28 October, 2020

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Why International Pressure Has Become Necessary

By Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

Shortly after the end of the war in 2009, President Rajapaksa declared that in Sri Lanka there would no longer be an ethnic majority or ethnic minorities but only a majority who loved the nation and a minority who were traitors.  Apart from the warning inherent in this statement to those who were political dissenters, there was also the implication that a political solution based on the notion of ethnicities and majorities and minorities based upon them would be unnecessary after the defeat of the LTTE.  The logic of this position is that a political solution was only discussed because of the pressure of the LTTE, and now with its destruction there was no need to take that discussion forward.

In keeping with the President’s immediate post-war policy statement and despite the passage of nearly five years since the end of the war there has been no fundamental shift in the government’s approach to the ethnic conflict.  The talks with the main Tamil opposition party, the TNA, and the government’s effort to form a Parliamentary Select Committee to discuss a political solution has gone nowhere.  This is not the government’s failure alone.  Nearly all public intellectuals from the Sinhalese community who support the government, which is the politically dominant voice in society, appear to have also taken the cue from the President that there is no ethnic conflict to resolve.  But Tamil minority voters have repeatedly challenged this assumption.

So long as there are unresolved ethnic grievances the electorate will tend to vote along ethnic lines.  The government’s policy of formulating and promising policies of economic development as an alternative to political reform have been repeatedly rebuffed by the ethnic minority electorate.  Not even the personal campaigning by the President himself and the government hierarchy has proven able to turn this vote in the direction of the government.  Although the government’s delivery of economic infrastructure development may be appreciated it too was not able to provide the government with the votes of the ethnic minorities either in the North, East or in Colombo where the ethnic minority vote predominates.

Fresh Elections

Elections to the Western and Southern provincial councils were not due till the end of this year.  The announcement of early provincial elections at the end of March, which is the very period when the UN Human Rights Council is expected to vote on the resolution on Sri Lanka, can only have one purpose.  It is to negate the impact on the people of Sri Lanka of a negative resolution that seeks to penalize the government and its leadership.  The government will make maximum use of international pressure for domestic political gain.  It will also seek to obtain a resounding people’s mandate that will wipe out any discredit that comes out a resolution of the UNHRC.   The direction of the government’s political campaign in these circumstances can be anticipated.

Already the signs are evident as to what the government’s electoral campaign will centre on.  The government campaigners will seek to bring the threat to national sovereignty and territorial integrity to the fore, and thereby submerge all other grievances that that the people may have.  The concerns about corruption, rising cost of living and the criminal impunity of those connected with political power will be relegated to the margins by the threat to the nation.  The international community’s determination to  ensure accountability is seen as a desire to punish the country’s leaders for what happened during the war, and has aroused the nationalism of the Sinhalese majority.  The international focus on the last phase of the war in which the LTTE was defeated for special investigation is seen by them to be siding with the forces of separatism.

The speeches by government leaders these days relate to the threats to the country’s sovereignty with promises being made to protect the country from being divided.  They accuse the opposition of joining with the international community, with the TNA in particular being accused of also trying to divide Sri Lanka without being interested in solving the problems of Tamil people.  However, the reality is that the TNA led Northern Provincial Council has been rendered powerless to solve the problems of the people due to the non-implementation of the devolution of powers contained in the 13th Amendment to the constitution.    Although the establishment of the Northern Provincial Council last September was generally welcomed as a positive move by the government in the direction of a political solution this has not being borne out by subsequent developments.

Northern Stalemate

The contest over the positions of Governor and Chief Secretary of the Northern Province illustrates the larger issues in the governance of the country in relation to the devolution of power.   It appears that the TNA has now eased on its original demand for the removal of the Governor.  In the exuberance of their resounding electoral victory at the provincial council elections in September, the TNA demanded the immediate removal of the Governor who it accused of blocking the decisions taken by the elected councilors.  However, the appointment of the Governor is the constitutional prerogative of the President.    This is not the case with the Chief Secretary of the province, who is the head of the provincial public service.   The 13th Amendment states that the Chief Secretary should be appointed by the President in concurrence with the Chief Minister of the province.

