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APRC Report Unacknowledged

Jul 27, 2010 5:11:12 AM - thesundayleader.lk

UNP MP R. Yogarajan and SLMC Deputy Secretary General Nizam Kariapper, recently compiled a report on proposals made by the All Party Representatives Committee (APRC), in hope that the President would use it to form the basis of a new constitution.

Kariapper, told the Sunday Leader that he believes a similar report, compiled by the Chairman of the APRC, was handed over to President Rajapaksa last year, but is not aware of any acknowledgement of this report by the President.

“We believe that the president has the final report compiled by the Chairman,” says Kariapper.

The Sunday Leader also contacted chairman of the APRC, Professor Tissa Vitharana, who confirmed that he had compiled and handed over a report containing proposals made by the APRC to the President last year.

Professor Vitharana also said that he had explained the contents of the report to the President, who said that he would get back to him with his response, but the subject of the report was not addressed again.

“We have had various discussions regarding constitutional reforms, but not this report,” he says.

According to Kariapper, the President himself, at the inaugural meeting of the APRC, established in 2006 to solve the ethnic issue, spoke of how proposals made by the APRC could be used to “encompass the ethnic issue” when forming a new constitution.

The latest report compiled by Yogarajan and Kariapper was recently tabled in Parliament and copies were submitted to all members of the APRC.

“Our expectations are that the President submits a copy of the report to the UNP and the TNA, and then start engaging in discussions about constitutional changes,” says Kariapper. “We can only bring about awareness, the government has to take it forward.”

He said they found the reactions of the main opposition, UNP and the TNA, encouraging. He added that both parties feel comfortable about the contents of the report and are ready to carry out discussions.

by Gazala Anver and Maryam Azwer