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Southern Nightingale S. Janaki and the Story of Her Popular ♫Singaara Velanae Deva♫ Song

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

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Sishtla Sreeramamurthy Janaki popularly known as S. Janaki celebrates her 76th birthday today. The well known Indian singer of film songs who is praised as the “nightingale of the South” was born on April 23rd 1938 during the British colonial period at Pallapatla in Repalle. The Repalle town is located in the Guntur district of present day Aandhra Pradesh state.

Janaki hails from a Telugu Brahmin family. Her father Sishtla Sreeramamurthy was a teacher and native physician. In a splendid career spanning over fifty years Janaki has sung over 20,000 songs for films made in 16 different languages.

The Languages are Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malyalam, Tulu, Konkani, Baduga, Hindi, Bengali, Oriya, Sanskrit,Urdu,English,Japanese,German and Sinhala.
Continue reading ‘Southern Nightingale S. Janaki and the Story of Her Popular ♫Singaara Velanae Deva♫ Song’ »

How the Army Killed Three Top Tigers-Theiveegan,Appan and Gobi- Who Tried to Revive the LTTE in Sri Lanka.

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The traditional April new year named “Jaya” or Victory dawned on a positive note this year for Sri Lanka. A massive security operation launched by the Sri Lankan armed forces had resulted in the deaths of three persons in the Jungles of Vedivaithakallu-Oothukkulam-Bogaswewa in the North. Paradoxical as it may appear the “bad” news of deaths was in another sense “good” news for the Country at large and the Tamil people in particular.

Theiveegan, Appan and Gobi

Theiveegan, Appan and Gobi

The news was perceived in a positive light because the dead trio -aided by tiger elements in the Diaspora-had been engaged in the task of reviving the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) within the borders of Sri Lanka. Given the prevailing politico-military situation in the country, an attempted LTTE resurgence was doomed to fail in the long run. Nevertheless any irresponsible, unrealistic bid to revive the LTTE would have definitely invited a harsh counter campaign from the Sri Lankan state to crush it. This would have brought much hardship to the people caught in the middle. The Tamil people of Sri Lanka who underwent terrible suffering during the long war are now enjoying a period of peace and progress since 2009. A potential LTTE revival would have seriously harmed the Tamil people and made their lives miserable.

It is in this context that news of the LTTE revivalists being killed and the potential tiger renaissance being crushed was received positively by the Sri Lankan people in the Island and abroad. The Tamil people of the North who found normalcy disrupted for many weeks due to the intensive security efforts made to meet the fresh challenge were able to usher in the “Sithiraip Puthaandu” (April New Year)on a joyful note. Many Tamils in the north had cooperated with the armed forces in the campaign against an LTTE revival as the ordinary Tamil civilian knew the horrible consequences for the community had the LTTE emerged again in Sri Lanka.
Continue reading ‘How the Army Killed Three Top Tigers-Theiveegan,Appan and Gobi- Who Tried to Revive the LTTE in Sri Lanka.’ »

The Unforgettably Popular Film Songs of Tamil Cinema Classic “Devadas” ♫

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Devadas ♫

Devadas ♫

The demise of renowned Telugu actor Akkineni Nageswara Rao has revived memories of his many films.Although most of his films are in Telugu, the great thespian has acted in several Tamil films too. “Devadas”, “Anarkali”, “Manithan Maaravillai”, “Manjal Mahimai”, “Engal Veetu Mahalakshmi”, “Kalyanapparisu” are but some of the films featuring Nageswara Rao who incidently is the father of Actor Nagarjuna and the grandfather of actor Naga Chaitanya.

Continue reading ‘The Unforgettably Popular Film Songs of Tamil Cinema Classic “Devadas” ♫’ »

♥ Remembering PB Sreenivas and His Enchanting Duets With S. Janaki ♫

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The traditional April new year dawned on a sad note for me last year.I woke up to the news that well –known singer of film songs Prathivadi Bayankara Sreenivas (P.B.S) had passed away in India. He was one of my favourite filmsong singers.I grew up with the Tamil film songs of people like Sreenivas, TM Soundararaja, P.Susheela, S.Janaki, AL Raghavan, LR Eeswari etc.

♫ P.B. Sreenivas & S. Janaki ♫

♫ P.B. Sreenivas (September 22, 1930-April 14, 2013) & S. Janaki (b: April 23, 1938) ♫ – pic courtesy: The Hindu

Although the octogenarian had been inactive as a play back singer for over two decades the voice of PBS (Sreenivas often quipped that his initials PBS denoted Play Back Singer) like those of his contemporaries, never ever went out of my life thanks to audio and video cassettes. I also got opportunities to hear him singing in person when he visited Canada for musical shows.
Continue reading ‘♥ Remembering PB Sreenivas and His Enchanting Duets With S. Janaki ♫’ »

Why Music Composer Yuvan Shankar Rajah Converted From Hinduism to Islam Seeking Solace, Inner Peace and Happiness

Popular music composer Illayaraj’s younger son and a famous composer himself Yuvan Shankar Raja Monday confirmed that he has converted to Islam, adding that he is proud of the decision which got his family’s support.

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Though the rumour was going around for quite some time, Yuvan, confirmed this in a tweet.

“Yes, I follow Islam and I’m proud about it. Alhamdhulillah,” Yuvan Shankar Raja posted on Twitter.

There were rumours that Yuvan, who was married twice, was now going to marry a Muslim woman.

However, he has denied the rumours.

“I’m not married for the third time. The news is false, and yes, I follow Islam and I’m proud of it,” India Today quoted him as saying.

Continue reading ‘Why Music Composer Yuvan Shankar Rajah Converted From Hinduism to Islam Seeking Solace, Inner Peace and Happiness’ »

D.B.S. Jeyaraj’s Journey Home: Journalist in Exile Visits Sri Lanka for the First Time in 25 Years

Marianne David Interviews DBS Jeyaraj for DailyFT

Pix by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Introduction

Forced into exile 25 years ago and compelled to stay away in order to stay alive, journalist D.B.S. Jeyaraj always dreamt of returning to Sri Lanka. That flame of hope flickered occasionally, as the war dragged on and then escalated despite intermittent ceasefires, but he never let it go out entirely.

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Archway Beckoning welcome to Jaffna City

For David – who regards himself not as an emigrant but as an émigré – Sri Lanka has always been home, and the hope of return is what sustained him all these years. “The hope of return loomed larger and larger after the war ended and finally it became possible last year,” he told the Daily FT in an exclusive interview after returning to Toronto, Canada last December, following a two-month visit to Sri Lanka – his first since he left in 1988.

David, who stepped into the field of journalism 37 years ago when he joined Virakesari as a staff reporter in April 1977 and moved to English journalism in November 1981 when he joined The Island, left Sri Lanka in 1988 after articles on the plight of ordinary civilians suffering in the LTTE-IPKF clashes resulted in him being arrested, detained and produced in courts. Discharged when the Attorney General’s Department cleared him of any blame after many appearances in court, he was advised to leave Sri Lanka for some time.

Selected for a Nieman fellowship at Harvard University, David left Sri Lanka for the US, certain he would return in a year. When June 1989 approached and the time for return drew near, the situation in Sri Lanka worsened. He moved to Canada, but when he was preparing to return after about six months, his friend Richard de Zoysa, who was among those advising David not to return yet, was killed.

Then, as the war escalated, he realised there was no question of returning until peace was restored so he continued to live in Canada, waiting to come back home. During this period, he reported extensively on Sri Lanka and the war, despite being a vast distance away.

After prolonged agony and anxiety, it was September 2013. Having left Sri Lanka on 14 September 1988, 25 years had passed and he was determined to return, come what may. Finally D-day dawned. The return to his motherland was filled with emotion for David, who set foot in the Bandaranaike International Airport in October 2013, with a silent prayer on his lips and a sense of relief and happiness.

During his visit David stayed away from politics and spent time with family and friends, renewing relationships, and experiencing Sri Lanka all over again – from the northernmost point of Point Pedro to the southernmost point of Dondra. He found Sri Lanka had changed considerably, particularly Colombo. “I felt like Rip Van Winkle waking up after sleeping for years to find everything changed.”

In this wide-ranging interview, he speaks of his departure, return and two-month stay in Sri Lanka, during which he visited eight provinces, and shares his impressions of Sri Lanka and its people and plans for his next trip back home.

Following are excerpts:

Q: What were your first impressions of ‘home,’ seeing Sri Lanka after a quarter of a century?

A: I was feeling rather emotional. The situation had been so complex in the past that I thought I would never be able to set foot in the land of my birth. In recent times, after returning seemed possible, I had made several plans but due to different reasons they did not materialise.
Continue reading ‘D.B.S. Jeyaraj’s Journey Home: Journalist in Exile Visits Sri Lanka for the First Time in 25 Years’ »

Tiger vs Tiger: Tenth Anniversary of Revolt Led By Eastern LTTE Leader “Col” Karuna

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Ten years have passed since the once dreaded Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) experienced an internal politico-military revolt spearheaded by its erstwhile Eastern regional commander Vinayagamoorthy Muralidharan alias “Col” Karuna. The revolt lasting six weeks from March 3rd to April 11th 2004 was ruthlessly suppressed through military means by the mainstream LTTE led by tiger supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran.Hundreds of eastern cadres were killed in the internecine warfare that debilitated the LTTE considerably.

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Pic taken on March 8, 2004-Karuna with cadres after the split~(pic~courtesy: Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai)

Karuna himself fled to the “Sinhala” south in search of safety. Several of Karuna’s loyal cadres and supporters including his own brother were hunted down by the LTTE. The cocky tigers by conducting a prolonged witch hunt against Karuna left him no choice other than to seek security from the Sri Lankan state security apparatus itself. This was granted and with the war escalating, Karuna and the eastern faction led by him known as the “Tamil Makkal Viduthalap Puligal” (TMVP) found themselves contributing positively in many ways to the military campaign waged against the mainstream LTTE.

As time progressed, the pendulum began swinging heavily against the LTTE. The LTTE was driven away from the areas it held in the Eastern province. With the east being cleared of tigers elections to the Eastern provincial council were held in 2008.In an ironic twist of fate the TMVP contested as part of the United Peoples Freedom Alliance(UPFA)leading to Karuna’s former deputy Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan becoming the first Chief minister of the Eastern province .
Continue reading ‘Tiger vs Tiger: Tenth Anniversary of Revolt Led By Eastern LTTE Leader “Col” Karuna’ »

Eight Persons Including a Woman Arrested In Raid on Dehiwela Bakery released By TID Police; More Being Held Under PTA Will be Released Soon.


By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Eight Persons including a woman who were under detention for more than three weeks breathed the air of freedom on the eve of the traditional April new year.

These eight persons taken into custody by the Police after a lightning raid on a bakery in Dehiwela some weeks ago.

Twelve persons including the eight released yesterday were taken into custody.Police suspected that the bakery premises was being used as a safehouse in Colombo by a clandestine group attempting to revive the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) in Sri Lanka.

The release has raised hopes about more persons detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act(PTA) being released in due course.

Continue reading ‘Eight Persons Including a Woman Arrested In Raid on Dehiwela Bakery released By TID Police; More Being Held Under PTA Will be Released Soon.’ »

424 Individuals Designated By Sri Lankan Govt May be Blacklisted and Have Their Assets and Economic Resources Frozen

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The Sri Lankan Government has designated 424 individuals and sixteen organizations including the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) under the United Nations Act No 45 of 1968 by Gazette Extraordinary No 1856/41dated March 21st 2014.

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Details of the listing of the LTTE and fifteen other entities suspected of being LTTE fronts by the Sri Lankan govt were exclusively revealed in these columns earlier this week.
Continue reading ‘424 Individuals Designated By Sri Lankan Govt May be Blacklisted and Have Their Assets and Economic Resources Frozen’ »

Crackdown on LTTE Colombo Cell Reveals Plot to Assassinate President Rajapaksa or his Brother Gotabhaya

by
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Hectic events over the past few weeks in Sri Lanka have driven home three salient truths on the security front relating to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) organization. The first is that tiger or pro-tiger elements in the Tamil Diaspora will persist with efforts to resurrect the LTTE and disrupt life in Sri Lanka. The second is that the Sri Lankan state will effectively respond to such a challenge regardless of international implications. The third is that the strongly entrenched security apparatus in the country is capable of cracking down hard on any such perceived LTTE revival attempt and crushing it.

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President Mahinda Rajapaksa & Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa at the opening of the newly built building of the Defence Services College’s Primary Section, Malay Street, Colombo 02-on Feb 25, 2013-pic:facebook.com/PresidentRajapaksa

Last week saw this column focusing on the shooting incident in the Tharmapuram area of Kilinochchi district and subsequent events including the manhunt for an LTTE operative known as “Gobi” and the security crackdown on suspected attempts to revive the LTTE. What the country at large seems to have failed to comprehend is the seriousness of “what might have been” had not the security authorities countered the challenge posed.
Continue reading ‘Crackdown on LTTE Colombo Cell Reveals Plot to Assassinate President Rajapaksa or his Brother Gotabhaya’ »

“Supersinger Winner Diwakar, “Balaey Pandia” Film and the TMS-Raju Song”Neeyay Unakku Endrum Nigaraanavan”

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

♫ “Neeyay Unakku Endrum Nigaraanavan”♫

The fourth season of Vijay TV Airtel Supersinger Competition has concluded with a fairy tale ending. The winner Diwakar is from a humble social background and without any formal training in singing. Diwakar was not only the choice of the Judges, but also of the people who endorsed him with a record number of votes.

