Some Reflections on the Twentieth Amendment Bill

As the Twentieth Amendment Bill is brought before Parliament – and challenged in the Supreme Court – there are two critical sets of questions we need to seriously consider. These are, firstly, how will the Bill once passed change the nature of Sri Lanka’s constitutional democracy, and secondly, does the government have a mandate to make these changes? There reflections build upon the preliminary assessment of the Bill I have offered elsewhere. A comprehensive comparison of the current provisions of the Constitution with those of the Bill is found here. How will…

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‘Tamil MP’s who split and contested the election’ was the master piece of Rajapakshe!

An operation has been launched to unite all Tamil MPs in the current parliament into one organization. Political sources say that discussions are underway regarding this. But Dougles, Pillayan, Viyalendran and Angajan Ramanathan, the first ever Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) MP elected from the Jaffna electorate will not join and they will work for the Rajapakshes and support the 20th amendment. It has also been proposed to name the new organization ‘Tamil Parliamentarians’ Union’. It is reported that the Tamil National Alliance, the Tamil National Front, the political parties…

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Who was the intelligence officer who went to meet the terrorist half an hour before the Dehiwala blast?

Former IGP Pujith Jayasundara testified for the third day yesterday (24) that the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the Easter attack had yet to uncover many undisclosed facts. Accordingly, Jayasundera requested the Commission to find out who was the intelligence officer who went to meet the terrorist about half an hour before the bomb was detonated at the Dehiwala Tropical Inn lodge belonging to the series of attacks. “Where was that Islamic terrorist named Jameel who was about to detonate the bomb?” What happened at the Tropical Inn lodge? What…

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Former President solely responsible for Easter Sunday carnage

Former President Maithripala Sirisena has to take the sole responsibility of the coordinated terror attack that took place on April 21, 2019, and the tragic incident was a well planned attack, former IGP Pujith Jayasundara yesterday informed the PCoI probing Easter Sunday attacks. Testifying before the Commission Mr. Jayasundara added that after he had received the report about the April 9 intelligence alert from State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director Nilantha Jayawardena, he had forwarded it to SDIG of Western Province Nandana Munasinghe, SDIG Crimes, STF Chief M. R. Latif, DIG…

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SLFP admits 20A proposals require improvement

Party to compile report  Discussions will take place in next two weeks, will consider different opinions among party members  Says there is time to discuss and make decision Condemns all Easter Sunday attacks opinions targeted at former President Sirisena  By Shailendree Wickrama Adittiya The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) will decide its stance on the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution following discussions with party members, SLFP media spokesperson and parliamentarian Weerakumara Dissanayake said yesterday. Addressing members of the media at the party headquarters, Dissanayake at first stated the party…

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The TNA Wakes Up To Challenge Centralization & Autocracy

By Yogan Yoganathan – If anything, the TNA may be blamed for resting on its laurels. The party was so sure that Tamils would march to their tune that they hardly campaigned for the vote at the last general election. They even engaged in backbiting. In bed with the UNP, they hardly challenged the UNP when it neglected the people. Party leaders turned on each other for the preferential vote. The electoral reverses of the TNA were telling, when the TNA vote went down and Mahinda Rajapaksa was able to boast that…

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PEARL condemns Sri Lanka’s latest assault on Tamils’ right to remember

(Washington D.C.; September 24, 2020) — PEARL is deeply concerned by reports that a Sri Lankan court has banned commemorations of Lt. Col. Thileepan, who died while conducting a hunger strike for Tamil rights in 1987. PEARL condemns the arrest, pursuant to the ban, of those involved in organizing remembrance activities and stands in solidarity with the protests planned in response.  This is an alarming escalation in the state’s continuing efforts to block Tamils from commemorating significant days in the Tamil struggle. Although security forces have consistently surveilled and harassed…

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UK Human Rights Counsellor questions Sri Lanka’s ‘commitment to transitional justice’

Following the report of UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, Pablo de Greif, the UK Human Rights Counsellor, Matthew Forman, expressed ‘concern’ and ‘profound disappointment’  over Sri Lanka’s progression on transitional justice. In the statement, Forman reiterated the UK’s “profound disappointment” at Sri Lanka’s decision to withdraw support for resolution 30/1. Read more here: Core Group reiterate ‘profound disappointment’ over Sri Lanka’s withdrawal from UN resolution The UK Human Rights Counsellor also expressed concern over Sri Lanka’s inability to tackle accountability; as he…

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Opposition now playing ’race card’ like SLPP did earlier: Mangala

Former Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said today that the Opposition in Parliament is now playing the ‘race card’ like the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) did when it was in the Opposition earlier. In a Tweet, he also said that what Sri Lanka needs is an alternative vision and not a duplicate of the present regimes xenophobic and racist/majoritarian policies. Sad that the opposition in Parliament is now playing the ‘race card’ like the SLPP in opposition earlier; what Sri Lanka needs is an alternative vision and not a duplicate…

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Not a reflection on the situation currently prevalent in Sri Lanka

The Actg. Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka at UN replying to the United Nations Special Rapporteur’s report during the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non- recurrence on 17 September 2020, said that the United Nations reports was “unacceptable” Madam President, As this Council is aware, in November last year, the people of Sri Lanka gave a resounding mandate to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to pursue a policy framework aimed at achieving the fourfold outcome of “a productive citizenry, a contented family,…

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Should the 19th Amendment to the 1978 Constitution be tampered with?

