Minister National Languages and Social Integration, Vasudewa Nanayakkara, today assured United Nations Human Rights Commissioner, Navi Pillay, that the Select Committee appointed by the government to look into the revision of the 13th Amendment, will not water down the steps taken by his Ministry to uphold the trilingual policy.
The minister said that he had told the HR Commissioner that after the Northern Provincial Council elections in September, new insights can be gained into the Northern community and that the intended revisions on the 13th Amendment will have no effect on the language policy.
He also said the problem of name boards and announcements appearing only in Sinhala is being addressed, and that instructions have been given to have all name boards and make announcements in all three languages. “You would have seen in recent times, name boards in buses appearing in all three languages,” he said, adding, “It is unlawful to have name boards only in one language.”
However, he said that with regard to Court proceedings and legal documents, he could not apply the trilingual policy as some areas are predominantly Sinhalese while in other areas, the people were predominantly Tamils.
The Minister was briefing the media immediately after meeting Pillay. He said the report on the trilingual policy and the work being done by his Ministry was handed over to Pillay last evening (26) but since she had no time to peruse the report, he had briefed her on the contents. “She seems to be pleased with the progress made,” he said.
He added that Pillay had seemed satisfied with the implementation of the language policy where all the people are encouraged to learn both Sinhala and Tamil. “There is considerable interest shown by people to learn Tamil and we are unable to meet the demand,” he further said. (Ceylon Today Online)
By Chrishanthi Christopher