February 2015

THE JAFFNA CONNECTION

20th February 2015 // 0 Comments

BY Ellmo Gooneratne Jaffna had invaders from Malaysia, Eastern India and Kerala. They conquered the Jaffna Kingdom but never went back but stayed back in Jaffna and settled. The first American Missionary Medical College was set up in Jaffna, the first in Ceylon.The American Missionaries opened schools firstly to learn English and later all subjects. Who went to these schools were given food, clothes, and money and also books by the American Missionaries. In the North for over thirty years they were talking about the LTTE. Many lived in fear that their children were not safe; the LTTE just kidnapped them for their Army. The children were enrolled in the LTTE Army whether the parents and the children liked it or not. There were several […]

100 Day Plan For Ethnic Reconciliation

20th February 2015 // 0 Comments

By S. Sivathasan – A Plan, What For? What is mystical about 100 days? Everything about it is mystical. Listing out of items shows a clear selection of priorities from a well thought out process. Publicity induces sharp focus, energy purposefully directed and sustained mental stress for achievement. Prescription of timelines imposes a moral compulsion. Besides them all, it proclaims earnestness, commitment, a will to realise and the verve to honour one’s word. The 100 Day Plan, the first ever in this country is showing results. Fair progress is recorded in the first 40 days. It shows the way for the next 100 Day Plan of great national consequence towards ethnic reconciliation if it is so deemed. President’s Earnestness Three weeks after the change of regime, […]

Genocide In Sri Lanka: It’s A Question That Certainly Needs To Be Litigated

20th February 2015 // 0 Comments

By Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah – “…it is a question that needs to be litigated because, the (Sri Lankan) government certainly behaved as though its intention was to wipe out at least a part of the Tamil community and to produce conditions in the North which made it difficult for them and their culture to survive” – Geoffrey Robertson QC There are two related issues currently of critical consequence to Tamils: The deferment of the release of the OISL report (the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka report) initially fixed for March 25, 2015 and the question of whether or not it was Genocide and the Dire need for it to be litigated. These questions encapsulate the critical debate that is raging among the protagonists in the […]

Beating the Communal Drum by Hardcore Sinhala Nationalists

20th February 2015 // 0 Comments

Yesterday’s rally in Nugegoda organised by the hard-core Sinhala nationalists, i.e. Weerawansa, Dinesh, Gammanpila and Vasudeva with the blessings of former President Mahinda Rajapakse and their pseudo intellectual appendage Dayan Jayatilleke reminds us that the politicians who made a life out of Sinhala communalism/nationalism at the expense of a pluralist, liberal democratic Sri Lanka are well and alive. The defeat of the former government by a coalition of parties and civil society groups on January 8th 2015 has not dampened the spirit of these die-hard Sinhala nationalists. From the speeches delivered, it seems that these die-hard communalists are ever ready to beat the racial card citing a potential resurgence of the LTTE and division of the country by granting too much power to the Northern […]

Asylum seekers transferred at sea by Australia to face court in Sri Lanka

20th February 2015 // 0 Comments

Sri Lanka’s new president has no immediate plans to change laws regarding people illegally leaving the country Asylum seekers returned to Sri Lanka will face court charged with illegally leaving the country as Sri Lanka’s new president has no plans to change the country’s laws regarding people leaving without permission. Australia announced on Thursday that four Sri Lankan asylum seekers had been transferred at sea to the custody of the Sri Lankan navy after their boat was intercepted earlier this month north-west of the Cocos Islands. The men were interviewed at sea by Australian immigration officials, regarding their asylum claims. It is not known when they will reach Sri Lanka. Historically, asylum seekers forcibly repatriated to Sri Lanka have been taken from Colombo airport or […]

Foreign firm paid Rs 95.6 M – For task SL’s US Embassy could have done

20th February 2015 // 0 Comments

By Gagani Weerakoon and Skandha Gunasekara The Ministry of Foreign affairs informed Parliament yesterday that the government had paid Rs 95,592,244 to a multinational law firm to carry out tasks that Sri Lanka Embassy officials in Washington, USA, could have carried out at a far cheaper cost. According to an answer tabled by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mangala Samaraweera, the Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington had procured the services of multinational law firm Patton Boggs (now called Squire Patton Boggs) in the years 2010, 2011 and 2012, to perform tasks that could have been carried out by officials of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington, USA. Consequently, Rs 35,685,907 was given as payment to the aforementioned company in 2010 while Rs 46,913,476 and Rs […]