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The zenith of Diwakar’s performance in the keenly contested show was his rendering of the song ”Neeyay Unakku endrum Nigaraanaavan”from the old Tamil film “Baley Pandia” produced and directed by B.R.Panthulu in 1962.Sung by maestro TM Soundararajan(TMS) and “Konnakol”expert MS.Raju(not to be confused with the Telugu film producer) the song was picturised on actors Sivaji Ganesan and M.R. Radha singing with K. Balaji playing the “Ghatam”.

Continue reading ‘“Supersinger Winner Diwakar, “Balaey Pandia” Film and the TMS-Raju Song”Neeyay Unakku Endrum Nigaraanavan”’ »

LTTE Nediyavan Group Deputy Leader Nanthagopan Brought to Sri Lanka With Help From Iran And Malaysia

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The Sri Lankan defence establishment has successfully accomplished the feat of renditioning a senior leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) functioning abroad with the aid and cooperation of Iranian and Malaysian authorities. The “Daily Mirror” learns reliably that the senior LTTE leader Nanthagopan was brought to Sri Lanka exactly one month ago on March 6th2014.

Subramaniam Kapilan alias Nanthagopan

Subramaniam Kapilan alias Nanthagopan

The senior LTTE leader known as Nanthagopan has been functioning as one of the two deputy leaders of the LTTE overseas network controlled by Perinbanayagam Sivaparan alias Nediyavan.
Continue reading ‘LTTE Nediyavan Group Deputy Leader Nanthagopan Brought to Sri Lanka With Help From Iran And Malaysia’ »

Nediyavan, Vinayagam, Rudra and Fr. Emmanuel Viewed by Govt as Four Formidable Foes From the Global Tamil Diaspora

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By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE)organization and fifteen other entities suspected of being tiger fronts were proscribed by the Sri Lankan Government led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa last week.

The Sri Lankan ministry of External Affairs issued a terse press release announcing the proscription. It stated as follows –
“An order, designating persons and entities in terms of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 which sets out strategies to combat terrorism and to control terrorist financing has been signed by Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs, and will be published in the Government Gazette shortly”.

“This order is based on the recommendation by the Secretary, Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, as the Competent Authority regarding the identification of persons, groups and entities, believed on reasonable grounds to be committing, attempting to commit, facilitating or participating, in the commission of acts of terrorism”.
Continue reading ‘Nediyavan, Vinayagam, Rudra and Fr. Emmanuel Viewed by Govt as Four Formidable Foes From the Global Tamil Diaspora’ »

Two of the Three Killed in Northern Jungles Identified as Gobi and Theiveegan;Yet to be Identified Third Person Believed to be Appan.

ATTEMPTED RESURGENCE OF THE LTTE AND THE INCIDENT IN THE JUNGLE OFF PADAVIYA ON 11 APRIL 2014

An attempt for resurgence of terrorism in Sri Lanka surfaced in general area Pallai in the Jaffna Peninsula calling for launching another phase of the LTTE struggle for a separate state. The information on several key suspects who were leading the campaign for resurgence of the LTTE also surfaced. Investigators made several arrests that led to recovery of arms, ammunitions, explosives and other material that were in their possession.

Continue reading ‘Two of the Three Killed in Northern Jungles Identified as Gobi and Theiveegan;Yet to be Identified Third Person Believed to be Appan.’ »

Bodu Bala Sena,Sihala Ravaya, and Ravana Balakaya are Saffron Robed Destroyers of Sinhala Buddhism.

By

C.A.Chandraprema

Can there be a more loathsome sight on earth than that of rampaging Buddhist monks in saffron robes?

The sight is made doubly loathsome, because a ‘rampaging monk’ is a contradiction in terms – something that cannot be. The Buddhist expectation is that a monk in particular will have at least an outward demeanour of restraint.  Those familiar with the Vinaya rules will know how much emphasis is placed on the maintenance of this outward appearance of poise and self control by monks even though the monk may not be feeling any calm at all within.

In Buddhism, inward calm is acquired through understanding, but the emphasis in the Vinaya is to control the outward appearance of the monk regardless of his actual state of mind. It is said that Emperor Asoka of India first evinced an interested in Buddhism because of the outward demeanour of a novice monk he saw on the street. Had Emperor Asoka seen a marauding monk as in latter day Sri Lanka, instead of that novice monk of yore, he would have personally seen to it that every Buddhist monk in his empire was beheaded and the religion itself destroyed.   

Last week TV viewers once again saw the sight of Buddhist monks threatening, intimidating and almost assaulting another Buddhist monk at a press conference at Hotel Nippon when the Bodu Bala Sena invaded and disrupted a press conference called by a new organisation calling itself the Jathika Bala Sena.  This has serious implications. The last thing that we want is for rival political organisations invading and disrupting each other’s press conferences simply because one does not agree with what will be said at that meeting.

Continue reading ‘Bodu Bala Sena,Sihala Ravaya, and Ravana Balakaya are Saffron Robed Destroyers of Sinhala Buddhism.’ »

Business Class Travel&all Expenses Paid Trip to Sri Lanka and Back by Five British MP’s and Their Partners Funded by Murali’s Charity Cancelled Hours Before Departure.

by

Jonathan Miller
Foreign Affairs Correspondent

An all-expenses-paid trip by five UK MPs and their partners, including business-class travel to and from Sri Lanka, is cancelled amid cross-party recriminations – hours before departure.

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The timing of the trip was controversial – coming just two weeks after the United Nations launched an investigation into alleged war crimes and continued human rights abuse in Sri Lanka.

This week, Sri Lanka said it would refuse to cooperate with the UN inquiry.

The trip, and all its costs, would have been borne by the Sri Lanka-based charity “Foundation of Goodness,” founded by legendary spin-bowler Muttiah Muralitharan. He is an ethnic Tamil, who has been criticised for his support for the government.

Continue reading ‘Business Class Travel&all Expenses Paid Trip to Sri Lanka and Back by Five British MP’s and Their Partners Funded by Murali’s Charity Cancelled Hours Before Departure.’ »

Kajeepan Alias “Gobi” Attempting to Revive LTTE and Two Other Tigers Killed by Army in Shoot -Out at Nedunkerni in Vavuniya District Claims Military Spokesman.

Former LTTE member Gobi and two others were killed following a confrontation with the army in Vavuniya late last night, the army said today.

Army spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said that an exchange of gun-fire had taken place at Nedunkerni when soldiers had confronted Gobi and two other former rebels who were armed.

The three former rebels were killed during the confrontation and one of them was identified as Gobi.

Continue reading ‘Kajeepan Alias “Gobi” Attempting to Revive LTTE and Two Other Tigers Killed by Army in Shoot -Out at Nedunkerni in Vavuniya District Claims Military Spokesman.’ »

Sri Lankan Tamil Asylum Seeker Janarthanan Sets Himself of Fire in Sydney After Australia Rejects his Appeal for Refugee Status

REJECTED ASYLUM-SEEKER SELF-IMMOLATES IN SYDNEY

A Tamil asylum-seeker set himself on fire in Sydney last night after his appeal for refugee status was rejected.

Janarthanan

Janarthanan

The man, believed to be in his late 20s, was taken to Concord Hospital after dousing himself in petrol outside his workplace in Balmain and setting himself alight. He has burns to about 98 per cent of his body. He is in an induced coma, having undergone at least two skin-graft operations. Doctors have told friends to organise for his 65-year-old mother and his brother to come to Australia urgently.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Tamil Asylum Seeker Janarthanan Sets Himself of Fire in Sydney After Australia Rejects his Appeal for Refugee Status’ »

Jim Flaherty Was a Man Whose Humanity Trumped His Politics

by Glen Pearson | Director, London Food Bank, former Member of Parliament

Jim Flaherty stared at me with tears streaming down his face. It was five years ago and I had been asked to speak at the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa to support a group that helped with African adoptions. An effort supported by all parties, it was one of those few occasions where the true value of humanity trumped partisanship.

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“It has been an honour to serve Canada. Thank you for the opportunity”-@JimFlaherty-Narch 18, 2014-via-twitter.com/JimFlaherty

The venue was packed. I had my Sudanese daughter Abuk (eight at the time) spend that evening with me. She spent a bit of time playing with the Prime Minister’s daughter and taking in the marvelous displays of totem poles and the Great Hall.
Continue reading ‘Jim Flaherty Was a Man Whose Humanity Trumped His Politics’ »

“Women and Children-The Cutting Edge of International Law” – Text of Grotius Lecture by Radhika Coomaraswamy

(This is the full text of the Prestigious Grotius lecture  by Dr.Radhika Coomaraswamy at the invitation of the  American Society of International Law and the International Law Association on April 9th 2014. The lecture titled “Women and Children-The Cutting Edge of International Law” was delivered at the Annual General Meeting of the American Society of International Law held  at the Ronald Reagan Building. Washington, D.C. on 9 April.It was dedicated to the memory of her mentor Dr.Neelan Tiruchelvam and his wife Ms. Sithie Tiruchelvam. Dr. Coomaraswamy a former director of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies in Colombo has served as special adviser to the UN Secretary -General on Children and the armed conflict and also as UN special rapporteur on violence against women)

Dedicated to Dr.Neelan and Sithie Tiruchelvam

WOMEN AND CHILDREN:-THE CUTTING EDGE OF INTERNATIONAL LAW

By Radhika Coomaraswamy

The Grotius Lecture 2014[1]

Dr.Radhika Coomaraswamy delivering Prestigious Grotius lecture, April 9. 2014

Dr.Radhika Coomaraswamy delivering Prestigious Grotius lecture, April 9. 2014

PREFACE

Sometime at the end of 2011, while I was still the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict, I met an ambassador from an Asian country just before a United Nations Security Council meeting on children and armed conflict. He told me that I was leaving the United Nations at the right time. “The era of human rights is over, it has been shown up for what it is, a product of western liberalism and now a modern day foreign policy weapon of western imperialism”[2]

A few months earlier I was in the Central African Republic  (CAR) with three generations of women from a family who had been brutally raped by the forces of Jean Pierre Bemba when he entered CAR from the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002. [3] They were getting ready to go to The Hague to testify against him. They described the events in detail and I could feel their sense of vindication and hope. Even if Bemba was not convicted, they found consolation in the fact that someone recognized the crimes committed against them.

This is then the complexity of human rights in the modern world. Increasingly member states, along with individuals and groups in the global south, challenge both the epistemology and practice of human rights. But despite their efforts, at the grass root level there is a groundswell of support for the idea of human rights, including women’s and children’s rights, as more and more groups begin mobilizing using the discourse and strategy of the human rights movement to fight for equality and social justice.

INTRODUCTION

In the traditional world of international law, issues of war peace and security have always taken precedence over other developments. [4]The Westphalian origins led to a focus on dispute resolution and the establishment of an international order that will enable peace. Even today the media attention of the world remains on the Security Council whose proceedings dominate the discussion of international law and international relations.
Continue reading ‘“Women and Children-The Cutting Edge of International Law” – Text of Grotius Lecture by Radhika Coomaraswamy’ »

PC Elections, an endorsement of corruption, nepotism, extremism and pseudo-patriotism

by Vishnugupta

“In a society governed passively by free markets and free elections, organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy.” ― Matt Taibbi

When an analysis of a set of statistical data is done, unless one pays very close and scrupulous attention to the details in which the devil usually resides, one often misses the obvious and makes erroneous assumptions that eventually lead to mistaken conclusions and judgments. Drawing conclusions that suit one’s own prejudices and preconceived opinions is natural for the unprofessional, amateur analyst.

Amateur historians may even embark further into bizarre analysis-territories by offering utterly erroneous interpretations and spelling out false predictions of events with a view to influencing future occurrences. Setting out his or her own personal agenda is utmost in such undisciplined minds.
Continue reading ‘PC Elections, an endorsement of corruption, nepotism, extremism and pseudo-patriotism’ »

Bodhu Bala Sena Targets Ven Watareka Thera in Colombo and Muslims of Marichchikkatti in Mannar


By

Latheef Farook

A small minority of Muslim families were living peacefully for centuries in the Marichchikatti village in the Musali division in Mannar district. They were involved in paddy cultivation and other such works .In keeping with their religious requirement they built their own mosque there. To help continue with their cultivation works the government has even built a dam before 1970. Life was simple but they remained contented lot.

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The dilapidated Mosque used by Mirichihikatti Muslims before they were evicted by the LTTE in 1990. Though these Muslims returned to the village this mosque today remains under Navy control

In 1990 when the Tamil tiger terrorists ethnic cleansed the Muslims in the north, these Muslim families in the Marichchikati village too were driven out. They too lost all their belongings and ended up with empty hands in refugee camps in Puttalam where, like other refugees, languished in poverty besides facing numerous other problems.

