15th March 2016

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 […]