March 2018

FAMILIES OF THE MISSING PROTESTS CONTINUE AS OMP STARTS WORK

19th March 2018 // 0 Comments

KILINOCHCHI: Inside the makeshift tent by a dusty roadside in Kilinochchi, an elderly woman, Kulasinhan Sagunthalai, says, seeing her daughter again is her only remaining desire. “She is my only child.” Sagunthalai was separated from her daughter in 2009, during the final stages of war, at Mullivaikkal.” Security forces separated the parents and children of displaced families and we were taken to different camps,” she says. Longing to be together with her daughter wherever she was, Sagunthalai says she had requested to be reunited with her child through the authorities. “Everything was working out and she was finally coming to Ananda Kumaraswamy camp to be with me. But, on her way there, she was arrested by the CID,” Sagunthalai says, pain etched between the wrinkles […]

Consensus among political parties to revert to PR system for PC polls

19th March 2018 // 0 Comments

The political parties have, by and large, agreed to revert to the old Proportional Representation system for conducting the elections to the provincial councils, a Minister said yesterday. The government has already enacted legislation to conduct the elections to the provincial councils under a mix of the First Past the Post and Proportional Representation systems. City Planning and Water Supply Minister Rauff Hakeem told Daily Mirror yesterday that the complications arose from the same electoral model adopted for the elections to the local authorities concluded on February 10, 2018. In respect of the local authorities, the First Past the Post system returned 60 percent of members and the Proportional Representation 40 percent. However, the formula, proposed for the elections to the provincial councils, will provide […]

War and peace in Sri Lanka, through the eyes of veterans

19th March 2018 // 0 Comments

Nine retired officers flew to the island nation they served as a part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force Thirty years ago, as part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF), they found themselves in the thick of action over the conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). In February, a team of nine retired officers from the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force, some with their wives, returned to the island nation. The officers, all from 37th course of the National Defence Academy in Khadakwasla, had been posted in the island over 1987-89, when the IPKF was tasked with maintaining peace there. “The main purpose of the visit was to relive our memories of that time,” […]

Congress underlines growing Chinese presence in the region.

19th March 2018 // 0 Comments

Congress underlines growing Chinese presence in the region. The Congress on Sunday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of exercising a personalised foreign policy which eroded India’s international credibility. Party president Rahul Gandhi, in his speech at the Congress plenary session, underlined the growing Chinese presence in India’s neighbourhood and made a specific mention of the Doklam plateau near Bhutan where China has built military infrastructure. For third alternative “China is present everywhere. China is in Doklam, in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Myanmar,” said Mr. Gandhi, highlighting the growing expansion of the Chinese sphere in the Asia-Pacific,, and called for a third alternative apart from the American and the Chinese models in the global order. Mr. Gandhi’s comments came at the end of the two-day […]

No-confidence motion against Prime Minister: Another political killings waiting to happen?

19th March 2018 // 0 Comments

No-confidence motion against Prime Minister: Another political crisis waiting to happen Strong undercurrents are once again rocking the shaky relations between the two coalition partners — the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United National Party (UNP). This is notwithstanding a deceptive lull and momentary distractions. They were caused first by the ethnic violence in the central hills. Though the violence is now under control, despite solemn pledges to end it in a week, the State of Emergency continues creating confusion in world capitals, spawning in its wake the worst publicity in recent times for Sri Lanka and its rulers. They are also still limping after shooting themselves in the foot over the ill-advised ban on the social media. The same leaders vowed when […]

No Doubt Sri Lanka Is At Crossroads: GTF

19th March 2018 // 0 Comments

“Sri Lanka agreeing to a well-defined, time-bound action plan for simultaneous operation of all transitional justice processes should be the top priority for the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC),” says the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) “As Sri Lankan issues will be taken up at the UNHRC next week, the GTF would like to highlight the following for the careful considerations of the key countries at the UNHR,” the GTF has said in a statement today. We publish below the statement in full: The confidence level among the Tamil community that Sri Lanka will fully implement its commitments under the resolution 30/1 in a faithful and timely manner is presently at its lowest. The outcomes of the local council elections, the recent anti-Muslim violence, and the fact that the present coalition government […]

British Council empowers Lankan teachers to develop professional educational partnerships

19th March 2018 // 0 Comments

British Council’s Schools programme has been designed to help education systems to develop 21st century skills in children. This is by developing capacities of teachers, head teachers and policy makers on effective teaching of 21st century skills in their classrooms and schools for setting up a sustainable platform for children to practice these skills in their schools and in social life. The fast expansion of technology, innovation and globalisation is also shaping its needs. Local economies have become global economies. Entrepreneurs, employers, employees and customers, all should acquire higher order skills to be successful in global economic contexts. Future citizens, today’s children, should acquire skills to work in a globalised economy. Students cannot learn these skills only through conventional educational methodologies. Teachers, head teachers and […]

