| by Nilantha Ilangamuwa
(November 04, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) The United Kingdom based Alliance for Peace and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka (APRSL) has arranged a meeting in the British parliament premises on 14 November 2011. According to the invitation circulated, the meeting will be on the theme of ‘Tamil friends of India-the way forward’.
APRSL was launched in January 2009 at a gathering of progressive minded diaspora Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese, deeply concerned of the ravages of war and the need to bring all the communities in Sri Lanka together for nation building and restoration of peace, democracy and rule of law so that the country as a whole can advance socially, politically and economically to achieve its rightful place in the world.
According to the invitation circulated, British parliamentarians, academics and local Councillors will address the meeting.
The organisation is holding its second such meeting in the British parliament – the first was held two years ago on Oct. 19, 2009 on the theme of ‘Post-war in Sri Lanka: Peace and reconciliation- a way forward’. Andy Love MP, Des Brown MP, Siobhian McDonough MP, Sri Lanka government Minister Prof. Tissa Vitarana, Councillor Paul Sathianesan, Reza Yehya, Director Research – Serendip Institute of Research and Development (SIRD of Sri Lanka) and Roy Chaudhury were the key speakers and leading attendees. In the meeting, the Sri Lanka government minister Prof Tissa Vitharane said: ‘the President always says that he wants to address the problems of the Tamils and that he spoke in public in the Tamil language’. According to APRSL General Secretary R Jayadevan, ‘the government is still dragging its feet and is only speaking and it has no intention of solving this conflict through transparent political process’.
The latest meeting ‘Tamil friends of India-The way forward’ is said be held to strengthen the India’s interest in Sri Lanka to play a pro-active and positive role to resolve the burgeoning conflict.
The convener R Jayadevan of the APRSL further said, he is very proud to call a meeting on the very important theme at the critical juncture of the history for the Tamils who have been stampeded in every directions to survive as a nation of people.
He said: ‘despite my painful experience of tragic and brutal death of my mother and brother in the hands of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in 1987, I think of a much sincere role of India, to play a honest and fair role as the regional leader to bring the much needed peace through accommodative and honest devolved power base for the suffering Tamils to live with dignity and honour’. He further said he has not given the due homage to his dear ones and that can only be given in a climate of peace and tranquillity for the Tamils’.
Full text of the Mission Statement of APRSL
Standards of governance have continued to decline since Sri Lanka gained independence six decades back. A vision for a multi- lingual, multi-religious, multi-cultural and multi-community nation was lacking among the political parties contending for power in the newly emergent nation.
The fact that there is more in common among the peoples of Sri Lanka was glossed over, while the differences were exaggerated in order to garner votes from a fragmented electorate. The pursuit of power without scruples has fractured the nation at various levels, with the communal divide-Sinhala vs. Tamil, leading to a brutal and barbaric civil war and a demand for a separate state for the Tamils.
The failure to embrace accommodative politics, respect constitutional norms and adhere to basic moral principles has thwarted Sri Lanka from achieving her potential, while causing immense suffering to sections of her people and have failed to achieve ‘Unity in Diversity’ amongst the communities.
Corruption and violence of all sorts have become endemic and are thriving national industries. All the above factors have contributed to make a mockery of rule of law and brought about a decline in ‘Good Governance’.
The current situation in Sri Lanka dictates the need for a visionary approach, to arrest further decline in all aspects of national life, bring about a national reconciliation and set in motion a vibrant accommodative democratic process for national revival through political empowerment encompassing all her peoples.
Socio-political structures have to be remade where necessary, strengthened where required and the people empowered to the greatest extent possible. The strangle hold of the politicians at all levels of national life has to be broken as a national priority. Sri Lanka has to become a pragmatic, forward looking nation, unencumbered by both her recent and ancient past.
Tragic events of the past three decades have given rise to a vibrant, prosperous, and skilled Tamil Diaspora, which has strong emotional and family ties to Sri Lanka. This Diaspora continues to have strong interest in the affairs in Sri Lanka and is not only a major asset for the Tamil community in Sri Lanka, but potentially for the whole country. This asset has to be cultivated and mobilized for the betterment of both the Tamils and the country at large.
This Diaspora has to also participate in the process of conflict resolution in Sri Lanka.
It is the objective of this grouping to:
1. To bear upon the Government of Sri Lanka and other participants in the political process to resolve the Sinhala-Tamil- Muslim aspirations through an accommodative process in a transparent manner.
To achieve this the following activities will be undertaken:
Campaigning internationally on Social, political, human rights and humanitarian issues of concern to all Sri Lankans.
Establish socio-media structures to deal with issues affecting vulnerable Sri Lankans both within and outside the country.
Educate, motivate and harness youth in the Diaspora to become involved in the conflict resolution process both inside and outside Sri Lanka.
To lend a hand to resolve the conflict in Sri Lanka.
2. To harness the resources of Sri Lankan Diaspora to develop and strengthen the socio- economic structures within Sri Lanka and within the Diaspora itself.
3. To bring about the awareness that we are all Sri Lankans, irrespective of where we may be living around the globe. –