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Accountability cannot be bartered for rights

The TNA were urged under no circumstances to barter away war crimes accountability for "political concessions" by the Tamil National Peoples Front (TNPF) during a press conference on Sunday.

The TNPF is a group of former TNA parliamentarians and civil society members, formed in early 2010 in exasperation at the TNA's reluctance to base its policies on the Tamil nation's rights.

The TNA has since again become more forceful in articulating Tamil grievances, and the party swept local government elections earlier this year.

On Sunday the TPNF congratulated the TNA on its electoral success and welcomed the party's forthcoming visit to the United States.

"What TNA does in this trip is of tremendous importance to the political future of the Tamil people," TNPF founding member, Gajendrakumar Ponnampalam, told TamilNet.

In a press statement, the TNPF said,

"TNA should insist that the US takes the lead in recognizing Eezham Tamils as a distinct nation having the right to self-determination."

"International Community at present has been focusing on war crimes.

"TNPF's view is that Sri Lanka not only committed war crimes during the final phases of war, but also carried out systematic structural genocide for the last sixty years on the Tamil people.

"The genocide has continued unabatedly even two years after the war has ended."

"TNPF has information that the Sri Lankan state is carrying out a campaign among the International Community asking to put aside accountability for war-crimes for some unspecified political concessions to Tamil people."

"It is TNPF's firm view that TNA must take this opportunity in Washington to insist that accountability for the systematic genocide be seen as a totally separate issue from the political process.

"War-crimes accountability should in no circumstances bartered away for "political concessions".

The conference was attended by S. Kajendren, the General Secretary of TNPF, Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, vice president, V. Mannivannan, leader of the Youth wing and a co-vice president, and K. Dharmarajah, treasurer.

TNA leaders, R. Sampanthan, Maavai Senathirajah, Suresh Premachandran and M.A. Sumanthiran are due to visit the US this week.

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