(Given below is the full text of the Memorandum submitted directly by Tamil Parties’ Forum to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa)
His Excellency Mahinda Rajapakse,
President of the Republic of Sri Lanka.
We wish to thank Your Excellency for the opportunity afforded to us to meet with you despite your tight schedule.
We, the Tamil political parties have come to an understanding and constituted a common forum to strive for a permanent political solution to the ethnic problem and also to work towards solving the immediate issues faced by the Tamil people.
In this context, we have initiated discussions with the other concerned political parties with a view to forge a consensus on the question of a political solution.
We believe that the political solution to the ethnic problem should be found within the frame work of a united Sri Lanka thus enabling the Tamil people to participate fully in their own governance in the North – East. The implementation of the 13th amendment in full will be a positive beginning of the political process in this regard.
Having won a massive mandate in both the last presidential election and the parliamentary election and enjoying a two –third majority in parliament, we have no doubt whatsoever that, Your Excellency have an unprecedented opportunity to solve the ethnic problem once and for all.
Among many issues identified by us, we list below some of them which need your kind and urgent attention and remedial action to redress the grievances of the Tamil people.
1. Meaningful Resettlement
Although majority of the Internally Displaced Persons have been sent back to their former places of habitation, they have not been settled with adequate basic facilities.
a) They are living in temporary shelters and tents.
b) Some of the IDP’s have not been allowed to access their houses and properties on different grounds including the objection that they do not possess documents in proof of their claim.
2. Providing adequate compensation for the people who lost their limbs, bread winners, family members and properties
Many of the people affected by the war have not been given any compensation for their losses.
We recommend the setting up of a suitable mechanism to compensate them at the earliest.
3. Inadequate support and assistance to the affected people
We request that more support and assistance from local as well as international communities and agencies be encouraged and facilitated to reach and benefit the affected people towards their resettlement and rehabilitation.
4. Tamil Detainees
There are a large number of Tamil prisoners detained either under the Emergency Regulations or the Prevention of Terrorism Act without their being indicted for the last several years.
We request that all these detainees be released.
In respect of those detainees who have been indicted and those on whom indictments have been ordered, we request that they be released on bail pending trial.
We suggest that toward the achievement of national reconciliation, a General amnesty for all those who surrendered or were taken into custody during the war be granted.
5. Missing Persons
Hundreds of Tamil families are still searching for their dear and near ones whom they believe are still in the custody of the Government.
We request the release of a full and complete list of all those Tamils who are in custody on account of their having been arrested or surrendered during the military conflict that lasted for several years till it was over in May 2009, so that the agony and anguish of these families would be ended.
6. Reduction of the excessive presence of the security forces
Since the war had been over eighteen months ago, the continuing presence of the security forces at the same level as it was during the war is creating inconvenience to the public in their leading a normal life.
i. High Security Zones prevent people from generating their income from sources such as farming, cultivation and fishing. However, there are reports of many isolated incidents that people from outside the North – East are accessing these areas for farming and fishing.
ii. Control exercised by the security forces in some areas prevent the free movement of the public and inconvenience them in their day to day activities.
iii. Involvement of the security forces in civil administration and public affairs at different levels creates impediment in the resumption of an effective and vibrant civil administration.
Therefore, we request the establishment of a full and complete civil administration without any involvement of the security forces.
7. Steps taken to disturb the demographic composition and thereby national reconciliation
One of the main reasons for the discontent between the communities was the state sponsored colonization by successive governments in the past with the motive of altering the demographic composition in the North – East. Even today attempts are being made to do the same that obstructs the reconciliation between the communities.
We are concerned that the proposal to establish settlements of the members of the security forces and their families numbering many thousands will drastically alter the demographic composition in the Northern and Eastern provinces of the country. We are of the view that nothing should be done to disturb the demographic composition and cause disruption of the process of national reconciliation.
Therefore, we request that the said proposal be reconsidered.
8. Government Appointments in the North – East
We find that local Tamil youths have been totally ignored in several appointments including the posts of minor employees in various Government departments and institutions in the North – East in recent times.
We request that their grievances be redressed at the earliest.
We assure our cooperation in and support to every effort that Your Excellency may take to achieve national reconciliation through a just resolution of the ethnic problem, the implementation of the three languages policy and development projects.
V. Anandasangaree TULF
K.N. Douglus Devananda EPDP
S.C. Chandrahasan TPF
S. Chandrakanthan TMVP
N. Kumaraguruparan DPF
P. Uthayarajah Sri-TELO
T. Sritharan P-EPRLF
M.K. Shivajilingam TNLA
D. Siddharthan PLOTE