March 2016

The government deceives the public – CM Vigneswaran

27th March 2016 // 0 Comments

Although I was happy that the Sri Lankan government was focussing towards a constitutional amendment, it appears that it is an effort taken to deceive the country’s people and to deceive the minority political parties, said the northern province chief minister C.V. Vigneswaran.  Meeting the journalists in Jaffna the chief minister said the Tamil National Alliance has given a list of amendments needed to the constitutional amendment.  According to the Northern Province people and ideas presented by the civil society organizations the only solution to resolve the north east problem is the devolution of power within a unitary state which is a federal system, said the chief minister. Anti federal The chief minister said due to the strong objection of the southern political parties about […]

Dr. Wickremebahu to National executive council : Anura (JVP) makes two untenable proposals

27th March 2016 // 0 Comments

(Lanka-e-News- 19.Jan.2015, 11.00PM) It has been decided to include Dr. Wickremebahu Karunaratne in the historic national executive council that was launched on the 15 th of this month for charting the course of the future of the country , according to reports. Dr. Wickremebahu who has a PhD degree from the University of Cambridge on a rare subject in Sri Lanka , is a staunch socialist and an intellectual. It is learnt that he will be participating in the next meeting of the council scheduled for 20 th of this month. Meanwhile , JVP leader Anura Dissanayake is getting ready to bring forward two proposals before the apex committee of the council that takes decisions , Dissanayake has disclosed. The two proposals are : To […]

Political Prisoners and Sri Lanka’s Sincerity Crisis

26th March 2016 // 0 Comments

In Sri Lanka, President Maithripala Sirisena had promised progress regarding Tamil political prisoners, although we’ve seen little of that. Unfortunately, the president’s dithering project has continued — with no end in sight. More broadly, the Sri Lankan government has made big commitments regarding transitional justice and those changes, if they ever happen, will come incrementally. However, we haven’t seen much in the way of incremental change since Colombo co-sponsored a U.N. Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka in October 2015. In terms of optics and rhetoric, Mangala Samaraweera, the country’s foreign minister, continues to deliver strong speeches (that are designed primarily for international consumption). The problem is that Samaraweera is not running the country and his view regarding the (expansive) reform agenda doesn’t appear […]

War crimes charges and diplomatic blunders

26th March 2016 // 0 Comments

If there is confusion about what Sri Lanka’s current stance is regarding the war crimes probe proposed by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), that is hardly surprising. At least when the Rajapaksa regime was calling the shots everyone knew exactly where we stood: that government opposed an inquiry into alleged war time atrocities and that was it. It was not the most diplomatic or sensible attitude to adopt and led to a lot of unsavoury repercussions, but at least there was consistency in the government’s position. Now though, it is an entirely different equation. If one recalls recent events, it will be remembered that the current UNHRC resolution was co-sponsored by Sri Lanka, when it was presented by the United States. Among other […]

UN Advocates Inclusive And Genuine Consultations With Victims In Sri Lanka: Ban Ki-moon

26th March 2016 // 0 Comments

Observing International Day for the right to the truth, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged States to adopt measures to promote truth, justice and reparations for victims, which is so crucial to ensuring that gross human rights violations are not repeated. “Throughout the world, from Colombia to Tunisia, from Mali to Sri Lanka, from Nepal to South Sudan, the United Nations has advocated for inclusive and genuine consultations with victims and affected groups, especially women, girls and those who are far too often excluded and marginalized.” Ban Ki-moon said yesterday. We publish below the statement in full; This annual observance pays tribute to the memory of Monsignor Óscar Arnulfo Romero, who was murdered on 24 March 1980. Monsignor Romero was actively engaged in denouncing violations […]

Tamil Racism & 13 A

26th March 2016 // 0 Comments

By Izeth Hussain – I have come to share the view of the Sinhalese hard-liners that the Tamil ethnic problem cannot be solved through devolution. I now share their view that going beyond 13 A in its presently truncated form – that is by giving police and land powers – will only aggravate the ethnic problem, not solve it. There are two major reasons for this. One is that Tamil racism is worse, very much worse, than Sinhalese racism. That means that giving more devolution will only whet the Tamil appetite for more and more devolution until Eelam is established, or there is a confederal arrangement that amounts to a de facto Eelam. The second reason why I have come to share the view of […]

RELEASE THE TAMIL PRISONERS OF WAR IMMEDIATELY! : TGTE

25th March 2016 // 0 Comments

The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) demands that the Tamil Prisoners of War languishing in Sri Lankan prisons be released immediately. Our people now in imprisonment would have been arrested for their alleged connections with the struggle that grew out of the ethnic contradictions arising from political reasons. And so our Tamil people generally regard them as political prisoners. But the Sri Lankan state looks down upon them as terrorists and extremists. We, from the side of the Tamil people, see them as Prisoners of War. The war between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam was not merely a civil war. It was a war with international dimensions falling within the framework of international law. It is a […]

