India urged to join Sri Lanka group for peace


New Delhi : India has been urged by Tamil activists to join a "Contact Group" along with other global players to start a political engagement that will help resolve Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict.

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The Sri Lanka Democracy Forum (SLDF), made up of Tamil activists settled in several countries, has said that India and Britain should team up with the US, Japan, Norway and the European Union, which form what is known as co-chairs, to set up a new "Contact Group".

"The co-chairs and the international community cannot ensure progress towards sustainable peace by relying on donor aid alone, which is determined by various imperatives," SLDF said ahead of Tuesday's meeting in Oslo of the co-chairs.

SLDF said in a statement e-mailed to IANS from London that intensified political engagement "that exerts robust pressure on relevant actors will more likely produce results.

"The co-chairs should consider taking the lead in the formation of a Contact Group, which would consist of the co-chairs and countries that have had long-term engagement with Sri Lanka such as India and the UK.

"This Contact Group should set up processes of political engagement with Sri Lanka with the explicit aim of ensuring a political solution to the conflict."

SLDF also urged India and the co-chairs to intensify their political engagement with Sri Lanka in order "to urgently address human rights protection and a political solution that meets the aspirations of both Tamil and Muslim communities".

It warned that Sri Lanka was on the brink of another cycle of protracted war and a political crisis that would jeopardise a possible political solution to the long-running conflict.

The statement criticised the Sri Lankan government, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the breakaway Tiger faction led by Karuna for the brazen human rights violations in the island nation.

"The LTTE continues to systematically practice gross human rights abuses," it said, and sought "targeted measures" against the group to end child recruitment.

In Oslo Tuesday, the co-chairs should call on both Colombo and the LTTE to declare a unilateral ceasefire immediately, it added.