The Tamil National Alliance – Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi – Parliamentary Election Manifesto – 2015
At the time of independence from colonial rule in 1948, Ceylon was foisted with a unitary variety constitution with easy majoritarian rule. In 1949 a sizeable number of Tamils of current Indian origin were disenfranchised. State aided colonization of the preponderantly Tamil Speaking territory, specifically the Eastern Province, with the majority community intensified. The Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) was formed as a consequence in December 1949. In this background in April 1951 the ITAK articulated its claim that the Tamil Folks in Ceylon have been a Nation distinct from that of the Sinhalese by every test of nationhood and have been consequently entitled to the right to self-determination. As a essential corollary to the physical exercise of this proper, we demanded a federal arrangement in the North and the East, where the Tamil Speaking Peoples are a predominant majority. In 1956 Sinhala was made the only official language of the country, once again by the use of the parliamentary majority that was offered to the majority community. Various peaceful agitations were organized amongst this time and the late 1970s to win back the right to self-determination that was lost first by means of foreign conquests and later due to a program of government that reinforced majoritarian hegemony not accepted by the Tamil Folks. Agreements had been also entered into between two Prime Ministers, SWRD Bandaranaike and Dudley Senanayake, and SJV Chelvanayakam, the leader of the Tamil Men and women in 1957 and 1965 respectively, relating primarily to the alienation of state land in the North-East, to guarantee the linguistic and cultural identity of the North-East. Each had been unilaterally abrogated by the governments of the day. In 1961 the ITAK carried out a enormous satyagraha campaign involving thousands of Tamil speaking Peoples in the North and the East, peacefully engaged in prayer resulting in the entrances to the Government Agents’ offices (Kachcheris) in the North-East being peacefully obstructed and government administration in the North and East becoming fully paralysed.
In 1970 a Constituent Assembly was formed to enact an autochthonous constitution. ITAK also participated in this exercise and urged the inclusion of provisions to share powers of governance with the Tamil Speaking Peoples in the North-East on the basis of shared sovereignty inside a united nation in maintaining with their democratic verdicts. Those proposals have been defeated by majority votes and the members of the ITAK left the Constituent Assembly. Similarly the Tamil Individuals did not grant their consent to the enactment of the 1978 Constitution. Hence the very first and second Republican constitutions possessing entrenched a Unitary State, continued with Sinhala as the only official languageand gave Buddhism the foremost place. These constituions were enacted with out the consent of the Tamil Men and women.
Systematic State-sponsored colonization was carried out given that independence in 1948 in order to adjust the demographic pattern of the North-East, which are the regions of historical habitation of the Tamil Speaking Peoples. This has continued with complete vigour in the North and the East after the end of the war in 2009. The government retains an oppressive army presence in the Northern Province and has engaged in acquiring massive tracts of land for ‘military purposes’.
In addition to the acts of discrimination, which includes standardization which affected the tertiary education of the Tamil youth and occasioned discrimination in employment in the state sector, organized violence was periodically unleashed against the Tamil Men and women in the nation in 1956, 1958, 1961, 1977, 1981 and 1983. No protection was supplied by the State to the Tamil victims. On these occasions, impacted Tamil Men and women from other parts of the country had been transported by the State by land, sea and air to the North and East recognizing these two provinces to be their homeland.
Power SHARING ARRANGMENTS
Quickly after the anti-Tamil pogram in 1983, attempts have been produced to solve the Tamil national question by indicates of an alternate political arrangement in which greater autonomy would be granted to the Tamil Speaking Peoples. An arrangement was introduced in 1987 consequent to the Indo-Lanka Accord. These alterations paved the way for the setting up of Provincial Councils with minimal powers, and promises had been produced at the highest levels that it will be enhanced upon. Several such attempts resulted in the 1993 Mangala Munasinghe Select Committee Proposals during President Ranasinghe Premadasa’s term, the Government’s proposals for constitutional reform of 1995, 1997 and 2000 beneath President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and the APRC multi-ethnic expert committee majority report in December 2006 under President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Whilst no progress was getting created on the political front to resolve the burning national issue, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continued its armed struggle. Successive governments entered into negotiations with the LTTE and in February 2002 the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka signed a Ceasefire Agreement and later in December 2002 agreed on a set of principles named the Oslo Communiqué, which stated “[T]o explore a remedy founded on the principle of internal self determination in places of historical habitation of the Tamil-speaking Peoples, based on a federal structure within a united Sri Lanka.”
