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Motion for a resolution - B7-0100/2009Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the situation in Sri Lanka


with request for inclusion in the agenda for the debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 122 of the Rules of Procedure

Geoffrey Van Orden, Charles Tannock on behalf of the ECR Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0100/2009

Procedure : 2009/2735(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  


European Parliament resolution on the situation in Sri Lanka

The European Parliament,

- having regard to its previous resolutions of 18 May 2000, 14 March 2002, 20 November 2003, and 17 May 2006 on Sri Lanka, and of 13 January 2005 on EU aid after the tsunami disaster, and of 2 February 2009 on the situation in Sri Lanka,


- having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,


A. whereas Sri Lanka has been afflicted by the armed insurgency and terrorism of the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) for some 25 years, resulting in over 90,000 deaths;


B. whereas the LTTE has carried out indiscriminate terrorist attacks on the civilian population, has murdered Tamil representatives that oppose it, has targeted key figures in government and the security forces and has been proscribed as a banned terrorist organisation by the EU, the UK, US, India, Canada, Malaysia, and many other countries;


C. whereas on 17 May this year the Sri Lankan armed forces successfully defeated the last remnants of the LTTE and retook all LTTE held territory in the North of Sri Lanka, effectively ending 25 years of a brutal terrorist insurrection and re-establishing the rule of law within a unitary state;


D. whereas the civilian population in the war-ravaged North of the country continues to be in need of humanitarian assistance, and while government agencies have been responding to their needs, the international community must continue to provide much needed humanitarian and reconstruction aid;


E. whereas despite the defeat of the LTTE, the capacity for LTTE cadres to continue with random terrorist attacks will continue even after the formed armed groups operating in the field have been defeated unless any lingering support base within the wider population is eroded and radicalisation of Tamil Diaspora in EU countries is prevented;


F. whereas following the end of the conflict, over 250,000 Tamil civilians are being held in camps for screening and resettlement;


G. whereas following the defeat of the LTTE in the Eastern Province, 80% of those displaced were returned to their homes within 10 months;


H. whereas the government needs to be generous and pro-active in addressing the concerns and interests of its Tamil citizens and rapidly implement the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution as well as further and significant devolution measures so that the Tamil peoples also see the defeat of the LTTE as a liberation;


I. whereas the Sri Lankan economy has been held back by 30 years of conflict and EU countries remain the biggest single market for Sri Lanka's exports, and Sri Lankan exports to the EU will play an important role in Sri Lanka's economic recovery;


J. whereas the LTTE has been a prolific user of anti-personnel-mines afflicting large areas of former conflict zones, which now inhibit the resettlement of innocent civilians and much needed reconstruction;


1. Urges the Sri Lankan government to expedite the processing of civilians currently held in camps and to ensure that full attention is paid to their welfare and living conditions and to their human rights and in so doing work closely with international agencies, NGOs and friendly governments;


2. Calls on the international community, including the Commission and Council, with urgency, to provide all possible assistance to the Sri Lankan authorities and in due course to put forward well-targeted programmes of development assistance through the government of Sri Lanka for the East and North of the country in order to help build the foundations of a lasting peace;


3. Recognises that it is trade, not aid, that provides the best route to economic recovery and improvement, welcomes efforts made by the Sri Lankan government to engage with the EU on issues of concern, including the recent visit by the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force for Resettlement, Development and Security in the Northern Province, therefore calls on the Commission to maintain Sri Lanka's GSP + status;


4. Expresses concern that elements of the Tamil diaspora in EU Member States have engaged in LTTE-support activities, including fundraising and political propaganda and calls on the relevant Member State governments to take further action to deal with this problem and also to ensure that terrorist cadres and support elements do not seek to enter European countries as refugees;


5. Calls on the Council to swiftly add to the EU list of terrorist organisations LTTE front organisations in Europe being used to fundraise and distribute propaganda on behalf of the LTTE, including the Tamil Youth Organisation, the Tamil Co-ordinating Committee, and the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation;


6. Notes Sri Lanka’s voluntary participation during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process in the UN Human Rights Council in May 2008, and the ongoing development of a National Plan of Action for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (NHRAP) that will identify gaps in the promotion and protection of human rights in Sri Lanka with a view to addressing them over a five year period from 2009 and urges greater attention to bringing enquiries concerning alleged human rights abuses to a transparently satisfactory conclusion;


7. Notes that the first local elections conducted in northern Sri Lanka (Jaffna and Vavuniya) in over a decade on 8th August proceeded peacefully and were deemed free and fair by local observers;


8. Welcomes the commitment of the Sri Lankan government to provincial devolution that will enable predominantly Tamil, as well as other areas, to exercise greater control of their administration within a united country;


9. Welcomes the introduction of the Victim and Witness Assistance and Protection Bill in the Sri Lankan Parliament, which is currently in its second reading;


10. Welcomes the Sri Lankan government’s action to ensure full, open and transparent investigations into all alleged violations of media freedom;


11. Urges the Sri Lankan government not to take any action which could be seen as a restriction of freedom of expression and to be more open and co-operative in its dealings with the international and local media: in this regard, urges the Sri Lanka authorities to review the case of recently convicted Tamil journalist J. S. Tissainayagam;


12. Urges the government to give further and increased attention to the clearance of land-mines, the presence of which presents a serious obstacle to rehabilitation and economic regeneration; in this regard calls on the Sri Lankan government to take the very positive step of acceding to the Ottawa Treaty (The Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction): urges the Commission, in particular, to sponsor additional support for urgent mine action in Sri Lanka;


13. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, to the Governments of Member States, the UN Secretary-General, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Human Rights Watch, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, the Government of Sri Lanka and the other SAARC countries.