Truth & President Kumaratunga
Annotated Text of Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga's
Address via Satellite to the Tamil 'minority' people on 9 January 2001
Whatever may be said, who ever may say it - to
determine the truth of it, is wisdom -
I would like to wish all of you a peaceful and happy new year. I
will talk first of peace because
government has given priority during the last 7 years to bringing in peace
and to do all that is necessary to ensure the people of Jaffna and North and the
East provinces of this country can live normal lives in peace and prosperity...
My government believes that one of its top priorities, one of
the priority tasks that we have to address ourselves too is ending this most
destructive war which has wreaked havoc and caused much sadness in the lives of
all of you.
We as a government have done the maximum that any government in this country or
in any country has done in order to end the causes that have brought about
the violence which affects your daily life and even ours.
We have adopted a three pronged strategy in order to achieve
this. Firstly, we have addressed the real problems of the Tamil people as well
as the other minorities living in Sri Lanka,
problems which have
not been properly addressed by all governments since Independence in order
minority people, specially the Tamil
people can live with dignity with equal opportunity in this country.
have brought in many laws. The Peoples Alliance Government,
government has brought in many laws to ensure the human rights of the persons.
About 19 laws have been brought in by our government in the last 6 years...
Comment - "...In May 2000,
the President of Sri Lanka promulgated new emergency regulations which confer
powers of arrest to "any authorized person" in addition to the police and armed
forces and considerably extend the powers to detain available to them...The
emergency regulations which were in force up to 3 May already granted powers
which considerably exceeded the limits permissible under the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Sri Lanka acceded to in
1980... The excessive powers available under emergency regulations and their
contribution to human rights violations have been commented on by a number of
international and local human rights bodies over the years... Far from
complying with its obligations under international human rights law, however,
the Sri Lankan government has instead further eroded the human rights guaranteed
in international human rights treaties with the emergency regulations
promulgated on 3 May 2000 and their subsequent amendments..."
International Report, July 2000 :
We have in practice, many procedures in order to ensure the
safety of person and property of all people specially the Tamil people.
Comment: "The dreaded white vans, the hallmark
of military death squads, have reappeared in Vavuniya, causing panic among the
people. The Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission (HRC) received complaints that P
Sureshini and K Govindaraj were abducted in mid-March by unidentified persons in
white vans. T Rathika and P Sivarasa were taken away from Sastrikoolankulam
refugee camp. The Army initially denied their arrest. But three of the abducted
were later released from military camps. The fate of K Govindaraj remains
unknown. HRC’s Vavuniya co-ordinator S Sritharan says legal requirements
such as issuing receipts and informing relatives and the HRC within 48 hours of
arrest, are not observed by the security forces..."
British Refugee Council, Sri Lanka Monitor, March 2000
We have also taken many steps to ensure and guarantee that the
Tamil people will have equal opportunities in education and in employment as far
as possible we seriously mean to guarantee the rights of the minority people. We
have to do so legally through the constitution. My government and I strongly
believe that it is the best way of ensuring that the Tamil people, the Muslim
people and all the minority people, their rights, especially the way to ensure
that they will not have to face the terrible violence
unleashed against them under the UNP government in 1983....
Comment: Violence unleashed on the Tamil people by
the S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike government (President Kumaratunga's father), and by
the Srimavo Bandaranaike government (President Kumaratunga's mother) long
Tamil Parliamentarians attacked & 150 Tamils killed - 1956
"...Some Tamil Satyagrahis were thrown into Beira Lake near the
Parliament House. From that moment every Tamil seen on roads of Colombo
was attacked. Tamil office employees going home from work in public
transport were caught and man-handled... Sinhalese hooligans took charge
of the situation and went on a rampage of arson and looting of Tamil
shops and homes. The rioting and violence were instigated by the
government and actively supported by the Sinhalese organisations and
Bhikkus (Buddhist priests) to frighten Tamils into accepting the
'Sinhala Only' Act..." Satchi Ponnambalam: Sri Lanka - The National
Question and the Tamil Liberation Struggle, Zed Books Ltd, 1983
Genocide '58 "... (In 1958) passing cars and trains were stopped by
mobs and their (Tamil) occupants butchered, houses were burnt with
people inside and there was widespread looting..." - Walter Schwarz:
Tamils of Sri Lanka, Minority Rights Group Report 1983
Tarzie Vittachi: Emergency 1958 - The Story of the Ceylon Race Riots,
Andre Deutsch, London 1958:
"..By a strangely inexplicable perversion of
logic, (Prime Minister) Mr Bandaranaike tried to explain away a
situation by substituting the effect for the cause. The relevant portion
of the speech was:
"An unfortunate situation has arisen resulting in
communal tension. Certain incidents in, the. Batticaloa District where
some people lost their lives, including Mr D.A. Seneviratne, a former
Mayor of Nuwara Eliya, have resulted in various acts of violence and
lawlessness in other areas-for example Polonnaruwa, Dambulla, Galawela,
Kuliyapitiya and even Colombo."
"...The killing of Seneviratne on
May 25 (later admitted to have been the result of a private feud) was
thus officially declared to be the cause of the uprising, although the
communal riots had begun on May 22 with the attack on the Polonnaruwa
Station and the wrecking of the Batticaloa-Colombo train and several
other minor incidents. No explanation was offered by the Prime Minister
for singling out (the Sinhala sounding) Seneviratne's name for
particular mention from the scores of people who had lost their lives
during those critical days...…Colombo was on fire. The goondas burnt
fifteen shops in the Pettah and a row of kiosks in Mariakaday. Looting
on a massive scale took place in Pettah, Maradana, Wellawatte Ratmalana,
Kurunegala, Panadura, Kalutara, Badulla, Galle, Matara and Weligama...
What are we left with (in 1958)?
A nation in ruins, some grim lessons which we cannot afford to forget
and a momentous question: Have the Sinhalese and Tamils reached the
parting of ways?"