CPI-M asks Sri Lanka to launch independent probe on attacks on Tamils

20th February 2015 // 0 Comments

CHENNAI: CPI(M) today demanded that the Sri Lanka government launch an independent high-level probe into allegations of “countless attacks” and human rights violations against the country’s Tamil civilians during the 2009 civil war against LTTE and urged India to take diplomatic steps to ensure the welfare of the community in the island nation. A resolution concerning the Sri Lankan Tamils issue taken at the party’s state conference here said that the United Nations Human Rights Council should submit its report on alleged human rights violations in the island nation without any delay. “Sri Lanka government should constitute a complete, independent and credible probe by experts in international justice and human rights on the countless attacks on Lankan Tamils and the genocide and human rights violations in […]

61 Politicians in bribery net

20th February 2015 // 0 Comments

By Niranjala Ariyawansha Charges of corruption had been levelled against 61 politicians, including members of Parliament and ministers, Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, Dilrukshi Wickremasinghe, said yesterday (19). She said that investigations have already commenced into these complaints. Addressing the first ever media briefing in the history of the CIABOC yesterday, she said that 521 complaints have been received by the Commission since January 2015 and that she is directly responsible for them. She added that, the Bribery or Corruption Investigation Act should be amended and that she firmly believes that there should be a separate Court to hear these cases. She also said, at the time she assumed duties 1,600 files, containing complaints received during the past […]

Police not afraid to act against criminals – Media Spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana says:

20th February 2015 // 0 Comments

BY Gagani Weerakoon Police media spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana is often under attack by various parties in society, including politicians. He has been called a parakeet of the incumbent government. But, Rohana said the police were not afraid to take action against any criminal following investigation showing him guilty. Rohana justifies the delay in taking action against member of Parliament Duminda Silva, implicated in a case, by ‘Wele Suda’, which involves massive financial dealings in narcotics. Following are the excerpts of an interview: Q: People say there is an increase in the crime rate at present. According to the view of police, is there an actual increase in the number of crimes or is it the severity of crimes and the crime trend that has […]

Witness Protection Bill Passed

20th February 2015 // 0 Comments

The witness protection bill has been passed unanimously in the parliament today. The much delayed bill was approved by the Cabinet last July. It was first tabled before the parliament in 2008 but was deferred. The bill was drafted by the Justice Ministry, and thereafter referred to the cabinet sub-committee on legislation for its recommendations before being presented to the parliament. The call for an Act for Protection of Witnesses has been made for the past few years, particularly during the post-conflict period as it would create help conduct fair trials through striking a balance in the criminal justice system of Sri Lanka between the rights of the accused, the rights and entitlements of victims of crime and the entitlements of witnesses.

Draw Examples From The UK Code Of Conduct

19th February 2015 // 0 Comments

Good Governance activist Chandra Jayaratne has written to Minister Karu Jayasuriya, requesting him to review the recently adopted Code of Conduct in the UK with necessary changes, when drafting the Code of Conduct for the local Ministers in a way that it would fit the local context. Jayaratne has asked Jayasuriya in his capacity as the Minister of Democratic Governance to ensure that examples are drawn by the UK Code of Conduct, for the Ministerial Code and the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies, which is due to be introduced and implemented under the 100-day program. In his letter, Jayarathne has quoted the foreword of the Ministerial code in UK written by British PM David Cameron noting that his words closely resonate […]

The biggest test of the government, will be on the issue of devolution of power to the Sri Lankan Tamils

19th February 2015 // 0 Comments

President Maithripala Sirisena is always seen clad in the Sinhalese sarong and a long white shirt. A new addition to his wardrobe is a saffron jacket, which his supporters liken to the sleeveless jacket popularised by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, however, loves to dress in suave business suits while courting the global power elite. Their language of choice differs, too. Ranil prefers English, while Sirisena is known for sticking to Sinhalese. Such differences apart, the two leaders are trying to steer Sri Lanka to a stable political landscape, after ousting Mahinda Rajapaksa in the presidential elections in January. The balancing game between Wickremesinghe and Sirisena is bringing in new protagonists. Sandra Pereira, secretary to Wickremesinghe, is fast emerging as a […]

C M Wiggie, UN & The International Community, Give Sirisena A Chance

18th February 2015 // 0 Comments

By Hilmy Ahamed – The election of Sri Lanka Freedom Party’s (SLFP) renegade Maithripala Sirisena as the 6th Executive President of the Sri Lanka and the formation of a government under the moderate Political leader, Ranil Wickremesingheof the United National Party (UNP) as the 17th Prime Minister augers well for the country. The unexpected coalition and the marriage of convenience offers the best prospects for Sri Lanka to bring forth good governance, rule of law, minimize corruption and speed track reconciliation amongst its people after a decade of misrule. Sri Lanka, under the Rajapaksa Presidency slid down to its worst levels in history, in maintaining Law and Order, Independence of the Judiciary and Police, Violation of Human Rights, Corruption, Nepotism and Militarization of civilian activity […]

