Origin of Sri Lanka’s constitutional perfidy
Posted on November 7th, 2017

By : A.A.M.NIZAM – MATARA

Although the constitution hawkers consisting Ranil Wickremasinghe, a gang of treacherous UNP Ministers and Parliamentarians, the JVP hooligans and the dollar voracious NGO vultures attempt to fool the masses projecting that the new constitution proposals are something new and apposite, the origin of these proposals date back to 1997 and I am thankful to Ms. Shenali Waduge for giving some clues to the origin of these proposals in her Lankaweb Article dated 6th November entitled ‘Main elements of New Constitution drafted by British Solicitors in 1994.’ In mere coincidence with this article there were two more articles published on 5th November, one relating to an email interview given to Ceylon Today by the so-called self appointed Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran published under the title ‘Tamils must decide their political destiny through a Referendum – TGTE will accept their verdict – Rudrakumaran’ and the other article was by the ace anti-Sri Lankan and the Doyen of dollar voracious NGO vultures  Pakyasothy Saravanamuttu under the title ‘An argument for a new Constitution’ also published in Ceylon today on 5th November.

Rudrakumaran says that the TGTE’s position, since its inception, is that the Tamil nation, living inside the island of Sri Lanka and outside, should decide on their political destiny, through peaceful and democratic means to express their wishes, through a referendum. The referendum that they envisage, he says, is not just for a yes or no vote for an independent State, but a referendum containing options such as a unitary State, a federal State, a confederation and an independent State.

He says that there is a consensus among all the Diaspora groups that the Tamil national question should be resolved through a referendum and this referendum should be for the particular nation and not for the whole country. He points out that in respect of the Quebec referendum the Canadian Supreme Court did not say that the referendum should be held throughout Canada but only in Quebec.

Rudrakumaran points out that in the 1977 General Election, they voted overwhelmingly to support the creation of a free Tamil Eelam and refutes the assertions that that there will always be tension between Sri Lanka and Tamil Eelam pointing out that there is no tension between Norway and Sweden or between Singapore and Malaysia and adds that even if there were to be some tension, there are international legal principles and an international mechanism to manage it rather than for containing intrastate violence.

He points out that the North Eastern parts of the island constitute the traditional homeland of the Tamils, and the Tamils should be allowed to realize their inherent right to self-determination. He admits that some of the Tamil Diaspora groups believe that the Tamils’ right to self-determination can be realized within the existing borders.

Rudrakumar says that the 6th Amendment place legal restraints on the domestic leadership to fully articulate the Tamil political aspirations and emphasizes the urgent need to repeal the 6th Amendment. He calls upon the Tamil domestic political leadership to bring this to the attention of the international community, rather than giving a wrong picture that Tamils no longer claim for an independent State. He says if anyone claims, especially after Mullivaikkal, that the Tamils have given up the call for an independent State, it is a fake claim and calls upon the domestic leadership to take some creative action similar to the referendums organized by the Venezuelan opposition parties and the referendums held in Iraqi Kurdistan and the Spanish Catalonia. He points out that these referendums were not organized by the UN or by any foreign countries but were organized by the local leadership.

With respect to the merger of the North and East which constitutes the Tamil homeland he says that the demerger occurred on technical grounds and it can simply remerge with a simple majority and a two-thirds majority is not necessary for the merger.

The ace anti-Sri Lankan and the Doyen of dollar voracious NGO vultures  Pakyasothy Saravanamuttu articulates in his article An argument for a new constitution” that there is a democratic deficit in our governance, including a political and constitutional settlement of the national question, the unfinished business following the military defeat of the LTTE in May 2009, and the need to move beyond the post-war situation which should be addressed by the Constitution as the supreme law of the land.

This hypocrite who personally went to Geneva with his acolytes such as Jehan Perera, Rohan Edirisinghe, and Sunanda Deshapriya to make presentation against Sri Lanka and our war heroes awkwardly argues that the unitary state provision did not prevent a bloody civil war of almost three decades, and neither did the Executive Presidency. He says that they both presided over that civil war and another bloody insurgency in the south of the country – both of which have delayed peace and prosperity in this country for decades. He also states that the primacy of Buddhism is surely at odds with the equality accorded to all citizens, and it is surely a key objective in the movement from the post-war to the post-conflict and in the light of recent attacks on minority religions.