They were all happy when the government forces defeated the LTTE in May 2009 in the hope that they too could return to their own soil and rebuild their lives.

Continue reading ‘Bodhu Bala Sena Targets Ven Watareka Thera in Colombo and Muslims of Marichchikkatti in Mannar’ »

Mob of Over 250 Persons Including 11 Bhikkus Led by Bodu Bala Sena Gen Secy Gnanasara Thero Storms Holy Family Church in Asgiriya During Worship and Assaults Pastor and Wife.


On the 16th of February 2013, at approximately 6.30 p.m., a mob stormed into the premises of the Holy Family Church in Asgiriya (Kandy district) and demanded that worship services be stopped immediately. The mob had around 250 villagers and was led by a group of 11 Buddhist monks who belong to the Bodu Bala Sena.

The pastor explained that, in keeping with his right to religious freedom, he could continue with the worship activities. While the pastor was talking to the General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena, Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara thero, who incidentally led the attack, his wife and he were dragged out of the premises and physically assaulted by the mob. The pastor’s 18-year-old daughter was verbally abused during this incident.

Continue reading ‘Mob of Over 250 Persons Including 11 Bhikkus Led by Bodu Bala Sena Gen Secy Gnanasara Thero Storms Holy Family Church in Asgiriya During Worship and Assaults Pastor and Wife.’ »

British Deputy High Commissioner in Colombo Tries to Intervene in Major Drug Trafficking Case Saying an Arrested Suspect is British Informant

By

Meera Srinivasan

The interest shown by a British diplomat in Colombo, in what seems to be a high-profile case of drug trafficking involving suspects from at least three countries, has raised eyebrows here.

On April 3, the Deputy High Commissioner at the British mission in Colombo sought an appointment with the Inspector-General of Police N.K. Illangakoon to discuss a recent heroin seizure. The diplomat had said a suspect arrested in connection with the case was an informant to one of Britain’s officers in India.

Continue reading ‘British Deputy High Commissioner in Colombo Tries to Intervene in Major Drug Trafficking Case Saying an Arrested Suspect is British Informant’ »

Six Innocent Women From North and East Suspected of Being Relatives of Alleged LTTE Operatives Detained Under Inhuman Conditions-WAN


A Sri Lankan women’s rights group has claimed the government is arresting innocent female relatives of men it suspects are trying to revive the Tamil Tiger rebel group and subjecting them to ill-treatment.

Women’s Action Network described the cases of six women it says were arrested from the north and east, the former civil war zone, because authorities suspected their male associates or family members had rebel links.

The group’s statement said the criminal investigation department had detained the women in inhuman conditions, adding that some were elderly or needed medical and psychiatric care but were being denied those facilities.

Continue reading ‘Six Innocent Women From North and East Suspected of Being Relatives of Alleged LTTE Operatives Detained Under Inhuman Conditions-WAN’ »

President Rajapaksa keeps Away From Final Match as Sri Lanka Cricket Team Breaks Jinx

By

Dharisha Bastians


“Our cricket embodied everything in our lives, our laughter and tears, our hospitality our generosity, our music, our food and drink. It was normality and hope and inspiration in a war-ravaged island. In it was our culture and heritage, enriched by our myriad ethnicities and religions. In it we were untouched, at least for a while, by petty politics and division. It is indeed a pity that life is not cricket”
– Kumar Sangakkara, MCC Spirit of Cricket Lecture, 2011

President Mahinda Rajapaksa is a true Sri Lankan hero in many respects.

As the Head of Sri Lanka’s first post-war Government, the Mahinda Rajapaksa story evokes much political romanticism. The quintessential ‘ape miniha,’ he is the Sinhalese hero who started life in a remote southern village and rose to the highest echelons of power in Colombo.

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Cricketers welcomed at the TempleTrees-pic: courtesy of: twitter.com/azzamameen

Over the course of his eight-year presidential stint, President Rajapaksa has often donned the cape of the crusading hero. He is the conqueror of terrorists, defender of the nation against neo-imperialist forces, emperor of the Commonwealth, cuddler of babies and magic builder of superhighways. To reinforce these perceptions, the President’s name or derivations of it are stamped on every new piece of infrastructure conferred upon the public.

Unquestioning acceptance of Government development schemes and the ostrich-like tendency of the citizenry to marvel at new roads and city beautification without worrying about process, transparency and debt burden, has allowed the regime to declare them all benevolent bequests by the political leadership.

Ownership of national success stories has been a Rajapaksa mantra, one that has made the incumbent Executive wildly popular.

There is, however, one notable exception that was reinforced strongly this past weekend when Sri Lanka’s other national heroes took centre-stage. Sri Lankan cricketing legends Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara unofficially led the team to victory in the ICC World T20 final on Sunday night, the former taking a lead as de facto captain in Dinesh Chandimal’s absence while the latter scored an unbeaten 52 to guide the side to the 130 runs it needed to beat India.

Continue reading ‘President Rajapaksa keeps Away From Final Match as Sri Lanka Cricket Team Breaks Jinx’ »

Forced evictions in Colombo: The ugly price of beautification

The Centre for Policy Alternatives’ latest report “Forced Evictions in Colombo – The Ugly Price of Beautification” raises serious concerns with regard to the displacement of citizens in the city of Colombo due to the Urban Regeneration Project of the Urban Development Authority (UDA) and the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development.

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It questions both the ostensible goals and purpose underlying the Urban Regeneration Project as well as the means and processes employed by the UDA and the Government of Sri Lanka to realise them, in particular those pertaining to land acquisition and involuntary resettlement.
Continue reading ‘Forced evictions in Colombo: The ugly price of beautification’ »

Quino butterfly defies extinction by changing habitat and diet

BY Patrick Barkham

The quino checkerspot butterfly has defied predictions of extinction by moving to higher altitudes and choosing a new plant on which to lay its eggs. Photograph: Butterfly Conservation

Quino checkerspot butterfly

Quino checkerspot butterfly

A butterfly species whose population collapsed because of climate change and habitat loss has defied predictions of extinction to rapidly move to cooler climes and change its food plant.
Continue reading ‘Quino butterfly defies extinction by changing habitat and diet’ »

Sections of Buddhist Clergy and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna to Fight for Rights of Muslims Besieged by Buddhist Extremists


by

Latheef Farook

Abandoned by the government, Muslim politicians and threatened by Sinhala extremists who are law unto themselves Buddhist monks leading the campaign to solve Muslim squatters’ housing problem at Wilpattu, Janatha Vimukthi Permanuna, JVP, fighting for the rights of the Muslims and the Muslims carrying the coffin of a Buddhist monk at a funeral procession provide glimmer of hope for the country torn apart by a few hundreds of Sinhala extremists.

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I suspect these extremists as mercenaries of local and foreign forces with their own agenda against the island’s Muslims as part of the Zionist sponsored ongoing US led European global campaign against Islam and Muslims.

It was under such circumstance that a group of Buddhist monks and JVP have come forward to fight for the rights of Muslims and save the country from a potentially dangerous threat.
Continue reading ‘Sections of Buddhist Clergy and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna to Fight for Rights of Muslims Besieged by Buddhist Extremists’ »

Sri Lanka Govt Lists Person Who Died Two Years Ago Among The Names of Living Individuals Designated Through Gazette Notification

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Among the 422 individuals designated by the Sri Lankan Government through a gazette Extraordinary issued on March 21st 2014 is included the name of a person who died two years ago.

Karunanithi Thurairatnam

Karunanithi Thurairatnam (1969-2012)

The 86th name in the relevant Gazette notification is that of Karunanithi Thurairatnam a.k.a Thurai. The notification also states that Thurairatnam was born on March 15th 1969 and that he is living in France. It also says his passport number is F750320938.

According to the gazette Thurairatnam alias Thurai’s address in Sri Lanka is gven as Vattukoddai west,Vattukoddai and his foreign address/Tel is stated to be 14 RUE MAURICE BUREAU, 93000 – BOBIGNY- Tel. No: 0664656395
Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Govt Lists Person Who Died Two Years Ago Among The Names of Living Individuals Designated Through Gazette Notification’ »

Sri Lanka Wins a World Cup Cricket Championship For Second Time After Winning ICC World Cup 18 Years Ago

by

Dinesh Weerawansa

Sri Lanka won a record second cricket World Cup cricket title beating India by six wickets in the World T20 final played in Dhaka, in Bangladesh, at the Sher-e Bangla National Stadium yesterday.

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Having lost four finals in the last seven years, Sri Lanka finally broke the jinx in style in the final of the ICC-pic:facebook.com/srilankacricket

It’s the second World Cup cricket title for Sri Lanka and the first in the Twenty20 version of the game.

Sri Lanka’s first World Cup success was 18 years ago when Arjuna Ranatunga’s team beat Australia by seven wickets in the ICC World Cup (50 overs) final played in Lahore, Pakistan on March 17, 1996.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Wins a World Cup Cricket Championship For Second Time After Winning ICC World Cup 18 Years Ago’ »

Sri Lanka Beats India by Six Wickets in Thrilling Final at Mirpur to Become WorldTwenty20 Champions in Cricket

Kumar Sangakkara guided Sri Lanka to a six-wicket victory over India to win the World Twenty20 in Mirpur and end a run of four defeats in global finals.

pic via:facebook.com/srilankacricket

pic via:facebook.com/srilankacricket

Sangakkara, playing his final Twenty20 international, scored 52 not out as Sri Lanka chased down 131 in 17.5 overs.

Tight Sri Lanka bowling had limited India to 130-4 despite Virat Kohli’s sublime 77 off 58 balls.

Sri Lanka were beaten in the 2007 and 2011 World Cup finals and the 2009 and 2012 World T20 finals.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Beats India by Six Wickets in Thrilling Final at Mirpur to Become WorldTwenty20 Champions in Cricket’ »

An Independent,Credible Investigation Into All Actions By All Parties For The Entire Period Of The Conflict Would Be Good For Sri Lanka.


By

Michele.J.Sison


(Text of Opening Statement delivered by US ambassador to Sri Lanka Michele.J.Sison to the Sri Lanka Foreign Correspondents Association at the American Center in Colombo on April 3rd 2014)
April 3, 2014

Thank you for inviting me to speak tonight. Last year, you also invited me to speak in early April, and I described the long relationship between the United States and the people of Sri Lanka, as well as the broad spectrum of activities and engagements that characterize our relationship. None of that has changed.

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Amb Sison visits Most Venerable Mahanayake Thero Malwatte Chapter to offer best wishes for the #SriLanka New Year-pic via-twitter.com/USEMBSL

I also spoke to you last April about U.S. concerns regarding the lack of reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka, ongoing human rights issues in the north and east, and attacks against journalists and religious minorities.

Unfortunately, those concerns also remain unchanged.

The United States remains firmly committed to working with the people of Sri Lanka to build a future in which all of Sri Lanka’s citizens can achieve their aspirations.

Continue reading ‘An Independent,Credible Investigation Into All Actions By All Parties For The Entire Period Of The Conflict Would Be Good For Sri Lanka.’ »

Sri Lanka Proscribes 15 Suspected LTTE Front Organizations Abroad as Foreign Terrorist Entities Under UN Resolution 1373

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

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The Sri Lankan Government led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa has in a decisive move with far reaching implications proscribed as foreign terrorist entities several overseas organizations suspected of being fronts of the Liberaton Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE).

The Government of Sri Lanka against which a US sponsored resolution was passed by the UN Human Rights Council last week has now banned several organizations functioning abroad as “foreign terrorist” utilising the UN Security Council Resolution 1373 which was brought about by the USA on September 28th 2001 after the attack on New York twin towers on September 11th 2001.

It is learnt that the Sri Lankan ministry of External Affairs has gazetted legislation outlawing several organizations reportedly functioning in several countries including the USA, Canada Britain, Norway, Italy, Switzerland,France and Australia.

Among organizations proscribed are the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam(TGTE) headed by New York lawyer Visuvanathan Ruthirakumaran,Global Tamil Forum headed by Catholic Priest Fr.SJ Emmanuel,the LTTE group led by Perinbanayagam Sivaparan alias Nediyavan and the tiger group led by Sekarampillai Vinayagamoorthy alias Vinayagam.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Proscribes 15 Suspected LTTE Front Organizations Abroad as Foreign Terrorist Entities Under UN Resolution 1373’ »

Residual LTTE Elements and Diaspora Groups Operating Overseas Would Have Been Stripped of Legitimacy Had Rajapaksa Regime Been Magnanimous.

By

Dharisha Bastians

The Government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa is having a spectacularly bad week.

Voting on Sri Lanka resolution on March 27, 2014 at the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council-pic by: U.S. Mission Geneva/ Eric Bridiers

Voting on Sri Lanka resolution on March 27, 2014 at the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council-pic by: U.S. Mission Geneva/ Eric Bridiers

Technically, with the two assemblies lapsing in late April, March 29 elections for the Western and Southern Provincial Councils took place on schedule. But the polls were also extraordinarily timed – with a little help from the Elections Department – to take place 24 hours after the UN Human Rights Council vote on a US resolution that would launch a war crimes investigation into the last seven years of Sri Lanka’s war against the LTTE.

