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British Tamils Forum urge TNA to be explicit on NPC limitations

In a statement released on Sunday, Days after the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) registered its nominations for the Northern Provincial Council election, the British Tamils Forum (BTF) has called on the TNA to be "explicit about the dangers posed by the forthcoming Northern Provincial Council election", highlighting that the "TNA participation in the Council poses significant risks" and there was "a real danger of unwittingly playing stooge in the Sri Lankan state's campaign to regain legitimacy on the world stage".

See here for full statement. Extract reproduced below:

"The TNA's decision to contest the Northern Provincial Council election cannot even be described as a low-risk, speculative venture – harmlessly undertaken on the off-chance that it succeeds. Rather, TNA participation in the Council poses significant risks. Complicity in propping up a Provincial Council system that provides token benefits – perhaps a bicycle here and a rice sack there – while perpetuating the Sri Lankan state's structural genocide of Tamils, could strike a devastating blow to the decades-long struggle by the Tamil people for their rights and freedom. There is a real danger of unwittingly playing stooge in the Sri Lankan state's campaign to regain legitimacy on the world stage: if Tamil participation in the Provincial Council is used to provide a distraction that undermines global campaigns for an international independent inquiry into the crimes committed by the Sri Lankan state and recognition of the Tamil people’s right to self-determination.

Despite the significant pitfalls and unlikely benefits of participation in the Northern Provincial Council, British Tamils Forum acknowledges that – by standing for election – the TNA provides the Northern Tamil voter his or her only legitimate choice at the polling booth. However, the onus is on the TNA to reassure the Tamil people that it has taken the decision to participate in full knowledge of the risks described above – and that it has contingency plans in place to ensure that it never ends up harming the very people it seeks to represent. The TNA must also clearly spell out in a manifesto how it seeks to benefit the Tamil people by participating in the Provincial Council System, so that it may be held to account by Tamils following the establishment of the Council.

By contesting the election, the TNA does have an opportunity to demonstrate to the international community the true aspirations and demands of the Tamil people. Hence, British Tamils Forum hopes that the TNA's manifesto will reflect these aspirations – including, in particular:

1.     The need for a political solution that recognises the Tamils as a nation, with the right to self-determination in their homeland, which comprises the combined North and East;

2.     The call for an international independent inquiry into crimes committed against the Tamils;

3.     The call for national and international action against the grabbing of Tamil land in the North and East and the dismantling of Sinhala settlements installed by the Sri Lankan state;

4.     The campaign to establish an interim administrative mechanism in the North and East to facilitate relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction for the benefit of Tamil war victims, with the direct participation of homeland Tamils, Tamils living abroad and the international community."

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