Peace Group calls for urgent talks on CFA

[TamilNet, Thursday, 12 January 2006, 12:24 GMT]
Peace Support Group (PSG), a group consisting of civil society peace activists, expressed "deep sorrow and concern" at the escalation of violence in the NorthEast, reiterated the necessity to "return to direct talks as a matter of the utmost priority," and called upon the Government of Sri Lanka and Liberation Tigers "to affirm their commitment to the maintenance of law and order in the areas under their control, and take all steps to prevent a return to armed hostilities," in a press release issued in Colombo Monday.

Full text of the release follows:

The Peace Support Group expresses its deep sorrow and concern regarding the escalation of violence in the north and east in the past months. In the last 10 days, from December 25 to January 3, over 40 deaths that can be directly linked to the conflict have been reported from the north and east. These deaths include those of ordinary men, women and children, as well as those of MP Joseph Pararajasingham, members of the armed forces and Police and members of the LTTE. Most recently there was the LTTE suicide bomber attack against a fast attack naval craft in Trincomalee. Thirteen Navy personnel aboard the craft at the time of the attack are reported missing.

The killings and heightened level of armed activity inevitably generates a deep sense of fear and insecurity within the civilian population in these areas in particular, but throughout the country as well. Targeted assassinations as well as large-scale cordon and search operations that have taken place for example in Colombo, have also led to a growing sense of insecurity among Tamils in the south of the country.

The inability of the state and of law enforcement authorities as well as of institutions such as the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, which has the specific mandate to monitor the implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement, to initiate any intervention that could prevail on those responsible for these acts to desist from carrying out such acts of violence and violation of the right to life of citizens of Sri Lanka, marks a tragic peak in the culture of impunity in our country.

There is no doubt in our minds that it is only through a return to negotiations between the government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE that the situation can take a turn for the better. It is in this arena that the finer points of implementing Article 2.1 regarding respect for human rights and Article 1.8 regarding paramilitary groups can be addressed in a manner that is conducive to the creation of a lasting and sustainable peace with justice in Sri Lanka. An expansion of the interpretation of the SLMM’s mandate, which was described by UN Special Rapporteur on Summary and Arbitrary Executions as ‘interpreted excessively narrowly’, to include consideration of human rights violations including the deprivation of access to livelihoods of large numbers of inhabitants of the Jaffna peninsula due to the High Security Zones, could also be addressed within such a process.

Accordingly, PSG calls on

  • The GOSL and the LTTE, as signatories to the CFA, to affirm their commitment to the maintenance of law and order in the areas under their control, and take all steps to prevent a return to armed hostilities. We reiterate that this necessitates a return to direct talks as a matter of the utmost priority.
  • The GOSL to expedite independent investigations into the rape and murder of Elaiyathamby Dharmini and the killing of 5 students in Trincomalee allegedly by members of the security forces. As a necessary demonstration of its commitment to justice and rule of law we call on the government to publish the findings of these investigations and to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice.
  • The GOSL to ensure that in the conduct of its cordon and search operations, due respect for human rights and the rule of law is observed and that officers of the National Human Rights Commission are allowed access to individuals detained as a consequence of these operations.


We note that in the last month the LTTE and its front organizations have been engaged in acts of armed provocation against the security forces . We therefore call upon

  • The LTTE to halt these acts of armed provocation and to commit to the pursuit of its objectives through non violent and democratic means.
  • The LTTE, the Karuna forces and other actors in the North-East to immediately cease all attacks on each other's leaders, cadres and sympathizers and embark on a democratic and peaceful settlement of their differences.
We call on our fellow citizens to act with tolerance and dignity to take cognizance of the complex situation prevailing on the ground and display a commitment to principles of human rights and justice and co-existence in resolving these issues that affect the well-being of us all.

We ask that the international community do all that is in their power to strengthen the peace process by facilitating the resumption of peace talks as a first step towards a negotiated settlement of the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka.

This is a moment in which the voices of all political and civic leaders should be raised against all forms of violence that pose a threat to democracy and sustainable development in Sri Lanka. As citizens of Sri Lanka who are committed to a lasting and just peace in our country, we call for courage and creativity in moving forward in the new year in the spirit of consensus, and compromise.

Signed:
Sunila Abeysekera
Sunil Bastian
Sunanda Deshapriya
Rohan Edrisinha
Kethesh Loganathan
Jehan Perera
Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu
Jeevan Thiagarajah
Joe William
Javed Yusuf

 

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