September 2015

Building a new Sri Lanka that calls for political, not juridical, action

23rd September 2015 // 0 Comments

The report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Sri Lanka describes a painful truth that Sri Lanka has to confront, accept and act upon. It is welcome that the new, post-Rajapaksa regime promises to undo the damage and build an inclusive, democratic nation. It must be supported to make good on its word and held to moral and political account. The report quantifies and classifies the pain the most intense phase of Sri Lanka’s long civil war has inflicted on its people, Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim. Unlawful killings, deprivation of liberty, enforced disappearance, torture, sexual violence, abduction and forced recruitment, use of children in hostilities, denial of humanitarian assistance, continued military presence and violation of human rights in Tamil-dominated areas of […]

Sri Lanka plans to build 137,529 houses for Tamils killed by Army

23rd September 2015 // 0 Comments

Sri Lanka wants to build 137,529 houses for people in former war torn areas in the North and the East of the country, cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said. The cabinet of ministers had approved a proposal by D M Swaminathan, Minister for Rehabilitation and Resettlement to build the houses. The government would call for proposals from domestic and international parties for the construction of 137,529 houses, Senaratne said. The planned houses are in addition to 44,000 house being built by India. Houses of people in Jaffna, Vanni and the East had been bombed, shelled, hit by small arms and sometimes razed to the ground by the Sri Lankan Army as conflicts between the LTTE and the government forces waxed and waned. SC Stays Return Of Lands to […]

Sri Lankan rupee hits record low on importer dollar demand

22nd September 2015 // 0 Comments

The Sri Lankan rupee fell 0.11 percent on Tuesday to an all-time low due to importer demand for dollars, while exporters held on to the greenback on expectations of further depreciation. The rupee hit an life-time low of 141.00, surpassing its previous low of 140.98 hit on Sept. 17. Dealers said the currency recovered slightly as a state bank, through which the central bank usually directs the market, sold dollars at 140.98 per dollar to limit the fall. The spot rupee ended at 140.95/141.05 per dollar, weaker from Monday’s close of 140.85/90. It has fallen 4.4 percent since the central bank effectively floated it on Sept. 4. “It looks like the central bank’s desired level is 141.00,” said a currency dealer, asking not to be […]

Sri Lanka PM rejects international war crimes probe, Will get support of China, Russia and India!

22nd September 2015 // 0 Comments

Sri Lanka rejects international war crimes probe Sri Lanka’s prime minister on Tuesday (Sep 22) rejected a UN call for international involvement in an investigation into alleged war crimes. COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s prime minister on Tuesday (Sep 22) rejected a UN call for international involvement in an investigation into alleged war crimes. Ranil Wickremesinghe said talks were under way to establish a credible domestic mechanism to investigate abuses during the decades-long conflict with Tamil separatist rebels that ended in May 2009. “There is nothing to be got from abroad,” Wickremesinghe said, after a damning UN report recommended Colombo allow international experts to assist its domestic investigation. “The media says hybrid (inquiry), but it is not hybrid,” said Wickremesinghe, after UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al […]

NPC calls for victim centered approach

22nd September 2015 // 0 Comments

The Northern Provincial Council (NPC) today called for a victim centered approach when addressing the accountability issue. NPC Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran welcomed the report on Sri Lanka by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) saying it was one of the most comprehensive reports compiled following investigations conducted on the war. He said that the NPC will work with all stakeholders to shape the transitional justice process and actively participate at achieving a meaningful outcome. Wigneswaran tabled the OHCHR report on Sri Lanka at the NPC and urged the NPC members to study the report and its recommendations to fully understand the state of affairs in Sri Lanka and the expectations of the international community. (Colombo Gazette) Audio Player 

What happened in Mulliyvaikal was indeed “Genocide”

22nd September 2015 // 0 Comments

By Karthigesu Nirmalan-Nathan – Dear Mr. Sumanthiran MP, Permit me to begin by saying, that the use of the “G” word should be measured. That said, I want to make it abundantly clear what happened in Mulliyvaikal was indeed “Genocide” and fits the definition perfectly – if you as a lawyer feel that you can’t prove it as such with the mountain of evidence available, your certificate is not worth the paper it is printed upon. I’ve never cried Genocide for what happened to our beloved Tamil people and us as a community and citizens of “Sri Lanka.” – Yet, it is very evident that since the Sinhala Sri Riots, Sri Lanka has crossed the threshold of the G-word in every communal violence subsequent to […]

