CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS SEPTEMBER 1992-NOVEMBER 1994
@ Source: Research Directorate of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Posted LL / Sunday, July 15, 2007
Sri Lankan security forces launch Operation Chaturanga (Chess), capturing Pandatherippu in the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) stronghold of Jaffna peninsula. The operation, which fails to secure government control over the area, reflects the government's resolve to pursue a military solution to the conflict in the north and east. In a separate offensive in Mannar District, the security forces capture Adampan and Andankulam near Giant's Tank. The LTTE's retreat during both operations indicates a "change in tactics" from "direct confrontation by thousands of Tigers" back to the "guerilla mode" of small-scale attacks (The Sri Lanka Monitor Sept. 1992a, 1).
The UNHCR receives Rs 70 million (Cdn$1.95 million) from Canada, Australia, France, the United States and Great Britain for emergency relief to Sri Lankan returnees from India (The Island International 2 Sept. 1992). On 19 September the UNHCR opens a relief centre for Tamil returnees at Palampiddy, Mannar District ( IPS 21 Sept. 1992). Some 3,000 Tamils returned to Sri Lanka from India in August and September (The Sri Lanka Monitor Sept. 1992b, 2).
A 50 per cent cut in government relief aid to the country's 600,000 internally displaced persons triggers "a storm of protests from opposition parties and refugee agencies," prompting the government to restore food aid in January 1993 (The Sri Lanka Monitor Sept. 1992b, 2).
At the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit on children held in Colombo, foreign ministers pledge to provide primary education and halve malnutrition among Sri Lankan children. Malnutrition reportedly affects 25 per cent of children below the age of five (The Sri Lanka Monitor Sept. 1992c, 2). While one report maintains that 20 per cent of children between the ages of 10 and 14 years have never been to school ( ibid.), another states that according to government statistics, "[v]irtually all children attend primary school" (also see September 1993 entry) (Country Reports 1993 1994, 1397).
At the government's invitation, Amnesty International representatives visit Sri Lanka to evaluate implementation of Amnesty's 1991 recommendations for human rights safeguards concerning arrest and detention procedures and protection against disappearance or torture. In its 1993 report Amnesty International welcomes the government's "much greater openness to scrutiny by international human rights organizations," but expresses concern that many of the recommendations accepted by the government (30 out of 32) have not yet been implemented ( Amnesty International 1993, 1).
Representatives of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances visit Sri Lanka from 5 to 15 October. Their December 1992 report states that the 12,000 cases of disappearance reported in Sri Lanka since 1983 constitute "by far the highest number ever recorded by the Working Group for any single country." However, the report also notes a decline in the number of disappearances-from 146 in 1991 to 62 in 1992-due in part to government efforts to improve the human rights situation. The report further indicates that displaced young Tamil men living in informal relief camps are most at risk of detention and disappearance, and states that impunity of human rights violators may be "the single most important factor contributing to the phenomenon of disappearances" ( United Nations 30 Dec. 1992, 17, 20-21, 30, 37-38).
Government authorities blame the LTTE for the deaths of 130 to 170 Muslim civilians and 20 security forces members in Polonnaruwa District (The Sri Lanka Monitor Oct. 1992, 1; Xinhua 5 Nov. 1992; Le Devoir 16 Oct. 1992, B7; BBC Summary 17 Oct. 1992; AFP 23 Oct. 1992; Reuters 23 Oct. 1992). In response to the killings, one week later the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leads a large protest at Maradana mosque in Colombo ( ibid.; AFP 23 Oct. 1992). Police fire on the protesters, killing one and injuring 15 (The Sri Lanka Monitor Oct. 1992, 1).
The British government resumes arms sales to the Sri Lankan government, drawing criticism from the United States and Scandinavian governments (The Sri Lanka Monitor Nov. 1992b, 2).
Sri Lankan naval commander Vice-Admiral Clancy Fernando is killed in Colombo by a suspected LTTE suicide bomber (The Economist 21 Nov. 1992; AFP 16 Nov. 1992; The Sri Lanka Monitor Nov. 1992a, 1). In response to the assassination and an alleged LTTE infiltration of Colombo, security forces arrest more than 3,000 Tamils in the south by the end of November. Also included in the crackdown in the south is the 23 November enactment of new laws requiring all Colombo landlords to register their tenants (The Sri Lanka Monitor Nov. 1992a, 1).
The UNHCR begins negotiations with the LTTE for a safe passage between Jaffna peninsula and the mainland at the Sangupiddy-Pooneryn ferry crossing (The Sri Lanka Monitor Dec. 1992a, 1). Talks break down in the second half of 1993 when the LTTE refuses to allow the army to check people travelling south from Jaffna (Tamil Times 15 Nov. 1993, 19; The Sri Lanka Monitor July 1993a, 2).
An all-party parliamentary select committee led by Mangala Moonesinghe of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) that is studying the ethnic question ( IPS 31 Oct. 1992), dissolves without consensus after Tamil parties reject the government's proposal for a constitution similar to India's and the demerger of the North-East province (The Sri Lanka Monitor Dec. 1992b, 2; AFP 11 Dec. 1992). Under the terms of the 1987 Indo-Sri Lankan accord, the northern and eastern provinces were temporarily merged in September 1988, pending the outcome of a referendum on the merger (Political Handbook of the World: 1992 1992, 720; Tamil Times 15 Apr. 1994c, 16).
Colombo police use batons and tear gas against people taking part in a peaceful demonstration organized to highlight World Human Rights Day (Tamil Times 15 Feb. 1993a, 22; The Sri Lanka Monitor Dec. 1992d, 4). Among those assaulted are opposition MPs, journalists from the Associated Press and Reuters, and the president of the Organisation for Parents and Family Members of the Disappeared (OPFMD), a group seeking compensation for the families of 40,000 people who died or disappeared during the 1987-90 Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) insurgency in the south (The Sri Lanka Monitor Dec. 1992d, 4).
Security forces launch Operation Jeyaganga in Paduvankarai, Batticaloa District ( Xinhua 12 Dec. 1992; The Sri Lanka Monitor Dec. 1992c, 3), destroying three LTTE camps and killing 10 Tigers and three civilians ( ibid.).