Sinhala army attacks Tamil Satyagrahis - 1961
"This is not a question of an army man here and there,
after liquor, indulging in excess (in 1961 against Tamils in Jaffna).
No, there is some plan, some purpose. ... the purpose of the (Srimavo
Bandaranaike) government in imposing an emergency and allowing army and
navy personnel to behave in that fashion is to intimidate... the Tamil
minority in this country. That is the fact. That is the purpose." -
Sinhala Opposition Member of Parliament, Edmund Samarakody, Hansard, 3
...is to bring in a new constitution guaranteeing all the
rights of the minority people and also devolving political power to the regions
where they live. In order to do this within one year,
in less than one year of coming into power my government prepared a draft
constitution including all these guarantees and devolution of power and
presented it to the country.
Comment : "The Maha Nayaka of Asgiriya,
Ven.Palipane Chandananda pointedly asked whether the Prime Minister
Mrs.Srima Bandaranaike had seen it (the political package). No answer
was forthcoming. .... The Mahanayakas said in no uncertain terms that
they cannot agree in any way to changing the unitary character of the
State... In any event they said the Government must not approve any
package until the war is concluded. To that the President agreed...."
owned Sri Lanka Sunday Leader,6 August 1995
"...(President Kumaratunga) said in no way would it (the devolution
package) erode the supremacy of (the central) parliament...
The President said that since Policy Planning was a subject for the
centre, the central government had a hold in every subject a region
handled... the President said, even if a Regional Council opposes,
the centre has the power to go ahead and allocate land for its purposes.
The President also moved to allay fears of a North-East merger saying
that the government did not have any idea of merging the North with the
owned Sri Lanka Sunday Times, 20 August 1995
We invited the UNP, the main opposition party and the LTTE to
discuss this draft constitution with us. We were willing to discuss any
amendments, changes they wanted to propose but the UNP
especially the LTTE has
refused stubbornly to participate in any discussion which would guarantee
the rights of the Tamil people.
"...The government of Chandrika Kumaratunga, while
set of political proposals for the resolution of the ethnic conflict
has also declared an all-out war against the LTTE thereby closing down
all avenues for the resumption of a peace process. .. The Government has
decided to implement this set of proposals only after defeating or
rather eliminating the LTTE. We learn such an assurance has been given
to the leadership of the 'Maha Sangha' by the Government. If this is the
true position of the Government we can safely conclude that this package
of the devolution will never be implemented, because of the very fact
that the LTTE will never be defeated or destroyed. Even in the unlikely
event of the destruction of the LTTE the Government may not have the
compulsion or need to implement the devolution package... the package of
devolution announced by the Government was a
deceptive mask to hide the ugly face of war, a peace mask to
legitimise and justify
the military programme."
LTTE Press Release, 14 August 1995
Soon after our government coming in to power — within ten days —
as President of the country, I
wrote to the LTTE leader Mr. Prabhakaran inviting him to come for discussions.
They agreed and we discussed for 8 months but the LTTE did not
for one moment agree to discuss to end the war or how to solve Tamil people’s
problems which led to the war. All that they did during 8 months was to keep on
asking for more and more things. We gave everything they asked for except
military advantages. We lifted the bans which the UNP government had put on all
food items — fuel, medicine, everything, which were necessary for the people but
every time we asked the LTTE when will you start, when you will agree to start
discussing on our proposals to solve the Tamil people’s problems,
they said ‘we don’t
want to discuss’.
Comment: "...We regret to
point out that as the peace talks with the Liberation Tigers progressed during
the past several months, the deeds of your government have often been at
variance with your words.
Though you declared that you were removing the ban on the
transport of specified essential goods to the Tamil homeland in the North,
you failed to gazette the removal of the ban. The promised electricity
supplies to the North did not materialise. The armed forces deliberately
procrastinated and thwarted the flow of essential goods which had been
ostensibly removed from the banned list. Again, though you declared that the
ban on fishing had been relaxed, in fact fishing was subjected to several
restrictions arbitrarily imposed by the Sri Lanka navy...
Again, though spokesmen for the Liberation Tigers had on more
than one occasion stated that the LTTE would be ready to consider a genuine
federal solution which recognised the existence of the Tamil homeland and the
right of the Tamil people to freely choose their political status, you
failed to place your proposals for a political solution..."
Swiss Federation of Tamil Associations to President Chandrika Kumaratunga, 3
This is in writing in the
letters that I wrote
to Mr. Prabhakaran and
the replies he sent
to me. The government during the discussions with the LTTE in 1994-95 gave
almost everything they asked for.
The LTTE did not give anything.
They even lied
during those discussions. They broke certain important agreements that we
had and then finally they made use of another facility the government gave the
people of Jaffna and East which was the right to fish in the sea that was also
banned by the UNP government and the LTTE made use of this facility which we
gave to the people and attacked two naval boats in the Trincomalee harbour in
April 1995 and began the war again. The LTTE is solely responsible for the
military operations that have been launched again under my government in reply.
"... After a great deal of persuasion
and dialogue, which lasted for more than six months, we were able to
elicit from you a positive decision with regard to the relaxation of the
embargo on fuel and other items. Though a decision to this effect has
been made earlier and intimated to us in your letter of 24th March 1995,
we are disappointed to note that deliberate delays have been caused in
the process of implementation with the aim to off-set, our deadline...Apart
from partial relaxation, the prohibition on large areas of fishing zones
continues to operate, though you have pledged to remove all
restrictions on fishing in your letter of 24th March... The manner in
which these critical issues have been side-tracked demonstrates the fact
that your Government is not acting in good faith to create genuine
conditions of peace and normalcy .... we are convinced beyond doubt,
that your Government is making every effort to strengthen and
consolidate the military capability of the armed forces under the guise
of the current cessation of hostilities, violating the very terms of the
agreement that insists on the maintenance of the status quo... we are
left with no choice other than to take a painful decision to discontinue
our participation in the negotiating process and from the cessati on
of hostilities from the stipulated date as we have indicated to you
leader Velupillai Pirabaharan to President Kumaratunga, 18 April 1995
My government dislikes war.