It is this hypocrite’s outfit the Centre for Policy Alternatives (Sri Lanka’s worst foreign slavish NGO) under its umbrella organization ‘Sri Lanka Peace Support Group’ which has requested in 1997 the British Firm Bates, Wells & Braithwaite, at 138 Cheapside, London to draw up a new constitution for Sri Lanka.

The letter sent by the so-called Peace Support Group says that the unitary constitutional arrangement which was left in place by the withdrawing colonial power has frustrated and distorted the natural and legitimate wishes of both parties, Sinhalese people as well as the Tamil people, to express and promote their distinct identity and nationhood, and has been the primary cause of the large scale and sustained civil war in the Island. It says that their proposals, ‘the framework document’, enclosed for a resolution of the conflict as stated therein will truly give both parties their just rights and enable them to live without fear and hatred in their traditional homelands.

The letter dated 10th January 1997 says that the framework document is drafted with the conviction that fundamental and far reaching changes to the constitutional arrangement are essential for conflict resolution and cessation of military activities in Sri Lanka and to pave the way for a peaceful co-existence in the Island.

This despicable NGO outfit, the so-called Peace Support Group published a lengthy appeal to the Sri Lankan voters in the Island newspaper on 4th November 2001 signed by Sunilla Abeysekera, Sunil Bastian, Radhika Coomaraswamy, Sunanda Deshapriya, Rohan Edrisinha, Ketheshwaran Loganathan, Jehan Perera, Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, Jeevan Thiagarajah, Joe William and Javid Yusuf under the caption An Agenda for Peace (General Election 2001) – An open letter to all Political Parties”. An abridged version of the appeal is given below:

This appeal under the subheading No Military Solution” stated that there is no military solution to the present conflict. This is based on the empirical reality that countless military campaigns by both sides have ravaged the country and not resulted in any side achieving decisive victory.

Under the subheading Cessation of hostilities and an effective  monitoring mechanism” it stated that what the country needs most is a cessation of hostilities so that peace talks may commence in a congenial atmosphere. An international monitoring team including military personnel who are aware of ground realities, is a solution that should be explored. It is time to move from the battlefield to the negotiating table. Only a cessation of hostilities with an effective monitoring mechanism can create an atmosphere that will sustain peace talks.

Sub heading Lift the embargo on essential items with an effective monitoring mechanism” It says the embargo that has severely restricted the flow of food, drugs and other essential items to the Vanni, chronic malnutrition is on the rise, health facilities are barely available, restrictions placed on the transport of essential items and on the free movement of persons affects civilians in other areas of the North and East as well, the fear of abuse should not result in untold misery for the civilian population and the dignity of the people of the North and East must be restored and their quality of life be improved.

Sub heading – Stop human rights violations and forcible recruitment of children” It says that the war has resulted in widespread human rights abuses. Under the guise of the PTA and emergency regulations, scores of individuals are detained every day by the Sri Lankan security forces. Cases of torture and disappearances by the security forces are very common and perpetrators are rarely punished. In addition, the LTTE and members of para military groups are also responsible for violations of human rights including assassinations. It states that the war creates a climate of impunity and gives legitimacy to many acts one will never tolerate in peace time. Rape, custodial rape and the sexual abuse of women are a serious concern. Militarization of society, in particular, the growing number of armed deserters and the easy availability of firearms have resulted in an escalation in crime and violence. Only peace will allow bring justice to the victims and an end to this cycle of crime and violence. Maximum pressure should be brought on the LTTE at the local, national, and international level to ensure that the forcible recruitment of children ceases.

Sub-heading Negotiate a political solution to the ethnic conflict with third party international involvement” The appeal says the present stalemate makes it clear that any solution to the ethnic conflict will have to be based on negotiations between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE. It says that since the Sri Lankan polity has failed to solve the ethnic conflict internally it welcomes the good offices and facilitation process offered by the Norwegian government and such a process is the only way forward and the international community should also be called upon to give encouragement and support to the Norwegian effort.

Sub-heading An agreement based on power sharing in the North and East” it says that the devolution of power is not a privilege but a right of a territorially placed people and the Tamil political leadership considers the Tamils living in the North and the East as a people having the right to self-determination. The appeal adds that all Tamil political parties from the TULF to the LTTE are united in the belief that the Thimpu principles that recognise Tamil nationality and a traditional Tamil homeland should form the basis of a final settlement to the ethnic conflict, the Thimpu Principles may pose problems for some sections of the political mainstream in the south of Sri Lanka, the recognition of the Tamil community, as a people with a distinct language, culture, tradition and identity who have for centuries lived in historically identifiable areas must underpin the negotiating process and a final political settlement.