Missing persons commission begins fresh sittings in Mullaitivu

25th March 2016 // 0 Comments

The Presidential commission to investigate into complaints regarding missing persons began fresh public sittings in the Mullaitivu District today. Secretary to the Commission Hewa Wasalage Gunadasa said that the commission will hold sittings in Mullaitivu for three days. Following the public sittings in Mullaitivu, the commission will record statements from the public in Mannar and Vavuniya.  Gunadasa said that the commission has invited 1600 people to record oral statements over a 6 day period in Mullaitivu, Mannar and Vavuniya regarding family members reported missing during the war. (Colombo Gazette)

Mahinda and Wimal disrupting probe of missing Journalist Eknaligoda case!, Why?

25th March 2016 // 0 Comments

Sandhya Eknaligoda, wife of missing Journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda, yesterday charged Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera,MP Wimal Weerawansa and former president Mahinda Rajapaksa of disrupting the investigations into her husband’s disappearance. Addressing a news conference, she said Mr. Rajapaksa and the others frequently visit the imprisoned army personnel who were arrested in connection with the disappearance, influencing the case. “Gnanasara Thera even threatened me on several occasions. It’s uncertain who are behind them,” she said. She requested the President, Prime Minister, the UN and relevant authorities to intervene into the matter claiming that her life was in danger.  – See more at: http://www.dailymirror.lk/107368/Eknaligoda-case-Sandhya-says-BBS-MR-disrupting-probe-#sthash.8izvT16Z.dpuf Sri Lanka’s missing thousands: one woman’s six-year fight … www.theguardian.com › World › Sri Lanka 28 Jan 2016 […]

UN report highlights caste-based discrimination in SL

25th March 2016 // 0 Comments

Shiran Illanperuma reporting from Geneva Caste-based discrimination is an ongoing issue in Sri Lankan society, according to a report presented during the 31st session of the Human Rights Council. The report by the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues Rita Izsak-Ndiaye specifically mentions Sri Lanka in two paragraphs, which describe varying caste structures in Sinhala, Tamil and Up-Country Tamil communities and the types of social exclusion lower castes in each group face. The report notes that despite differences in caste structure between ethnic groups, a commonality of experience exists between lower castes of all ethnic groups including“the avoidance of inter-caste marriage and the link between lower castes and greater levels of poverty”. In an official address at the Human Rights Council Izsak-Ndiaye said that she decided to […]

The Rajapaksa rage and a weak and ineffectual leader Maithiri

25th March 2016 // 0 Comments

Hyde Park in London is famous as a venue where those who want to stage a protest against the establishment state their case. Many a rebel has stood at Hyde Park corner and lambasted the powers that be and gone on to greater deeds. Probably by virtue of being a British colony, Sri Lanka has its own Hyde Park in the heart of Colombo, a stone’s throw away from Lipton Circus, another landmark that frequently attracts demonstrators. Last week, it was the venue chosen by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to take the plunge and appear on stage with the self-styled ‘Joint Opposition’. The rally was styled the ‘jana satana’ or ‘peoples’ battle’. It attracted a massive crowd, certainly more than what the ruling United National […]

Tamils Need To Speak Up, And In Time

25th March 2016 // 0 Comments

Speech is silver, silence is golden.” If there is one occasion where this dictum does not seem to apply, it’s in political negotiations of every kind. This does not mean that every stake-holder together should create a Tower of Babel all at once. It only implies that those that have demands should speak up, and in time – for other stake-holders, to hear and act upon, at least some of them. It has become the practice with the nation’s Tamil polity to sit back and watch the ‘fun’ as other stake-holders create an unintelligible cacophony all the time. It’s more so when the national discourse of the kind involves possible pointers to a political solution for the ethnic issue. After a point, the Tamil political […]

Gotabhaya And Fonseka Still Passing The Buck

25th March 2016 // 0 Comments

Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa insists that a proper investigation should be carried out into the murder of Founding Editor of The Sunday Leader Newspaper Lasantha Wickrematunge, but has hinted the government will never hold a transparent investigation, as a minister in the present government is connected to the incident. Rajapaksa made these remarks following Minister Sarath Fonseka’s maiden speech in parliament where he said that an international probe should be conducted as stipulated in the Geneva resolution into the Editor’s murder and that an investigation must be carried out on the white flag issue as well. Although Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Minister Sarath Fonseka have accused each other of involvement in Wickrematunge’s murder over the years, the CID is yet to question them over the […]

WILL THE JUDICIARY SUCCUMB TO MAHINDA’S THREATS?

