TNA advocates combined role for US and India, resolving political crisis in Sri Lanka
The biggest parliamentary group representing Tamils in Sri Lanka’s war-torn north and east, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), has asked the US to work with India to press for a political solution in the island nation. At a recent meeting with State Department officials in Washington, DC, a delegation led by TNA Jaffna legislator M.A. Sumanthiran, along with senior legal specialists K. Kanag-Isvaran and Nirmala Chandrahaasan, expressed this.
Mr. Sumanthiran told The Hindu from London, where he is briefing British officials, that “with the United States’ return to the Human Rights Council, we believe it is critical that Washington advocates for a political solution to the Tamil national question, as well as pending issues of accountability and justice.” At the Council, the United Kingdom heads a “core group” on Sri Lanka. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights will submit a written report on Sri Lanka to the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva in March 2022.
Until now, India has served as the primary international mediator for a political settlement in the island nation, which is still recuperating from a protracted civil conflict, while Western powers have emphasized responsibility and justice. The TNA’s latest endeavour to invite the US to join the push for an immediate political settlement coincides with the Rajapaksa administration’s efforts to design a new Constitution. According to the TNA MP, who is also a lawyer, the delegation includes renowned legal scholars and practitioners with competence in the field.
The TNA’s main goal, particularly that of its leader, veteran Tamil politician R. Sampanthan, since the end of the civil war in 2009, has been a long-term political solution through a just constitutional settlement. The TNA believes that the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution, which was enacted in response to the 1987 Indo-Lanka Accord and guarantees some power devolution to the provinces, was a necessary step, but that it is insufficient, especially given successive governments’ failure to fully implement its provisions.
“Without powers adequately devolved to the provinces, we cannot take on the [State’s] massive plan to change the demography of the Tamil-majority north and east through efforts to settle Sinhalese people and multiple threats to land belonging to Tamils, in the form of archeological or conservation projects,” Mr. Sumanthiran made a comment.
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