The British Refugee Council reports the creation of a new human rights group, Gamata Neethiya, in Moneragala District. The group's purpose is "to help local people know their rights when arrested by police" (The Sri Lanka Monitor Jan. 1993a, 3).
Between 50 and 65 civilians are killed when security forces attack boats crossing Jaffna Lagoon, a government-declared prohibited zone linking Jaffna peninsula to the mainland (Tamil Information Jan. 1993a, 6; USCR 1994, 99; INFORM Jan. 1993, 5; The Sri Lanka Monitor Feb. 1993a, 1). The UNHCR reports that over 350 people are killed while crossing the lagoon in January and February 1993 (Réfugiés Aug. 1993, 14). Civilians affected by the fighting and the economic blockade in the north undertake the dangerous crossing to flee the war or to collect food or remittances from abroad (The Sri Lanka Monitor Feb. 1993a, 1).
Following a peace visit to Jaffna, Reverend Kenneth Fernando, Anglican Archbishop of Colombo, states that the LTTE is ready to begin peace talks with the government.
In a "goodwill gesture" toward the government, the LTTE releases two captured policemen (Le Monde 16 Jan. 1993; The Economist 30 Jan.-5 Feb. 1993, 33-34; The Sri Lanka Monitor Jan. 1993b, 1).
Sathasivam Krishnakumar, the LTTE international representative known as Kittu, is killed in an explosion on a ship that was intercepted in international waters by the Indian authorities. The circumstances surrounding his death are not clear; although the ship was carrying arms, some sources indicate Kittu was returning to Sri Lanka on a peace mission from Europe (The Sri Lanka Monitor Jan. 1993b, 1; INFORM Jan. 1993, 6; Tamil Information Jan. 1993b, 7).
The Free Media Movement (FMM) holds a public rally in Colombo during a week-long protest against "assaults on journalists and media personnel." About 10,000 people attend the rally, including several opposition party leaders ( FMM 21 Jan. 1993).
The security forces launch Operation Black Fox, which brings between 45 km2 and 80 km2 in Vavuniya District under army control ( INFORM Feb. 1993, 7; The Sri Lanka Monitor Feb. 1993b, 2; Xinhua 5 Feb. 1993).
Soldiers attack the Pesalai Open Relief Centre (ORC), a UNHCR-run camp for displaced persons on Mannar Island. The attack, which reportedly injures two, follows an LTTE attack against the security forces at Pesalai ( USCR Jan. 1994, 13; The Sri Lanka Monitor Jan. 1993c, 2).
Several countries, including Canada, Australia, France, Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, the United States, the United Kingdom and Italy, contribute Rs 174.8 million (Cdn$4.87 million) to the UNHCR for the resettlement and rehabilitation of displaced persons in the north and east of Sri Lanka (Tamil Times 15 Feb. 1993b, 24).
Security forces prevent a delegation of international aid agencies working in the north from going to Jaffna to evaluate living conditions (The Sri Lanka Monitor Feb. 1993a, 1).
Following a confrontation between the army and the LTTE, 16 farmers are detained by government soldiers and then disappear at Vannathi Aru, Batticaloa District ( AI Feb. 1994b, 4; HRTF 29 Sept. 1993, 21-22). The Human Rights Task Force (HRTF), established by the Sri Lankan government in 1991 to monitor the rights of detainees, reports that the LTTE was using the farmers to harvest the fields for its own purposes ( ibid., 3, 22).
The Sri Lankan government adopts the Women's Charter, which specifies a woman's right to choose her nationality. According to WIN News, under the charter a woman's nationality does "[not] change automatically when her husband changes his, and she will have a say in the nationality of her children. The Charter also affirms that a woman has the same rights as a man in choosing a spouse and in contracting or dissolving a marriage." And although women in Sri Lanka are "highly literate and highly politicised," inequalities persist; for example, only 3.8 per cent of members of Parliament are women. The Women's Charter states that women and men should be nominated in equal numbers as candidates for elections (WIN News Autumn 1993, 64). The National Committee of Women is established in August to implement the charter ( External Affairs 22 Apr. 1994).
Government security forces launch Operation Sumana in Thoppigala, Batticaloa District ( INFORM Mar. 1993, 7; UPI 12 Mar. 1993). One report indicates that 22 rebels are killed, 17 injured and two LTTE camps captured ( ibid.). The operation reportedly continues into April ( SLBC 28 Apr. 1993). Other counter-insurgency operations in the northern districts of Mannar and Vavuniya in March lead to heavy casualties on both sides ( INFORM Mar. 1993, 7).
About 700 detainees held in connection with the 1987-90 JVP revolt in the south begin a fast to demand the government either release them or provide speedy trials (The Sri Lanka Monitor Mar. 1993, 2; UPI 4 Apr. 1993).
Lalith Athulathmudali, leader of the opposition Democratic United National Front (DUNF), is assassinated while speaking at a campaign meeting in Colombo. It is not clear who is responsible, although some opposition leaders blame the ruling United National Party (UNP) (FEER 6 May 1993, 22; INFORM Apr. 1993, 8). Police open fire at a major demonstration at his funeral five days later, killing two and injuring several more ( ibid., 9; Human Rights Watch Dec. 1993, 176).
President Ranasinghe Premadasa is assassinated in Colombo by an alleged LTTE suicide bomber, and former prime minister Dingiri Banda Wijetunga assumes the presidency (FEER 13 May 1993, 18; Asiaweek 12 May 1993, 21-22). A suspected LTTE infiltration of Colombo in the weeks following the assassination triggers waves of arrests of Tamils in and around the city (The Sri Lanka Monitor May 1993b, 1; AI Feb. 1994a, 7). Government figures provided to Amnesty International indicate that there are 15,711 arrests under the emergency regulations in the Colombo area between 1 June and 31 December 1993 ( ibid., 6).
Provincial council elections are held in all but Northeast province. The UNP receives a majority of votes in Central, North-Central, Uva and Sabaragamuwa provinces. The People's Alliance (PA), a coalition led by the SLFP, secures a majority vote in Western province, and a joint PA and DUNF opposition gains a majority in Southern and Northwest provinces ( INFORM May 1993, 9; The Sri Lanka Monitor May 1993d, 4; AFP 18 May 1993; FEER 3 June 1993, 19-20). Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, PA leader and daughter of former prime minister Sirima Bandaranaike, is sworn in as chief minister of Western province on 21 May ( ibid.).
