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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: Introduction & Index > Indictment against Sri Lanka - the Record Speaks

The Charge is Ethnic Cleansing


"The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures." - Article 21.3, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

"The Civil Rights Movement of Sri Lanka has published a critique of the referendum (of the 22nd of December 1982) questioning whether it was in fact fair and free. This analysis, released in January 1983, in summary, alleges that there were serious defects both prior to the poll and on polling day. The Movement also draws attention to some statistical analyses in selected electoral districts that would appear, prima facie, to raise some grave questions as to the accuracy of the count returned from these districts...

The Civil Rights Movement reported events which concerned it relating to polling day, under the following heads: (1) illegal symbol display (2) intimidation of voters and prevention of access to polling stations (3) intimidation and harassment of polling elsewhere (4) intimidation of polling officers (5) impersonation... The matters detailed in these criticisms would be such to cause serious concern as to the fairness of the polling...

The author shares the concern expressed by the Secretary General of the International Commission of Jurists about the desirability of the use of a referendum to extend the term of parliament and also is deeply concerned as to whether the referendum, in fact, was conducted freely or fairly and could be taken as representing an expression of opinion of the people of Sri Lanka." - Ethnic and Communal Violence: The Independence of the Judiciary: Protection of Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law in Sri Lanka - Fragile Freedoms? - Report of an ICJ Mission to Sri Lanka in June 1983 - Timothy J.Moore

"..the reason given for the referendum was the 'discovery' by the President of a threat to his life and a plot to overthrow the government, by a group of 'naxalites' - a group within the main opposition party, the SLFP. These persons were taken into custody and a state of emergency was declared.

The referendum was then held, with a state of emergency prevailing; with the main organisers of the opposition party behind bars; and the Presidents main opponent, Mrs.Bandaranaike prevented from taking part (because she had been deprived of her civic rights).

Once the referendum was held, the threat to the government seems to have disappeared as mysteriously as it had emerged. A police inquiry into the alleged conspiracy could come up with no evidence against the accused...

The referendum was held in an atmosphere of violence, corrupt practices and intimidation of the opposition unprecedented in Sri Lanka's electoral history. The Civil Rights Movement of Sri Lanka has issued a statement documenting serious abuses of power by the ruling party during the referendum. The whole shameful charade calls into question the legitimacy of the UNP's present term of office...

It is worth recalling that Hitler too, used the stratagem of referenda, maintained a climate of anti semitism and anti communism reinforced by political thuggery to suspend 'guaranteed civil liberties', to create an awesome dictatorship.." - Memorandum on Human Rights Violations and Ethnic Violence in Sri Lanka: The Netherlands,Dutch Working Group, December 1983

"...The referendum to extend the life of the Parliament was held under strictures which severely hampered the opposition campaign. Some opposition politicians were detained under emergency regulations, some had been stripped of their civic rights, some opposition papers were banned and some opposition presses were sealed, while the polling itself was marred by the harassment of electoral officers, candidates and voters..." - Patricia Hyndman: Sri Lanka - Escalating Violence and Erosions of Democracy: Interim Report to Lawasia Human Rights Standing Committee March 1985

"...In view of the President being also the chief of the UNP, (United National Party), the ruling party MPs have had little leeway in effect for autonomy and independence within the legislature.

The very fact that soon after the preponed Presidential election in October 1982...the President had undated letters of resignation of all his party MPs, reflected the untrammelled powers at his disposal for a 'made to order' Parliament.

This was particularly so due to (the provisions) ...of the new constitution under which, in the event of resignation (or expulsion) of an MP, his party has the right to nominate his successor...(also) about half the government MPs are Ministers of one sort or another, i.e. cabinet ministers, deputy ministers, ministers without portfolio, project ministers and district ministers...

Under such a situation (with the over arching powers of the President to hire and fire any MP), Parliament despite its so called sovereign powers, has become an appendage of the executive..." - Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka: Urmilla Phadinis, Gandhi Peace Foundation, July 1984

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