Quest to implicate Gota in Lasantha’s murder

19th March 2018 // 0 Comments

by C.A.Chandraprema Even though there is supposed to be an ongoing police investigation into the 2009 murder of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunga,  what we have been seeing for the most part is a series of investigations and arrests in relation to various matters on the sidelines of the murder. One of the first persons to be arrested in this connection was a bystander who had stolen Lasantha’s phone from the crime scene. This was just a theft and the suspect was soon released. In December 2009, the investigation was handed over to the CID. Then came two much more sensational arrests on February 26, 2010. According to a report published in the Sunday Leader, investigators had zeroed in on five SIM cards which on […]

Doubts over the new TV reconciliation channel because only Tamil can understand it

19th March 2018 // 0 Comments

Sri Lanka’s national television network opens a new channel dedicated to Tamil culture, identity and religion. For some it is “useless” because it cannot be understood in the south; for others it is “a positive effort” because today’s Tamil youth have abandoned their culture in favour of “Western styles”. Colombo (AsiaNews) – The Sri Lankan government has sponsored the opening of the first Tamil-language television channel by the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC), Sri Lanka’s national television network. For the authorities, the goal is to support national unity and reconciliation in a country marked by 30 years of civil war. But many people who spoke to AsiaNews expressed doubts about it. http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Doubts-over-the-new-TV-reconciliation-channel-because-only-Tamil-can-understand-it-43375.html

Southern leadership would promise “Reconciliation” they don’t know

16th March 2018 // 0 Comments

Reconciliation’ is a popular word in Colombo politics, touted by government leaders and NGO activists There are “two opposite beliefs and ideas” that came to be gradually embedded in Sinhala- Buddhist and Tamil societies Yet unlike a broken egg, broken societies can be mended without scars This country cannot afford to slip into a “Myanmar syndrome” with political leaders playing ‘lip service’ to reconciliation avoiding responsibility One week ago on ‘twitter’ someone handling the account @garikaalan tweeted on the ‘Office for National Unity and Reconciliation’ (ONUR) funded omnibus film “Her, Him and the Other” titled in Sinhalese as “Thundenek” by three of the most reputed Sri Lanka’s present day Sinhala film directors, Prasanna Vithanage, Asoka Handagama and Vimukthi Jayasundera. The tweet questioned the inability of […]

Sri Lanka: Impunity Risks Creating Further and Further Violence: Former US War Crimes Amb. Stephen Rapp at UN Side Event !

16th March 2018 // 0 Comments

by tmdas5@hotmail.com • ENGLISH NEWS At a Side event held at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Former United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes issues Ambassador Stephen Rapp said that: “When we look at the events over the last week, the attacks on Muslims [in Sri Lanka] by extremist Buddhist elements […], we certainly see the real dangers of a situation of impunity. The failure to prosecute effectively crimes of mass atrocity leads to a contempt for these norms; a perception by those who take up arms and commit heinous acts against their fellow human beings that they can get away with it. And, conversely, it’s been my observation that in the world where governments courageously prosecute people who are political alleys – the armed services and […]

Sri Lanka: The Human Rights Crisis In The Tamil North & East – An Appeal For International Intervention

16th March 2018 // 0 Comments

By Brian Senewiratne – Dr. Brian Senewiratne I am a Sinhalese from the majority community in Sri Lanka. I have campaigned for the past 70 years for the Tamil people to live with equality, dignity, safety and without discrimination. I cannot think of any time in the past seven decades that the outlook for the Tamil people has been more disastrous than it is today. Sri Lankan (Sinhalese) politicians are simply incapable of addressing the major human rights problems faced by the Tamil people. They do not have the ability, integrity or honesty to see that what has been done to the Tamil people in the North and East is unacceptable. This publication is being written for circulation at the 37th Sessions of the Human Rights Council […]

The record shows Gotabaya Rajapaksa to be less of a soldier and more of a manipulator

16th March 2018 // 0 Comments

By Sarath De Alwis – Sarath De Alwis “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear” ~  George Orwell Memory’s struggle against forgetting A specter is haunting our land. It is the specter of a Gotabaya RajapaksaPresidency in 2020. We have forgotten how we feared Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s inviable hand on the levers of power before 8th January 2015. I am too old to care. These words are written not in fear but in despair. As novelist philosopher Milan Kundera said in lyrical elegance, our struggle against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting. Just this morning Dinesh Gunewardena was brushing off the Rathpaswala shooting as just another happenstance on a TV program called ‘news line’. That was a clever line for […]

POLITICAL HAND BEHIND COMMUNAL UNREST – DEPUTY MINISTER RANJAN RAMANAYAKE

16th March 2018 // 0 Comments

After the Government’s attempts to control the tense situation that erupted in Digana and the suburbs, Deputy Minister of Social Empowerment, Welfare and Kandyan Heritage, Ranjan Ramanayake says, immediate steps have to be taken to stop promoting religious extremism, communal unrest and hate speech. Deputy Minister Ramanayake in an interview with the Sunday Observer said, some politicians are behind these riots to fulfil their narrow political objectives and spend a huge amount of money to instigate such violence. Everybody should be well aware about the prevailing situation in the country. Religious leaders and other intellectuals should commit themselves to promote peace and reconciliation among communities. Excerpts from the interview: Q. Do you think there is an unseen hand behind the anti-Muslim violence in Ampara and […]

