A do and don’t do list for the new High Commissioner

9th June 2014 // 0 Comments

David Petrasek is Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa. The Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein (“Prince Zeid”), has just been nominated as the next United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The outgoing High Commissioner – Navi Pillay of South Africa – served for six years. The High Commissioner is expected to take the UN lead in protecting human rights worldwide, even as he must also support the work and respond to the demands of the politically driven UN Human Rights Council. Reporting to the UN Secretary-General, the High Commissioner is also expected to act as an independent voice, able to speak out even (perhaps especially) when it’s inconvenient […]

13th Amendment, UNHRC and India.

8th June 2014 // 0 Comments

highly placed UPFA sources say they do not expect an Uva poll to take place until August. As for a presidential poll, these sources said, it would be in February next year. This is after the visit of Pope Francis to Colombo in January. President Mahinda Rajapaksa is set to attend the 69th UN General Assembly sessions which begin in September. Thereafter, the senior member said, he would have to present the Government’s budget. Immediately thereafter he would have to take part in the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation) summit in Kathmandu, Nepal, in November. In terms of the SAARC Charter, that absence of any head of any one state of a member country makes a summit invalid. Yet, the broader backdrop in […]

Is Sushma’s Appointment a Bonus for Sri Lanka?

8th June 2014 // 0 Comments

Then comes another clown from India. Subramaniam Swamy advises the BJP Government not to unilaterally have direct dealings with the Sri Lankan Tamils, but to deal with them through SL. Swamy, who had always been a die-hard fan of President Mahinda Rajapaksa said: “Without the willing support of Sri Lanka, India cannot solve any Tamil problem.” What a great advice he could given BJP! Though he is a Tamil, but also a Brahmin, he was not bothered about the 100,000 plus Tamils, who were butchered raped and murdered by the Sri Lankan Army. He aspires to be a minister in the BJP Government.    So stated by Visvanathna Sivam in his write up; in his article given below! Swamy cannot claim to be brahmin as the vedas state […]

Sri Lanka’s curse is rulers

7th June 2014 // 0 Comments

There hasn’t been any country in the world other than Sri Lanka that has belittled Visual & Performing Arts. A politician in Sri Lanka had asked what can a person do with Visual & Performing Arts and had said it cannot even be eaten. This is how they see it. Children do not have a world of their own. What exists for them is a world of robots and their lives are ruled by such robots. Bridges and Expressways could be constructed in this country but a man who can travel on them cannot be built. Look at Nelum Pokuna Theater. It has been constructed with the highest technology. But where is aesthetic value? Aesthetic value comes with human feelings. There are actors and technicians but […]

GTF challenges GoSL to face UN probe

7th June 2014 // 0 Comments

The UK-based Global Tamil Forum (GTF) said yesterday that the proposed UN probe would give an opportunity to establish the circumstances under which the war was brought to an end on the Vanni east front five years ago. GTF spokesman Suren Surendiran told The Island that the government shouldn’t shun the investigation. Instead, the government should participate and facilitate the process. In an exclusive statement, Surendiran said that as President Rajapaksa always maintained that his government had nothing to hide, there was no reason for the GoSL not to cooperate with the UN. In fact, the UN-led process would help the GoSL to address the accountability issues for once and for all. Recalling statements attributed to President Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as well […]

Government tells different stories to different Parties including to India and the Sri Lankan public. PSC is only a waste of time.

7th June 2014 // 0 Comments

Communist Party Leader, D.E.W. Gunasekera, said he has decided not to participate in future proceedings of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC), appointed by the government to find a solution to the ethnic problem, as there was nothing more to discuss among ministers.  However, he said he would participate only if the TNA and SLMC became involved in the discussions. Gunasekera also invited all Opposition political parties to participate in the discussions. They are duty bound to find a solution to this cancer, which has caused immense damage to this country during the last 30 years, he said.Gunasekera also reiterated that the SLFP and UNP, even at this late stage, should make a genuine, concerted effort without any pre-conditions to find an acceptable solution to the national […]

13A and separation of Temple from State

7th June 2014 // 0 Comments

The sacred constitutional principle of the separation between the Church and the State (or the Temple and the State to that effect) refers to the distance in the relationship between the State and the organized religion. The wall of separation between the Church and the State, as Thomas Jefferson called it, evolved after centuries of temporal intervention into the affairs of the State and vice versa in Ancient Greece, Medieval Europe and pre-revolutionary France. Such a relationship resulted in the Church wielding enormous power over the State and indulging in the persecution of ‘infidels.’  After the Reformation, Renaissance and a spree of revolutions, Western Europe and the United States struck a demarcation between the Church and the State, thereby limiting the influence of organized religion in […]