The Indian government bans non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from refugee camps in Tamil Nadu, and restricts the number of hours refugees can work outside the camps. NGOs express concern that these restrictions might worsen camp conditions and cause refugees to return to Sri Lanka involuntarily (News from Asia Watch 11 Aug. 1993, 4; Tamil Information May 1993, 6; The Sri Lanka Monitor May 1993a, 4).
The LTTE launches an attack on an army checkpoint located on the border between army- and LTTE-controlled territory in Vavuniya District. About 15 civilians are killed while attempting to cross the checkpoint on their way south, raising concerns that the LTTE is using civilians as "human shields" (Le Monde 2 June 1993, 5; The Sri Lanka Monitor May 1993c, 2).
An inter-religious peace mission sponsored by the Asia Partnership for Human Development and organized by the Social and Economic Development Centre (SEDEC), the Sri Lankan Catholic Church development agency, visits Sri Lanka between 1 and 19 June (Tamil Information June 1993a, 4; Link Sept. 1993, 1). Their report recommends establishment of a nationwide inter-religious network "to promote cooperation and joint initiatives among the various faith communities in Sri Lanka to act as a catalyst for peace" ( ibid.).
The Sri Lankan human rights organization Sri Lanka Information Monitor (INFORM) reports the creation of a new Muslim group, the Organisation for the Protection of Muslim Rights, led by Minister A.C.S. Hameed ( INFORM June 1993, 11).
The government issues revised emergency regulations that provide limited safeguards for human rights. Secret detention is now prohibited, magistrates are required to monthly see all detainees in places of detention within their jurisdiction, and certificates of arrest must be issued to the relatives of those arrested. Some human rights sources believe these changes are not sufficient to protect human rights, as the emergency regulations still permit arrestees to be held in indefinite preventive detention and in the custody of their interrogators, conditions which may lead to torture. Moreover, in some cases the new safeguards are violated; for example, some people continue to be held in secret detention ( AI Jan. 1994, 1-2; Country Reports 1993 1994, 1387, 1389). The new registration law requires all Colombo "householders" to register all household members, tenants and overnight guests with the police, and to provide the police with a daily list of occupants (also see 16 November 1992 entry) ( AI Feb. 1994a, 9; The Sri Lanka Monitor June 1993, 1).
The Sri Lanka Aid Group of donor countries pledges US$840 million for 1994, a US$15 million increase over 1993. The United States, a member of the donor group, calls on the Sri Lankan government to prosecute human rights violators, make further changes to Emergency Regulations and investigate the conditions under which prisoners and detainees are interrogated ( Human Rights Watch Dec. 1993, 178).
Vivekananda camp for displaced persons in Colombo is closed and its residents are forced to return to Batticaloa District ( INFORM 7 July 1993, 2; ibid. 1994, 10; UTHR 15 Nov. 1993, 11). By October 1993 all but six camps are closed (see mid-September 1993 entry). Muslims from the east occupy five of the remaining camps, while Tamils inhabit one camp ( INFORM 1994, 10; ibid. Oct. 1993, 7).
The Sri Lankan government announces new legislation to combat the sexual abuse of children. The laws require the arrest of suspected paedophiles upon entry to Sri Lanka, and restrict the access to hotels of children under 18 who are not accompanied by a parent or guardian ( Xinhua 9 July 1993). A survey reveals that approximately 20,000 Sri Lankan boys between the ages of 10 and 14 are prostitutes (Tamil Information Aug. 1993a, 7).
The government introduces new restrictions on media reporting of parliamentary proceedings. These restrictions, which require all reports of parliamentary proceedings to be based on Hansard, the official record of Parliament, are viewed as a violation of the right to freedom of expression ( INFORM 1994, 18; FMM 28 July 1993, 1; Christian Worker Oct. 1993, xx).
The LTTE launches an attack against army camps in the Weli Oya area, which lies between Trincomalee and Mullaitivu. The camp at Janakapura is destroyed and a number of soldiers and civilians are killed or injured ( INFORM July 1993, 5-6; The Sri Lanka Monitor July 1993b, 1).
Former deputy inspector general Premadasa Udugampola, allegedly responsible for serious human rights violations during the 1987-90 JVP insurgency in the south, has charges against him dropped and is appointed vice-chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. The appointment comes after Udugampola withdraws allegations about government involvement in death squad activities during the insurgency. According to several sources, the case highlights the problem of impunity with the Sri Lankan security forces (Christian Worker Oct. 1993, ix-xi; Human Rights Watch Dec. 1993, 177; INFORM 1994, 7; Tamil Times 15 Mar. 1994a, 18; Campaign Dec. 1993, 6-7).
A government investigation reveals that fraud in the distribution of food supplies intended for internally displaced persons in Jaffna has caused food shortages in Jaffna over a two-year period (The Sri Lanka Monitor Feb. 1993a, 1; ibid. Dec. 1992a, 1; INFORM Aug. 1993, 6). INFORM states that Rs 100 million (Cdn$2.8 million) worth of food paid for by the government "never left warehouses in Colombo" ( ibid.).
Former LTTE deputy leader Mahathaya and about 100 supporters are arrested and detained by the LTTE for allegedly planning to overthrow the group's leader and other ranking members ( AI 1994, 272; The Sri Lanka Monitor Sept. 1993d, 2; Tamil Times 15 Jan. 1994b, 6).
The Sri Lankan government rejects a peace proposal by four Nobel prize winners representing the Canada-based World Council for Global Cooperation (WCGC). Among other things the proposal calls for UN mediation of the Sri Lankan conflict (The Sri Lanka Monitor Aug. 1993, 1; Tamil Information Aug. 1993b, 6; Les Droits Tamouls Sept. 1993, 4; Christian Worker Oct. 1993, xvii).
In an attempt to force them to resettle in government-controlled areas of Vavuniya, the government cuts off rations to 5,600 or 5,700 residents of the ORC at Madhu, in LTTE-controlled territory in Mannar District ( USCR 1994, 100; UNHCR 26 May 1994; Tamil Times 15 Dec. 1993b, 13). However, the LTTE prevents the displaced from returning to Vavuniya (see 30 October 1993 entry) (ibid.).
