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NPC genocide resolution 'factual and timely' - MA Sumanthiran

A resolution passed by the NPC earlier this month, calling on the international community to investigate charges of genocide and prosecute the perpetrators, was "timely" and the facts listed are all true, said Tamil National Alliance MP MA Sumanthiran on Sunday.

In an interview with Ceylon Today, the MP criticised the government for failing to keep promises regarding the resettlement of displaced people in the North-East, but stressed the TNA will continue to support the new government through the parliamentary election.

"The resolution is timely and the facts which have been listed out in it are nothing but true." Mr Sumanthiran said. "It was a sheer democratic action and very well drafted, taking into consideration the grievances of the people directly affected by the war. Various comments could surface with regard to the resolution, but it was aimed at seeking justice for the people who have been affected by the ruthless war in the North."

Mr Sumanthiran stressed reconciliation cannot be discussed without addressing the grievances of the people.

"The Chief Minister has clearly pointed out the atrocities committed systematically towards the Tamils since the country gained independence. Therefore without addressing the genuine grievances of the people affected by the communal upheavals in the past, we cannot talk of reconciliation. Therefore, the genocide resolution was brought out to identify the perpetrators who had committed the war crimes and bring justice to the war victims. The resolution is not at all meant to hurt the feelings of those who strive for peace and reconciliation in the country," he said.

The MP, whose effigy was burned by protestors last week after he was accused of helping the Sri Lankan government to delay the OISL report, said the TNA did not want to delay the report, but said the deferral will not "affect the OHCHR's actions with regard to the alleged war crimes and the human rights violations committed in the North and East".

"[The OISL report] cannot be influenced or adjusted. The TNA is constantly in touch with the OHCHR officials. On the other hand the people who had experienced the adverse effects of the war should do everything to strengthen the OISL report by adding more evidence to it. When the report is released in September it should bear the right weight. The war victims should come forward without any hesitation to strengthen the report further. They should be bold enough to give their evidence."

Mr Sumanthiran defended the plan for a domestic inquiry under the supervision of the OHCHR in addition to the OISL, saying it will not be like previous commissions established by the government.

"A local mechanism to hold an internal investigation into the alleged war crimes is important. It will not be a strategy adopted in the form of commissions in the past. The internal investigation under the supervision of the OHCHR will help in a big way to protect the witnesses as well. In any country, to support the OHCRC action, an internal investigation is also carried out in addition to the UN investigation."

The MP also rejected the recent announcement by the government that it would release 1,000 acres from military control to build a model village, saying the displaced people should be resettled in their original homes, something the TNA discussed with the new government before it came into power.

"We have discussed the issue with the new Government leaders and emphasized that the IDPs should be resettled in their original places, during our discussions with them prior to the elections. Since the IDP issue remains a huge humanitarian problem in the North and East, the Government must do everything to resettle the IDPs, not only in the North, but also in the East, in the areas such as Sampoor be/fore UNHRC sessions in Geneva on 2 March,

"The TNA was promised by the government leaders that the IDPs will be resettled in their original places. But still nothing has happened in expediting the resettlement process," he said.

Tamils in Jaffna demand justice for loved ones disappeared by Sri Lankan state (21 February 2015)

TNA accuses government of reneging on promises regarding demilitarisation (17 February 2015)

Doubts emerge over Sri Lanka's 'new' 1000 acre resettlement plan (17 February 2015)

Tamil issues must be resolved before considering Sri Lanka's unity government, says TNA (17 February )2015

Domestic investigation unacceptable regardless of when OISL report is released says TNA (15 Feb 2015)

NPC passes resolution asking UN to investigate genocide of Tamils by Sri Lanka state
 (10 Feb 2015)