4th April 2017

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 […]

TAMILS AWAIT THEIR DAY – SUMANTHIRAN

4th April 2017 // 0 Comments

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) confirmed that they would guarantee a significant contribution from the Diaspora in terms of investments in the country’s economy, if the new Constitution solved the Tamil issue and restored confidence in Sri Lanka. TNA MP, Attorney-at-Law M.A. Sumanthiran made these statements in an interview given to the Nation. He further added that the Diaspora was keen in doing so. Meanwhile, on the question of the sale of national assets, the Parliamentarian further noted that it had to be resorted as there was no other conceivable way around addressing the issue of the country’s economy. When questioned regarding the TNA keeping mum on the economy and what they perceived as needed to be done in this regard, he added that the […]