Asia Watch releases a report describing the Indian repatriation programme and detailing the various forms of coercion used to force Sri Lankan refugees to return to Sri Lanka. The report is based on April 1993 visits to refugee camps for Tamils in Sri Lanka and the Indian state of Tamil Nadu (News from Asia Watch 11 Aug. 1993, 1).
The UNHCR-monitored refugee repatriation programme between the governments of India and Sri Lanka resumes. This phase of the programme, initially scheduled for February 1993, was postponed due to difficulties determining whether India or the UNHCR would supply the ships to bring the refugees home (News from Asia Watch 11 Aug. 1993, 5; USCR Jan. 1994, 25). By 7 September 6,927 refugees, the total for 1993, have been repatriated ( ibid.).
In Chunnakam the LTTE reportedly opens the first law court of the new legal system of Tamil Eelam; another court is opened in Thenmaradchchi on 28 August (Les Droits Tamouls Oct. 1993a, 1).
The British Refugee Council reports the emergence of the Mujahadeen Guerrilla Movement, a new armed Muslim group, in Kattankudy (The Sri Lanka Monitor Sept. 1993b, 3).
A seminar organized by the Legal Aid Center at the University of Colombo finds that displacement "disproportionately" affects women and calls for special measures to address their needs ( INFORM Sept. 1993, 9). Widows displaced by the conflict reportedly face "severe hardship" and are often harassed by security forces and government-backed armed militant groups (Tamil Information June 1993b, 6). A March 1994 report indicates that the UNHCR and other relief agencies are increasingly consulting women, who represent 75 per cent of the displaced, with respect to their assistance needs ( IPS 11 Mar. 1994).
In compliance with ILO conventions and the recommendations of a government-appointed committee examining child labour practices, cabinet decides to enact laws to raise the minimum age of work to 15 years (Country Reports 1993 1994, 1397). A survey reveals that 20 per cent of Sri Lanka's 1.9 million children aged 10 to 14 do not attend school, and of these 250,000 work in the "non-formal" labour market. Of children in this age group, 100,000 live in refugee camps, 20,000 are male prostitutes and an estimated 10,000 live on the streets (Tamil Information Aug. 1993a, 7). Many also work as domestic servants in Colombo ( ibid.; United Nations 14 Jan. 1994, 21).
President Wijetunga repeatedly states that there is no "ethnic conflict" in Sri Lanka, only a "terrorist problem" ( INFORM Sept. 1993, 5; The Sri Lanka Monitor Sept. 1993e, 3; UTHR 15 Nov. 1993, 11). Wijetunga's statement, roundly criticized in the Tamil community, prompts the formation in May 1994 of the Action Group of Tamils in Colombo (AGOTIC), composed of Colombo businessmen and intellectuals. The group appeals to the Sinhalese, "through their political leadership," to recognize the Tamil right to self-determination, to bring forth peace proposals, and to promptly begin negotiating a political solution to the conflict (Tamil Times 15 May 1994b, 8, 14; Les Droits Tamouls May 1994b, 4). AGOTIC claims to represent Colombo's 250,000 Tamils (The Sri Lanka Monitor May 1994b, 1).
The government declares the northern waters from Mannar to Trincomalee a prohibited zone (Tamil Information Sept. 1993a, 4), a move affecting 90,000 families dependent on fishing for their living ( ibid. Sept. 1993b, 7; INFORM Sept. 1993, 8; The Sri Lanka Monitor Sept. 1993c, 2). The ban is lifted in late February 1994 ( ibid. Feb. 1994a, 2).
Government officials inform Colombo's Modara camp residents that the camp will be closed on 5 October and they will have to return to Batticaloa. After most of the residents refuse to leave, 90 men are arrested on grounds of being LTTE sympathizers. All but four are released the following day. According to INFORM, "[t]his can only be construed as coercion of the refugees in order to make them amenable to government plans" ( INFORM Sept. 1993, 9).
At a cultural event at Nathalan in Mullaitivu District, 27 civilians are reportedly killed and 100 injured during an aerial attack by government forces (Les Droits Tamouls Oct. 1993b, 2). Another source reports that 16 are killed, including three LTTE rebels, and at least 50 injured (Virakesari 26 Sept. 1993).
Police use tear gas on 4,000 people demonstrating in Beliatta, Hambantota District, during a SLFP-led campaign "against the rising cost of living" (The Sri Lanka Monitor Sept. 1993f, 2).
The Sri Lankan navy launches Operation Yal Devi, capturing the Kilali ferry crossing on Jaffna peninsula (Tamil Information Sept. 1993c, 1; The Sri Lanka Monitor Sept. 1993a, 1; INFORM Sept. 1993, 7). Government figures indicate that 42 civilians are killed, 83 injured and some 260,000 displaced (Virakesari 24 Oct. 1993), while another source indicates that 100 to 200 civilians are killed and more than 50,000 displaced (The Sri Lanka Monitor Oct. 1993a, 2). Both the army and the LTTE suffer heavy casualties during the operation ( ibid.). Unable to maintain its hold on the territory, the army withdraws from Kilali on 4 October and the LTTE-run ferry crossings resume one or two days later ( ibid. Sept. 1993a, 1; INFORM Oct. 1993, 6; Tamil Information Sept. 1993c, 1).
The government rescinds the 22 August 1993 emergency regulations punishing strike activity in the export sector with 10- to 20-year prison terms. However, 1989 emergency regulations preventing essential services workers-such as those in the government, transport and plantation sectors-from striking remain in place ( ICFTU 1993, 64-65; Impact Dec. 1993, 8-9; Country Reports 1993 1994, 1396).
Sunday Times journalist Iqbal Athas publishes an article criticizing the government counter-insurgency operation at Yal Devi. He later receives a death threat, allegedly from a high-ranking army officer ( FMM 19 Oct. 1993, 1; AI Feb. 1994b, 5; Human Rights Watch Dec. 1993, 177).
A body-bomb (typically worn by LTTE suicide bombers) is discovered on a beach in north Colombo, raising the government's fears that the LTTE is planning terrorist attacks in the city (The Sri Lanka Monitor Oct. 1993b, 1; AI 27 Oct. 1993; AI Feb. 1994a, 7). Over 3,000 arrests are made during a security crackdown in Colombo in October ( ibid.). One source reports signs of a resurgence of death squad activity in the city, with men in civilian clothing and unmarked vehicles abducting Tamils in the middle of the night (The Sri Lanka Monitor Oct. 1993b, 1).
