10th September 2015

Sri Lanka’s independent commissions by October: Karu

10th September 2015 // 0 Comments

ECONOMYNEXT – Speaker Karu Jayasuriya today pledged that all independent commissions in line with the constitution will be established before the end of October while the anti-graft panel will be in place this month itself. Following a meeting of the Constitutional Council (CC), the apex body that will appoint members to other independent commissions, Jayasuriya said he had sought the cooperation of all members to speed up their work. There are several vacancies to be filled in the CC itself and that work will be done before parliament meets again on September 22 . The legislature is expected to ratify the names of three civil society nominees in the CC — A. T. Ariyaratne, Radhika Coomaraswamy and Shibly Aziz. “The highest priority will be given […]

State of the Sri Lankan Republic

10th September 2015 // 0 Comments

by Neville Ladduwahetty The bizarre political collusion between the two major coalitions the UNFGG and the UPFA has caused the UPFA to become a constituent of the UNFGG-led Government. The unintended consequence has been for the TNA to claim leadership of the Opposition on the grounds that it has the third largest majority in Parliament. This, despite its stated claim in the TNA Manifesto that the Tamils are a distinct people in a contiguous predominantly Tamil speaking Northern and Eastern province but with the right of self-determination to the Tamil people (not to the Tamil speaking and non-Tamil speaking) and for a power sharing arrangement within a federal structure.The TNA, having sought a mandate from the Tamil people on the above basis,to claim and to […]

R Sampanthan’s hour of reckoning

10th September 2015 // 0 Comments

Objection to Rajavarothiam Sampanthan being made Opposition Leader has ranged from rank communalism, justifiable fears given his and his party’s unabashed endorsement of a terrorist outfit, through a questioning of representational power to the machinations that are claimed to have disenfranchised over 4 million voters by the simply and pernicious presidential act of looting the coalition that came second in the General Election by a relatively small 350,000 votes. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and its constituent parties have hardly ever waxed eloquent on matters that concern the entire country.  The focus has been consciously, deliberately and understandably, issues of the Tamil community.  It is also true that the TNA, Sampanthan included, have indulged in Eelam-speak for years, going as far as to name the […]

Lessons on British ‘decency’

10th September 2015 // 0 Comments

Uva-Wellassa was the granary of Kandy before it was annexed by the British in 1815 | (lsdtourism.site50.net) Ihave written no less than three times requesting that the road named after the butcher of Uva-Wellassa, Brownrigg, be changed and it was appropriately changed subsequently to Keppetipola Mawatha. British human rights campaigners now pointing fingers at Sri Lanka have forgotten the Madulla Massacre that led to razing and annihilating of entire villages. In the entire Uva region the male population above the age of 18 were killed in revenge for resisting British imperial occupation under Governor Brownrigg The West, at the behest of non-resident Tamils now living in countries there, has been promoting attacks on our country by claiming “gross” HR violations. Our HR record certainly is […]

The oil spill and Sri Lanka’s incompetence

10th September 2015 // 0 Comments

Few things are so cliché as an oil spill by a large multinational corporation in a third-world country. It would hardly make news nowadays. Oil spills in poor places are boring stuff, not dazzling enough for the media circus. Except, perhaps, when that country is yours. When that oil is in the very water that you drink. When, one morning, you open the tap and smell diesel. But if you’re Sri Lankan, perhaps not even then. Kelani River contamination There are conflicting reports of what happened on the morning of August 17. According to the Sri Lankan Water Supply and Drainage Board (WSDB), the officials at the water treatment plant in Ambatale noticed pools of oil floating on the water, and announced a water cut […]

Will the TNA fall in line with the government stance on war crime probe?:

10th September 2015 // 0 Comments

Tamil tilt to the inquiry scale Will the TNA fall in line with the government stance on war crime probe?: by P. Krishnaswamy With less than two weeks to go for the Geneva sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and the relase of its report on war crimes purportedly committed by former government forces and the LTTE during the final phase of the war, the government has intensified lobbying for a domestic inquiry as a follow-up action of the report. However, many Tamil political parties and political groups, including three constituents of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), have strongly reiterated their demand for an international inquiry. Incidentally, the international inquiry mandated by the UNHRC is over and it is the report that […]

Mahinda blasts CBK for ‘insulting’ SLFP in foreign media

10th September 2015 // 0 Comments

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has dismissed allegations made by former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga in her recent interview with The Hindu newspaper that his government had been a ‘police state’. Issuing a strongly worded statement titled ‘For the Special Attention of all SLFP and UPFA voters,’ Rajapaksa called on Kumaratunga not to allow her personal hatred of him to blind her and added that she owed it to members of her own Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) ‘not to go around the world insulting and running down her own party’. “Throughout the interview with The Hindu, Mrs Kumaratunga expressed her elation and glee at being able to defeat the SLFP led UPFA government of which I was the president and she dwelt garrulously on her […]

