The Well-wishers of Tamils in Sri Lanka (WTSL) has emphasized the importance of transparency, consultation, and consensus-building across all sectors of the Tamil polity and the broader community if the proposed 'National Conversation’ is to bring about the envisaged “inter-religious understanding, harmony, peace and reconciliation, and equality and prosperity to all peoples of Sri Lanka.
This was in response to the recent media reports regarding the ‘Himalaya Declaration’ issued jointly by the Sangha for Better Sri Lanka and the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) which have elicited concerning responses from several Tamil organizations and a majority of Tamil political parties.
The WTSL noted that this development is said to have undermined the political aspirations of the Tamil people and affected ongoing accountability efforts taken by certain other Tamil Diaspora organizations.
Issuing a statement, International Coordinator of the WTSL, Raj Sivanathan said that as an organization committed to fostering unity and dialogue within the Tamil community and the broader Sri Lankan populace, the WTSL is dedicated to facilitating constructive conversations among its members, Tamil community leaders, and all stakeholders, including politicians.
"While expressing appreciation for the efforts undertaken by the GTF to engage with several senior ranks of the Buddhist clergy belonging to various sects, WTSL emphasizes the importance of transparency, consultation, and consensus-building across all sectors of the Tamil polity and the broader community if the proposed ‘National Conversation’ is to bring about the envisaged “inter-religious understanding, harmony, peace and reconciliation, and equality and prosperity to all peoples of Sri Lanka.
WTSL also wishes to stress the necessity for the government to respond at least in some small positive manner to the Tamil people’s grievances to move forward. Both parties of the declaration should urge the government to implement a few immediate goodwill measures to express its genuine intention to unite the nation while respecting its diversity and equality.
Meanwhile, WTSL will continue to actively engage in advocating for the comprehensive implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution as an interim pragmatic measure to alleviate the economic, social, livelihood, and existential problems of the people of the North and East before they deteriorate any further. It is also noteworthy that the 'Himalaya Declaration' is quite clear in this regard.
Further, it is good for everyone to think outside the box, taking into account the ground realities and giving opportunities for new initiatives. As such, we believe that the participation of Tamil people in the upcoming ‘National Dialogue’ and maintaining camaraderie and alliances with all progressive groups in the country, including the 'Sangha for Better Sri Lanka', can produce good results for all people. It can also be expected that when these vexed issues are discussed in the Buddhist temples in every Sinhalese village, they will eventually inspire changes at the political party level.
At the same time, it is an inevitable responsibility of the GTF to reach out to other Diaspora and local Tamil community organizations and politicians and resolve their concerns and doubts. Only then can we build peace and stability and pave the way for a better future for all peoples of Sri