20th April 2017

Punish perpetrators of war crimes, atrocities – NGO pack

20th April 2017 // 0 Comments

By Shamindra Ferdinando The Collective of Civil Society Organizations has urged the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration to inquire into war crimes allegations in accordance with Geneva Resolution 30/1 co-sponsored by the government. Addressing the media at the Centre for Society and Religion (CSR), Maradana on Tuesday (April 18), Akalanka Hettiarachchi (Aluth Parapura) emphasized that all those who had perpetrated crimes during the war and post-conflict should be dealt forthwith. The military brought the war to a successful conclusion in May 2009. Sri Lanka co-sponsored Geneva Resolution in Oct 2015. Last month, Sri Lanka co-sponsored another resolution reiterating her commitment to the 2015 resolution. On the basis of Sri Lanka’s commitment, Geneva granted time till March 2019 to fully implement the 2015 resolution. Hettiarachchi accused National Freedom Front […]

Retired top officers contradict each other in CID cross-examination

20th April 2017 // 0 Comments

Retired top officers contradict each other in CID cross-examination Use of ‘sharp object’ to kill The Sunday Leader Editor was known soon after assassination by Shamindra Ferdinando Wartime Director Operations, Joint Operations Headquarters (JOH), the then Brigadier Kumara Herath has told the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) that Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Air Chief Marshal Donald Perera had told him that The Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunga had been killed with a sharp object soon after the incident which occurred on the morning of January 8, 2009 at Attidiya, Dehiwela. Initial media reports said Wickrematunga had been shot dead. Herath, who had retired recently in the rank of Maj. Gen, said that Air Marshal Perera had summoned him to his office after being informed of […]

Accountability for war crimes in Sri Lanka demands an independent international investigation.”

20th April 2017 // 0 Comments

By Shamindra Ferdinando Publicly declining to testify before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) that has been tasked by the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa to inquire into war crimes allegations, London headquartered Amnesty International (AI) joined the International Crisis Group (ICG) and the Human Rights Watch (HRW) to flay Sri Lanka.  The LLRC commenced sittings in Aug 2010.  In a joint statement issued on Oct 14, 2010, the three organizations called for a genuine, credible effort to pursue political reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka. Declaring that the LLRC had failed to meet what they called minimum international standards for commissions of inquiry, they said: “There is little to be gained by appearing before such a fundamentally flawed commission.”  “Accountability for war crimes in […]

TNA hold talks with military heads on releasing land

20th April 2017 // 0 Comments

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) had talks with the military today on releasing private land held by the military. The meeting was headed by TNA leader R. Sampanthan.  TNA spokesman M.A. Sumanthiran said that the Defence Secretary, Army Chief and officials from the Navy and Air Force attended the meeting. Sumanthiran said the TNA was informed at the meeting that the Army will follow any order on the land matter issued by the President or Defence Secretary. The TNA was also informed that the Army is prepared to withdraw from any land not required for security reasons.

US must not ignore Sri Lanka’s human rights violations

20th April 2017 // 0 Comments

Though largely unnoticed in Washington, the United States has been making a big push to strengthen ties with the South Asian island nation of Sri Lanka. This policy shift began during Barack Obama’s tenure and, thus far, has continued since Trump assumed the presidency. Public remarks from U.S. government officials (about the current state of affairs in Sri Lanka) have been misleading and even inaccurate. Unfortunately, the continuation of excessively congratulatory remarks from the Trump administration would probably discourage needed reform in the country. To be clear, Sri Lanka experienced a big political change in January 2015 — when longtime authoritarian Mahinda Rajapaksa was defeated in his quest for an unprecedented third term. U.S.-Sri Lanka relations during Rajapaksa’s tenure soured due to rising authoritarianism and […]

Government’s Land Grab: The Bigger Picture

20th April 2017 // 0 Comments

By Ameer Ali – Dr. Ameer Ali President Sirisena’s gazette notification to declare lands occupied by the IDP Muslims in the Mannar District on the pretext of widening the perimeter of the Wilpattu National Park and protecting the environment should be viewed not simplistically as an anti-Muslim measure but more than that it should be considered in the overall context of policies embedded in the ruling neo-liberal economic paradigm. In this light the battle for revoking that notification should be fought not only by the victims of the President’s decision alone but by the general public. Under the ruling paradigm, zealously advocated by its international patrons such as the IMF, World Bank and the U.S., and which champions the cause of free market, private enterprise, […]

Resolving Internal Conflict Requires A Different Approach

20th April 2017 // 0 Comments

By Jehan Perera – Jehan Perera Countries re-emerging from decades of violent internal conflict are encouraged, sometimes against their will, into following an internationally prescribed trajectory of transitional justice. This is a concept that has taken root within the UN and international human rights systems after decades of being honed by practitioners and academics in the field. The basic idea of transitional justice is that accountability and punishment are necessary if there is to be sustainable peace, democracy and justice in those cases of protracted conflict in which there have been large scale violations of human rights. Colombia is one of the countries at the cutting edge of transitional justice. Its government has reached a peace agreement last year with FARC, a long standing guerilla […]

SL military, Resettlement ministry jointly deceive uprooted Valikaamam Tamils

20th April 2017 // 0 Comments

[TamilNet, Sunday, 16 April 2017, 23:29 GMT] A section of officials attached to Jaffna District Secretariat and the Divisional Secretariat of Thellip-pazhai, have deceived around 114 families of uprooted Tamils living in the so-called welfare centers to opt for buying alternative lands elsewhere in Jaffna. The officials, operating under ‘ministerial instruction’ from Colombo to collaborate with the designs of the occupying SL military at Palaali in Jaffna, have been locking some of these families telling them that they would ultimately receive their lands in Valikaamam North in future, but until that time comes, they should move out of the welfare camps into lands they purchase with the money offered by SL Resettlement Ministry as a ‘temporary’ measure. Although the landowners of welfare camps are demanding […]