Sri Lanka insists not to agree to a war crimes probe on its soldiers.

The Sri Lankan government on Monday said that while it will investigate certain crimes which took place during the war between Tamil Tiger rebels and the military, it will not agree to a war crimes probe. Government spokesman Dr. Rajitha Senaratne told reporters in the Northern Jaffna town that if there is a war crimes probe then the Tamil Tigers, also known as the LTTE, must also be investigated. “Who do we investigate in the LTTE? Are there any leaders? We will go for a good settlement,” the Minister said.…

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Costs and consequences of violent disruptive political protests

The Sri Lankan economy would have been vastly different if not for the series of violent eruptions throughout the post independent period. In the nearly seventy years after independence the economy was disrupted by the ethnic riots of 1958, the 1971 youth insurgency, the communal clashes of 1977, the ethnic riots of July 1983, LTTE terrorism of over three decades, and the protracted civil war of 27 years. The JVP insurgency of 1988-89 crippled the economy and economic growth fell to its lowest level. Impact These eruptions of violence were…

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A Question of Political Will: Unpacking de Silva’s Comments on Foreign Judges

Recently, Groundviews compiled a timeline of all the statements made by the Government in terms of the participation of foreign judges in a judicial mechanism. The timeline shows that over the past two years, there have been contradictory statements from within the same Government on this score. The inclusion of foreign judges has become an increasingly contentious topic, particularly following the recent UNHRC session in Geneva, which saw Sri Lanka co-sponsoring a resolution amounting to a technical rollover, allowing two more years to fulfill the provisions laid out in the…

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Muslim Law: The Need For Reform

By Reeza Hameed – Dr. Reeza Hameed The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) is opposed to making any changes to the existing Muslim family law. Mufti Rizwi, who is a member of the Saleem Marsoof Committee appointed to look into reforms to the Muslims Marriages and Divorces Act (MMDA) of 1951, has made the oracular pronouncement that the law is ‘perfect in its present state’ and required no reform. Mufti Rizwi also presides over the ACJU. Regrettably, the views expressed by the Mufti and his outfit are anachronistic and obscurantist.…

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Minister claims he offered MOD Rs. 5 mn to release land

Many an eyebrow has been raised by a senior UNP minister’s claim that he had offered money to the tune of Rs. 5 mn to secure the release of private land held by the military in the Mullaitivu district. Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Affairs D M Swaminathan yesterday said that he had received an assurance from the MoD that 189 acres of land would be released within one month after receiving Rs. 5 mn payment. A senior spokesperson for the ministry said that following discussions between…

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UK Home Office publishes new policy on Sri Lanka

The British Home Office this week published an updated policy guidance and information note on Sri Lanka aimed at decision makers handling the granting of protection and human rights claims for Tamils. The updated policy guidance, which follows the country guidance of GJ & Others in 2013, stated that there had been “positive developments” since the new government led by President Sirisena came to office and “an improved environment for civil society and human rights defenders has also been reported”.  Commenting on the new guidance, Jan Jananayagam of Together Against…

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NE housing row: Compromise solution for 6,000 prefab units

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) has granted approval for the construction of 6,000 prefabricated steel houses in the North and East by ArcelorMittal despite opposition by civil society groups and the Tamil National Alliance. The proposal will now go back to the Cabinet for ratification, authoritative sources told the Sunday Times. The project has been in the pipeline since 2015 amid widespread protests. The TNA said it was “totally opposed to prefabricated steel houses” and called for civilians in the North and East to be provided with brick…

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WE WILL SET UP OUR OWN DOMESTIC MECHANISM

Rejecting allegations that the government is dancing to the tune of pro-LTTE diaspora in Geneva and making blueprints to drag the country’s war heroes before a hybrid court, Foreign Affairs Minister, Mangala Samaraweera says, on the contrary, their expectation is to put the country in order so that the domestic call for a hybrid court which led to the UN High Commissioner’s recommendation, could be put to rest within the course of the next two years. Minister Samaraweera was exclusively interviewed by the Sunday Observer upon his return from two…

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Power sharing within a united, undivided, indivisible country – Sumanthiran

Full implementation of the 13th Amendment and beyond, Resolutions be kept to the letter Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP, Attorney-at-Law M.A. Sumanthiran spoke to the Nation regarding the state of affairs within the Party/Alliance, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and the question of foreign judges in a hybrid court, issues faced by the Tamils, their dealings with the Government, constitutional reforms, the postponement of the Local Government election, devolution of power, legal reforms, the role of the Diaspora, Tamil Nadu relations, and the country’s economy. Q        In…

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TAMILS AWAIT THEIR DAY – SUMANTHIRAN

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) confirmed that they would guarantee a significant contribution from the Diaspora in terms of investments in the country’s economy, if the new Constitution solved the Tamil issue and restored confidence in Sri Lanka. TNA MP, Attorney-at-Law M.A. Sumanthiran made these statements in an interview given to the Nation. He further added that the Diaspora was keen in doing so. Meanwhile, on the question of the sale of national assets, the Parliamentarian further noted that it had to be resorted as there was no other conceivable…

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