Cracks within UPFA widen as Pillay finalises probe team

7th June 2014 // 0 Comments

By Our Political Editor President tells SLFP ministers to consult him before attending functions after Ven. Rathana Thera launches movement for Pure Tomorrow A mixed bag of political developments this week forced the UPFA leadership to go into high gear. After the weekly ministerial meeting last Thursday, President Mahinda Rajapaksa asked members of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) to stay behind. He had some strong words of caution. He said Ministers in the SLFP should first check for themselves before taking part in events organised by other partners of the alliance. If there was anything controversial, they should check with the leadership. This was the way to maintain unity within the alliance, he said. Though Rajapaksa did not explain why he was declaring some events […]

Navi Pillay’s appoints dangerous investigation panel: Dayan Jayathilaka

7th June 2014 // 0 Comments

Jordan’s Prince Zeid to replace Pillay The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, following consultations with the Chairmen of the regional groups of Member States, has informed the General Assembly of his intention to appoint Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein of Jordan as the new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. If approved, he will replace the current United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay who’s term ends in August.Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein is currently Jordan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, a post he held previously for six and a half years, from 2000 to 2007. From 2007 to 2010 he served as Jordan’s Ambassador to the United States and non-resident Ambassador to Mexico. He also served as Jordan’s Deputy Permanent […]

Lord Naseby has misled the Lords over Sri Lanka. He must withdraw his allegations

7th June 2014 // 0 Comments

By Peter Oborne Peter Oborne is the Daily Telegraph’s chief political commentator. Veteran political correspondents like me recall Michael Morris, Deputy Speaker of the Commons from 1992-97, with a great deal of affection. He carried off the role with plenty of brio and style. Michael Morris has since been deservedly elevated to the House of Lords, where he has taken the name of Lord Naseby. As sometimes happens, he has gone sharply downhill since entering the upper house. Most troublingly he has become an apologist for the Sri Lankan government. There is nothing wrong with standing up for unpopular or controversial causes: indeed it is admirable. However, it is essential to adhere scrupulously to the facts when it comes to an event as grave and sensitive as […]

New UN Human Rights High Commissioner expected to be tougher than Pillay

7th June 2014 // 0 Comments

 Reports suggest UNHRC commissioner to name investigation panel on SriLanka on June 10. Contrary to expectations, Jordan’s Prince Zeid al Hussein is most likely to be a much tougher opponent than his predecessor, Navi Pillay, the outgoing UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Prince Hussein’s appointment couldn’t have come at a worse time for Sri Lanka, well informed sources told The Sunday Island yesterday. The longtime diplomat would give up his post as Jordanian Permanent Representative to the UN in New York to take up the Geneva posting, they said. Responding to a query, they recalled the circumstances under which the Jordanian diplomat adopted an extremely hostile approach towards Sri Lanka during a post war issue. “We are concerned about the latest development,” an official […]

SL to skip sexual violence in conflicts Summit

7th June 2014 // 0 Comments

The Sri Lankan government has declined a British invitation to attend a global summit meant to end sexual violence in conflict following a spat with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) over a controversial precondition that participation was strictly subject to all participants endorsing a declaration of commitment to end sexual violence in conflict. The four-day conference attended by over 1,000 delegates from well over 100 countries is scheduled to begin in London on June 10. The event is jointly hosted by British Foreign Secretary William Hague and the Special envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Angelina Jolie. With Yasmin Sooka (a key member of the UN Panel of Experts which recommended in March 2011 an international war crimes probe targeting Sri Lanka) […]

Govt. to implement 13-A without police powers, rejects TNA demand

7th June 2014 // 0 Comments

The government said yesterday that it did not have an issue with implementing the 13th Amendment to the Constitution with the exception of police powers. The constitution of the country since  14 November 1987 says it should give powers to provincial councils but racist Sri Lankan government has NOT implemented the constitution since 1987 but had been saying it has no problem in implementing it. Asked during the weekly Cabinet Press briefing in Colombo if land and other provisions of 13A with the exception of police powers would be implemented, Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwalle said that the contentious issue was the Tamil National Alliance demand for a Police Commissioner to be appointed by the Northern Province Chief Minister; that could not be granted due to security […]

Thirteenth Amendment In Driblets Or Plus Or Beyond

6th June 2014 // 0 Comments

By S. Sivathasan – Minds in Turmoil “The genius and the mortal instruments Are then in council, and the state of man, Like to a little kingdom, suffers then The nature of an insurrection”. – Shakespeare in Julius Caesar There cannot be a more apt depiction of the state of mind of Sri Lankans, of the two major ethnicities. A change of government in India taking the form of a resounding victory for BJP and a devastating rout of Congress was known for certain for some months up to May 16. The prospect had inspired hope among Indians and Tamils of Sri Lanka. Anxieties had gripped a major section of the Sri Lankan population ahead of May and more so since the results. Brave talk notwithstanding, whistling in the […]

