March 2016

Tamil Homeland In United Sri Lanka

16th March 2016 // 0 Comments

By S. Narapalasingam – The beautiful and harmonious island in the Indian ocean, known as Ceylon at the time of independence in 1948 and renamed ‘Sri Lanka’ in 1972 is to have another constitution soon, the fourth since independence. It is vital to know fully what happened since independence that destroyed the unity of the multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation depriving peace and significant national development that relegated it below other developing countries like Singapore with regard to average per capita income and living conditions for majority of citizens. During the early years of independence, Ceylon was a model that the past leaders of these countries now relatively more advanced were keen to emulate. The main aim of this article at the present critical time […]

Indian politicians are bunch of Idiots!

16th March 2016 // 0 Comments

Did MR wilt under Indian Envoy’s warning? A close analysis of how the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime dealt with India and the contradictory policies and statements that emanate, at present, from former Ministers like Prof. G.L. Peiris amply demonstrate that they are playing politics for their advantage using proposed agreements between Colombo and New Delhi. The analysis records that former Sri Lankan High Commissioner to New Delhi under Mahinda’s administration, Prasad Kariyawasam made a controversial statement against Tamil Nadu urging the Central Government of India to take action against Tamil Nadu politicians who had links with the LTTE. New Delhi appeared disturbed by Kariyawasam’s statement. On the contrary the Rajapaksa administration endorsed the statement made by Kariyawasam claiming that the latter made that statement in the […]

Upcountry Tamils are Sri Lankans

16th March 2016 // 0 Comments

Upcountry Tamils are Sri Lankans BY Mirudhula Thambiah Ceylon Workers Red Flag Union General Secretary Menaha Kandasamy said that a national identity for the Plantation Tamils as an ethnic group in Sri Lanka is a must and the identity as ‘Indian Origin Tamils’ must be omitted. “We don’t need to keep this term ‘Indian Origin’. When politically categorizing, using own agendas in giving an identity to a certain ethnic group must be avoided,” she said. Following are excerpts of the interview: ? What are the elements that are essential to ensure the identity of the Plantation Tamils in Constitutional Reforms? A: Certain issues are common to the plantations too. Both Sinhala and Tamil are State languages. Nearly 90 per cent of the Plantation Community is Tamil […]

Fonseka zero in on ‘white flag’ killings, clears Army of war crimes up to second week of May, 2009

16th March 2016 // 0 Comments

by Shamindra Ferdinando Parliament was told last Thursday that the proposed war crimes investigation should focus on fighting on the Vanni east front during the third week of May, 2009. The declaration was made by no less a person than Field Marshal Fonseka, leader of the Democratic Party (DP). Sri Lanka’s most successful Army Chief was delivering his inaugural speech in parliament after having been accommodated on the UNP National List last month. The tough talking strategist also called for foreign participation in the proposed judicial inquiry. The Field Marshal declared his readiness to face the forthcoming investigation. Having strongly denied accusations against his army in respect of operations conducted in the Eastern and Northern theaters of war (August 2006-May second week 2009), Field Marshal […]

Rajapaksa And The Underworld: Indispensable Nexus Of Evil

16th March 2016 // 0 Comments

by Wimalanath Weeraratne Recently, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Ven. Bengamuwe Nalaka Thera who went to a great extent to safeguard the Rajapaksa dynasty during the previous regime and even after its great fall from glory; came out with two startling revelations in the light of Government announcing plans to curb underworld activities. “Many leading underworld figures, who fled the country during my rule, have returned to the country at the behest of government politicians. Many have been brought back by ruling United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) politicians,” said the former President, who has had no connections with the underworld whatsoever. “They were brought to engage in canvassing election work during the run-up to 2015 General Election. No one dared enter the country […]

SriLankan Airlines helps crackdown on human trafficking through BIA

16th March 2016 // 0 Comments

SriLankan Airlines is playing an increasingly important role in the campaign by Government agencies to crack down on illicit travel through the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), with 230 people with false travel documents apprehended in 2015. Employees of the National Carrier work closely with other authorities at BIA such as the Sri Lanka Police, Customs and Immigration to identify people travelling without genuine official documents. The airline has its own group of specially trained document checkers, who have been trained by foreign embassies in spotting fake travel documents. In the past week there have been a series of detections made by the SriLankan security staff, a statement by the National Carrier said. Professionalism has been encouraged to minimise and eradicate the organised crime of human […]

