CPA welcomes the end of military hostilities

21st May 2009, Colombo, Sri Lanka: The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) welcomes the end of military hostilities in Sri Lanka’s protracted ethnic conflict and the alleviation of suffering it brings to the tens of thousands of civilians who were trapped in the fighting. We salute their resilience and pay our respects to our fellow citizens who sacrificed their lives and who sustained grievous injuries to bring the military hostilities to a conclusion. We hope that that the grave and continuing human rights and humanitarian challenges faced by internally displaced civilians and a political settlement to the ethnic conflict, will be rapidly addressed within the framework of peace, national unity and reconciliation, thereby ensuring that the grievances that led to violent conflict in our country in the past will not be reproduced.

We believe, in particular, that a historic political opportunity has now been created to find an appropriate constitutional settlement to the conflict. To this end, we welcome the reiterated commitment expressed by His Excellency the President to find a durable political solution to the challenges of diversity and pluralism, the mismanagement of which has sadly led to violent conflict in the past. We urge the President to accelerate this process so that the legitimate aspirations of all the peoples of Sri Lanka could be meaningfully addressed, and those who have been alienated through conflict and violence can be persuaded to return to the democratic mainstream. Peace and reconciliation requires magnanimity in victory and a sincere acknowledgement of the vast sacrifices in human lives and property Sri Lankans of all ethnicities and religions have incurred during the past three decades. We hope the search for a new constitutional settlement, with the opportunity for a fresh articulation of our basic social contract that unites us in our diversity as well as our shared destiny, will be informed by the values of democracy, pluralism, tolerance, inclusivity, and respect for human rights.

As a society, we continue to face great challenges: of peace and democracy, of economic development and prosperity, the culture of impunity in respect of human rights violations and of good governance. Conflict has in the past ensured that Sri Lanka has been tragically unable to fulfill its significant potential, but now we have another opportunity to address these issues. That opportunity must be grasped wholeheartedly. We must do so with hope and optimism, confidence in our capacity, with generosity of spirit, and a commitment to ensuring that the pursuit of happiness and human dignity is a realised right of our common citizenship. In short, we must ensure that we build a new Sri Lanka which belongs to all Sri Lankans, and of which all Sri Lankans can be proud.

Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu
Executive Director


The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) was formed in the firm belief that there is an urgent need to strengthen institution- and capacity-building for good governance and conflict transformation in Sri Lanka and that non-partisan civil society groups have an important and constructive contribution to make to this process. The primary role envisaged for the Centre in the field of public policy is a pro-active and interventionary one, aimed at the dissemination and advocacy of policy alternatives for non-violent conflict resolution and democratic governance. Accordingly, the work of the Centre involves a major research component through which the policy alternatives advocated are identified and developed.


One Response

  1. That opportunity must be grasped wholeheartedly. We must do so with hope and optimism, confidence in our capacity, with generosity of spirit, and a commitment to ensuring that the pursuit of happiness and human dignity is a realised right of our common citizenship. In short, we must ensure that we build a new Sri Lanka which belongs to all Sri Lankans, and of which all Sri Lankans can be proud.

    Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu
    Executive Director

    Probably the best concept for a political solution with meaningful and just power sharing arrangement.
    An earnest APPEAL to all those who strive for sustainable peace in Sri Lanka
    “The lack of engagement and communication, in turn adds to the sense of estrangement. This is not in the interests of either side, particularly the Sri Lankan people who yearn for peace, a just solution to the ethnic conflict and the hope of prosperity at least for their children.” – Jehan Perera, Executive Director of the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka.
    With the above end in view please spare a part of your valuable time to ABSORB the meaning of the views submitted below.
    Too much of time has been wasted in discussing the origins of the problems and the paths taken by various real patriotic and peace-loving persons to solve the problems in the ways they sincerely believed as the best. The problems have grown and evolved and had been twisted by many to suit their way of thinking.
    So, it is high-time we start to RETHINK in terms of a solution that would address the ASPIRATIONS ALL THE PEOPLE in the country, not just the aspirations of the Tamils, in a just and meaningful way rather than continue to criticize other people for their “faults”.
    Failures are the pillars of success. We have learned a lot of things through experience. With the experiences gained we will have to work for a change of heart not just a change of mind of all the people in the country.
    “People who value democracy, equality and equity, needs to pressure the Sri Lankan state to take immediate action towards a meaningful and just power sharing arrangement. That is the only way to ensure security and the dignity of the peoples of Sri Lanka.
    If peaceful coexistence through power sharing is not achievable, the only other solution that would be available will be secession” – Mr. Lionel Bopage, former Secretary of the JVP.
    There is a vast difference between the policy and thinking of the ORIGINAL JVP to which Mr.Lionel Bopage belongs and the policy of the present JVP.
    A new concept that moves towards a meaningful and just power-sharing arrangement based on true democracy – a large number of people participating in the governance of the country based on equality, equity – is a great deviation from the usual thinking of the meaning of the word “sharing of power” is given below for the perusal and comments of concerned people.
    Many, who call themselves as ‘moderates’ and advocating a “Unitary State” are not willing to consider this NEW concept of the phrase “sharing of power” that gives a certain degree of ‘power’ with ‘responsibility’ to as many as possible including the poor and voiceless silent majority in the country and not excluding the so-called “minorities” and still maintain the “character” of a “Unitary State”
    Now, one word, for those who are actually and sincerely interested in fostering a unitary-state by supporting “devolution” as a means to achieve sustainable peace, please avoid thinking in terms of “devolution” and instead please try to think in terms of “sharing of powers”, rights, duties and responsibilities that cannot be taken back at any time by any government or individual by any method.
    The best political solution to address the problems faced by various sections of the Sri Lankan society – particularly the poor, the politically weak and the “minorities” who do not carry any “political weight” – would be to DILUTE the powers of all elected representatives of the people by separating the various powers of the Parliament and by horizontally empowering different sets of people’s representatives elected on different area basis to administer the different sets of the separated powers at different locations.
    It has to be devolution HORIZONTALLY where each and every set of representatives would be in the SAME LEVEL as equals and in par and NOT VERTICALLY, where one set of representatives would be above (more powerful than) the other, which is the normal adopted practice when talking of devolution, in this power-hungry world. It is because “devolution of power” has been evolved “vertically”, we have all the trouble in this power-hungry world. So, for sustainable peace it should not be the present form of “devolution of power” but “dilution of powers” or “sharing of powers” in such a way that no single person or single set of people’s representatives be “superior” to another.
    This system would help to eradicate injustice, discrimination, bribery and corruption – the four pillars of an evil society – and help to establish the “Rule of Law” and “Rule by ALL” for sustainable peace, tranquility and prosperity and a pleasant harmonious living with dignity and respect for all the inhabitants in the country. Everyone must have “equal” powers, rights, duties and responsibilities and most importantly everyone should be deemed “equal” and treated “equally” before the law not only on paper but also practically – be it the Head of State, The Chief Justice or the voiceless poor of the poorest in the country.
    Since all political and other powers flow from the sovereignty of the people, it is proposed herein that these powers be not given to any ONE set of representatives but distributed among different sets of people’s representatives (groups) elected on different area basis (village and villages grouped) to perform the different, defined and distinct functions of one and the same institution – the Parliament – like the organs of our body – heart, lungs, kidneys, eyes, nose, ear etc. – performing different and distinct functions to enable us to sustain normal life.
    A detailed version of the concept, which is quite long is available for discussion by interested individuals with an aim to change the hearts not just a change of mind of the citizens of this country who aim to preserve a UNITARY form of Government with every section of people from every part of the country PRACTICALLY PARTICIPATING in the GOVERNANCE OF THE COUNTRY in a meaningful way. In a way it may be termed “participatory democracy”. In this system the COUNTRY IS NOT DIVIDED but the “powers of governance’ of the Parliament is separated and administered COLLECTIVELY by different sets of peoples representatives.
    The system suggested is neither a federal state for which “Thanthai Chelva” worked hard through non-violent means for nearly thirty years nor the “Two State Solution” for which the LTTE is fighting through violent means for more than thirty years. It is a combination of both and is between both but still a “unitary” state.
    The solution advocated can be compared to the policy of the EPDP – a partner in the present government – “self-governance at Regional Level and collective governance at the National Level”. Basically there are some differences between the suggestions above and that of the EPDP. First, the above suggestions are for sharing of power horizontally and EPDP’s suggestions are for sharing power vertically. Second, EPDP’s suggestions are for addressing the aspirations of the Tamils while the above suggestions are for addressing the aspirations of the PEOPLE, not just that of the Tamils alone. A careful perusal of the above suggestions in FULL will enlighten the need for such an approach.
    Give and Take is the best policy. Rule or control your “self” and allow everyone to rule themselves.
    IF THERE IS A SINCERE WILL to treat all inhabitants of the county with dignity and as respectful citizens of this country, enjoying equal rights in all respects, then THE ABOVE IS A WAY
    The above suggestions are by a voiceless member of the silent majority who wants all voice to be heard.

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