Euro Parliament welcomes President’s commitment to maximum devolution [Friday , September 08, 2006- 10.20 GMT]

At the close of this week's plenary session on September 7, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the situation in Sri Lanka, welcoming Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s

"commitment to maximum devolution for the Tamil peoples" and called for this commitment to be given substance.

The resolution also strongly criticized the intransigence of the LTTE leadership over the years on the issue of the appalling abuse of children through their recruitment as child soldiers.

The resolution said the European Parliament repeated its "condemnation of the appalling abuse of children through the recruitment of child soldiers, which is a war crime, and calls on all rebel groups to stop this practice".  The "intransigence of the LTTE leadership over the years" was also criticized.

Members of the European Parliament regretted the breakdown of peace negotiations and underscored the need for a human rights agreement between the parties. 

The resolution also called on "all parties to the conflict to guarantee the security of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission", which has recently felt obliged to withdraw some of its monitors following a demand by the LTTE that all EU nationals be excluded from the SLMM. 

Following is the full text of the resolution reproduced from the web site of the European Parliament:

In its resolution on Sri Lanka, Parliament highlights the deteriorating situation in the country, the results of which have been "hundreds of deaths, 200,000 people displaced from their homes, 500,000 civilians in Jaffna deprived of essential food and water supplies and vital post-tsunami reconstruction disrupted".
 
MEPs deplore the resumption of large-scale violence and they level criticism at both sides in the conflict, the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) and government forces, saying that "elements on both sides of the divide in Sri Lanka are intent on conflict" and insisting that "they pull back from the brink".
 
Among other things, MEPs point to the bombing, apparently by the LTTE, of a bus in a land-mine attack on 15 June that killed 64 people as well as the shooting, apparently by government forces, of 17 Sri Lankans working for the NGO Action against Hunger
 
The resolution stresses "the need for Government forces engaged in counter-insurgency and domestic security operations to exercise maximum restraint in order to minimise any risk of innocent civilian casualties".  It also repeats the EP's "condemnation of the appalling abuse of children through the recruitment of child soldiers, which is a war crime, and calls on all rebel groups to stop this practice".  The "intransigence of the LTTE leadership over the years" is also criticised. 
 
MEPs regret the breakdown of peace negotiations and underscore the need for a human rights agreement between the parties.   They call on "all parties to the conflict to guarantee the security of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission", which has recently felt obliged to withdraw some of its monitors following a demand by the LTTE that all EU nationals be excluded from the SLMM.  The government and the LTTE are urged to "grant unhindered access for humanitarian aid workers, UN organisations and truce monitors". 
 
While calling on the Sri Lankan government and other parties to "take robust action against terrorism", MEPs also urge them to address legitimate Tamil grievances, for example an "early revision of the Constitution of Sri Lanka…to define the state as a secular, democratic republic in which all religions are respected".  They welcome the Sri Lankan president's "commitment to maximum devolution for the Tamil peoples" and call for this to be given substance.
 
Lastly, the resolution voices concern that "although the EU has allocated almost €125 million in post-tsunami humanitarian aid and reconstruction aid for Sri Lanka" enduring political gridlock is delaying the release of a further €50 million, thereby hindering vital reconstruction work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last Updated Date: September 08, 2006 -10.20 GMT

 
 


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