September 2017

Army to stay in North & East – Commander Shuns claim by Tamil Chief Minister Wigneswaran

30th September 2017 // 0 Comments

BY Nadeeka Daya Bandara Army Commander Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake said that expediting the removal of Army Camps in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, is not suitable under the present circumstances. At a media briefing on Thursday (28) in Kandy, he said that according to the Chief Minister of the Northern Province there are 180,000 soldiers based in the region. He said that this claim was incorrect adding that soldiers have to be deployed in those areas according to the requirements of the country. Lt Gen Senanayake made these comments after participating in religious observances where the respective Army flags were offered to the Sacred Tooth Relic to coincide with the Sri Lanka Army Commemoration Day which falls on 10 October. The Army Commander also […]

A minority within a minority – A subset of Tamils lags other Sri Lankans by almost every measure

30th September 2017 // 0 Comments

Life is not easy on the tea estates BOTH Sri Lanka’s ethnic Sinhalese majority and the Tamil minority think of themselves as original, indigenous inhabitants of the island—an important prop to their political claims and counterclaims. But there is one group of Tamils who are relatively recent arrivals, and whose status has suffered accordingly. The first 10,000 “hill-country Tamils” came to work in the island’s nascent coffee plantations in 1827 as indentured labourers. They marched on foot through rough terrain to isolated camps in the jungle, which they then set about clearing. Many died. But the prospect of work in Sri Lanka’s booming tea industry, along with famine, poverty and landlessness back in India, led many more to make the journey. Today the hill Tamils […]

In Vithya’s name let there be justice to all child victims

30th September 2017 // 0 Comments

Yesterday on the remote island of Pungudutivu, the residents celebrated, they lit crackers and cooked milk rice. For the past two years however they had been anguished and fearful as one of their favourite daughters had been brutally gang-raped and murdered in one of the most gruesome crimes ever committed in this country. And all seven men who were sentenced to death for that crime are from this little island. Eighteen-year-old Sivaloganathan Vithya was one of the brightest students at the Pungudutivu Maha Vidyalayam. She had won a scholarship to one of the leading girls’ schools in the country, Vembadi Girls’ College in Jaffna. She belonged to a poor family which had some help from relatives living overseas. During most of the war years her […]

Eastern Province Governor Rohitha Bogollagama RULES FROM TODAY

30th September 2017 // 0 Comments

Eastern Province Governor Rohitha Bogollagama, in an interview with the Daily mirror , speaks about his post under the current circumstances. The Provincial Council will come fully under his control from today onwards in terms of the new Act for an interim period. Excerpts: It happened in the Northeast  Province after Chief Minister Varatharajah Permumal was removed from office Governor’s power is adequate to administer the Provincial Council for an interim period Empowerment of people is a national need  Reconciliation process is well underway in East under the guidance of former President CBK  Ethnic identity is sharply visible in East  There are areas with a concentration of people belonging to one community  Then, domination of one community over the other comes about  We have to address the  people’s needs […]

President Sirisena for the Noble Peace Prize, 2017

30th September 2017 // 0 Comments

Whatever the Joint Opposition or extremist critics may say President Maithripala Sirisena from January 8, 2015 has lead Sri Lanka to a new chapter in its history with the two major parties working together in a National Government mainly to bring about dialogue and reconciliation among the different communities in Sri Lanka. The other major goal, in the plan, outlined in Vision 2025, is sustainable economic development that will be eco-friendly and all inclusive with the aim of building a just, peaceful and an all inclusive society. For these and other values or virtues—including the President’s skill for peaceful conflict resolution by accommodation on the middle path, the Oslo Peace Research Institute has shortlisted President Sirisena for the Noble Peace Prize, 2017. No other Sri […]

Court refuses to reinstate Mahinda Rajapaksa as SLFP President!

30th September 2017 // 0 Comments

Colombo District Judge Sujeewa Nissanka yesterday dismissed a petition which sought an order from the court to reinstate Mahinda Rajapaksa who lost the election as the President of the SLFP. The judge dismissed the petition upholding that the District Court does not have the jurisdiction to make such orders against the Election Commissioner. The judge also said that the petitioners had not named the present President of the party as a defendant of the petition Further said the President was immune by the Constitution, consequently the petition was dismissed. The judge made this observation while making his order on the petition filed by the former Chairman of the Boralesgamuwa Urban Council Anura Priyashantha and another SLFP activist M.A.D Asanka Nandana Srinath of No. t93l2A. The […]

Discrimination in Sri Lanka? by a Sinhalese

30th September 2017 // 0 Comments

Following is the speech delivered by Dr. Nalaka Godahewa at the 36th session of the UNHRC in Geneva on 27 September: Mr. President, a myth has been spread over the years, that there is discrimination against Tamils in Sri Lanka. Out of a population of 22 million people in Sri Lanka, 11.2% are Northern Tamils while the upcountry Tamils who came to Sri Lanka during British colonial times, are about 4.1%. But these are not the only minority communities in Sri Lanka; 9.3% of the Sri Lankan population are Muslim. Several other minority communities such as Burgers and Malays amount to 0.6% of the population. The majority community is obviously Sinhalese at 74.9%. Political propaganda Since we gained independence in 1948, we have been repeatedly […]

