D-Day for SL at UNHRC as Govt. prepares to withdraw from resolutions

Minister Gunawardena to address UNHRC today Will announce Govt.’s decision to withdraw from co-sponsorship of Resolutions 30/1, 34/1 and 40/1 Will brief UNHRC High Commissioner on Govt. decision on Friday Will assure Govt.’s commitment to continue working with UN bodies Written update on SL’s progress on commitments to be presented to UNHRC on Thursday United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva By Chandani Kirinde All eyes will be on Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena as he addresses the United Nations Human Rights Council today, in a statement expected to announce…

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How fear set in overnight in Sri Lanka

It took years for Sandya Ekneligoda to get a real investigation into the disappearance of her husband, a political cartoonist in Sri Lanka. But when a new president was elected by a large majority last November and a key officer investigating the case transferred, she realised things would change. The BBC’s Anbarasan Ethirajan reports from the other side of a political watershed. About an hour into our conversation at her home outside Colombo, Sandya Ekneligoda glanced outside. “By this time the police would have been informed that you were here…

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Navigating Geneva with national, not political, interests

BY HARIM PEIRIS The bi-annual sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, is due to begin this week and will run through the month of March. Leading Sri Lanka’s delegation to the high-level segment would be Minister of Foreign Affairs, (Dinesh Gunawardena, and according to press reports, accompanied by Minsters Mahinda Samarasinghe and Nimal Siripala de Silva. Reportedly the Government is seeking to pull out of UN Resolution 30/1 and the underlying factors, relevant to this important issue deserve to be examined carefully. International belligerence for…

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Gota’s Meritocracy: Avant Garde Gun-Smuggler Nissanka Senadhipathi Co-Opted For Govt. Social Service Projects

Sending a clear signal to the judiciary, the Government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has launched social service programmes with the main accused in a major arms trafficking case and notorious ex-army major Nissanka Senadhipathi. Senadhipathi and eight others have been served indictments by the Attorney General on multiple charges of gun-running and corruption, with trial set to begin by May 2020. Senadhipathi is the main suspect in the case. He evaded arrest late last year, by fleeing to Singapore for “medical treatment” the night before he was to be taken into custody. In…

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President Rajapaksa who Will never Deliver

By Jehan Perera – Jehan Perera The government’s inability to obtain the support of the ethnic and religious minorities was visible in the outcome of the presidential election. The popular vote in the districts in which the minority communities predominated went overwhelmingly to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s main challenger, Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa. At his swearing in ceremony, President Rajapaksa was straightforward enough to acknowledge this reality. He said he had been elected president on the votes of the ethnic majority. But in a statesmanlike manner he promised to govern as the president of all…

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Gotabaya Govt is Bracing Itself to Lock Horns with the US and Europe Hoping to get Help from China

By P.K.Balachandran The core of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s foreign policy is standing up for Sri Lanka’s sovereign rights. But his cast-iron nationalism is not mindlessly jingoistic or confrontational, disregarding geo-political and economic realities. Gotabaya’s first international move was to reach out to India, which had been unhappy with elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Presidency between 2010 and 2014 for its economic and geo-strategic tilt towards India’s Asian rival, China. The Rajapaksa brothers suspected that India had been part of an international conspiracy to bring about a regime change in 2015 by…

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Eran Wickramaratne MP Lambastes Govt Over CID Witchhunt Against Ex-CID Director Shani Abeysekara, “New York Times” Journalist Dharisha Bastians and Former Lake House Chairman Krishantha Cooray By Trying to Implicate Them Falsely in Swiss Employee Fictitious Abduction Case

By Chandani Kirinde UNP MP Eran Wickramaratne has accused the Government of engaging in a witch hunt against professionals – including lawyers, journalists and Police officers – and expressed fears that judicial officials standing up for what is right could be next in line. Speaking during the debate on the Airbus bribery scandal in Parliament on Thursday (20 February), Wickramaratne also expressed dismay at the lack of support from the peers of those who are being unfairly targeted by the Government for doing their job. “We passed the 19th Amendment…

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UNP and Sajith at odds over Shavendra

The official United National Party (UNP) headed by RanilWickremesinghe had last week distanced itself from comments made by the party’s Deputy Leader and Opposition Leader SajithPremadasa on the decision of the US State Department to not issue visas to Army Commander Lt. General Shavendra Silva and his family, The Sunday Morning reliably learnt. Wickremesinghe had on Monday (17) dispatched a message to the US Embassy in Colombo stating that the comments made by Premadasa regarding the travel restrictions imposed on the Army Commander and his family by the US did not in…

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Tamil politics after UNHRC ‘exit’

By N Sathiya Moorthy It would be interesting to know how Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha feels about the UNHRC processes of the past decade. He was there when the nation continued to boycott the resolutions on ‘war-crimes probe’, after Sri Lanka lost the same under his predecessor, and for obvious reasons. That was under the regime of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, now Prime Minister. As Permanent Representative (PR) at Geneva, Ambassador Aryasinha was later tasked by the previous ‘yahapalanaya’ government with coordinating the co-authored resolution with western diplomats. Today, the Government…

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UK government looses to Sri Lanka’s ”Time buying technique”.

