September 2015

UN Human Rights Chief says new Sri Lankan Govt did not Cooperate with UN Probe or Allow Investigators into Country

30th September 2015 // 0 Comments

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has re-iterated his earlier recommendation for setting up an ad hoc hybrid special court for Sri Lanka integrating international judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators, mandated to try notably war crimes and crimes against humanity, with its own independent investigative and prosecuting organ, defence office and witness and victims protections programme. Emphasising that the Sri Lankan judicial system is not equipped to probe war crimes ,the UN human rights chief renewed his call for a special hybrid court while addressing the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on September 30th 2015. The full text of his address is as follows – Mr President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to present the report of […]

Sri Lanka’s Credibility Questioned by the U.N. Rights Boss

30th September 2015 // 0 Comments

Statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein via videolink to the Human Rights Council The Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints regarding Missing Persons that was appointed by the previous Government has continued its work, despite widespread concerns raised about its credibility and effectiveness. We believe this Commission should be disbanded and its pending cases transferred to a credible and independent institution established in consultation with families of the disappeared. ( September 30, 2015, Geneva, Sri Lanka Guardian) I am pleased to present the report of OHCHR on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka, including the findings of the comprehensive investigation mandated by Human Rights Council resolution 25/1. As you know, following signals of engagement by the […]

Why UNHRC Chief Doesn’t Trust Our Judiciary

30th September 2015 // 0 Comments

The Sri Lankan Judiciary comprises of majority Judges appointed by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Accordingly, the determination on Gotabaya was given by two Supreme Court Judges appointed by Mahinda. When the UNHRC Commissioner’s report and the investigation report is perused, all charges are pointed at the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government. It was Mahinda who was the Defence Minister and Gotabaya was the Defence Secretary during the war period. by Upul Joseph Fernando ( September 23, 2015, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) In 2011, former Chief Justice Mohan Peiris travelled to the United Nations in New York as the Ministerial Legal Advisor to defeat the war crimes allegations against Sri Lanka. He was named as the Legal Advisor to the Cabinet by then President Mahinda Rajapaksa. It was […]

Employing international judges possible for Sinhalese then why not possible for Tamils?

30th September 2015 // 0 Comments

In the past 50 years, in Sri Lanka the services of international judges have been employed on many occasions. If that is possible for Sinhalese why not for Tamils now? It is not new or against Sri Lanka’s judicial system otherwise how can the Sinhala government employed in June 1963, April 1993, May 1993 and November 2006? Involvement of foreign jurists and investigators in a judicial mechanism, suggested initially in a report by the UN on alleged violations of human rights in Sri Lanka and later in a draft resolution co-sponsored by the U.S., is nothing new for the South Asian country. Considering those developments in the Sri Lanka Judiciary, the present government has a huge task to ensure faith in the judicial system of […]

Indian MP Dr Anbumani Ramadoss speech at UNHRC today

30th September 2015 // 0 Comments

UN Human Rights Council – General Debate on the report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Sri Lanka Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss MP Thank You Mr.President This is Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss, Member of Parliament and former Health Minister, Government of India welcoming the OISL report on behalf of Pasumai Thaayagam. I speak on behalf of the seventy-seven million people of Tamil Nadu in India, who are concerned about the welfare, rights and dignity of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka. We thank the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for their strong and comprehensive report on the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during and after the war in Sri Lanka. As High Commissioner stated in his […]

Sri Lankan Airlines: London Flight Delayed As Pilot Leaves Flying License At Home

30th September 2015 // 0 Comments

A Sri Lankan Airlines flight operating to London a few days back with its Chairman Ajit Dias and soon to be outgoing CEO Rakhita Jayawardena on board, was delayed by sixteen minutes as the pilot of the flight Capt.Prasanna Karunatilleke had reported to operate this commercial flight leaving his flying license at home. The Flight Operations clerk at the Flight Crew Center was shocked to find out that the senior pilot, current flight and simulator instructor and former Manager Training and Standards had turned up to operate the flight minus the most important piece of documentation a pilot should carry, a member of the Pilots Guild speaking on condition of anonymity told Colombo Telegraph. “This type of irresponsible behavior of a pilot is not acceptable […]

Sri Lanka war crimes resolution softened before U.N. debate

30th September 2015 // 0 Comments

A U.S.-backed resolution at the United Nations that seeks justice for victims of Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war has been softened to keep its government on board and allay the concerns of powerful neighbor India, sources say. The latest draft, expected to be adopted in Geneva on Thursday, fails to specify the powers and role of foreign prosecutors and judges in trying war crimes suspects – a major shortcoming, in the eyes of human rights groups. They and some diplomats say that reflects the balancing act needed to keep Sri Lanka’s new reformist leadership on board while making a credible attempt to end a culture of impunity over what the U.N. calls the mass killings of tens of thousands of people by both sides in […]

