Presidential Human Rights envoy and Plantations Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe has caused quite a diplomatic stir in Geneva by skipping a meeting called by United Nations Human Rights Commissioner (UNHRC) Navi Pillay, following a swipe he had at her in Geneva last week.
The reason for his decision to keep away was not immediately known. Asked whether he had obtained the government’s nod for skipping Pillay’s meeting, sources answered in the negative.
Continue reading ‘Mahinda Samarasinghe Causes Stir in Geneva by not Attending a Meeting Called by UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay’ »
by Chitra Weerarathne
A nine-judge Bench of the Supreme Court, today, will take up the fundamental rights violation applications and the special leave to appeal application filed in respect of the former Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake’s impeachment.
The fundamental rights violation applications have alleged that the Parliamentary Select Committee, appointed under standing order 78A, was illegal and hence that committee’s findings were bad in law.
Continue reading ‘Full Bench of Nine Supreme Court Judges Under Shiranee Tilakawardene Will hear all Cases Regarding Chief Justice Impeachment and Issue a Single Judgement’ »
The Divi Neguma Act which was certified into law on 11 January 2013 and published in the Gazette of the same day is designed to promote a development intervention based on the community. The Act creates two basic institutions at the community level (see Organigram of Divi Neguma). In Part II of the Act sections 9 to 14, it creates the Divi Neguma Community Based Organisation. By Part VI, sections 25 to 28 the Divi Neguma Community Based Banks are created.
Community is defined by the Interpretation Section of the Act, Section 45, as follows: ‘community’ means plantation, urban or industrial sectors of the public. It is an accepted general principle in the law relating to the Interpretation of Statutes that when the word ‘means’ is used in describing what an entity is, it limits the application of the meaning to the exact same words that follow. In other words the use of the ‘means’ is a limitation of a definition. It excludes the inclusion of any other entity into the category. On the contrary, when the word ‘includes’ is used, it is taken to mean that nothing is excluded, the entities that follow the word ‘includes’ and as well as other entities of the same or generic type can be included.
Continue reading ‘Are Agriculture,Fisheries and Rural Sectors Defined as Community for Divineguma Act to be Applicable?’ »
Former Royal Rugby captain CR (Bulla) De Silva, the Attorney General and loyal friend of President Rajapaksa, must indeed be a puzzled man, even as a whole host of senior officials from the Attorney General’s Department, which he headed in the not too distant past, take wing to Geneva, to play defence, where the US is sponsoring a resolution in the UNHRC, regarding Sri Lanka and its post war reconciliation track record.
CR De Silva, chaired and together mostly with other distinguished former Sri Lankan State officials, were commissioned by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to report on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) after the end of Sri Lanka’s bitterly polarising and devastating three decades long ethnic conflict. This appointment came after the UN Secretary General appointed his own panel of experts to advise him on similar matters on Sri Lanka. After over a year of countrywide public hearings, written representation and field visits to the former conflict areas, the LLRC issued its final report and recommendations.
Continue reading ‘World is Telling Sri Lanka in Geneva to Implement Letter and Spirit of LLRC Recommendations Speedily,Fully and Completely’ »
Let’s put things in perspective. Whatever the Geneva Resolutions bring, whoever votes against Mahinda’s regime, whatever embargoes are imposed, Mahinda expects to rally round chauvinist Armed Forces, because they remain the only power to repress the opposition movement. Following other global powers, the Indian Government is not bothered to win the popularity contest of Lankan people.
To the Delhi elites, what the people of Lanka feel about them is immaterial so long as they can get its wish lists secured from the men holding office in Lanka, who easily succumb to every demand. No previous government had given to India stakes in Lanka’s strategic national assets, as the present Government had done. Records reveal that India now holds stakes in every province of Lanka.
Continue reading ‘We Cannot Underestimate the Lengths to Which Indian Rulers will go to Make Sri Lanka do as it Sees Fit’ »
This week the United Nations Dispute Tribunal handed down a decision finding several officials from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the UN Resident Coordinator in Zimbabwe in 2008 involved in grave misconduct concerning the inhumane treatment of the former Head of Office in Zimbabwe, Dr. Georges Tadonki, whose urgent warnings in early 2008 about the unprecedented political violence, the resulting large scale crisis and the closure of humanitarian access were ignored by his superiors.
Continue reading ‘UN Disputes Tribunal in Landmark Case Finds UN Resident Coordinator in Zimbabwe and UN Humanitarian Agency Officials Involved in Grave Misconduct’ »
Asoka Handagama, mathematician turned central banker turned quantitative economist turned rural developer turned artiste of numerous genre, has sought to kill two birds with one stone, a stone in the style of a Sri Lankan ‘Oscar’ this time.
His first bird is to support the ailing external sector of the country. His second bird is to give a ‘rebirth’ to the already dead, according to Handagama, Sri Lankan cinema industry. He did so in a public lecture he delivered to a packed audience at the Central Bank’s Centre for Banking Studies last week on the very long theme ‘Sri Lankan Cinema: More than a Dream; A Strategic Idea to Develop Cinema Industry as a Part of Overall Development Plan’.
Handagama, who is famous for creating ‘adults only’ artistic work, sent his audience to laughter in an ironic twist of humour at the beginning that his lecture will also be for adults only, meaning that it is for serious consideration.
Continue reading ‘“Oscars” and Film Festival in Sri Lanka:Asoka Handagama’s Strategic Ideas to Develop Cinema Industry’ »
DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA
THE LEFT AS POLITICAL ACTOR (PART 2)
This year and month mark the 130th death anniversary of Karl Marx. 2013 also marks the 60th anniversary of the assault on Moncada led by Fidel Castro and of his address ‘History Will Absolve Me’. It is then an appropriate year for any Left party to take a long hard look at the road it has travelled and the path ahead.
The past returns to haunt political movements just as they do individuals. In this sense the past is part of the fabric of the present. This is why an accurate evaluation of one’s past is as important for a political movement as it is for a person. It seems that neither the JVP nor the breakaway FSP have an entirely accurate diagnosis of their collective past, without which their present and future standing is negatively affected.
Under pressure perhaps from the FSP breakaway, the JVP has concluded that its support for Gen Sarath Fonseka at the Presidential election was an error. Though it was arguably an error for Gen Fonseka to have contested the first post-war Presidential election against a popular incumbent President, instead of focusing on the correct target of entering parliament and making his presidential bid the next time around, it is less obvious that, given the choices available, the JVP erred in supporting him. The JVP’s error was perhaps in leaving the ranks of the ruling coalition before the war had been won. Karu Jayasuriya probably made the same mistake. This permitted the monopolisation of the legitimacy of the historic military victory.
Continue reading ‘There is in Sri Lanka Today a Huge Opportunity for the Left if it Gets its Politics and Optics Right’ »
United National Party (UNP) and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday stressed the need for sharia law to instill discipline in the rank and file of the party.
“We will have to deal with those who sabotage the current UNP membership drive in the way that the Muslims deal with those who disobey the teachings of Islam,” he said addressing a meeting in Galewala last evening.
Continue reading ‘Ranil Wants to Deal with UNP Members Sabotaging the Party in the way Muslims Deal with Those who Disobey the Teachings of Islam’ »
The Joint Opposition laid the blame for rising anti-Muslim sentiment squarely on President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s shoulders yesterday, after the Bodu Bala Sena held a massive anti-Halal demonstration in Weeraketiya, in the Hambantota District on Saturday (2).
