15th February 2015

“More a home-grown model than the TRC”

15th February 2015 // 0 Comments

BY SULOCHANA RAMIAH MOHAN The South African model of Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), a sound, but bit more of a home-grown process, where the reconciliation and healing can be addressed, has been proposed and it’s on the agenda of the Maithri Government. Last week, the government announced that South Africa Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is due to visit Sri Lanka with his delegation. The previous UPFA Government which avoided the UN call on war crime probe announced it was backing the South African model on reconciliation (TRC) and thereafter had been ‘studying’ the TRC initiative by way of sending delegations to visit South Africa and in turn, Ramaphosa and his teams visit to Sri Lanka ultimately made no impact to spell it out the […]

Sri Lanka, India release detained fishing boats

15th February 2015 // 0 Comments

COLOMBO – Sri Lanka and India have decided to release fishing boats taken into custody from both countries ahead of the visit of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena to India on Sunday, a government minister said in Colombo. Sri Lanka’s State Minister of Fisheries Dilip Wedaarachchi said that the Sri Lankan government has already taken measures to release 86 Indian boats in its custody. The boats were seized when Indian fishermen were arrested on several occasions in Sri Lankan waters. The fishermen had already been freed and Wedaarachchi said that the government had now decided to free the boats as a goodwill measure to mark Sirisena’s first visit to India since taking oaths as president last month. He also said that 24 Sri Lankan boats […]

Sri Lanka must ensure justice, accountability: Amnesty

15th February 2015 // 0 Comments

New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s ambitious plans for reform and reconciliation should lay special emphasis on ensuring justice, accountability and the rule of law, Amnesty International India said Sunday. Sirisena arrives here Sunday on a three-day official visit during which he will meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for bilateral talks. “Sirisena has an extraordinary opportunity to improve relations between communities in Sri Lanka, and usher in an era of true reconciliation based on justice, equality, freedom and dignity,” said Shemeer Babu, Programmes Director at Amnesty International India. “The new government’s 100-day reform plan has generated a lot of optimism. Sirisena has taken important steps to restore the independence of the judiciary and other important institutions. “It is crucial that […]

Mangala’s U.S. talks “successful”

15th February 2015 // 0 Comments

The Government says the just concluded visit to the United States by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, was successful. Samaraweera was in the US to brief US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon on the efforts being taken by the new Government to address human rights concerns. The Minister also sought to mend ties with the US, which had been strained after the former Government refused to work with the US on the human rights issue. The External Affairs Ministry said that the visit by Samaraweera, which was his first to the US capital since assuming office as the Minister of Foreign Affairs followed the visit of US Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal to Colombo earlier this month and coincided […]

Four former military officials who are Political appointees, have been allowed to stay on!

15th February 2015 // 0 Comments

Thirty six political appointees in Sri Lanka Missions abroad, below the level of Head of Mission, have been informed that their tours of duty end with effect from March 10 this year, and have been instructed to return home. These include relatives of politicians and of public officials closely connected to those in the former regime. However, four former military officials who are also political appointees, have been allowed to stay on till their terms end. Those recalled are First Secretary- Brussels, Dharshie Lokuge, daughter of former Minister Gamini Lokuge, Second Secretary- Tokyo, J.M.S.L. Bandara, brother of MP Janaka Bandara, Second Secretary- UN, New York, Ms C.J. Rambukwella, daughter of former Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, Second Secretary- Washington, Janathri Nanayakkara, niece of MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Third […]

TRC cannot be replicated – SA Envoy

15th February 2015 // 0 Comments

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan Sri Lanka should adopt a home-grown solution to the ethnic issue, as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of South Africa cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world,… …South African High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, Geoff Doidge, told Ceylon Today. Sri Lanka, in an attempt to restore goodwill of the US, which saw a decline during the Rajapaksa regime, has decided to consider two processes to address the issue of war crimes probe and a reconciliation and healing mechanism. The government has shown interest in a two-pronged approach to deal with the issue of war crimes and the ongoing UN inquiry. Minister of External Affairs, Mangala Samaraweera, said in the US last week that the South African model of reconciliation, […]

New administration hasn’t solved key issues of the Tamil people

15th February 2015 // 0 Comments

Sri Lanka’s minorities especially, TNA and SLMC, have voted for a change in a bid to solve their problems. Has the new government done enough to solve these issues? At present the focus is on how far the government has progressed in the 100 day program. We see and hear news relating to many corruption charges, highlighted by the media. We rarely get to hear news relating to the progress of the 100 day program. It is important that if there are serious corruption charges those culprits should be brought to book. But merely attacking individuals through unauthenticated allegations will not serve the purpose. If there is prudent and sufficient evidence, then why hesitate? These types of allegations will only slowdown the implementing of the […]

