As Sri Lanka today commemorates ‘Black July’, political leaders have been urged seek genuine change in the country and to bravely and honestly address the key issues that Sri Lanka as a country needs to resolve.
The National Peace Council noted that rampant violence that engulfed the Tamil people 23 July 1983 and days that followed discredited Sri Lanka internationally and signaled the brain-drain among the Tamils that would impact the future economic and political trajectory of the country.
It also led to a costly and brutal war that lasted until May 2009, tore up the fabric of society and undermined the national economy.
“However, 32 years later, conditions in Sri Lanka have changed so that a political solution has become a viable prospect. The experience gathered in the work done by the National Peace Council for over two decades convinces us that our fellow citizens are now more willing to accept, and commit themselves to, a political solution that ensures justice and security to all. We should also not forget those who saved the Tamils from those who incited and carried out the pogrom of July 1983. There are many accounts of Tamils, including NPC members, attributing their escape from injury and death to their Sinhalese and Muslim neighbours. We are grateful to those who risked their own lives to allow Tamils to hide in their homes or take them to places of safety,” National Peace Council said.
From the perspective of the National Peace Council there are several key issues impacting the future of the country that relate to relations between the ethnic and religious communities which require attention by the political parties in their election manifestos and in their campaign statements. These are,
The National Peace Council says some sensitive issues that have evaded resolution for decades need to be addressed in consultation with the people and by taking them into confidence and not by ignoring or by-passing them.
It also noted that after the general election, the new government that is elected will need to face many problems and find solutions to them. The people need to be told of the problems that should be solved for the country to march forward. It said that people’s participation in national problem solving will ensure that the solutions agreed upon are implemented and will be sustained in the longer term. (Colombo Gazette)