Continue reading ‘Bodhu Bala Sena Stages Massive Anti-Muslim Rally at the Rajapaksa Family Stronghold Weeraketiya in Hambantota District’ »
The stocky Tamil man twisted himself nervously inside his thin black anorak, ill suited to one of the iciest days of winter, as he explained how he turned informer, betraying the very man he was supposed to protect, in order to save his own life. We endured the bone-chilling cold sitting outdoors on a deserted verandah sipping coffee in a café in Victoria Station, interrupted occasionally by the peremptory platform announcements. Indoors it was warm but there were too many people who might be listening; after all, we were talking about summary execution.
Kumaran, who doesn’t want to give his real name out of fear, had once been a Tamil Tiger rebel fighting for a separate homeland in north-eastern Sri Lanka. Now a refugee in a land where he doesn’t speak the language, he still exudes the confidence that might come from having once carried a gun. This was a man trusted enough to be the bodyguard of the political leaders of the Tamil Tigers.
Continue reading ‘Eye-Witness Accounts of How the Sri Lankan Army Executed LTTE leaders who had Already Surrendered’ »
By Ranga Jayasuriya
The government’s primary defence against the impending resolution at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has been its 38-page report, titled ‘The Monitoring Report on National Action Plan (NAP) for the Implementation of the Recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission.’
The NAP report maintained that much of the LLRC recommendations have been implemented, in part or full. However, even before its ink dried up, the report was challenged by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, who in her report on Sri Lanka, which was issued two weeks ago, catalogued a series of broken promises blamed on the government in terms of the implementation of the LLRC recommendations.
Continue reading ‘Govt Performance in Implementing LLRC Report Proposals not Convincing Enough so far at UN in Geneva’ »
Military is like cholesterol. You need to maintain its correct levels. If you enlarge its role over the desired limit, that would be deleterious to the public. And if you relegate it, again, you would soon be heading towards a far worse mess. As far as the latter scenario is concerned, Sri Lanka itself has its fair share of bitter experience. During the first two decades of Independence, Sri Lanka relegated the role of the military, turning it more or less into a ceremonial army. That was not the most ideal period for complacency, especially when communism was gradually bringing down a large swathe of the world under its iron curtain.
Continue reading ‘Militarization of Schools with “Military Men”as Principals will Distort the Noble Notion of Education’ »
The attempt by the police to cover up the alleged assault on Asela Waidyalankara, by Health Minister, Maithreepala Sirisena’s son, Daham Sirisena, has raised many questions.
Police Media Spokesperson, SP Buddhika Siriwardhana, is accused of denying that the brawl hat took place on the Pasikudha beach on February 24, was a major incident and that no police officer on petrol other than the DIG’s son, was injured. However, reliable sources at the Valachchanai Hospital confirmed to The Sunday Leader that two police personnel attached to Kalkudha Police were admitted to the hospital for injuries sustained during the clash.
Continue reading ‘Kalkudah Police Under Pressure to Cover Up Assault on DIG Son Incident at Paasikudah in Which Minister’s son and Ministerial Security were Involved’ »
Recently released photographs of Balachandran Prabhakaran – the son of deceased LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran – before his death have raised questions about the Sri Lankan government’s role in his execution and brought to attention the nature of wartime atrocities during its war against the LTTE. The images, which are part of Channel 4’s new documentary No Fire Zone, challenge the Sri Lankan government’s claim that Balachandran, 12 years old at the time, died from being caught in crossfire. The photographs, taken in May 2009 during the final stages of operations against the LTTE, provide clear evidence that Balachandran did not die accidentally, and have sparked discussions in the international community. Given that the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is expected to pass a new resolution regarding the human rights situation in Sri Lanka at the end of its ongoing session (25 February to 22 March 2013), the photographs are particularly timely.
Continue reading ‘International Resolutions on Sri Lanka have to be Complemented by a Grassroots Understanding of the Situation and Local Campaigns’ »
Last week I watched a film which began with a realistic depiction of violent combat at the end of a brutal secessionist civil war. There was no glory in this combat. This was hand to hand, opposing troops rolling around in filthy mud, hacking at each other, kicking faces and stabbing guts at close quarters.
There was much talk throughout the movie of a 13th amendment to the Constitution.
The movie was Lincoln. That particular 13th Amendment related to the abolition of slavery. Lincoln needed a two-thirds majority in the legislature.
Continue reading ‘USA and Sri Lanka:A Tale of Two “Civil”Wars and Two Thirteenth Constitutional Amendments’ »
“Nemesis, the goddess of measure and not of revenge, keeps watch. All those who overstep the limits are pitilessly punished by her”. Albert Camus (Helen’s Exile)
A former journalist paying a call on President Rajapaksa in the dawn hours reportedly found him standing on his head. Upon inquiry, the President replied, “We have done so many good things. The opposition cannot see any of them. So I stand on my head to see how I could see the country in that position” (The Sunday Times – 10.2.2013).
The mystery of why the Rajapaksas are doing what they are doing is now resolved: they see the world upside down. From their particular vantage-point inflation is deflation, corruption honesty, despotism democracy, injustice justice, lawlessness lawfulness; their permissible would be our forbidden, their morality our outrage.
Standing on his head, Mahinda Rajapaksa probably sees nothing wrong/dangerous in the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) antics. The BBS’ lay and ordained musclemen are motoring around invading, intervening and arresting at will. The police have been reduced to acting as escorts to these ‘shock troops’, as they move about dispensing ‘vigilante-justice’.
Continue reading ‘Rajapaksas are Doing now what they are Doing now is Because they see the World Upside Down’ »
DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA
(Replies to questions posed by Sanjaya Nallaperuma of the Sunday Lakbima. Excerpts of the interview appeared in Sinhala translation in the Irida Lakbima -March 3rd, 2013)
1. What are the major challenges that Sri Lanka faces in the UNHRC?
A: The major challenges are threefold: the possibility of a vote and losing that vote; the possibility of getting fewer votes or losing that vote by a larger margin than a year ago in March 2012; the possibility of an unfair or imbalanced compromise which is actually a capitulation, which affects our vital interests such as national sovereignty.
Continue reading ‘“Someday Sooner We will Find Ourselves in a Diplomatic Elephant Pass or Worse still, a Diplomatic Nandikadal”’ »
Kishali Pinto Jayewardene
The mass grave in Matale uncovered late last year and the ongoing demands for independent and credible investigations into the fate of disappeared persons during the last days of the fighting between government forces and the LTTE in 2009 have at their core, the common element of impunity and a common cry for justice.
Pitiful legacies of future generations
So when pictures circulate of the late LTTE leader’s twelve year old son looking apprehensively at his captors, being given a snack inside what appears to be an army bunker with the concluding photograph being of his being shot, (whether the pictures are doctored or not), the sheer inhumanity of what Sri Lanka has been reduced to, should surely grip us all?
Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s Bloody Political Legacy: Brutality of Successive UNP-SLFP Governments and Barbarity of JVP-LTTE Non -State Actors.’ »
Now that one myth has been put to rest — of the world ending on December 21, 2012 — let me attempt to disabuse you of some beliefs that have survived time.
