Betrayal of Tamils by Sinhala governments continue….

It is important to note that even in the 1940s the Tamil leadership had not taken the issue of Regional Councils and devolution of power to regions into their hands.  S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike offered a scheme of 60:40 as a basis of representation.  Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact, three decades prior to the 13th Amendment. The UNP, which took to the streets in opposing the B-C Pact was forced to come to terms with the Federal Party in 1965. The Senanayake-Chelvanayakam Agreement of 1965  At the last minute the SLFP high command went back…

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The 13th Amendment

After the Rajapaksas’ win in the November 2019 presidential polls and the August 2020 general election, the spotlight has fallen on two key legislations in Sri Lanka’s Constitution. One, the 19th Amendment, that was passed in 2015 to curb powers of the Executive President, while strengthening Parliament and independent commissions. The Rajapaksa government has already drafted and gazetted the 20th Amendment. The other legislation under sharp focus is the 13th Amendment passed in 1987, which mandates a measure of power devolution to the provincial councils established to govern the island’s…

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Sri Lanka not in a position to “fully accept” UNHRC remarks: Keheliya

ECONOMYNEXT – The government is not in a position to fully accept the remarks made about Sri Lanka at the 45th sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) this week, co-cabinet spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. Since the end of civil war in 2009 the UNHRC has been making false allegations about war crimes, he said, trying to paint Sri Lanka as a barbaric state. Referring to a comment made by UN Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet about the appointment of senior army officials to key positions…

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Core Group pays tribute to the people of Sri Lanka

Rita French, the UK International Ambassador, speaking on behalf of the Core Group, which includes the UK, Canada, Germany, North Macedonia, and Montenegro on 15 September 2020, reiterated the group’s ‘profound disappointment’ over Sri Lanka’s withdrawal from UN Resolution 30/1 and expressed skepticism over the ‘new domestic process’ for addressing issues of reconciliation. The statement also raised concerns over the continued “intimidation, harassment and surveillance” of families of disappeared persons, civil society actors, and human rights groups. Thank you Madam President. This statement is on behalf of Canada, Germany, North…

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Accountability will be sought either at home or abroad.

The Human Rights Council opened its forty-fifth regular session on 14 September 2020, hearing a global human rights update from Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as separate updates on the human rights situations in Nicaragua and Venezuela. The High Commissioner said that with COVID-19, a fast-moving and global health crisis had collided with many slower, and more entrenched, political, social and economic crises around the world. Referring to Sri Lanka in the Global Human Rights Update the High Commissioner said; “I am troubled that the…

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Tamil Is The Language Of The Original Inhabitants Of This Island

By C.V. Wigneswaran – Justice C.V. Wigneswaran MP Someone asked me; You have made a sweeping statement that Tamil is the language of the original inhabitants of this Island. What benefit has it brought to you except that you have earned the wrath of the Sinhala People? My response was: Not a sweeping statement! It was a well studied statement. Any objective student of History, Sinhala or Tamil, Muslim or Burgher would accept my statement. I did not mean to annoy anyone. I simply stated a historical truth. But the fact remains…

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Constitutional Changes Create Rajapaksa Dynastic Rule

Modi’s Delhi would like to strengthen its economic ties with Sri Lanka rather than rocking the boat by insisting on the implementation of amendment 13. Similarly, USA’s MCC and SOFA would also become realities through negotiation with Rajapaksas much to the consternation of the regime’s opponents.   However, there is one important element that can create a headache and nightmare for the rulers. The economy, which had started sliding already under Yahapalana is collapsing under the Rajapaksas, because of the pandemic and global recession. The economy will be the number one enemy…

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Who is going to decide the contents of the new Constitution?

The government is going to bring in a totally new Constitution after adopting the  20th Amendment Some oppose the decision by the drafters of the amendment to allow duel citizens to contest elections If the government is really going to enact a new Constitution, what is the need of the 20th Amendment before it interestingly, the committees that prepared and reviewed 20A comprised ruling party politicians whereas the one drafting new Constitution includes legal experts Leaders of the Opposition parties, especially those of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) and the…

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20A continues to dominate political arena

Basil adopts wait-and-see attitude while MR says no retirement SLFP experts’ panel to make proposals to 20th Amendment SJB launches 19A+ campaign to safeguard democracy Ruwan gathers momentum; continues to lead UNP leadership race The draft 20th Amendment to the Constitution has stolen the spotlight from all other political discussions these days. Clauses of the proposed piece of legislation are being dissected. One of the key topics has been the return of the all-powerful executive presidency created by the late J.R. Jayewardene in 1978. However, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa last week…

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Who or what is the real driver of the Gotabaya Rajapaksa regime? Is it the Deep State or the “Junta” and their civilian ideologues and professionals in the Viyathmaga-Eliya?

By Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka The President’s gear-shift on 20A, which showed flexibility, followed by his shift-back to the original hawkish position and a posture of rigidity, made nonsense of some basic assumptions of the Opposition, and pointed to the imperative of correcting these dangerously flawed notions. What are the lessons of the recent dramatic turnaround? It disproved the nonsensical assumption that the GR regime is a replay of the post-18th amendment MR regime and/or the post-1978 JR regime. It was in the MR second term that he weathered a storm at…

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Dissent Within SLPP Led Ruling Alliance and Opposition From Sinhala BuddhistUltra-Nationalist Lobby Compels Govt To Withdraw Gazetted Draft 20th Amendment Bill and Pledge Submission of Altered Alternative Draft

By P. K. Balachandran The ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna’s (SLPP) decision to revisit the draft 20th Amendment (20A) to the Constitution follows multiple dissensions over it both within the party and its alliance. Although the draft 20A was cleared by the Cabinet without objections and was even published in the gazette, the moment it came to the public domain, it ran into very rough weather inside the SLPP, the SLPP-lead alliance, the Opposition and the media. This resulted in Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa appointing a committee to go into…

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” You do not win an argument by saying ‘this is a Sinhala Buddhist country, so it has to be this way’.That is intimidation.” Says Aman Ashraff the Only Son of MHM and Ferial Ashraff in an Interview

By Chandani Kirinde Today marks the 20th death anniversary of M.H.M. Ashraff, the Founder Leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC). He died on 16 September 2000, when the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) helicopter he was travelling in crashed in the Aranayaka area in Kegalle District, leaving a void in the political sphere of the country, in which he was a rising star. In an exclusive interview with the Daily FT, Aman Ashraff, the son of the late SLMC Leader, spoke on a wide range of issues and…

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The 13th Amendment, the Indo-Lanka Accord and the very principle of provincial devolution stand in jeopardy While the Tamils are cornered in a political dead-end.

By Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka Any collective, especially a minority community, is in the most serious kind of political trouble when its smartest representatives say things that are the exact opposite of smart—and that’s a polite euphemism—at exactly the wrong time. Take MP M.A. Sumanthiran, quoted by Meera Srinivasan of The Hindu as follows: ‘… “While it is true that the draft 20th Amendment seeks to enhance executive powers, just as the 18th Amendment did, we should not lose sight of the need to abolish the extremely problematic Executive Presidency system itself.…

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