20th February 2016

Alleged trafficker and slaves from Sri Lanka

20th February 2016 // 0 Comments

The man arrested yesterday on suspicion of keeping two foreign women as slaves in the town of Vik in Southern Iceland is of Sri Lankan nationality, it has been confirmed. The two alleged female victims are also from Sri Lanka. The man detained was a sub-contractor for the Icewear knitting factory in the town of Vík. The popular Víkurprjón shop in the town has terminated its contract with Icewear in the wake of this arrest. It is believed that the two women in question were kept in the basement of the man’s home, which he shares with his wife. Related article: Man arrested on suspicion of slavery

Wimal, six NFF activists noticed to appear in Court

20th February 2016 // 0 Comments

National Freedom Front (NFF) leader and Parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa and six other party activists who staged a protest march against the visit of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein were yesterday noticed to appear before the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court on March 18 for allegedly providing leadership to a protest which blocks the main roads at Bauddhaloka Mawatha, causing disturbance to the people and the normal flow of traffic. Accordingly, NFF leader and Colombo District MP Wimal Weerawansa, Jayantha Samaraweera, Weerakumara Dissanayake, Piyasiri Wijenayake, Roger Seneviratne, Mohammed Muzammil and Don Lusian were noticed to appear before Court by Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya. Filing a facts report before Court, the Cinnamon Garden police informed Court that on February 6, the NFF […]

‘Tamil areas in Sri Lanka are the pockets of poverty’

20th February 2016 // 0 Comments

Regions with the highest rate of poverty in Sri Lanka are areas inhabited by Tamils, according to a study of the World Bank. The regions come under the districts of Mannar, Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi in the Northern Province; Batticaloa in the East and plantations in Badulla district (Uva Province) and Nuwara Eliya (Central Province). One Sinhala-dominated region the study has identified as having a high rate of poverty is the Monaragala district. Mullaitivu, the poorest Going by Sri Lanka’s national poverty line of about $1.50 per day (Purchasing Power Parity in 2005), the poverty headcount rates of Mullaitivu, Mannar and Kilinochchi are 28.8 per cent, 20.1 per cent and 12.7 per cent respectively. If one were to apply the international poverty line of $2.5 per […]

Political Entertainers

20th February 2016 // 0 Comments

Spare a thought for Udaya Gammanpila. The man is kept busy these days commenting about anything and everything, ranging from national anthems to the appointment of the Attorney General. He does so enthusiastically too, perhaps believing that any publicity is good publicity. His latest foray was to ask the government to appoint the Acting Attorney General to the more substantive post. A reasonable request, you could argue. Unless, of course, the matter was being decided on by the Constitutional Council which is not a single person but a body of people chosen, among other things, for the specific purpose of ratifying appointments to high posts. Gammanpila’s argument is that the Acting Attorney General, as the next in line in terms of seniority in the Department, […]

Tamils want a Constitution with a Federal System

20th February 2016 // 0 Comments

Tamils want a Constitution with a Federal System BY Mirudhula Thambiah Batticaloa District Parliamentarian Gnanamutthu Srineshan said only a new Constitution with federal system with autonomy for every province will bring in a suitable political solution for Sri Lanka. “A federal set up with autonomy in every State or province will solve the ethnic issue of this country.  Our leader Sampanthan has clearly said that a solution should be reached in a united Sri Lanka. Right to self- determination of the Tamils is a must,” he said. Following are excerpts of an interview: ? As you know many political parties and civic organizations have been proposing various recommendations to Constitutional Reforms. What would be your suggestions to the new Constitution as a minority representative in Parliament? […]

Justice finally being served

20th February 2016 // 0 Comments

Justice finally being served BY Buddhi Prabodha Karunaratne Deputy Minister of Social Empowerment and Welfare Ranjan Ramanayake who was a strong critic of his own government for not pursuing cases of corruption against the former regime, in an interview with Ceylon Today said he was now confident that justice was finally being served, “There is no political revenge here, it is simply the law following due process”, said Ramanayake.Excerpts follow: Q: Was Yoshitha Rajapaksa’s arrest politically motivated? A: The peoples’ government which was established for good governance would never take political revenge on anyone, unlike the previous regime. Action will be taken after proper investigations have been conducted. The investigations against Yoshitha Rajapaksa were conducted for a year prior to him being arrested. Rumours said […]

”Going ahead with the 13th Amendment and beyond will only fulfil the political aspirations of Tamils” says New Governor of the Northern Province Reginald Cooray.