Continue reading ‘De-bunking Well-known Myths about Bats,Birds,Rabbits,Mice,Dogs and Snakes’ »
By N. Sathiya Moorthy
Ironical but true. Even as the rest of the world is supposedly fighting the case of the Tamils in Sri Lanka, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the premier political outfit of the community, is busy fighting with itself.
Or, so it seems. With the ‘ethnic issue’ and all its manifestations taken out of their hands, the TNA, now it seems, has nothing else to do than revert to the periodic internal demands for registering itself as a separate political party with the nation’s Election Commission.
Continue reading ‘While World Fights for Cause of Sri Lankan Tamils Parties Within the Tamil National Alliance Fight Among Themselves’ »
Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen has come under severe criticism for demanding forestlands in the Mannar District to settle siblings of the internally displaced Muslims under the guise of a resettlement drive.
Although 2,300 acres of forestlands have been released from Mannar, Mullaitivu and Vavuniya Districts to resettle the displaced Muslims, Bathiudeen has requested for more forestlands causing concern amongst the employees of the Land and Lands Development Ministry and Forest Department.
Continue reading ‘“Although Govt says Muslims have been Re-settled no Muslims Have Been Re-settled” – Cabinet Minister Rishad Bathiudeen’ »
By Camelia Nathaniel
It is indeed heartening to see the Tamil people and the Sinhalese soldiers in the North, living in harmony and the soldiers assisting these people rebuild their lives, which were shattered due to the conflict that devastated this country for three decades.
In spite of many allegations being levelled against the army, accusing them of interfering in the lives of the civilians, and having spoken to numerous people who were conversant in Sinhala, there was nothing to remotely convey the feeling of displeasure with the military when the question was directly posed as to how satisfied the people were with the military.
Continue reading ‘Army is an Integral Part in the Life of People in the North Co-existing in Harmony with Soldiers’ »
Despite last week’s statement by the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) that it was prepared to stop issuing halal certificates, the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) claims it would continue to agitate against the issuing of halal certified items to the market.
Executive Committee Member BBS Organization Dilantha Withanage, claims they are not worried whether the Sri Lankan Government takes the responsibility of issuing Halal Certification or not as long as a majority of Buddhists have been educated about the controversy.
Continue reading ‘Some Sri Lankan Firms Suffer Big Losses as They are Unable to Continue Exporting to Middle Eastern Countries Without “Halal”Certification’ »
Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
Former Foreign Minister and UNP Parliamentarian, Mangala Samaraweera, said the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government’s Madamulana doctrine on foreign policy, acting without maturity or responsibility and the attitude of shooting the messenger, has resulted in the country facing the current crises before the international community. He noted that in order to overcome the crisis, the government needs to do a U-turn, implement the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) recommendations, put forward a suitable political solution, re-establish the independent commissions, and abolish the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. “The government needs to understand that they have to act fast or face the consequences. In such a scenario, the President and the government can blame no one, but themselves,” Samaraweera said.
Following are excerpts of the interview:
Continue reading ‘President and Govt Must go Home or do a”U”Turn and Re-Democratize-Mangala Samaraweera’ »
By Thulasi Muttulingam
It is an internationally accepted charter that citizens of any country ‘belong’ to that country, even if they happen to be first-generation citizens of that country. In Sri Lanka however, citizens who are several generations old in the country are facing simmering tensions that are nothing new yet troubling in its increasing intensity.
“Thambiya, go back home to where you came from.” More than a few bewildered Muslims have heard this in recent times. But where did they come from? Most have been settled here for so many generations that they do not even know which part of the world their ancestors came from. Having intrinsically blended into the Sri Lankan culture and landscape for generations, they identify themselves with pride as Sri Lankans. They were born in Sri Lanka and are Sri Lankan citizens. So where do they belong if not here?
Continue reading ‘Young Sri Lankans Particularly Sinhala Buddhists are Uniting to Prevent Their Voices Being Hijacked by Racist Elements’ »
The Sunday Times Political Editor
Ravinatha Aryasinha & Mahinda Samarasinghe
The issues at the UN Human Rights Council, currently in session, continue to be in focus. Having originally decided to field a low key delegation, the Government changed its mind at the eleventh hour. Just three days before the Council sessions began, President Rajapaksa asked Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe who is also his Special Envoy on Human Rights to head the country’s delegation. Earlier, it was decided to leave Sri Lanka’s destiny in the hands of Ambassador Aryasinha. The Ministry of External Affairs liked it that way too. Clearly, the President didn’t place much confidence in Aryasinha.
Continue reading ‘President Rajapaksa did not Place Much Confidence in Ravinatha Aryasinha’ »
By Mirudhula Thambiah
Thousands displaced by the conflict and now back in their homes in the North and East are having a hard time resuming normal life, especially with such setbacks as missing personal files and documents. When required to produce essential documents for official purposes, these people have nothing to show.During the war, hundreds of families left their homes to seek safety in areas controlled by the security forces.
Now back in their former homes, they find their personal files missing or damaged. School teachers and principals in places like Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu say that without these documents they cannot apply for salary increments, arrears payments, loans or transfers, while retired persons say they cannot apply for pensions, and students are stuck without proof of their exam results.
Continue reading ‘Displaced Families Re-settling in North and East Face Problems due to Personal Documents being Lost During War years’ »
Chris Kamalendran in Kachchativu
As a four-hour voyage in a passenger ferry, cutting through the choppy waters of the Palk Strait on a bright Sunday nears end, the panorama unfolds.Staring at us is a riot of colour. They are a collection of polythene sheets tied to poles to form a roof.
Hundreds of devotees, from India and Sri Lanka, had gathered there with whatever little they could carry. On hand to protect them were the Indian Coast Guard and the Sri Lanka Navy. Congregated to convey the proceedings to the outside world, are the electronic and print media from both countries.
Continue reading ‘Poor Attendance at St.Anthony’s Church Feast in Kachchatheevu this Year’ »
Last week, we saw the coming together of opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and former President Chandrika Kumaratunga at the launch of a book commemorating Vijaya Kumaratunga. CBK never commemorated Vijaya in this manner even when she was in power.
Moreover, she has not been known to spend money without a good reason. The removal of the limit on the number of times one could hold the position of president through the 18th Amendment has laid open the tantalizing prospect for has-beens like CBK to make a political come back. Presenting the first copy of her book to RW was perhaps a way of sidling up to the UNP whose support she will need if she is to mount a challenge to President Rajapaksa. Ranil and CBK make strange bed-fellows. CBK was the most vicious and vindictive head of state or head of government in post independence history and RW was the most persecuted and hounded opposition leader in post independence history. Never has any opposition leader in this country been personally targeted and persecuted as RW was by CBK in 1994-2001.
Continue reading ‘Will Ranil Wickremesinghe Field Chandrika Kumaratunga as Presidential Candidate Against Mahinda Rajapaksa?’ »
by Zacki Jabbar
Tamil Nadu is Sri Lanka’s gateway to India, High Commissioner in Colombo, Ashok K Kantha said yesterday.
Indians were closely connected to Sri Lankans through age old cultural and religious ties. Some recent misunderstandings should not be allowed to tarnish a historic friendship, he said while observing that Tamil Nadu was Sri Lanka’s gateway to his country.