India bails out Sri Lanka

16th March 2016 // 0 Comments

India bails out Sri Lanka In what seemed like bailing Sri Lanka out from its imminent economic crisis, Indian Cabinet of Ministers this week gave the nod to provide another 700 million dollar swap to Sri Lanka’s Central Bank. The facility will be available for three months or until a deal is reached with the International Monetary Fund, India said. Earlier, Sri Lanka has received a 400 million US dollar currency swap from Reserve Bank of India’s facility for South Asia, taking the total support to the island’s monetary authority to 1.1 billion dollars. Proceeds of the 400 million dollar three-month swap had arrived in Sri Lanka on 8 March. The swap could be extended. Sri Lanka borrowed 400 million dollars from RBI’s in 2015 […]

The Issue Of Missing Persons & PTA

16th March 2016 // 0 Comments

By Mangala Samaraweera –  “The Government has taken steps to have a new draft law formulated by the eminent members of the National Law Commission and this has recently been handed over to the Ministry of Justice. We want to make sure that the draft legislation also is in line. We want to repeal the PTA but replace it with new legislation in keeping with international best practise.” The Honourable Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Sampanthan has raised several important questions in this adjournment motion debated today but due to time restraints, I will speak out first on the matter of families of the disappeared and the missing. Mr. Chairman, The issue of missing persons is one that is very close to my heart. In […]

Sri Lankan government refuses to release Tamil political prisoners

16th March 2016 // 0 Comments

Fourteen Sri Lankan Tamil political prisoners ended a hunger strike of nearly three weeks last Friday at Welikada prison in Colombo after Prison Reforms and Rehabilitation Minister D.M. Swaminathan claimed he would expedite their cases. The government, however, refused the hunger strikers’ demand for the unconditional release of all Tamil political detainees. The continued incarceration without trial of hundreds of Tamils not only exposes the ongoing repression and discrimination against the country’s Tamil minority. It is part of an escalating attack on the democratic rights of all sections of the Sri Lankan working class. On February 29, 75 detainees at the Welikada prison held a one-day hunger strike in support of the 14 Tamil hunger strikers. Relatives and supporters of the protesting Tamil prisoners also […]

Meet The Lawyers Who Won The Fight For Children With HIV/AIDS

16th March 2016 // 0 Comments

By Yudhanjaya Wijeratne – Some days ago, a boy was denied access to an education on the suspicion that he had HIV/AIDS. It seemed the entire Sri Lankan rose up in protest over his plight – and over the retarded comments of the Education Minister, who tried to make a case for separating the child from his mother. And what did we do? Nothing, of course. Three people, however, carried on the fight. Kamani Jinadasa, Senany Dayaratne and Thishya Weragoda continued pushing the Supreme Court to make sure that this would never happen again. And yesterday, K Srivpana, 44th Chief Justice of Sri Lanka, ruled in the Supreme Court that every citizen over the age of five years has a right to education at any […]

Sri Lankan teller helps bust world’s biggest bank fraud

16th March 2016 // 0 Comments

US$ 1 billion scam involves China, Bangladesh, Lanka, the Philippines and US Fed CB launches massive money laundering probe on dubious NGO here Sri Lankan authorities have launched a massive probe into a dubious NGO here that tried to sneak in millions of US dollars stolen by Chinese hackers from the Bangladesh Central Bank, government officials here said, adding that this is part of a global crackdown on a money laundering scam. They said the scam, which hit media headlines across the world, was thwarted two weeks ago by an alert teller at the Colombo branch of a foreign bank when an inward remittance of about $25 million appeared to be suspicious. The officials, who declined to be named, said a major probe was underway […]

TNA strikes a positive note

15th March 2016 // 0 Comments

By Ananth Palakidnar ?: A few days ago TNA met in Colombo and discussed on holding talks with the Government on political issues. Could you brief us on the discussion? A: It was a discussion based mainly on the Constitutional Assembly (CA) to be formed. The TNA has also formed a steering committee to go with the representations from the constituent parties. The Tamil political prisoners’ issue and the TNA’s role in the Constitutional Assembly were also discussed. The TNA has not deviated from the last year’s election manifestos. With the formation of the CA the TNA will hold talks with all political parties to reach a solution for the question. We believe that the new political atmosphere is conducive for a political solution to […]

Don’t Look At Release of Tamil Detainees As A Legal Issue Only: TNA Tells Government

15th March 2016 // 0 Comments

COLOMBO: The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) wants the Sri Lankan government to look at the question of releasing the Tamil war-time detainees from a political standpoint, as a measure of ethnic reconciliation, and not just as a legal issue. TNA spokesman and MP, M.A. Sumanthiran told Express on Friday, that the alliance leader R.Sampanthan has been asking the government to take a “political decision” in the matter and not go by legalities only. Sumathiran said that the release of the 168 prisoners, 14 of whom are fasting since February 23, has been stalled because the Attorney General (AG) had said that there are legal impediments to their release. Speaking in parliament on March 8, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera skirted the issue of taking a political […]