Calls had been mounting for an international investigation to be set up by the Council in March 2014 and President Rajapaksa, who has mastered the art of using international pressure to galvanise support domestically, saw the perfect opportunity.

In Geneva, since early March momentum was building to use the third US resolution on Sri Lanka to set up an inquiry mechanism that would be conducted by international independent experts about allegations that have deeply shadowed the last weeks of the Government’s ‘humanitarian operation’ in the north in 2009.
Continue reading ‘Residual LTTE Elements and Diaspora Groups Operating Overseas Would Have Been Stripped of Legitimacy Had Rajapaksa Regime Been Magnanimous.’ »

Rajapaksas Must be Dreading Scenario Where Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga Mounts the Political Platform again.

By

Vishnugupta

“Desperation is sometimes as powerful an inspirer as genius.”–Benjamin Disraeli

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Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaranatunga reigned with unbridled power and might for eleven years, first as Prime Minister and then as Executive President. For all those years in office, the only remarkable achievement she could probably write home about or even relate to her grandchildren one day would be that she never ever kept an appointment in time.

An utterly careless leader of a nation, even though she possessed an extraordinary intellect and scholarly disposition, there isn’t one single accomplishment that she could boast about. It is indeed a crying shame for a person who hailed from such an illustrious family, which spanned the country’s political landscape for more than one and half centuries, beginning from the Legislative Council days to the current Presidential system era.

In a larger context, all the Bandaranaikes – all three, SWRD, Sirimavo and Chandrika- have been mediocre executives at best and disastrous at worst. Although they had nearly inborn capacity and talent to win elections, their respective reigns of power had been sadly absent in foresight, pragmatism and even a modicum of management of the economy. In the long run, especially in the case of the first two, husband and wife, the country’s exchequer suffered irreparable damage and much harsher and long-term oriented policies and their implementation only could bring about some financial sanity to the country. And all three were terribly oblivious to the misdoings and uncouth conduct of their respective parliamentarians and subordinates.
Continue reading ‘Rajapaksas Must be Dreading Scenario Where Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga Mounts the Political Platform again.’ »

GL Peiris Signs Order Under UNSC Resolution 1373 Designating Terrorist Entities on Recommendation Made by Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

(Text of Press Statement Issued by Sri Lankan Ministry of External Affairs )

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Order under UNSC Resolution 1373 signed by Minister Peiris

An order, designating persons and entities in terms of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 which sets out strategies to combat terrorism and to control terrorist financing has been signed by Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs, and will be published in the Government Gazette shortly. This order is based on the recommendation by the Secretary, Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, as the Competent Authority regarding the identification of persons, groups and entities, believed on reasonable grounds to be committing, attempting to commit, facilitating or participating, in the commission of acts of terrorism.

Continue reading ‘GL Peiris Signs Order Under UNSC Resolution 1373 Designating Terrorist Entities on Recommendation Made by Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.’ »

The Post-Election Scenario: Lessons and Options for Government and Opposition


BY

DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA

A famous soliloquy in the history of Hollywood movies in Don Siegel’s iconic film Dirty Harry begins with Clint Eastwood, playing Inspector Harry Callahan says “I know what you’re thinking— did he fire six shots or only five…” In similar vein I can tell what the strategists of the Opposition are thinking after the Provincial Council election: “when we add the total vote of the ethnic and religious minorities to the 25% plus that the UNP has got, we can get the 50.1% we need to beat Mahinda Rajapaksa”.

In that movie scene, Dirty Harry went on to add a qualifier: “but seein’ as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and could blow your head clean off, there’s one question you’ve gotta ask yourself— do you feel lucky?” My response to the Opposition’s calculation is a similar one: “but seein’ as this will be a Presidential election, which is a popularity duel for leadership of the country, and you’re fielding Ranil Wickremesinghe against Mahinda Rajapaksa, there’s just one question you’ve gotta ask yourself— do you feel lucky?”

Continue reading ‘The Post-Election Scenario: Lessons and Options for Government and Opposition’ »

“Has the mighty USA laboured and delivered a toothless mouse,taking our Tamil brethren for a ride?”

by

Sunil de Silva

For weeks if not months, the USA and the UK threatened that they would move a Resolution before the UNHRC to establish a ‘robust mechanism’ leading to a possible hauling of GOSL before an International War Crimes tribunal.

The vaunted threat only provided the GOSL the opportunity of proclaiming ‘I would even face the electric chair’ rather than face an International Court as a vote gathering posture for the local elections that were current.

Both the movers of the Resolution and the GOSL were well aware that UNHRC Resolutions were non-binding in International Law. Articles 10 and 14 of the UN Charter refer even to General Assembly resolutions [other than those dealing with 'housekeeping'] as ‘… “recommendations”. This view has been endorsed by rulings of the International Court of Justice. In stark contrast with ‘decisions’ of the Security Council.

Knowing that that UNHRC could not have placed the GOSL under a legal obligation to comply with the Resolution, the movers could have used a Resolution in balanced and non-intrusive terms to place the GOSL under a moral obligation to comply with the ‘recommendations’

But what was the reality?

Continue reading ‘“Has the mighty USA laboured and delivered a toothless mouse,taking our Tamil brethren for a ride?”’ »

Meeting in Geneva Between Lankan Envoy to UN Ravinatha Aryasinha and TNA Parliamentarians Sumanthiran and Shritharan was only a “Courtesy Call”.

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Five-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA) yesterday rejected claims that secret talks had been held in Geneva between the TNA and the government prior to the vote on the US-led resolution on Sri Lanka last Thursday.

TNA National List MP M. A. Sumanthiran told The Island that there was absolutely no basis for these reports in certain local media though he had met Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UNP in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha at the diplomatic mission there.

Continue reading ‘Meeting in Geneva Between Lankan Envoy to UN Ravinatha Aryasinha and TNA Parliamentarians Sumanthiran and Shritharan was only a “Courtesy Call”.’ »

Ruling UPFA Wins Resoundingly in Western and Southern PC Elections but Registers Comparative Decline in Popularity

By

Gagani Weerakoon

The elections to appoint 155 councillors to the Western and Southern Provincial Councils concluded showing a clear reduction of votes polled by the ruling party, United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) even though, it was still able to secure a resounding victory with a large margin from its main opponent, the United National Party.

A total of 3,794 candidates, representing 23 recognized political parties and 42 independent groups, contested the recently concluded election.

While the UPFA managed to win all districts, the UNP was not able to win a single out of the six other than securing victory in party’s traditional strong holds in the Colombo District. Meanwhile, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, which was still struggling to show progress in last year’s North-western and Northern Provincial Council elections, has shown remarkable progress by increasing its voter base by 300% in this election under its new leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake.

Continue reading ‘Ruling UPFA Wins Resoundingly in Western and Southern PC Elections but Registers Comparative Decline in Popularity’ »

According to GL Peiris Theory on Voting at UN in Geneva Govt has Lost Elections here as 40%Voted Against and 35%Abstained from Voting-Kabir Hashim

By Umesh Moramudali and Ruwan Laknath Jayakody

Reeling from the recent United Nations Human Rights Council defeat, the United People’s Freedom Alliance achieved a lackluster victory in the Western and Southern Provincial Council elections, and while the United National Party managed to stick with its usual voter base, the leftist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna under the new leadership, forged ahead.

The main opposition, United National Party (UNP) yesterday said that the Western and Southern Provincial Council election results had indicated that the public are ready to make a regime change.

Addressing the media, UNP Parliamentarian, Kabir Hashim said, the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) had got 250,000 votes less than in the previous PC election in 2009 which is an indication to imply that people want change.
Continue reading ‘According to GL Peiris Theory on Voting at UN in Geneva Govt has Lost Elections here as 40%Voted Against and 35%Abstained from Voting-Kabir Hashim’ »

UNHRC Resolution in Geneva Offers Glimmer of Hope for the Victims of Human Rights Abuses and their Families in Sri Lanka.

By

Sheila Varadan

For the victims and their families in Sri Lanka, the resolution passed by the United Nations Human Rights Council this week in Geneva offers the first glimmer of hope for truth, justice and reparation for the serious human-rights abuses committed by both sides in the final stages of the civil war.

It comes almost five years after the end of Sri Lanka’s protracted and bloody civil war—a conflict that saw the death of tens of thousands of civilians and the ‘disappearance’ of thousands more. And it comes because no one has been held accountable for any of the gross human-rights abuses and serious violations of international humanitarian law committed by both sides to the conflict.

Continue reading ‘UNHRC Resolution in Geneva Offers Glimmer of Hope for the Victims of Human Rights Abuses and their Families in Sri Lanka.’ »

Tamil National Alliance Welcomes Resolution Passed by UN human Rights Council on Sri Lanka as a “victory for all Sri Lanka’s People”.

(Text of Statement issued by Tamil National Alliance Leader and Trincomalee district MP Rajavarothayam Sampanthan)

The Tamil National Alliance welcomes today’s Human Rights Council resolution which requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights to undertake a comprehensive investigation in respect of past and post-war violations of human rights and the perpetration of serious crimes. The resolution is a victory for all Sri Lanka’s Peoples in their struggle for truth, justice and reconciliation. The resolution sends a strong message to the Sri Lankan government that the undemocratic, militarized and discriminatory trajectory on which it has set the country is unacceptable and unsustainable.

Continue reading ‘Tamil National Alliance Welcomes Resolution Passed by UN human Rights Council on Sri Lanka as a “victory for all Sri Lanka’s People”.’ »

Shooting Incident at Tharmapuram: Is There a Real LTTE Resurgence in the North?

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Two pistol shots rang out in the afternoon of Thursday March 13th 2014 at house No. 5 of the Indian Housing scheme in Musalampitty in the Puliyampokkanai area of Tharmapuram region in Kilinochchi district. A fifty year old Police officer named Ratnakumara attached to the Terrorism Investigation Division(TID)was injured. The man suspected of firing the shots from a 9 mm handgun was 31 year old Ponniah Selvanayagam Kajeepan alias Gobi a former intelligence operative of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

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Hoarding in Kilinochchi – Nov 2013-pic by: Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai-courtesy: flickr.com/PassionParade

The incident sent shock waves down the Defence establishment of Sri Lanka. For the first time since the war ended a Sri Lankan defence official had been fired upon and injured by someone connected to the LTTE. The country in general and the Northern province in particular have been experiencing a period of normalcy and stability since May 2009 when the LTTE known as the tigers were defeated on the banks of Nandhikkadal lagoon. Despite problems and setbacks the country and people had been progressing since the war ended. There had been no compelling sign of the LTTE re-emerging in the North for the past 58 months. The Tamil people themselves were living in an environment where war violence was absent. Now that relative tranquility was shattered literally and metaphorically after the gunshots in Tharmapuram. The consequences of the incident were likely to drastically alter the prevailing situation in the North.

Continue reading ‘Shooting Incident at Tharmapuram: Is There a Real LTTE Resurgence in the North?’ »

“As Sri Lankans Our Rejection of an Unfair, Hypocritical International Inquiry Must be Unconditional”-Dayan Jayatilleka


By
DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA

“The passage of the resolution marks a historic moment…” -R. Sampanthan, TNA leader (‘Tamil National Alliance Welcomes UNHRC Resolution’)

One does not have to agree with a single sentence of the strident stonewalling engaged in by the representatives of Sri Lanka in Geneva, in order to oppose the grotesque call for an international inquiry mechanism. One does not have to disagree with any criticism of the conduct of the Government of Sri Lanka made by the members of the UNHRC in order to reject an international inquiry. As Sri Lankans, our rejection of an internationalu inquiry must be unconditional. Such an inquiry is so unfair, hypocritical and such an affront to our self-respect as a nation, that our opposition to it cannot be conditional.

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Ravinatha P. Aryasinha, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Office at Geneva during the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council. 27 March 2014. UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré

It is not so much that the USA won this vote on the resolution against Sri Lanka, but that Sri Lanka lost, since it was unable to convince those who abstained — which included those who stood with us in 2009— to vote get off the fence and vote with us.

Continue reading ‘“As Sri Lankans Our Rejection of an Unfair, Hypocritical International Inquiry Must be Unconditional”-Dayan Jayatilleka’ »

US Sponsored Resolution Calling for International Probe on Alleged War Crimes in Sri Lanka passed at UNHRC with 23 Countries Supporting,12 Opposing and 12 Abstaining.

The United Nations Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution on Sri Lanka calling for an international war crimes probe, with 23 countries voting for the US-backed resolution 12 countries voting against and 12 abstaining.

While 12 countries including Pakistan, Maldives, Cuba,Venezuela, China, Russia voted against, 12 member-states abstained from voting, including India, Indonesia and Japan.

Continue reading ‘US Sponsored Resolution Calling for International Probe on Alleged War Crimes in Sri Lanka passed at UNHRC with 23 Countries Supporting,12 Opposing and 12 Abstaining.’ »

Text of Resolution on Sri Lanka Passed at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 27th 2014.