Continue reading ‘Tamil Nadu is Sri Lanka’s Gateway to India says Indian Envoy Ashok Kantha’ »
The Muslim community is under attack. There have been increasing reports of attacks on mosques and shops owned by Muslims as part of a broader hate campaign against Muslims. The attack on the Dambulla Khairya Jummah mosque in April 2012 saw a decisive shift in the scale of these attacks. This act of violence was built on anti-Muslim rhetoric and a nascent campaign that had been simmering for years. More recently, the anti-Halal campaign and the boycott of No Limit stores has mobilised much larger sections of society. The mobilisations, together with chauvinistic public discourse, have alerted a few critical journalists, public intellectuals and activists to rightly draw parallels between these developments and the events that led up to the July 1983 pogrom against the Tamil community. Indeed, there needs to be stronger mobilisations and statements of condemnations to arrest this wave of anti-Muslim attacks. In this article, I ask a question that has not received as much attention: Why are these attacks on the Muslim community taking place now?
Continue reading ‘Why is the Anti-Muslim Campaign Gaining Momentum in Sri Lanka only now?’ »
By Hector Welgampola
Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation became a fertile field for speculation including even Dan Brown-style media fare. The reported flash of lightening over the Vatican a few days after the pope’s resignation, the conclave date set close to the ides of March and even the Malachian prophecies have spawned spooky spin.
Less speculative media kept feeding people’s curiosity with questions about the papal succession: who will be the next pope, where will he come from, what will be his agenda or his theological camp? Bookmakers have already listed candidates for their own conclave of the media.
Continue reading ‘Will Spiritual Vigour of Churches of Latin America,Asia and Africa Move Conclave Into Electing a Third World Pope?’ »
If the stormy debate in the upper house of the Indian parliament the Rajya Sabha, last Wednesday is anything to go by, perhaps there is insufficient appreciation in this country of the difficulties faced by the Indian central government vis-a-vis its Sri Lanka policy. The Rajya Sabha debate was not play acting – that was a real life debate reflecting the realities of Indian politics. This debate calling attention to “the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka” was opened by V.Maitreyan of Tamil Nadu. External Affairs Minister Salman Kurshid tried to keep his statement focused on re-settlement and rehabilitation but that was not what the Tamil Nadu members wanted to hear. Ultimately the debate was not about any ‘plight’ of the Tamil people but about India’s foreign policy. Kurshid was forced to digress from his topic of resettlement and rehabilitation and how much India has contributed towards it, to say that the Indian government’s constant attempt has been to persuade ‘our friendly government of Sri Lanka’ to stand by the commitment that it has made to the world about the 13th Amendment.
Continue reading ‘Purported Concern for Sri Lankan Tamils is only an Expression of Separatist Sentiment in Tamil Nadu’ »
Debarshi Dasgupta Interviews Callum Macrae
Not a stranger to controversy, British filmmaker Callum Macrae’s latest documentary No Fire Zone—Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields has unearthed pictures of slain LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran’s 12-year-old son Balachandran. In this latest set of pictures, we see him eating hours before he was shot and again photographed, suggesting he was killed in cold blood and not in an exchange of fire. These pictures were presumably taken by someone from the Sri Lankan army on 19 May 2009, when he was apparently being held by them. Prabhakaran, it may be added, had been killed the day before and the Sri Lankas government had declared itself victor in the battle.
The film will premiere next month in Geneva, to coincide with a UN Human Rights Council meeting that shall scrutinise the Sri Lankan government’s attempts at providing justice and accountability. In an interview with Outlook, Macrae argues Sri Lanka must get to the bottom of this and other war crimes mentioned in the film instead of denying them to avoid getting entangled in a renewed cycle of violence with the Tamils. He also takes questions on whether his films, including his earlier one just called Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields, have helped the peace process at all and what India ought to be doing as Sri Lanka’s influential neighbour.
Continue reading ‘I Have Made Three Films Examining War Crimes Allegations Against UK and US Forces in Iraq-Callum Macrae’ »
A set of three photographs splashed recently across the front pages of Indian newspapers recall in chilling detail the horrific side of the ethnic war in Sri Lanka that ended in 2009. They are of Balachandran, the 12-year-old son of slain LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. The first two photos show the bare-bodied young boy forlornly sitting in a bunker munching on biscuits. In the third, he is lying dead on the ground, with bullet wounds on his chest. The photos, part of footage from a controversial documentary, No Fire Zone: Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields by British filmmaker Callum Macrae, suggest cold-blooded execution.
The Sri Lankan government claims the photographs are “doctored”. But Macrae told Outlook that he and his team have carefully “analysed and authenticated” the footage and are sure that the boy was killed not in a crossfire, as claimed by Colombo, but in cold blood.
Irrespective of whether they are doctored or not, the publication of the photographs has outraged most Indians, particularly those in Tamil Nadu, where there has been traditional support for the ‘Tamil cause’ as espoused by the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka. But if the LTTE’s ruthless tactics—leading to the death of many innocent people—had led to its marginalisation in Tamil Nadu politics in the past, the alleged execution of the young boy has successfully brought Tamil politicians of all hues together to rally against Sri Lanka
Continue reading ‘Tamil Nadu More Than any Other Indian State has Benefited from the Close Ties Between India and Sri Lanka’ »
R. K. Radhakrishnan
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has denied that the Army killed LTTE chief Prabakaran’s 12-year-old son Balachandran.
“Had it happened, I would have known [it]. It is obvious that if somebody [from the armed forces] had done that, I must take responsibility. We completely deny it. It can’t be,” he told The Hindu in an exclusive interview.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Army did not Kill Prabhakaran’s son Balachandran says Mahinda Rajapaksa’ »
It is recent history, though most of us have already forgotten it or have chosen to forget it. The power struggle within the United National Party (UNP) seems to be over, yet among the grassroots, the overwhelming sentiment is that the Party is no longer relevant in national politics nor is it competitive at elections. If one chooses to ignore and forget the brutal truths and unpalatable realities of that recent past, one does it at his own peril. Hence, let me pen those most unpleasant and disagreeable events in the order in which they occurred so that the reader would be reminded as to what did take place within the confines of the UNP and its Working Committee and Convention.
Continue reading ‘A Change in Leadership is a Prerequisite for any Meaningful Journey the UNP Wishes to Undertake’ »
BY SUMITHI THANGARASA, S. K. PRASATH
UNHRC High Commissioner Navi Pillay has led the Sri Lankan Tamils astray and the TNA is carrying out duplicitous politics, Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, General Secretary of the Tamil National People’s Front charged. “TNA must stop cheating, and must work for the people,” he said.
Continue reading ‘UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay has led the Sri Lankan Tamils Astray Charges Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam’ »
(Text of Editorial Appearing in “The Guardian”of March 1st 2013)
After the showing of the documentary No Fire Zone in the Palais des Nations in Geneva yesterday, the Sri Lankan ambassador denounced it and criticised the UN human rights council for permitting the event to take place in a United Nations building.
His speech was received in complete silence by a gathering which included a number of diplomats who are in Geneva to take part in the current session of the council, which is due to discuss Sri Lanka’s human rights record. That silence, Sri Lanka’s critics would say, was an eloquent one.
Continue reading ‘A Much Tougher Resolution on Sri Lanka Should Come out of the UNHRC – Guardian’ »
The Office of UN Human Rights Council,
Civil Society Section,
Letter to the UNHRC in Support of North and East Christian Clergy Sri Lanka
Dear Sir / Madam,
We the undersigned individuals and groups vehemently support and endorse the views and demands, contained in the letter sent on 18th Feb. 2013 by 133 Christian Clergy in North and East Sri Lanka, to the President and members of the UN Human Rights Council.