Frustrated by ration cuts and their inability to resettle in Vavuniya, about 1,000 Madhu relief camp residents seize UNHCR equipment and reportedly take some UNHCR and government officials hostage (see 1 August and 4 November 1993 entries) (Tamil Times 15 Dec. 1993b, 13; INFORM 1994, 11; ibid. Oct. 1993, 7-8).
During a 10-17 November visit to Sri Lanka, Francis Deng, the UN secretary-general's representative on internally displaced persons, meets with government and local and international NGO officials, as well as with displaced Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese. His report, released in January 1994, indicates that many internally displaced persons live in overcrowded and inadequate facilities, face malnutrition, unemployment, lack of land and the risk of forced resettlement, and are especially vulnerable to arbitrary arrest and detention ( United Nations 25 Jan. 1994, 3, 15-17, 33).
Fearing for the safety of its staff, the UNHCR suspends its activities in LTTE controlled areas (see 30 October 1993 entry) ( USCR 1994, 100; UNHCR 26 May 1994). UNHCR activities resume in these areas on 20 February 1994 ( ibid. 1994, 1).
The LTTE launches Operation Thavalai (Frog), attacking military camps on the Pooneryn peninsula in Kilinochchi District. A naval base and the army camp at Pooneryn are destroyed (The Sri Lanka Monitor Nov. 1993, 1; Tamil Information Nov.-Dec. 1993, 1; Tamil Times 15 Dec. 1993a, 6; INFORM Nov. 1993, 6-7). Over 700 security forces members are killed, hundreds injured and some 250 disappear in "the worst disaster suffered by the security forces in the course of this war." Army commander Cecil Waidyaratne resigns in December and is replaced by Major General Gerry de Silva ( ibid., 6-7; Tamil Times 15 Dec. 1993a, 6). With a view toward strengthening the security forces, de Silva announces a new strategy and vows to improve discipline. For its part, the LTTE recruits more than 3,000 schoolboys in Jaffna shortly after the Pooneryn attack (The Sri Lanka Monitor Dec. 1993b, 1).
In a reprisal attack, government aircraft bomb St. James' Catholic Church in Gurunagar, Jaffna Town, killing at least 10, injuring 30 and destroying the church (The Sri Lanka Monitor Nov. 1993, 1; Country Reports 1993 1994, 1391; Hotline Asia 10 Dec. 1993). Aerial bombing also damages St. Theresa's Church at Kilinochchi on 16 November ( ibid.; INFORM Dec. 1993, 5) and a girls school at Kokuvil on 26 November (Les Droits Tamouls Mar. 1994, 4).
The University Teachers for Human Rights (UTHR), a Sri Lankan human rights organization, releases A Sovereign Will to Self-Destruct, a report examining the situation of internally displaced persons in the eastern district of Trincomalee in particular, but also in the northern Mannar, Vavuniya and Mullaitivu districts and the western district of Puttalam ( UTHR 15 Nov. 1993, i, 14). The report indicates that internally displaced persons, victims of the ongoing war in the north and east, face difficulties ranging from risk of arrest and disappearance to a lack of land for resettlement and inadequate relief aid ( ibid., i, 4, 12, 27).
The justice division of Tamil Eelam reportedly introduces the revised Thesawalamai Code of Tamil Eelam. The code, which reflects Tamil customary law, is modified to give women greater independence. Under section 19, for example, a married woman no longer requires her husband's consent to dispose of wealth and property (Les Droits Tamouls May 1994a, 4).
The Sri Lankan government reintroduces emergency regulations on sedition that were removed in June 1993 (Country Reports 1993 1994, 1391; Article 19 Feb. 1994, 1). Under these regulations, civil disobedience and the display of posters or distribution of leaflets whose "contents ... are prejudicial to public security" are considered criminal offences ( ibid., 2; INFORM Dec. 1993, 7; Tamil Times 15 Jan. 1994a, 10).
New emergency regulations require NGOs receiving more than Rs 50,000 (Cdn$1392) annually in money, goods or services to register with the government, and allow the government to monitor the finances of NGOs receiving over Rs 100,000 (Cdn$2784) annually in money, goods or services ( Presidential Secretariat 22 Dec. 1993, 1). This measure, the result of a three-year presidential commission investigation into NGO activities, is reportedly adopted to curb "unethical conversions" by fundamentalist Christian sects allegedly using NGO funds to attract new members (The Sri Lanka Monitor Dec. 1993a, 4; Eglisi 27 May 1994, 5-6; INFORM Dec. 1993, 7).
The head of the Sri Lankan military suggests that 12,000 army deserters may be granted an amnesty ( UPI 14 Jan. 1994). Over 22,000 soldiers have abandoned their posts since the civil war in the north and east began in 1983 ( AP 23 Dec. 1993; The Sri Lanka Monitor Dec. 1993b, 1). The government believes many are carrying weapons and are involved in crime; some 1,500 deserters were apprehended in the first half of 1993 ( Xinhua 24 Sept. 1993; ibid. 3 July 1993).
The U.S. Committee for Refugees (USCR) releases People Want Peace, a report based on a September 1993 visit to relief camps and resettlement areas in Sri Lanka. The report concludes that the 1993 repatriation of refugees from India was largely voluntary, but states that repatriation is "risky" given the ongoing ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, as is resettlement of internally displaced persons to their home areas in the north and east ( USCR Jan. 1994, 2, 26, 31).
Colombo bishop Reverend Marcus Fernando makes a peace visit to Jaffna, to which the LTTE responds by releasing two policemen as a "goodwill gesture" toward the government. Other leaders from the south visit Jaffna in February and report that people there want peace (The Sri Lanka Monitor Feb. 1994b, 1; INFORM Feb. 1994, 7).
Three mass graves are discovered at Suriyakande in the south. They are believed to contain the remains of 300 people who disappeared during the government crackdown on the JVP insurgency in the late 1980s ( AI 18 Jan. 1994; Tamil Information Jan. 1994a, 6; Hotline Asia 19 May 1994; The Sri Lanka Monitor Jan. 1994a, 4).
Sri Lanka accedes to the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment ( AI 24 Jan. 1994; Law and Society Trust Review 1 May 1994, 9).