20th February 2016 // 0 Comments

Reginald Cooray always expressed his views in favour of political rights of the minorities as well as agreeing on adequate devolution of powers to the North and East. Vijaya Kumaratunga in retrospect By Manekshaw The Leader of the Opposition and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Leader R.Sampanthan welcoming the appointment of Reginald Cooray as new Governor of the Northern Province mentioned that the government has made an appropriate choice by appointing a person with liberal views as the Governor of the Northern Province. Beginning his political career in the Sri Lanka Mahajana Party (SLMP) founded by the late Vijaya Kumaratunga, Reginald Cooray always expressed his views in favour of political rights of the minorities as well as agreeing on adequate devolution of powers to the […]

Catharsis: How Jaffna is rebuilding itself using the arts

20th February 2016 // 0 Comments

Since 2009, Jaffna has become host to hordes of curious tourists, visiting to see what a city ravaged by war looks like. For the residents, there are many bitter memories. It is difficult to have a conversation where the war doesn’t crop up. Some, though, are trying to move on with their lives. Slowly but surely, space to express grief and share memories is opening up – and the arts is playing a big role in this. Founder of the Centre for Performing Arts (CPArts) Father Saveri is a respected figure in Jaffna. Having received a BA and MA in Theology in Rome, he also has double Doctorates in History and Hindu Philosophy. To him, looking at the Fort brings back a terrifying memory. In […]

ITAK taken to SC over separatism

20th February 2016 // 0 Comments

By Chitra Weerarathne The Supreme Court yesterday, reserved the order in respect of the petition filed by H. K. Don Chandrasoma of Kelaniya, citing as respondents, Mavai S. Senathirajah, the secretary of the Illankai Tamil Arasa Kachchi of Jaffna and the Elections Commissioner. The petitioner had said that in the absence of an explicit statement in the ITAK’s Constitution that it did not have the goal of caving out a separate state, the inference to be drawn was that it aimed at establishing a separate state in Sri Lanka. The petition has requested a declaration from the court to that effect. Counsel Dharshan Weerasekera, appeared for the petitioner. Counsel M. A. Sumanthiran appeared for Mavai Senathirajah, the first respondent. Deputy Solicitor General, Nerin Pulle, appeared […]

Released detainees refused IDs

20th February 2016 // 0 Comments

BY RATHINDRA KURUWITA Regional government officials in the North and East have prevented some of the released detainees, who had spent a number of years imprisoned under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), from obtaining national identification documents, Executive Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Research (CHR), Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon said in a brief interview. “Regional officers have prevented this and this prevents these detainees from re-integrating with the social mainstream” he said. He added that there have been no discussions at the Ministry of Justice in the last two months to repeal the PTA or release those detained under the Act. In addition, no action has been taken at the AG’s Department as well. He stressed the point that Justice Minister Wijayedasa […]

An army chief declares for the first time name list available of surrendered LTTE cadres during final days of war..!

20th February 2016 // 0 Comments

(Lanka-e-News- 18.Feb.2016, 8.40AM) During the days of the final phase of the war , a large number of LTTE cadres surrendered to the Mulaitivu army camp . Their name lists and the name registers of those LTTE members who were arrested should  be in the Mauliativu camp , the Major General and commanding officer of the 58 th regiment and of the  Mulaitiuvu army camp had  revealed in Mulaitivu court yesterday. The army chief who was present in court to give evidence made this revelation  today  when a number of habeas corpus cases were taken up for trial. Lawyer R.S. Ratnavel who appeared for these cases said , this was the first time the government or army made a statement that LTTE cadres surrendered , […]

Sri Lankan Tamils around the world have built an online library to replace one torched in 1981

20th February 2016 // 0 Comments

Among the Noolaham Digital Library’s 16,000 documents are four volumes of one of the oldest Tamil grammar books, and copies of over 24 palm-leaf manuscripts. Seran Sivananthamoorthy is only 25 years old which is why his knowledge of the Jaffna Public Library is limited to memory and anecdote. The library with some 95,000 volumes including the only original copy of the Yalpana Vaipavamalai or the History of the Kingdom of Jaffna was set alight by a mob in 1981 as tensions rose between the island’s Sinhalese and Tamil communities in the prelude to Sri Lanka’s civil war. Miniature editions of the Ramayana, accounts of early explorers in Ceylon and a trove of ancient palm-leaf manuscripts important to Sri Lanka’s Tamil-speaking communities were also lost in […]

