Sunday Times (Sri Lanka)
TNA seeks NE merger, self-determination
General election manifesto calls for justice and accountability mechanism
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is, once again, calling for a fresh mandate from Tamil people to work for a NorthEast merged federal solution in an undivided country for the decades-long-ethnic question.
This was highlighted in its manifesto for the August 5 parliamentary elections.
Releasing the manifesto at the Jaffna office of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchchi ( ITAK), the main constituent party of the TNA, yesterday, the party vowed that it would continue to press for the demilitarisation in the Northern and Eastern Provinces which it considered as ‘Tamil Homeland’ and an accountability mechanism to investigate wartime human rights violations.
Presided by ITAK leader Mavai Senathirajah, the manifesto launch saw candidates contesting in the two provinces and party activists taking part in the low key event.
Stressing that Tamil-speaking people are entitled for self determination as the country’s sovereignty lies with the people, not with the State, the TNA said only a federal-based solution in the form of a merged Northern and Eastern province where Tamil speaking people live in majority numbers could ensure a lasting peace in an undivided country in the future.
In dealing with the past, the TNA called for justice and truth over the thousands of missing persons including persons who surrendered to the military during the final phases of the war, the need to revive the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) and the Office of Reparations to provide answers and justice for the war -affected people.
"The TNA tried its best to ensure rule of law in the country before committing to an accountability mechanism for wartime issues but its efforts were not successful. The TNA will continue to call for an international mechanism to investigate past crimes and human rights violations since it is essential to ensure lasting reconciliation and peace in the island," the manifesto said while pointing out that recently it appealed against Presidential pardon of an Army Sergeant who was found guilty and sentenced to life in the Mirusuvil massacre case.
The TNA also said it was planning to formulate a regional economic policy to revive the local industries in the war-affected region through cooperative societies and seek investment opportunities in the two provinces to address unemployment, poverty and livelihood issues.
The TNA manifesto also stressed that UNHRC Resolution 34/ 1, 30/ 1 and 40/ 1 which were co-sponsored by the government with the international community should be implemented fully.