Sub-heading The Primacy of Fundamental Rights and Democracy”. The appeal stresses that any political solution to the ethnic conflict must include necessary safeguards in the North and East for a democratic process, free and fair elections and the right to dissent. In addition, special measures should be taken to guarantee the fundamental rights of local minorities living all over Sri Lanka, in particular to protect them from discrimination and displacement.

Sub-heading Equality and non-discrimination” It says the initial grievances of the Tamil people were related to the denial of equality at the national level. The disenfranchisement of the Hill Country Tamils, the Sinhala Only Act, standardisation of university marks, and other acts of discrimination culminated in the Tamil national movement for autonomy and secession. It adds that since the 1980s, Sri Lankan Tamil recruitment into the public services has barely been above 1%, it is totally unacceptable and it compounds the feeling of discrimination and alienation experienced by Tamil speaking people, and says that the time to include quotas and action programmes to ensure that there are sufficient Tamil public servants. It also adds that any settlement must reflect the pluralistic nature of Sri Lankan society and give a multi-ethnic character to the Sri Lankan state.

Sub-heading Comprehensive programmes for reconstruction and rehabilitation” The appeal states that the devastation and destruction caused by the war calls for large scale programmes for relief rehabilitation and reconstruction and it is a matter of urgent necessity to devise a comprehensive and participatory strategy for reconstruction and rehabilitation in the North and East. It also points out that reconstruction of the country does not only involve material reconstruction, there must be a process of reconciliation and healing as well and the terrible crimes committed during this war must be acknowledged and justice must be done. It also proposes that the South African model or the model in El Salvador may be considered to help relieve the cruelty and inhumanity that has characterised the war.

Sub Heading Remembering the dead”. The appeal says that Tens of thousands of people have died during this war and it is also important to remember the dead and this remembrance should be part of the search for healing and reconciliation. It proposes to acknowledge and support artists organizations and civil society groups who engage in acts of commemoration in order to create and sustain a climate for peace.

All these initiatives and acts shows that these NGO culprits were continuously engaged in since 1990s to impose a federal constitution on Sri Lanka, make the country a secular state, enforce Thimpu principles and make North and East a self governing autonomous territory.  The shameless foreign slavish puppet Ranil Wickremasinghe who signed the infamous ceasefire agreement with Prabhakaran and now seems to have afflicted with lunacy the accidentally born Sinhala old hag Chandrika who unconditionally offered North and East to Prabhakaran have collaborated together to fulfil the objectives of these NGO hoodlums.

Now they are attempting to thrust upon us the Bates, Wells & Braithwaite constitution prepared in the 1990s under the guise of a new constitution drawn up locally.  The time has come for all the patriotic masses together with the Maha Sangha and other religious leaders to come out to the streets, hold anti-constitution demonstrations and rallies, to hold even death-fast, self-immolation and force abandon the proposed dreadful constitution and topple this Tamil slavish treacherous and inept government and compel Ranil, Sirina, Chandrika and their cabal to flee the country as Dudley fled in 1953..

For further enlightenment please find appended below the following documents :

  1. Peace Support Group letter to London Solicitors Bates, Wells & Braithwaite
  2.  Framework for the Constitution of the Union of Ceylon” drafted by the Peace Support Group
  3. Letter sent to Chandrika by London Solicitors Bates, Wells & Braithwaite
  4. Letter sent to Prabhakaran by London Solicitors Bates, Wells & Braithwaite

No. 1 – Peace Support Group letter to London Solicitors Bates, Wells & Braithwa

Bates, Wells & Braithwaite
Solicitors
Cheapside House
138 Cheapside
London EC2V 6BB.

10 January 1997

A PROPOSAL FOR THE RESOLUTION OF THE
NATIONAL CONFLICT IN SRI LANKA

The framework document enclosed has been prepared by a team of constitutional lawyers at the initiative of a group of concerned academics, professionals and the clergy from the international community, with the purpose of providing a basis for the parties in the current conflict in Sri Lanka to negotiate a political settlement.

