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Party : Sri Lanka Muslim Congress
Symbol : Betel Leaf
Name of the Current Leader : Maithripala Sirisena
Country : Srilanka

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Sri Lanka Muslim Congress :
Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) is a political party that is totally focused on giving voice to the Muslim minority who comprises 8% of the island’s population. It is Islamic centric but is committed to foster multiracial amity and collective prosperity for all Sri Lankan citizens. It firmly believes that Sri Lankan Muslims can be equal partners in Sri Lanka’s path to economic development and achievement of a quality of life that human endeavor can offer mankind in the second decade of the 21st century. SLMC, emerged in the heartland of Muslim power, in the Eastern Province, following the attenuation of space for Muslims’ grievances in the traditional mainstream parties, and especially amidst the height of terrorism of the LTTE, that engulfed the country, communal turbulence, growing discriminatory practices of the state and the Sinhala and Tamil mainstream parties and the inability of the Muslim leaders in these parties themselves to address the grievances of the Muslims in the country.

Our Objecives:
a. To foster and to safeguard the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.
b. To uphold and honour the principles of democracy and fundamental human rights.
c. To strive to recognize and respect the district linguistic, ethnic and religious identities of the communities in Sri Lanka and promote friendship, peace and harmony amongst them.
d. To work towards the re-establishment and the preservation of the rule of law
e. To preserve and ensure the independence of the Judiciary.
f. To seek solutions to the socio-economic and ethnic problems of Sri Lanka, based on the tenets of Islam.
g. To preserve and promote the Shariah Laws and to encourage the members of the party and others to adopt the entire Code of Shariah Laws in their private and community life.

Constitutional Principles :
We believe that the Constitutional Principles to which the SLMC is committed enjoy very considerable support throughout the country.
These principles include:
** Sri Lanka as a free, sovereign, democratic, independent and united country.
** Recognition of the pluralistic character of Sri Lankan society including ensuring that the composition of the institutions of the State reflects such character, and arrangements to promote cooperation and mutual trust, confidence and understanding among all the peoples of Sri Lanka.
** Equitable representation of the people in the national and regional legislatures.
** A structure of government at the centre that provides for the full representation and participation of all communities and parts of the country.
** Empowerment of all communities through federalism or a meaningful devolution of powers established under and protected by the Constitution. This should include an autonomous area comprising parts of the North and East specifically for the Muslim community.
** Flexible systems of devolution where structures and powers correspond to the actual needs and capacities of the areas and communities.
** Empowerment of individuals through active participation in decision making that affects them, and at all levels of government, not simply at election time.
** Multi-party, democratic systems at the level of devolved units, including power-sharing arrangements to ensure the full participation and representation of all.
** Suitable mechanisms for interaction and coordination between various units both horizontally and vertically.
** Clear and comprehensive articulation and strong and effective protection of human rights. The constitution shall protect the application of the personal laws of communities.
** A commitment to the rights of all including women, children and persons differently abled.
** Social justice for all including legally enforceable economic, social and cultural rights and obligations on the state to advance the disadvantaged, underprivileged or under represented communities and groups in all spheres of society, and to ensure equality of opportunity and balanced economic development.
** Recognition of Sinhala and Tamil languages as official languages throughout the country including the regions and acceptance and use of Sinhala, Tamil and English as national languages.
** Effective mechanisms for accountability of government and for transparency in the conduct of government business, especially in any matters involving public funds.
** Guarantees for security of the people in the form of civilian control of armed forces and accountability structures for the police and armed forces.
** A competent, independent and courageous judiciary, including independent mechanisms for appointment and strong protection for security of tenure, and an appropriate system of appeal with ultimate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court respected and trusted by all.
** A professional and competent public service based on the principle of merit, reflecting the ethnic composition of the regions and the country and free from political interference.
** Supremacy of the Constitution to be ensured by providing that national and regional legislation and policies, including all existing laws are subject to review in the courts, ensuring that no state agency is above the law.

Forums and Procedures For Negotiations :
** At the same time as we strengthen the peace process, we should initiate the process of addressing political and constitutional issues.
** Both these processes must reflect the values that constitute our vision of Sri Lanka.
** They must be transparent, involve all stakeholders, and be governed by codes of conduct that respect human rights, the freedom of expression, respect for differences, and the renunciation of any form of violence and intimidation.
** The process of constitution making requires the participation of all sectors of society for its legitimacy.
** There is a pressing need for the resumption of political negotiations and more face to face contact between the key stake holders.
** Some political and administrative arrangements (whether or not they involve a transitional constitution) must be established to facilitate the peace and constitution building processes.
** While noting the efforts that are being made to arrive at a constitutional resolution to the ethnic conflict including the recent initiative by the Government, we consider that a more inclusive approach is necessary.
** In an exercise towards (state reforms) constitutional building we must adhere to best practices.
** The country needs to embark on a pragmatic approach based on ground realities.
** Having several parties may enhance the chances of a settlement.
** By broadening the agenda and the number of parties involved, consensus may be easier rather than difficult to achieve.
** The time has now come to move forward on a broader front in terms of both the issues and the participants.
** We urge the LTTE to join in political negotiations now.
** Long term and durable solutions depend on inclusive and participatory processes, a willingness to negotiate and to make and seek concessions.
** All stakeholders must come to the negotiations with open minds, avoiding the use of emotive words, and focus on the substance of the constitutional arrangements that satisfy the legitimate concerns of all communities and the welfare of the country.

Conclusion :
** It is time to recognise the right of all stakeholders, besides the GOSL and the LTTE, to participate in these processes.
** The Muslim community must be a full participant in the ceasefire and political negotiations.
** They are the victims of the present conflict and would be the beneficiaries of peace and stability.
** It has suffered and continues to suffer most, as much of the fighting and disruptions have taken place in areas where they have long lived, their lands have been appropriated, and they have become victims of ethnic cleansing.
** The SLMC also emphasises that the government and the LTTE recognise the rights of ethnically cleansed Northern Muslims including the right to return with dignity and honour, post return safety and security, restitution and restoration of proprietary rights and payment of equitable compensation to enable them to achieve self reliance.
** Muslims of the North and East now need autonomy in areas where they are a majority, to give them a sense of security that derives from being able to make or fully participate in decisions that most directly affect them.
** We have developed detailed proposals on autonomy which are now being discussed within the Muslim community.
** The rights of all communities living within the Muslim autonomous area will be fully protected.
** The SLMC wants to make clear that the autonomy will be designed to offer to the Muslim community in the North and East not a fortress, but a home within the broader homeland of Sri Lanka.
** It is intended to be a stepping stone for the greater involvement of the Muslim community within a united Sri Lanka, and not a drawbridge to keep the rest of the nation at bay.
** Muslims have always sought to contribute constructively to political and social problems, and as a community linked in various ways to the other two major communities, but with its own distinctive history and identity, Muslims have the incentive and willingness to promote understanding among all communities.
** Constitutional reform must address questions such as social justice, equitable distribution of resources, the rule of law, and public participation in state affairs, in addition to issues of self-government.
** If all communities, and all members within those communities, can feel that they belong to a country in which they are valued, their values and traditions respected, their abilities and contributions welcomed, the people of Sri Lanka can hope for a bright future.

Contact Us :
Hon M Hasan Ali MP
The Secretary General
53, Vauxhall Lane
Colombo 2
Sri Lanka
Tel: +94 74 717720
Fax: +94 74 717722
Web related information: Hon M T Hasan Ali or Dr A R A Hafeez (Media Consultant)

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