It is our view that lives of thousands of innocent people in the last stages of the war were lost not due to any lack of information but due to a lack of political will to act to save the lives of people.
The priority of the international community at all times should be to assist in protecting the lives of people rather than the state. Often the priorities seem to get mixed up.
Continue reading ‘Christian Clergy and Laity in South Write to UNHRC in Support of Christian Clergy from North and East’ »
Geoffrey Robertson QC
Geoffrey Robertson QC
Prominent Australian Lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC in a report published by the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) concludes that Shirani Bandaranayake the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka was innocent of the misconduct charges which brought about her removal from office last month.
The report calls for the UK to subject the seven Sri Lankan cabinet ministers who convicted her, and 117 government MPs who signed a “false and fabricated” impeachment motion, to be refused entry visas and to have their bank accounts in Britain frozen.
Dr Shirani Bandaranayake
It wants Sri Lanka suspended from the Commonwealth, and urges the Queen not to attend the November Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM), scheduled for Colombo.
The eminent human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson was the First President of the UN Court in Sierra Leone and a ‘distinguished jurist’ member of the UN Internal Justice Council which disciplines UN judges.
The Conclusion of the Report which incorporates recommendations made by Barrister Robertson is reproduced in full below -
Continue reading ‘All 117 MP’s who Signed Impeachment Motion and the 7 Cabinet Ministers who Convicted Chief Justice Must be Denied Entry into Britain and Bank Accounts Frozen’ »
(Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha today intervened during the screening of the “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka” film of the UK’s Channel-4 and protested against attempts by the organizers to use the UN premises for the screening)
Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha
Following is the full statement released by the Sri Lankan mission in Geneva:
The Government of Sri Lanka strongly protests against the efforts by the organizers of this event – Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Festival du Film et Forum International sur les Droits Humains (FIFDH), to use the UN premises for the screening of this film “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka”. Sri Lanka also strongly protests the perception that has been sought to be created in the public mind, through pro-LTTE websites, as well as by duping even better known media organs such as even the International Herald Tribune, which yesterday in an article quoted the Director of this film Mr. Callum Macrae as saying that the film “would be screened at the 22nd Session of the Human Rights Council now underway in Geneva, where the United States plans to introduce a resolution asking Sri Lanka to investigate the allegations of the war crimes by its army”.
Sri Lanka views this film ‘No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka’, which follows the screening of ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ (June 2011) and ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished’ (March 2012) screened on the sidelines of previous HRC sessions, as part of a cynical, concerted and orchestrated campaign that is strategically driven and aimed at influencing the debate in the Council on Sri Lanka. It is clearly motivated by collateral political considerations.
Continue reading ‘Lankan Envoy to UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha Intervenes During Screening of CHannel 4 Film to Protest Strongly’ »
(Statement made on 1 March 2013 by TNA M.P. M.A. Sumanthiran at the UNHRC Event in Geneva titled ‘The No Fire Zone’)
On behalf of the Tamil People I wish to thank you Callum for that film. Our thanks our due to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch for sponsoring this event.
A statement attributed to Schopenhauer says that every truth passes through three stages. In the first it is ridiculed, in the second it is opposed, in the third it is regarded as self-evident.
Continue reading ‘On going Violations and Persecution of the Tamil Population need to be Investigated and Stopped -Sumanthiran’ »
Sri Lanka today is a land of perplexing paradoxes and ironic contradictions. A former Army commander is forcibly dragged to captivity and court-martialled on flimsy charges by military personnel and officers who served under him.
The De jure Chief Justice of the country is “removed” from office on the basis of an adverse report presented by partisan Govt MP’s after Parliamentary Select Committee proceedings amounting to a Kafkauesque trial.
~ Asela Waidyalankara in Hospital ~ pic via: twitter/MangalaS ~ Mangala Samaraweera
The latest episode in this serial is the incident in the East where the only son of the serving Deputy Inspector General of Police is ruthlessly assaulted in an area within his father’s official jurisdiction. While the victim of the assault lies in a Colombo hospital, the father of the chief assailant a powerful cabinet minister is engaged in brazen efforts to thwart the course of justice to safeguard his son.
Continue reading ‘Minister Maithripala Sirisena Attempting to Obstruct Justice to Safeguard Son Daham who Attacked Asela Waidyalankara’ »
By Sujeewa Amaranath
The Sri Lankan government is under mounting international pressure over its responsibility for war crimes during the country’s protracted civil war that ended with the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May 2009.
Sri Lanka is due to be discussed next Monday at the current UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) annual meeting, where a US-backed resolution is due to be tabled. While details have not been made public, the resolution is expected to go further than previous ones in calling for international monitoring of human rights in Sri Lanka.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Govt Under Mounting International Pressure over its Responsibility for War Crimes and Human Rights Abuses’ »
My recent visit to Jaffna stretched once again (like in January 2012) a trip to the north-west coastal islands due to my visiting relatives wanting to worship at the Shree Nagapooshani Amman temple in the Islet of Nainativu. A contingent of fifteen relatives went to the islet.
It was a very bumpy drive on the pothole and patchwork road. The drive did not give any impression that there is any major roadwork plan for the narrow lagoon road. The intermittent pothole patchwork undertaken confirmed the fate of the road for the motorists for some time to come.
Continue reading ‘Douglas Devananda is said to be Charging 400,000 Rupees for a Government Job’ »
Geneva, Switzerland : International delegates, including Human Rights Experts, Human Rights Activists, and Members of Parliament from Australia , Canada , France , Germany , Belgium , Denmark , India , Italy , Mauritius , Malaysia , New Zealand , Norway , South Africa , Sri Lanka , and UK are arriving to discuss the pressing issues on Rights of Tamils.
Hundreds of representatives from Tamil organizations across the world will be participating at this conference.
Continue reading ‘International delegates arrive in Geneva for the “Conference on Tamil People’s Rights”-ICET’ »
When the chilling new photographs of LTTE supremo Velupillai PirapaharanТs 12-year-old son Balachandran captured and held in a sandbag bunker of the Sri Lankan Army and executed in cold blood and photographed again were published in the media recently, the international community was shocked but official India was unmoved.
Unlike his older brother Charles Antony and sister Dwarka, Balachandran never joined the LTTE, never bore arms against the Sri Lankan armed forces or anyone else. He was executed in cold blood because of his ethnicity and parentage. It was an extremely barbaric act.
The photographic evidence is part of the third documentary by BritainТs Channel 4 titled УNo War Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka,Ф which will be screened in Geneva in March ahead of a second resolution sponsored by the USA against the island nation at the UN Human Rights Council.
Continue reading ‘Shivshankar Menon, Vijay Nambiar, MK Narayanan and Nirupama Menon Rao Played Crucial Role in Reversing India’s Time-tested Sri Lanka Policy’ »
By Chamitha Kuruppu
Wimal Weerawansa – At Fast against UN in July 2010
(Housing Minister Wimal Weerawansa believes that the Sri Lankan Government has no clear view on how to counter war crimes allegations against the country. Weerawansa, whose hard line National Freedom Front (NFF) is a constituent of the ruling UPFA, says that to fight Western Imperialists, the Government needs to face those forces and counter their allegations tactfully.
