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Tamil organisations outline confidence building measures to gain trust of victim communities in Sri Lanka

Tamil organisations from the North-East, India and across the world have outlined a series of steps that the Sri Lankan government can take in order to gain the Tamil community's trust "in any accountability, reconciliation or constitution building process,"  following a meeting in South Africa earlier this month.

Noting that "the government's actions thus far, under past and present regimes provide little reason for Tamils in the North-East and the Diaspora to believe that the government genuinely has the political will to deliver on accountability and lasting peace through a political solution," the organisations called on Sri Lanka's government to take meaningful "confidence building measures" that created a future "environment in which justice and sustainable peace can be achieved."

The list of recommendations laid out by the Tamil organisations include public acknowledgement of the systemic nature of the crimes committed with impunity against Tamils, removal of troops from the North-East and demilitarization of the area, the de-proscribing of all diaspora groups and individuals, open and unimpeded access for international NGOs and human rights organisations to the North-East, the release of all political prisoners, closure of secret camps and space for Tamils in the North-East to remember their war-dead without interference, intimidation or reprisals from the state.

The steps were listed as “preliminary recommendations to assist the international community, including the South African government, in their engagement with the Sri Lankan government”.

The document was formulated as an outcome of a conference hosted by South Africa's Solidarity Group for Peace and Justice in Sri Lanka (SGPJ), which was attended by Tamil politicians, members of Tamil civil society, members of Tamil diaspora organisations across the world, and South African foreign office officials.

The conference was convened by the SGPJ in response to suggestions by Sri Lankan official statements that South Africa's assistance would be sought in a reconciliation process led by the new Sri Lanka government.

See the full document and signatories here.

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