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United Nations Human Rights Council

Twenty- fifth session

Agenda item 2

Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner
for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the
High Commissioner and the Secretary-General

Albania,* Austria, Belgium,* Bulgaria,* Canada,* Croatia,* Cyprus,* Denmark,* Estonia, Finland,* France, Georgia,* Germany, Greece,* Hungary,* Iceland,* Ireland, Italy, Latvia,* Liechtenstein,* Lithuania,* Luxembourg,* Mauritius,* Montenegro, Netherlands,* Norway,* Poland,* Portugal,* Romania, Saint Kitts and Nevis,* Sierra Leone, Slovakia,* Spain,* Sweden,* Switzerland,* the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America: draft resolution

* Non-MemberState of the Human Rights Council.

25/… Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka

Continue reading ‘Text of Resolution on Sri Lanka Passed at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 27th 2014.’ »

“The United States Stands With All The People Of Sri Lanka”-US Secretary of State John Kerry

(Text of Press Statement Issued by John Kerry, US Secretary of State on March 27, 2014)

Today’s vote in the UN Human Rights Council sends a clear message: The time to pursue lasting peace and prosperity is now; justice and accountability cannot wait.

Voting on resolutions began March 27, 2014 at the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council. U.S. Mission Geneva/ Eric Bridiers

Voting on resolutions began March 27, 2014 at the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council.
U.S. Mission Geneva/ Eric Bridiers

This resolution reaffirms the commitment of the international community to support the Government of Sri Lanka as it pursues reconciliation and respect for human rights and democratic governance. That’s why the resolution requests that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights continues monitoring the human rights situation in Sri Lanka.
Continue reading ‘“The United States Stands With All The People Of Sri Lanka”-US Secretary of State John Kerry’ »

Why India Abstained From Voting on the US Sponsored Resolution Against Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

India has decided to abstain from voting for the US-backed resolution at the 25th session of the UNHRC in Geneva against Sri Lanka claiming that an external investigation mechanism hinders the efforts of the Sri Lanka to promote reconciliation rather than contributing constructively and complicates the prevalent situation in the country.

Following is the explanation of Vote by the Permanent Representative of India to the UN Offices in Geneva, Amb. Dilip Sinha at the United Nations Human Rights Council on Agenda Item 2 on the resolution on Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Why India Abstained From Voting on the US Sponsored Resolution Against Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.’ »

Eastern “Escapade” At Uga Bay: Sun, Surf and Fun Amidst a Personalised Paradise in Passekudah

By

Marianne David

It’s 6 a.m. in Passekudah and the skies are grey-blue with some low-lying clouds on the horizon. It’s already light out although the sun is yet to rise and it’s time for a jet-ski adventure before it gets too hot to venture out to sea.

The perfect place to relax and unwind

The perfect place to relax and unwind

Despite the early hour, Manjula, the hotel’s jet-ski expert, is ready and waiting and life jackets on, we’re good to go within minutes. It’s my first time on a jet-ski and I am slightly nervous despite being eager to try it out. Thankfully, Manjula is reassuring and very much in control.

We head out slowly and as I get used to the controls, it’s time to speed up, with this machine able to reach 130 kmph. There’s a world of a difference though when Manjula takes over, switching keys, and he goes full speed ahead. Drenched in sea spray in no time, I am thrilled to bits by the exhilarating experience.

Continue reading ‘Eastern “Escapade” At Uga Bay: Sun, Surf and Fun Amidst a Personalised Paradise in Passekudah’ »

Sri Lankan Presidential Commission on Disappearances Mandate Extended to cover Indian Army Period in Country from 1987 to 1990 Also

by

Meera Srinivasan

The Sri Lankan government has amended the time period for its Presidential Commission looking into cases of alleged disappearances in its Northern and Eastern Provinces to cover the 26 years 1983-2009.

The Commission’s earlier mandate spanned the period from 1990 to 2009, but the new time frame is of relevance to India, for it includes the period when then Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) was active in Sri Lanka [1987-1990].

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Presidential Commission on Disappearances Mandate Extended to cover Indian Army Period in Country from 1987 to 1990 Also’ »

Those Presenting our Case at the UNHRC Sessions are up Against their own Deficiencies and Shortcomings.

by

Vishnuguptha


“The idea that you can merchandise candidates for high office like breakfast cereal – that you can gather votes like box tops – is, I think, the ultimate indignity to the democratic process.”

~ Adlai E. Stevenson

Although they pretend otherwise for obviously local reasons, the last three years must have been very traumatic for the ruling politicians in Sri Lanka. The Geneva fiasco has been plaguing them and as Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke rightly asserted in his recent contribution to the media, the Government has chosen to be frozen on a fixed standpoint instead of showing any flexibility that is usually associated with statesmen in general and thereby dragging the county and her people towards a diplomatic impasse, any departure from which would only appear as one of retreat rather than a wise maneuver.

Small minds aren’t supple and flexible; when they bend, they always tend to break.

Pros and cons of the Geneva standoff have been argued and counter-argued by many pundits and scholars. Local politicians on both sides of the isle have been engaged in counterproductive innuendos and debates while the international community led by the United States of America, Britain, Canada and India have been busy drafting and redrafting resolution after resolution to condemn Sri Lanka to the garbage heap of the world where only rogue nations such as North Korea, Myanmar and Libya habitually inhabit. That is not good company.

Continue reading ‘Those Presenting our Case at the UNHRC Sessions are up Against their own Deficiencies and Shortcomings.’ »

Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran Says “LTTE Re-emergence Story”is Being Floated to Justify Heavy Military Presence.

By

Meera Srinivasan

The Sri Lankan army has heightened security in the country’s Northern Province through a host of measures, including vehicle checks, it is learnt.

Jaffna Security Forces Commander Udaya Perera said the move was aimed at preventing a possible regrouping of LTTE sympathisers. “We hear that sections of the diaspora are funding some of those elements here,” he said. The “precaution,” he said, was also necessary to nab a suspect still at large, after a recent incident in Kilinochchi where he reportedly opened fire on a policeman.

Continue reading ‘Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran Says “LTTE Re-emergence Story”is Being Floated to Justify Heavy Military Presence.’ »

UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay Says Witnesses are Willing to Testify Before International Mechanisms on Sri Lanka.

By

Dharisha Bastians

UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay and the Government locked horns in Geneva yesterday, after the senior official pushed hard for an international investigation into alleged atrocities committed during the war in Sri Lanka.

Navi Pillay, United Nations, High Commissionner for Human Rights during the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council. 26 March 2014. UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré

Navi Pillay, United Nations, High Commissionner for Human Rights during the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council. 26 March 2014.-UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha told the UN Human Rights Council that High Commissioner Pillay’s report that was orally presented yesterday reflected a “preconceived, politicised and prejudicial agenda which has been relentlessly pursued with regard to Sri Lanka”.

Pointing to the fact that High Commissioner Pillay had exceeded her mandate, Aryasinha said the Government delegation was “surprised by the numerous errors and misperceptions contained in the draft report on Sri Lanka”.
Continue reading ‘UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay Says Witnesses are Willing to Testify Before International Mechanisms on Sri Lanka.’ »

Sri Lankan Parents are Still Searching for their “Missing” Children


By

Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Jaffna, Sri Lanka - For the past six years, Perinparani Thirunavukkarasu, 46, has been searching for her son who was snatched in front of her eyes in Jaffna, the former war-zone of northern Sri Lanka.

Jayakumari Palendran has been fighting for information on her missing son [Dushi Pillai/Al Jazeera]

Jayakumari Palendran has been fighting for information on her missing son [Dushi Pillai/Al Jazeera]

Thirunavukkarasu is among thousands of people whose relatives disappeared or were killed during the final stages of the civil war between government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

“My son was abducted by eight men in military uniform on field motorbikes in 2008,” Thirunavukkarasu told Al Jazeera.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Parents are Still Searching for their “Missing” Children’ »

Under Army Jackboot: Excessive Military Presence in Northern Sri Lanka Enables Monitoring and Controlling of Civilian Population

by International Crisis Group

The heavy militarisation of Sri Lanka’s northern province after the civil war’s bloody end in 2009 has been the subject of growing domestic and international concern. The large numbers of military personnel in the north, and the deep involvement of the military in the province’s governance, endanger the re-establishment of democratic institutions that is necessary to lasting peace (see our Nov 2013 report Sri Lanka’s Potemkin Peace: Democracy Under Fire).

Sri Lanka’s army soldiers stand guard in the back of a truck during the opening of a Bartleet Finance Limited investment branch in Jaffna, April 30, 2010. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

Sri Lanka’s army soldiers stand guard in the back of a truck during the opening of a Bartleet Finance Limited investment branch in Jaffna, April 30, 2010. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

Faced with international demands – including from the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) – to “demilitarise” the north, the government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) claims it has significantly reduced troops levels. It also says the civilian administration is fully functional and that “the involvement of security forces in resettlement and reconstruction activities … is being gradually phased out.”
Continue reading ‘Under Army Jackboot: Excessive Military Presence in Northern Sri Lanka Enables Monitoring and Controlling of Civilian Population’ »

Supreme Court Delivers Interim Order Suspending the Implementation of Administrative Instructions Issued by Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran.

by
S.S.Selvanayagam

The Supreme Court yesterday issued an Interim Order suspending the operation of the Administrative Standing Instructions of the Northern Province Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran.

The Bench comprising Chief Justice Mohan Peiris, Justices K.Sripavan and Sathya Hettige issued the Interim Order until the final determination of the fundamental rights petition filed by Northern Province Chief Secretary challenging the Chief Minister’s interference with her employment and his bid to remove her from office.

Continue reading ‘Supreme Court Delivers Interim Order Suspending the Implementation of Administrative Instructions Issued by Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran.’ »

Rishad Bathiudeen Warns Bodhu Bala Sena Secretary Gnanasara Thero of Lawsuit Demanding 500 Million Rs Damages Unless Bhikku Tenders Apology.

by

Zacki Jabbar

Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen yesterday demanded that the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) Secretary Galagodawatte Gnanasara retracts the recent defamatory allegations levelled against him and tenders an apology or face a Rs.500 million law suit.

Addressing a press conference in Colombo, Bathiudeen said that that if Galagodawatte Gnanasara Thera did not apologise for the false and malicious allegations aimed at creating hatred and contempt towards him and the Muslim community, within two weeks from yesterday, he would institute legal action claiming damages in a sum of Rs.500 million.

Continue reading ‘Rishad Bathiudeen Warns Bodhu Bala Sena Secretary Gnanasara Thero of Lawsuit Demanding 500 Million Rs Damages Unless Bhikku Tenders Apology.’ »

Full Text of Administrative Circular Issued by Northern Chief Minister CV Wigneswaranthat has been Challenged in Courts

(Text of Administrative standing instructions No. 1/2014 – Issued by the Northern Province Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran that has been challenged in courts by the Chief Secretary Vijayaletchumi Ramesh)

1. Channel of communication.

Except instances relating to matters explicitly Indicted in the Constitution all reporting and submissions to the Hon Governor and to any others outside the Provincial Council shall be done only with knowledge of the Minister in charge. Chief Secretary, Secretaries and Heads of departments will be held responsible for any breach of communication channel at their respective levels.

Continue reading ‘Full Text of Administrative Circular Issued by Northern Chief Minister CV Wigneswaranthat has been Challenged in Courts’ »

Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga Combats Rise of Religious Intolerance in Sri Lanka.

By

Harim Peiris

President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga has, since her graceful retirement from office more than eight years ago after the completion of a constitutionally mandated two term limit, busied herself with an impressive portfolio of issues internationally—issues which are also crucial to our South Asia region. Her status as an elder stateswoman, allows her to address these issues with moral authority and at the highest levels of opinion and policy making. These issues have included the education of the girl child, HIV/AIDS prevention, universal access to potable drinking water, participation of women in conflict resolution, prevention of domestic violence and a range of other gender issues. She has done these through several institutional frameworks, all with the highest impeccable credentials, including the world renowned Clinton Global Initiative, the Club de Madrid, an exclusive association of former heads of state and government and her own Colombo based regional policy think tank, the South Asia Policy Research Institute (SAPRI).

Continue reading ‘Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga Combats Rise of Religious Intolerance in Sri Lanka.’ »

Is the TNA Genuinely Calling For An International Probe Into LTTE Conduct During the War?

By D.B.S.JEYARAJ

The Tamil National Alliance(TNA)regarded as the premier political configuration of the Sri Lankan Tamils issued a public statement last week after “careful consideration to the draft resolution on Sri Lanka proposed at the 25th sessions of the Human Rights Council by the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Mauritius”.

The TNA statement jointly signed by its Parliamentary Group Leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan M.P.and Northern Province Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran stated “ We therefore welcome the fact that the draft resolution envisages the establishment of an international investigation led by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, both in respect of war-time abuses committed by both sides and violations of human rights throughout the country since the end of the war”.

TNA Parliamentary Group Leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan M.P.and Northern Province Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran

TNA Parliamentary Group Leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan M.P.and Northern Province Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran

The Sampanthan-Wigneswaran joint statement went on to say –“We look forward to the co-sponsors effecting revisions to the draft over the following weeks that will clarify and strengthen the scope of the forthcoming investigation. We will remain engaged with the international community to this end, and also to ensure that the outcome of the resolution will be overwhelmingly positive for all Sri Lankans, particularly for victims of grave abuses committed during and after the war’’.
Continue reading ‘Is the TNA Genuinely Calling For An International Probe Into LTTE Conduct During the War?’ »

Bodhu Bala Sena Changes Street Name of Hassan Mawatte to Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatte in Mawanella town.