Plea for international probe into “genocide” in Sri Lanka

22nd September 2015 // 0 Comments

Seeking fair investigation:Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam cadres staging a demonstration in Ramanathapuram on Monday; Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi volunteers attemptingto picket Dindigul railway station.— Photo: L. BALACHANDAR Protest staged in Ramanathapuram and Dindigul districts Volunteers of Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi (TVK) were arrested when they attempted to block a train in Mandapam on Monday even as cadres of Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) and Naam Tamizhar Katchi staged demonstrations here, seeking international probe into alleged genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka. Led by TVK youth wing leader Jerome Kumar, 21 volunteers attempted to block the Madurai-Rameswaram train as part of the party’s State-wide agitation, seeking an international investigation into war crimes and genocide of Tamils during the final phase of the civil war in Sri Lanka. At […]

Consensus to be Key for India’s Support

22nd September 2015 // 0 Comments

NEW DELHI: With Sri Lanka rejecting the US draft resolution on human rights violations and war crimes in the Island nation, it is reliably learnt that India will support a resolution, which has the ‘widest possible consensus.’ “India will support anything which is not divisive, which has the widest possible consensus,” sources told Express. When asked if it meant that India will support a resolution with which the Maithripala Sirisena government was comfortable, sources said that if Colombo agreed to a text, then it would mean that there was consensus with countries like even China and Russia also coming on board. When Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe met his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on September 15 in Delhi, there was a discussion on developments in Geneva. […]

MAHINDA asks Govt. to reject the report by the OHCHR

22nd September 2015 // 0 Comments

PM confident of China, Russia, India support Prime Minister Ranil Wickresmsinghe today briefed Parliament on the latest developments taking plac… Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has urged the new Government to reject the report by the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) on war crime allegations. Issuing a statement Rajapaksa said, “as the former head of state, I think it would be appropriate to make known to the public my observations on the recently released report on Sri Lanka by the OHCHR. My government did not cooperate with this investigation for many reasons, foremost of which was that it was instituted outside the established procedure of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The usual procedure was for the President of the UNHRC to appoint […]

UN defends ‘silence on genocide’ in Sri Lanka war crimes report

22nd September 2015 // 0 Comments

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has defended the findings of its report on alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka, which drew criticism from several quarters for its “silence” on genocide in the island nation. Responding to a question sent by The Hindu in this regard, Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the High Commissioner, stated via email: “This [the U.N. report] does not preclude such a finding [that genocide was committed] being made as a result of further criminal investigations, including by the hybrid court that we recommend.” “The crime of genocide requires specific objective and subjective elements. On the basis of the information we were able to gather, we did not come to the conclusion that these elements were […]

Strip MPs who switch sides of their seats

22nd September 2015 // 0 Comments

JVP calls for Truth and Reconciliation Commission to forge national unity by Zacki Jabbar The JVP has called for the establishment of an independent domestic Truth and Reconcilation Commission which could provide relief to those affected by the war after ascertaining the truth about their allegations and grievances. The proposal contained in a 20-point formula calling for immediate socio political reforms was handed over to President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe last week. The broader objective of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the JVP has emphasised, should be to achieve permanent peace and unity among the various communities in the post war era. The marxist party has also called for a ban on the practice of humiliating, ridiculing and subjecting people to injustice […]

I Saved MAHINDA From The Electric Chair – Ranil

22nd September 2015 // 0 Comments

upcoming August 17 General Election would solidify the historic people’s revolution won on January 8 and the government-hopeful United National Front’s Five-fold Plan (Pancha Widha Kriyawaliya) gives the much-needed boost to make Sri Lanka a global knowledge economy, emphasized UNP Party Leader and United National Front for Good Governance prime min50isterial candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe, in an interview with The Sunday Leader.   Following are excerpts of the interview: Q: How do you see the success rate of your government during the 100-Day Programme? A: The 100-Day Programme has been mostly successful as we were able to kick start most of the initiatives envisioned in it. Of course some of its projects are long-term, the benefits of which we would see in the future. But I can […]

MAHINDA GROUP Snubs To Accept Sampanthan

22nd September 2015 // 0 Comments

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) rebel group supporting former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has decided to accept the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R. Sampanthan as the opposition leader in parliament. A SLFP MP from the rebel group said that accepting Sampanthan as the opposition leader will only be a temporary measure and their struggle to appoint one of their own nominees for the post will continue as soon as the group entrench themselves in the “House” as the largest opposition team. A group of 36 SLFP MP’s and another 10 members belonging to constituent parties representing the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) are planning to sit in the opposition from tomorrow onwards. The SLFP MP said that the the rebel group will negotiate with […]

Differences of opinion among Tamil diaspora lead to bitter personal attacks

22nd September 2015 // 0 Comments

Differences of opinion and conflict of interests among Tamil Diaspora and division within the ranks of the TNA resurfaced at a meeting in Bern, organised by Switzerland-based diaspora members on Friday, according to agency reports. TNA Parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran criticised Northern Provincial Council’s resolution demanding an international war crimes investigation and added that the NPC resolution was a ‘foolish’ move. He blamed NPC Chief Minister Justice C. V. Wigneswaran for having shut the door for a genocide investigation by passing that resolution against his advice, agency reports said. “He [Wigneswaran] shut the door to us. In that resolution, he says what we have listed is not recognised in the world as genocide now. We want you to reconsider the definition of genocide, he says, because […]