The governments of Switzerland and Sri Lanka sign an accord permitting the deportation to Colombo of Sri Lankan asylum seekers in Switzerland whose claims were rejected after September 1992 ( Embassy of Switzerland 11 Jan. 1994; Tamil Information Jan. 1994b, 1; The Sri Lanka Monitor Jan. 1994b, 1; The Sri Lanka Project Briefing Feb. 1994).
A precedent-setting Court of Appeal judgement rejects the concept of "common domicile." Kandasamy v. Asokan, a divorce case initiated by a Sri Lankan woman who returned to Sri Lanka from her matrimonial home in Madras in 1990, had been dismissed by a district court on the basis that the marriage and husband's desertion occurred in Madras, and therefore a divorce could not be granted in Sri Lanka. The Court of Appeal decision overcomes "a long judicial tradition which had upheld the domicile of the husband as determining the wife's" (Law and Society Trust Review 1-16 Aug. 1994, 1-2).
A bomb explodes on a bus in the north, killing 10 to 15 people and injuring 25 (Libération 20 Jan. 1994, 17; Documentation-Réfugiés 18-31 Jan. 1994, 9).
Former People's Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) leader Uma Prakash is assassinated at his home in the Colombo area. Police believe the PLOTE is responsible for his death. During the recent security crackdown in Colombo, Prakash had reportedly left the PLOTE to begin operating a secret detention centre for the security forces in Ragama (The Sri Lanka Monitor Jan. 1994c, 3).
A new phase of repatriations from India to Sri Lanka begins; 3,575 refugees are returned to Mannar Island by 19 February 1994 ( UNHCR 1994, 1).
INFORM reports that growing student unrest in Sri Lanka has led to university closures ( INFORM Feb. 1994, 13; ibid. Mar. 1994, 7).
The LTTE reportedly launches a recruitment drive aimed at women in which LTTE membership is proposed as an alternative to "domestic slavery" ( INFORM Mar. 1994, 6). As well, LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran issues a decree "abolishing the dowry system among Tamils" ( ibid.; Tamil Times 15 Apr. 1994a, 5; The Sri Lanka Monitor Apr. 1994a, 3).
The LTTE attacks areas around Kalpitiya in western Puttalam District, resulting in the deaths of 27 Sinhalese fishermen, the disappearance of 13 others, and the displacement of 3,000 fishermen and their families. These attacks are reportedly intended to protect the LTTE's southern supply route from India, and to warn Kalpitiya officials not to return displaced Muslims to their homes in Mannar Island (The Sri Lanka Monitor Mar. 1994a, 3). Similar LTTE attacks in the area are reported in June, August and September 1994 ( INFORM June 1994, 6; Deutsche Presse-Agentur 8 Aug. 1994; AFP 18 Sept. 1994).
The UNP wins a moderate local election victory in the eastern province and Vavuniya town, capturing 37 per cent of the vote. Independent groups supported by the PLOTE, the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO), the Eelam Revolutionary Students Organization (EROS) and the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) secure 29 per cent of the vote, while the SLMC and the SLFP gain 19 per cent and 13 per cent respectively (The Sri Lanka Monitor Feb. 1994c, 3; Tamil Information Mar. 1994b, 1-2). Some sources report that the elections were marked by police intimidation of voters and forced recruitment of candidates ( ibid.; ibid. Feb. 1994, 7; Tamil Times 15 Mar. 1994b, 22).
A rejected asylum-seeker in Sweden pours petrol over his body and sets himself alight after learning in February that he would be deported to Sri Lanka (The Sri Lanka Monitor Feb. 1994d, 4).
The government announces that a referendum on the northeast merger will be held following the 24 March southern provincial council elections (Tamil Information Mar. 1994a, 4; Tamil Times 15 Apr. 1994c, 16).
Led by the SLFP, the PA scores a victory in the southern provincial council elections, winning 54 per cent of the vote and 32 of 53 seats. The UNP, which has ruled Sri Lanka for 17 years, won only 22 seats, raising the possibility of a new national government following parliamentary and presidential elections to be held later in the year (The Sri Lanka Monitor Mar. 1994b, 1; INFORM Mar. 1994, annex I, i).
Radhika Coomaraswamy, director of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies in Colombo, is appointed Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women by the UN Human Rights Commission ( INFORM Apr. 1994, 9; WIN News Summer 1994, 5). Security forces launch Operation Jayamaga in Vavuniya District. Reportedly "the first major ground operation" in 1994, the operation indicates a change in government counter-insurgency tactics ( INFORM Apr. 1994, 6; Tamil Times 15 May 1994a, 11). In an effort to deprive the LTTE of its resource base and attract people from LTTE-controlled territory, the army captures 60 km2 of fertile land in Vavuniya District ( ibid.).
An official of the Canadian High Commission in Colombo issues a report on resettlement in Trincomalee District. The report is based on his personal observations and discussions with NGO representatives and Sri Lankan government officials. The report indicates that although conditions in Trincomalee town are favourable to resettlement, the situation outside the town remains "problematic" because "stability is not yet assured" ( Citizenship and Immigration Canada 8 Apr. 1994, 1-4).
Bombs allegedly planted by the LTTE explode in four Colombo hotels, killing two bomb carriers and injuring an "accomplice" and a Tamil couple ( AFP 9 Apr. 1994). These explosions and another outside a Colombo zoo the following day are reportedly intended to disrupt the tourist industry (Tamil Times 15 Apr. 1994b, 4). They appear to have little effect ( Reuters 12 Apr. 1994). About 500 Tamils are rounded up by police in the two days following the explosions ( Xinhua 11 Apr. 1994; The Sri Lanka Monitor Apr. 1994c, 1).
The police conduct major round-ups in Trincomalee town, arresting 12 men and 8 women (The Sri Lanka Monitor Apr. 1994b, 3). The round-ups follow an 8 April LTTE attack against government soldiers and an ambush five days later in which two security forces members were killed ( ibid.).
In a reprisal attack against a mine explosion that injured several army personnel, Sri Lankan soldiers set fire to 50 or 60 houses in Murugankovilady, Batticaloa District, killing one civilian and seriously injuring ten (Les Droits Tamouls Aug. 1994c, 3; The Sri Lanka Monitor Apr. 1994b, 3).
