April 2017

Reforms Without Referendum, Or Referendum Without Reforms?

11th April 2017 // 0 Comments

by N. Sathiya Moorthy  Thus, no national newspaper (read: English) got to highlight a recent statement of Upcountry Tamil leader and Minister, Mano Ganesan Mano Ganesan indicated that the ‘Big Two’, namely the UNP and the SLFP, were happy to confine the constitutional reforms processes near-exclusively to electoral reforms SLFP representative at the meeting made it abundantly clear that they were prepared neither for wholesale constitutional reforms nor a referendum to make it happen Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera of the UNP said that they could not afford a referendum-centric Constitution, just now M. A. Sumanthiran, Mano Ganesan and Dinesh Gunawardena Whether or not there is a national consensus of some kind for pushing through constitutional reforms, as promised by the present-day rulers, there are already […]

Still No Sign Of A New Constitution

11th April 2017 // 0 Comments

Lakshman Kiriella, Susil Premajayantha, Ranjith Madduma Bandara by Ashanthi Warunasuriya While many opinions have been expressed regarding the new Constitution, the President had instructed the relevant committees to expedite the reports pertaining to the formulation of the new Constitutional process Another significant issue is that the President had asked his legal advisors to prepare the draft for proposed Constitution that can be passed with a 2/3rd majority without a referendum  President Maithripala Sirisena has instructed several senior ministers to expedite the Constitution drafting process.  Although the topic of formulating a new Constitution has been discussed, there is a concern among many over the delay in the process. Formulating a new Constitution was one of the main election promises of the good governance regime. While many […]

Sri Lankan Battlefield Moves To Geneva UN HRC!

11th April 2017 // 0 Comments

by S. V. Kirubaharan, France A country’s budget estimates government revenues and expenditures over a specific period of time, whereas an amendment or change to a constitution changes the practices of a country! When there are hundreds of NGOs in the UN, why is the World Muslim Congress taking the lead on Jaffna Muslims? Geneva UN HRC and S. V. Kirubaharan The 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council – UN HRC has just concluded, allowing Sri Lanka another two years to implement the UN HRC resolution 30/1. In every meeting held with VIPs including diplomats, myself and a few others made it very clear that whether it is given 2 years or another 20 years, the present government or any other government in Sri […]

Sri Lanka Tamil party says a new constitution is essential to resolve national problem

11th April 2017 // 0 Comments

Sri Lanka’s main Tamil party, the Tamil National Alliance says that the Executive Presidency should be abolished and that a new constitution is needed to resolve the national issue in Sri Lanka. Speaking to BBC Sandeshaya, TNA parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran said the view that the Executive Presidency is better for the minorities to win their rights is not correct. “Even though minority’s support is needed during the elections, once become president, everyone works for the majority,” he said. “Therefore, the idea to think that justice will be met for minorities through this system is wrong,” he said. Without creating a new constitution with the consent of the Tamil people, there will be no solution to the national problem, the MP stressed. “If we need to […]

THE MUCH DEBATED CONTROVERSY OVER ACCOUNTABILITY:

11th April 2017 // 0 Comments

‘GOVT HAS NOT AGREED ON HYBRID COURT TO SIT IN JUDGEMENT’ A section of the Opposition vehemently criticized the decision by the Government to co-sponsor the Human Rights Council follow up the resolution, binding itself once again to implement fully the recommendations in 30/1, which calls upon the Government to implement a ‘hybrid transitional justice mechanism’. But, the Government defended its decision saying, on the contrary, it was treading a path that will win the trust of the international community and the victims of war, while being fully aware of the constitutional limitations. A cross section of human rights and foreign affairs experts who have a stake in the Geneva process were interviewed by the Sunday Observer on the recent outcome. The following is their […]

SLMC calls for new Constitution and not amendments

11th April 2017 // 0 Comments

The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) has called for a completely new Constitution and not amendments to the existing Constitution. SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem said that a referendum will however be needed to create a new Constitution.  He said that the people were given a promise that a new Constitution will be introduced to the country and that promise must be kept. Hakeem also said that in the new Constitution there needs to be meaningful devolution of powers.

