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Stop paramilitary activity in north; US tells govt.
2011-09-14 11:50:16
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The United States today called for paramilitary activity in the North to be controlled and for Tamil Policemen to be deployed to the North. The US Assistant Secretary of State Robert O. Blake also expressed his concern about Human Rights in the country.

“I am concerned about human rights. I discussed with relevant officials the importance of disarming paramilitary groups, on which progress is being made. It is important to deploy Tamil policeman in the north so the military no longer needs to perform these functions,” he said.

Blake specifically named the Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP) as having a strong paramilitary presence in the north. “Paramilitary groups are not allowed to carry weapons in public. While I was in Jaffna I myself, experienced the power of the EPDP who was able to prevent me from meeting with some university students,” he said.

The Assistant Secretary also stated that it had been conveyed to him that although the emergency regulations have been lifted it has had very little practical effect, due to the fact that the Public Securities Ordinance and the Prevention of Terrorism Act were still in place.

Blake said the resumption of talks between the Tamil National Alliance and the government was encouraging and that he felt both sides were taking these discussions very seriously. “I was very pleased to hear from both the government and the TNA that they will resume their important dialogue on devolution and other matters,” he said. When questioned on the TNA’s negative outlook towards the discussions, the Assistant Secretary rejected any such aspersions. “I think there is a far more optimistic picture, both sides are taking the talks very seriously,” he said.

He further expressed that the 13th amendment was being expanded by both sides and was not a redundant mechanism. “I think that they are working towards expanding the amendment to deploy more powers to the provinces,” he said.

Speaking on the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) he explained that it was premature to make any judgments on the commission before its report was released. “We have to wait and see what is in the report and the issues raised and thereafter make a judgment,” he said.

However Blake did not dispel the possibility of international pressure if the report by the commission was found to be inadequate. “We are not in the business of making threats to our friends. There is a need for a credible process of accountability for those who have violated international humanitarian law and there will be pressure for some mechanism to ensure that this takes place. However we hope that (such pressure) is not necessary,” he said.

Blake also stated that it was premature to call for the LLRC report to be presented at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions in March next year. “This is dependent also on what the government of Sri Lanka wants to do with the report,” he said.

He also expressed the need for Sri Lanka to engage with the international community. “There is a need for Sri Lanka to engage positively with the United Nations. I know that there is also a delegation in Geneva at the moment and I hope they are able to brief the UNHRC of the work of the LLRC,” he said. 

Blake also addressed the need to put an end to the grease devil incidents which had “given rise to new levels of insecurity” and expressed that the “US remains deeply concerned about attacks on journalists,” he said. (Dianne Silva)

Comments - 15
Imran Hussein Wednesday, 14 September 2011 08:29
Well said Blake. This is the reality and the current situation.
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Dushy Ranetunge Wednesday, 14 September 2011 08:58
Thank you, Blake and come again......SOON!
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subrmanium Wednesday, 14 September 2011 09:04
Thank you blake for your concern
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UK TAMIL BOY Wednesday, 14 September 2011 09:11
THANK YOU BLAKE
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aj Wednesday, 14 September 2011 09:18
Thanks mr. blake
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lal Wednesday, 14 September 2011 09:48
This fellow Blake has no business in Sri Lankan affairs. Minorities are better off in Sri Lanka than his own country. Why allow this fellow to interfere in Sri Lankan affairs?
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Subasinghe Wednesday, 14 September 2011 10:00
Blake, just let the Govt of Sri Lanka govern the country. We dont want your say. Sri Lanka is for all ethnic groups. You cannot tell the citizens that you want tamil policeman in the North. Any person who is a policeman should serve any part of the country.
There are majority of tamils living in Colombo 6 and they are not asking for tamil policeman.

Don't start any tensions. I know US/UK are well experienced in making trouble for other countries. We have seen what had been done to Afghanistan and Iraq. Just leave Sri Lanka alone and we have wise men to rule our country.
Would you tell Obama that he should have tamil police in the US where there are tamils? You are a joke alright.
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DUWI Wednesday, 14 September 2011 10:12
Lets hope that Blake applies the same principles with respect to the US military in Afghanistan, which country is also under the purview of Blake.
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Prasad Wednesday, 14 September 2011 10:16
I don't know what his real intentions are but I don't believe he is here to help minorities. His sole agenda seems to be revolving around making life difficult for government. He is not winning many friends in larger Sri Lankan community and that cannot be good for US in the long run. Why should he interfere with local policies. All the points he raised should have being raised either by minority parties and main opposition.
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Canadian Wednesday, 14 September 2011 10:53
Also they should remove the Military Immigration Check point at Omanthai.
I have to wait in a long queue at the check point just to check my passport by the Military. If one Country then why north was separated by a another passport checking point and military check point every mile ??
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Anil Wednesday, 14 September 2011 10:54
Thank you MrBlake, unfortunately you've only seen and addressed 1/4 of the may problems in SL. Lets see what the LLRC report has to say(which i can predict)................
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mano Wednesday, 14 September 2011 12:24
Thank you
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mano Wednesday, 14 September 2011 12:25
Thank you
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sen Thursday, 15 September 2011 04:32
whenever a foregin agent speak towards the interest of minorities in srilanka, it makes the majorities boils:
and the politician in lanka also wanted that;
this country is never going to be unitary srilanka tilll the poers and rights shared among the ethnic groups
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ellison Thursday, 15 September 2011 05:41
Well said Mr. sen & Blake.
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