The Global Tamil Forum (GTF), an influential Tamil diaspora group says Sri Lanka should be made to understand, in no uncertain terms, that the country will pay a heavy price if it continues its negative trajectory.
The GTF also noted that it is time for the international community to rethink its engagement approach towards Sri Lanka.
“Sri Lanka should be made to understand in no uncertain terms that the country will pay a heavy price if it continues its negative trajectory – whether it be on democracy, rule of law, human rights, accountability, and reconciliation or on fostering its pluralistic character,” the GTF said in a statement issued by GTF spokesman Suren Surendiran.
The UK based organisation said that as a first step, the leaders of the international community, particularly those who consider adherence to international law as a cornerstone for decent and civilised world, should desist from direct engagement with Sri Lankan leaders who so blatantly flout the foundation of international norms.
“The Sri Lankan leaders will do well to earn the respect and honour deserved for bona fide leaderships,” GTF said.
GTF said that the recent appointment by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa of a Presidential Task Force for ‘One Country, One Law’ under the leadership of Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero is a deeply worrying development.
The Task Force has a few handpicked Muslim representatives but without Tamil representation and was formed without consultations with minority community representatives.
“It is a clear illustration of Sri Lanka’s twin failures – lack of respect for pluralism and rule of law, and entrenched immunity from prosecution – the hallmarks of the present administration,” GTF said.
GTF noted that under President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka is increasingly ruled through Presidential Task Forces sidestepping the traditional democratic mechanisms of governance. The Buddhist-monk headed Task Force has been asked to study the ‘One Country, One Law’ concept and to prepare a draft Act for its implementation.
The GTF said that it is feared the present government that has so spectacularly failed in every aspect of governance and economic development, will resort to majoritarian extremism, and foster ethnic hatreds to sustain a degree of its original support base – a time tested strategy in Sri Lankan politics.
“Such steps will undoubtedly be the death knell for reconciliation and has the potential to set off resentments and conflicts in the future,” GTF said.
The Global Tamil Forum is calling upon the international community to recognise this fact and redouble its efforts, including through effective bilateral measures, to promote accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette)