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'Hold the Champagne in Sri Lanka'

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The conclusion of Sri Lanka's presidential and appointment of Maithripala Sirisena as president of the country is not yet a cause for celebration, said journalist J.S. Tissainayagam, stating that the real challenges for Sri Lanka are only just beginning.

Writing in Foreign Policy, the award winning journalist said that whilst Sirisena has pledged to implement constitutional reforms, this will do little to assuage Tamil and Muslim concerns. Tissainayagam says,

“Neither presidential nor parliamentary forms of government — invariably dominated by the Sinhalese, who make up roughly 74 percent of the country’s 21 million people — is satisfactory to the Tamils and Muslims. Instead, they demand greater autonomy in the north and the east. But Sirisena’s election manifesto is completely silent on the matter.”

Tissainayagam further added that a United Nations report on mass atrocities will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in March, “but Sirisena has categorically rejected calls to give the former president up for trial.”

“If Sirisena wants to restore Sri Lanka’s credibility internationally, he cannot violate international law,” says Tissainayagam. “For starters, he should allow the international investigation team that has been requesting visas to enter Sri Lanka to gather evidence on war crimes — a request rejected by Rajapaksa’s government.”

See his full piece here.