The present Chief Secretary for the Northern Provincial Council was appointed prior to the election of the Northern Provincial Council when there was no elected Chief Minister.  It was reasonable to expect that after the Northern Provincial Council was established that the Chief Secretary should step down and a replacement selected with the concurrence of the Chief Minister.  At a meeting a fortnight ago between the President and the Chief Minister this matter was brought up and the President agreed to make the change the very next day. But this has still not happened.  The government needs to permit the Northern Provincial Council to function like other provincial councils, and without being frustrated by petty issues such as keeping a Chief Secretary whose appointment is not in keeping with the wishes of the elected provincial council.

The government has an opportunity to show its sincerity to make the system of devolved power work very soon and without delay.   This would empower the TNA administration to meet the needs of the people of the Northern Province, and in doing so send a message to the international community that political reconciliation is on track.  If not, the gap between the government and the Northern Provincial Council, and between the people who have voted for these two entities, is bound to grow to the detriment of national unity and give the international community more reason to seek to intervene in the country’s internal affairs.   The complaint of the Northern Provincial Council that it is powerless and cannot deliver benefits to the people needs to be remedied by the government.   But it increasingly seems that such positive actions will have to wait until the current cycle of elections is completed.

Election Strategy

There is a belief that a presidential or general election will be held later this year or early next year, following on the provincial elections.  The government’s reluctance to accommodate a political solution to minority ethnic grievances at this time would seem to come from its calculation that it cannot afford to lose its hold over the Sinhalese majority electorate in the context of impending elections.  This is an electorate that can give the government a permanent majority and the prospect of long term rule so long as it does not fracture.  The issue on which the Sinhalese electorate is most likely to get divided on is that of a political solution to the ethnic conflict.  Therefore the government is unwilling to change its policy with regard to the ethnic minorities or implement the devolution of powers to the North.

While this winning formula is to the benefit of the current government it is not so for the country.  No country can reach its full potential if it is divided internally.  The government emphasis on the past war, and on alleged continuing threats to the unity of the country, creates and recreates ethnic polarization within the country.  It serves to justify to the Sinhalese majority the government’s militarized approach to the governance of the North and the failure to implement the devolution of powers.  But without some measure of devolution of powers there cannot be a winning of hearts and minds of the people of the North and East, which is the essential requirement of national unity.

In any conflict within a country that is multi-ethnic, and in which there is disagreement on the distribution of political power, a just solution requires the consent of the ethnic majority.  If the government is not prepared to win the support of the majority community to take the country in the direction of a just political solution, the conflict is bound to continue and to get aggravated. .  However, this pragmatic and election-winning political approach, which is power-centered and not problem-solving, will not resolve the main problem facing the country.  The ethnic conflict is the problem that gave rise to three decades of war.  The answer to the conflict has to be a just sharing of power between ethnic majority and minorities.  It is in the context of failure to evolve an internal answer that the answer to the government’s failure has come to be seen as international pressure.

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Latest comments

  • 11
    2

    The Sinhala elite and the establishment will never share power with the Tamils.

    They want to destroy the Tamil nation of the North-East by all means and make them subservient to the Sinhalese mjority.

    This is the goal of the Sinhala elite immersed in the Mahavmsa philosophy of Sinhala Buddhist supremacy and hegemony over the island: Ask Sharmini Serasinghe.

    • 8
      1

      Thiru, I don’t know what “Sinhala elite” you’re talking about here. It is the average Sinhalaya who has the Mahavamsa mindset. Actually, it’s not even that. The average Sinhalaya is more concerned with putting food on the table for his family, just like the average Demala and Thambiya in SL. The Sinhala elite live in their Cinnamon Gardens estates, drive their super luxury European cars and always vote for the guy who’s pitted against the SLFP candidate.

      • 6
        2

        If you say –

        “he average Sinhalaya is more concerned with putting food on the table for his family, just like the average Demala and Thambiya in SL”

        If this is right according to you and your ilk, the very reason is more than enough padada ballos to make price reductions atleast for the most essentials like (rice, sugar, milk power, veges etc). Have they made any kind of relief in that regard yet though the collossal sums overinvested for the war is no longer there ?

        • 6
          2

          Change your punnku please (you can no means be a cycler but surely a consumer), sometimes that will help you to get guided well.
          And help others to introducing your variety.

