Member of Parliament,
Parliamentary Group Leader,
Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi.
I hereby give notice that I shall on Wednesday 22nd August 2012 at adjournment after question time, as a matter of urgent public importance as per the agreement reached at the Leaders’ Meeting move the following motion pertaining to the North East:
Whereas more than three years have lapsed since the conclusion of the war on 19th May 2009 during the course of which grave violations of international human rights laws and international humanitarian laws occurred. And whereas since the conclusion of the war the following significant events have occurred:-
(I) The joint statement issued by his Excellency the President on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka and the Secretary General on behalf of the United Nations, on the conclusion of the Secretary General’s visit to Sri Lanka on 23rd May 2009 which inter-alia stated as follows:
(i) “Sri Lanka reiterated its strongest commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, in keeping with international human rights standards and Sri Lanka’s international obligations. The Secretary General underlined the importance of an accountability process for addressing violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. The Government will take measures to address those grievances”
(ii) President Rajapakse and the Secretary General agreed that addressing the aspirations and grievances of all communities and working towards a lasting political solution was fundamental to ensuring long term socio-economic development. President Rajapakse expressed his firm resolve to proceed with the implementation of the 13th Amendment as well as to begin a broader dialogue with all parties, including the Tamil parties, in the new circumstances, to further enhance this process to bring about lasting peace and development in Sri Lanka.
(iii) The appointment by the Secretary General of a Panel of Experts on 22 June 2010 to advise him on the implementation of the joint commitment included in the statement issued by the President of Sri Lanka and the Secretary General at the conclusion of the Secretary General’s visit to Sri Lanka on 23rd March 2009. In the joint statement the Secretary General “underlined the importance of an accountability process” and the Government of Sri Lanka agreed that it “will take measures to address those grievances”. The Panel of Experts in their Report released on 31st March 2011, stated inter-alia in their conclusions “The final stages and aftermath of the war in Sri Lanka were characterized by a wide range of violations by both the Government of Sri Lanka and the L.T.T.E. of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, some even amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity. More than 300,000 people became the victims of the reckless disregard for international norms by the warring parties. Indeed, the conduct of the war by them represented a grave assault on the entire regime of international law designed to protect individual dignity during both war and peace. The victory of one side has emboldened some to believe that these rules may now be disregarded in the cause of fighting terrorism” (para 258)-.
(iv) The appointment by the President of Sri Lanka of the Commission of Inquiry on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation (L.L.R.C.) on 15th May 2010 which submitted its report on 15th November 2011. The recommendations contained in the said report inter-alia included the need to credibly investigate wide-spread allegations of extra judicial killings and enforced disappearances, demilitarize the north of Sri Lanka, implement impartial land dispute resolution mechanisms, reevaluate detention policies, strengthen formerly independent civil institutions, reach a political settlement involving devolution of power to the provinces promote and protect the right of freedom of expression for all, and enact rule of law reforms.
(v) The adoption of a resolution by the United Nations Human Rights Council at its 19th session on 22nd March 2012, which inter-alia noted (i) that the L.L.R.C. report does not adequately address serious allegations of violations of international law (ii) called on the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the constructive recommendations in the L.L.R.C report and take all necessary additional steps to fulfill its relevant legal obligations and commitment to initiate credible and independent actions to ensure justice, equity, accountability and reconciliation for all Sri Lankans. (iii) Requests that the Government of Sri Lanka present a comprehensive action plan as expeditiously as possible detailing the steps the Government has taken and will take to implement the L.L.R.C recommendations and also to address alleged violations of international law and also requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights to present a report to the Council at its twenty second session due to be held in March 2013.
(vi) The release by the Government of Sri Lanka of a National Plan of Action to implement the recommendations of the L.L.R.C. This Action Plan has not been formulated after due consultation with Parliament or the democratically elected representatives of the affected people.
It is in this background that this whole issue in its totality-which is directly linked to genuine reconciliation, goodwill and harmony amongst the different peoples that constitute the Sri Lankan polity, becomes an issue of urgent national importance that needs to be kept under the close and continuous scrutiny of the country’s democratically elected supreme legislature.