Action against LTTE financiers and other international operatives will be an integral part of the criminal investigation recommended in the OHCHR Report

22nd September 2015 // 0 Comments

UNOHCHR Report calls for justice and accountability by Manjula Fernando Action against LTTE financiers and other international operatives will be an integral part of the criminal investigation recommended in the OHCHR Report. The OHCHR Special Spokesperson, Ravina Shamdasani called upon everyone in Sri Lanka should study the Report in depth. “This is a Report for the people of Sri Lanka. We want the people to understand the findings, understand the analysis and in that context to look at the recommendations” . Special Spokesperson for the Office of the UN Human Rights High Commissioner, Ravina Shamdasani.  Pic by Manjula Fernando The Special Spokesperson for the Office of the UN Human Rights High Commissioner, Ravina Shamdasani, said action against LTTE financiers and other international operatives will be […]

UN (OISL) Report Names Several Commanding Officers of the Sri Lankan Army Involved in the Final Phase of War in Wanni.

21st September 2015 // 0 Comments

The Office of the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Investigation on Sri Lanka(OISL) report has outlined the structure of the Sri Lankan armed forces with specific reference to the commanding officers involved in the final phase of the war that occurred in the Northern mainland known as the Wanni. The OISL report names several senior officers and the military entities they commanded during the final phase of war during which it is alleged that several human rights violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed. Though no specific charges have not been included in the report it may be inferred that the naming of such commanding officers has been done with a view to “encourage” a detailed inquiry by an envisaged special tribunal into […]

US Government’s International war crimes investigation Vs Hindu American Foundation

21st September 2015 // 0 Comments

Hindu American Foundation’s very powerful lobbying in Washington DC is having effect on US Government’s International war crimes investigation. They had several high level White House and State Department meetings pushing for international war crimes trial. Recently, they organized Channel Four’s documentary on Tamil Killings at the popular Washington National Press Club and at US Senate. Their reach out to the media is effective. Below, please find very powerful New York Times editorial urging international war crimes trial. Tamils are great full for Hindu American Foundation ‘s effective lobbying in Washington DC. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/18/opinion/a-reckoning-on-sri-lanka-war-crimes.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&_r=0 A Reckoning on Sri Lanka War Crimes A version of this editorial appears in print on September 18, 2015, in The International New York Times. The United Nations Human Rights Council released […]

1st Informal Session on proposed draft resolution on Sri Lanka (UN HRC30 )

21st September 2015 // 0 Comments

BY Rajkumar As usual the Member states are holding dividing opinion on the way-forward. It looks like the criminal investigation mechanism would be a local one within the Sri Lankan system. It May include some international observers / experts. Member states are even reluctant to use the term “Hybrid Mechanism” as it could open many interpretations they claim. Pakistan and some other states are opposing to even add demilitarisation of the North and East in the resolution. Looks like only Swiss wanted to strengthen OP4 to clarify the mechanism. We need to keep advocating for a true international partnership in the investigation to make any progress. Also should advocate at least following points to be included in the resolution. It must be done before the next […]

EU to grant GSP+, lift fish export ban

21st September 2015 // 0 Comments

European Union Ambassador to Sri Lanka David Daly said the new government’s policies on improving human rights, good governance and strengthening democratic institutions is very encouraging to grant GSP plus and lift fish export ban to EU countries. “The EU is seriously considering Sri Lanka’s request, as the EU has to go through a rigorous evaluation process before taking the final decision to grant both GSP plus and remove the fish export ban to the EU,” Daly told at the 23rd Annual Export Awards ceremony of National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lana (NCE) at Hilton Hotel Colombo last Friday. The EU withdrew the GSP Plus facility in August 2010 alleging Sri Lanka’s failure to comply with the eligibility criteria that include the implementation of […]

Sri Lankan gov’t assures political solution for Tamils

21st September 2015 // 0 Comments

Sri Lankan gov’t assures political solution for Tamils COLOMBO, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) — The Sri Lankan government said on Monday that a political solution for the minority Tamils will be implemented through proposed constitutional reforms. Highways Minister Lakshman Kiriella said the government will hold talks with the Tamil parties to reach a political solution for the North and East issue. Once a political solution is agreed upon it will be included in the constitutional reforms to be presented to Parliament for approval, he said. The Tamil parties have been demanding rights for the minority Tamils who suffered the most in a 30-year civil war between the government forces and the Tamil Tiger rebels, which ended in May 2009. The minister noted the United National Party […]

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