Rajitha promises to reveal all ‘killings, corruption and frauds’ perpetrated during previous govt

11th April 2017 // 0 Comments

by Shamindra ferdinando Health Minister and Cabinet spokesman Dr. Rajitha Senaratne has warned the Joint Opposition that information pertaining to all killings, corruption and fraud perpetrated by the previous Rajapaksa administration would be revealed within the next couple of months. Dr. Senaratne, who was a Cabinet minister of the Rajapaksa government switched his allegiance to the UNP in Dec. 2014 in the wake of Maithripala Sirisena, who decamped to challenge President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the presidential race. Minister Senaratne was responding to the media following the opening up a new facility at the Kebitigollewa government hospital on Saturday afternoon. Dr. Senaratne said that the JO would die a natural death once the revelations were made. Former External Affairs Minister and JO heavyweight Prof. G. L. […]

FOR SRI LANKA, U.S. SECURITY COOPERATION IS NOT THE CURE

8th April 2017 // 0 Comments

Sri Lanka is a complicated country. In a recent article, Nilanthi Samaranayake notes that Sri Lanka’s foreign policy has been evolving since the unexpected ascension of President Maithripala Sirisena in January 2015. Unfortunately, the trends that Samaranayake has succinctly captured — especially a strengthening of security ties between the United States and Sri Lanka — could ultimately prove to be inimical to both America’s long-term interests in the Indo-Pacific and lasting peace in the island nation. The article doesn’t mention  that Sri Lanka is still recovering from a brutal civil war. One cannot properly assess the current state of affairs, particularly when it comes to defense relationships, without examining the situation through the prism of the civil war and the root causes of the unresolved […]

Hon Sampanthan meets the German Delegation

8th April 2017 // 0 Comments

04th April 2017 Press Release The Leader of the Opposition and the TNA, Hon. R. Sampanthan MP met with the delegation led by the President of the German Bundestag Prof. Dr. Norbert Lammert, at the Opposition Leader’s office in the Parliamentary complex today (04th April 2017). At the meeting, Mr. Sampanthan briefed the delegation on the constitutional making process, including matters related to electoral reforms and power-sharing arrangements and stressed the importance of the international communities’ involvement in achieving the aspirations of the minority communities. German Ambassador to Sri Lanka Mr. Rohde, Mr. Michael Rimeel, Ms. Saskia Leuenberger, Ms. Gelsomina Beatrice and Mr. Stepehen Wirts were also present at the meeting, which lasted over an hour.

Reports on documentation and memorialisation launched at Jaffna University

8th April 2017 // 0 Comments

A booklet on human rights documentation in a post-war context and a report on memorialisation amongst Tamils in the North-East were launched in February at a panel co-hosted by the Adayaalam Centre for Policy Research (ACPR), People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL), and the Forum on Contemporary Issues at the Department of Law at the University of Jaffna. PEARL launched the Tamil translation of their report “Erasing the Past: Repression of Memorialization in Sri Lanka”, which was published in English last year. ACPR launched their booklet “Human Rights Documentation in a Transitional Justice Context”. It was launched in Tamil, English and Sinhala for the use of civil society organisations on the island. The launch featured a panel discussion including Dr Nimmi Gowrinathan of the Colin […]

Landmark State Terrorism Action in Spanish Court Against Syrian Officials – TGTE

8th April 2017 // 0 Comments

TGTE buoyed by possible similar action overseas on Sri Lankan perpetrators of genocide and war crimes COLOMBO, SRI LANKA, April 4, 2017 /EINPresswire.com/ — The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) welcomes the landmark legal proceedings for state terrorism initiated by a judge in a National Court in Spain against Syrian vice president Farouk al-Sharaa, head of National Security Bureau Ali Mamlouk, head of air force intelligence Jamil Hassan, and other senior officials. Amb. Stephen J. Rapp, a former US Ambassador at large for the Office of Global Criminal Justice and now a non-resident fellow at the Hague Institute of Global Justice who helped to file the case, said that “we could have international arrest warrants in a month or two against these individuals.” The […]

Sri Lanka insists not to agree to a war crimes probe on its soldiers.

4th April 2017 // 0 Comments

The Sri Lankan government on Monday said that while it will investigate certain crimes which took place during the war between Tamil Tiger rebels and the military, it will not agree to a war crimes probe. Government spokesman Dr. Rajitha Senaratne told reporters in the Northern Jaffna town that if there is a war crimes probe then the Tamil Tigers, also known as the LTTE, must also be investigated. “Who do we investigate in the LTTE? Are there any leaders? We will go for a good settlement,” the Minister said. It is an open secret that more than 1000 LTTE Leaders and their family members who surrendered with White Flag after UN negociated the surrender were killed by the Sri Lankan forces. The recent outcome […]

Costs and consequences of violent disruptive political protests

4th April 2017 // 0 Comments

The Sri Lankan economy would have been vastly different if not for the series of violent eruptions throughout the post independent period. In the nearly seventy years after independence the economy was disrupted by the ethnic riots of 1958, the 1971 youth insurgency, the communal clashes of 1977, the ethnic riots of July 1983, LTTE terrorism of over three decades, and the protracted civil war of 27 years. The JVP insurgency of 1988-89 crippled the economy and economic growth fell to its lowest level. Impact These eruptions of violence were serious economic shocks and setbacks. They harmed the economy in many different ways and retarded the country’s economic development. They disrupted the normal functioning of economic activities in the country, decreased production in several sectors […]

