The Leader of the Opposition and TNA Leader R. Sampanthan reiterating his commitment towards strengthening the reconciliation process has said that Sri Lanka should be given time with conditions to fulfil its commitments vis a vis the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution of 2015 which was cosponsored by the island nation.
The TNA Leader had not only shown his political maturity, he has also highlighted his commitment towards not toppling the ‘apple cart’ in an arduous effort of reaching a durable solution to the ethnic question by addressing the humanitarian issues in a sensible manner.
The TNA, led by Sampanthan, played a significant role in ousting the Rajapaksa regime in the best interests of establishing peace and reconciliation in the country.
It is important to remember that the entire North and East stood by the TNA towards bringing the National Unity Government led by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to power in 2015.
With the victories at the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, the National Unity Government cosponsoring the UNHRC Resolution in 2015 was also viewed with much expectation from the North and the East towards gaining justice for their grievances.
The entire world is aware about how the war came to an end in a brutal manner.
The US backed UNHRC Resolutions which were brought against the Rajapaksa regime from 2012 to 2014 had clearly emphasized the need of granting justice to those who were devastated by the war with involuntary disappearances, abductions, ruthless killings and the excessive military presence in the North and the East.
The TNA had even played its role in exposing the previous regime internationally being in favour of US backed resolutions which were brought from 2012 consecutively.
So, the TNA is now in a position of between the ‘devil and deep blue sea’ with regard to the UNHRC Resolution of 2015.
Already voices have come up in the North and the East as well as amidst the Tamil Diaspora against the TNA Leader’s stance on agreeing for granting time with conditions to the Sri Lanka Government to fulfil its commitments to the 2015 UNHRC Resolution.
Suresh Premachandran who leads his party EPRLF in the Tamil National Alliance has directly accused Sampanthan saying that when the majority of TNA members are of the view that Sri Lanka Government should not be given more time by the UNHRC to fulfil its commitments to the UNHRC Resolution of 2015, Sampanthan’s stance that the government should be given more time with conditions to fully respond to the UNHRC Resolution shows the stupidity of the TNA leader.
Civil society groups
Premachandran has also pointed out that nearly half of the Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarians, most Provincial Councillors and several civil society groups have sent letters to Sampanthan stating that more time should not be given to the Sri Lanka Government to fulfil the commitments to the UNHRC Resolution of 2015.
So, it is considering his role as a responsible Leader of the Opposition, Sampanthan would have taken a stance of agreeing for more time to be given to the Sri Lanka Government.
On the other hand, as Leader of the Tamil National Alliance, which possess the popular support of the people in the North and the East, Sampanthan faces an uphill task in convincing the people in the North and the East with regard to his ‘generous’ outlook towards the Sri Lanka Government.
It is clear that the previous Rajapaksa regime was largely responsible for the alleged war crimes and humanitarian violations along with the atrocities committed against the minorities in the island.
In the past two-year period the National Unity Government has initiated several tasks to heal the scars created due to the long drawn war. The present government is now in a state of being compelled to answer for the alleged war crimes and human rights violations committed by the previous regime.
Therefore, the Sirisena- Wickremesinghe Government is also facing an uphill task of braving the chauvinist elements in the South and finding justice for the people in the North and the East.
Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera addressing at the 35th UNHRC Session in Geneva a few days ago, pointed out that the Opposition’s populism remains a stumbling block in resolving the problems.
Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said: “As we move forward, the forces of extremism and regression on both sides of the (Tamil-Sinhala) divide are creating obstacles for narrow, short-term political gains while stubbornly they argue that we have either done too much or too little” Samaraweera said.
Minister Samaraweera is very correct that populism remains a stumbling block in resolving problems not only in recent years but from the time Sri Lanka gained independence.
However, it is important to recollect the period when ample opportunities prevailed to resolve the ethnic strife through a healthy bipartisan approach when Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga was the President and Ranil Wickremesinghe was the Prime Minister and when there was the peace process facilitated by the Norwegian Government in 2002.
The significance of a bipartisan approach between President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in dealing with the ethnic problem was emphasized by several right thinking political circles in 2002.
If the bipartisan approach had succeeded in 2002, the peace efforts initiated by the Norway even succeeded long ago averting a ruthless war a couple of years later which had led the people in the North and the East to call for an international judicial mechanism on the alleged war crimes.
Minister Mangala Samaraweera was in the forefront in criticizing the Ranil Wickremesinghe approach to the Norwegian facilitation process.
However, it is interesting to note that Minister Samaraweera now being the Foreign Minister under Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, is talking of populism.
So, on populism the speech made by Minister Mangala Samaraweera, in Geneva a few days ago reminds of the English proverb ‘People who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others’.
Since the Sri Lanka Government, in Geneva, focused on urging for more time to fulfil its commitments to the UNHRC Resolution of 2015, Leader of the Opposition and TNA Leader R. Sampanthan’s generosity towards the view of granting time for Sri Lanka with conditions to fulfil its commitments to the UNHRC Resolution shouldn’t be taken for granted