National Peace Council Report, in Asian Human Rights Commission
Newsletter Human Rights Solidarity, March/April 1998: "...There
has been an economic blockade in the Northern Province in Sri Lanka ever since
1990. In 1995 since the resumption of the Eelam war, the government of Sri
Lanka has forbidden non governmental organisations (NGOs) from distributing food
and, with the exception of the International Committee of the Red Cross
(ICRC), distributing medicine. Stringent controls have also been imposed on the
ICRC in the medicines they can provide. Thus, the government took upon itself
the full responsibility of the distribution of food and medicine to the war-torn
districts of the Vanni (Mullaitivu, Kilinochi and Mannar). Instead of
providing for its people, the government has pursued a policy of deprivation.
It does not allow any outsiders to visit the area so that this information is
not disseminated. It imposes severe controls on the NGOs that are allowed to
We don’t believe that war and violence can solve any problems
in a durable fashion.
We are a democratic government.
We deeply believe in democracy...
Asian Human Rights Commission, April 1999 on the Lost Dream of Free
and Fair Elections:
"The people of Sri Lanka can no longer hope for the peaceful
exercise of their right to freely elect their representatives at
national, or even local, elections...The concept of free and fair
elections has become an illusion in Sri Lanka..."
human rights and we see to the care of every citizen of the country whether they
were Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim or any other.
illegal detention centers, testimony from the families of thousands of
missing persons, and the
government's goal of removing political opposition testify to it (Sri
Lanka's crimes against humanity). Furthermore, these crimes were committed on a
"The Sri Lankan government has
estimated that there were over 26,000 victims, while unofficial estimates put
the number as high as 60,000.
It is also clear that these crimes were part of a
attack planned at the highest levels of government and implemented through
the police and army. There can be no doubt that a crime against humanity has
Human Rights Commission,Urgent Action appeal, 21 March 2000:
"... In terms of the number of persons killed, the Sri Lankan case
is much worse than the East Timor case.
It is also much worse than the case of the Chilean dictator Pinochet..." Statement
by Asian Legal Resource Centre, February 2000
That is why as soon as we came into power, I invited, I wrote to Mr. Prabhakaran
inviting him to come to discuss seriously with us in order to stop the war.
Normally, a head of state of a legally elected sovereign does not write or
talk to any terrorists, who belong to illegal organisations.
"...From the domestic perspective, indigenous combatants
are seen as "rebels," terrorists," "bandits," "separatists," and "extremists."
But most Fourth World nation combatants see themselves engaged in an
international conflict, nation against state; and thus they may call themselves
soldiers, fighters, warriors. The view of international states is that states
declare war, nations declare terrorism. By treating conflicts between states
and nations as but an internal matter of the state, the conflict may be masked
but not understood, nor resolved..." Bernard
Q. Nietschmann University of California, Berkeley, Fourth World Conflicts
But I decided to write to the
terrorist leader because I wanted very much as I do still, to bring peace to
Jaffna and to North and East of this country.
there are many men without honor, there are always others who bear in
themselves the honor of many men. These are the men who rebel with great
force against those who steal the people's freedom, that is to say,
against those who steal honor itself. In those men thousands more are
contained, an entire people is contained, human dignity is contained
Castro Ruz in History will Absolve Me
The LTTE has, from 1994 since they
broke the ceasefire agreement constantly refused to end the war. My
government was compelled to reply to the LTTE attacks and continued the war only
because the LTTE has until now constantly refused to enter into serious
We have invited the LTTE for the last 6 years - six and a half years - to enter
in to negotiations with us. Up to date they have not agreed.
made an announcement last year in my Martyrs’ Day
message that we were prepared for peace talks with
the assistance of international third party
mediation...The concept of the ‘war for peace’ as
enunciated by Chandrika’s government signified a
military solution. This grand military project aimed at
a total invasion of the Tamil homeland and envisages the
defeat of the Tamil Tiger movement and finally the
eventual subjugation of the Tamil nation. Chandrika
worked tirelessly for the last five years to implement
her military scheme... Therefore, she did not reflect
seriously about peace nor has she taken any constructive
steps towards peace talks..."Velupillai
Pirabaharan, Maha Veera Naal Address - November 1999:
Even during the 8 months that the LTTE came to the negotiating table with us,
they refused as I said earlier, to discuss the final solutions to ending the
Now for the last 2 years, up to 1999 the government invited, agreed at the
Norwegian government place the rule of a third party to try to first the LTTE to
stop the war and begin to negotiate. They have refused up to now.
Comment: - "Our
liberation organisation is prepared to participate in
negotiations to find a political solution to the ethnic
conflict through peaceful means. We are not opposed to
peaceful processes of resolving conflicts. Nor are
we reluctant to engage in peaceful dialogue. We
are seeking a negotiated settlement that would be fair,
just, and equitable and that it would satisfy
the political aspirations of the Tamil people.
explained this position very clearly when I met the
Norwegian peace delegates in Wanni recently. ..." Velupillai
Pirabaharan, Maha Veerar Naal Speech, 27 November 2000
Now the LTTE says
when they have still not agreed to discuss or to negotiate
but suddenly they have
declared a ceasefire for
one month. As far as the government is concerned
we declared no
fighting when we invited the LTTE for discussion in 1994
and right through, even through the Norwegians up to now. We took the
initiative. We are willing to stop the war and call any ceasefire any time. But
there is one condition. Even the last time in 1994-95 when we discussed with the
LTTE it was I
and my government that initiated the ceasefire proposal
and the LTTE agreed.
"We are not imposing any conditions what ever for talks.
We are only pointing out that for peace talks, a peaceful climate is necessary.