India to support Sri Lanka in UN

30th September 2015 // 0 Comments

NEW DELHI: India is likely to back Sri Lanka on the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution over alleged war crimes if it is put to vote in Geneva on Thursday, officials said, attributing the decision to measures taken by the new government in Colombo to empower Tamil minorities. The resolution, co-sponsored by the USA and Sri Lanka and supported by a few European nations including the UK, Macedonia and Montenegro, was tabled last week. India is backing Sri Lanka in its opposition to the inclusion of foreign judges, as envisioned in the draft resolution, to probe the war crimes committed during the conflict with the LTTE. Officials said although India would prefer consensus to emerge on the resolution, the government is likely to support Sri […]

TNA hails U.S.-backed resolution on Sri Lanka

30th September 2015 // 0 Comments

“This is perhaps the best possible resolution that could have been achieved at the UNHRC”, says TNA leader R. Sampanthan. The draft resolution on Sri Lanka tabled at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) by the U.S. and other countries has addressed the main issues of accountability and reconciliation, according to the Tamil National Alliance leader, R. Sampanthan. The involvement of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence counsel, prosecutors and investigators would give the judicial process “much greater degree of credibility”, the TNA chief told The Hindu on Tuesday. “You can’t blame the people who are sceptical [of the domestic judicial process] because the previous experiences were quite bad.” The references in the resolution to the need to evolve an acceptable political solution and […]

Tamil groups insist on hybrid mechanism to probe Sri Lanka abuses

30th September 2015 // 0 Comments

Sri Lanka’s Tamil political parties on Tuesday demanded that the investigation into the alleged rights abuses during the conflict with the LTTE be carried out under a “hybrid mechanism” as a domestic probe will not address their concerns. At least four Tamil political parties and several other civil society groups called for the return to the original hybrid judicial mechanism proposed in the UN Human Rights High Commissioner’s report. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein had called for a hybrid special court, integrating international judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators to probe the alleged rights abuses during the civil war that ended in 2009. In a statement, the groups claimed Sri Lankan government appointing foreign judges to a local mechanism will not […]

Domestic inquiry TNA cries foul

30th September 2015 // 0 Comments

People’s Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) leader and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian Dharmalingam Sidhadthan said all domestic inquiries on war crimes will not be impartial or satisfy the expectations of the Tamil people. “The international community has downplayed on us,” he said. Excerpts: Q:TNA has continuously demanded an international inquiry on war crimes through the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Later it changed the stand to a mixed inquiry where both domestic and international mechanism will be adopted. Currently, your party’s demand has not been met as now suggestions for a complete domestic mechanism is on the way. How do you view this? A: As far as TNA is concerned, we strongly demanded an international mechanism and international inquiry. However, the ICJ inquiries […]

More protests in Chennai against Sri Lanka and US

30th September 2015 // 0 Comments

The US support to a domestic probe into the Sri Lankan war crimes evoked more protests in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday, the ANI news agency reported. Hundreds of members of the regional Tamilaga Valvurimai Katchi (TVK) took to the streets against the US action and demanded Indian government to press for an international enquiry into the wartime atrocities that claimed over 40,000 lives. The US has moved a resolution in the United Nations, urging Sri Lanka to set up a ‘hybrid’ court with international judges to prosecute war criminals. The protesters were later detained by the police. The United States has taken a U-turn on the matter, reversing its demand for an international probe. On Monday (September 28), another regional party Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam […]

TNA Hopes The Government Would Be Genuine – C.V.K. Sivagnanam

30th September 2015 // 0 Comments

TNA Hopes The Government Would Be Genuine – C.V.K. Sivagnanam The Northern Provincial Council, which in the recent past has been pushing for an international investigation on the war in Sri Lanka, says it is also ready to accept a hybrid mechanism. The NPC has opposed a domestic process and had even adopted a resolution recently to that effect stating that past domestic processes have failed to meet expectations. Speaking toThe Sunday LeaderChairman of the Northern Provincial Council C.V.K. Sivagnanam said he hopes the government would be genuine in their efforts to address concerns over the war. He also said that the end result should ensure that all communities who were affected by the war see justice served. Following are excerpts of the interview: Interview By Camelia […]

Obama praises President Sirisena

30th September 2015 // 0 Comments

Obama praises President Sirisena’s commitment for democracy and good governance PMD Tuesday September 29th, 2015 President of the United States Barack Obama praised President Maithripala Sirisena’s commitment and actions taken for strengthening of democracy and good governance in Sri Lanka. He made these remarks yesterday (Sep. 28) at a meeting with President Sirisena while participating in the 70th session of the UNGA. President Obama expressed his appreciation about the changes occurred in Sri Lanka under the new government. In response, President Sirisena said his determination is to build reconciliation in the country. “I strongly believe that reconciliation should be established in the country after bringing an end to the war”, he said. When President Sirisena requested for assistance for poverty alleviation, the US President stated […]

