Hotel in New Delhi, a press release from the Presidential office said. In October 2006, when the inclusion of the Indian third tier administrative model was first brought up and touted as �ray of hope� to solve Sri Lanka�s �domestic problems,� Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian dismissed the concept saying "It is foolish to think Panchayat scheme will satisfy Tamil people." With the recent declaration by the Leader of the All Party Representatives Committee (APRC) study group, and Minister of Science and Technology, Tissa Vitarana, that the 'final' APRC proposal will be released in late May, the prominence given to Panchayati Raj topic appears intended to further complicate the proposals, political observers in Colombo said.

1 April 2007 JVP boycott of APRC helps LTTE- Vitarane

Science and Technology Minister Tissa Vitarane, chairman of the All Party Representatives' Committee (APRC) appointed by Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse in June 2006 to work out a political package to find a lasting political solution, said Saturday that the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) is helping the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) by not participating and submitting its political proposals to the APRC to solve the ethnic conflict. The JVP, which is third largest political party represented in parliament with 39 parliamentarians, boycotted the APRC since early December saying it is not interested in formulating a political package based on federal concept to solve the crisis. JVP insists that any political solution to the conflict should be found within the current unitary form of constitution.

26 February 2007 JHU decides against submitting proposal to APRC
20 February 2007 UNP demands SLFP to finalize political proposal
19 February 2007 Remove Tissa Vitarane from cabinet- JVP
1 January 2007 UNP to submit fifth proposal to APRC
13 December 2006 Leaked Expert panel's reports trigger controversy
13 December 2006 APRC to continue without JVP
12 December 2006 JVP quits from APC deliberation
10 December 2006 Sri Lanka Experts Panel Report
7 October 2006 Political package to be prepared before GoSL-LTTE
28 July 2006 WPPF quits All Party Conference
20 July 2007 APC, an exercise to buy time?- Saravanamuttu
19 July 2007 "The APRC exercise is a political drama to dress-up unitary constitution."  S.P. Thamilchelvan
16 July 2006 Kaviyalahan (TEPRC) 16 July 2006

"Rajapakse, upon failing to meet the commitments given by Sri Lanka delegation at Geneva I, has adopted a "choking tactic" to stifle current trajectory towards peace by launching a one-sided expert panel, to waylay the International Community, and to avoid Geneva II."

11 July 2006 SL President Rajapakse addresses APC, Expert panel
9 July 2006 UNP to re-evaluate support to UPFA, Rajapakse


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