MILITARY ONSLAUGHT AND ITS AFTERMATH
Nevertheless, the ceasefire did not last and hostilities broke out among the government forces and the LTTE with the military confrontation coming to an end on 19th May 2009. The 30 year old hostilities and war has ravaged the Tamil speaking North-East and left the Tamil Individuals destitute. More than One Million Tamils have fled to other countries for security and yet another half a million Tamils were displaced inside the country. Over One particular Hundred and Fifty Thousand Tamils have been killed over the years of the conflict and credible estimates point to more than seventy thousand civilians obtaining been killed in the last stages of the military onslaught. Many far more have been maimed and grievously injured and endure from traumatic disorders. In addition over 500,000 Tamil people have been rendered homeless. Most have been interned in detention camps against all civilized and international norms. The appropriate of resettlement of these individuals in their original areas, even though promised to the international neighborhood and to the United Nations, have not been honoured.
TAMIL Individuals AND THE PRESESENT CONSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS
We, the Tamil Men and women of Sri Lanka are a distinct Individuals in terms of relevant International Conventions and Covenants. We as a Individuals want to continue to live in our nation in peaceful co-existence with others, with dignity and self-respect, with freedom and liberty and with out worry, as equal citizens free from majoritarian hegemony.
We as a Individuals are as a result concerned about our historical habitats, our Collective Rights that accrue to us as a Individuals and as a Nation and our entitlement to workout our proper to determine our destiny to make certain self-government in the Tamil Speaking North-East of the nation inside a united and undivided Sri Lanka.
The present constitutional arrangements in this regard have proved to be inadequate and unsatisfactory. They favour the majority and impose majoritarian hegemony on the Tamil Men and women. Democracy in a plural society cannot function effectively without a constitutional framework that offers for equity, equality, justice, peace and security. It is in this context that we face the forthcoming Parliamentary Election.
The TNA firmly believes that sovereignty lies with the People and not with the State. It is not the government in Colombo that holds the right to govern the Tamil Men and women, but the Men and women themselves. In this regard the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka is flawed in that power is concentrated at the Centre and its Agent, the Governor. Our political philosophy is rooted in a fundamental democratic challenge to the authoritarian state. We made a important contribution towards the achievement of these objectives on the 8th of January 2015 in the entire country. Our political programme is therefore rooted in the needs and aspirations of all folks including the Tamil Speaking Peoples for justice and equality.
OUR STAND ON A POLITICAL Resolution
The principles and specific constitutional provisions that the TNA considers to be paramount to the resolution of the national question relate mainly to the sharing of the powers of governance by means of a shared sovereignty amongst the Peoples who inhabit this island. The following salient characteristics of power sharing are fundamental to achieving genuine reconciliation, lasting peace and improvement for all the Peoples of Sri Lanka:
- The Tamils are a distinct Folks with their personal culture, civilization, language and heritage and from time immemorial have inhabited this island collectively with the Sinhalese People and other people
- The contiguous preponderantly Tamil Speaking Northern and Eastern provinces is the historical habitation of the Tamil Individuals and the Tamil Speaking Peoples
- The Tamil Men and women are entitled to the proper to self-determination in keeping with United Nations International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and Financial, Social and Cultural Rights, both of which Sri Lanka has accepted and acceded to
- Power sharing arrangements must continue to be established as it existed earlier in a unit of a merged Northern and Eastern Provinces based on a Federal structure. The Tamil speaking Muslim historical inhabitants shall be entitled to be beneficiaries of all energy-sharing arrangements in the North-East. This will no way inflict any disability on any People.
- Devolution of power on the basis of shared sovereignty shall be over land, law and order, enforcement of the law so as to make certain the security and security of the Tamil Folks, socio-economic development like inter-alia overall health, education, higher and vocational education, agriculture, fisheries, industries, livestock development, cultural affairs, mustering of resources, each domestic and foreign and fiscal powers.
- Direct foreign investment in the North-East should be facilitated resulting in new industries and employment opportunities becoming developed for youth
- Avenues for tertiary education ought to also be set-up so that those who can’t enter universities can pursue greater education in relevant fields
All that has been stated above shall be enacted and implemented inside the framework of a united and undivided Sri Lanka.
OUR STAND ON ACCOUNTABILITY AND RECONCILIATION
Accountability and reconciliation are basic to genuine and permanent peace in Sri Lanka. We seek fulfilment of the resolutions adopted at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in March 2012, March 2013, and March 2014 and the Report of the international investigation mandated by the March 2014 resolution to be released in September 2015. We are strongly committed to the ascertainment of the truth which have to be created public and recognized to all the peoples of this nation, the Sinhalese, the Tamils, the Muslims and other individuals Truth, justice, reparation and the guarantee of non-recurrence are basic to the national query getting comprehensively addressed so as to guarantee permanent and genuine reconciliation among the diverse peoples on the basis of justice and equality.