Hundreds of Tamil youths still political prisoners

29th September 2015 // 0 Comments

Batticaloa District former TNA parliamentarian P. Ariyanethran said at an event held at Kanchirankudah that it is a disgrace for the current government to speak about good governance while hundreds of youth in prisons are detained for several years in the name of political prisoners. The fate of the country solely lies in the hands of the youth. Several hundred youth had lost their lives in the past during the armed struggle; because of their sacrifice, today, the Tamil problem had got the attention of the international community, he added. He further stated that someday their sacrifice would bring a solution to the Tamil problem. That is certain. It is sad to note that under the so called good governance rule hundreds of youths are […]

Everyone agrees that we should find out the truth – Ranil

29th September 2015 // 0 Comments

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says that the only issue that cropped up during discussions on the UN resolution was whether Sri Lanka’s judiciary is sufficiently strong enough for a domestic mechanism and not about the country’s armed forces. Addressing the National Management Conference in Colombo today, he stated that the issue Sri Lanka has to face most of all is in regard to the judiciary. “Is Sri Lanka’s judiciary sufficiently strong? What is the body blow we suffered when Shirani Bandaranaike was hastily removed as Chief Justice?” “Actually during the discussion on the UN resolution, the only issue that came up and I was surprised was not about the armed forces but about the judiciary. Have you got a sufficiently strong judiciary?” The Prime Minister […]

North East Education Ministry conducts meetings and seminars in Sinhala

29th September 2015 // 0 Comments

”North East Education Ministry conducts meetings and seminars in Sinhala Only” Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU) has expressed deep concern, about the Tamil language not being used and being continuously ignored in the administration of the Education Ministry in the North and East. CTU President Joseph Stalin said in a media release that meetings and seminars are held in the ministry only in Sinhala and not in Tamil. Even Tamil translations are not provided at such meetings and seminars; greatly inconveniencing Tamil officers and heads of schools at such meetings and seminars. He pointed out that a meeting at the ministry, held last week, in connection with the thousand schools project was completely conducted in Sinhala. He added that of the 97 education zones in the […]

British HC announces calling of applications for CHEVENING fellowship programme

29th September 2015 // 0 Comments

The British High Commission Colombo yesterday announced the calling of applications for this year’s CRISP fellowship programme. The HC spokesperson said: “CRISP is a Chevening Fellowship programme funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Rolls-Royce which provides funding for a three month tailor-made course in the Saïd Business School at Oxford University. The programme is aimed specifically at mid-career professionals working in the fields of science, innovation, and business. Chevening fellowships offer an opportunity for future leaders, influencers, and decision-makers from all over the world to develop professionally and academically, network extensively, experience UK culture, and build lasting positive relationships with the UK. For more information about the CRISP programme, including details of how to apply, visit: http://www.chevening.org/programme/chevening-rolls-royce Deadline for applications is 19 October 2015. To hear from […]

India should take the lead by by following up on the unanimous resolution adopted by the Tamil Nadu

29th September 2015 // 0 Comments

Sri Lanka to release 16 Indian fishermen to mark PM’s visitSri Lanka PM arrives in India on three-day visitCongress would win next elections, Rahul Gandhi to be PM:AiyarSri Lanka to release 16 Indian fishermen as gesture of friendship India must ensure decentralization in Sri Lanka, Modi told CPI today demanded that India should take the lead in evolving a consensus for a credible international probe into the alleged war crimes during the last phase of Sri Lanka’s war against the LTTE at the UN Human Rights Council meeting tomorrow. Government of India should take the lead by by following up on the unanimous resolution adopted by the Tamil Nadu Assembly demanding a credible probe involving international judges, CPI MP D Raja said. A US-sponsored resolution on […]

Sri Lanka reiterates continued commitment to UN peacekeeping

29th September 2015 // 0 Comments

The world today is a safer place because of the brace UN peacekeepers. On this occasion, let us remember and pay tribute to the hundreds of peacekeepers and staff who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty over the years. Let us also recognize and commend their achievements, said President Maithripala Sirisena at the Leaders’ Summit on Peacekeeping at the United Nations, today (28). Current contributions by Sri Lanka to UN Peacekeeping stand at 529 including troops, Military Observers and Civilian Police, he further said. In response to current gaps in UN peacekeeping Missions Sri Lanka pledged Two Combat Transport Companies, two Field Engineering platoons, one infantry battalion, two Special Force Companies, one Combat Engineering Company, three Infantry Battalions, one Explosive Ordinance Disposal […]

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