TNA leader R. Sampanthan told The Hindu newspaper in an interview that the Government has not yet addressed its commitments on the question of accountability adopted by the UN Human Rights Council, and co-sponsored by the Government of Sri Lanka in 2015.
“The Tamil civilian population is bitterly disappointed about the delay,” he said.
However, he noted that overall the TNA has no regrets in backing President Maithripala Sirisena at the 2015 Presidential elections.
“I have not the slightest doubt that we made the correct decision in backing Mr. Sirisena. We were sick of the Rajapaksa government which had been particularly unjust and unfair to the Tamil civilians. President Sirisena had been involved with Tamil politics even before he stood for election. He was one of the strongest supporters of a just and reasonable solution to the Tamil question. He supported the constitutional proposals put forward by President Chandrika Bandaranaike, between 1994 and 2000. That, no doubt, influenced our decision. We were also influenced in our decision by the fact that Mr. Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe were willing to work together. For the first time, this provided an opportunity for the emergence of a multi-party consensus, particularly between the two main political parties, on the Tamil question,” he said.
Sampanthan also said that the TNA expects the Constitution process to move forward more rapidly after the Local Government elections.
“The process has been somewhat delayed because of certain positions taken by certain political parties,” he said.
Sampanthan further noted that the issues that have been of concern to the Tamil civilian population are the release of [civilians’] land held by the armed forces, the question of continued detention of political detenues and missing persons.
“I will not say that nothing has been done. I would certainly say that much more could have been done. Some of the lands [previously held by the military] have been released both in the north and east, after we exerted much pressure on the government. Release of land is a continuing phenomenon. It is not easy, but it is happening. Even a few days ago, 133 acres was released at Keppapilavu in Mullaitivu. I worked very assiduously on that. In regard to persons detained, about 40-50% of them have come out of jail. On the question of missing persons — apparently there have been about 20,000 complaints — it is a very large number. What their families fundamentally require is some information on their missing relatives. Some conclusion about whether that person is alive or not. There must be some solace, reparation, and some forms of assistance that will enable them to come to terms with reality and be able to pick up their lives and proceed,” he said. (Colombo Gazette)