Respect the decision of the judiciary in Trinco dispute - NPC

[TamilNet, Saturday, 04 June 2005, 04:04 GMT]
Urging the Sri Lankan Government to implement the decisions of the judiciary regarding the dispute in Trincomalee in an impartial manner and deploring any threats to use violence to resolve the issue, the National Peace Council (NPC), a Colombo based Sri Lankan peace group, in a media release issued on Friday, said that the focus of public attention has been shifting to very negative issues due to the lack of progress in achieving agreement on Joint Mechanism on tsunami recovery. The organiation warned that the widespread protest which brought ordinary life in the Northeast to a halt on Friday points to the danger of escalation.

Full text of the media release issued by the NPC follows:

03.06.05
Media Release


Progress On Joint Mechanism Can Check Deteriorating Situation

The debate about the merits of the proposed joint mechanism on tsunami recovery has taken the centre stage of politics for the past two months. Due to the lack of progress in achieving agreement on this central issue, the focus of public attention has been shifting to very negative issues. There has been a sharp deterioration in the situation in Trincomalee caused by the unauthorised setting up of a Buddhist religious statue in the town. The widespread hartal in the north east over the issue that brought ordinary life to a halt points to the danger of escalation.

The use of religious symbols should not be discredited by using them for political purposes or to symbolise ethnic dominance. In a plural society like Sri Lanka, people must commit to promote diversity and to celebrate it, be it ethnic or religious. The National Peace Council urges the government to implement the decisions of the judiciary regarding the dispute in Trincomalee in an impartial manner. We deplore any threats to use violence to resolve the issue. We also urge the religious and civic leadership to engage in a dialogue that leads to a mutually acceptable solution.

In the meantime, the series of killings in Colombo and the north east in which the LTTE and forces opposed to it have been engaging in, has claimed the life of a senior army officer, Major Nizam Muthaliph, in the heart of Colombo. The victim was a member of military intelligence. The National Peace Council condemns this assassination. There is increasing frustration and concern among the people about these assassinations that are continuously taking place with victims from all sides, which erode their faith in the peace process, and the deteriorating law and order situation.

International experience shows that extremists on both sides get most active just prior to peace settlements which they hope to wreck by their actions. We urge partisan organisations to desist from exploiting the present situation for their own partisan and short term gains. The NPC welcomes the efforts of President Chandrika Kumaratunga to work out a joint mechanism on tsunami recovery with the LTTE. But we also express our concern at the lack of consensus within her government. We believe that an inclusive peace process, in which all major political actors participate, is a much surer foundation for long term success in the peace process.

Finally, at this important juncture in the country's history, the NPC calls on the government and LTTE to go beyond talking the words of peace, to also practicing it in deeds, in which the setting up of a joint mechanism on tsunami recovery can be an important first step. We urge them to stop making allegations and accusations against each other and agree on a set of principles by which they can take the peace process forward. We also ask them to lead and encourage a credible programme of public education regarding the peace process that will win the confidence of the general population and make them active participants in the peace process.

 

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