Norwegian Peace Initiative
Recognising the Lankan Peace Process?
Role of the International Community - [also
LTTE Peace Secretariat
16 September 2005
Recognising the concern and overwhelming support rendered by the
European Union and the international community at large in resolving the long
standing racial conflict with a history of oppression in the island of Sri
Lanka, we wish to bring to your attention the realities pertaining to the
changing political landscape in Colombo.
We place these facts before you by virtue of our position, both
as equal partners in the Cease
Fire Agreement of 2002 and as the Tamil peoples’ declared representatives
through the popular mandate in the General Elections of 2004.
The bedrock of the CFA being confidence building, normalcy in
the life of a people affected by two decades of war and progressively moving
towards negotiations that would provide a political resolution and, it is
shocking to find that Colombo is moving in the opposite direction.
The incumbent Prime Minister, you would have observed, is
engaged in entering into
hard line pacts with extremist political entities to do away with the
post-tsunami joint structure,
advocating the continuance of a Unitary form of government that is totally
inappropriate for the resolution of the racial conflict, to name a few.
You are also aware of the fact that the Sri Lankan Foreign
Minister and many other Sinhala formations engaged in electoral pacts are
shaping up adversary positions against Norway that is working with commitment
and unique patience in resolving the racial conflict. It is our intention to
highlight the fact that these positions tend to nullify all sincere efforts
undertaken to resolve the conflict.
Proper implementation of the CFA became an absolute necessity in
the wake of ‘orchestrated violence and killings’. LTTE insisted on proper
implementation of the CFA through the facilitators in view of the growing
discontent and frustration of the Tamil people in the context of
non-implementation of the government’s obligations as the responsible party in
the CFA and to clear its name in the wake of unfounded allegations relating to
killings. Venue for the discussion was to be Oslo. Colombo rejected it and LTTE
opted Kilinochchi as the alternative for reasons of security. In such a deadlock
situation, Colombo Airport has been suggested as a venue for the talks.
Conceptually, parties to a cease fire that have not had a
dialogue on a one-to-one basis for quite some time for reasons that stalled the
peace process, necessarily need a venue that would provide the congeniality and
conducivity to both, one that would be an ideal ice breaker. LTTE members
passing through Colombo Airport on transit and an LTTE delegation sitting in
session for serious political negotiations are altogether different.
Changing political situation in the south and the security
situation notwithstanding, Colombo Airport or for that matter any other place in
the south does not provide the feeling of ease that a venue common to both the
parties would provide. Armed groups with masters who have political agenda,
hired killers, underworld gangs and military deserters are aplenty in the south
and it is not feasible for LTTE to engage in discussions in such an environment.
It is also our studied opinion that talks in such venues would not bring out any
In fact, when the Sri Lankan government that was the party
per-se to the CFA was in power and there did not exist such serious security
threats and violations of the CFA in permitting proliferation of armed groups as
is being done now, political negotiations were always conducted outside Sri
Lanka. The mistrust that has reached its peak between the parties, further
dictates the necessity to select a venue common and comfortable for both the
parties to engage in serious political discussions.
Talks on improving the implementation aspect of the CFA, some
may opine, is not a serious political discussion, but the ground realities are
otherwise. LTTE being portrayed as the ‘violator’ engaging in serious crimes is
a creation of the government. The Sri Lankan military that keeps armed groups
for its clandestine sabotage activities against the LTTE and a government that
pays scant respect to the CFA clause 1.8 that prohibits armed groups are matters
that need a political decision making at the top level that would improve
conditions on the ground.
The Sri Lankan government’s relentless attempts in seeking
international sanction on the LTTE as a ‘terrorist’ organisation, makes us
strongly suspicious of the real intention. This, for all intent and purposes, is
a well -planned strategy to scuttle the peace process.
Successive governments in Sri Lanka, in order to justify their
discriminatory and oppressive governance mode vis-à-vis the Tamil people, are
making use of the internationally hated ‘terrorist’ stamp on them. Looking back
into the post colonial political history of this island, one finds that it is
the Sinhala ruling elite that started ‘state terrorism’ against innocent unarmed
Tamils in the mid fifties,
precisely, when they asked for their due share in power through devolution or
federalism. Tamils were killed and beaten up and driven away from the south. The
terrorist oppressive measures the Sri Lankan government let loose on the Tamil
people under the cover of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) have been all
registered with many
Human Rights organisations and the
United Nations Human Rights Commission.
State terrorism was nakedly seen in many pogroms against the
Tamil people after 1958, so much so that the Tamil people, out of frustration
and helplessness, made use of their franchise to
mandate for secession in 1977. The entrenched constitutions of
removed all what could be called
‘safety arrangement for minorities’ in the 1948 constitution and the state
forces ruthlessly dealt with Tamil democratic opposition, leading to
youths taking up arms against the oppressor, first to defend themselves and
then to drive away an army that is alien to the Tamil people and occupying their
homeland. It is this armed struggle that, over time, expanded itself as the
bulwark of Tamil National defence.
In this context, the Tamil people and the LTTE have a message to the
international community: Identifying a nation of people who had their own
identity and sovereignty in this island
when it came under colonial rule, is very essential to contextualise the
artificial amalgamation of the two nations, making the Tamils an artificial
‘minority’ in the new dispensation.
This has to be read with the
abrogation of the various peace agreements reached in the past and the
artificially minoritised and numerically dwarfed parliamentary representation
the Tamil people have in the parliament that is guided by an entrenched
constitution enacted without Tamil participation.
One can, without any hesitation, decide to call this a ‘rogue
state’ and the cacophony of Tamil bashing in the parliament and outside
substantiates it. Collective Tamil thinking voiced by the LTTE in the
international arena is not a pleasant matter for Colombo and hence the
intransigence in the venue for discussion.
Ground realities notwithstanding, Colombo expects that the
international community exert indiscriminate pressure on the LTTE. This
pressure, the Sinhala ruling elite believes, would weaken the Tamil cause and we
trust that the international community is aware of it.
If the international community complies with what Colombo
intends, then the Tamil people are made to feel being left alone in their
struggle for justice. A people who opted for secession through popular vote in
1977, respect the sincerity of the international community in its support to the
The unilateral cease fire and the commitment to the current CFA
- unproductivity vis-à-vis the peace dividend notwithstanding – and the
flexibility exercised during formulation of the
Joint Mechanism for post-tsunami humanitarian delivery are all positive
moves that the LTTE considered appropriate to express its respect for the
international community’s efforts.
The Tamil people expect therefore that the international
community recognise their struggle for the reasonableness it deserves and
exercise balance in pressurising parties to a conflict. No move of the
international community should push the Tamil people to the fringe of
frustration and it is all the more important to keep a people, the stakeholders,
intact with the peace process. In this context, we believe that it is inevitable
that the international community initiate meaningful steps to bring home to the
government of Sri Lanka the need to be just and fair.