          Accusing cmbo 07 for any criticisms is similar to point the fingers at international communities rather than paying genuine efforts to realize why they do so.

          All kind of UN or other resoultions will be against current thugs not against entire country. Srilanka is filled with good candidates but the current system stand on their way not allowing them to come forward and voice for the sake of the nation.
          It is all because of the life threats that would excercise on them if found going against the rulers.
          I have no doubt the way SF and his rallies were attacked lately would be uncommon in coming days. Those candidates like SF are there but they have no chances to show their genuine efforts because Rajapakshe thugs have made their protective fences every corners of lanken administration.

          Not only recently visited tamil female canadian parliament MP, anyone that would drop dissent views would be faced with revengeful acts that nobody would imagine to be… that is the nature of ill fated buggers born to DA RAJAPKASHE FAMILY. Voters in the country should finally grasp the realit of the depth of the problems before voting into those buggers again.
          We will be a lost nation if they would not react properly this time.

          • 1
            6

            You clearly don’t understand how those rich buggers of Colombo 7 live on a completely different planet to the average man on the street. Regardless of how many NGOs like Jehan Perera scream for his overseas paymasters to put pressure on SL, nothing’s going to change on the ground. That is the reality. You don’t seriously expect the west to invade a sovereign country like SL just because of allegations of human rights abuses, do you?

            And I call myself the punakku recycler because this website is full of it. When you eat so much punakku, you obviously end up recycling a lot of it :)

            • 4
              0

              why then the RODIYA -MERVIN has been reappointed to KELANIYA direct by the involement of MR ?`What a mess he should have been in these days not to realize the agony of the kelaniya people. In that waragoda MP killing incident how their scream is reechoing my ears… ” please MR, help us to charge this Mervin before the court for the high criminal acts he has made to kelaniya area people”.

              I now believe this has lot to do with secrets that MERVIN could reveal if topleadership would react against him. This fears tremour the MR and clan, that is the reason why bastard-MERVIN will not be taken to custody for the crimes he has commited sofar.

            • 2
              0

              Please translate and publish in Sinhala. The problem is not an ETHNIC one it is rot in governance in all parts of the country and in ALL provincial councils which are corrupt extensions of the center, except for the northern province.
              Jehan better you focus on the Corruption in the regime. We need an Aam Aadmi Party and an anticorruption movement to educate the Sinhalaya Modyas – this is what you should focuss on instead of beating the same old ethnic drum when the problem is far deeper – the lack of democracy and the Rajapakse military dicatatorship not just in north but also the south
              Civil society and your NPC outfit need to make a list of all the corrupt Ministers in Rajapassa cabinet of uneducated and criminal clowns and the charges against them and publish them also in a cartoon form to educate the masses on SLFP corruption; 1) the 4 Jarapassa brothers and their family land grabs – Basil Rajapaksa’s 400 room hotel in Passikudha beach. 2)Gota’s military and UDA city beautification contract kickbacks. 3) Namal’s Sports business and TV channel and youth business. 4) Dimu Jayaratne and his son smuggling drugs from Pakistan 5) Mahipala Sirisena, so called Minister of ILL Health, for whom corruption is a family business in his electorate Pollonaruwa. Sirisena who wants to be the next Prime Minister and his brother have land grabbed State reservoir reservation land and built Sudu Araliya Hotel in Pollonaruwa on the Parakrama Samudra Bund and so the tank is not allowed to fill up and farmers do not get water in the dry season and their livelihoods are being destoryed and are committing suicide. The Jarapassa regime is destorying farmers. 6) Minister of Agriculture who is bought by multinational agribusiness companied like sirisena who is in the lap of the Pharmaceutical companies. The new Seed Bill is an attack on bidiversity of Lanka and the seed bill is an attack on the Agriculture sector and farmers of the country. Peacocks hit plane at the Mattala Jarapassa airport in Hambantota and will be killed off by GOta just like the stray dogs of Colombo were for CHOGM circus. Mattala airport because the place is so infrequently used and is a massive white elephant, the peacocks who were DISPLACED to build this massive white elephant have returned since planes only come there rarely, but the cost of maintaining that airport is staggering. Environmental destruction, selling out biodiversity to the multinationals with the new seed Bill and no National Drugs Poolicy is the so-called development model of the uneducated Jarapassa brothers. Now Sri Lankan Airlines another white elephant and corrupt Jarapassa family business is set to raise a huge bond to pay off its debts and keep the white elephant airline in flight. The whole tourism sector will crash after sanctions go into effect!