Treatment of Rohingya refugees inhumane – JVP

30th September 2017 // 0 Comments

The JVP today termed the incident of Myanmar Rohingya refugees housed in temporary shelters in Mount Lavinia being harassed by a group of individuals including Buddhist monks was inhumane. Issuing a statement the party politburo said irrespective of the manner in which racial or religious discrimination is portrayed, it must always be condemned. The statement added harassment faced by women and children who were also within the refugee group, was not a situation that should have arisen in a cultured society. The JVP noted it is not the first time in Lankan history that refugees from Myanmar have entered the country, claiming since 2008 refugees have been arriving in the island at various intervals. The JVP noted it is the country as a whole that […]

Vaiko supporters protest in Madurai against abuse by Lankans

28th September 2017 // 0 Comments

Condemning the alleged attempt by a few Singhalese to assault their general secretary Vaiko at the recently held United Nations Human Rights Commission meeting at Geneva, the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam cadre staged a demonstration in Madurai on Wednesday, The Hindu newspaper reported. Led by party’s Tirunelveli City district secretary K.M.A. Nizam, the party cadre raised slogans against the attempt to attack Vaiko.  They said the Singhalese were targeting Vaiko as he was “unmasking on the international platforms the atrocities unleashed” by them during the ethnic war in Sri Lanka to decimate the Tamils of the island nation. “Such intimidatory tactics being used by the Singhalese to silence Mr. Vaiko will never succeed. In fact, he will proceed further with more vigour to take the […]

Ongoing UNHRC session: What’s in store for Sri Lanka?

28th September 2017 // 0 Comments

UNHRC resolution A/HRC/30/1  in Geneva. It has been two years since Sri Lanka cosponsored the resolution “Promoting democracy, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka” pledging in the meantime to implement a comprehensive Transitional Justice (TJ) process. Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister at the time, Mangala Samaraweera even engaged with hardline Tamil diaspora representatives and other groups at a side event held at the Palais des Nations. The pledges made so eloquently then by Samaraweera remain in the air today. The wave of hope this Government seemed to inspire when first elected into power seems to be gone. Frustration and complaints are taking over both the formal and informal discussions at the UN Human Rights Council. Though in general there remains a soft corner for Sri Lanka, due to its […]

Buddhist Monk led mob attacks Rohingya refugees in Sri Lanka

28th September 2017 // 0 Comments

Myanmar Style Vigilante Action By Sinhala Ravaya COLOMBO: Radical Buddhist monks stormed a United Nations safe house for Rohingya refugees near Sri Lanka’s capital on Tuesday (Sep 26) and forced authorities to relocate the group, officials said. Saffron-robed Buddhist monks led a mob that broke down gates and entered the walled multi-storied compound at the Mount Lavinia suburb of Colombo as frightened refugees huddled together in upstairs rooms, a police official said. Two police were wounded in the incident, which also saw the mob pelt stones at the safe house and trash the ground floor furnishings upon entry. There were no reports of casualties among the group of refugees, which included 16 children. “We have pushed back the mob and the refugees have been relocated […]

Why Geneva wants new Constitution to address accountability issues?

28th September 2017 // 0 Comments

By Shamindra Ferdinando President Maithripala Sirisena’s meeting with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid-Hussein, on Sept 22, 2017, on the sidelines of the 72 United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), underscored Sri Lanka’s pathetic failure to counter a high profile propaganda project that brought about Geneva Resolution 30/1, on Oct 1, 2015. Sri Lanka created history by co-sponsoring a resolution against itself in spite of it being severely inimical to its interests. The unprecedented resolution has paved the way for a new Constitution, in addition to implementing four specific measures meant to address accountability issues, namely (1) a judicial mechanism with a Special Counsel to investigate allegations of violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international human rights law (2) […]

Sri Lanka’s reconciliation process is proceeded step by step – President to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

26th September 2017 // 0 Comments

President Maithripala Sirisena says Sri Lanka is performing for the betterment of its people with much responsibility, in keeping with the charters of UN, as a member of United Nations. He said the government is taking the process to ensure human rights and reconciliation forward step by step. The President made these remarks during his meeting with Prince Zeid al-Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The president pointed out if the government would take sudden actions regarding these, the extremist groups will take advantages. He said two years are sufficient for Sri Lanka to complete the matters adopted by UNHRC resolution. He invited Prince Hussein to visit Sri Lanka to witness the progress it has been achieved. President Sirisena and the UN […]

