SRI LANKA: Need for Peace Process to progress faster


Urgent Appeal Case: UA000425
ISSUES: Democracy, Rule of law,

The loss during the Easter weekend of the strategic Elephant Pass stronghold by the Sri Lankan government to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) shows the futility of continuing this war which has been going on for two decades and has incurred the loss of well over 55,000 lives and two entire years’ worth of GDP. The suffering of the Sri Lankan population can only be stopped by the Government, Opposition and other relevant parties seriously taking up the offer of Peace Talks sponsored by the Norwegian government. 

Following is a statement from AHRC which outlines the need for people to encourage the Sri Lankan government and the international community to seriously engage all parties in this unique opportunity for Peace Talks and find a political solution where two decades of military efforts have proved fruitless and destructive. A suggested action is outlined below the statement. 


Situation in Sri Lanka: A sobering moment that may be turned into a decisive stage in the Peace Process. 

The events of the Easter weekend involving the fighting in the Elephant Pass and elsewhere in the North provide a sobering moment for all Sri Lankans and all others concerned with the Sri Lankan situation. It has become quite clear that an early settlement of the dispute with the assistance of third party mediation is the best alternative to continuing war in the country. 

Most news reports on the fall of the Elephant Pass refer to \”Chitta Dhiriya Natuwee Yama\” (demoralisation) in the rank and file as well as in the leadership of the Sri Lankan military. This is no surprise. As this war is basically a creation of self-interested politicians over several decades (particularly since 1977), nothing is more natural than this demoralisation. In fact it is the whole country that has been demoralised due to the careless manner in which the political leadership has failed to bring about a just and peaceful settlement to the conflict between the two communities, along with the resulting, unnecessary loss of life and resources which could otherwise have been used for better purposes. However this is not a moment to point fingers at whom is to blame. The only realistic option is to look resolutely for a decisive end to the war by way of a peaceful settlement that is completely respectful of the demands of everyone. 

In this respect, the fact that the Norwegian Government has already initiated a process of negotiation provides a reason for hope. Instead of playing petty politics relating to such peace negotiations, it would be rather more beneficial to enter into this process in earnestness and responsibility. This would allow the people of Sri Lanka to see the beginnings of serious discussion on the ways to bring an end to military conflicts between the parties. 

What should matter most is that no further lives be lost in an utterly meaningless war. The preciousness of the lives of people from both parties needs to be the paramount consideration. 

To make the political discussions more serious, it is the people themselves who should begin to intervene and let the politicians know that they are tired of this war and want a just and peaceful settlement as soon as possible. If the people do not intervene to make their feelings felt, it will not be surprising to see the politicians fail to seize this opportunity and return back to their normal political tricks and habits. The people will have no one to blame if more of their children are to die and more of their resources wasted at a time when many other countries are rapidly making progress. 

We also urge the United Nations and the international community to assist the Sri Lankan government and people to realize that it is only a peaceful solution by political means that will bring an end to this decades-long armed conflict. We particularly urge the Secretary General of the United Nations to decisively intervene on this occasion as he has done in several other conflicts. We also urge the Norwegian Government and any other governments that have taken an interest in achieving peace in Sri Lanka to make their efforts even more urgent under the present circumstances. 


Write to the President of Sri Lankan and to the United Nations, urging them to seriously engage in the Peace Talks being offered them by the Norwegian government and to follow through the outcomes to reach a speedy end to this war. You may use the following sample letter as your guide. 

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President Chandika B. Kumaratunga 
Presidential Residence 
Colombo 3, 
Sri Lanka 25th April, 2000 

Your Excellency, 

The war between your government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has gone on far too long. You know the numbers involved, and would no doubt realise that far too many people have been needlessly killed and that valuable economic resources have been wasted in this long, drawn-out war. 

The latest events at Elephant Pass surely indicate that a military solution is unviable. The worst possible response would be a re-escalation in violence resulting in the futile loss of still more lives, limbs and capital. It must be obvious by now, after two decades of fruitless fighting, that a military solution does not exist; the war can only be concluded by political means, which necessitates third-party mediation. 

I am encouraged by the plans you have for Peace Talks, sponsored by the Norwegian Government. I am aware that, whilst your Government, the Opposition and the LTTE have all agreed to participate in the Talks, there seems to have been no decisive measures taken to make these Talks take place. The mediated Peace Talks provide the only way out of this war that has crippled Sri Lanka. 

As the President, you represent the people of Sri Lanka. With the welfare of all Sri Lankans as your primary interest, it is vital for you take the lead by committing your Government to the Peace Talks. For the sake of your suffering population, you need to make every effort to expedite and make effective the third-party mediated Peace Talks that now present a unique opportunity to end this wasteful and destructive war. 
Yours sincerely 


President Chandika B. Kumaratunga 
Presidential Residence 
Colombo 3, 
Sri Lanka 
Fax: 94-1-333-703 
EMAIL: c/- Ambassador to UK/NI <> 
SALUTATION: Your Excellency 

Mr. Kofi Annan 
Secretary General 
United Nations Room S-3800 
New York NY 10017 
Fax: 603-2910707 
SALUTATION: Dear Mr. Annan

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA000425
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Democracy, Rule of law,