GoSL, LTTE should cease violence, resume talks - Co-chairs
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 12 September 2006, 23:46 GMT]
The Co-Chairs are particularly concerned that even major cases of human rights’ abuses are not successfully investigated or prosecuted. "As in any modern state, the culture of impunity must stop," the Co-chairs of the Tokyo Donor Conference on Sri Lanka said Tuesday. "There should be no change to the specific arrangements for the north and east which could endanger the achievement of peace," the statement alluded in response to the moves in the South aimed at de-merging the NorthEast.
"The LTTE must show that it is willing to make the compromises needed for a political solution within a united Sri Lanka," the statement said.
"The Government must ensure its military abides by the Ceasefire Agreement and implements the pledges from the Geneva meeting in February 2006."
Full text of the statement issued by the Co-Chairs of the Tokyo Donor Conference on Sri Lanka:
- The Co-Chairs of the Tokyo Donor Conference, Norway, the European Union, the USA and Japan met in Brussels on September 12.
- The Co-Chairs welcome the expression of willingness of the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE to come to talks unconditionally as conveyed to the Facilitator. The Parties should cease all violence immediately. The Parties should use this opportunity to show maximum flexibility regarding the arrangements to be proposed by the Facilitator. The meeting should take place urgently in Oslo at the beginning of October, to be agreed to by the Parties. The Co-Chairs will meet at the end of October to review progress of the talks.
- Until now, the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE have engaged in military ground operations and neither has responded adequately to our call in Tokyo and taken the necessary steps to reverse the deteriorating situation as we recommended.
- The Co-Chairs are deeply alarmed by the recent deliberate violations of the Ceasefire Agreement by the Parties. These have escalated violence and resulted in massive and widespread human suffering, including the abuse of human rights, the displacement of innocent citizens, a humanitarian crisis and an exodus of refugees to India.
- The political challenges of the north and east cannot be resolved through war. The Co-Chairs urge the Parties to resume negotiation and show real political commitment to achieve a political solution based on the previous six rounds of negotiation. There should be no change to the specific arrangements for the north and east which could endanger the achievement of peace. The legitimate interests and aspirations of all communities, including the Tamil, Muslims and Sinhala communities must be accommodated as part of a political settlement.
- The LTTE must abide by all agreements and renounce terrorism and violence. The LTTE must show that it is willing to make the compromises needed for a political solution within a united Sri Lanka. The Government must ensure its military abides by the Ceasefire Agreement and implements the pledges from the Geneva meeting in February 2006.
- Both parties must stop further violations of fundamental principles of Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. The Co-Chairs condemn the numerous violations, such as the disappearance and feared killings of large number of Muslims in Mutur, the murder of 17 aid workers from the French NGO Action Contre la Faim, the claymore attack on a civilian bus in June and the bombing of the school in Mullaitivu in August. The Co-Chairs are particularly concerned that even major cases of human rights’ abuses are not successfully investigated or prosecuted. As in any modern state, the culture of impunity must stop. The Co-Chairs welcome the call of the President for international assistance on the human rights issue, and offer to send a mission of high-level experts to review the current situation and suggest further actions before the end of October.
- The Co-Chairs expect guarantees for the safety of NGO workers and for ensuring access for NGOs and international organizations to help citizens and communities in need of essential humanitarian assistance and valuable reconstruction and development work. Failure to ensure safe working conditions of NGOs could result in the withdrawal of some international NGOs and their funding from Sri Lanka, which would be extremely detrimental to the situation of all Sri Lankan citizens in the concerned areas.
- The Parties must guarantee safety of media representatives, civil society activists and religious leaders and ensure true freedom of speech and expression can be exercised without fear. Intimidation, attacks and killings of such persons from any quarter are reprehensible.
- Co-chairs encourage moderate forces on all sides to engage constructively in the peace process. In this regard, the Co-Chairs welcome the President’s offer to other political parties to work together with a view to move towards a common national agenda and a lasting peaceful constitutional settlement of the conflict. Co-Chairs further encourage the civil society to continue to play a major role in promoting and supporting a peaceful solution to the conflict.
- Failure to cease hostilities, pursue a political solution, respect Human Rights and protect Humanitarian Space could lead the international community to diminish its support.
- Co-Chairs and other members of the international community continue their support for the tireless efforts of Norway to facilitate the peace process and the SLMM to monitor the Ceasefire Agreement.