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 >  Tamils - a Trans State Nation  > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Indictment against Sri Lanka > Black July 1983: the Charge is Genocide - Preface, Prologue & Index > Black July 1983 - The Record Speaks


Black July 1983: the Charge is Genocide

President Jayawardene  accedes to the the 'clamour' and the 'natural request' of the Sinhala people and enacts Sixth Amendment to Sri Lanka Constitution which violates freedom of expression and unseats Tamil MPs...

In early August, the Sri Lanka government acceded to that which its President had earlier described as the 'clamour' and the 'natural request' of the Sinhala people, and announced that it would take steps to amend the Constitution so that "those seeking partition will lose their civic rights, and cannot hold office, cannot practise professions, join movements or organisations". The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution was rushed through Parliament and gave effect to the 'response' of the government of Sri Lanka to the July attack on the Tamils.

Then Sri Lanka Prime Minister, R.Premadasa speaking on the debate on the 6th Amendment in the Sri Lanka Parliament on 4 August 1983 said:

''The purpose (of the Amendment) is to provide the severest punishment to those who advocate or attempt to establish a separate State... Accordingly we have formulated the offence in the widest possible terms.''

It was, however, an Amendment which violated Article 25 of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights - a Convention which Sri Lanka had ratified.

"...The key to its (the 6th Amendment's) effect is paragraph (1) which runs as follows:- 'No person shall directly or indirectly, in or outside Sri Lanka, support, espouse, promote, finance, encourage or advocate the establishment of a separate State within the territory of Sri Lanka'. Anyone who contravenes that provision becomes liable to the imposition of civic disability for upto 7 years, the forfeiture of his movable and immovable property... the loss of his passport... the right to engage in any trade or profession. In addition if he is a Member of Parliament, he loses his seat.

The freedom to express political opinions, to seek to persuade others of their merits, to seek to have them represented in Parliament, and thereafter seek Parliament to give effect to them, are all fundamental to democracy itself. These are precisely the freedoms which Article 25 (of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights) recognises and guarantees - and in respect of advocacy for the establishment of an independent Tamil State in Sri Lanka, those which the 6th Amendment is designed to outlaw.

It therefore appears to me plain that this enactment constitutes a clear violation by Sri Lanka of its obligations in international law under the Covenant ...before the 6th Amendment was passed, the Tamil United Liberation Front was the largest opposition party in Parliament, and its effect has therefore been to increase the (ruling) United National Party's majority from the previous 83% to 93%.. Accordingly, the President can now hardly be surprised if his opponents, both within the country and outside, regard the 6th Amendment as nothing more than a piece of political chicanery, designed to move Sri Lanka even further towards a one party State..." (Paul Sieghart: Sri Lanka-A Mounting Tragedy of Errors - Report of a Mission to Sri Lanka in January 1984 on behalf of the International Commission of Jurists and its British Section, Justice, March 1984)



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