Don’t withdraw Army from North – Prof. Rohan Gunaratna

18th February 2015 // 0 Comments

By Zahrah Imtiaz Sampath* squints at the large screen before him, trying to watch the English movie on it. He is sitting, inside a large tent, waitingfor the State Minister for Defence, Ruwan Wijewardene to make his official state tour to the Army Camp in Palali. “Hats on and stand up when the minister arrives,” shouts the platoon leader. The minister has arrived and Sampath along with several of his officers and colleagues, from the Jaffna peninsula stand to attention to listen to him. Wijewardene quietens Sampath’s fears that the new government would not demobilize the current numbers in the forces. Later at tea, the minister who is in a mood to socialize with the soldiers met Sampath and asked him what resources he currently […]

Politics, Economics of HR report delay

18th February 2015 // 0 Comments

The UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) has deferred until September of this year to table a report concerning Sri Lanka’s alleged human rights violations at the closing stages of its war against LTTE terrorists in May 2009 where scores of civilians were also killed. The report was originally to be tabled at Geneva next month at the UN’s HR sessions. The delay from Sri Lanka’s perspective is welcome in both a political and an economic sense. Political, because the new government, ushered in after President Maithripala Sirisena’s polls win a little over a month ago, is expected to face a general election in only another four months’ time in June. In the event that report was tabled as scheduled next month, it may have been […]

Full Text of August 1987 Interview with LTTE Leader Prabakharan That was Re-produced by “Frontline” in Feb 6, 2015 Issue

18th February 2015 // 0 Comments

By T.S.Subramanian The signing of the Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement on July 29, 1987, in Colombo by Rajiv Gandhi and Sri Lankan PresidentJ.R. Jayewardene marked a turning point in the history of Sri Lanka as well as in India-Sri Lanka relations. Under it, theIndian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) was despatched to the island’s Northern and Eastern provinces. The situation went haywire with the beginning of a military confrontation between the IPKF and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) from October 10, 1987, and a marked reluctance on the part of Colombo to implement the agreement. The IPKF-LTTE military conflict saw the death of about 1,200 Indian soldiers and 660 LTTE cadres. An LTTE suicide bomberassassinated Rajiv Gandhi when he was campaigning at Sriperumbudur, about 30 km […]

Prime Minister Intervenes To Release Frontline Magazines

18th February 2015 // 0 Comments

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today (18) ordered to release the stock of ‘Frontline’ magazines which were being held by the Customs Department. The decision to seize the latest issue of Frontline magazines were in stark contrast to the policy of good governance in which media freedom is an integral part. The latest issue of the magazine, which has reproduced an interview done with Prabhakaran in 1987. Asian Mirror, quoting Media Ministry Secretary Karu Paranavithana, earlier reported that the latest issue of the Frontline magazine was stopped by the Customs Department for reproducing an interview with slain LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. Paranavithana, yesterday (17) told media that the Customs officials sent a few copies of the magazine to the Defence Ministry, and then the Defence Ministry […]

UN will assess domestic proces

18th February 2015 // 0 Comments

The United Nations (UN) says it will be carefully assessing developments related to the domestic accountability mechanism in Sri Lanka. Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban ki-moon, said that Ban had encouraged the Government to engage continuously with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. Haq was responding to a question on the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) decision to defer a report on Sri Lanka which was to be submitted to the Council during its 28th session next month, to September. “First of all, in terms of the next steps, the Secretary‑General is aware that the new administration is planning to set up a domestic accountability mechanism and will be carefully assessing developments,” Farhan Haq said. He recalled that the Secretary‑General met with […]

Report on SL must be published by September – UK

18th February 2015 // 0 Comments

While urging the new Sri Lankan government to use ‘this’ time to work with the UN Human Right Chief and his Office, Britain today said that OHCHR’s report on Sri Lanka must be published and discussed by September 2015 and would stick to that. “The UK wants to see reconciliation in Sri Lanka. That’s why we argued last year for a UN investigation into alleged war crimes and it is why we supported the deferral of this report for six months,” UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office minister Hugo Swire said in a statement. Hugo Swire urged all sides to continue to work together to ensure that the OHCHR’s report on Sri Lanka, now due in September, is thorough and consistent. Speaking the day after the […]

Dramatic change in diplomacy – EDITORIAL

18th February 2015 // 0 Comments

One of the most important achievements of the new all-party National Unity Government is a major improvement in Sri Lanka’s foreign policy and international relations as seen by the highly successful visit of President Maithripala Sirisena to India this week. Much credit for this needs to go to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera who, through a new non-aligned policy and choosing the right people for important jobs, have dramatically changed Sri Lanka’s diplomatic service within five weeks. Earlier, the family-centred Rajapaksa Regime had appointed 75% of Sri Lanka’s envoys from outside the Foreign Service, with their main qualification being blind loyalty or servile flattery of the Rajapaksas. As a result of the new foreign policy, ties with India, the United States, […]

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