Where there is no ceasefire, offensive operations may continue, may they not? Is
there any meaning in continuing with war on one side, and at the same time
talking about peace? That is why we say that a
ceasefire is necessary for peace talks..." Velupillai
Pirabaharan, BBC Interview, 13 September 1994
So, there is no need to first declare to us a ceasefire. We
want to cease fire and end the war. But the
conditions that we are proposing very strongly is that after the
There is no point in having a ceasefire like the ceasefires
that the LTTE agreed to under the UNP government on two occasions, under a our
government once in 1994-95. If it is only for the LTTE to prepare to come back
and continue the war, if it is only because the LTTE is weak that they want to
get some time to get stronger in order to kill some more. We are ready for a
ceasefire if the LTTE is willing to agree to begin negotiations.
They have up
to now not agreed to this.
offered much more than a ceasefire for nearly 7 years
- we have offered the Tamil people and the LTTE much more than a ceasefire.
A ceasefire is only something temporary. We have offered
'We will seek the views of the Mahanayaka
Theras on each and every paragraph, clause and line of the draft
Constitution so that they could correct us, where we have gone
Staunch Chandrika loyalist and Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ratnasiri
Wickramanayake on 13 August 2000
How do we achieve that peace. The only way to achieve that
peace is for the two warring sides, the two sides that are engaged in the war is
to agree to end the war.
would be conqueror
is always a lover of peace, for he would like to enter and occupy our
country unopposed." - Clausewitz quoted in Philosophers of Peace and
War, edited by Professor Gallie
My government and I especially am 100% sincere in our desire to end the war.
"Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ratnasiri
Wickremanayake vowed to crush Tamil rebels and pooh-poohed British attempts
to replicate the Northern Ireland experience in their former colony...
The state-run Daily News quoted the Premier as saying ... that experiences
of other countries cannot be "planted" in Sri Lanka. "We will carry on
the military option until the enemy is totally eliminated..."AFP
report, 27 November 2000
I do not believe the LTTE wants to end the war. It is because the LTTE
does not believe in democracy. The LTTE is not for giving human rights,
democratic rights to the Tamil people.
"..We are not chauvinists. Neither are we lovers of violence enchanted with
war. We do not regard the Sinhala people as our opponents or as our enemies. We
recognise the Sinhala nation. We accord a place of dignity for the culture
and heritage of the Sinhala people. We have no desire to interfere in any way
with the national life of the Sinhala people or with their freedom and
independence. We, the Tamil people, desire to live in our own historic homeland
as an independent nation, in peace, in freedom and with dignity."
Leader of Tamil Eelam
If they are for that,
why do they
kill so many Tamil people? Why do they kill all the
leaders of the Tamil people? They have killed hundreds of them.
"The LTTE's emergence as the most dominant and effective
politico-military force representing Tamil interests was due to the
the character and personality of its leader V Pirabaharan who is
disciplined, austere and passionately committed to the cause of Sri Lankan
Tamils' liberation. Whatever he may be criticised for, it cannot be denied
that the man has an inner fire and dedication and he is endowed with natural
military abilities, both strategic and tactical. He has also proved that he
is a keen observer of the nature of competitive and critical politics. He
has proved his abilities in judging political events and his adroitness in
responding to them.
Secondly, he has created a highly disciplined, and dedicated
cadres, a manifestation of which is inherent in what is called the 'cyanide
cult.' Each regular member of the LTTE carries a cyanide pill and is pledged
to committing suicide rather than being captured by the enemy.
The third factor is the cult and creed of honesty in the
disbursement and utilisation of resources. Despite long years spent in
struggle, the LTTE cadres were known for their simple living, lack of any
tendency to exploit the people and their operational preparedness.
The fourth factor has been the LTTE's ability to upgrade its
political and military capacities including technological inputs despite the
constraints imposed on it by Sri Lankan forces and later by India.
The fifth factor is a totally amoral and deadly violent
approach in dealing with those the LTTE considers as enemies.
The sixth factor is Pirabaharan's success in gathering
around him senior advisers with diverse political, administrative and
technological capacities, which contributed to effective training of his
cadres, optimum utilisation of the military equipment which he had, and
the structuring of an efficient command and control system. .."
Jyotindra Dixit, India's Foreign Secretary in Assignment in Colombo
Why do they grab your children 9, 10 year old children who
should be in school and who should be looked after by their mothers and fathers
and force them to become human bombs? They force them to hang a cyanide capsule
round their neck and go and kill others. These children should be in their homes
receiving the love and affection of their parents and going to school and
have a high regard for the LTTE for its discipline, dedication,
determination, motivation and technical expertise... I was left with the
impression that the LTTE was the expression of popular Tamil sentiment
and could not be destroyed, so long as that sentiment remained."
Lieutenant General S.C. Sardesh Pande in "Assignment
"As far as I can tell most ordinary Tamils support the
Tigers, not necessarily because they like them, but because they like
the Sri Lankan - or Indian - armies less. The Tigers are ruthless and
authoritarian but they are not corrupt - they don't tolerate stealing,
bribery or rape, things other armies are famous for. In fact they are
perceived as being single minded in their defence of Tamils. They are so
disciplined that when captured, they swallow cyanide capsules that they
carry with them at all times, rather than risk revealing anything under
Singer, Ph. D. Professor of
International and Intercultural Affairs, Graduate School of Public and
International Affairs - University of Pittsburgh.