Copies of the document were sent to the President of Sri Lanka and to the Leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. [TEXT OF LETTERS]

Throughout their long history, the destinies of the two peoples of Sri Lanka have been closely entwined. Though distinct in culture, language, nationhood and in the possession of their own established homelands, and though there has been much rivalry and conflict in both ancient and recent times, there is also much in common in their heritage by virtue of the shared encounter with European colonialism and the long shared experience in the many institutions which evolved under the colonial aegis.

The unitary constitutional arrangement which was left in place by the withdrawing colonial power has frustrated and distorted the natural and legitimate wishes of both parties, Sinhalese people as well as the Tamil people, to express and promote their distinct identity and nationhood, and has been the primary cause of the large scale and sustained civil war in the Island. Our proposals for a resolution of the conflict as stated herein will truly give both parties their just rights and enable them to live without fear and hatred in their traditional homelands.

This document is therefore drafted with the conviction that fundamental and far reaching changes to the constitutional arrangement are essential for conflict resolution and cessation of military activities in Sri Lanka and to pave the way for a peaceful co-existence in the Island.

The co-operation and support of all concerned is welcome.

Sri Lanka Peace Support Group

10th January, 1997

No. 2 –  A PROPOSAL FROM THE SRI LANKA PEACE SUPPORT GROUP

 

A FRAMEWORK FOR THE CONSTITUTION
OF THE UNION OF CEYLON.

In August 1995, the President of Sri Lanka announced proposals for the devolution of power to the country’s regions with a view to resolving the present ethnic conflict, and to ending discrimination on the basis of race, religion, caste or region. As a response to those proposals, the framework, which follows is one, which it is considered will meet the present needs of the country.

It incorporates (in paragraph 1.2) certain important statements of principle contained in the Preamble to the President’s proposals and adds to them principles which have been frequently declared on behalf of the Tamil people.

1. Preamble

1.1 This framework document provides the basis for a new constitution for the Union of Ceylon, which shall consist of two internally autonomous States — one for the primarily Tamil area and the other for the area which is mainly Sinhalese. This reflects the fact there have been identifiable homelands (historical and existing) on the island for the Tamils (in the North and East provinces) and the Sinhalese (in the rest of the provinces) for over two millennia. Relations between the States will be governed in accordance with generally applicable principles of international law and justice.

1.2 This framework document is based on the following principles:

(a) promoting a vision of the Union of Ceylon where all communities can live in safety and security and their human dignity is valued and equality of treatment is an accepted norm of public life;

(b) ensuring that all communities be given the space to express their distinct identity and promote that identity including the right to enjoy their own culture, profess and practise their own religion, and conserve and nurture their own language;

(c) ensuring that all persons may fully and effectively exercise all their human rights and fundamental freedoms without any distinction and in full equality before the law.

1.3 This document further provides for recognition of the Sinhala and Tamil as official languages of the Union of Ceylon and English as a link language.

2. Basic structure of the Union of Ceylon

2.1 The Union will have a confederal structure, consisting of two States, each being internally autonomous and committed to the furtherance and maintenance of the principles and values declared in the Preamble, including in particular the protection of the fundamental human rights declared in the Constitution and the maintenance of democratic principles.

2.2 Subject to these principles, the internal autonomy of each State will extend to the adoption by each State of its own internal constitution (e.g. size and structure of the legislature, frequency of elections).

3. The Central Council of the Union:

(a) Composition

3.1 The Central Council will provide the channel of communication and coordination between the two States and it will consist of an equal number of representatives from each State.

3.2 If the number of representatives from each State is not to be equal, there will need to be a weighted voting system.

3.3 Each State will determine the manner in which its representatives on the Central Council are selected and appointed.

3.4 Each State will be entitled to appoint substitute representatives to act when the appointed representatives are unable to do so.

3.5 The Council will appoint a President and Deputy President of the Union front amongst its own members for a period of (say) four years at a time in an agreed alternation between representatives of each State.

(b) Powers and Functions

3.6 Powers will be reserved to the Council of the Union to deal with:

(a) foreign affairs;

(b) the external defence and security of the Union;

(c) monetary policies, the maintenance of a common currency and a Central Bank;

(d) the maintenance of relations between the States and the broad coordination of their policies;

(e) the maintenance and execution of such other matters as may from time-to-time be vested in the Council by agreement of the States.

3.7 Consideration should be given to including additional matters amongst the powers reserved to the Council (for example, international fisheries and telecommunications).