              • 2
                1

                Balls

      • 1
        0

        RAJAPAKSAS DRIVE ONLY EUROPEAN CARS (WITH YOUR MONEY)

        NEVER VOTED IN MY LIFE, BUT SLFP INTRODUCED THE ‘SINHALA-ONLY’

        UNP PREMADASA WAS FROM A POOR RURAL BACKGROUND & DB WIJETUNGA WAS NOT MUCH DIFFERENT

        QUEEN KUSUMA DEVI’S (DONNA CATHERINA) SONS DID MARRY FROM THE JAFFNA KINGDOM, BUT NOT SURE ABOUT JAFFNA BEING PART OF THE KANDYAN KINGDOM.

        IT WAS CERTAINLY PART OF THE EARLIER KOTTE KINGDOM FOR SOME TIME (under the able leadership of Chola mixed Sinhala monarch Parakrama Bahu VI, Buvenaka Bahu VI / Sempap Perumal / Prince Sapumal and commanders as Manika Thalevar and Kouravara Aditya Arasa Nilayitta Maha Naga. Perhaps also part of the Portuguese Kotte with many local Chieftans and the Dutch with the Varunakula Aditya Arsanilayata De Andrado)

    • 5
      8

      Why would Singhalese want to destroy North and East Sri Lanka? They are integral part of Sri Lanka from time immorial, they were parts of Rajarata and Kandy kingdom respectively. It was the Tamil invaders from India who ransacked and destroyed the magnificient irrigation work and cities that were built by singhalese kings in those areas. There is development in progress in the North and East and Tamils have the opportunity to be a part of that process, or fade into irrelevancy. It’s their choice.

      • 5
        0

        Where did your name Lal come from?

        • 3
          0

          Lal?

          Are you Hindu? Buddhist or Red?

          Sinhala Mahanama Buddhist Racists have spilled enough blood to be called Red. LTTE followed in their footsteps to earn the Title Lal as well.

          Lal is a Hindi word for the color red, which is also used as a middle name and term of endearment in many Hindu communities and some other Indo-Aryan languages. The Hindi word is derived from the Sanskrit meaning “to play” or “to caress”.

        • 0
          0

          [Edited out]

      • 2
        0

        Don’t change history and facts. There is enough evidence to prove that Tamils live in the North East for long period than Sinhalese. Tamils have all the qualities, characteristics and reasons to demand self determination. It is a well known truth that Unitary system under Sinhala rule has failed to provide necessary protection to Tamils and it failed to rule by law. The rule by Sinhalese lead to corruption, unlawful activities and violations of human rights. It is pathetic Sinhalese have become the masters of oppression.

        • 1
          0

          Ajith

          “There is enough evidence to prove that Tamils live in the North East for long period than Sinhalese.”

          Let us see the evidence.

          • 0
            0

            Look at 1881 population census.

            • 0
              0

              1881? Not sure if you’re joking or are actually retarded.

              • 0
                0

                If he goes back much further the imported coolie cum “Eelam Tamil” count will start dwindling to nothing, LOL.

                • 0
                  0

                  Dev

                  “If he goes back much further the imported coolie cum “Eelam Tamil” count will start dwindling to nothing, LOL.”

                  He will discover how you are closely related to him.

              • 0
                0

                Punakku recycler

                “1881? Not sure if you’re joking or are actually retarded.”

                Have you ever bothered to look up the census for years from 1871 on words?

                This is another of your Thesawalamai farce.

                • 0
                  0

                  Yes I actually have, noble Vedda. Please tell me how it proves that Tamils lived in the North for longer than Sinhalese, as Ajith insists.

      • 0
        0

        Tamils were in the North before your founder Vijaya arrived some 2500 years ago, because Dravidian was already established in South India before 2500 years.

        Since you bring up ancient history, let us not forget it was Vijaya the founder of the Sinhalaese who genocided the aboriginal Lankans, the Veddah.