Statement before US Congress Committee on International Relations
Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific Hearing on Sri Lanka November
The LTTE only believes as they have proved through action in the last 17-18
years, they only believe in violence. They believe in dictatorship and forcing
the will of a few LTTE leaders on the entire Tamil people and the entire
If the LTTE sincerely wants to end the war and truly believe in giving peace to
the Tamil people, they have only to do one thing, they have only to accept my
invitation to come to discuss ways and means of ending the war and ensuring that
the Tamil people can live in Sri Lanka with full equal opportunities like the
Sinhalese and other people. We have to discuss this all, they have to accept our
invitation to come to the negotiating table. Then we can discuss about a
"...(Sri Lanka) MiG-27 aircrafts started bombing just hours after
government troops resumed a massive ground offensive against Tamil
rebels... Meanwhile, 3,000 Tamil students defied a military order and
held a demonstration inside Jaffna University asking the
government to halt all military operations and enter into peace talks
with the Liberation Tiger of Tamil Eelam..."Sri Lanka launches
offensive, rejecting LTTE ceasefire appeal - Times of India, 18
A ceasefire without an agreement by both sides to enter into negotiations in
order to end the war is only an empty promise. My government has consistently
said that we say even now we are willing to effect a ceasefire, but a ceasefire
without an agreement from the LTTE to enter into serious negotiations on the
serious matters that affect the Tamil people is pointless. A ceasefire
without an agreement to negotiate is only a weapon used by the LTTE to
continue to destroy the Tamil people.
are not imposing any pre-conditions for peace talks. Yet we insist
on the creation of a cordial atmosphere and conditions of normalcy
conducive for peace negotiations. It is practically difficult for both
the parties who have been involved in a savage and bloody war for the
last two decades with mutual animosity and distrust to suddenly enter
into a peace process, while continuing hostilities. It is precisely for
this reason we propose a process of
de-escalation of war leading to cessation of armed hostilities and
the creation of a peaceful, cordial environment..."Velupillai
Pirabaharan, Maha Veerar Naal Speech, 27 November 2000
I have now spoken to you about two of the prongs, on two out of the 3 aspects of
the strategy employed by my government in order to solve the Tamil people’s
problems and to end the war.
The two aspects if I may repeat are first the
constitutional legal and political proposals in order to guarantee firmly
and on a long term basis the Tamil and minority people’s rights. That has to be
achieved through a new constitution legally and politically. The sincere and
honest will of the government is to implement what is contained in the new
"Chandrika Kumaratunga Government,
today, 8 August 2000, decided to indefinitely postpone the debate and
the voting on the Constitution Bill " Hindustan Times Report, 8
seek the views of the Mahanayaka Theras on each and every paragraph,
clause and line of the draft Constitution so that they could correct us,
where we have gone wrong...'' Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ratnasiri
Wickramanayake, and President Kumaratunga loyalist, 14 August 2000
My government has drafted the new constitution.
We have done an immense lot of work to persuade the Sinhala majority people
that this has to be done and the majority of Sinhala people have through 10
elections held in a short time of 7 years given us the approval to bring in the
constitution and we have also obtained through long discussion with all the
elected representatives of the people in parliament including all the four or
five Tamil parties their consent. The representatives of Muslim people, Muslim
parties to have expressed their agreement to bring this constitution. Only
problem has been that we need 2/3 majority of MPs in parliament and for this we
need the UNP support and they refuse consistently to support this.
But I can state very firmly, I can promise you that even if the UNP does not
have the responsibility to agree to this in order that we may end the war and
give the Tamil people their rights, we of the PA government will find a way of
bringing in the new constitution and implementing it, so that we can give the
Tamil their rights.
The second aspect that I mentioned earlier, of our strategy is in order to end
the war to negotiate with the LTTE and come to an agreement which will be
satisfactory to the Tamil people to the Sinhala people and to everybody.
But as I told you earlier the
LTTE refuses to negotiate and as long as the LTTE does not agree to end the
war, it is going to be very difficult for the government to end the war alone.
"...We regret to note that the Sri Lanka government has rejected our
offer of a month long cease-fire ... to our great dismay, Sri Lanka
government has dismissed our proposal stating that gestures of goodwill
are unnecessary...Sri Lankan government believes in the impossible; in
the incredible logic that war and peace could go together and wants to
engage us in peace talks while continuing the bloody war...
Sri Lanka should abandon its bellicose attitude and consider our
constructive proposal if it is genuinely committed to a negotiated
Press Statement, 25 December 2000
But I believe that the Tamil people and all the people in the entire Jaffna
peninsula and in the rest of the North want peace that they do not want the
politics of violence of the LTTE and that the people had begun to tell the
LTTE very firmly that they want the war to end. The people of the North
compelled the LTTE to give up their violence to stop the war and agree to
come to negotiations. My government will continue to try our maximum to
bring the war to end as early as possible.
The third aspects of our strategy for peace is to give an accelerated
development programme to the North which development programme to the North
and the East which on one hand has
been destroyed by the war and on the other even before the war has been
seriously neglected by all governments.
My government has spent billions of rupees, thousands of millions of rupees to
develop the North and the East. I will talk about the Jaffna peninsula and the
North for example because I went to see the people of the North. We have after
even while the LTTE was in control of Jaffna and the North in ’95, I wrote to
Mr. Prabhakaran offering a package, development package of 40 thousand million
rupees for the North to develop the schools, hospitals, roads, electricity,
Mr. Prabhakaran wrote back to
me saying I don’t want your development.
But after the LTTE, the government took over the Jaffna peninsula and large
areas of the North we have started development, we have spent hundreds of
million of Rupees in trying to develop the schools, hospitals, roads,
"The World Health Organization today warned the international community
that the health situation of the civilian population in the areas of
conflict in the north of Sri Lanka is under severe threat.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Médecins sans
Frontières (MSF), the key international agencies supplementing the
government efforts to provide health care to the civilian population,
are no longer functioning due to lack of supplies. Dispensaries are
closing down, oxygen will be out of supply within a week, and disposable
syringes are out of date and are being sterilized and reused. There are
no pre anesthetic drugs or painkillers for post operative care, nor are
there injectable antibiotics and anesthetics...The population in
northern Sri Lanka is especially vulnerable due to the large numbers of
internally displaced people (IDPs), whose access to health services was
already precarious before the current escalation of conflict. Malaria is
highly endemic and on the rise, which poses a serious threat to the
whole island since malaria control programmes have collapsed..."