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — A Sri Lankan diplomat has briefed the president of the U.N. Human Rights Council on the government’s decision to withdraw from a 2015 resolution calling for an investigation into alleged human-rights violations committed during the country’s long civil war. Foreign Ministry Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha met Human Rights Council President Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger in Geneva and informed her that Sri Lanka’s Cabinet has decided to withdraw from the resolution, the Foreign ministry said Saturday. Sri Lanka’s prime minister had announced on Wednesday the government’s decision to withdraw. Foreign…

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A two-State solution or a Greater Israel

On January 28, 2020, standing alongside Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, at a White House press conference, US President Trump unveiled his peace plan to settle the Israeli-Palestine conflict.The Palestinians should have been in attendance. But they were not invited.If the plan, termed ‘The deal of the century’ by its principal author -the US President- was a serious attempt to broker peace between Israel and Palestine was serious about finding a solution, the Israel-Palestine conflict, the Palestinians too should have been involved in the preparation and unveiling of the document.The plan, on…

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SL delegation heads to Geneva to work towards UNHRC resolution closure

Govt. requests meeting with HR Commissioner  Foreign Relations Minister Gunawardena to announce to Council Govt.’s decision to withdraw from co-sponsorship of resolution Will address UNHRC 43rd session on Wednesday OHCHR will present written review on Sri Lanka’s progress on Resolution 40/1 on Thursday By Chandani Kirinde Sri Lanka has requested a meeting with the UN Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet as the country begins to work towards the closure of a contentious UNHRC Resolution on Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka at the 43rd Session of…

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Where from here 13-A?

By N Sathiya Moorthy At a joint media-meet after talks with visiting Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared his nation’s desire for implementing 13-A, signed between the two nations, as far back as 1987 to find the promised post-war political solution to the vexatious ethnic issue. Elsewhere in the Indian capital, PM Rajapaksa announced his Government’s willingness to talk to elected Tamil representatives, and pointed out that it would become possible only after the twin-polls to the nation’s Parliament and also to the Provincial Council.…

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For Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew the Problem of Sri Lanka was the Perspective and Project of “Sinhalese Supremacy Over the Tamils” and the unwillingness or inability of Sinhala leaders to Transcend it

By Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka Unarguably, Lee Kuan Yew (LKY) is the most universally respected Asian statesman of our time. He is esteemed from Washington to Havana, from Moscow to Beijing; from East to West and North to South, both for the quality of his mind and his conspicuous practical success as a transformational leader. LKY is also known as the one who encouraged and to a great extent inspired Deng Xiaoping’s economic revolution in a seminal conversation in 1978. Lee made 33 visits to China and was acquainted with five generations…

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256 containers of UK hospital waste lying in Colombo Port: AG seeks order to vary earlier court directive

by Chitra Weerarathne Attorney General Dappula de Livera, yesterday, filed a motion in the Court of Appeal, seeking to vary an earlier court order that no step should be taken by the Sri Lankan authorities, regarding the 256 containers of hospital waste brought here from the UK.  Senior Deputy Solicitor General, Milinda Gunetilleke, who appeared for the AG yesterday, said that the UK authorities were not willing to participate in discussions to send back the garbage while a court order was in force. The Centre for Environmental Justice and Hemantha…

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Sri Lanka tells UN it will take its own path to reconciliation

Sri Lanka has told the United Nations that as a sovereign State it will take its own path to reconciliation. Speaking at the Security Council Open Debate on ‘Peacebuilding and sustaining peace: Transitional justice in conflict and post-conflict situations’ Kshenuka Senewiratne, the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN said that Sri Lanka will continue to establish its own priorities. “In our experience, while certain lessons can be learnt from others, it is imperative to chart our own path to reconciliation in order for it to be sustainable. Sri Lanka is…

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Sri Lanka has GSP+ access to Britain for another year: UK Envoy

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has the same level of trade access as earlier under the GSP+ preferential trade scheme for one year after the UK left the European Union,  British High Commission Sarah Hulton has said. A new preferential trade scheme is on the way and will go into effect in 2021, she added in remarks made to the Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association in Colombo. “Sri Lanka will continue to benefit from the same level of access on its exports to the UK that it currently receives from GSP+…

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TNA assured EU decisions will reflect matters raised by its leader, Sampanthan

The four-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has urged the visiting EU delegation to pressure President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government to fully implement the accountability resolution co-sponsored by the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government in Oct. 2015. The resolution called for hybrid war crimes courts with foreign judges, including those representing Commonwealth countries. The European Union delegation led by Paola Pampaloni Director, Deputy Managing Director, Asia Pacific met Leader of the Tamil National Alliance Sampanthan on Monday, Feb 10 in Parliament. MP Sampanthan briefed the delegation on the long process that has gone on to find a political solution…

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Wiggy challenges allegations he did not spend money allocated to NPC

by Dinasena Ratugamage Former Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran said that all government funds received during his tenure as the CM had been spent. Wigneswaran said not a cent had been returned to the Treasury. The retired Supreme Court justice said so in response to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s claim in India during his recent visit that funds allocated to the NPC had been returned. Wigneswaran questioned whether Premier Rajapaksa had made a deliberate attempt to deceive the public and score some points over the former NP administration. Reiterating…

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Credible information of Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva’s involvement, in gross violations of human rights, namely extrajudicial killings….

The Department of State has designated Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, current Commander of the Sri Lanka Army and Acting Chief of Defense Staff, as required under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, due to credible information of his involvement, through command responsibility, in gross violations of human rights, namely extrajudicial killings, by the 58th Division of the Sri Lanka Army during the final phase of Sri Lanka’s Civil War in 2009. Section 7031(c) provides that, in cases where the Secretary of State…

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