Open Appeal to All People of Sri Lanka, Expatriates of Sri Lankan Descent and Sri Lanka's Well Wishers sign now

An Open Appeal to All People of Sri Lanka, Expatriates of Sri Lankan Descent and Sri Lanka's Well Wishers

Act now to save Sri Lanka; Act for a Federal Sri Lanka.
Movement for a Federal Constitution in Sri Lanka

Please read the content of the paper provided below attentively and if you agree with its position please place your signature to indicate your ownership of and subscription to the appeal.

Position Paper

We of the Movement for a Federal Constitution in Sri Lanka are a group of individuals of Sri Lankan descent and well wishers of Sri Lanka. We promote the implementation of a federal constitutional framework in Sri Lanka to achieve a lasting peace in the island. This paper presents our position in regard to the viability of a federal solution to resolve the prolonged and self destructive ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. The appropriate form of the federal constitution shall be explored at a later stage.

We believe that the unitary nature of the constitution of Sri Lanka inherited and retained since its independence has failed to fulfill the equitable political representation and the national aspirations of ethnic minorities in Sri Lanka. It has also brought significant economic disadvantages to rural and remote regions of the country due to inequitable distribution of resources.

The failure of successive Sri Lankan governments to address the legitimate grievances of Tamil people resulted in the birth of Tamil militancy and armed resistance leading to two decades of bitter civil war. The resulting war has claimed tens of thousands of lives, displaced hundreds of thousands of people, destroyed property worth billions of rupees and left the economy of the island in ruins.

The sad reality is that Sri Lanka is continuing to slide deeper and deeper into a vicious cycle of violent ethnic conflict. The longer it takes to reconcile our differences through meaningful negotiations, the much deeper the mistrust and disharmony between the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities will become, leading to the further escalation of the conflict with loss of many more innocent lives. So there must be an immediate but genuine drive to end this ethnic conflict. To this end, there is an urgent need to replace Sri Lankas current unitary constitution with an appropriate federal framework that accommodates the legitimate aspirations of the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim peoples of Sri Lanka.

There have been advocates for a federal solution to the ethnic conflict on both sides of the divide. Federalism is the middle ground for both sides of the ethnic conflict and an effective framework to end the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict. Federalism underlies a system of government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority and constituent political units such as regions and provinces. It also provides substantial devolution of political and economic powers between the centre and the periphery. The implementation of a federal constitutional framework in Sri Lanka will pave the way for adherence to pluralism and more equitable development and transparency in the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim populated areas of the island. Federalism will also further the opportunity for the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities to reconcile their differences and reach consensus to build a united Sri Lanka, based on the recognition of each communitys right to determine its own political destiny.

A federal system of governance has been successfully implemented in many countries of the world that have multi-ethnic, multi-religious populations. Countries such as Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, the USA, India and Australia are examples of plural societies that have achieved federalism through different degrees of devolution of power. It is worth noting that the size of the federation of Switzerland is significantly smaller than that of Sri Lanka.

We firmly believe that the rights of all the peoples of Sri Lanka can be safeguarded through the advocation of a Federal Constitution for Sri Lanka, given that federalism readily accommodates the ethnic, religious and cultural diversity that we find in Sri Lanka. Such a federal constitution will be of great benefit in that it will maximise the potential for social, economic and cultural development by ensuring unity in diversity of the Sri Lankan people. We are also confident that consistent with the pattern of voting in recent elections, the majority of Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim peoples of Sri Lanka are in favour of a Federal solution to the current conflict. Therefore, there is an urgent need and a solid basis for us to launch an active campaign for a federal constitutional solution to the current ethnic conflict, as the only viable alternative to end the senseless war and bring peace and prosperity for all the ethnic groups in Sri Lanka.

We believe that a Federal Constitution which involves power sharing with democratically elected state government(s) in the north and east will minimize threat to national security. It does not envisage a compromise on sovereignty and territorial integrity as falsely assumed and publicised by chauvinistic elements. Sadly, the proponents of such propaganda have no consideration of or compassion for the plight of the people suffering in war torn areas, who have been caught up in the mindless and endless killing and destruction. This chauvinistic point of view will further increase inter-ethnic resentment and bitterness between the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities. We also denounce the threats and intimidations aimed at peace activists, journalists and political activists who stand for a negotiated settlement of the conflict.

Movement for a Federal Constitution in Sri Lanka stands for peace, equality, and an effective federal solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka that guarantees the protection of the civil and human rights of all its citizens.

We appeal to the Sri Lankan Government, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and other armed groups to immediately cease all acts of hostilities and violence.

We call upon the Government and the LTTE to start peace talks without further delay and work towards achieving a lasting solution to the conflict based on a Federal Constitution that promotes a fair and equitable framework to address national and other social issues.

We urge all social and political organisations within and outside Sri Lanka to actively campaign for an effective federal solution to the conflict.

We also support the participation of a Muslim representation in future political negotiations to ensure that the aspirations of the north-eastern Muslim community are adequately accommodated.

The time has come to act and save the country. Prolonging this senseless war will lead to economic and social failure of the Sri Lankan state.

Act now to save Sri Lanka; Act for a Federal Sri Lanka.
Movement for a Federal Constitution in Sri Lanka

If you wish to take part in future discussions on the form of federalism appropriate for Sri Lanka please send your name, contact phone number and e-mail address to [email protected]

Sponsored by:
Dr Channa Wickremasekera, Alice Springs, Australia
Asanka Perera, Canberra, Australia
Dr Willie Senanayake, Canberra, Australia
Jayantha Somasunderam, Canberra, Australia
Siva Bhaskaradas, Canberra, Australia
Gamini Viyangoda, Paris, France
Vimukthi Jayasundara, Paris, France
Professor Kumar David, Honk Kong
Sylvester Jayakody, Italy
Ajith Lakshman, New South Wales, Australia
Asela Jayanath, New South Wales, Australia
Nishantha Jayakodi, New South Wales, Australia
Srikantha Nadarajah, New South Wales, Australia
Ajith Munasingha, Sri Lanka
Kanishka Ratnapriya, Sri Lanka
Ms Azeena Nuhamaan, Sri Lanka
S. Thirugnanasampanthan, Texas, USA
Ajith Rajapaksa, Melbourne, Australia
Cyril Gunaratna, Melbourne, Australia
Dr Prasad Mohotti, Melbourne, Australia
Elmo Perera, Melbourne, Australia
L Muruga Poopathy, Melbourne, Australia
Lionel Bopage, Melbourne, Australia
Nalliah Suriyakumaran, Melbourne, Australia

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Sonya HoBy:
SustainabilityIn:
Petition target:
The Sri Lankan Government, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and other armed groups

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