People of Democratic Front Sri Lanka Speaks about Voiceless Minorities

Posted: February 14, 2011 in News and Views

Source: Press Release

People of Democratic Front- Sri Lanka a political party in Sri Lanka promotes the democratic rights of the voiceless minorities by bringing all Sri Lankan communities together. However, focus of PDF is promotion and protection of minority rights, it is also involved in taking the messages of the just causes of the Tamil speaking people to the Sinhala brethren of the south of Sri Lanka where majority Sinhhalese live. Their campiagn is around a slogan,”Let us all take more responsibility not just for ourselves but for the land of our birth and our people, so that future generations will have a chance to exercise their rights, be partners in democracy and be full citizens of Sri Lanka.”

Mr. Manu Ganeshan- Former MP and Convener of PDF-Sri Lanka

Message targets all communities and promote human rights, democracy and patriotism. This party is led by Mr. Ganesan, a fomrer MP, who has been a member of parliament for the past ten years. Manu Ganeshan is also the Convener of the Civil Monitoring Commission (Human Rights Organisation), President of the Democratic Workers’ Congress (trade union), and past Secretary of the Parliamentarians for Human Rights of the Parliament of Sri Lanka. His work earned him ‘Freedom Defender’ Runner-Up Award by the US Secretary of State, Dr Condoleezza Rice, in 2008. The vision of the Democratic People’s Front is the peaceful co-existence of all ethnic groups under just and equal socio-political conditions in Sri Lanka. The mission of the DPF primly encompasses the right to life, right to the rights enshrined in the constitution and right of the society to aspire and achieve new rights through democratic process.  

The Democratic People’s Front while performing itself as a democratic defender of the Tamil speaking people,  is constantly involved in advocating policy changes by educating the minorities on their democratic political rights. On the other hand DPF is involved in taking the messages of the just causes of the Tamil speaking people to the Sinhala brethren of the south. These initiatives are implemented through public seminars, pocket meetings and the media. The DPF also conducts special political seminars for its members and general public.  

DPF is constantly supporting the concept of accountability by seeking answers to the anguish and woes of the voiceless people caught in the middle of the 30 year old armed conflict. On other hand DPF encourages the Tamil speaking people to come out of the past and to march forward seeking answers in the new multi ethnic Srilankan dream.        

The 30 years of war in the country has exhausted the Tamil community completely. The aftermath of war sees the Tamil speaking people without its personality, identity and prosperity. Their woes include physical and psychological damage, in addition to further marginalization. DPF led by it’s leader Mr. Mano Ganesan played a leading transparent human rights defender role during the most difficult risky period between 2005 and 2009 in Sri Lanka. DPF led by Mr. Mano Ganesan gave leadership to the national and international struggles of the Civil Monitoring Commission (CMC) against the saga of the extra judicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and ransom takings occurred in the capitol Colombo and suburbs and territories of northern and eastern provinces. Mission of the DPF through CMC successfully reached the echelons of the international community and the Human rights commissars of United Nations. Human Rights arm of the DPF, the Civil Monitoring Commission (CMC) had resolved following set of proposals at the conference of the family members of the disappeared titled ‘agony of the disappeared’ in September 2008. The proposals indicate the mission of the CMC:

a)    Release or Grant judicial bail and/or initiate legal proceedings against detainees
b)    Provide complete details of all detainees, lawful or otherwise in all state and other detention centers

c)    Dismantle all illegal detention centers

d)    Provide account for all extra judicial killings and abductions since January 2006
e)    Provide democratic space with legal assurance to human rights Defender organizations to monitor and evaluate and represent the victims  

The above proposals are relevant at the moment in this post war era too since part of the mission is incomplete today.  We are resolved to complete the mission by addressing the issues of the detainees and disappeared. Parts of the large numbers of Tamils who went missing due to the enforced disappearances have been traced in the remand prisons and detention centers. Some nearing fifteen years, languish in jails around the country awaiting their investigations completed, charge sheeted and indicted, cases heard, and either pardoned or released on legal bail. This is in addition to the large numbers of the men and women detained in the rehabilitation centers. Those family members of the disappeared and detained are waiting either for their loved ones to return home or be declared dead, if applicable. The State has not yet been able to establish a functional system to address the cases of disappearances and detainees even though the law is in place.These are the most sensitive human rights issues facing the Tamil speaking people of Sri Lanka today. It is only after their issues of the human rights are addressed that the discussions on power sharing will have credence among the people.The Democratic People’s Front is in the process of raising funds to assist the many Tamil speaking men and women who are languishing in jail, awaiting indictment or trial. The DPF through a team of lawyers will file Habeas Corpus writs and also work with the Attorney General’s Department, Prisons Department and the Police Department to expedite as many of these cases as possible.

The DPF will also work with the Registrar General’s Department, Police Department and District Secretaries (Government Agents) in developing the case files for final determination by the Registrar General to the issuance of death certificates, if applicable.The support and development of the Tamil speaking minorities are the responsibilities of not just the State or the international donor community. We as Sri Lankan nationals and also you as members of the Diaspora need to commit towards the actual reconciliation between our societies by addressing the woes. We need your help to achieve a society that looks beyond ethnicities and religions, and a country that is home to each and every one of us. That road is a long and hard one, but the journey is made easier when all of us work together with cooperation and commitment.

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