Complicity of Armed group raises questions of sovereignty violations- CaFFE

[TamilNet, Saturday, 10 May 2008, 13:12 GMT]
Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CAFFE), a Colombo-based NGO, in a pre-election observation report on the east elections released Saturday observed that fear-psyche prevented Tamil community from participating actively in the east elections, whereas the Muslim and Sinhala communities enthusiastically participated in the campaigns, and that the Sinhala participation "gradually transformed into violent and confrontational political campaign at the end of the pre-election period."

Summary of observations presented in the CaFFE report follows:
  • CaFFE observes that there has been intense political interest among the political parties and independent groups who are participating in the elections.
  • CaFFE observes that rather than intimidatory physical violence, primary violations involved psychological intimidation of other groups and voters by the perpetrators of these violations. It was observed by CaFFE that the incidents that occurred in the Batticaloa district in relation to serious crimes concerned the involvement of more than one armed group that was operating in the areas.
  • CaFFE further observes that, if the armed groups that are operating in the Batticaloa district spread its operations closer or around the polling booths of the districts it can create an substantial impact on the voting pattern during election day.
  • CaFFE observes that the law and order protection mechanisms of the State have not been in operation in the Eastern province at their optimum functioning capacity. If this is the case, an environment in which armed group have no respect for the rule of law will not be conducive towards the discretion of the voter to cast his or her vote, severely restricting this ability on election day.
  • CaFFE observes that due to the indirect collation of forces between law and order protection mechanisms which are controlled by one party that are contesting in elections and armed groups who have no respect for the rule of law in the country, there is a potential to that peoples sovereignty rights will be violated during elections.
  • CaFFE observes that, comparatively, the opportunity to actively and consciously participate in the pre-election period that is available to the Sinhala and Muslim communities in the Eastern province has not been made available to the Tamil community in the Eastern province. We observed that the reason for this inaction is the fear-psyche within the minds of the Tamil community.
  • CaFFE observes that among the Sinhala community there was an active and conscious political participation by the people of the Eastern Province in the preelection period but this has been gradually transformed into violent and confrontational political campaign at the end of the pre-election period.
  • CaFFE observes that the Muslim community of the province have actively and enthusiastically been involved in the pre-election campaigning period, while a number of reported intimidatory political incidents have occurred during this period.


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