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Conscientious Sinhalese Tell LLRC....

Conscientious Sinhalese Tell LLRC....

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Published by: Puni Selva on Sep 02, 2012
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Sri Lanka: Conscientious Sinhalese tell LLRC about injustice to ethnic minorities from the time of independence(1948) till todayhttp://www.llrc.lk/images/stories/docs/August2010/LLRC-JD-Transcript.pdf  
Jayantha Dhanapala’s
submission to Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), 25 August
2010: ‘
The lessons we have to learn go back to the past
certainly from the time that we hadresponsibility for our own governance on 4 February 1948. Each and every Government which heldoffice from 1948 till the present bear culpability for the failure to achieve good governance, nationalunity and a framework of peace, stability and economic development in which all ethnic, religious andother groups could live in security and equality.Our inability to manage our affairs has led to the taking of arms by a desperate group of our citizens.We need to rectify this bad governance and the first and foremost task before us is to undertakeconstitutional reform in order to ensure that we have adequate devolution of power. We need to haveState reform; we need to have rule of law established; we need to ensure non discrimination amongstour citizens; we need to have devolution of power and a tolerance of dissent and a strengthening of democratic institutions. (Dhanapala is a Sinhalese and was formerly UN Under-Secretary General forDisarmament)http://www.llrc.lk/images/stories/docs/Sep2010/K%20Godage.pdf  K.Godage(former Sri Lankan diplomat) addresses LLRC, 15 September 2010:
…. We have persistently discriminated against the Tamil people from 1956….
The Tamils haveundergone, and are undergoing immense hardship. We need to reach out to them. It is because we have notreached out to them, that we had Wadukottai resolution in 1976, 20 years after 1956. Then the 1972, Constitution, it removed Section29 from the Soulbury Constitution.
There is no reason for any one to be insecure, as a result of giving intothe reasonable demands of the Tamil people. .... Now I must tell you of a very, very sad, bad anddangerous situation. We have in our prisons over 2000 young Tamil men. Some of them have been
taken on suspicion. Just picked up and taken. In detention without charges for years, Sir, for years ….’’ 
http://www.llrc.lk/images/stories/docs/Prof.%20Priyan%20Dias.pdf  Prof Priyan Dias addresses LLRC, 07 October 2010:
 ‘’If we do not feel guilty for the Northern military uprising we cannot go anywhere in the future as acountry.’’ 
 http://www.llrc.lk/images/stories/docs/August2010/Bernard%20Gunatileke.pdf  Bernard Gunatileke(former Sri Lankan Sinhalese diplomat) to LLRC, 11 August 2010:
The most important factor, which we have failed to attend, is meaningful devolution of political powerto the periphery from the centre. There must also be involvement of the minorities in the political
activities in the centre.’’ 
Friday Forum to LLRC, 1 October 2010:'' If the overall nature of governance does not instil confidence, then whatever policies and efforts areput in place to achieve national cohesion and unity, they are bound to fail. Hence, strengthening of democratic governance, the Rule of Law and protection of human rights on the basis of equal rightsshould be essential goal posts on the path to reconciliation. .... The failure of successive governmentsto make the 13th Amendment and devolution of power work even in the South has left serious doubtsas to whether devolution of power will ever be effective in the north-
east. …
Meaningful constitutionalreform should necessarily be put in place - a strong legal régime of human rights protection
''http://www.llrc.lk/images/stories/docs/Harim%20Peiris.pdf  Submission by Harim Peiris to LLRC, 7 October 2010:
 ‘’ We may have united the nation geographically, but remain polarized ethno
-socially. It is not possibleto simultaneously argue the need to maintain Emergency Law, the need for war time levels of defenceexpenditure and deployment of a network of security installations in the North not found anywhere elsein the country and still maintain that the Tamil people are not alienated from the Sri Lankan State.
