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"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 > Foreign Aid & Tamil Eelam - Sri Lanka Conflict > Sri Lanka Aid Group Meeting, 1992


Sri Lanka Aid Group Meeting

Paris, February 7, 1992

Statement by EU Presidency on the Political and Human Rights situation in Sri Lanka, for inclusion in the Community's intervention in the Sri Lanka Aid Consortium Meeting

On behalf of the representative of the country currently holding the office of EC Council Presidency I have been asked to make a statement on behalf of the Community and its member States regarding the human rights situation in Sri Lanka.

Members of the aid consortium will recall that at their last meeting, the then EC Presidency representative made a statement drawing attention to the EC demarche of 19 October 1990 on this subject. That statement firmly backed the Sri Lankan Government's attempts to cope with terrorist challenges, but urged the Government of Sri Lankan, inter alia, to observe the international obligations it has entered into in the field of human rights. I would further like to recall that the Council and its members states adopted a resolution dated 28 November 1991 on human rights, democracy and development which among other things, states that "human rights and democracy form part of a larger set of requirements in order to achieve balanced and sustainable development."

Since then the European Community and its member States have continued to follow events in Sri Lanka closely. We have welcomed the Sri Lankan Government's commitments to promote a peaceful, negotiated solution to the North-East conflict and are dismayed that those opposed to genuine compromise and consensus, not least the LTTE, have obstructed the path of dialogue.

We continue to urge the Government of Sri Lanka to provide the necessary leadership, inter alia, through the Select Committee, to arrive as soon as possible at a peaceful, political resolution to the conflict which would allow Sri Lanka to achieve its potential of rapid economic and social development. An escalation of the armed struggle will not be conducive to a lasting solution of the conflict in the North and East.

The European Community and its member States share the opinion of the Government of Sri Lanka that a lasting solution to the conflict in the North and the East can only be found through negotiations, and call upon the Government of Sri Lanka, all political parties and the LTTE to make every effort to initiate new negotiations. Any joint request for good offices in support of this endeavour would also merit positive consideration.

May I also underline the importance we attach to the role of NGO's in the development, democratic and ethnic reconciliation process. The European Community and its member States hope that the activities of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry in respect of Non-Governmental Organisations will not jeopardise the right to freedom of association as provided in Article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil Rights and Political Rights of 1966, to which Sri Lanka has been a party since 1980, and shall in particular not impair the functioning of NGO's active in the field of human rights.

Mr Chairman, situations of civil conflict inevitably make the observation of human rights more difficult. But stability and the rule of law are essential to economic development. While the Community and its member States have condemned the continued atrocities and abuses committed by the LTTE and other terrorist groups, they have also expressed gravest concern about human rights violations committed by the Sri Lankan security forces, and in particular, evidence of extra judicial killings and disappearances perpetrated by so-called death squads. At the last meeting, we urged the Sri Lankan Government to prevent such violations.

The Community and its member States remain concerned about continuing reports of human rights abuses in Sri Lanka and once again urge the Sri Lankan Government to ensure that such violations are halted. We note, however, that instances of such abuses have substantially diminished and that the Government is actively promoting a political dialogue with the donor community in Sri Lanka. We greatly welcome this development.

We also welcome the various measures adopted by the Government of Sri Lanka to curb human rights abuses and to invite international organisations to visit. We welcome the establishment of the various commissions of inquiry, the human rights task force, the acceptance of recommendations by Amnesty International and the visit by the UN Working Group on Disappearances. We urge the speedy achievement of credible and tangible results and the continuation of these efforts, in particular, the resolution of a number of well-known outstanding cases.

We wish to reiterate that the magnitude and thrust of future assistance will depend, among other factors, on the Government's performance in this regard, and on the importance given to the role of NGO's. In conclusion the Community and its member States, supporting Sri Lanka's economic development, recognise the steps taken by the Government of Sri Lanka in the field of human rights, and look forward to a continuation of the process.


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