TNA proposals will be final – Mavai

15th March 2016 // 0 Comments

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) appointed a committee to draft a set of proposals to solve the ethnic question through the proposed Constitutional reforms. Nation spoke to General Secretary of the TNA and Leader of the Ilankai Thamiz Arasu Katchi (ITAK), MavaiSenathirajah on the progress made by the alliance on drafting the said proposals. In addition, he also spoke on criticisms faced by the Alliance on not being transparent of its approach. Following are excerpts: Q. The TNA recently appointed a nine- member committee to work on proposals to solve the ethnic issue. When would this committee commence work and what is the mandate given for the committee by the TNA leadership? The committee was appointed to discuss and formulate solutions to the ethnic issue. […]

Political Prisoner Issue Sees Light At The End Of The Tunnel

15th March 2016 // 0 Comments

by Easwaran Rutnam The political prisoner issue is likely to see an end soon with the Attorney General’s Department set to file charge sheets on those arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) but not charged. At least 14 political prisoners not charged after being arrested under the PTA when the former government was in office, were on hunger strike for several days demanding that they either be charged or be released, suspended the strike last Friday. Earlier the prisoners refused to accept rehabilitation and instead demanded unconditional release. The Tamil political prisoners also reject a request by the Tamil National Alliance to suspend the fast before Parliament met Tuesday. The TNA urged the prisoners to suspend the fast saying the issue will be […]

UK ‘firmly committed to full implementation’ of UN resolution on Sri Lanka

15th March 2016 // 0 Comments

Britain reiterated its commitment to the full implementation of a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution on accountability for mass atrocities committed during the final phases of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka, at a statement delivered in Geneva this week. In a statement at the UN Human Rights Council’s 31st session, the United Kingdom said: “We remain firmly committed to the full implementation of the resolution adopted in September and stand ready to help Sri Lanka”. “We encourage the government to continue in its efforts to help bring lasting peace to Sri Lanka, including by establishing credible and consultative reconciliation and accountability mechanism and, by strengthening its engagement with your office.” The UK statement also welcomed UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al Hussain’s […]

HRW ‘concerned’ at Sri Lankan government statements on accountability

15th March 2016 // 0 Comments

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said it was concerned at statements made by the Sri Lankan government, which called into question its commitment to fully implement a UN resolution on accountability. Speaking at the 31st session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva this week, the human rights organisation said “many have rightly put the emphasis on the need for implementation of existing resolutions, if the Council is to have relevance and impact on the ground”. It went on to add that whilst it welcomed the resolution on accountability for mass atrocities committed in Sri Lanka, it was “concerned at high-level government statements earlier this year calling into question its commitment to abide by the resolution’s provisions on an accountability mechanism”. “We urge the government […]

US government should urge Sri Lanka to release political prisoners and repeal PTA – congress committee

15th March 2016 // 0 Comments

The chairman of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs has written to Secretary of State John Kerry, urging the US government to press Sri Lanka to release Tamil political detainees, repeal the PTA and return land held by the military. Chairman Edward Royce said he supports the increased diplomatic engagement with the Sri Lankan government and pointed out that the Sirisena-administration had made several promises and continues to make “impressive, positive steps”. “Renewed US diplomatic engagement should continue to support these efforts. To that end, I urge you to continue to press the Government of Sri Lanka to take immediate steps to release political prisoners, repeal the war-time “Prevention of Terrorism Act”, and return land seized during the conflict, “These actions, which the government has already […]

While massive swindling was going on, Ministers kept their eyes and ears closed

15th March 2016 // 0 Comments

By Vishwamithra1984 – “A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.”  ~ Thomas Paine The multiple misdeeds, alleged crimes ranging from abductions, assaults to even murder, acts of corruption and nepotism, providing wrong and deceitful information on the economy etc. belong, as already alleged, in the right domain – the Rajapaksa regime. These were all acts of commission. When one adds the acts of omission to this lot, the list rises nauseatingly high and the scope of investigation into them becomes excruciatingly tough. However, at the very outset, allow me to emphasize: ‘Finger on the trigger’ should not be assumed literally as one holding a gun against someone’s head. The writer uses the metaphor, not to sensationalize […]

The Continuing Need For International Presence

15th March 2016 // 0 Comments

By Jehan Perera – The issue of international participation in Sri Lanka’s transition process continues to remain a matter of speculation with different pronouncements being made by different members of the government. However, support for an international role in ascertaining the truth of what happened in the last phase of the war has received a boost due to the maiden speech in parliament made by former army commander Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka. His credentials as a champion of Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and unity as a state cannot be denied even by his political opponents. It was he who turned round the military debacles of an earlier period and achieved military success by leading from the front. Speaking in Parliament the former army commander said that […]

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