MATTERS OF Instant CONCERN FOR THE TAMIL Men and women
In addition to continuing to pursue a just and lasting political solution to the national ethnic query, we will actively engage in addressing the quick and present issues of our Folks. The specific matters are as follows:
- There must be meaningful de-militarization resulting in the return to the pre-war scenario as it existed in 1983 just before the commencement of hostilities by the removal of armed forces, military apparatuses and High Safety/Restricted Zones from the Northern and Eastern Provinces. This is imperative in the prevailing calm and peaceful environment
- Tamil Men and women who have been displaced in the North and the East due to the conflict need to be speedily resettled in their original areas housing supplied and livelihoods restored in a manner that respects their dignity – After the defeat of the former regime in January 2015 and due to the persistent and indefatigable efforts of the TNA over the past several years and since January 2015, decisions have been taken by the new regime for the return of the lands to and the resettlement of the displaced Tamil Folks in Valikamam in the North and Sampur in the East which are becoming currently implemented. Action will be expeditiously pursued to fulfil these objectives. 1,000 acres of farm land has also been released in Keppapulavu in Mullaithivu.
- Because six years have elapsed right after the conclusion of the war, all political and other prisoners held below the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) in relation to war-related activities have to be released. The TNA has been pressing for their release and for the abrogation of the PTA and will continue to strenuously pursue this objective.
- There need to be finality reached by the truth becoming ascertained with regard to thousands of missing persons who had been largely bread-winners of their households and adequate multi-faceted relief offered to the mentioned families so as to enable them to overcome their agony and recommence lives.
Tamils who fled the country should be permitted to return to their houses and a conducive atmosphere produced for their return. In particular, expeditious measures must be taken for the return of more than 100,000 refugees in South India.
- A comprehensive programme for the development of the North and the East which includes the creation of employment possibilities for the youth will be undertaken with the active help of the Sri Lankan State, the Tamil Diaspora and the International Community. It was not achievable to implement such a programme throughout the term of the former regime due to its adverse attitude and considering that January 2015 the country has not had a strong and steady government. The TNA would actively market the accomplishment of such a programme when a new government is established.
- The TNA will initiate a programme to rehabilitate all minor tanks in the North-East so as to improve the water sources for our agricultural wants and will also take severe methods, with needed specialist aid to resolve the drinking water issue in the North.
- A extensive development programme will be undertaken in the North-East, such as upgrading the Palali airport as an international airport, and building sea ports and fisheries harbours.
- Relevant knowledge and technologies will be obtained so as to modernise the utilization of our palmyrah resources.
- We will locate options for the challenges faced by our fishermen in freely pursing their vocation and make every effort to increase their livelihood.
WAR WIDOWS, ORPHANS, ELDERS AND DISABLED
The war has left behind practically 90,000 widows in the North-East. There is a need to have for a clear policy to build their capacity and uplift their lives. These widows have turn out to be economically and socially vulnerable. Adequate measures should be taken to swiftly and successfully develop livelihood programmes and other essential measures to alleviate their present situation. The wants of youngsters, elders and disabled also need to have to be addressed.
REHABILITATION OF EX-MILITANTS
The rehabilitation of ex-militants have to be complete making certain the acquisition of essential abilities and the creation of employment opportunities to allow them to recommence lives with dignity. Programmes that have been implemented hence far have been inadequate and the ex-militants have not been capable to earn their livelihood or recommence their lives with dignity. An early programme of action is necessary to address this situation.
THE BREAKDOWN OF Classic SOCIAL STRUCTURES
The current structure of government which excludes meaningful Tamil participation in powerful governance and substituting therefor the military in the North-East, post-war, has resulted in the boost of gender primarily based violence, abuse of alcohol and drugs and the common breakdown of standard social structures. The only way in which this can be remedied is via powers of governance getting efficiently exercised by democratically elected representatives of the individuals.
THE Role OF THE INTERNATIONAL Neighborhood
The Tamil Folks have often worked with commitment towards a reasonable and acceptable resolution of the national ethnic query through domestic processes. It is the Sri Lankan state which has spurned these possibilities and sought to suppress the Tamil People by way of repeated anti-Tamil pograms. It was such conduct on the part of the Sri Lankan state that internationalized the national question and compelled the Sri Lankan state to accept an international part. Tamil militancy, which also was an inevitable consequence, has now ended.
The former regime endeavoued to undo even the minimum progress achieved via international involvement. The TNA is firmly of the view that international auspices is inevitable to obtain permanent peace through genuine reconciliation thereby enabling all Peoples living in Sri Lanka to live as equal citizens.
The TNA calls upon the voters in the electoral districts of Jaffna, Vanni, Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara to unitedly and overwhelmingly exercise their franchise in favour of the TNA, contesting below the name of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi and the “House” symbol and thereby democratically endorse, to the fullest degree, policies of the TNA enunciated right here in regard to essential problems of fundamental concern to the Tamil and Tamil speaking Peoples as set out in this Manifesto.
This Manifesto is issued by the TNA comprising of ITAK, TELO, EPRLF and PLOTE.