Mawanella town in the Kegalle district of Sabaragamuwa province in Sri Lanka was the latest venue of the on going anti -Muslim campaign conducted by the island nation’s foremost ethno-religious fascist organization known as the Bodhu Bala Sena(BBS).

The Bodhu Bala Sena staged a mass meeting on Sunday March 23rd at Mawanella situated on the Colombo -Kandy road between Kegalle and Kadugannawa.

Continue reading ‘Bodhu Bala Sena Changes Street Name of Hassan Mawatte to Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatte in Mawanella town.’ »

Supreme Court Grants Leave to Proceed on Fundamental Rights Violation Application Filed Against Northern Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran by Chief Secretary Vijayalakshmi Ramesh.


By

Chitra Weerarathne

The Supreme Court yesterday said that the impugned document by Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran, pertaining to standing administrative orders issued to the Chief secretary of the Province appeared to encroach on the rights of the appointing authority of the Chief Secretary, the President, the National Public Services commission and the Provincial Public Service Commission.

The Fundamental rights violation application filed by the Chief Secretary of the Northern province, Mrs. Vijayalakshmi Ramesh, alleging administrative interference by Chief Minister Wigneswaran was supported before the Court yesterday.

The Chief Minister is a retired Supreme Court judge.

Continue reading ‘Supreme Court Grants Leave to Proceed on Fundamental Rights Violation Application Filed Against Northern Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran by Chief Secretary Vijayalakshmi Ramesh.’ »

8 Members of Separatist “Tamizhar Viduthalai Padai”Sentenced to Life Imprisonment for Attacking Tamil Nadu Police station in 1991.


by

R. Sivaraman

The Sessions Court for Exclusive Trial of Bomb Blast cases at Poonamallee on Monday sentenced eight members of the defunct Tamizhar Viduthalai Padai to undergo life-imprisonment for attacking Puthur Police Station in the erstwhile South Arcot district in 1991.

Last week the court convicted nine persons, after holding them guilty of offences.

Continue reading ‘8 Members of Separatist “Tamizhar Viduthalai Padai”Sentenced to Life Imprisonment for Attacking Tamil Nadu Police station in 1991.’ »

Latest Draft of US Sponsored UN Resolution Calls For UN Human Rights Commissioner to “Undertake” Investigation For Period From Feb 2002 to May 2009 Only

By

Dharisha Bastians

UNHRC021413

*Third draft text of US resolution on Sri Lanka circulated in Geneva

*Sets up time-frame for OHCHR inquiry into violations in Sri Lanka

*Draft resolution sticks to period of conflict studied by LLRC

*Draft provides no mandate for probing post-war abuses

*Amends operative paragraph on NPC to cover all provincial councils

An international probe into allegations of human rights violations will be confined to the last seven years of the war in Sri Lanka and will have no mandate to investigate post-war abuses, according to the latest draft of the US sponsored resolution to be taken up in Geneva this week.

The third and likely final draft of the US sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka lays out a time-frame for the investigation into human rights violations in the island that covers the period of the armed conflict between 2002-2009.

The latest draft was circulated at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva yesterday.

The crucial vote on the Sri Lanka resolution will take place on Thursday (27), with the Council reserving its final session day on Friday for ‘other business.’

Continue reading ‘Latest Draft of US Sponsored UN Resolution Calls For UN Human Rights Commissioner to “Undertake” Investigation For Period From Feb 2002 to May 2009 Only’ »

Russian Referendum in Crimea and the Tamil Demand for a Referendum in North -Eastern Sri Lanka


by

N Sathiya Moorthy

Independent of the fate of the UNHRC vote this time, the recent referendum in distant Crimea should be a shocking eye-opener to Sri Lankan stake-holders of the ‘ethnic issue’, ‘accountability calls’ and all attendant concerns. At this rate, they could soon find either the Tamil community, or the Sri Lankan nation, or both, becoming mere pawns in the international war of high-stakes in which they would have next to no say, directly or otherwise.

Continue reading ‘Russian Referendum in Crimea and the Tamil Demand for a Referendum in North -Eastern Sri Lanka’ »

Text of Interview Given to Website Over the Phone by Human Rights Defender Ruki Fernando Prior to Imposition of Gag Order by Courts.

Ruki Fernando interviewed by N.J. Viehland over the Telephone for “Catholic in Asia”.

(This Interview was obtained before the gag order imposed by courts on human rights defenders Ruki Fernando and Fr.Praveen Mahesan.This has now been posted on the website “Catholic in Asia” by NJ Viehland.It is reproduced in full here)


Human rights defenders Ruki Fernando and Father Praveen Mahesan are out of detention in Sri Lanka’s Terrorist Investigation Department (TID), but Fernando, in conversation over the phone from his home in Colombo told me hours after their release, he does not feel completely free.

Two days after their release, a Sri Lanka journalist reported that authorities continued to “harass” Fernando and Mahesan

Police arrested Mahesan and Fernando on March 16 evening from Kilinochchi in northern Sri Lanka while the two were on a fact-finding mission in the area. They were taken in Tharmapuram near the home of Jeyakumari Belndra who was arrested a week earlier for allegedly harboring an absconding Tiger. After being interrogated “harshly” in Kilinochchi and nearby Vavuniya, the two were finally detained at the TID headquarters in Colombo.

A few hours after Fernando’s release, he shared his sadness over continued “unjust” incarceration and maltreatment of other detainees mostly from north and northeast Sri Lanka. Rebels based there fought the government for a separate state until they were violently defeated in 2009.

The U.N. Human Rights Council in session in Geneva prepared to tackle a draft resolution sponsored by the United States and other countries calling for an international investigation into “past abuses and to examine more recent attacks on journalists, human rights defenders and religious minorities.”

Fernando expressed his and Fr. Mahesan’s gratitude to local and international NGOs, religious groupings, human rights bodies and governments around the world for throwing their support behind them and for demanding their release. The detainees freed last March 19 give credit to the pressure exerted by this movement for their release and safety in the hands of the police and interrogators.

Following is the full text of my conversation with Fernando:

Continue reading ‘Text of Interview Given to Website Over the Phone by Human Rights Defender Ruki Fernando Prior to Imposition of Gag Order by Courts.’ »

Associating with Karunanidhi’s son Azhagiri and MDMK Leader Vaiko Gopalaswamy in Tamil Nadu Can Cause Problems for BJP.

By

N Sathiya Moorthy.

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s ally and Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader Vaiko and former Union minister M K Alagiri are at the centre of a storm, which if fanned well by the National Democratic Alliance’s electoral competition, has the potential to rock the boat in 40 parliamentary seats in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

Having hit the campaign trail a little late owing to seat-sharing talks with regional and sub-regional allies after Narendra Modi had given the party a head-start with two massive rallies at Tiruchi and Chennai, the BJP-NDA now has ended up giving in to the temperament and temptations of the likes of Vaiko.

Continue reading ‘Associating with Karunanidhi’s son Azhagiri and MDMK Leader Vaiko Gopalaswamy in Tamil Nadu Can Cause Problems for BJP.’ »

Northern Province Chief Secretary Vijayalakshmi Ramesh Files Fundamental Rights Petition Before Supreme Court Against Chief Minister CV wigneswaran.

BY

SHIROMI ABHAYASINGHE

Northern Province Provincial Council Chief Secretary Vijayalkshmi Ramesh has filed a Fundamental Rights petition before the Supreme Court seeking a court directive to bar Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran from taking action to remove her from her post and to declare that the Chief Minister has violated her Fundamental Rights.

Continue reading ‘Northern Province Chief Secretary Vijayalakshmi Ramesh Files Fundamental Rights Petition Before Supreme Court Against Chief Minister CV wigneswaran.’ »

Ruki Fernando Tells CNN that his arrest was “deliberate attempt to intimidate and suppress any form of dissent and not allow people outside Sri Lanka know what is happening inside country”.

A prominent Sri Lankan rights activist controversially detained by his government under anti-terror laws says he believes his arrest was partly spurred by an international push to independently investigate the country’s human rights record following decades of civil war.

Ruki Fernando, one of his country’s leading human rights activists, was arrested late Sunday night with fellow activist Rev. Praveen Mahesan, a Roman Catholic priest, in the former Tamil rebel stronghold of Kilinochchi in the country’s north.

The men were taken to the Colombo headquarters of Sri Lanka’s Terrorist Investigation Division, held for more than 48 hours and questioned, without access to lawyers, before being released early Monday.

Continue reading ‘Ruki Fernando Tells CNN that his arrest was “deliberate attempt to intimidate and suppress any form of dissent and not allow people outside Sri Lanka know what is happening inside country”.’ »

Sardar Khushwant Singh, Famous Indian Writer and Editor, Passes Away at 99 in New Delhi.

Renowned author and journalist of India, Khushwant Singh breathed his last in the national capital New Delhi on Thursday March 20th.

Khushwant Singh

Khushwant Singh

Singh was suffering from some breathing problem before he passed away. The writer of several books and recipient of Padma Vibhushan, Singh was not keeping well of late.

His son and journalist Rahul Singh said he passed away very peacefully at his residence in Sujan Singh Park, New Delhi.

He led a very full life, Mr Rahul Singh said, adding, he had some breathing problems.

Continue reading ‘Sardar Khushwant Singh, Famous Indian Writer and Editor, Passes Away at 99 in New Delhi.’ »

Chandrika Kumaratunga Protests to Mahinda Rajapaksa About Govt Secret Services Illegally Placing her and her Movements Under Constant Surveillance.

(Full text of letter sent by Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga on March 5th 2014 to President Mahinda Rajapaksa)

His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa,
President of Sri Lanka,
Presidential Secretariat,
Colombo 1.


Harassment of Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga through illegal surveillance

I write to inform you of certain activities undertaken by your Government that have violated my privacy, caused much harassment to me and concern with regard to my personal safety.

This situation also violates my Fundamental Rights, impinging on my freedom of movement and freedom of association.

Since I retired from the Presidency in 2005 and you assumed the office of President, the secret services of the Government, which are directly under the authority of yourself and your brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to your Ministry of Defence, have relentlessly pursued the following actions:

Continue reading ‘Chandrika Kumaratunga Protests to Mahinda Rajapaksa About Govt Secret Services Illegally Placing her and her Movements Under Constant Surveillance.’ »

Court Jester Mervyn vs Court Serf Hakeem:An Epic Battle of Comic Proportions.

by

Vishnuguptha

Rauff Hakeem-pic courtesy: AlJazeera

Rauff Hakeem-pic courtesy: AlJazeera

“What is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.”
~James Madison

One is court jester; the other a court serf. One ridicules himself unknowingly while trying to ridicule others; the other is in a constant battle with his own supporters and arguing with them, to be or not be. One’s threat of permanent breakdown in relationship seems to have led to a detente and co-habiting; the other’s relationship with the powers that be is looming for an ugly divorce.

Comedy, melodrama, stagecraft, lighting, acting and fighting, all the ingredients of a third-rate stage play are in evidence and being enacted before our very eyes, on the political platforms in the Western and Southern provinces. Who dare say that politics in Sri Lanka is dull and boring? Come again!

Mervyn Silva

Mervyn Silva


Continue reading ‘Court Jester Mervyn vs Court Serf Hakeem:An Epic Battle of Comic Proportions.’ »

Gamini Dissanayake Pursued Practical, Smart Politics of the Sublime Without Resorting to Cheap, Populist Politics


by

Palitha Pelpola

(March 20th is the 72nd Birth Anniversary of Gamini Dissanayake)


“All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.”

~John Kenneth Galbraith

Gamini Dissanayake would have been seventy two years old had he lived. But fate so decreed that he be gunned down twenty years ago at the age of fifty two, at his prime, making a mockery of human life and its age-old values.

GD031914

Gamini Dissanayake-(March 20, 1942-October 24, 1994)-pic:facebook.com/pages/Mayantha-Dissanayake

Each year at his birth or death anniversary or at both, writers write, speakers orate and thinkers think about this man whose span of political power exceeded the boundaries of narrow nationalism and parochial politics. When the ordinary mundane indulged in politics, Gamini Dissanayake sculptured a novel and moving spectacle of dynamic statesmanship. When others tried to drag him into the gutters and a garbage pile, where they found their own ‘comfort zones’, Gamini refused to go there; he rejected the lucrative but temporary cushions of power and embraced a fresh and creative drama of serving the people altogether.

In today’s context, Gamini’s philosophy of life in general and politics in particular has no relevance, for its very existence is denied every minute and hour by the charlatans of deceit and fraud. Some of those who eulogize about Gamini today are firstly hypocrites and secondly incapable and uneducated.
Continue reading ‘Gamini Dissanayake Pursued Practical, Smart Politics of the Sublime Without Resorting to Cheap, Populist Politics’ »

Human Rights Defenders Ruki Fernando and Rev.Fr. Praveen Mahesan Released From Custody by the Police Terrorism Investigation Divison.

