US-India can change conditions in SL: TNA and GTF

  • TNA and GTF request US State Dept. to be more involved

BY Pamodi Waravita

The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) said yesterday (25) that several discussions held this month by a GTF-Tamil National Alliance (TNA) delegation with the US State Department had focused on the transformative role the US Government could play, alongside India, to change the present conditions in Sri Lanka whilst international assistance was also sought to counter the Sri Lankan Government’s land appropriation measures in the Tamil-majority North and East.

“The particular focus of the current engagement was to call for a proactive US Government role in promoting a holistic approach to reconciliation, which would include addressing the root cause of the conflict, human rights violations, and the denial of political rights to the Tamil people. The GTF-TNA delegation emphasised that addressing the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil people for equality, justice, peace, dignity, and meaningful power devolution is critical in guaranteeing non-recurrence. Preventing further deterioration of the governance and economy-related ills of the country and fostering equality and reconciliation among all its communities was emphasised and called for,” said the GTF in a statement issued in this regard yesterday.

The incumbent Government has proscribed the GTF.

The GTF also said that Tamil, Muslim, Christian, and Hindu communities are being further marginalised whilst Sri Lanka continues its trajectory towards authoritarianism and militarisation.

“The challenges faced by the Tamil community on a daily basis to protect their land and preserve their identity in the Tamil-majority Northern and Eastern Provinces against rampant militarisation and state-sponsored initiatives aimed at altering regional demography was discussed. Details of some of the recent land appropriation measures by the GoSL (Government of Sri Lanka) were presented and the need to urgently counter such measures with international assistance was noted,” the statement added.

In Washington D.C., the TNA-GTF delegation had met with US State Department officials, senior staff members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, legislators from the US Congress, and former US Ambassadors to Sri Lanka and Assistant Secretaries for the region. In New York, the TNA-GTF delegation met with United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) representatives.

TNA Parliamentarians M.A. Sumanthiran PC and Shanakiyan Rasamanickam were part of the TNA delegation.