….. The immediate short term measures that are required are the humanitarian needs of the conflictaffected people of the North and East ……
 If General and Presidential Elections can be held in the North and the East it is impossible to argue thatthe Northern Provincial Council's elections need to be delayed any further. However, I would alsorespectfully submit that the frustrations experienced by the elected Chief Minister of the Eastern
Province - incidentally an ethnic Tamil, in relation to the unelected Governor
incidentally a retiredSinhala Military Officer should not be allowed to be repeated in the North, if devolution is to bemeaningful, and indeed such issues should be resolved, in the East.Strengthen individual human rights and fundamental and democratic political freedoms, by acceding
to Sri Lanka’s international and treaty obligations and in keeping with Supreme Court Judgment
s inthis regard, through the passing of enabling domestic legislation, that will fundamentally strengthen
the rights of the individual citizens. Its fundamental Human rights.’’ 
(Harim Pieris was civil servant andAdvisor to a former President)http://www.llrc.lk/images/stories/docs/Sep2010/10.11.2010-Mr._Elmore_Perera-evidence.pdf  Elmore Perera(Founder,
Movement for Good Governance(CIMOGG) to LLRC, 10 November2010:
Beginning with the “Sinhala Only” policy of 1956, which disregarded the multi
-cultural andpluralistic nature of society, the removal of the constitutional provision guaranteeing minority rights
 The 1983 racial riots were a disaster. Tamils were treated as being sub-human. Many of those whocould leave the country by lawful or even unlawful means did so. Those who remained were subjectedto arbitrary, humiliating treatment. Rounding up of 30 to 40 Tamil youth on Friday evenings, producingthem before Magistrates to be remanded, and later releasing them on bail, after they had paid lawyersRs1,000/- each for this purpose, was a regular occurrence in many parts of the city. Tamils, who couldreadily be identified as such from their National Identity Cards, were at the mercy of the law-enforcement agencies which arbitrarily enforced even laws of their own making.Except for brief periods when President Premadasa and President Kumaratunge made feeble attemptsat reconciliation, there were no consistent attempts made to seek reconciliation. It was limited tolackadaisical efforts to defeat the LTTE militarily.
Many Tamils were driven to feel that it was “better tofight and die rather than live like slaves”, in the hope that, “at least t
hey would get a free state whereTamils c
an live a life of dignity”….’’ 
 (an eminent lawyer and past President of the Organisation of Professional Associations)http://www.llrc.lk/images/stories/docs/Sep2010/Prof.%20Arjuna%20Aluvihare.pdf  Prof A.P.R.Aluwihare to LLRC, 3 November 2010:
 ‘’It is politicization and a lack of rule of law which have contributed to many problems we have had. ….
even politics has become po
liticized in this country …. the problem is not that we don’t have good laws
even now, but that guys who are rich and powerful and political wriggle their way down the laws and interms of the mandate of the Commission of preventing future trouble it is very important to set that
process into reverse with a political will.’ ’ 
AustinFernando, Former Secretary of Defence, 18 August 2010:
 ‘’When I look at the responsibilities, some of those government senior politicians were very silent. Onthe other hand the Opposition politicians were sabotaging the thing(peace talks) ....’’ 
http://www.llrc.lk/images/stories/docs/Sep2010/John%20Goonaratne.pdf Submission by Dr John Goonaratne, 15 September 2010:
This has been so since independence when discrimination on the basis of ethnic identity began togrow. If the grievances of Sri Lankan Tamils are not reconciled within Sri Lanka and are done merely tokeep Chennai and New Delhi off our backs, we will only have ourselves to blame
if there is a repetitionof the events of 1980s
(Dr Goonaratne was a senior civil servant in the Foreign Ministry)http://www.llrc.lk/images/stories/docs/Sep2010/Anura%20Ekanayake.pdf  Dr Anura Ekanayake(representing Ceylon Chamber of Commerce) to LLRC, 6 September 2010:
 ‘’We need to ensure that the benefits of the end of the war must be felt equally by all sections of the
Then finally we need to accelerate civil administration vis-à-vis military administration
in the north and the east supported by a transparent political process to establish local government.’’ 
 http://www.llrc.lk/images/stories/docs/Kumar_Rupasinghe.pdf  Kumar Rupasinghe, Chairman, Foundation for Co-existance, 20 October 2010:
key findings of thereport is that whilst Tamil is an official language in the country, there are glaring discrepancies in itsimplementation. The report is abundant with instances of humiliation .... let us look at the dismal stateof affairs of what young people of the plantation sector go through on a daily basis
another aspect of humiliation.