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Two Sri Lankan Human Rights defenders who were detained and arrested under provisions of the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) have been now released.Though held for 51 hours and interrogated without access to lawyers or relatives ,the respected human rights activists were released without any charges being filed against them.

The two human rights activists Ruki Fernando and Rev.Fr Praveen Mahesan who were being held at the Colombo headquarters of the Police Terrorism Investigation DivisionTID) were released from detention before midnight at about 11.30 pm Sri Lankan time on March 18th 2014.
Continue reading ‘Human Rights Defenders Ruki Fernando and Rev.Fr. Praveen Mahesan Released From Custody by the Police Terrorism Investigation Divison.’ »

Human Rights Defenders Ruki Fernando and Rev.Fr.Praveen Mahesan are Being Detained at the Terrorism Investigation Division Headquarters under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.


By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

LATEST UPDATE

Deputy Inspector-General(DIG) of Police Chandra Wagista who is in charge of the Terrorism Investigation Division(TID)confirmed to lawyers watching the interests of detained Human Rights Defenders Ruki Fernando and Ref.Fr.Praveen Mahesan that both persons were being held at the TID headquarters in Colombo.

DIG Wakista who informed the lawyers concerned of the detention at 1.30 pm on March 17th also stated that the lawyers could visit the detained persons at an arranged time on March 18th 2014. Both persons are being detained under provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act(PTA)

Earlier the family of Ruki Fernando were given notice of the arrest at 11 am on March 17th.

Meanwhile Rev.Fr.Rohan Silva, provincial of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) in Colombo and Fr. Ashok Stephen OMI who works with detained priest Fr.Praveen Mahesan OMI at the center for peace and reconciliation(CPR)in Jaffna have confirmed to “Asianews” that Fr.Praveen also is being detained by the TID.

*******************************************************


EARLIER NEWS STORY


Human Rights Defenders Ruki Fernando, Rev Fr.Praveen Mahesan Arrested in Kilinochchi and Detained in Vavuniya to be Brought to Colombo For Further Interrogation under PTA by TID Police

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Two prominent Sri Lankan Human Rights Defenders who were detained and questioned at Kilinochchi by officials of the Police Terrorism Investigation Division(TID) on Sunday March 16th night were reportedly brought down to Vavuniya in the early hours of Monday March 17th night.They are to be transferred to Colombo for further interrogation by TID officials.

Ruki Fernando-pic courtesy of: facebook.com/ruki.fernando.1

Ruki Fernando-pic courtesy of: facebook.com/ruki.fernando.1

The two human rights activists, one a Sinhalese Catholic layman and the other a catholic clergyman of Tamil-Sinhala mixed parentage are Mr. Ruki Fernando and Rev.Fr Praveen Mahesan widely known as Ruki and Fr.Praveen respectively.

Continue reading ‘Human Rights Defenders Ruki Fernando and Rev.Fr.Praveen Mahesan are Being Detained at the Terrorism Investigation Division Headquarters under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.’ »

Army Spokesman Brig. Ruwan Wanigasekera Says Ruki Fernando and Fr.Mahesan are Being Questioned Under PTA About “Meetings with Terrorist Activists”.

by

Chamikara Weerasinghe

Ruki Fernando and Fr Praveen Mahesan, prominent activists of the National Peace Council (NPC), were taken into custody in Kilinochchi by the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID), Military spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasekera yesterday said.

“They were taken into custody for questioning under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, because of their alleged connections with hardcore LTTE cadre Kajipan Ponnai Selvanayagan, who is also known as Gopi, according to military sources. Gopi had fired shots at an IP injuring him on March 13. Both Ruki Fernando and Fr.Praveen Mahesan had been with Gopi and his close contacts,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Army Spokesman Brig. Ruwan Wanigasekera Says Ruki Fernando and Fr.Mahesan are Being Questioned Under PTA About “Meetings with Terrorist Activists”.’ »

Centre for Policy Alternatives Statement on arbitrary detention of Human Rights Defenders


18th March 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka:

The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) is deeply concerned by the arrest and detention last week of several individuals in the North and East, including Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) under the provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). CPA condemns these attempts by the Government of Sri Lanka to silence critics and supress legitimate civil society activity. We call for the immediate release of all activists including Balendran Jeyakumari, Ruki Fernando and Fr. Praveen Mahesan.

Continue reading ‘Centre for Policy Alternatives Statement on arbitrary detention of Human Rights Defenders’ »

Arrest of Ruki Fernando and Fr.Praveen Mahesan:UN Takes Note While the USA Expresses Concern.

The United Nations Organization (UNO) has taken note of the arrest of two human rights activists in Sri Lanka and recalled the Sri Lanka’s obligations towards the protection of human rights.

Continue reading ‘Arrest of Ruki Fernando and Fr.Praveen Mahesan:UN Takes Note While the USA Expresses Concern.’ »

Five Prominent International Human Rights Organizations Jointly Condemn Arrest of Ruki Fernando and Fr.Praveen Mahesan as Attempt to Silence Criticism.

The arbitrary arrest and detention of prominent human rights defenders is an attempt to silence criticism and divert the spotlight from ongoing abuses, leading global and Asian human rights monitors said today in a joint statement.

The statement was issued by Amnesty International, Forum Asia, Human Rights Watch, the International Crisis Group, and the International Commission of Jurists.

Continue reading ‘Five Prominent International Human Rights Organizations Jointly Condemn Arrest of Ruki Fernando and Fr.Praveen Mahesan as Attempt to Silence Criticism.’ »

Jayalalithaa Jayaram: From Alluring Actress to Powerful Politician

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

(Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Ms.Jayalalithaa Jayaram is celebrating her 66th Birthday on February 24th. A condensed version of an article written on the occasion of her 60th birthday in 2008 is being reproduced here)

Jayalalithaa Jayaram (b: Feb 24, 1948)

Jayalalithaa Jayaram (b: Feb 24, 1948)

India in general and its Tamil Nadu state in particular have spawned many colourful political personalities. Standing out among these figures is Ms. Jayalalithaa Jayaram the actress-politico of Tamil Nadu.

The Former chief minister and Anna – Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (ADMK) leader turns 66 today (Feb 24th). Earlier her name was spelled with one A (Jayalalitha) at the end. Later a second A was added (Jayalalithaa) due to reasons of numerology.
Continue reading ‘Jayalalithaa Jayaram: From Alluring Actress to Powerful Politician’ »

Kilinochchi Woman Activist Jeyakumari Balendra and 13 year old Daughter Vidushika Arrested for Allegedly Harbouring Attackers who Injured a Policeman.

By

Dharisha Bastians

After 24 hours of conflicting reports about the alleged raid on the home a Tamil woman and disappearances activist in Kilinochchi, the Tamil National Alliance has confirmed that Balendra Jeyakumari and her 13 year old daughter Vidushika were arrested following a raid on their home on Thursday night.

The arrest has sparked concerns about reprisals against human rights activists in Sri Lanka during the UN Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva where the Government is under fire over its human rights record.

Police claim the woman has been arrested after gunshots were heard near her home and that one policeman had been injured and admitted to the Kilinochchi hospital late Thursday. Jeyakumari was being arrested for harbouring the attackers in her home, the police said.

Continue reading ‘Kilinochchi Woman Activist Jeyakumari Balendra and 13 year old Daughter Vidushika Arrested for Allegedly Harbouring Attackers who Injured a Policeman.’ »

Contempt of Court Proceedings Terminated Against Rishad Bathiudeen as Cabinet Minister Tenders Apology in Open Court to Judiciary

By

Chitra Weerarathne

Industry and Commerce Minister and UPFA Member of Parliament for Vanni District Rishad Bathiudeen, yesterday in the Court of Appeal, apologised to the members of the judiciary for the telephone registered under his name being used for calls which threatened the Mannar Magistrate A. Judeson, in respect of a judicial order, made by the judge.

The Cabinet Minister in the apology tendered to court added that he had the highest respect for the members of the judiciary and condemned any act which violated the dignity and esteem of the judiciary or that which violated the esteem of the judiciary. The respondent Cabinet minister regretted any pain of mind caused to Magistrate A. Judeson.

Continue reading ‘Contempt of Court Proceedings Terminated Against Rishad Bathiudeen as Cabinet Minister Tenders Apology in Open Court to Judiciary’ »

“We did not Shame the Country by Making a Marriage Proposal to Navi Pillay like Mervyn Silva-Rauff Hakeem Lashes out.

By

Faizer Shaheid

Had the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) supported the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the country would have been divided already, SLMC Leader and Justice Minister, Rauff Hakeem, proclaimed at an election rally in Minuwangoda yesterday.

Lashing out against the comments made by Minister of Public Relations and Public Affairs, Mervyn Silva, Hakeem claimed the reason the Muslims were chased out of the North and East, was because the SLMC had always stood against the LTTE.

Continue reading ‘“We did not Shame the Country by Making a Marriage Proposal to Navi Pillay like Mervyn Silva-Rauff Hakeem Lashes out.’ »

A New Crimean War in the Making as Russia is Being Pushed to the Wall.

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

Half a league, half a league
Half a league onward
All in the valley of death
Rode the six hundred
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
“Charge for the guns!” he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred


- Charge of the Light Brigade
– Alfred Lord Tennyson -1854

The “Charge of the Light Brigade” was a charge of British light cavalry against Russian forces during the Battle of Balaclava on 25 October 1854 in the Crimean War. It recalls a battle with very high British casualties and no decisive gains. The battle is best remembered to this day by the poem with its name, by Alfred Lord Tennyson published just six weeks after the bloody retreat.

Crimean War (October 1853 – February 1856) was a conflict where the immediate issue involved the rights of Christians in the Holy Land, controlled by the Ottoman Empire. Russia and the Ottoman Empire went to war in October 1853 over Russia’s rights to protect Orthodox Christians. Initially, Russia gained the upper hand after destroying the Ottoman fleet at the Black Sea port of Sinope. Matters changed soon when to stop Russia’s conquest, Britain, France and Sardinia too joined to support the Ottoman Empire, and the “neutral” Austrian Empire, also played a major role against the Russians.

Crimea is once again in the news and there is growing concern whether the developments there today will lead to another Crimean War, which can extend to an even wider conflict.

Continue reading ‘A New Crimean War in the Making as Russia is Being Pushed to the Wall.’ »

Controversial Utterances of People Like Mervyn Silva,Weerawansa and Champika Ranawaka Reflect the Mind of President Rajapaksa more than Official Statements.


By

Ranga Jayasuriya

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Just like Mervyn Silva, who is sounding like the self-appointed spokesman of the government, unleashed a wave of vitriol against the Muslim Congress, early this week. He warned SLMC Leader, Rauff Hakeem, that the fate of the Tiger supremo, Velupillai Prabhakaran, awaits any traitor.

The controversial minister, who is a close confidante of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has regularly indulged in fiery rhetoric and invectives against the perceived enemies of the government. At that rally in Wewelduwa, Kelaniya, Silva had warned Hakeem to “keep his mouth shut, in order to keep his ministry without losing it.”

Continue reading ‘Controversial Utterances of People Like Mervyn Silva,Weerawansa and Champika Ranawaka Reflect the Mind of President Rajapaksa more than Official Statements.’ »

Fernandos,Hamines,Bandaras,Menikes,Somasundarams,Parvathis and Mohammeds are all Travelling on the same Highway Towards the Light of Development.

By

K.K. Chandrasiri De Silva

There was a thirty-year conflict and four years have lapsed since the end of the conflict. One has to reflect on what has been achieved on the ground within those four years, and assess if that progress is reasonable. Nobody is saying that the situation is perfect. Still there are things to be done.

Since May 2009. there has not been a single act of terrorism in this country. It is the normal pattern to witness violent incidents spurring later on either sporadically or frequently even after arriving at political solutions.

By concluding the conflict what has been achieved by the government of Sri Lanka is the growth of harmony and trust among the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities within the country. What followed was the bringing of peace and stability back to the island nation.

Continue reading ‘Fernandos,Hamines,Bandaras,Menikes,Somasundarams,Parvathis and Mohammeds are all Travelling on the same Highway Towards the Light of Development.’ »

Has the TNA Advocating Tamil Rights Become so Diplomatic that it Behaves like an Embassy Without Raising Legitimate Concerns with the International Community?

By Gibson Bateman and Rathika Innasimuttu

The joint statement by Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader Mr. R. Sampanthan and Northern Province chief minister Justice C.V. Wigneswaran on the draft resolution that has been floated at the UN’s Human Rights Council has a few positive components, but – for reasons laid out in this piece – may be (justifiably) derided by both domestic and international observers as a missed opportunity.

For starters, the language used in the first part of the statement is better and more diplomatic than in some of TNA’s past statements. Reference to “religious minorities” and a “united Sri Lanka” are also productive, but TNA could go even further and emphasize that the fundamental rights of Sri Lankans of all stripes are being denigrated by the administration in Colombo.

Regarding the rationale that comes out clearly in the latter half of the statement, TNA is too sanguine about the draft resolution, what will come out of it and whether the resolution on Sri Lanka is likely to be strengthened.