As Geneva 2013 gets underway, the outspoken Minister says he will not be the Government’s mouthpiece even though people are questioning his silence. “If the Government does not want to talk about these things, if they want to take things lightly, why should I shout alone?” he asks.
Weerawansa, who dropped a political bombshell recently by calling the country’s Treasury Secretary an ‘economic hit man’, warned that Sri Lanka was facing an economic war that would be worse than the country’s three decade battle with the separatist LTTE. The Minister vowed to carry on his campaign against P.B. Jayasundera even if it costs him his ministerial portfolio.
He also said that the Government should brace itself for major political fallout in the near future.)
Following are excerpts from the interview
Continue reading ‘I Criticize PB Jayasundara but Other Ministers are Afraid to Say Anything Because he was Appointed by the President and Basil Rajapaksa -Wimal Weerawansa’ »
By T. Farook Thajudeen
The former chairman of NSB, Pradeep Kariyawasam, who is facing corruption charges in court, was released yesterday on surety bail of Rs. 20 million.
Kariyawasam is facing charges before the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court for causing a monetary loss to the Government to the tune of over Rs. 391 million through the unlawful purchase of shares of The Finance Company (TFC).The case was taken up before Colombo Chief Magistrate Rashmi Singappuli yesterday.
Appearing on behalf of the Bribery Commission, the Commission’s Assistant Director (Legal) Asitha Anthony initially asked that the case be kept down since two State Counsels from the Attorney General’s Department were due to appear in court to make submissions.
Continue reading ‘Shirani Bandaranayake’s Spouse Pradeep Kariyawasam Facing Corruption Charges Released by Court on Surety Bail of Rs.20 Million’ »
Maj Gen Shavendra Silva
(Text of Speech made by Sri Lanka’s Deputy Permanent Representative in New York Maj. Gen. Shavendra Silva at the US Marine Corps University)
pic courtesy of: dailymirror.lk
Gentlemen, at the outset I make a wider view on what stand I appear on your stage while holding ambassadorial representation in United States, particularly all along with the issues of United Nations; that is what is relevant to the Sri Lankan context in the global arena.
Continue reading ‘What was Inspiring in my Life are the Blessings of the Civilians Rescued by me who are now Totally Free to live in Their own Native Land’ »
N Sathiya Moorthy
Not giving into sentiments from across the country entirely, the Centre has done the right thing by treading cautiously on the Sri Lankan issue.
Law students protest in Coimbatore against visit of president Mahinda Rajapaksa – Feb 2013 – pic: PTI
The US sponsor of last year’s UNHRC resolution has once again expressed its intention to come up with another one at the on-going session in Geneva. And, significantly, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid broadly hinted at the possibilities and the probability that New Delhi may have to vote for the resolution as it had done last year.
Continue reading ‘Will Peripheral Groups in Tamil Nadu Polity Charging New Delhi with Complicity in Sri Lankan “War Crimes”Demand Action Against India too?’ »
By Gibson Bateman
Soon another US-sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka will be tabled at the UN’s Human Rights Council (HRC).
It’s very unlikely that the recent high-level US delegation that came to Sri Lanka would have announced that a procedural resolution would be backed if Washington wasn’t absolutely positive that it had the votes to get another resolution through the council. The votes for another resolution on Sri Lanka are there; that’s for sure.
Continue reading ‘Barack Obama Administration’s Pivot to Asia is Grounded on Security Concerns and Economics not Human Rights’ »
Col R. Hariharan
A U.S. draft resolution on Sri Lanka’s accountability for alleged war crimes being brought before the 24th meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) now in circulation (received from an Indian TV news channel) is at Annexure.
While it is not an official version, in this article I have analysed its contents in the belief it is probably the real one.
Continue reading ‘India Still Talks of Implementing 13th Amendment when President Rajapaksa has Consigned it to the Constitutional Morgue’ »
By Upul Joseph Fernando
“New Delhi’s current gesture of rediscovering another memorial at Palaly, along with the occupying genocide Sinhala military, signals negatively when there is demand for international investigation of war crimes in the island….”
High Commissioner Ashok Kantha arrives for Signing of Contract Documents for Revival of Atchchuvely Industrial Estate in Jaffna Today February 24, 2013-pic: India High Commission, Sri Lanka
The above was posted on the Tamilnet on 23 February 2013, following the visit of Indian High Commissioner, Ashok Kantha, to Jaffna, where he paid tribute to the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) at the memorial in Palaly.
The IPKF memorial was rediscovered many years after the end of the war. When this ‘rediscovery’ is considered in tandem with the account given in ‘The Hindu’, it seems to contain something more than what meets the eye. In fact, it alludes strongly to the possibility of it being not just a mere rediscovery of a long forgotten memorial, but India’s unequivocal assertion a strong bond exists between India and Northern Sri Lanka.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Wants Present Indian High Commissioner Changed but New Delhi is in no Mood to Oblige’ »
“Of course he won’t give up power…. What were we thinking? The old man isn’t going anywhere, he’ll die in office”.
Peter Godwin (The Fear: The Last Days of Robert Mugabe)
Another milestone in the Rajapaksa plan to control every aspect of Lankan life has been reached. 4,000 school principals have been ordered to undergo 45 days of military training and receive military titles. “The letters sent out by the Sri Lanka Cadet Corps…state that officials of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service who hold the post of principal and those in Grades I and II of the principal’s service have been asked to attend the interviews on March 4, 5 and 6.” (Daily Mirror 27.2.2013).
Does the Cadet Corp have a right to send orders to school principals? Obviously not; Sri Lanka has a volunteer army and ordering civilians to undergo military training or accept military titles does not accord with the term ‘voluntary’. But, given the climate of fear permeating the country, no principal is likely to refuse.
Seeking redress from this judiciary will be an exercise in insanity.
Continue reading ‘As Economic Conditions in the Sinhala-South Worsen, and the Opposition Vacillates, a Section of the Military can Step Into the Breach’ »
M.A.Sumanthiran M.P. – pic: YATV
(Text of Address by MA Sumanthiran MP at the Global Tamil Federation 3rd Anniversary Conference held in Londonat the British Parliament)
I count it a privilege and an honour to have been invited to address this assembly this afternoon.
It is said that Truth is the first casualty of war. I want to say today that Truth is also the first step in reconciliation. It is in recognition of this principle that after the struggle to end Apartheid in South Africa, the process that united the country was called the “Truth and Reconciliation Commission”.
In Sri Lanka too, many Truths about the war were hidden and continue to remain hidden. It is time for us in Sri Lanka to uncover the truth, face up to it, and move forward towards reconciliation. The end of the war in May 2009 provided us with a great opportunity for that. Unfortunately, triumphalism and narrow, parochial self interest has prevailed for the last four years resulting in more damage being done to the social fabric and the institutional safeguards in our country than what they suffered even during the years of war. Violations of human rights were rife, as can be expected, whilst the war raged. But sadly, the end of the war did not turn things around.
Continue reading ‘TNA Calls Upon Sri Lankan Govt to Cooperate with any UNHRC Resolution Seeking Implementation of LLRC Recommendations and Ascertainment of Truth.’ »
“Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.”