”Lankan government together with 20 nations brutally attacked the Tamil people” GTF leader briefs on resolution against SL at UN

10th September 2015 // 0 Comments

Leader of the Global Tamil Forum Rev.Fr. S.J.Immanuel says our struggle was ended up at the Mulliwaikal and international community well aware on it. Lankan government together with 20 nations brutally attacked the Tamil people at Mulliwaikal. Speaking to Lankasri 24/7 news service GTF leader briefed on weather Tamils would be benefited by the the resolution to be pass against SriLanka at the United Nation.

New video seeks to add pressure on Lanka at UN

10th September 2015 // 0 Comments

The team behind the controversial Emmy-nominated feature documentary No Fire Zone – credited with playing a key role in convincing the international community to take action over the Sri Lankan massacres of 2009, in which tens of thousands of Tamil civilians died – have today launched a new short film, Sri Lanka: The Search For Justice. The hard-hitting half-hour long video coincides with the long anticipated publication of the international war crimes investigation into the massacres, ordered by the United Nations Human Rights Council 18 months ago in Geneva. It will be made live to an international public today – initially in English and Spanish, with translations in Tamil, Sinhala, French and Hindi to follow online in the next few days. Under the campaign slogan, […]

Government confident of support in Geneva, Mahinda the Winner.

10th September 2015 // 0 Comments

The Government is confident of obtaining support in Geneva at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapaksha said that the international community had placed its faith on the new Government following the Presidential and Parliamentary elections. He said that he will be accompanying Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera to Geneva for talks with the international community. Speaking to reporters in Kandy today, the Minister said that while in Geneva they will look to work on the proposed resolution seeking support for a domestic investigation on incidents related to the war. The United States will cosponsor the resolution which will also seek to cushion the impact a UN report scheduled to be released in Geneva, will have on Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette) US envoy […]

Amb. Stephen Rapp on Sri Lanka’s War Crimes Investigation

10th September 2015 // 0 Comments

At the end of August, the United States announced that it would support Sri Lanka’s plan for investigating alleged war crimes that occurred during the final years of the country’s long-running civil war, which ended in 2009. This announcement signaled a shift in position for the State Department, which had long insisted on an international investigation. But, in the coming weeks at the UN Human Rights Council’s next session, the US will offer a resolution supporting Colombo’s proposed process for investigating and prosecuting potential war crimes. The resolution will come on the heels of the impending release of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ report on its investigation into abuses committed during the final years of the conflict. We recently had […]

Tamil question is not just an economic issue: Mano Ganesan

10th September 2015 // 0 Comments

The Tamil question cannot be settled by merely regarding it as an economic issue, Mano Ganesan, one of the three Tamil Ministers in the Sri Lankan government, has said. “There are people who even now argue that by providing jobs to the youth, putting up more hospitals and promoting economic development there [in the Northern and Eastern provinces], the ethnic problem will be over. But it is not so,” the 55-year-old leader said, in an interview with The Hindu at his residence, a few days after he was sworn in as the Minister for National Dialogue. Though he feels that sharing of maximum power is the way out, Mr. Ganesan, who heads the Democratic People’s Front and the Tamil Progressive Alliance, is firm that it […]

Sri Lanka’s ‘Accountability’ Dilemma

10th September 2015 // 0 Comments

With an important UN Human Rights Council session on the horizon, Colombo’s plan for ‘accountability’ is hotly debated. With the opening of the U.N. Human Rights Council’s 30th session just days away, many Sri Lanka watchers are waiting to see how Colombo deals with the release of a major U.N. report focused on wartime abuses in Sri Lanka and its plans for handling “accountability” issues domestically. What will Colombo’s accountability mechanism actually look like? And is it actually possible for such a mechanism to work properly? What role, if any, will international actors play in such a process? Sri Lanka’s new government has said publicly that they will pursue accountability via domestic means, although (broadly speaking) ethnic Tamils simply do not have faith in a domestic […]

Human rights, foreign policy and the battle for Sri Lanka’s soul

10th September 2015 // 0 Comments

Sri Lanka’s controversial human rights record comes up before the UN Human Rights Council in September, this time in the backdrop of monumental political changes in the island. The new Sri Lankan Government will be confronted with a much less hostile 47 member Council this month, with its international partners led by the United States inclined to give Colombo’s new political leadership more time to credibly address serious allegations about violations in war time and take steps towards genuine reconciliation. The change in international mindsets is a major foreign policy victory for the Sri Lankan Government, but now more than ever Sri Lanka’s victims need white knights to march in the cause of human rights and assist in finding answers to questions left hanging too long A […]

