The Sri Lankan government is committed to fully implementing the 13th amendment to the constitution mooted in 1987 as a solution to the island’s ethnic conflict, a senior government spokesman said Thursday.
“The government is committed to the 13th amendment and the provincial councils,” the cabinet spokesman and Minister of Media and Information Anura Yapa told reporters. Yapa said some debates have begun with regard to conferring the councils with police and land powers.
“These issues can be sorted out through discussion,” Yapa stressed.
Fully implementing the provisions of the 13th amendment is currently being seen as the engine to offer some form of political power to the island’s Tamil minority.
Since the government’s comprehensive military success over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil last month the government has come up with calls to settle for power sharing with the Tamil minority.
The Economist takes a look at the response from the state and political parties et al, following the defeat of the LTTE: the speeches, the parades, the hailing of Mahinda Rajapakse as a king.
In the third of his big set-piece victory speeches early this month, Mr Rajapaksa asserted that the war had been fought to liberate the Tamil people. Unaccountably, he made no reference to the sufferings of Sri Lankan Tamils even though nearly 300,000 of them have been displaced from their homes and are now miserably interned in camps. The president also harked back to ancient Sinhalese martial heroes. Marking victory with plans to build stupas all over the mainly Buddhist country, and relishing songs, posters and newspaper articles hailing him as a “king”, Mr Rajapaksa seems to be cultivating the image of an elected monarch. In particular, he likes to recall Dutugemunu, a famous warrior-king of the second century BC, who defeated Elara, a Tamil usurper from India.
This foolish oratorical provocation has been matched by increasing intolerance of dissent, suspicion of many Tamils and threats against those seen as Tiger “collaborators”. The government refuses to bow to calls for an independent investigation into the final weeks of the war, in which thousands are believed to have been killed by government shelling. It blames nearly all the civilian deaths on the Tigers. But in the absence of any inquiry a decades-old culture of impunity will persist, as will Tamil grievances and a sense of injustice.
Read the entire article here.
In an interesting addendum, ICT4Peace reports that “This week’s Economist has apparently (as per Vijitha Yapa – to whom I pay a bloody 11,000 bucks for the magazine) been “held up” at Customs.”