- George Bernard Shaw
It is history, but recent enough to be discussed: 3 July 2011 marked a historic day for Thailand: A country whose people hold their ceremonial Monarch in awe and veneration, elected for the first time in their history, a woman Prime Minister, Yungluck Shinawatra, younger sister of ousted former Prime Minister Thakshin Shinawatra. Thailand, where nearly 30% of companies are led by CEOs of the fairer sex, elected a woman as the mother of all CEOs – Prime Minister. The elections were universally accepted as free and fair, a phrase that eludes any meaningful mention in the context of Sri Lankan elections. A process which stands the test of trial and time seems to have taken root in the kingdom of Thailand. What more can one ask for, from a people whose women folks’ main livelihood, in the popular mind, is of questionable moral fibre? Most of the Ladies of the Evening would have rallied round a formidable woman, a successful businesswoman and a leader of the first order. However, her being the sister of the ousted Thakshin seems to be a sore point, especially among her critics. Accident of birth seems a very powerful qualification in political succession stories in Asia; be it India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and of course Sri Lanka.
Continue reading ‘When Confronted with a Choice Between Mahinda Rajapaksa and Ranil Wickremesinghe the Voter’s Task Becomes Even More easier’ »
United National Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday called for an official apology to Sri Lankan Muslims from the Government saying the community had been deeply hurt by the recent incident in Kuliyapitiya and other parts of the country.
Addressing a rare media briefing yesterday, Wickremesinghe said that anti-Muslim sentiment in the country was making the Muslim Community feel deeply insecure and fearful for their safety and the Government has thus far not done enough to address the issue.
Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Wants Official Apology From Government to Sri Lankan Muslims’ »
Mangala Samaraweera M.P.
Mangala Samaraweera M.P
(TEXT OF PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED BY MANGALA SAMARAWEERA M.P.)
It was indeed saddening to hear of the savage beating of Mr. Asela Waidyalankara by a group of goons led by a Ministerial Son. While incidents of violence between young people are not unusual, the level of impunity enjoyed by a privileged few and the blatant double standards applied by those supposed to uphold the rule of law in such instances are no doubt unique to the ‘Miracle of Asia.’
Continue reading ‘Plight of Young Mr.Waidyalankara is Symbolic of our Collective Fate in a Country Bereft of Justice and Law’ »
(Text of Address Sri Lankan Cabinet by Minister Mahinda Samarasainghe at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva)
Sri Lanka’s Special Envoy on Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe
“It is an honour and a pleasure to address this august Council today. On behalf of my delegation, let me felicitate you upon your assumption of the Presidency and offer our support to you in the discharge of your office during your tenure. As with your distinguished predecessors, we are confident of working together in ensuring that the objectives of the Council are met.
“At the conclusion of Sri Lanka’s universal periodic review (UPR) last November, I informed the Working Group that we would continue our practice of sharing with the Council our ongoing progress towards peace and normality. We are present here today to share that progress. Though faced with skepticism and even hostile criticism from some quarters, Sri Lanka has continued to engage its interlocutors in a spirit of openness, candour and constructive dialogue.
“Let me now briefly address some of the highlights of our achievements.
Continue reading ‘“We Strongly Object to any Unfair, Biased, Unprincipled and Unjust Approach by UNHRC with Regard to Human Rights in Sri Lanka’ »
By Harim Peiris
The above was the anguished and rather alarming cry that emanated a few weeks ago from Cabinet Minister and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader Rauff Hakeem. That a minister, of justice at that and the leader of the preeminent Muslim political party had to make a plea for an end to ethno religious hate mongering in Sri Lanka was sobering enough. Coming as it does on the heels of a sustained and systematic low intensity civil assault on the Muslim community, that has included attacks on mosques and Muslim owned businesses is alarming. Sri Lanka is just emerging from nearly three decades of an ethnic based civil war and the signs are ominous that we seemed to have learned nothing from our past and are hell bent on starting a new conflict, this one an ethno religious conflict, with religion thrown into the toxic mix.
Continue reading ‘“Stop the Hate Campaign Against Muslims”’ »
By Sathya Liyanasuriya
Minister of Plantation Industries Mahinda Samarasinghe may enjoy being tagged as the defender of Sri Lanka’s human rights record but unlike last year, the brief that was handed last week is an extremely challenging one, entrusted at very short notice.
It was only a few days ago that President Mahinda Rajapaksa summoned Samarasinghe and External Affairs minister G. L. Peiris and informed them that the former would be leading the Sri Lankan delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions now on in Geneva.
Continue reading ‘It is Unlikely that Mahinda Samarasinghe will be able to Work Miracles in Geneva and Prevent a resolution against Sri Lanka being Passed’ »
The beautiful Palais des Nations building in Geneva, once the home of the Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations, will host a screening of the latest instalment in a British documentary series tomorrow that relentlessly seeks to expose alleged crimes of war during the final phase of Sri Lanka’s battle against the LTTE.
For the next month, the classical building in the Swiss city will also be the foreground of Sri Lanka’s diplomatic battle to salvage a modicum of international respectability one year after a resolution was adopted against the country at the UN Human Rights Council urging Colombo to move on reconciliation and investigating alleged breaches of international law during the last stages of a brutal civil conflict in 2009.
Days before the 22nd Session of the UNHRC opened in Geneva, a disturbing set of images surfaced. The pictures showed a nervous looking 12-year-old, snacking on a biscuit inside what looks like a bunker. The second picture that the filmmakers say is sequential shows the same boy shot dead, allegedly at close range.
Continue reading ‘The Channel 4 Documentary Screening is Sri Lanka’s first Major Challenge at the UNHRC Sessions in Geneva this Year’ »
Accounts From “We Will Teach You a Lesson”:
All initials are pseudonyms and bear no relation to the person’s actual name.
Case of JH
JH, a 23-year-old Tamil man studying in the United Kingdom, returned to Colombo in August 2012 for family reasons. A month later, while returning home from work, a white van pulled up and several men jumped out. Telling him he was needed for an investigation, they blindfolded him and drove him for over an hour to an unknown site. He told Human Rights Watch:
They removed my blindfold [and] I found myself in a room where four other men were present. I was tied to a chair and questioned about my links to the LTTE and the reason for my recent travel abroad. They stripped me and started beating me. I was beaten with electric wires, burned with cigarettes and suffocated with a petrol-infused polythene bag. Later that night, I was left in a smaller room. I was raped on three consecutive days. The first night, one man came alone and anally raped me. The second and third night, two men came to my room. They anally raped me and also forced me to have oral sex with them. I signed a confession admitting my links with the LTTE after the rapes.
Continue reading ‘Personal Accounts of Four Tamil Victims of Sexual Violence by Sri Lankan Armed Forces and Police Cited in Human Rights Watch Report’ »
Human Rights Watch
(London, February 26, 2013) – Sri Lankan security forces have been using rape and other forms of sexual violence to torture suspected members or supporters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. While widespread rape in custody occurred during the armed conflict that ended in May 2009, Human Rights Watch found that politically motivated sexual violence by the military and police continues to the present.
The 141-page report, “‘We Will Teach You a Lesson’: Sexual Violence against Tamils by Sri Lankan Security Forces,” provides detailed accounts of 75 cases of alleged rape and sexual abuse that occurred from 2006-2012 in both official and secret detention centers throughout Sri Lanka. In the cases documented by Human Rights Watch, men and women reported being raped on multiple days, often by several people, with the army, police, and pro-government paramilitary groups frequently participating.