Electing Obama & Selecting Sampanthan

10th September 2015 // 0 Comments

By Dinesh D. Dodamgoda – The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader Mr. R. Sampanthan was selected as the Leader of the Opposition in the Sri Lankan Parliament by the Speaker, Mr. Karu Jayasuriya. The position of the Leader of the Opposition is traditionally held by the leader of the largest party in the opposition in a Westminster system of Parliamentary government. There is no doubt that leading the opposition by a minority Tamil leader in a country which has a Sinhala-Buddhist majority is a victory of Pluralism. However, is it really a victory of pluralism similar to electing Mr. Barak Obama as the President of the United States by the American democracy? Mr. Obama was elected by the majority of American voters. It was an […]

Unity Of Minority Politicians In The National Government

10th September 2015 // 0 Comments

By Aboobacker Rameez – The country marks another historical milestone with the selection of Mr R. Sampanthan, a Tamil MP by ethnicity, as the opposition leader of the Parliament. It was Mr Amirthaligam MP who occupied the post of opposition leader of the Parliament in 1977. Scholars posit that this new turn of event symbolizes a healthy dimension of democracy and is a sign of peace and reconciliation restoring in the country, following the silent revolution that took place in January 8, 2015. Debates on the opposition leader This selection stirred a stiff resistance among the hardcore Sinhalese in and out of the Parliament saying that this could lead to a division of the country and the Tamils would take an upper hand in all […]

Tamil PTA detainees – Ignored by New Government under “Yahapalanaya?”

10th September 2015 // 0 Comments

19 years in remand without conclusion of case, 17 years and case still ongoing in High Court, 15 years to file charges, 400-500 court hearings without conclusion of a case, 15 cases against one person, and 21 persons (or more) reported as arrested under the PTA in 2015. The Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and Emergency Regulations (ER)[1]have resulted in arbitrary arrest, prolonged detention without charges, long drawn out court cases, multiple cases against one suspect, inhumane detention conditions, torture, forced confessions, long years to release those who are innocent, post-release harassment and restrictions, including re-arrests. Many of the detainees have spent most of their youth behind bars, and their mental and physical wellbeing has been severely affected due to long term detention, and in […]

National List? What List?

10th September 2015 // 0 Comments

National List? What List? The 8th parliament has been convened after a roller-coaster election. The indelible ink still stains my little finger, but my optimism about the national list wore off some time ago. The results were a mixed bag; Sri Lanka sent home some notorious politicians, but it also returned a remarkable number (one in particular, straight from remand prison). While the United National Front (UNF) and Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) gained the ground that the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) lost, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) under-performed; their showing seemed not to correspond to their public appeal prior to the election. On both sides, there are young, new faces entering parliament, but the hope this inspired has been marred by the events […]

Another defeated SLFPer appointed cabinet minister UNP 33 ministerial posts SLFP 13; two vacancies

10th September 2015 // 0 Comments

By Shamindra Ferdinando President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday sworn in UNP Chairman Malik Samarawickreme as Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade, Vijith Wijayamuni Zoysa as Minister of Irrigation and Water Resource Management (SLFP) and Faizer Mustapha as Minister of Local Government and Provincial Councils (SLFP). With the new appointments the number of cabinet ministers has gone up to 46. The SLFP has 13 ministerial posts and the UNP 33. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe recently obtained parliamentary approval to increase the number of ministers and non-cabinet ministers to 48 and 45, respectively. Among the 13 SLFPers who have received cabinet portfolios so far are three candidates defeated at the Aug. 17 parliamentary polls. President Maithripala Sirisena accommodated unsuccessful candidates S.B. Dissanayake (Kandy), Mahinda Samarasinghe (Kalutara) and […]

MAHINDA THE WINNER!, Tragi-comic turn in latest round of ministerial appointments

10th September 2015 // 0 Comments

Plethora of UPFA MPs facing serious criminal allegations gets deputy minister slots Firebrand economist and UNP’s number three in Colombo District Harsha de Silva made Deputy Foreign Minister as opposed to Economic Affairs and Policy previously Niroshan Perera– State Minister of National Policy and Economic Affairs Sujeewa Senasinghe is deputy for Malik Samarawickrema as State Minister for International Trade Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena gets State Minister for Finance  Mohan Lal Grero – University Education  The next installment of ministerial appointments to the National Government yesterday took a tragi-comic turn, when a plethora of UPFA MPs facing serious criminal allegations took oaths before President Maithripala Sirisena as state and deputy ministers. In a bizarre twist, UPFA MP Nimal Lanza, whose house was raided by the STF for drugs and illegal vehicles in […]