20th April 2015

Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers: Reflections from visit to Sri Lanka

20th April 2015 // 0 Comments

I first visited Sri Lanka in 2003. I took leave from the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship for a short humanitarian stint with a Sri Lankan NGO during a Norwegian Peace Initiative-ceasefire. The civil war spanning over 25 years ended with the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009. During my brief experience in 2003 in Jaffna, I did not fully understand the history of the conflict, the implications and impact on civilians but I do recall Jaffna in the North was heavily militarised. After leaving the Department in 2007, I registered as a migration agent and from 2010, I worked with asylum seekers in detention centres and in the community.  As I become more informed about how differently asylum […]

30 Smaller Political parties raise objections to Racist Mahinda supporters.

20th April 2015 // 0 Comments

  No comeback for Mahinda as all roads lead to dead ends Minor political parties which met today, have opposed electoral reforms proposals put forward by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). Over 30 political parties met in Wellewatta today and discussed moves by the Government to introduce electoral reforms. Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader Rauff Hakeem, who was at the meeting, told reporters later that a committee will be formed by the smaller parties represented in Parliament and outside to further discuss electoral reforms proposals. Hakeem said that at today’s meeting the political parties, which included the Tamil National Alliance, JVP, JHU and EPDP, raised objections to the proposals already put forward by the SLFP. The minor political parties feel that the electoral reforms […]

British Democracy And The Tamil Diaspora

20th April 2015 // 0 Comments

Statements made by British political leaders on Sri Lanka are necessarily directed at the British electorate though it will indirectly impact on the Sri Lankan political situation too. Britain is now going through a hectic election campaign and the Sri Lankan diaspora of Tamils have cleverly organised themselves in a number of electorates where they could influence the numbers of seats won by contending parties. Thus, statements made by British leaders such as Ed Miliband of the Labour and David Cameron, the Conservative Leader make sense more in the context of the British election than the situation in Sri Lanka. However, it would be remembered that British politicians a few decades ago were regarded to be of exceptional quality both within the Commonwealth and beyond […]

Miliband under fire for wishing only Tamils

20th April 2015 // 0 Comments

By Sujeeva Nivunhella in London British opposition leader Ed Miliband singling out only Tamils to extend his good wishes for Sinhala and Tamil New Year has run into criticism from Sinhalese domiciled in the UK. “Miliband showed political immaturity by wishing one community when it’s national festival celebrated by both Sinhalese and Tamils”, says Douglas Wickremaratne, President of the Sinhala Association in the United Kingdom. Miliband released a video message for Sinhala & Hindu New Year only wishing Tamils by saying “I want to wish everyone in the Tamil community a Happy New Year”. He went on to praise the Tamil community for their contribution to the British society and vowed to continue to push for a full, independent, international inquiry into the alleged war […]

SA style Reconciliation Commission would have helped avert UN resolutions

20th April 2015 // 0 Comments

by Zacki Jabbar Cabinet Spokesman and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne says that if former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had listened to him and established a Commission of Inquiry modeled on the lines of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission to inquire into war crimes allegations against his government and LTTE, Sri Lanka could have averted facing UN resolutions. Addressing a news conference in Colombo recently, he said that the Rajapaska’s who were cherishing the delusion that they were solely responsible for the defeat of the LTTE were not prepared to listen to anyone. It was that attitude which had also led to a presidential election being advanced by two years. Senaratne recalled that he had even advised President Rajapaksa not to give the Chinese company which […]

TNA Has No Loyalty Towards LTTE

20th April 2015 // 0 Comments

With the debate continuing on who should be the opposition leader in Parliament, the Tamil National Alliance, which had recently told the Speaker that the post should go to its leader R. Sampanthan, insisted that there is no reason why the Tamil party should not get the post. Speaking to The Sunday Leader, Tamil National Alliance  MP, M.A. Sumanthiran said that the TNA had not run after Ministerial posts and had declined positions even when they were offered, and that they will always stand up for the rights of the Tamil people. He also said that there need not be a rush in implementing the 20th amendment, and for the time being the 19th amendment should be passed. Following are excerpts of the interview: Q:  […]