World Health Organisation Press Release (WHO/32 2000)12 May 2000:
The LTTE has constantly killed or tried to kill government officers, government
ministers and others and even your elected representatives such as two males
about 20 Pradeshiya Sabha members elected by the people of Jaffna. They have
killed in order hoping they can stop the government program to develop the
The LTTE says they are liberating the Tamil people but I do not understand
how they can liberate the Tamil people when they obstruct and destroy all
the time the programme of the government is implementing
to liberate the Tamil people from their poverty.
I have just returned from the aid group meeting of all the countries that gives
us money to develop Sri Lanka. The aid group meeting held in France, we
discussed 4 major aspects for which the government and I have asked for aid from
our donor countries from our friends abroad and one of the 4 programs that we
have asked money for, is the reconstruction and development of the North and the
The donor countries are giving us a large sum
of money billions and billions rupees, that is thousands and thousands of
millions of rupees for this program for reconstruction and the development of
the North and the East.
"Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga says 40
percent of development budgets in her first term were eroded by
graft and inefficiency" ABC News, Reuters, 17 November 200
Development work under this programme in your areas will begin in a few months
this year itself. It is the first time a government of independent Sri Lanka had
drawn up and is implementing special program of development of the North and
The money we spend on this development programme for you, is not free it is a
loan given to us by donors and all of us and the whole country will pay 25-30
years for this programme which we are implementing for you.
And Mr. Prabhakaran and his LTTE has already begun to oppose this programme.
They have begun to issue statements all over the world and through this office
in London and everywhere else laughing at this aid that we have got to develop
your areas and criticize the government. The UNP has also now joined the LTTE in
spreading a lot of lies and laughing at the government saying that we have
Is it nothing to obtain billions of Rupees to develop the North and the East?
This is also in addition to billions of rupees we have obtained for the
development of the South.
I would now like to mention very briefly some of the major projects we have
undertaken in the last six and a half years for the North.
For example we have given food, medicine and fuel to hundreds of thousands of
people living in Jaffna and the North because they are supposed to
be affected by the war.
of medicines plagues the Vanni region, where thousands of refugees continue to
suffer. At a meeting in Colombo on 12 November, TULF MPs told Prime Minister
Ratnasiri Wickremanayake that despite approval of the Defence Ministry, Army
officers have refused to allow medicines for two quarters of 2000 into the Vanni
and are holding them at Vavuniya.
Medical officers in Mallavi hospital in Mullaitivu District
say 95% of the medicine stock is exhausted. Vitamins, antibiotics, drugs for
diabetes and heart disease, anti-rabies vaccine and dressing are not available.
In mid-November, the Army introduced new restrictions on people travelling into
the Vanni from Vavuniya. Henceforth, each person will be allowed to carry only
two small parcels of food or any other material..."
British Refugee Council, Sri Lanka Monitor, November 2000
Even the UNICEF chairman sometime ago stated that Sri Lanka was perhaps the
only country in the world that is giving food to terrorists that is
killing the government and fighting against the government. But we still
continue to do so even though we know that Mr. Pirabaharan takes most of the
food we give to the people by force and only gives only a little to them and
he keeps it for his LTTE organisation.
"...There are several serious allegations and
significant recognitions of failures of the government of Sri Lanka and its
officials, officers, and agents to provide adequate and available food to
populations in northern regions, including allegations that crops have been
There are also allegations that these failures are often
deliberate: that the failure to provide adequate food is used as political
tactic or weapon of war against non-combatants in the northern regions for
various purposes. Such purposes allegedly include the intent to break down
civilian support processes so that the civilians are forced to move to
detention centres or government controlled areas; .. and the intent to keep
food out of the hands of insurgent forces.
Under human rights law, there is a
recognised right to adequate and available food... it would be
especially unlawful and egregious to deny the right to adequate food as
government tactic to control certain persons or as a weapon of war...If
food is likely to be used by both the general population and enemy
combatants, the destruction or denial of food, in circumstances where
one can reasonably foresee that the general population will suffer, will
necessarily involve the indiscriminate use of food as a weapon...
"[these] denials also violate related prohibitions under the laws of
war, and constitute serious war crimes... Fear of food falling into the
hands of enemy combatants is not an excuse for denying food to the
civilians..." Professor. Jordan J. Paust in the Vanderbilt Journal of
Transnational Law, May 1998.
still continue to give the food only because we want to help the civilian people
of Jaffna and the North.
"The Sri Lankan government has imposed restrictions on food, medicines,
fuel and other essential needs into the Vanni. The economic embargo
under Emergency regulations is in force since August 1991.
International agencies continue to protest, as the restrictions have
little effect on the Tigers but adversely affect the health sector and
undermine the local economy..."
British Refugee Council, Sri Lanka Monitor, September 2000
Up to now, even at this moment we are giving food and other rations to 315,000
people in the Jaffna district alone.
Even now in this new year we have sent 7500 mt. food rice, sugar, dhal and milk
And I must specially mention here that in order to ensure the proper
implementation of our programmes for the North, I have for the first time
appointed a minister elected by the people of Jaffna to look after the
development of the North -
Devananda of the EPDP.
"...During Hitler's occupation of
Norway (in World War II) a Norwegian called Quisling collaborated with
the Nazis - his name has now become a part of the English vocabulary to
describe a traitor. In the case of France, we had the Vichy
'government'. These agents of the alien ruler, on the one hand,
dispensed favours to sections of the populace and on the other hand,
helped to identify and eliminate those who resisted alien rule.
In Sri Lanka, the Sinhala authorities have recruited, from time to time,
Tamils to achieve similar objectives. Some Tamils become willing
channels, through whom the Sinhala ruler dispenses favours to sections
of the Tamil populace, as the price for their support for alien Sinhala
rule - and 'peace'..."