3.8 All matters not expressly reserved to the Council will be within the separate and exclusive jurisdiction of each State (for example, the Council will have no overriding powers in relation to the maintenance of law and order within a State).

3.9 The Council will be entitled to undertake expenditures on the matters reserved to it within an agreed budget, the revenue to pay for such expenditure being provided by each State in such proportion as may be agreed. A Central Finance Commission comprising representatives from each state will oversee the Union budget. The number of representatives will be equal or there will be a weighted voting system.

4. Constitutional Court

4.1 A Constitutional Court will be created to interpret the Constitution of the Union and to ensure compliance by a State with the principles of the Preamble and the entrenched human rights provisions of the Union Constitution.

4.2 Any person seeking recourse to the Constitutional Court would have to exhaust local judicial procedures in his or her State before applying for leave to appeal to the Constitutional Court.

4.3 The Prime Minister of each State will have the right to seek an advisory opinion from the Constitutional Court.

4.4 Each State will have the right to appoint an equal number of Judges to the Constitutional Court. If the number is not equal, the possibility of weighted voting would have to be considered.

4.5 It would be for consideration whether appointment of Judges should be until a stated retiring age (or for life) unless removed for inability or misconduct by resolution of the Council.

4.6 The Judges of the Constitutional Court will elect a head but he/she would not have a casting vote. The Head of the Constitutional Court could (like the President of the Union) be elected by the Judges, for a fixed period and on a basis of alternation between the States.

4.7 It would be for consideration whether in addition to the Judges appointed by each State there should be one or more Judges of international reputation appointed by the Council from outside the Union.

5. Constitutions of the States

5.1 Each State will adopt its own constitution, but each constitution would be required to endorse the principles stated in the Preamble to the Union Constitution and the common entrenched clauses protecting human rights. These clauses would exclude the possibility of discriminatory treatment of minorities and individuals wherever in the Union they are present or resident. Amendments of the Constitution of each State shall be by a two-thirds majority of the membership of the national assembly of each State including those not present.

5.2 The citizens of the Union (regardless of the State in which they resided or from which they originated) would share a common nationality for the purposes of international law. The freedom of movement between the States, the freedom to reside and take up employment in either State, and related freedoms would be guaranteed to all citizens of the Union.

6. Referendum and Guarantees

6.1 At the end of four years from the commencement of the Union, each State would be entitled to modify the powers of the Union affecting that State, provided that the residents of that State, in a referendum had by a majority voted in favour of that course of action.

6.2 The implementation and operation of the Constitution and the maintenance of peace between the States would be guaranteed by the United Nations, which would have appropriate powers of enforcement.

  • – Letter sent to Chandrika by London Solicitors Bates, Wells & Braithwaite

LETTER SENT TO CHANDRIKA KUMARATUNGE, PRESIDENT OF SRI LANKA

20th December, 1995.

Mrs. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga
HE The President
The Republic of Sri Lanka
Colombo 1
Sri Lanka

Dear excellency,

A Proposal for Peace with a Framework for the
Constitution of the Union of Ceylon

We enclose the Proposal referred to above which we have been requested to submit to you on behalf of an international group of concerned persons.

The document provides a framework for the peaceful reconciliation of the interests of the parties to the current conflict. In view of the seriousness of the situation prevailing in the Republic and the need to avoid further loss of life and human suffering we should be grateful if you would consider and respond to these proposals as a matter of urgency.

A copy of this document has been forwarded to Mr. V. Prabakaran, Leader – Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Yours faithfully,

Bates, Wells & Braithwaite

  • – LETTER TO Mr. V. PIRABAKARAN, LEADER OF LTTE

20th December, 1995.

Mr. V. Prabakaran
Leader – Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
Jaffna
SriLanka

Dear Sir,

A Proposal for Peace with a Framework for the
Constitution of the Union of Ceylon

We enclose the Proposal referred to above which we have been requested to submit to you on behalf of an international group of concerned persons.

The document provides a framework for the. peaceful reconciliation of the interests of the parties to the current conflict. In view of the seriousness of the situation prevailing in the Republic and the need to avoid further loss of life and human suffering we should be grateful if you would consider and respond to these proposals as a matter of urgency.

A copy of this document has been forwarded to Mrs. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaranatunga, HE The President of Sri Lanka.

Yours faithfully,

Bates, Wells & Braithwaite

(End)

 

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