”Had we committed NO Crimes and waged the war against the LTTE” international inquiry would arrive at a conclusion so favourable to Sri Lanka


From the Floor – Clearing path to take up motion for debate 

A special meeting of party leaders was held at the Parliamentary complex on Friday. Summoned at short notice it was so special because the intention of the meeting was to change a previously agreed plan regarding the next sitting week. Going by the previous schedule there were plans to take up for discussion a motion submitted by nine UPFA members, which showed disapproval against a UNHRC investigation to be held against Sri Lanka.

Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody chaired the meeting that was attended by Chief Government Whip and Water Supply and Drainage Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Ministers DEW Gunasekera, Basil Rajapaksa, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Susil Premjayantha, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga, and TNA Leader R Samapanthan.

After much deliberation those who met agreed to take up the motion for debate on two days – Tuesday (17) and Wednesday (18). If there is any need for division in the House, then time has been fixed for 6.00 pm on Wednesday for the vote.

– See more at: http://www.nation.lk/edition/politics/item/30267-from-the-floor-clearing-path-to-take-up-motion-for-debate.html#sthash.QDr3v3ls.dpuf
The motion to be debated had been handed over to Parliament signed by nine UPFA members, namely Achala Jagoda, Malini Fonseka, Janaka Bandara, Udith Lokubandara, Shantha Bandara, JRP Suriyapperuma, Nimal Wijesinghe and R Duminda Silva. It was submitted as a no-date motion against possible UNHCR sponsored international investigation into accountability issues alleged to have taken place during the last phase of the Ealam war.


The motion reads: “Parliament resolves that the investigation to be conducted against Sri Lanka by the UNHCR should not be carried out on the ground that such a course of action is detrimental to the process of reconciliation and peace and that it erodes the sovereignty, dignity and stature of Sri Lanka.”

The opposition however has many questions to ask. The UNP is basically demanding the government to let the international community come and hold an inquiry. Their position is that had we committed no crimes and waged the war against the LTTE to the letter in the book as boasted by many, then the international inquiry would arrive at a conclusion so favorable to Sri Lanka so that anti-Lankan forces including the Tamil Diaspora would be silent. This had been the party’s position if we are to go by what its frontliners Lakshman Kiriella, Ravi Karunanayake and John Amaratunga said in the House during the last couple of years.

The JVP’s position is quite different. The neo-Marxist party is willing to take up the motion for debate and pass a resolution in the House against an international inquiry into the domestic affairs if the government accommodates their demands. JVP, true to its form, was the only party that came to the party leaders’ meeting after studying the context well. It’s leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake had come with a set of proposals ready and handed it over to the Deputy Speaker saying that his party would take part in the debate if the government is willing to incorporate them into the original motion.

At this point Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga said his party too has proposals to amend the original motion and those amendments would be handed over prior to debate.
The JVP in its amendments calls for holding impartial probes into (i) recent military attacks on trade union and student protests, (ii)attacks on journalists and the suppression of the media (iii) deaths in police custody, (iv)attacks and kidnapping of political activists,(v) attacks, intimidation and threats aimed at subverting the rule of law (vi) incidents that have resulted in religious disharmony. The JVP wants a report submitted to Parliament within three months.

The amendments have been signed by JVP MPS Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Vijitha Herath and Sunil Handunnetti and handed over to Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody to be incorporated into the government MPs’ motion.

  1. The first amendment demands probe into (a)the death of Roshen Chanaka in a military crackdown on a demonstration by trade union members of the Katunayake Free Trade Zone to safeguard the EPF and gratuity payments rights on June 1, 2011, (b) the shooting at a fishermen’s demonstration in Chilaw on Feb 15, 2012 against kerosene price hike where one fishermen called Warnakulasuriya Anton Fernando was killed and 28 others were injured, (c) deaths of three persons during a military crackdown on a demonstration against a factory alleged to be responsible for ground water contamination at Rathupaswala, on Aug 1, 2013.
  2. The second amendment has highlighted alleged suppression of the media and demands investigation into (a) deaths of nine journalists and attacks on 27 others between January 2006 and 2009,(b) attacks on Sirasa Media Organisation, Siyatha Media Institution, Uthayan Press, Sunday Leader and Irudina Press, and office where the Enews web site operated from.
  3. Third amendment proposed by the JVP demands a probe into alleged assaults and deaths in police custody including incidents such as (a) alleged attack in June 2012 on inmates at Vavuniya Prison, where inmates mounted a protest against disappearance of one of their colleagues.(b) attack on inmates at the Welikada Prison on Nov 9, 2011 where at least 10 were killed and 12 others injured. According to some reports the number of deaths was 27 while that of the injured was 40, (c) Four undergraduates were hospitalised following police attack on 17 students in custody at the Salve Island Police Station following a protest led by the Inter University Students Federation on May 16, 2013.
  4. The fourth amendment demands an investigation into alleged kidnappings and assault on political activists including (a) the abduction of Lalith Viraj and Kugan Murugan on December 9, 2011 in Jaffna while they were organising a seminar to mark the World Human Rights Day to be held in Jaffna the following day, (b) incidents of abductions and human rights violations that took place in the Northern and other provinces.

The JVP also demands investigations into alleged incidents of threats, intimidation and assaults against implementing the rule of law including

(a) shooting at the residence of MP and the then President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka Wijayadasa Rajapakshe on Dec 20, 2012,

(b) Attack on Secretary of the then Judicial Services Commission Manjula Tilakaratne at Mount Lavinia area on Oct 07, 2012 where he was stabbed,

(c) assault on Attorney-at-Law Gunaratne Wanninayake near his residence at Pirivena Road, Boralesgamuwa on Feb 18, 2012 by four persons.

In the last amendment, the JVP demands an investigation into incidents that led to religious and national disharmony. 
Soon after this meeting the JVP held a press conference and announced their position. The UNP, just like it had been doing recently, had no clear position. Its seniors were telling the press various things. Amaratunga told media that the government’s ambassadors had already rejected the UNHRC proposal for an international inquiry last March in Geneva, therefore the two day debate was a joke.

It seems that opposition would stay away from the vote or most probably the entire debate, which would serve them nothing. 
JVP’s erstwhile comrade cum Housing Minister Wimal Weerawansa is already cracking his whip and say that there could not be middle or compromising point with regard to national issues like this therefore the parties have to decide whether they are for or against the interests of motherland. Thus it could be expected that the motion would help him and JHU to patch up with government again. And whether this motion and debate would be used as the launching pad of government’s campaign for the polls for the Uva Provincial Council.

– See more at: http://www.nation.lk/edition/politics/item/30267-from-the-floor-clearing-path-to-take-up-motion-for-debate.html#sthash.QDr3v3ls.dpuf

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