Nadesan Satyendra in Tamil Informers, June 1998
The new minister has been able to discuss with government authorities, and
private transporters and has been able to bring down the transport costs of food
items, fuel etc that is being transported to Jaffna from approximately 50-60 US$
they were charging for 1mt considerably. We have reduced it to 30 US $ which is
half the price. This should definitely reduce the price of food items and fuel
etc. for all the people in Jaffna and the North.
We have also made arrangements in a regular manner to transport all produce of
the farmers of Jaffna to Colombo so that you can get better prices.
I know also that another very big problem that people of the North have is
travelling from the north to the south and back again.
The only reason for this problem is that the LTTE will not allow the government
to transport people or even the private people to take lorries from the road. We
requested the LTTE constantly to open up the road but they refused. When we take
people by ship, they bombed the ships but we will continue with the services.
They bombed the ships and the planes. They have bombed, as you know, one private
plane owned by a private company which was transporting dozens of people of
Jaffna to Colombo and they killed all those people — people who were transported
Recently, my government bought two ships at a very high cost which are luxury
ships in order to transport passengers from the North to the South and back
again. They began to operate transporting the people
as well as the soldiers.
The LTTE attempted to destroy the both ships about two months ago when they
were anchored in the Trincomalee harbour. They destroyed one quite badly and
it is under repairs and caused damaged to the other one which is also under
repairs. Now we have engaged a private company.
We have given them many facilities in order to transport passengers from Jaffna
and back and that company is transporting at a very cheap rate and the
government is paying them some money in order to do this at a cheap rate and
we will continue to transport the passengers as much as possible. Even that
is being obstructed by the LTTE.
There is also a problem for the Tamil people of Jaffna and the north to obtain
permits to travel back and forth. I know there is a lot of problems in obtaining
this. The main reason is once again that the LTTE misuses this permission that
the government gives and sense suicide bombers, to kill people in Colombo not
only us, of the government. They kill not only Sinhalese people and Muslim
people, but they also kill Tamil leaders in Colombo.
Very respected Tamil leaders such as
and so many others.
"...Compromise is attractive to the nationalist
bourgeoisie, who since they are not clearly aware of the possible
consequences of the rising storm, are genuinely afraid of being swept
away by this huge hurricane and never stop saying to the settlers: ' we
are still capable of stopping the slaughter; the masses still have
confidence in us; act quickly if you do not want to put everything in
jeopardy.' One step more, and the leader of the nationalist party keeps
his distance with regard to that violence. He loudly
proclaims that he has nothing to do with these Mau-Mau, these
terrorists, these throatslitters. At best, he shuts himself off in a
no-man's-land between the terrorists and the settlers and willingly
offers his services as go-between; that is to say, that as the settlers
cannot discuss terms with these Mau-Mau, he himself will be quite
willing to begin negotiations... Thus it is that the rear-guard of
the national struggle, that very party of people who have never ceased
to be on the other side in the fight, find themselves somersaulted into
the vanguard of negotiations and compromise - precisely because that
party has taken very good care never to break contact with
colonialism... " "...Compromise is
attractive to the nationalist bourgeoisie, who since they are not
clearly aware of the possible consequences of the rising storm, are
genuinely afraid of being swept away by this huge hurricane and never
stop saying to the settlers: ' we are still capable of stopping the
slaughter; the masses still have confidence in us; act quickly if you do
not want to put everything in jeopardy.' One step more, and the leader
of the nationalist party keeps his distance with regard to
that violence. He loudly proclaims that he has nothing to do with
these Mau-Mau, these terrorists, these throatslitters. At best, he
shuts himself off in a no-man's-land between the terrorists and the
settlers and willingly offers his services as go-between; that is to
say, that as the settlers cannot discuss terms with these Mau-Mau, he
himself will be quite willing to begin negotiations... Thus it is
that the rear-guard of the national struggle, that very party of people
who have never ceased to be on the other side in the fight, find
themselves somersaulted into the vanguard of negotiations and compromise
- precisely because that party has taken very good care never to break
contact with colonialism... "
in Concerning Violence - The Wretched of the Earth:
They have killed by sending people to Colombo making use of these permits.
Therefore, I am sorry to say that the government is obliged to go in to the
details of the people who are ask for permits. And this is a problem to the
normal honest people. We do our best to simplify the procedures even
further. But the only problem is that the LTTE also uses this, gives false
information and send their suicide killers through process.
I also like to inform that the government officers military officers, and
defence personnel authorities and even the civilian officers also ask for
bribes in order to give permission and in order to give the permits for your
people to travel. Please inform if anybody has done this, I will give you a
fax no. at the end of this. I would like you to note that and inform me to
this fax number the names people who ask for bribes for anything at all. If
they happen to be the government servants I shall take immediate action
I am also aware that you who are living in the north and specially in Jaffna
peninsula, have various problems which are due to the military operations
going on. For example fishermen are not allowed to fish in certain areas.
Then there is another problem in certain areas of Jaffna district and other
places. Specially, in Jaffna which were inhabited by people earlier are now
not given permission to live in this areas.
All these difficulties arise only because
certain precautions have to be taken to protect all of you, the innocent
people of Jaffna to protect your elected representatives, your ministers,
your members of Parliament, members of the MC and PS from getting killed by
the LTTE. We have also to protect the military persons
who are there to ensure your safety and who are compelled to be there
because the LTTE will not stop to the war.
"...Sri Lankan security forces shot dead nine children and wounded 20
others, in Batticaloa town on 17 May. .. The children, from an orphanage
in Ayithiyamalai, were accompanied by Parish Priest Jeyachandra on a
visit to view decorations in the town to celebrate Buddhist Vesak Day...
the security forces fired at the van carrying the children, despite the
plea of Rev Jeyachandra, “Please don’t shoot the children; shoot me
British Refugee Council, Sri Lanka Monitor, May 2000
I hope and I am sure we can change this whole situation. Once the LTTE agrees
our proposals to come to discuss with us and we find the solutions to end
the war very soon.