Unable to feed his nine children, a Sinhalese farmer commits suicide in Divulpelessa in southern Sri Lanka. The British Refugee Council reports almost 20 suicides by southern farmers "overwhelmed by bad harvests and rising debt" in recent months (The Sri Lanka Monitor May 1994c, 2).
Tamil writer, publisher and former TELO member Sabaratnam Sabalingam is killed in Paris, allegedly by the LTTE. Sabalingam was writing a book critical of the Tamil militant groups. Thedagam, a Tamil resource centre and library in Toronto, is burned down shortly after a 25 May meeting in Sabalingam's memory (The Sri Lanka Monitor May 1994d, 3; Tamil Times 15 June 1994, 7; Xinhua 26 May 1994). LTTE activists in Canada are believed responsible for the fire ( ibid.; Tamil Times 15 June 1994, 7).
India renews its ban on the LTTE for another year (The Sri Lanka Monitor May 1994a, 4).
The LTTE opens the Bank of Tamil Eelam, its first financial institution in Jaffna, and announces that similar banks will be established in all of the northern districts (Les Droits Tamouls Aug. 1994a, 1).
S. Thondaman and M.H.M. Ashraff, respective leaders of the minority Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) and SLMC, put forward a joint peace plan that proposes to establish a Muslim territorial council within a Tamil-dominated regional council to govern a merged northeast province ( INFORM June 1994, 5).
Between 15 and 20 LTTE rebels are killed in a reprisal attack by government forces at Madagal in the Jaffna peninsula. The attack follows a rebel mine explosion at a key naval base that killed one sailor and injured several others ( AFP 7 June 1994).
At an international symposium on child prostitution held in Bangkok, a Sri Lankan government representative states that a committee is finalizing recommendations to amend "all the laws pertaining to children that need revision." The representative adds that an act addressing child prostitution is being drafted, and that an "awareness programme" to combat child prostitution has been launched by the Department of Probation and Child Care Services and the Ministry of Education and Tourist Board ( ECPAT Sept. 1994, 15). The Protecting Environment and Children Everywhere (PEACE) campaign, supported by UNICEFColombo, the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and ECPAT, recently conducted seminars and workshops for the National Monitoring Committee of the Children's Charter, the Travel Agents' Association, the Ceylon Tourist Board and community groups. Moreover, in collaboration with the University of Sri Jayawardenapura, PEACE has conducted research on child prostitution on Sri Lanka's western and southern coasts. This research revealed that 30 per cent of child prostitutes are girls, and that an increasing number of girls between 7 and 12 years are being used as sex workers ( ibid., 46-48).
President Wijetunga dissolves Parliament and schedules parliamentary elections for 16 August 1994 ( INFORM June 1994, 8; Asiaweek 27 July 1994, 20).
Sri Lankan authorities discover explosives and arms in Colombo and conduct a series of round-ups of Tamils in the city. The arms were allegedly smuggled in by the LTTE ( INFORM June 1994, 7).
In its first operation, the government's new mobile air strike force kills four LTTE rebels and captures one at the LTTE rebel base in Silavaturai, Mannar District ( UPI 14 July 1994; Xinhua 14 July 1994). At least 10 more rebels are killed and four boats destroyed in a separate strike force operation in the waters off Jaffna peninsula ( ibid.).
A Jaffna municipal health department study reveals that 70 per cent of 5,000 schoolchildren surveyed suffer from malnutrition, with some showing signs of psychological damage (The Sri Lanka Monitor Aug. 1994b, 3).
A report from Trincomalee District indicates that Tamil women who travel to Kadatharaichenai Navaladisanthai to collect wood have been repeatedly raped by the new army sentries posted at Trincomalee (Les Droits Tamouls Aug. 1994b, 2).
The LTTE declares that Madhu camp residents may now return to army-controlled areas, resulting in the departure of 100 families to Chettikulam during the month (The Sri Lanka Monitor Aug. 1994b, 3).
Police reports indicate that in the six weeks leading up to the 16 August parliamentary election there were 2092 incidents of "election-related intimidation, 1003 incidents of 'simple assault', 47 incidents of 'serious violence' and 12 murders", with most incidents occurring in the districts of Matale, Kurunegala, Puttalam, Anuradhapura, Ratnapura and Colombo ( MFFE 4 Oct. 1994, 4).
Emergency regulations are limited to the Northern and Eastern provinces, and to certain border areas of the North-Central and North-Western provinces ( INFORM Sept. 1994, 6).
At least nine policemen are killed when LTTE rebels attack a police post in Mannar town (The Sri Lanka Monitor Aug. 1994b, 3; INFORM Aug. 1994, 9).
Eleven soldiers and 25 LTTE rebels are killed during an LTTE attack against an army camp in Batticaloa District ( AFP 12 Aug. 1994).
Led by Chandrika Kumaratunga, the PA wins a slim victory in the parliamentary election, winning 105 of 225 seats. The rival UNP secures 94 seats (Libération 18 Aug. 1994; Reuters 19 Aug. 1994; La Presse 18 Aug. 1994, A-5). Of the eight seats the PA requires for an outright majority, seven are provided by the SLMC and one by the independent Upcountry People's Front (UPF) (The Sri Lanka Monitor Aug. 1994a, 1; INFORM Aug. 1994, 5; External Affairs 19 Sept. 1994, 1). Election observers say the elections were free and fair in the south, but not in the north, where many people were prevented from voting because they were trapped in LTTE-controlled areas (The Sri Lanka Monitor Aug. 1994d, 2). Another source reports that the EPDP used "weapons to intimidate both the voters and on at least one occasion ... the polling staff" ( INFORM Aug. 1994, annex IV, 27). The PA victory is reportedly widely publicized by the LTTE-controlled media in Jaffna ( Xinhua 22 Aug. 1994).
In the first suicide mission by a female Tamil Tiger, a naval command ship and an attack craft are destroyed in Kankesanthurai harbour, Jaffna District. Reprisal attacks by government security forces involve heavy shelling of Jaffna (The Sri Lanka Monitor Aug. 1994b, 3).
