Today, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) appears to be in a Catch-22 situation with rules and regulations that they are subject to, but has no control over, because to fight the rule is to accept it. The “catch-22” situation exist because the TNA was formed when arbitrary rules created by the rulers to justify and conceal their own abuse of power was in practice. Call it a dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape for TNA or its leadership, because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions. It was against such a backdrop that the sessions in Geneva unfolded in what is considered as the election year in Sri Lanka.
Earlier after the civil-war ended decisively ten years ago in 2009, many nations backed the call on Sri Lankan government from the world’s only super power, the United States to investigate deliberate human rights violations in the final phase of the war and a resolution was passed to that effect at the UNHRC shortly after war ended. Since then the previous government with a flawed strategy opposed the resolution as it was principally sponsored by the United States. Then other countries such as the United Kingdom took up the task of expediting what it calls the process of reconciliation and a succession of resolutions against Sri Lanka were thereafter endorsed by the UNHRC.
The Unity Government that came to power in 2015 had a different strategy and engaged with the United States and with other nations to co-sponsor resolutions at the UNHRC and took the opportunity to modify these resolutions that were unfriendly to the country’s interests. Four years down the line Sri Lanka has failed to investigate deliberate human rights violations in the final phase of the war.
After the 2015 General Elections the TNA who represent in parliament the Tamils of North-East most impacted by the civil-war urged the newly elected government to fulfil the decisions set by UNHRC regarding the war crimes and missing persons, but the government failed to carry out them properly in particular regards to prisoners of war and the missing persons. Since then the TNA choose to be in opposition and propped up the government unconditionally the four years. Whereas TNA should have given conditional support keeping to their election promises made to its people, whose human rights were violated during the war and during the negative peace years that followed. Further TNA went off the track to snuff out their North-East opponents calling for an independent judicial mechanism, who knowing the bitter truth that the state of Sri Lanka cannot be an independent arbiter in a matter as it was one of the warring parties. The two factions began a political tug-of-war are now preparing for the elections has negatively impacted on the community they both claim to represent.
After the UNHRC sessions in which the government co-sponsored for the third time, TNA has appealed to the government to adhere to the time bound implementation of the UNHRC resolution. While their opponents had made known to the UNHRC that the people they represent are left with no alternative than to request for an entirely international judicial mechanism. Whereas the TNA with their own opponents should have adopted a united approach supporting the call from UNHRC to investigate deliberate human rights violations in the final phase of the war on the people they represent.
Sri Lanka has signed and co-sponsored and enabled the passage of a resolution that calls for the participation of foreign judges, which is possible under the present constitution even though this fact has been accepted by many in parliament, reflects their sad mindset. TNA has said it is false to say that the Constitution prohibits the participation of foreign judges. In fact it does not prohibit for Article 105 of our Constitution lays no restriction and Article 111 with regard to the High Court lays no restriction with regard to the nationality of judges.
Though the government has agreed for the first time in resolution 40/1 with a time bound implementation that has been brought in for the first time because the Sri Lankan government has been extending and delaying the implementation of all promises made in the UNHRC, because other resolutions are being categorised as time extensions. Now that UNHRC has granted Sri Lankan government a two-year time period to implement the recommendations in the resolution it is very likely that all political parties will get on with their preparations for the elections, than be concerned about TNA exerting pressure to comply with the resolution.
Sri Lankan government must act fast to deal with the UNHRC Resolution 40/1 as the ruler of the whole country. Bitter Truth is the UNHRC resolutions are not acted on with a holistic approach by the Sri Lankan government has left many grievances of the people TNA represent unresolved. In spite of many times Sri Lankan leadership informing that, if anyone has committed crimes and many have, that it will be investigated; yet in the absence of a holistic rule in the country in practice many known cases are yet to reach the courts, a few cases has been discharged on technical grounds and some cases taken up have not been concluded. Where does all this leave the TNA, unless they change their mindset and adopt a united approach with their own opponents and bring them into their alliance as suggested many times in Northern Breeze to fight their rights in parliament. Otherwise with their present mood the people TNA would be dumped and back their opponents at the next elections and this post is a wakeup call to TNA to act wisely to get out of the Catch-22 situation.