Sri Lanka After the Tigers

20th February 2016 // 0 Comments

Sri Lanka After the Tigers Letter from Mannar By Meenakshi Ganguly The causeway that links northern Sri Lanka’s mainland to Mannar Island is lined with vast military barracks. They have a nicely settled air about them, with painted flowerpots out front and T-shirts drying on clotheslines. Between the army camps are red-roofed cottages peeping through coconut groves and forests. There are no paved walkways—just dust, mud, and some scraggly vegetable patches. They are part of a housing project that the Indian government funded to rehabilitate those displaced by Sri Lanka’s devastating civil war, which raged between 1983 to 2009 and saw the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) unsuccessfully attempt to forge an independent Tamil nation alongside the Sinhalese majority state. For many Tamils, the […]

US Congressional Caucus on Ethnic and Religious Freedom in Sri Lanka

20th February 2016 // 0 Comments

The US Congressional Caucus on Ethnic and Religious Freedom in Sri Lanka was given an update on the current situation in Sri Lanka and on developments in the UN Human Rights Council, during a briefing in the Longworth House Office Building in Washington DC earlier this month. The briefing, attended by staff from the State Department, Congress, the Foreign Relations Committee, as well as interested members of the public, started with caucus co-chair Congressman Bill Johnson’s introductory remarks, who said it was critical that the international community remained vigilant about Sri Lanka’s new government’s progress on accountability and political reform. Mario Arulthas, advocacy director for PEARL, a DC-based NGO, spoke about his recent trip to Sri Lanka’s North-East and shared his experiences speaking to survivors […]

Rajapaksa’s HR dirty bomb, ticking, ticking… – Ranga Jayasuriya

20th February 2016 // 0 Comments

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein concluded his four day visit with what was widely seen as a conciliatory note: He conceded that the involvement of foreign judges was a contentious issue here and added that whatever the recommendations of his office – which is mandated to do so by a UNHRC resolution agreed to by Sri Lanka — ultimately it is Sri Lanka’s ‘sovereign right to decide.’   “His despair is understandable, but it is a crime that he is plotting to drag the nation down with him” Of course, he had some damning things to say about the collapse of judicial independence during the past several decades, and sadly though he failed to see that things had improved quite […]

Sri Lanka faces military insubordination during reconciliation drive

20th February 2016 // 0 Comments

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s government came face-to-face with military insubordination at a very high level when Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera visited Jaffna to launch a website for ethnic reconciliation. The usually unflappable Samaraweera was surprised by the tone of Major General Chagi Gallage when he visited Jaffna soliciting public views on a new reconciliation mechanism after decades of war. Jaffna Security Forces Commander, Chief of Defence Staff Kolitha Gunathilake and defence secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi were present when Gallage, a senior officer commanding a division, spoke out. The provocation for Gallage’s outburst which sought to contradict the administration was not immediately clear, but the Minister did not raise it thereafter, but the military leadership took immediate action. The saving grace was the transfer of Gallage as […]

Belgium to support Lanka’s efforts to regain GSP+ concession

20th February 2016 // 0 Comments

Visiting Secretary of State for Foreign Trade of the Kingdom of Belgium Pieter De Crem assured the government that Belgium will extend its support for Sri Lanka’s efforts to regain GSP+ concession, a statement from the Foreign Ministry said. Secretary De Crem made a one day official visit to Sri Lanka yesterday which marked a new chapter in Sri Lanka – Belgium relations. During the visit Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Harsha de Silva, and Pieter De Crem, Secretary of State for Foreign Trade of the Kingdom of Belgium held bilateral talks. At the talks, the visiting Secretary expressed the hope that the current developments in Sri Lanka would provide better opportunities for the existing ties between Sri Lanka and the Kingdom of Belgium to be […]

Sri Lanka’s opposition strongly opposes new deal with India

20th February 2016 // 0 Comments

COLOMBO, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) — Sri Lanka’s opposition on Friday said that it has decided to strongly oppose a proposed Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ECTA) with India. A statement by the opposition, which includes some members of the political party headed by President Maithripala Sirisena, said that an economic and technical pact with India will make sense if Sri Lanka can obtain from India some technical or economic input which Sri Lanka cannot provide for itself, such as in the automotive, chemical or pharmaceutical industries. However the opposition says the present government seems to be intent on handing over to the Indians what can easily be done by locals. The opposition is of the view that before any new agreement is entered into, the […]