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Maithripala manifesto released: vows to prevent international justice mechanisms and protect SL sovereignty

Photograph: BBC Sinhala

The common opposition candidate for Sri Lanka's presidential election next month, Maithripala Sirisena, released his election manifesto on Friday in only Sinhala and English, setting out his vision for "compassionate governance and a stable country".

The manifesto, following on from the joint opposition's election campaign pledges to date, fails to address key Tamil concerns of accountability, justice and the right to self-determination.

Pledging to protect every citizen from international justice mechanisms targetting individuals responsible for mass atrocities against the Tamil people during the armed conflict against the LTTE, Maithripala said that he would disseminate an image of Buddhism as that of non-violence amongst the West in order to improve, what he described as, Sri Lanka's poor international image at present.

Reiterating his commitment to the "stability, security and sovereignty of the country", Maithripala pledged that he would not change any aspect of the constitution that would potentially be detrimental to these aspects and that he would not change anything that required a referendum.

Extracts relating to key Tamil issues are published below:

Accountability and justice for mass atrocities against the Tamil people

"No international power will be allowed to ill-treat or touch a single citizen of this country on account of the campaign to defeat terrorism."

"As a real reply to allegations of human rights violations directed against Sri Lanka I will take action to promote humanitarian and environment-friendly attitudes both locally and internationally. On the advice of the Maha Sangha I will make Sri Lanka again the centre of distribution of the knowledge and discipline of Indian as well as Asian Buddhists. I will prepare the ground for disseminating among the learned Western society Buddhism and its vision of impermanence and denial of soul that expressed non-violence, equality and great compassion for all. Thereby it will be possible to build a new image for Sri Lanka in the world."

"All those who were subjected to political victimisation and punishment including former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka and the 43rd Chief Justice Madam Shirani Bandaranayake will be reinstated in their lost positions and their lost rights will be restored."


Political solution to the ethnic conflict

"I guarantee that in the proposed Constitutional Amendment I will not touch any Constitutional Article that could be changed only with the approval at a Referendum. I also ensure that I will not undertake any amendment that is detrimental to the stability, security and sovereignty of the country. My amendments will be only those that facilitate the stability, security and sovereignty of the country."


See full text here.


Further extracts of pledges are published below:


Relations with India

"Equal relations will be established with India, china, Pakistan and Japan - the principal countries of Asia while improving friendly relations with emerging Asian nations such as Thailand, Indonesia, and Korea without distinction."

"Our Indian policy will take into due consideration the diversity of India. I would act to have closer relations with an attitude that would be neither anti-Indian nor dependent."

 "I will initiate an international investigation with the cooperation of foreign countries on persons who have robbed Sri Lankan wealth and taken them abroad. All wealth earned through improper means will be given back to the people." "A regular census will be taken of the armaments, money, foreign assets etc. of the LTTE and those who have acquired them illegally under the cover of public service will be punished severely irrespective of their status and all such weapons and property will be confiscated."


"Sri Lanka is a country with excessive state debt and a dangerous proportion between loan repayment and state revenue. While appreciating the policy of not selling state property I will prevent the appropriation by foreign states or companies of strategic locations that endanger the economic security of Sri Lanka."

"A special protection scheme will be introduced for war widows of all communities and their dependents."

"As an urgent national priority a basis will be laid for an agro-irrigation scheme for the Northern Province, principally the Jaffna peninsula."

"All conspiracies of multi-national companies will be defeated and the state rational drug policy that was made to disappear would be approved soon."

"A Post-Graduate Degree awarding institute will be established to produce experts on various indigenous methods of medicine hereditary to Sri Lanka."

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