Prime Minister Kumaratunga is sworn in and announces her 23-member cabinet, including among others: herself as Minister of Finance, Planning, Ethnic Affairs and National Integration; her mother, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, minister without portfolio; Srimani Athulathmudali, widow of the former DUNF leader, Minister of Transport, Highways, Environment and Women's Affairs; M.H.M. Ashraff, Minister of Shipping, Ports and Rehabilitation; and President D.B. Wijetunga, Minister for Defence and Buddhist Affairs (The Sri Lanka Monitor Aug. 1994e, 2; INFORM Aug. 1994, annex II; Reuters 19 Aug. 1994; Tamil Times 15 Aug. 1994, 4). Upon assuming office Kumaratunga offers to begin negotiations with the LTTE, to which the LTTE responds favourably (FEER 1 Sept. 1994, 16; Xinhua 29 Aug. 1994).
The government announces that it will establish three human rights commissions to investigate disappearances during the 1988-90 government crackdown on the JVP. Most of the estimated 30,000 to 60,000 people killed or disappeared were reported to be victims of government-led death squads ( Reuters 25 Aug. 1994; The Sri Lanka Monitor Aug. 1994c, 4).
In an attempt to facilitate peace negotiations with the LTTE, Prime Minister Kumaratunga announces a partial lifting of the economic blockade against the north. In response the LTTE releases 10 policemen it has held for four years ( Reuters 2 Sept. 1994; The Sri Lanka Monitor Aug. 1994a, 1), and announces that it is ready for peace talks with the government ( ibid.; Le Devoir 8 Sept. 1994, A-5; India Today 30 Sept. 1994, 58).
The World Food Programme pledges one year's supply of rice, lentils and sugar, representing $2.35 million, for internally displaced persons living in 147 welfare centres outside the conflict zones in the north and east ( INFORM Sept. 1994, 8).
Former DUNF leader Gamini Dissanayake is elected leader of the UNP and is nominated to be the party's presidential candidate (Virakesari 11 Sept. 1994).
The government announces that it will release some Tamil detainees and resume the supply of electricity to Jaffna (Le Devoir 8 Sept. 1994, A-5).
Prime Minister Kumaratunga invites the LTTE to nominate a representative to peace talks ( SLBC 14 Sept. 1994; India Today 30 Sept. 1994, 58).
The government appoints a cabinet subcommittee to help displaced persons resettle by providing land and settlement assistance ( INFORM Sept. 1994, 8).
Another phase of refugee repatriation from India begins. Some 3,400 refugees return to Trincomalee in September, with another 1,000 scheduled to leave for Sri Lanka in early October ( INFORM Sept. 1994, 8).
The LTTE attacks a navy boat off the northwest coast of Sri Lanka ( AFP 20 Sept. 1994; Reuters 19 Sept. 1994; Le Devoir 21 Sept. 1994, A-6). One source reports 27 sailors and five LTTE rebels killed ( ibid.), while another states that more than 50 sailors may have been killed ( Reuters 19 Sept. 1994).
The government begins a programme to resettle 39,000 displaced families in the north and east by the end of October. The programme provides families with housing assistance, settling allowances and production grants ( Xinhua 24 Sept. 1994; IPS 4 Oct. 1994). The government also introduces the "hope allowance," a $500 grant to young relief camp residents planning to marry ( ibid.).
Government security forces launch Operation Jayahanda in Achchuveli, Jaffna District, killing 75 Tigers, two soldiers and seven civilians ( INFORM Sept. 1994, 6).
Government security forces launch a reprisal attack against the LTTE near Palaly, Jaffna District, killing 20 to 30 Tigers, two soldiers and six civilians (Libération 27 Sept. 1994, 15; Reuters 26 Sept. 1994).
Thirteen soldiers are killed in a LTTE ambush in eastern Batticaloa District. Some analysts believe this and other LTTE attacks since the government began the peace initiative in August are intended to pressure the government into declaring a cease-fire before peace negotiations begin on 13 October ( IPS 29 Sept. 1994).
In an effort to improve nutrition among relief camp residents in Trincomalee, the government implements a scheme to replace monthly dry rations with cash payments of $28 for a family of five ( IPS 4 Oct. 1994).
The government announces that all families who lost members in insurgency or counter-insurgency operations will receive cash payments of US$1,000 to US$3,000 under a new government compensation programme ( Xinhua 6 Oct. 1994).
The government and the LTTE begin peace talks, the first since June 1990, in Jaffna ( Voice of America 13 Oct. 1994; Libération 14 Oct. 1994, 13; The New York Times 16 Oct. 1994, 3).
In compliance with an LTTE request during the 13-14 October peace talks, government forces decide to open the Elephant Pass route linking Jaffna peninsula and the mainland ( Xinhua 16 Oct. 1994).
UNP leader and presidential candidate Gamini Dissanayake is killed by a suicide bomber in Colombo. Over 50 people are killed in the explosion, believed to have been planned by the LTTE ( Voice of America 23 Oct. 1994; FEER 3 Nov. 1994, 14; The New York Times 30 Oct. 1994, 3; Xinhua 24 Oct. 1994; International Herald Tribune 25 Oct. 1994; La Presse 26 Oct. 1994, D-11). The government imposes a 24-hour curfew throughout the country and suspends the second round of peace talks with the LTTE ( ibid.; Time 7 Nov. 1994, 36). Dissanayake's widow, Srima Dissanayake, becomes the new UNP presidential candidate (La Presse 26 Oct. 1994, D-11; Voice of America 28 Oct. 1994).
Article 19 releases a report based on a July 1993 mission to Sri Lanka. The report documents widespread "formal and informal" censorship in Sri Lanka and calls for legal and institutional reforms to restore freedom of expression in the country ( Article 19 Oct. 1994, 1-2).
Kumaratunga wins a "stunning" victory in the presidential election, capturing two million more votes than UNP leader Srima Dissanayake. Kumaratunga's victory, by a 26 per cent margin over her nearest rival, the largest margin of victory since the executive presidency was established in 1978, is attributed to the widespread desire for peace (The Economist 12-18 Nov. 1994, 48; Voice of America 10 Nov. 1994). According to one source, police reported "at least 1,100 incidents of random violence, including murder, extortion and sabotage," in the five-week campaign leading up to the election ( UPI 7 Nov. 1994).
President Kumaratunga appoints her mother, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, as prime minister. The new president and prime minister may eventually exchange positions. Kumaratunga's campaign highlighted the need for constitutional changes that would reduce the position of president to a largely ceremonial post by July 1995 (The Gazette 15 Nov. 1994, C-7).