Protest at UN against anti-Muslim violence in Sri Lanka demands minorities’ protection

16th March 2018 // 0 Comments

Sri Lankan Muslims and supporters have demanded that the world organisation act to ensure that minorities are protected in the island nation and those behind the recent violence against their community are brought to justice. About 250 people joined a demonstration outside the UN organised on Wednesday by The Association of Sri Lankan Muslims in North America (Tasmina), which asked the UN to intervene and hold the Sri Lankan government responsible for bringing the rioters to justice. Ghazzali Wadood, who was one of the protesters, said: “It is the ultra-nationalists who are responsible for the attacks. The government should take action against the politicians behind the attacks.” The protesters carried signs asking their “mother” Sri Lanka to protect them while denouncing the anti-Muslim attacks. For some at the demonstration, it was […]

Getting away with killing Muslims is not easy as killing Tamils.

15th March 2018 // 0 Comments

There is a potential threat of domestic terrorism of a new type. The excellent choice for Minister of Law and Order, Ranjith Madduma Bandara, and the Defence authorities under President Sirisena and Ruwan Wijewardene must coordinate to face this new, existential threat. It was on March 3rd, after Ampara but just before Teldeniya, that an impressive young Sri Lankan scholar, Dr. Sara Dissanayake, warned that the State had not recognized right-wing extremism and far right hate crimes as a national security threat (“Why the Government Needs to Overcome the Fear of Labelling”). She has proven spectacularly correct. Her analysis came a few weeks after security scholar Prof. Rohan Gunaratne accurately identified ‘Sinhala Only’ as the beginning of the country’s slide into chronic cycles of conflict. […]

Sinhala Doctors at Teldeniya Govt Hospital Refused To Treat Bleeding Muslim Assaulted by Special Task Force Accusing Injured Victim of Being a “Thamby Terrorist”Destroying the Country

15th March 2018 // 0 Comments

Details are emerging of Sri Lanka security forces and public officials collaborating with ultra nationalist Sinhala Buddhist mobs in a riot against Muslims. Doctors on duty in a government hospital denied treatment to injuries from a severe beating by members of the island’s elite police combat unit, alleges a Muslim official from the central hills. A Sinhala doctor at the Theldeniya hospital had turned down the request to treat bleeding head wounds received at the hands of the Special Task Force (STF), Abdul Saleel Mohamed Fazil told JDS by phone. ‘Muslim terrorist’ The doctor had repeatedly referred to the wounded man as ‘Thambi’, a derogatory Sinhala term widely used against Muslims, while other medical officers looked on. “The doctor accused me of being a ‘Thambi’ […]

UK urges Sri Lanka to prosecute those inciting religious hatred

15th March 2018 // 0 Comments

The British Government today urged Sri Lanka to prosecute all those who have been leading and inciting religious and ethnic hatred. The British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka James Dauris said that thousands in Sri Lanka have been frightened and worse by ugly violence in recent weeks. “Really important that the government and authorities apply the law and prosecute all those who have been leading and inciting religious and ethnic hatred, including through social media,” the High Commissioner tweeted. The High Commissioner also said that it was good to hear that Viber is unblocked and working again. He also shared the hopes of everyone who wants to have Facebook and other social media platforms fully working quickly. “Free social media has a key part to play in successful […]

Rise of violent Buddhist rhetoric in Asia defies stereotypes

14th March 2018 // 0 Comments

Buddhism may be touted in the West as an inherently peaceful philosophy, but a surge in violent rhetoric from small but increasingly influential groups of hardline monks in parts of Asia is upending the religion’s tolerant image. Buddhist mobs in Sri Lanka last week led anti-Muslim riots that left at least three dead and more than 200 Muslim-owned establishments in ruins, just the latest bout of communal violence there stoked by Buddhist nationalists. In Myanmar, ultra-nationalist monks led by firebrand preacher Wirathu have poured vitriol on the country’s small Muslim population, cheering a military crackdown forcing nearly 700,000 Rohingya into Bangladesh. And in neighbouring Thailand, a prominent monk found himself in hot water for calling on followers to burn down mosques. What has prompted this […]

Gota Double Speak, Double Act

14th March 2018 // 0 Comments

The recent interviews of would be Presidential Candidate and former Secretary to the ministry of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa with Kalum Bandara and Gagani Weerakoon shows him up for his lack of any political acumen. It would be most dangerous for Sri Lanka even to consider such a pseudo patriot ever running for any political office let alone for Presidency. Gota The erstwhile younger Rajapaksa in his interviews say ON RECORD that the USA and other Western Countries brought pressure on the Mahinda Rajapaksa government to stop the war during the last stages and that they (including him) did not allow it and the rest is now history. Gotabaya Rajapaksa is highlighted in the media carrying floral tributes and such from Temple to Temple seeking to veer Buddhist majority to […]

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