Sri Lanka War Investigation Must Continue Despite The Change: TCSF

15th February 2015 // 0 Comments

The Tamil Civil Society Forum has last night written to Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, emphasising that the Sri Lanka investigation process set in motion through the UNHRC resolutions of 2012, 2013 and 2014, has to continue despite the change in Government. “We respectfully insist that your office proceed with the release of the findings of the OISL inquiry and in the event of finding of serious crimes being committed recommend to the relevant UN agencies and member states of the UN to take all steps necessary for international criminal prosecutions to be initiated.” the TCSF said. We publish below the statement in full; Vavuniya, 12 February 2015 His Excellency Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein UN High Commissioner for Human […]

UNHRC To Follow Sri Lankan Style Of Not Publishing Reports?

15th February 2015 // 0 Comments

By S. V. Kirubaharan – Sri Lanka is neither a rich country nor an arms-producing country. Most of the arms used to kill over 200,000 Tamils were provided by certain deals with countries known as champions of human rights. Mahatma Gandhi of India, the father of non-violent struggle has still not been given a Nobel Peace prize. Then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Winston Churchill made some humiliating remarks about Mahatma Gandhi, saying he may have practiced non-violence but the out-comes of his actions were violent. Knowing such a reaction to non-violent struggle of Gandhi, Tamils in the Island of Sri Lanka courageously exercised their legitimate rights through non-violent struggle for three decades after independence in 1948. They never got a positive response from […]

A Self-Defensive Tamil Nationalism – 11 Points

15th February 2015 // 0 Comments

By Rev. S.J. Emmanuel – 1. Tamils steadfast in preserving their identity Just as the Singhalese have a claim of historical origin on this island, the Tamils too have such a claim. No historian has dared to prove that there were no Tamils on this island before two thousand years. Historically there were Tamils inhabiting the North and East of the island for many centuries and there were Tamil Kings too ruling up to colonial times. The vast opening to the sea enabled all living on the coastal areas to take to fishing as their livelihood. Those inhabiting the interior, though handicapped by the absence of any river and less rainfall than the South, were industrious farmers – landlords and labourers. Hinduism as the religion […]

Muslims Want Panel to Probe Hate Campaign

15th February 2015 // 0 Comments

COLOMBO: Faiszer Musthapha, MP of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and Azath Sally, Member of the Central Provincial Council, has asked President Maithripala Sirisena to appoint a commission to inquire into the “hate campaign and violence” against Muslims in the last four years and take appropriate measures to ensure that all Sri Lankans are protected. “Your Excellency is well aware that the instigators of the pogrom in Aluthgma and Beruwela have not been brought to justice as promised by former President Rajapaksa,” they said in a letter to Sirisena. Musthapha and Sally pointed out that several other promises made to the Muslims had not been kept and submitted a document giving details of “hundreds” of incidents of violence suffered by the Muslims. Giving a […]

PM fails to thank us, laments Azath Salley

15th February 2015 // 0 Comments

The National Unity Front leader and Central Province council member Azath Salley is in a lone fight to receive a ‘Thank you’ note from Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Calling for a press briefing last Thursday, he appreciated President Maithripala Sirisena for being a charm leader and asked why the Prime Minister failed in at least making a courtesy call for all the parties which worked hard to defeat the Rajapaksa Administration and bring this ‘Good Governance’ regime into power. He also warned the government that a general election is due after three months time and the unity of the parties which worked together for a common purpose is most important. “Forty-nine political parties and organizations teamed up to make this change. President Maithripala Sirisena is […]

President to resettle another 1,000 families in HSZs

15th February 2015 // 0 Comments

President Maithripala Sirisena in the capacity of the Minister of Defense has proposed to release another 1,000 acres in the North under a resettlement plan. Cabinet of Ministers have already approved the proposal and accordingly 220 acres in Valalai Grama Niladhari Division of the Valikamam East Divisional Secretariat Division will be released in the first stage. Government sources said that under a pilot project, around 1,022 families displaced by the war will be resettled in the area. Under this project each family will get 20 perches of land, financial assistance to construct a house. It is also proposed to establish a school, a pre-school, a hospital, religious places of worship, community centres and build other infrastructure activities. The remaining 780 acres of land will also […]

What Ranil should learn from Chandrika

15th February 2015 // 0 Comments

At the time the then joint opposition started their campaign last year, the UNP despite being by far the biggest opposition party was regarded only as the first among equals in the opposition line up. But after winning, they have managed to maneuver themselves into a dominant position in the new government. That was something they did well. But where they have not fared too well is in not being able to rein in the lunatic fringe of the opposition coalition they led. If the UNP has any ambitions of ruling this country beyond the 100 day honeymoon period, then they will have to rein in the adventurers, radicals and anarchists who are in partnership with them. They should halt the present trend of heads […]