TNA To Sign MOU

20th April 2015 // 0 Comments

By Waruni Karunarathne The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is to call for a meeting to finalize a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the TNA coalition parties prior to the next election. TNA PM Suresh Premachandran told The Sunday Leader that the TNA was expected to hold a meeting last Friday to discuss the draft of the MOU but was postponed as Leader of the Illangai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) Mavai Senathirajah is out of the country. “We have already distributed the draft of the MOU but we have not made any decision related to that. We expect to hold the meeting this week once Senathirajah returns in order to finalize the MOU among the four coalition parties of the TNA,” he said. According to him, […]

Sirisena torn between his promise of 19A and SLFP’s 20A

20th April 2015 // 0 Comments

By Our Political Editor President gets tough with Rajapaksa faction to maintain control of the party amid reports of conspiracy to oust him — Dissolution of Parliament and next general election likely to be further delayed because of dispute over constitutional and electoral reforms — Four days before the 100-day deadline, probes drag on against those involved in plunder of national resources The ruling coalition will cross a milestone on Wednesday when it ends 100 days in office with some promises and pledges remaining unfulfilled and triggering an erosion of its support base in such short a time. Nowhere is it reflected more than in the solemn pledge to deal with bribery, corruption and misrule. Though such a pledge was not in the 100-Day Programme of […]

Sri Lankan army camps on released land blocks resettlement

20th April 2015 // 0 Comments

Army camps built on land that has been reportedly released by the Sri Lankan government has left displaced Tamils unable to resettle in their native villages, saidTamil National Alliance (TNA) spokesperson and MP Suresh Premachandran. Speaking after visiting the 1000acres of land that was reportedly released by the Sri Lankan government in Vali North, Mr Premachandran said the lands “have not been fully released”. “Inside the 1000 acres of land, is two big army camps,” said the MP.  “If those army camps are removed, then people those lands belong to can resettle. The owners of the lands are now in Urumpirai welfare centre,” he added, referring to a housing camp for displaced Tamils in Jaffna. Further construction of barbed wire in the area that was […]

NO to 13th Amendment!

20th April 2015 // 0 Comments

We will not give in to Indian pressure – minister The State Finance Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution was unrealistic and India could not compel the government to implement it. Speaking on Rupavahini TV, Mr Samarasinghe, who used to be former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s special envoy on human rights, said land and police powers should not be devolved to the provinces as stipulated in the amendment, highlighting that JR Jayawardene, the president at the time of the amendment, was strongly opposed to the devolution of those powers. The minister accused India of pressuring the government in 1987 to accept the amendment, despite opposition by Sri Lanka, and said no Sri Lankan leader would give […]

Sri Lanka neither pro-India nor pro-China: Ranil

20th April 2015 // 0 Comments

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe has said Sri Lanka is neither pro-India nor pro-China. Mr. Wickramasinghe was replying to questions from the media during his visit to the Sreekrishna temple here on Saturday. As about his controversial statement in an interview to a Tamil TV channel that Indian fishermen might be shot if they intruded into Sri Lankan waters, he said: “The Sri Lankan government primarily represents the interests of Sri Lankans.” Calling for better ties between the two countries, Mr. Wickramasinghe said: “We must move ahead,” pointing to visits by Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s to India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Sri Lanka.” He said he would favourably consider a request by the Guruvayur Devaswom to create awareness in Sri […]

Minorities feel hard done by electoral reform

20th April 2015 // 0 Comments

A proposed move to reform Sri Lanka’s electoral system has not found favour with the country’s minority Tamil and Muslim political parties, who say the current proportional representation system is best suited for their interests. “There are sudden moves to change the present electoral system. The minority Tamil and Muslim parties can’t support the move,” Mano Ganesan, leader of a Tamil party has said. Ganesan who leads the Democratic People’s Front, said the minorities see the present proportional representation (PR) system to elect members to the parliament as best for the minority parties. ”It is only under this system that minority parties were able to win representation in elected bodies,” Ganesan said. Moves are underway to change the PR system into a hybrid of PR […]