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Postponing disappearances bill shows Tamils are ‘fourth class citizens’ warns Sumanthiran

Tamil National Alliance MP M A Sumanthiran warned that the Sri Lankan government’s decision to postpone the Enforced Disappearances bill demonstrate that Tamils are “fourth class citizens” on the island.

“We condemn the reported move to postpone the debate on the Disappearances Bill and the Prime Minister’s interpretation of the Bill’s applicability,” said Mr Sumanithran in the Daily Mirror today.

“If the disappearance of the Tamils during the conflict and war can’t be inquired into, it means that the Tamils are not just second class citizens, but are fourth class citizens,” he added.   

He went on to state the government had shown a “lack of courage and political will” against the opposition in parliament and that it “only shows the Government’s pusillanimity”.   

The parliamentarian also criticised a gazette issued earlier this month which is set to make the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) operational, noting that it was unconstitutional.

“As per 19A, the President can hold only two ministerial portfolios – those of Defense and Environment,” he said. “He cannot be Minister of any other subject. But in violation of this constitutional provision, he had made himself the Minister of National Integration and Reconciliation. And then, now, in a further violation of the constitution, he has issued an important notification setting up the OMP as Minister National Integration and Reconciliation, a post he is constitutionally barred from occupying. Anybody can challenge this notification in the Supreme Court.”

 “On this ground, the OMP may be scuttled,” warned the TNA MP.

See more from the Daily Mirror here.