A Question of Political Will: Unpacking de Silva’s Comments on Foreign Judges

4th April 2017 // 0 Comments

Recently, Groundviews compiled a timeline of all the statements made by the Government in terms of the participation of foreign judges in a judicial mechanism. The timeline shows that over the past two years, there have been contradictory statements from within the same Government on this score. The inclusion of foreign judges has become an increasingly contentious topic, particularly following the recent UNHRC session in Geneva, which saw Sri Lanka co-sponsoring a resolution amounting to a technical rollover, allowing two more years to fulfill the provisions laid out in the UNHRC resolution. Most recently, President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka U R de Silva, speaking to the media, opposed the inclusion of foreign judges in a judicial mechanism. “Our position is that it […]

Muslim Law: The Need For Reform

4th April 2017 // 0 Comments

By Reeza Hameed – Dr. Reeza Hameed The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) is opposed to making any changes to the existing Muslim family law. Mufti Rizwi, who is a member of the Saleem Marsoof Committee appointed to look into reforms to the Muslims Marriages and Divorces Act (MMDA) of 1951, has made the oracular pronouncement that the law is ‘perfect in its present state’ and required no reform. Mufti Rizwi also presides over the ACJU. Regrettably, the views expressed by the Mufti and his outfit are anachronistic and obscurantist. Matters relating to Islam and Muslim law ought not to be the sole concern of the ulema. In this comment I have touched upon some issues in the hope that it will contribute to the […]

Minister claims he offered MOD Rs. 5 mn to release land

4th April 2017 // 0 Comments

Many an eyebrow has been raised by a senior UNP minister’s claim that he had offered money to the tune of Rs. 5 mn to secure the release of private land held by the military in the Mullaitivu district. Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Affairs D M Swaminathan yesterday said that he had received an assurance from the MoD that 189 acres of land would be released within one month after receiving Rs. 5 mn payment. A senior spokesperson for the ministry said that following discussions between Minister Swaminathan and Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi last week, the former had received an assurance that in addition to 189 acres of land, the military would release 279 acres in the Keppapilavu area on or […]

UK Home Office publishes new policy on Sri Lanka

4th April 2017 // 0 Comments

The British Home Office this week published an updated policy guidance and information note on Sri Lanka aimed at decision makers handling the granting of protection and human rights claims for Tamils. The updated policy guidance, which follows the country guidance of GJ & Others in 2013, stated that there had been “positive developments” since the new government led by President Sirisena came to office and “an improved environment for civil society and human rights defenders has also been reported”.  Commenting on the new guidance, Jan Jananayagam of Together Against Genocide (TAG) said, “this home office policy flies in the face of recent events in Sri lanka, including overt surveillance and intimidation of protestors by the navy, police and other security services, the government of […]

NE housing row: Compromise solution for 6,000 prefab units

4th April 2017 // 0 Comments

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) has granted approval for the construction of 6,000 prefabricated steel houses in the North and East by ArcelorMittal despite opposition by civil society groups and the Tamil National Alliance. The proposal will now go back to the Cabinet for ratification, authoritative sources told the Sunday Times. The project has been in the pipeline since 2015 amid widespread protests. The TNA said it was “totally opposed to prefabricated steel houses” and called for civilians in the North and East to be provided with brick houses in keeping with their culture and way of life. But the project is backed by Rehabilitation and Resettlement Minister D.M. Swaminathan. The TNA revealed that he had made personal telephone calls to several of […]

WE WILL SET UP OUR OWN DOMESTIC MECHANISM

4th April 2017 // 0 Comments

Rejecting allegations that the government is dancing to the tune of pro-LTTE diaspora in Geneva and making blueprints to drag the country’s war heroes before a hybrid court, Foreign Affairs Minister, Mangala Samaraweera says, on the contrary, their expectation is to put the country in order so that the domestic call for a hybrid court which led to the UN High Commissioner’s recommendation, could be put to rest within the course of the next two years. Minister Samaraweera was exclusively interviewed by the Sunday Observer upon his return from two important visits, to Geneva and Russia. The excerpts of the full interview: Q. Do you believe the Government can fulfil the main pledges made at UNHRC within the extended two year period? A. These are […]

Power sharing within a united, undivided, indivisible country – Sumanthiran

4th April 2017 // 0 Comments

Full implementation of the 13th Amendment and beyond, Resolutions be kept to the letter Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP, Attorney-at-Law M.A. Sumanthiran spoke to the Nation regarding the state of affairs within the Party/Alliance, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and the question of foreign judges in a hybrid court, issues faced by the Tamils, their dealings with the Government, constitutional reforms, the postponement of the Local Government election, devolution of power, legal reforms, the role of the Diaspora, Tamil Nadu relations, and the country’s economy. Q        In the current political context, where do you place and position yourself? A : I am a member of the TNA. The TNA has chartered a particular course towards seeking a lasting, permanent solution to the […]

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