Sri Lanka’s Current Federalism Debate: Cause For Indian Concerns – Analysis

26th September 2017 // 0 Comments

By Observer Research Foundation  By N. Sathiya Moorthy In a significant yet unexpected ‘arrival statement of sorts’ on the national scene without notice, Sri Lanka’s Northern Province Tamil Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran called on the Sinhala-Buddhist majority’s high priests in Kandy, and followed it up with a visit to the local prison, where some ex-LTTE militants were being held. At the much-publicised meeting with the Mahanayaka Theros of the Asigiriya and Malwatte Chapters and the Buddhist-clergy Sangha, the retired justice of the nation’s Supreme Court made out a case for ‘federalism’ as against the existing ‘unitary’ State character of the Constitution. Wigneswaran’s current reiteration of his forgotten position in the matter assumes greater significance for more reasons than one. In his immediate surroundings, he is fighting […]

Hopes and fears — On Sri Lanka’s Constitutional reform

26th September 2017 // 0 Comments

The interim report on a new constitution should set off an informed debate in Sri Lanka It is only with a great degree of caution and circumspection that the interim report of the Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly of Sri Lanka can be welcomed. The panel, chaired by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, has done creditably by producing a forward-looking proposal within 18 months of its first sitting. However, there have been several such reports in the past that envisioned far-reaching reforms in the country’s structure. None of them found broad acceptance within Sri Lanka’s polity. It is thus difficult to see the interim report as the beginning of an irreversible process of constitutional reform. There is room for both hope and fear.  There is […]

Minority parties ready to accept unitary status – PM

26th September 2017 // 0 Comments

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said that minority parties are ready to consider retention of the unitary status of the country in the proposed Constitution and privileged status to Buddhism in case the two major political parties, the UNP and the SLFP agree to grant maximum possible devolution, create a Senate, protect human rights protection of all communities, ensure judicial independence and resettle of those displaced due to the conflict as mentioned in the first Chapter of the interim report on the New Constitution. The PM said so, addressing a gathering at Wekunagoda, Galle on September 22 after opening newly built police quarters there. He that minority parties had never before reached such an agreement. Wickremesinghe said the minority parties were of the opinion that […]

Response from New York to Geneva

26th September 2017 // 0 Comments

By Manekshaw President Maithripala Sirisena’s speech, at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly sessions, in New York on Tuesday (20), could be considered more as a response to the comments made by the UNHRC High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein on Sri Lanka at the beginning of the 36th UNHRC session in Geneva last week. Unlike his predecessor Navanethem Pillay, facing a bad experience when she arrived in the Sri Lanka during the previous regime, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein was given a warm welcome when he arrived with the formation of the National Unity Government in 2015. In his lengthy speech in Geneva, this year, the UNHRC High Commissioner had covered several countries on their human rights situation which still remains in a very pathetic […]

We will be intransigent!

26th September 2017 // 0 Comments

BY MIRUDHULA THAMBIAH Vanni District Parliamentarian and Leader of Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO) – constituent of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Selvam Adaikkalanathan said those connected to enforced disappearances should be identified, inquired and punished through the mechanisms of the Office of Missing Persons (OMP). “We are of a firm stand that all UNHRC recommendations should be implemented. OMP should be established in our country to examine the cases. Those who are connected to the enforced disappearances should be inquired into and punished,” he said. Following are excerpts of the interview: ? What is your stand on the interim report of the constitutional reforms? A: This interim report cannot be viewed as a complete political solution. We will definitely express our stand over this […]

Lankan lawmakers have a ‘unitary mindset’ -Jayampathy

26th September 2017 // 0 Comments

By Shaahidah Riza President’s Counsel and member of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP), parliamentarian Jayampathy Wickramaratne spoke to Ceylon Today about the salient points pertaining to the Interim report, of the steering committee, which centred on the Constitutional Assembly of Sri Lanka. Emphasizing on the need to include the word Aekiya Rajya in the English and Sinhalese version of the Constitution, he added that the Sri Lankan lawmakers have a ‘unitary mindset’ and that the proposal by the TNA to include the term Aekiya in English is a good development. Excerpts of the Interview: ?: How did you come to a consensus on the voting system? A: Vast majority of people are against the preferential vote. They want MPs for the electorates. But at […]

Lasantha murdered by gang from Tripoly Army camp

23rd September 2017 // 0 Comments

The founding editor of ‘Sunday Leader’ Lasantha Wickrematunge has been murdered by a gang of murderers from Tripoly Army Camp, Maradana, Colombo. 10 say reports. The investigations regarding the murder are being carried out on information received of a senior official of State Intelligence Service who had given the order for the murder with the knowledge of a higher official of the Defense Ministry. Statements have been recorded from a large number of people including members of SL Army while certain media reports that an Army officer who is aware of the murder has been appointed to a very high position in the SL Army. CID officers have recorded a statement from the daughter of Lasantha Wickrematunga. It is learnt that she had told the […]

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