25th October 2014

Sri Lanka reiterates commitment to the UN system

25th October 2014 // 0 Comments

Sri Lanka reiterates commitment to the UN system   External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris yesterday reiterated Sri Lanka’s commitment to working constructively with the UN system and said it was absolutely vital to preserve and enhance the confidence of the world community in it. He made these remarks at an event held to mark the 69th UN day where he assured that Sri Lanka had recognised the importance of the UN and therefore would continue to work actively with the UN system in a variety of ways. “There is no substitute for the UN because the work done by it cannot possibly be done by anybody else,” the minister said and added that though the Sri Lankan Government had citicised the workings of certain sections […]

Sharma to review situation in the north

25th October 2014 // 0 Comments

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma will visit Sri Lanka from 25-29 October 2014 to brief the current Commonwealth Chair-in-Office, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, on the achievement of objectives and implementation of work set at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka in November 2013. The Secretary-General will also meet other members of the Government of Sri Lanka, including the Minister of External Affairs, Professor G L Peiris. The Secretary-General is expected to meet the Speaker of Parliament, ChamalRajapaksa, and other political leaders. During his five-day visit, the Secretary-General will also review the implementation of various initiatives being undertaken as part of his Good Offices work to support Sri Lanka’s national development and post-conflict plans, and will take the opportunity to meet with the Chairperson and Commissioners of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka; the […]

UNP is ready to back 19th Amendment

25th October 2014 // 0 Comments

The main opposition United National Party (UNP) today informed parliament it backs the proposed 19th Amendmentto the Constitution and wants it passed in Parliament without a debate if other political parties also support it. Opposition UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said that there are reports on some websites indicating there is a move by the Government to submit the proposed 19th Amendment as an urgent Bill in Parliament next month. The 19th Amendment, proposed by Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) MP Athureliya Rathana Thera, calls for a Prime Minister be the Head of the Government and the Head of the Cabinet of Ministers and also a reduction in the number of Ministers and Deputy Ministers in office. “Rathana Thera’s 19th Amendment has the support of the UNP. So if there is a move to bring it […]

The whitewashing of a war crime by corporate lobbyists

25th October 2014 // 0 Comments

The Sri Lankan government is hurriedly trying to boost the country’s image by spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire corporate lobbyists as it awaits a UN report into alleged war crimes. A report in the US says Sri Lanka has recently agreed a contract with its eighth lobbying firm this year to change the way the country is perceived internationally. It also wants the companies to improve contact between Sri Lankan officials and members of the US government. Five years after the bloody and controversial end of a civil war that resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians, the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa says it is incorrectly portrayed in the West. It wants the lobbyists to reach out to “US media, […]

No Final Word yet on Wigneswaran Visit to New Delhi

25th October 2014 // 0 Comments

NEW DELHI: Officials in Delhi are trying to work out a schedule for Sri Lanka’s northern province Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi next month. The provincial Chief Minister was invited by an NGO, People’s Union for Civil Liberties to give a public lecture on November 9. While, PUCL claims that Wigneswaran has accepted the invitation, there is still uncertainty about the visit as the Prime Minister’s office was still trying to find time for Wigneswaran in Modi’s schedule. The PM is scheduled to leave for his three-nation tour on May 11. So Wigneswaran may first land in Delhi, before travelling to Chennai. India had already given a verbal invitation to the northern province Chief Minister to visit the country after […]

‘Extremism may derail Lanka progress’

25th October 2014 // 0 Comments

Rising extremism is causing significant concern among minority communities in Sri Lanka, particularly Muslims, Justice Minister Rauf Hakeem said in Riyadh during an interview this week. “This is an unfortunate trend that needs to be addressed with great seriousness,” said Hakeem, who is also the leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress. He added that the tendency to engage in hate speech was continuously being tolerated without sufficient action being taken by the government to contain the situation.” “The deliberate intimidation of minorities is certainly not promoting reconciliation following 30 years of prolonged war,” he said, stressing that extremist groups would only perpetuate polarization within society. He warned that Sri Lanka’s progress following years of warring could be hindered if political leaders did not take […]

SL Muslims at the cross roads – 21

25th October 2014 // 0 Comments

By Izeth Hussain I will conclude this series of articles by focusing on two questions: firstly, what is the explanation for the anti-Muslim campaign, and secondly, what should be done about it? But before getting to that I want to make some preliminary clarifications. I have concentrated on the actual bilateral issues that have been bedeviling Sinhalese-Muslim relations. It might seem therefore to some readers that I have left huge lacunae about matters that have been seriously prejudicing those relations. There is for instance the ill-treatment, sometimes amounting to enslavement, of our housemaids in the Arab world. There could be some amount of exaggeration about that ill-treatment: if it were uniformly ghastly our housemaids would not continue to go there in huge numbers. Then there […]

Challenge has been thrown at President Rajapaksa by TNA Leader

25th October 2014 // 0 Comments

By Manekshaw President Mahinda Rajapaksa, addressing a meeting in Kilinochchi during his tour in the Northern Province recently, said if the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) was prepared to give up its demand for a separate State, the government was prepared to abolish the Executive Presidential system in the country. President Rajapaksa commenced his tour by attending several welfare programmes, which were aimed at enhancing the socio-economic conditions of the people affected by the war in Kilinochchi. The former LTTE stronghold not only witnessed the horrible moments of the last lap of the war between the LTTE and the Security Forces in 2009, the region also suffered in the hands of the LTTE when the outfit established its de-facto capital there, soon after it was flushed […]