Public Statement on the Political Crisis in Colombo.!

The turn of events on 26.09.2018 wherein President Sirisena usurped the Constitution to appoint Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister is a clear indication of the lack of respect for constitutionalism in Sri Lanka.
Tamils have desired a constitutional settlement to the ethnic conflict and that desire has been punctured yet again. Sinhala Buddhist majoritarian parties continue to demonstrate a lack of respect to constitutionalism. Time and again the Sinhala polity reminds us of the limits of liberal constitutional democratic solutions to our political aspirations.

The appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister also most fundamentally overturns the ‘transition’ that was claimed to have occurred in January 2015. As we noted then, January 2015 was hardly a moment of transition. The lack of any structural reforms since the election of the ‘National Unity’ Government means that the security of the Tamils and other numerically smaller communities at this country is potentially at further enhanced risk. The international community at least now must take our concerns seriously and readjust their policies towards Sri Lanka.

We are clear that barring some cosmetic make overs that the two major parties in Colombo share the hegemonic ideology of Sinhala Buddhist exceptionalist nationalism. When the Parliament convenes to decide which party has confidence of the majority of parliament, Tamil Members of Parliament must take a decision on which party to support on the basis of undertakings that are made in the public domain on a range of issues from release of land (both private and state), release of political prisoners, release of detainee lists demanded by the families of the disappeared, unconditional repeal of the PTA, withdrawal of the Counter Terrorism Bill and a willingness to enact a federal constitution that respects the Tamils’ right to self-determination. As history repeatedly confirms, the party providing such promises have invariably renegaded. However, it is still valuable for the party to whom the Tamil Members of Parliament extend their support to publicly acknowledge the promises they make in exchange for their support. There can be no secret deal.

Fr. V. Yogeswaran and K. Guruparan

Co-Spokespersons, Tamil Civil Society Forum   

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