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EU for international monitoring of polls in LTTE areas

EU has blamed LTTE for preventing minority Tamils from exercising their franchise in Lanka, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Mar 10, 2006 17:36 IST
PK Balachandran
PK Balachandran

The European Union (EU) wants elections in the LTTE-controlled areas of Sri Lanka to be monitored by an international observer group to prevent the violation of fundamental rights, including the right to vote.

This follows the LTTE-enforced boycott of the November 2005 Presidential election in the North Eastern Province, which resulted in the majority of Tamil voters there not being able to exercise their franchise.

"It is now clear that if future elections in LTTE-controlled areas are to be held in accordance with internationally recognised principles for genuine democratic elections, they will have to be administered and supervised by an international body as has happened in Cambodia (1993), South Africa (1994), Bosnia-Herzegovina (1996-2001), Eastern Slavonia (1997), Liberia (1997), East Timor (2000-02) and Kosovo (2001-03)," said John Cushnahan, Head of the EU Election Observation Mission to Sri Lanka.

" Obviously such a body could only be invited into Sri Lanka if both parties to the peace process were in agreement," Cushnahan added, according to an EU press release.

Urging the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE to accept his proposal, the EU monitor said that if they were to get funding under the Tokyo Donors' Conference Declaration of 2003, they had an obligation to respect human rights, including the right to vote.

The Tokyo conference had pledged to give Sri Lanka $4.5 billion as development assistance if the ideals of peace and democracy were pursued by the two parties to the ethnic conflict in the island.

First Published: Mar 08, 2006 18:50 IST