Change of government in India Blow to TNA’s aspirations

6th June 2014 // 0 Comments

With Barathiya Janatha Party (BJP) returning to office in India, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) seems to be distraught somewhat. The TNA relies heavily on India to prevail upon the government of Sri Lanka to evolve a political solution acceptable to them. The party, under the leadership of MP R. Sampanthan engaged with the previous government of India led by Dr. Manmohan Singh, in this respect. However, the TNA has to make such engagements under a new government now in that country.True, the TNA leaders know of BJP leaders. But, they need to develop fresh contacts with the new government and engage with them more, to muster their fullest possible support for constitutional changes in Sri Lanka by way of a devolution package. It is […]

On Collision Course With India?

6th June 2014 // 0 Comments

By Izeth Hussain – Our Government could be entering into a collision course with India over the ethnic problem. This is a possibility, indeed a probability, but not a certainty, which is why I have placed a question mark in the title of this article. Before dealing with that question I must make some clarifications arising out of my article “BJP and the SL Ethnic Problem“. In that article I argued that we must begin our relations with the BJP Government on the assumption that the fundamentals of Indian policy towards Sri Lanka remain unchanged: Sri Lanka by itself can pose no threat to India, but it could if it gangs up with certain powers against India, and except for that eventuality nothing precludes excellent Indo-Sri Lankan […]

13A not the final solution – TNA

6th June 2014 // 0 Comments

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan  The 13th Amendment to the Constitution is not the final solution to the Tamil problem, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) General Secretary, Mavai Senathirajah, told Ceylon Today.  Responding to the government rejecting devolving police powers to the Provinces, the MP said yesterday, “The Government of Sri Lanka has assured the Indian Government several times that it will implement the 13th Amendment in full and make devolution meaningful.  “The 13th Amendment came up after the Indo-Lanka Accord and its implementation should be decided by them,” he said.“We have handed over a proposal setting out the framework to the government on 18 March 2011 and the 13th Amendment does not fully reflect our stance,” he said.He said, “Ask India what to do about the government’s rejection.”  The MP […]

Get rid of 13th Amendment – Asgiriya Chapter

6th June 2014 // 0 Comments

BY Ruwan Laknath Jayakody  The government should do away with the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, without succumbing to the pressures exerted by India, the Asgiriya Chapter said yesterday.  Committee Member of the Asgiriya Chapter, Medagama Dhammananda Thera, calling the 13th Amendment the root cause of the country’s… … international bedlam, said initiatives should be taken to prepare a draft Constitution to be presented to Parliament, whilst simultaneously opening it up for public debate.  “The 13th Amendment has not been able to achieve national unity. It has instead precipitated international pressure, particularly from India, through force applied by South India. It has also given birth to the money guzzling Provincial Council system and caused disharmony among the different ethnic communities. We must, as a country, remain independent. We […]

Sri Lanka Panel Receives over 18,000 Complaints of Missing People

6th June 2014 // 0 Comments

Colombo:  A Sri Lankan panel probing the disappearance of people during the country’s nearly three-decade long civil strife has received nearly 18,600 complaints from the public, a senior official has said.The presidential panel has so far held three sittings in January, February and March this year in Killinochchi, Jaffna in the north and Batticaloa in the east.The fourth round of public sittings is to be held in the Batticaloa district this week.So far 18,590 complaints have been received, inclusive of approximately 5,000 from relatives of missing security forces personnel, panel secretary SW Gunadasa said.The commission had thus far inquired into 462 complaints, which are being analysed for further investigations through an independent investigation team.The commission’s mandate was extended in February this year. They would now function until […]

TNA Seeks Public Support And Diaspora ‘Involvement’ To Make PSC Submissions

5th June 2014 // 0 Comments

The Tamil National Alliance, Sri Lanka’s main Tamil party in the North, has decided to seek public support and the involvement of Tamil Diaspora to formulate a solution to the Tamil problem in Sri Lanka. The solution, the TNA says, would e submitted to the Parliamentary Select Committee as a written submission, although the party will not take part in its proceedings. TNA Media Spokesperson and Parliamentarian Suresh Premachandra said suggestions could be mailed them to tnaproposal@gmail.com . “Or else, one can visit the TNA office and present suggestions,” Premachandra said. However, the party has not announced a ‘deadline’ for presenting solutions. At the meeting between Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Sri Lankan President emphasized the need of the Parliamentary Select […]

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