    • 0
      1

      Will there ever be a change in the selfishness of any Sinhala ”leader”( = follower of votes)?

      ” …In each, the party previously in opposition gained decisive power on a platform that promised fundamental change. After each election, there were missed opportunities for initiatives that could have addressed many concerns of Tamil community members, while simultaneously respecting the concerns of all but the most radical Sinhalese nationalists. In each instance, however, Sri Lanka’s political leaders chose not to expend their political capital in this way but instead, to accede to demands of the radicals. … it will be useful to seek lessons from periods when Sri Lankan political leaders, like President Mahinda Rajapaksa, had such overwhelming political support that they were in a position, if they chose, to expend political capital by taking concrete steps toward communal reconciliation. …” – Prospects For Post Conflict Reconciliation And Development In Sri Lanka: Can Singapore Be Used As A Model? Prof John Richardson, Text of a presentation at Global Asia Institute Speaker Series (2010), National University of Singapore, Prof John Richardson, http://groundviews.org/2010/11/05/prospects-for-post-conflict-reconciliation-and-development-in-sri-lanka-can-singapore-be-used-as-a-model/

    • 1
      0

      Share power with you?

      What about the poor Sinhalese in Moneragala? Don’t they suffer more than your treacherous crowd?

      They never betrayed this country to the British or Americans and got big schools built in the North. They did not convert and assume their names. They deserve better than you traitors.

      Learn to think with a balanced mind – Thaka Thiru.

  • 3
    2

    Most Sinhalese don’t give a crap about the “Tamil nation” never mind wanting to destroy it. Tamil Nadu is to the north west of Sri Lanka by the way, not the north east :-)

  • 6
    1

    You can win all the elections you like in sri lanka but now the whole world knows how sri lankans practice buddhism, lol triply blessed indeed !

    • 0
      3

      Question: who cares?

      • 1
        0

        NON Punakku recyclers care, including your king Mahinda, if he didn’t why make such a big deal of the HRC meeting in March? LOL
        Long live this triply blessed land !
        Kind regards,
        OTC

        • 1
          0

          @Off The Cuff, the HRC meeting in March has nothing to do with Buddhism. It’s about passing more wind on the buttock-rumbling smackdown our soldiers gave the LTTE against the wishes of the Association of White Masters.

          You make the assumption that Mahinda is my king just because my views are different to yours. I’ve noticed that most of you latte-sipping douchebags who live on a different planet from the common man make that basic mistake.

          • 0
            0

            well then you shouldn’t care I guess if the country is humiliated around the world LOL

            • 0
              0

              @OTC, as the Sinhala saying goes, angey allene nae ne (it doesn’t stick to the body) ;)

          • 0
            0

            You need India, Pakistan and the West to hold your hand to defeat LTTE. Without outside help, you (Sinhala Nationa) never would have defeated the numerically far smaller and financially less able LTTE .

            • 0
              0

              @Palmsquirrell, oh ok, so I suppose your naiveerars did their Olympic gold-winning marathons running away from Indian, Pakistani and Western soldiers while our troops stayed in barracks and enjoyed the show.

              Why don’t you try to take India, Pakistan and the West to the Hague for war crimes then, seeing that the SL soldiers did nothing?

  • 2
    2

    With China and Russia with vetoes in the UN supporting Sri Lankan (Sinhala majority) elected regime, the international community cannot do a thing to Sri Lanka, can they?

    Mahinda bets on that, would you?

    • 0
      0

      Yes and with that goes your last hope ! You and the entire
      DIE _ARSE_PORA who are trying to bring our ( not yours) Country in to disrepute on the world stage.

  • 5
    0

    Jehan
    Here is an eye-opener.
    President Mahinda Rajapaksa lied publicly about troop presence in the Northern Province claiming the military had been scaled down to 12,000 men in the former conflict zone despite 16 out of 19 Sri Lanka Army Divisions still being stationed in the region.This is an extract from a CT article which you would have read too. Does this makes any sense to you? Isn’t it time for majority pressure demanding the truth and justice even if there is no will by the majority to seek for a just political solution including yourself.