One of the problem I would like to mention is the problem of disappearances that
existed in Jaffna before my government came into power. We have changed the
situation very seriously for the better.
"Working Group wishes to stress that Sri Lanka remains the country with
the second largest number of non-clarified cases of disappearances on
its list.... many of the earlier recommendations of the Working
Group have not been implemented... the Prevention of Terrorism Act
and the Emergency Regulations...have not been abolished or brought into
line with internationally accepted standards of human rights..Report
of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary
Disappearances, March 2000
When two sides are fighting against each other, specially at time of war it is
known even in the west during times of war there have been violations of human
My government has done our maximum in order to stop this and I believe that
it has been reduced to the minimum. Whenever some violation of human rights have
happened I have ordered that the strictest action be taken against the culprits.
personnel under my government are not permitted to harass or harm civilian
The UNP govt. instructed and ordered their thugs, there political thugs as well
as the police and the military
and burn the Tamil people and their properties. We stopped all
this.Thousands and thousands of people suffered like this under the last
Under my government a few hundred people may have been harmed, may be hundred or
two hundred, instead of 20-30 thousands and these are the exceptions, and at
time we have held serious inquiries, proper inquiries, and we have taken
action against the guilty.
For example there was the recent incident in Chavakachcheri, where some people I
understand about 8 of them had been found killed. We have started inquiries
immediately, we have already arrested several army personnel. And we will take
strictest action against them.
Until we are able to terminate the war, some of these problems may arise from
time to time but I can assure you that my government, and armed forces will do
our maximum to
minimize the harassment and the problems caused to the civilian people.
Finally, I would like to request all of you to give us your full support in
order that we can complete the development work we have begun for Jaffna and the
North and the East. To give your full support to Minister Devananda and all his
officials and all other Tamil leaders who are trying to help to develop your
areas so that you may live better.
I would also like to request your full support to my government and personally
to me to finally implement the
constitutional process that we have
begun in order to bring in the new constitution so that we can guarantee the
rights of the Tamil people and minority people and so that we can end the war in
order that all the people in this country can live with equal opportunity in
unity with each other.
For this I believe that the people of the north specially must actively engage
in persuading all those who are against the development work we have begun for,
all those who are against democracy, all those who are continuing to carry on
the war which creates so many problems to you in other words the people of
Jaffna and the North to compel the LTTE to give up their
politics of violence and
to come in to the democratic process so that the Tamil people can have the
rights that my government has been trying to give them for the last 7 years.
Politics of Violence...
riots in which Tamils are killed, maimed, robbed and rendered
homeless are no longer isolated episodes; they are beginning to become a
pernicious habit." - Paul Sieghart:Report of a Mission to Sri Lanka
on behalf of the InternationalCommission of Jurists and its British
Section, Justice, March1984
never been a government like this which has committed itself even while the
LTTE’s violence has tried to kill me as head of state, has killed several of my
ministers, killed Tamil leaders, killed representatives elected by you, who were
trying to solve your problems in the name of liberating of the Tamil people. The
LTTE will have to be persuaded to agree to give up
violence and honestly join us in the process of helping the Tamil people to
bring development to their areas to live in peace and dignity.
"....An armed resistance movement takes shape in the
womb of oppression.
Its seeds are to be found in the eternal quest for
freedom. But, though born of natural parents it is at birth
illegitimate - because it breaches the existing legal frame, and seeks
to supplant it. And that simple fact has much to do with its subsequent
development and growth. An armed resistance movement acquires legitimacy
and becomes 'lawful' through its growth and success - not simply because
the ends it seeks to achieve are just... The metamorphosis from
'unlawful' to 'lawful' is gradual (and many layered) and is related not
the justice of the ends it seeks to achieve and the legality of
the means it employs but also to the extent to which a guerrilla
able to secure and maintain permanent control of territory. It is
not a case of one or the other, but a case of all three..."
(Nadesan Satyendra in
When Pirabaharan Triumphs, 22 October 1998)
I would now like to say good bye to all of you and in the meantime until I can
come safely to Jaffna to see you, which I would like to do very much. But once
again the LTTE prevents us from doing so.
"...Martin Woollacott's comments in the Guardian in 1993, on the Bosnian
conflict serve to highlight the issues that face an armed struggle for freedom
in the world
of real politick:
''Nobody involved in this war, in fighting it or in trying
to stop it, was born yesterday. What matters most in any agreement, is
territory, what matters secondly is international legitimacy, what matters
thirdly are constitutional arrangements and what matters least are human
The Tamils, too, were not born yesterday. They know
that it is because the armed resistance of the Tamil people led by the
Liberation Tigers has succeeded to the extent that they hold territory in the
North-East, that Tamil rights is on the international agenda. They know that if
that resistance fails, Sri Lanka will have no further use for 'mediators' -
Tamil or otherwise. They know that if that resistance fails, the Tamil people
will be left with the pleaders and petitioners ..., whose efforts during the
past forty years and more, did little to stop the
onslaught on Tamil rights and Tamil lives.
Territory, international legitimacy, constitutional provisions
and human rights are, ofcourse, inter connected. Without human rights,
legitimacy may be more difficult to achieve. Without legitimacy, it may be more
difficult to hold territory over a period of time. But without territory, a
people will cease to exist - and in the end it is this which is fundamental..."
Nadesan Satyendra - Neelan Thiruchelvam & Tamil Eelam, August 1999
I would like to talk to you by means of the satellite where you can tell us
your problems, and I could discuss with you the problems like I once did I
think some time last year on a regular basis once in two or three months in
different parts of the peninsula. I would like you to have all your problems
written down so that we can discuss them when I address you through the
satellite next time.
Until then I would like to request you to inform me whatever serious
problems you have, not all small problems that can be solved there by the
ministers and the members of parliament, but what you would like me to
solve. I would like you to inform me to the following fax number with your
address or even without the address if you would not like to give and we
will attend to the problems.
Fax number is 437065.