By Dr.Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Most importantly it set limits on the power of the president to dissolve parliament, removed his/her legal immunity and required that he consult with the prime minister before acting in a number of instances as well as that the President’s Office and that of the Prime Minister be audited by the Office of the Auditor General. Consultation with the Prime Minister and the removal of legal immunity ensures accountability as the President could be brought to Court and the Prime Minister was accountable to Parliament on a…

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Sinhala society is building a Sinhala-Buddhist Sri Lanka

By Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka I am proud that the Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka, of which my father was the Founder-President, was one of nine media industry bodies/organisations to express “deep concern” over aspects of the 20th Amendment and their potential to “negatively impact Sri Lanka’s democratic institutions”. Mervyn de Silva would have endorsed the statement, had he lived. He founded the Lanka Guardian magazine in May 1978 as a critical civic alternative at the moment of ‘High Authoritarianism’. The monopolisation of power through the 20th Amendment turns the Presidency into…

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PCoI on Easter attacks warns Maithripala

The Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) appointed to probe the Easter Sunday terror attacks today issued stern warnings to former President Maithripala Sirisena and three others. The former President, his private Secretary and the three Auxiliary Bishops of Colombo were warned to refrain from making statements to media refusing remarks made by witnesses testifying before the Commisison. The PCoI yesterday issued notice to the four individuals summoning them before the Commission today. Last week, Sirisena was accused of offering Inspector General of Police (IGP) Pujith Jayasundara, who has been suspended from service,…

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Debating draft 20th Amendment | Minority parties weigh in

Democratic People’s Front and Tamil Progressive Alliance Leader  Mano Ganesan What is the Tamil Progressive Alliance’s (TPA) stance on the 20th Amendment? Before we go into the rest of your questions, let me establish the fact that the Tamil Progressive Alliance is now working closely with the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), which is a political party that Sajith Premadasa, Patali Champika Ranawaka, Rishard Bathiudeen, Rauff Hakeem, and myself established to build a stronger Opposition to the governing party. We are all equal representatives of the SJB. Therefore, I am sure that it…

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The 20th Amendment Bill – Lest We Forget

The 19th Amendment transformed the office of President, which was previously vested with absolute executive power, into a constitutional Head of State who was required to act on the advice of the Prime Minister and the Constitutional Council in respect of his constitutional functions. It also required the Cabinet of Ministers to be drawn only from among Members of Parliament. Nevertheless, this transitional provision empowered President Sirisena, who was not a Member of Parliament, to appoint himself as a Minister, and to hold three Ministries including the vitally important one…

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Thugs In Saffron

By Ameer Ali – Dr. Ameer Ali The rapid erosion of that historic image of Sri Lanka, as peaceful, beautiful, resourceful and tolerant multiethnic and multicultural island may said to have reached its nadir when thugs in saffron robes are allowed to roam around the country as Buddhist priests slapping priests from other faiths and beating and locking up government officers, while law enforcers, perhaps afraid of reprimand from the Sangha and or the President, were they to arrest such thugs, remain just onlookers. The most shocking incident of this lawlessness and…

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20 Amendment – the Government determined to stay the course

ECONOMYNEXT – The government is determined to follow procedure and not make any changes to the 20th Amendment to the Constitution before it reaches the Committee stage in Parliament, a highly placed source in the Prime Minister’s office said. “The legal process is that the proposal is gazetted and once approved by Cabinet it can be tabled before Parliament,” the source told EconomyNext. “There is no need for any changes to be made, and legally they cannot be made before the Committee stage,” the senior official said. Asked whether the…

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19th Amendment is Rajepakshes protection from handing over Sri Lanka to the Chinese.

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam http://austms.blogspot.com.au/ 24 September  2020 On 22 September, my media Energy took me to the Rediff article ‘India’s Dilemma in Sri Lanka’ by Dr Badrakumar. How I got there – I cannot remember. Why it came to me – I know through my own assessment of myself through my true Sri Lankan position. I accumulated Energy through the Hindu pathway which is also largely Indian pathway. Along that pathway I formed relationships including through my media work. The passage of my book ‘Naan Australian’ to National Library of Australia…

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Ghosts Of Mullivaikkal Will Continue To Haunt The Rajapaksas Till They Depart To The Other World!

By Veluppillai Thangavelu – Veluppillai Thangavelu The whereabouts of thousands of persons missing after arrest by the armed forces during the war remain unresolved. The government continues to give the stock answer that there are no persons in custody and, therefore, presumed to be dead and not among the living. The mothers and relatives of the missing persons have been holding demonstrations and rallies for the last 4 years or more. The last one was held on 29 August, 2020 to mark International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances. They are crying for justice. 

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Batticaloa monk threatens Government officials

A controversial monk in Batticaloa threatened Government officials over a delay to demarcate archaeological reservation land in Chenkalady. The Venerable Ampitiye Sumanarathana Thero threatened officials of the Department of Archaeology yesterday (Monday) in the presence of the media saying their delay to demarcate the land has resulted in part of the land being acquired for cultivation. The Venerable Ampitiye Sumanarathana Thero told reporters that he hopes Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa will address the issue instead of attempting to send him to jail. Video footage showed the monk telling one official…

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