Posted on September 13th, 2021


Revised 18.9.21

TNA became the dominant Tamil separatist party once the LTTE was eliminated at end of Eelam war IV. It is remarkable how quickly the Tamil National Alliance moved into this new phase, said Chandraprema. The war ended in May 2009 and by the end of that year, the TNA had taken the lead.

TNA then   embarked on an aggressive new strategy in collaboration with Tamil parties abroad.  TNA linked with Global Tamil Forum, which had its headquarters in London. Canadian Tamil Congress said it had worked closely with TNA and its spokesperson M.A. Sumanthiran at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva.

TNA supported Sarath Fonseka in the 2010 Presidential election. TNA welcomed the Darusman report of 2011TNA welcomed the US resolution against Sri Lanka at UNHRC in 2012. TNA wanted Sri Lanka taken before the International Criminal Court for war crimes committed in Eelam war IV.

TNA welcomed the charges against Army commander Shavendra Silva. The TNA issued the following statement:”Shavendra Silva, the Commander-in-Chief of the 58th Division, should be held accountable for the crimes committed against humanity by the war crimes committed during the latter stages of the war.

TNA became active at the UN Human Rights Council. A TNA delegation went to Geneva in 2015 to meet the members of the UNHRC. TNA welcomed the  2012 US backed resolution against Sri Lanka.

In 2020, too, the TNA sent a separate delegation to the UNHRC sessions and this delegation stayed back after the sessions to attend meetings organized by the Tamil Diaspora in Geneva, including some with international representatives. 

TNA was especially active in the UNHRC Resolution 30/1 of 2015.   M.A. Sumanthiran stated at the US Congressional Caucus for Ethnic and Religious Freedom in Sri Lanka, on June 14, 2016,   in Washington, that the Yahapalana   government, the US and the TNA    had come to a tripartite agreement on including foreign judges    into the   UNHRC Resolution 30/1 of October 2015. Sumanthiran’s statement was released in Sri Lanka by Sampanthan’s office. Otherwise Sri Lanka would not have known of this agreement, observed Shamindra Ferdinando.

Sumanthiran had told the Caucus “I was personally involved in the negotiations, with the United States of America also participating in that particular process. There were some doubts created, as to whether the Constitution of Sri Lanka would allow for foreign nationals to function as judges and we went into that question, clarified it, and said yes they can and that is how that phraseology was agreed upon. TNA had settled for a hybrid model though they had originally asked for an international inquiry. The agreement on foreign judges was not negotiable.

At this Caucus Sumanthiran had urged Samantha Power, US Ambassador to the UN,   to pressure the Sri Lanka government to implement the UN Resolution. Without the help of UN and USA the resolution will not be implemented. The UN and US should also ensure that a long term solution is achieved to enable the Tamil speaking people of Sri Lanka to live with respect.

The Washington Caucus is an initiative launched by the United States House Representatives Bill Johnson of Ohio and Danny Davis of Illinois, in November, 2013.  The Washington event was moderated by Sadhananda Dhume of the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington-based think tank.

 The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a report on Sri Lanka at 46th session of the Human Rights Council in 2020. (Report of OHCHR on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka (A/HRC/46/20). TNA said: We welcome the report from the Office of the UN Human Rights Commissioner. Many would have noticed that the report reflected some issues we raised in the collective letter we sent earlier to the office of Human Rights Chief. That is a coincidence.

  Pohottu government’s withdrawal from Resolution 30/1 was a blow to the TNA. When Sri Lanka withdrew from co-sponsorship of Resolution 30/1, TNA protested. You need the consent of the concerned country to do this. When the State fails to comply, it escalates to other steps such as referral to the International Criminal Court  urge other member states to apply universal jurisdiction, travel bans and freezing assets, howled TNA.

This matter is now vested with the Human Rights Council with the submission of the report by the Panel of Experts in 2011, continued TNA. But from the recent interviews given by the Foreign Secretary, it seems the Government is still continuing the denial mode even after ten years. We need to take a harder position now as the international community also realized after giving ten years for the Government to achieve wartime accountability and it failed to do so, continued TNA.

M.A. Sumanthiran said that the government cannot pull out of international commitments. . You cannot withdraw from an act that is already done.”  In the international system, these obligations are taken seriously.  Ladduwahetty replied, the international law provides for sovereign States to withdraw from commitments made by irresponsible members of  a State under Article 46 of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.

US and UK were working together to introduce a fresh UN resolution against Sri Lanka during the 46th Council meeting of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, March 2021.  Media reported that   in December 2020 that there was a sudden meeting between US ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina B. Teplitz and Spokesperson of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) M.A. Sumanthiran at the residence of the ambassador. Mr. Sumanthiran assured the support of the TNA to the initiative.

 TNA has decided to focus on foreign intervention, to get their Eelam. TNA cultivated UN agencies.During Yahapalana rule, TNA met the  UN  specialists  sent by the UNHRC such as Pablo  de Greiff, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence. TNA had complained about release of lands belonging to civilians, missing persons and political prisoners.

TNA has also  run to sympathetic foreign countries asking them to help create Eelam. When India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’ visited Colombo in January 2020 TNA met him. TNA thereafter held a media conference at Indian High Commission.

 We discussed in detail issues that are critically important to the Tamil people. The Indian External Affairs Minister had  also made it clear to the Government of its commitment to implement the 13th amendment and go beyond that to resolve the ethnic conflict as promised to India in the past.  Both parties have decided not to publicize the things discussed but I assure you that all the critical issues faced by the Tamil community were taken up,”

after that Sampanthan’s office issued a s tatment. :”Visiting Indian Foreign Secretary Dr. Jaishankar met the TNA delegation at the Indian High Commission in Colombo. At the meeting, the TNA delegation apprised the foreign secretary of some pressing issues faced by the Tamil people including the lack of progress in relation to the release of lands held by the military in the North and East, disappearances, and Tamil political prisoners.”The TNA also updated Dr. Jaishankar on the new constitution, stating that the process had now stalled. The foreign secretary assured the TNA that he would raise these issues during his meeting with His Excellency the President and the Honorable Prime Minister.

Sampanthan announced in July 2020 that the international community and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are “standing behind us “.   With reference to External  Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s visit to Colombo immediately after the Presidential election of 2019 and  the Presidents and Prime Minister’s  visits to New Delhi thereafter , Mr. Sampanthan said India had, on all three occasions, emphasized the need to settle the Tamil question.

In June 2021 Sampanthan met Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay at his official residence, India House for a discussion.TNA was  seeking a one-on-one meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Sampanthan briefed the Indian envoy on the need to find a solution for the ethnic conflict.

The TNA leader also sent an invitation to Prime Minister Modi through  ambassador Baglay, to  come and take part in the opening ceremony of the Rs 1.2 billion funded Jaffna Cultural Centre . High Commissioner Baglay assured the TNA leader that he would take up the issues they discussed.

The Indian High Commission issued a statement on the visit. A five member Tamil National Alliance (TNA) delegation led by R. Sampanthan, Member of Parliament called on the High Commissioner Gopal Bagley. The pre scheduled meeting took place on 17 June 2021 at India House. Leader of Ilangai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) Mavai Senathirajah and TNA Members of Parliament Dharmalingam Sithadthan, Selvam Adaikkalanathan and MA. Sumanthiran were present during the meeting. The High Commissioner reiterated India’s support for devolution within the framework of a united Sri Lanka on the basis of full implementation of the 13th amendment which would be in line with Tamil aspirations for equality, justice, peace & reconciliation and would strengthen Sri Lanka.” ( continued in B3)

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