25th March 2016 // 0 Comments

The battle between Rajapaksas’ and the Maithri-Ranil Government has now reached the stage: Get-Set-Go. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe last week stated that all fraud and corruption of Rajapaksas’ would be made public within the next three months and urged the Rajapaksas’ to be ready with their lawyers from now on. Even before Ranil issued that warning, the Rajapaksas’ are busy on a daily basis seeking legal advice to cover them from charges of fraud and corruption levelled against them. The lawyers consulted by Rajapaksas’ have reportedly advised them that the only way out was to line up people against the government to instill fear on the Judiciary. The Hyde Park rally was an outcome of such legal advice. When Yoshitha was arrested, Mahinda thought that […]

Land of Tamil’s in the North needed for security, will NOT be returned

25th March 2016 // 0 Comments

The Government says land in the North needed for security will not be returned to the owners. Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi said that land in some areas in the North are required by the military for security reasons. He said that those lands will not be released but the owners will be compensated by being paid more than the actual land value.  The Defence Secretary expressed these views at a press briefing in Colombo today. (Colombo Gazette) 1. ETHNIC CONFLICT, HORIZONTAL INEQUALITIES AND DEVELOPMENT POLICY: THE CASE OF SRI LANKA, November 2013 http://uir.unisa.ac.za/bitstream/handle/10500/13540/thesis_embuldeniya_d.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y 2.  Timing and Sequencing of Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Peacebuilding in Sri Lanka(2015) http://soc.kuleuven.be/crpd/files/working-papers/working%20paper%20Walton.pdf

Gota summoned by Special High Court

25th March 2016 // 0 Comments

Former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been noticed to appear in the Special High Court — set up to hear the cases connected to LTTE terrorist activities — on May 3 by Commissioner Irangani Perera. He has been asked to be present in Court to give evidence in the case filed against five LTTE suspects on charges of aiding and abetting a ex-LTTE suicide carder charged with attempting to kill Mr. Rajapaksa. The Attorney General has filed the case against them on charges of conspiring with Balasingham Vijayakumara alias Anbumani in conniving with LTTE terrorist Anbumany to carry out the suicide bomb attack in which army personnel Priyantha Wijesiri, Piyasiri and Fernando were killed. The accused are Ponnasamy Karthigesu Sivaji, Sivalingam Aruran, Padmanadan Aiar Sri […]

“Tamil politicians are not genuine”: Thamilini, former LTTE Women’s Political Wing Leader

24th March 2016 // 0 Comments

By Shanika Sriyananda Q: According to Thamilini’s book, did she believe in an armed struggle to win the Tamil cause? A: No; in this book she very clearly says that an armed struggle is more difficult than a peaceful struggle. She says that she aspired to continue in peace building, helping the poor Tamils to improve their living standards and educating the young children in the north and east, whose education had been neglected for several decades. She says that the 30-year-long armed struggle by the LTTE was a total failure and proved to be a total mistake. Q: One major aspect that impacted the people’s support for the LTTE was its child conscription drive. What were her feelings about this? A: She had continuously […]

Sharma rejects soft-pedalling HR abuses by MR regime

24th March 2016 // 0 Comments

Outgoing Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma has rejected allegations of having soft-pedalled human rights abuses during the Rajapaksa regime, the Hindu reported on Tuesday. Criticism of the Commonwealth’s role and Mr. Sharma’s leadership peaked in the lead-up to CHOGM 2013 in Sri Lanka. Human rights groups and pro-LTTE organisations in Britain accused him of soft-pedalling the human rights abuses of the Rajapaksa regime, which in turn led to some heads of government boycotting the meeting. In an interview with the Hindu newspaper, Mr. Sharma had dismissed this criticism. “The most important point about the Commonwealth is that it engages with member states to advance the values template,” he said. “I made five visits to Sri Lanka, but you can’t keep on talking about it in […]

UK MPs slam cancellation of meeting with High Commission in Colombo

24th March 2016 // 0 Comments

A group of British Parliamentarians have slammed the UK High Commission in Colombo over the cancellation of a scheduled meeting with the High Commission recently. The MPs who were part of an all-party group which was on a visit to the Maldives, had said it had sought a meeting with the UK High Commission in Colombo after visiting the Maldives. However the three MPs, Sir David Amess (Chairman of the group), Ian Paisley and Mark Menzies, said in a report today that while they had extensive meetings in the Maldives, the only cancellation was the meeting in Colombo with the UK High Commission which covers the Maldives.  “Disappointingly the only cancelled meeting was with the office of the UK High Commission. We had planned a […]

UK notes importance of dealing with legacies of conflict in Lanka

24th March 2016 // 0 Comments

The British Government says dealing with the causes and legacies of conflict will enable Sri Lanka to build the stronger, more stable and more prosperous country that all its people so richly deserve. The Deputy British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Laura Davies said that the development of a professional, civilian police force, guarantor of law and order, and offering protection and assistance to all communities is a central element to help build a stronger, more stable and more prosperous country. Laura Davies said that the British High Commission has been a long-term supporter of the development of the Sri Lankan police.  “We have worked with the police and the Government, supporting their vision for a transformed police service. And we have partnered with academic and civil […]

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