  • 0
    0

    A well-thought piece that succinctly summarizes the issues. While the war with the LTTE may be over (at least for now), the conflict with the Tamils goes on. Not only that, but there is growing intolerance of minorities of any type (Muslims, Christians — some of whom are Sinhalese, whatever ..), while the kleptocracy that rules the country reinforces it position of power. Of course, the people of any country get the rulers it deserves. Any change must therefore, come from within and until that happens, SL can slide can into the abyss of an intolerant, autocratic and distasteful place that through adverse selection will only be left with those who take pride in such a state.

    • 0
      0

      Well thought piece, Jeffrey? Oh! My God…
      How could this NGO dollar parrot singing the same songs again and again produce any new ideas?
      His bankrupt ideas (like no solution without LTTE) were thoughtful pieces for some like Jeffrey … For the people who had read his writings for decades know his ideas were very very poor, without any substance and never got materialized .. … Now the parrot song he sings is that without international pressure, Srilankans can not even go to the toilet in the morning … Nobody in SL give any attention to his ideas or writings as they were proved false not once but all the time … This infamous NGO parrot Ofcourse has audience … They are Jeffries who dance to the tune of west and the LTTE rump …

  • 2
    0

    Keeping the ethnic strife alive benefits the Sinhala political parties fight for power. Despite the end of the armed struggle of the tamils the Sinhala politicians are trying their best to keep the anti tamil rhetoric going as long as possible for their own selfish reasons. The Sinhala masses are fools and the politicians know it. Food on the table is a far less potent inducement for the Sinhala masses than the imagined fear of tamil separatism and the so called loss of sovereignty.

  • 1
    1

    This NGO should read the article in the Tamilnet from Mr Guruppan from Jaffna Uni who is reading for a PhD (?) in London.

  • 0
    1

    The political animal within the ruling family ably assisted by their
    cohorts, henchmen and cabal will guarantee an election win: the voters
    do not think out of the box as has been proved with every political
    upheaval since 2005.

  • 2
    0

    Has international pressure done any for Tamills?

    NO!

  • 1
    0

    A well-thought piece that succinctly summarizes the issues. While the war with the LTTE may be over (at least for now), the conflict with the Tamils goes on……….. set up by the TNA,Catholic Church, the Diaspora, the WEest & Western planted NGOs like Jehan singing for their supper.

    With the kind of education Jehan claim to posess, this is all that he could do? Sing for his supper to appease and contribute to hidden agendas?
    Jehan Perera is pathetic.
    Go plow the fields jehan & make yourself useful

  • 0
    0

    There will always be conflict as long as Sinhalese think Lanka belongs to them only.

  • 0
    0

    A moderate and rational analysis by Jehan. Briefly, Rajapaksa after his victory should have followed Mandela’s strategy in uniting the people. He in his pettiness was incapable of this but instead played up to triumphalism appealing to the chauvinist tendencies of the Sinhala polity. At a time immediately after the war when there was resentment towards the LTTE at its peak, Rajapaksa failed to unite the Sinhalese and the Tamils pandering to political opportunism and personal glory.
    Instead of inquiring into the actions of war criminals on both sides he has rewarded them and they continue to enjoy impunity, making himself and his brothers party to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
    In consequence of the actions of the Rajapaksas and other chauvinist elements including the criminality of Devananda the minds and the resolve of the Tamil people have strengthened against the hypocrisy of the Rajapasa regime. It is now too late. Rajapaksa underestimates the intelligence of the Tamil people, one example being telling them that there are only 12, 000 army personnel in the north. bensen

  • 0
    0

    Should therre be pressure from the International Community to resolve the Tamil problem and the even larger problem of the suppression of fundamental rights of All the people- Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim? The Catholic Bishops Conference says we can resolve our problems. So has the Defense Secretary stated that the International Community should not interfere in our problems. But didn’t the same regime canvass the International Community and the Western Powers during the war – didn’t they ask that the International Community should pressurize the LTTE? Did’t the President make promises to the UN and the International Community? The present regime has not honored these pledges nor permitted the fundamental rights of the people. Freedom of speech and the press have been eroded. The continued deployment of the Army in civilian affairs despite 4 years since the end of the war, the failure to enforce accountability for the murders of Tamil students in Trinco and the French NGO workers are not part of the war but a violation of human and fundamental rights and they are all matters that concern the UN

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