ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, March 11 , 2007
Vol. 41 - No 41
Columns - Lobby

Of human rights, secret pacts and the CFA

By Chandani Kirinde, Our LobbyCorrespondent

HR violations: IGP cannot wash his hands of these crimes -Joseph Michael Perera

Ven. Aturaliye Ratana
Wimal Weerawansa
Joseph Michael Perera
Sripathy Sooriyaarachchi
Nimal Siripala de Silva

When the emergency regulations came up for debate in Parliament the alleged secret agreement between the President and the LTTE prior to the presidential elections became the subject of debate. However the controversial ceasefire agreement signed by the UNP Government and the LTTE five years ago does not appear to have subsided despite the new revelations.

While UNP MPs tried to make an issue of the alleged secret pact that had been revealed by the two rebel government legislators recently, the JVP kept up the pressure on the government to abolish the CFA. While the JVP has been strangely silent on the subject of the newly exposed pact, the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) which is now partner in the Government did make some reference to it during the debate.

JHU Parliamentary group leader Ven. Aturaliye Ratana Thero pointed out that if such an agreement was in existence it needed be tabled in the House. “There is no point making mere allegations. If there is evidence it must be presented to the country”, he said.

Though Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake has already denied the existence of any such agreement, it has not silenced the United National Party (UNP) and many UNPers have been calling for an investigation into the allegations. Kurunegala district UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera emphasised that both the JVP and the JHU had signed post elections pacts with the President and they should answer to these allegations.

“I can state categorically that the JVP and JHU were aware of this pact which prevented Tamils in the northern and eastern provinces from exercising their vote”, he said. Dayasiri added that Sripathy Sooriyaarachchi who had been making several allegations against the President referred to the matter in Parliament as well, when he raised a privilege issue regarding his security. “I will reveal all the details of this agreement .I will not get scared and run way,” Mr.Sooriyaarachchi had said on that occasion.

The JVP meanwhile continued with its mantra against the CFA accusing President Rajapaksa of not acting decisively to end the CFA. JVP Parliamentary group leader Wimal Weerawansa told Parliament that recent remarks by President Mahinda Rajapaksa that the CFA is no obstacle to him is hard to understand.. “ How can the CFA not be an obstacle to the President. It is because of the CFA that foreign nations are continuing to interfere in our internal affairs” Weerawansa said.

He said the LTTE statement on the fifth anniversary of the CFA that the agreement recognised the de facto state of Tamil Eelam proved the repeated warnings by the JVP that the LTTE was using the agreement to gain legitimacy were correct. The issue of human rights violations was raised by Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Michael Perera who warned that the UNP would have to reconsider its decision to support the extension of the state of emergency if abductions and extra judicial killings taking place in the country continued.

“Today bodies are surfacing in all parts of the country” he said. “The IGP claims that these are being done to discredit the government. This is a serious matter and warrants serious investigations. The IGP cannot wash his hands of these crimes by making such statement” Mr. Perera said.

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MPs too spoke on the issue of human rights violations which they alleged were linked to the government. Unfortunately party group leader R. Sampanthan said the party “strongly disapproved” the recent mortar attack which left several Ambassadors injured. The TNA did not condemn the attack.

Instead the party blamed the government for putting the lives of the foreign dignitaries at risk. Leader of the House Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva who wound up the debate said that the government wanted a peaceful solution to the problem and was in fact trying to clear a path to achieve peace.

With rebel government MPs threatening to spill the beans regarding an alleged secret pact between the LTTE and the President, the JVP continuing to breath fire demanding the abrogation of the CFA, government’s problems do not seem likely to end soon.
However the presence of 18 UNP members well as the JHU MPs in the government for the moment at least appear to have neutralised some of the governments problems temporarily.

However the problems of the UNP seem even worse with reports that more of its MPs waiting in the wings to join the government. The party seems to be precariously close to losing its role as the main opposition party in Parliament to the JVP if they lose anymore of their MPs to the government.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.