Then the injustice to
the Muslims. ….’’ 
 ‘’It is our neglect of Tamil sensitivity … the main underlying cause was our neglect of the Tamil
language tantamount to an undermining of human rights of the Tamil people which caused theaggravation of the conflict and the widening of the chasm between officialdom and the main minority,the Tamils. All development measures must be people centered and not merely for infrastructure aloneor as show pieces where the cost benefit is not in favour of the people.
The practical thing to do inmy opinion is firstly to draw up an action plan with priorities and the implementation time-frame ......I wish to emphasize the following points which I consider important for reconciliationc. not allowing an influx of Sinhalese to the North for rehabilitation related
development work ’’ 
Mr. Mangala Moonasinghe to LLRC, 17 August 2010: ‘’…so, who start
ed terrorism
it was we
and then
gradually naturally the youth, Tamil youth, went into terrorism in the north. … So terrorism did not come onits own. We created them sir, we created them.’’ (Moonasinghe is a former Sri Lankan diplomat and MP)
http://www.llrc.lk/images/stories/docs/Asoka%20Gunawardana.pdf  Asoka Goonawardana to LLRC, 25 August 2010:
There has been a contradiction inapproaches to conflict and development - centralized approaches as far as development is concernedand devolved approaches as far as conflict is concerned. This contradiction or this separation of theapproaches is the governance gap. This is important and must be addressed as one moves on to aprocess of reconciliation. Reconciliation must be envisioned within an institutional framework fordemocratic governance
more democratic governance than what we have had so far. ….
Sri Lanka’s
experience in devolution under the 13th Amendment has suffered from inadequacies in design as wellas in practice especially from a lack of coherence and commitment in moving from centralized todevolved governance.
(Goonawardana was former Chairman of Finance Commission and ExecutiveGovernor of Marga Institute)http://www.llrc.lk/images/stories/Fr._Shelton_Fernando.pdf  Rev. Fr. Reid Shelton Fernando to LLRC, 19 November 2010:
 ‘’The way the minority groups
are treatedin the country is far from the nationally or internationally accepted standards and principles.
Themedia reports do not appear to be accurate regarding the IDPs,
they are released, they are not resettled.
Some of the people from the South are employed but no people have been employed from the war torn areas.
Counselling process is denied to the victims of war - the Presidential Task Force (PTF) has denied thesefacilities for healing and reconciliation. This Commission has already submitted an interim report to thePresident. I tried my best to have access to that report but I failed.
civil servant) to LLRC, 30 September 2010: ‘’ 
.... These appointments were given tomembers of the family of employees in the north and kith and kin of soldiers and not to the people of Jaffna. Now these persons who received such appointments after about 6/7 months they used to gettransfers back to their home towns and to those vacancies thus created others were appointed. ... TheTamil people were caused an injustice. By making Sinhala the official language though much was doneto the Sinhalese the Tamil people were forgotten; they were neglected. ..... no Government didanything for the development of the roadways in Jaffna. No industries were started .... it was toavenge these acts that the Tamil youths voluntarily joined the LTTE. ...
He said please go and tell that our schools
don’t have teachers and our community is in a way badly off with regard to education facilities. ....
There are enough Tamil speaking graduates who pass out; there are places of education which cantrain the teachers; and so recruiting and deploying teachers in sufficient numbers will be an importantthing together with supervision of the schools. .... So developing the universities of both the east andthe north are critical and of crucial importance.
Judge C.G. Weeramantry to LLRC, 29 November 2010
''There are certain essential prerequisites: ‘’i.A
total commitment to democracy in all its aspects andii.A total commitment to the Rule of Law and to Human Rights.''
There are many factors to which we should give our attention in this connection, for withoutconfidence and trust that their rights will be upheld and guaranteed without fear or favour, there

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