Sri Lanka citizen’s group writes to presidential front runners

Sri Lanka's state minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene (L) takes part in a press conference in Colombo on April 24, 2019. - A Sri Lankan security dragnet hunting those responsible for horrifying bombings that claimed more than 350 lives has scooped up a further 18 suspects, police said April 24, as pressure mounted on politicians to explain why no one acted on intelligence warnings. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

Jan 20, 2010 (LBO) – A Sri Lankan citizen’s group has written to the two main candidates running for next weeks polls asking for more attention to the island’s minority groups and constitutional reforms to promote equality to all citizens. “We note with distress a major lacuna in both manifestos,” the group, Friday Forum said in a letter to president Mahinda Rajapaksa and common opposition candidate retired general Sarath Fonseka.

“Neither manifesto adequately addresses the basic rights of many communities living in Sri Lanka, and particularly the Tamils, Muslims and Up-Country Tamils and other minorities.

“Their long standing grievances and aspirations are not given due attention.

“Nor have you articulated a credible process of restructuring our state and writing our constitution to ultimately arrive at a plural and cohesive society, where all our people feel they can with equality and justice participate in national life.”

The group said Sri Lanka’s society may be divided and have community tensions for many more years to come unless sincere and meaningful political guarantees are made.

The full letter is reproduced below

An Appeal to the Two Key Candidates Contesting the Presidential Electio