President Maithripala Sirisena has said that the government would decide on the fate of the 13th Amendment after debates on the proposed constitutional reforms.
The President made this remark in an interview with India’s Frontline magazine last week. The Government has already launched steps to work towards constitutional reforms.
“This (the retention of 13th Amendment) will be decided after the national debate,” Sirisena had reportedly said.
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has however stated that it would not support constitutional reforms if they were based on a unitary system.
Opposition Leader and TNA MP, R. Sampanthan recently said that the solution to the national issue should be reached through a federal system within a united Sri Lanka.
The 13th Amendment was brought in through the Indo-Sri Lanka pact signed in 1987 as a solution to the national issue. But it has not been fully implemented as certain clauses were considered detrimental for the country’s sovereignty and security.
The President commenting on the formation of the Tamil People’s Council (TPC) with the Northern Province’s Chief Minister, C.V. Wigneswaran, as its co-chair, said that he would not interfere as it was an internal matter of the Tamils.
Speaking on the steps taken to implement the United Nations Human Rights Council’s [UNHRC] resolution on accountability and reconciliation, Sirisena said that there was no reason to allow foreign experts. “Foreign experts can share their experience with us, but we will be handling [the mechanisms] on our own,” he said.
He further said that Sri Lanka had not been ordered by the UNHRC to do anything. “We are proceeding step by step towards implementation. We have set up a task force on national reconciliation with former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga as the chairperson,” he said.
“We have also established a mechanism to handle complaints regarding people who have allegedly disappeared. So, we have to study all issues properly and find long-term solutions,” he added.