Sunday Times (Sri Lanka)

TNA seeks NE merger, self-determinat­ion

General election manifesto calls for justice and accountabi­lity mechanism

- By N. Parameswar­an

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.

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