Continue reading ‘Has the TNA Advocating Tamil Rights Become so Diplomatic that it Behaves like an Embassy Without Raising Legitimate Concerns with the International Community?’ »

How and Why Sri Lanka Should Argue that the UN Human Rights Council Must Reject an External Inquiry

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by

Dr DAYAN JAYATILLEKA

“It’s a hard rain a-gonna fall”

- Bob Dylan

Going by media reports it would seem that the US-UK is veering towards a clearer fore-grounding of a mandate for investigation of Sri Lanka by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, a position which would crystallise around March 15th or 18th in Geneva.

During the bitterly fought end of a long war of national defence against the monstrous LTTE, individual elements of the Sri Lankan armed forces may have brutally transgressed, but national self respect demands maximum resistance to being subjected like Devyani Khobragade to the institutional equivalent of an invasive full body probe. Sri Lanka should resist being singled out and its sovereignty collectively violated by resolution.

Continue reading ‘How and Why Sri Lanka Should Argue that the UN Human Rights Council Must Reject an External Inquiry’ »

Villagers From Panama Whose Homes and Lands Were Grabbed for “Arugam Bay Tourism Zone”to Demonstrate in Colombo on March 14th.

National Human Rights Commission is inactive: Villagers of PANAMA protest Land Grabbing

(Text of Press Communique Issued by the Panam-Paththuwa Surekeeme Sangvidhanaya Organization for the Protection of Panam-Paththuwa)

People of Panama villages, including Shasthrawela, Ragamwela, Ulla, Ulpassa & Ragamwela will demonstrate their condemnation of the inaction of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of Sri Lanka, in defending their Right to Land and Livelihood.

Continue reading ‘Villagers From Panama Whose Homes and Lands Were Grabbed for “Arugam Bay Tourism Zone”to Demonstrate in Colombo on March 14th.’ »

Swedish Radio Journalist with Dual British Nationality Nils Horner murdered execution-style in Kabul by Suspected Taliban

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by

Emily Dugan with Additional reporting by Aleem Agha

A Swedish journalist with dual British nationality was shot and killed in central Kabul this morning as the country braced itself for a surge in violence ahead of next month’s presidential elections.

Nils Horner, 51, was shot in the head with a silenced pistol while on his way to interview the survivor of a Taliban attack. The daylight shooting was in one of the capital’s most distinguished districts, Wazir Akbar Khan, where many diplomats and ex patriots have their homes and offices.

Continue reading ‘Swedish Radio Journalist with Dual British Nationality Nils Horner murdered execution-style in Kabul by Suspected Taliban’ »

Mervyn Silva Warns Rauff Hakeem that Prabhakaran’s Fate Awaits Anyone Resorting to Treacherous Activties Against the Country.

BY

KARUNADASA WIDANAGAMAGE

Minister Mervyn Silva on Tuesday warned Minister of Justice and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Leader, Rauff Hakeem, that Prabhakaran’s fate awaits anyone resorting to treacherous activities against the country.

Addressing an election meeting of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), in Wewelduwa, Kelaniya, on 11 March, the Minister of Public Relations and Public Affairs, said: “I would advise Minister Hakeem not to stir up communal feelings by making inappropriate speeches. It is far better for him to keep his mouth shut and retain his ministry without losing it.”

Continue reading ‘Mervyn Silva Warns Rauff Hakeem that Prabhakaran’s Fate Awaits Anyone Resorting to Treacherous Activties Against the Country.’ »

Whle Wanathamulla Residents Gain Reprieve UDA Seeks to Evict Another 90 Families in Kirulapona and Narahenpita

By
Chrishanthi Christopher

With the Wanathamulla residents getting redress last week, another group of people in Colombo who are facing fresh threats of being evicted from their homes, lodged complaints with the Human Rights Commission, yesterday. Around 30 families living in Colombage Mawatha, Kirulapone, and around 60 families from Bakery Watte, Narahenpita, who face eviction from their homes,handed over their complaints to the Human Rights Commission.

Sources told Ceylon Today that,the Urban Development Authority (UDA), in afresh drive to secure land in its efforts to beautify Colombo, had turned its attention to the lands in Kirulapone and Narahenpita.Convener, Kirulapone/Narahenpita Housing Protection Society, Hemantha Weerakone,speaking to Ceylon Today, said the residents of these areas had been asked to go from their homes, and had been offered new apartments in Wanathamulla.

Continue reading ‘Whle Wanathamulla Residents Gain Reprieve UDA Seeks to Evict Another 90 Families in Kirulapona and Narahenpita’ »

LTTE Rally with Tiger Flags Held at Dundas Square Turns Into Huge Flop with only 300 Participants out of 200,000 Sri Lankan Canadians in Toronto.

By

Shamindra Ferdinando

An LTTE rally held at Dundas Square, Toronto last Sunday (March 9) in support of an international war crimes investigation targeting Sri Lanka attracted fewer than 300 persons though Toronto is home to over 200,000 Canadians of Sri Lankan origin.

Canada based sources told The Island that the National Council of Canadian Tamils (NCCT) had declared thousands would attend what it called Tamil Genocide Awareness Rally, but participation had been very low.

They said that several participants carried LTTE flags, though Canada proscribed the group in April 2006. Having categorised the World Tamil Movement (WTM) as an LTTE front, Canada banned it in June 2008.

Continue reading ‘LTTE Rally with Tiger Flags Held at Dundas Square Turns Into Huge Flop with only 300 Participants out of 200,000 Sri Lankan Canadians in Toronto.’ »

Inept Opposition Parties Fail to Convince Voters that they are for the Country but Against Its Rulers

By

Vishnuguptha

“If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then unto me.”--William Shakespeare

Prior to the elections in the Wayamba and Central Provinces in September last year and also in the post-1994 era, the battle for electoral supremacy in the Sri Lankan political landscape had been between the United National Party and the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) led by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). The Wayamba and Central PC elections and the recent changes that took place in the leadership of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) altered the mix; for how long this altered set of circumstances would last will be known only after the results of the forthcoming elections for the Western and Southern Provinces are released.

pic via:facebook.com/UNPofficialpage

March 11, 2014-pic via:facebook.com/UNPofficialpage

But the scenario is extremely fascinating. Almost three weeks into the campaign after the nomination day, everything seems to be calm on the surface, as far as the ‘election fever’ is concerned. But underneath the surface, it is certainly burning ember, waiting for that instant ‘spark’ that usually characterizes almost each and every election in the recent past in Sri Lanka. That spark may come or it may not come.
Continue reading ‘Inept Opposition Parties Fail to Convince Voters that they are for the Country but Against Its Rulers’ »

UNP Candidate Actress Nadeesha Hemamali “Assaults” and Replaces her Campaign Manager for Spreading Rumours About Having an Affair with her.

By

Faizer Shaheid and Menaka Indrakumar

pic-via:facebook.com/nadeesha.hemamali.lk

pic via:facebook.com/nadeesha.hemamali.lk

United National Party (UNP) candidate for the Southern Provincial Council election, Nadeesha Hemamali, has allegedly assaulted her campaign manager for spreading rumours about having an affair with her, Party source said.

The sources added the campaign manager of the actress-turned-politician had allegedly revealed in public that he had been having an affair with the popular actress. Nadeesha had reportedly been outraged by his actions and had attempted to assault him. Reports further allege that Matara District Parliamentarian, Mangala Samaraweera, had been present throughout the ordeal and had attempted to settle the dispute.

Continue reading ‘UNP Candidate Actress Nadeesha Hemamali “Assaults” and Replaces her Campaign Manager for Spreading Rumours About Having an Affair with her.’ »

Five Years After the end of a Brutal War “Two Sri Lankas” Exist for the Island’s North and South


By

Dharisha Bastians

On a humid November day last year, throngs of men, women and children flocked to the dusty grounds of the Nallur Temple in Jaffna. At the appointed time, they moved near the Duraiyappah Stadium, a place where VVIP helicopters typically land. Placards, photographs and black armbands come out, as the crowd stands single file on the road opposite the famous sports ground.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa meets Navanethem "Navi" Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, at Temple Trees in Colombo, Sri Lanka-Aug 30, 2013-pic: facebook.com/PresidentRajapaksa

President Mahinda Rajapaksa meets Navanethem “Navi” Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, at Temple Trees in Colombo, Sri Lanka-Aug 30, 2013-pic: facebook.com/PresidentRajapaksa

The landing of a chopper in the middle of the stadium ground causes a flurry of excitement. Men in suits jump off the whirring helicopter and into waiting vans. The crowd rushes at the moving vehicle, believing it to hold the VVIP they were waiting for. It doesn’t. Slowly, the crowd returns to its previous formation a few metres away from the Jaffna Library, the Police making no attempt to move them. Silently, as the minutes ticked by, they waited.

But in the end, British Prime Minister David Cameron never saw the missing people’s protest.
Moments before his motorcade travelling from the Palaly Airport arrived at the Jaffna Library, a Police truck was moved across the road, blocking Cameron’s view of the waiting protestors. Instead, other pro-Government demonstrators at the Library intersection were in full view of the Prime Ministerial motorcade holding placards that asked Britain to keep its nose out of Sri Lankan affairs.

Continue reading ‘Five Years After the end of a Brutal War “Two Sri Lankas” Exist for the Island’s North and South’ »

Tamil Nadu Fishers Take Away the Livelihood of Present and Future Generations of their Brethren Across the Palk Straits.

by

N Sathiya Moorthy

It is often argued, in the context of India-Sri Lanka fishers’ issue, that fish know no political/international borders, and fishers go where fish go. Taking off from here, it is also often proposed that a negotiated settlement to the decades-old dispute could be found through a cooperative venture involving fishers from the south Indian State of Tamil Nadu, and their ‘umbilical cord’ brethren from across the Palk Strait in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province (NP).

The former argument is fallacious, rendering the latter a possible non-starter. The fish that the Tamil Nadu fishers catch in Sri Lankan waters do not traverse the seas, as is believed. They are ‘native’ to those seas, and are found only in the shallow waters, near the coast. Hence, there is the temptation for the fishers from the general area of Tamil Nadu’s Rameswaram coast and immediate neighbourhoods to risk their lives for the sake of a relatively prosperous livelihood.

Continue reading ‘Tamil Nadu Fishers Take Away the Livelihood of Present and Future Generations of their Brethren Across the Palk Straits.’ »

Tamil Nadu Police Arrest Three Members of “Thamizhar Viduthalap Padai”Including its Leader for Planting Pipe Bombs in Two Places.

By

L. Srikrishna

In a major catch, the Q Branch police arrested three persons, belonging to “Thamizhar Viduthalai Padai”, on Tuesday on the charges of having planted pipe bombs at two places – one near Reliance Supermarket on the outskirts of Madurai and another near the residence of Union Minister Narayanaswamy in Puducherry a month ago.

Recently, a fortnight ago, the police had recovered some pamphlets near Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s residence in Sivaganga district.

Continue reading ‘Tamil Nadu Police Arrest Three Members of “Thamizhar Viduthalap Padai”Including its Leader for Planting Pipe Bombs in Two Places.’ »

“Namal was Brave Enough to face all the Criticism by Admitting that he Tweeted the Meme with all three of us” – Anarkali

Chamitha Kuruppu Interviews Anarkali Akarsha

Anarkali Akarsha

Anarkali Akarsha

Anarkali Akarsha who will be contesting the Southern Provincial Council election from Matara District says she can handle mudslinging and face rumours and it does not hurt or hit her anymore. “If I think about my image and fight against these accusations, I will not have time carry out my work.”

The politician turned actress noted: “It is not easy for a woman to be in politics. Whether you are an actress, beautician or a housewife, when you get into politics, everyone will give you a hard time.”

Speaking about the recent tweet by Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa that went viral, Anarkali pointed out: “I think Namal also didn’t realise that people would react the way that they did… He could have said that he did not do it. But he admitted that he did tweet it. It does show that he is sorry and willing to receive the feedback he is receiving now. But I do know that he did not put it up to attack me.”

Following are excerpts from the interview:

Continue reading ‘“Namal was Brave Enough to face all the Criticism by Admitting that he Tweeted the Meme with all three of us” – Anarkali’ »

Govt Plan to Stage “Sri Lanka Spring”in Support of Rajapaksa Regime put on hold as US Draft Resolution in Geneva is “toothless”.


by

Upul Joseph Fernando

The anticipation of a strong UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution in Geneva, which caused immense angst among the ruling cabal of the Rajapaksa regime, by all indications, is going to end up a damp squib. Even though the final draft of the resolution is yet to appear at UNHRC, it is almost certain now that much talked about international investigation will not be in it.

It is now emerging that the Rajapaksa ruling coterie had planned a series of protest rallies, marches and demonstrations against the US and its cohorts who are pushing for an international inquiry, if they scored a victory at the UNHRC. What the government had planned was something on the lines of Arab Spring with a difference. The original Arab Spring was unleashed to depose unshakable dictators in a majority of Middle-Eastern countries. But the Rajapaksa Spring was meant to protect their government.

Continue reading ‘Govt Plan to Stage “Sri Lanka Spring”in Support of Rajapaksa Regime put on hold as US Draft Resolution in Geneva is “toothless”.’ »