Continue reading ‘“‘We Will Teach You a Lesson’: Sexual Violence against Tamils by Sri Lankan Security Forces,” -141 Page Report by Human Rights Watch’ »
The main thrust of Gordon Weiss’s latest fusillade against the Sri Lankan government is to dismiss the ground situation analysed objectively by the visit of Julie Bishop, the deputy leader of the Liberal Party. Having got the inconvenient facts out of his way he cites the report of the International Crisis Group produced in distant New York as the acceptable analysis of the current situation in Sri Lanka.
Taking the ICG report as his holy Bible he then proceeds to demand regime change of the elected government of Sri Lanka as the panacea for all ills, including the spike in boat people coming to Australia. By saying ‘only upheaval can stem flow from Sri Lanka’ the not so wise, Weiss using Australian soil is encouraging a violent, sudden change and disruption in my country.
Continue reading ‘Infantile Notion of Restoring Democracy by Regime Change Without the Consent of the People Goes Counter to Respected Liberal Traditions’ »
The federal Coalition’s account of its recent mission to Sri Lanka is jarring when contrasted with a new report from the International Crisis Group, and with recent UN reports. With the boat people bogeyman running amok over Australia’s electoral landscape, and Australia due to scrutinise Sri Lanka’s record on postwar reconciliation and allegations of war crimes next month at the UN Human Rights Council, a fuller account is necessary.
Where the Coalition saw orderly transition from war, yesterday’s ICG report, Sri Lanka’s Authoritarian Turn: The Need for International Action, describes a country where the dismantling of the rule of law threatens peace. While the Coalition thought a boat voyage a greater danger to life than any factor in Sri Lanka, the ICG confirms a steady drumbeat of extrajudicial killings, abductions and enforced disappearances.
Continue reading ‘Australia should support a Sri Lankan Government Intent on Restoring Sri Lanka’s Democratic Traditions.’ »
By Shabiya Ali Ahlam
The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) yesterday said it would hand over the Halal certification process to the Government to provide a mechanism that would be acceptable by all stakeholders.ACJU said the decision was taken with the intention of toning down the prevailing situation with regard to the Halal certification matter that has been grabbing attention since December 2012.
“We feel that the continuous debate on the sensitive Halal issue would only threaten the peaceful coexistence of the people. If handing over the Halal certification process over to the Government would help ease the tension, we are willing to do the same,” ACJU President Ash Sheikh Mufthi M.I.M. Rizwe told a media conference.
Continue reading ‘All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulama Ready to Hand Over Halal Certification Process Responsibility to Government’ »
By Dharisha Bastians
Sri Lanka yesterday rejected a proposed second US resolution against the country, saying country specific resolutions could not be brought before the UN Human Rights Council.
The Sri Lankan Delegation to the 22nd Session of the UNHRC said the US resolution smacked of double standards and an attempt to draw “disproportionate attention” towards the countryExercising a right of reply to a statement made by US Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, Esther Brimmer who announced a second US sponsored Sri Lanka resolution against Sri Lanka, Counsellor to Sri Lanka’s Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva, Priyanga Wickremasinghe told the council that Sri Lanka was ‘surprised’ by the announcement by the US official.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka states in Geneva that the UN Human Rights Council Should not Debate or Discuss a Country Specific Resolution’ »
The main Opposition United National Party denounced the attack on Asela Waidyalankara by the son of a Senior Cabinet Minister yesterday, claiming that the immediate release of the suspects proved that the recently-enacted amendments to the detention laws in the country were only meant for use against political opponentsAsela Waidyalankara, who is the son of Batticaloa DIG Ravi Waidyalankara, is currently receiving treatment at a private hospital in Colombo after allegedly being assaulted by 13 people, including Minister Maithripala Sirisena’s son, at a holiday resort in Pasikudah.
Continue reading ‘UNP Condemns Immediate Release of Gang led by Health Minister Sirisena’s son that Assaulted Police DIG’s son’ »
( Text of Esther Brimmer Presenting U.S. Priorities at Opening of UN Human Rights Council Session in Geneva)
Esther Brimmer speaking at the Human Rights Council-pic: geneva.usmission.gov
Mr. President, fellow delegates, distinguished guests,
It is an honor for me to once again represent the United States before the UN Human Rights Council, to present our first intervention since being elected to a second term. In September 2009, I delivered the first U.S. intervention as a member of this esteemed body, in which the United States pledged to pursue broad international cooperation, both with traditional partners and across longstanding divides, to advance universal human rights and strengthen the Human Rights Council’s ability to achieve its essential mandate. I set out four aspirations that this Council must work to attain: universality, dialogue, principle, and truth. And in the three and a half years since the United States first joined the Human Rights Council, we have seen much progress toward these aspirations, and have reached a number of impressive achievements, principally through broad cooperation and collaboration by this Council’s diverse membership.
Continue reading ‘Council’s work remains Unfinished so long as Sri Lanka Continues to Fall Short in Implementing LLRC recommendations and Addressing Sources of Ethnic Conflict’ »
The crucifixion of Jesus Christ which is said to have been committed approximately 2000 years ago is commemorated annually by Christians the world over. The crucifixion of Sri Lanka, however, is an ongoing process which becomes most intense as the meeting of the UNHRC draws closer each year and is hence in no need of commemoration.
Originally this was purely an exercise of local Tamil politicians spreading ‘horror stories’ about the alleged discrimination against the Tamils practised by successive Governments of different political colourations with the single minded objective of gaining political power for themselves in the whole or a part of the country.
Today, however the scope of this exercise has expanded beyond the wildest dreams of those who first began it with reasonably modest ambitions but without any thought for the likely/possible consequences of their acts.
Today it has become essentially a money making cum power acquiring exercise.
Continue reading ‘The Crucifixion of Sri Lanka is an Ongoing Process that has Essentially Become a Money Making Cum Power Acquiring Exercise’ »
Lal kantha said, in the present era the joint struggle of the opposition led by parliamentarians is ineffective. Instead one has to concentrate on mass struggle with total participation of the partners of this struggle.
At least that is how I understood what he presented at the new political orientation of their party.
According to a media report, the JVP Politburo member K.D. Lal kantha has said, fighting to affect social transformation from within Parliament will not bear fruit and it is necessary to join with people outside the Parliament and fight for their rights.
Continue reading ‘Ranil or Anyone Else Cannot do much in a Scenario Where Mahinda has Assumed Power with Heavy Backing from Chauvinist Military Campaign’ »
Former UNP presidential candidate Mrs. Srima Dissanayake yesterday alleged that those raising accountability issues at international forums, including the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, conveniently failed to condemn assassinations carried out by the LTTE.
Mrs. Dissanayake said that she felt really bad about such outright international hypocrisy.
Continue reading ‘Srima Dissanayake and Sudarshini Fernandopulle Condemn International Hypocrisy in Raising Accountability Issues for Sri Lanka Alone’ »
by Lynn Ockersz
Apparently, ‘discourse’ in Sri Lanka on what has come to be characterized as the National Question is continuing to be bedeviled by issues in Historiography. If greater clarity is to be achieved in our understanding of the ‘conflict’ in this country, there needs to be objective, impartial, factual and unemotional commentary and writing on the issues at the heart of this country’s ethnic relations, which make-up a good part of the substance that constitutes our ‘conflict.’
While communalism and ethnic prejudice have been a fact of life in this country from perhaps the earliest decades of the century past and are still with us, we have not had in Sri Lanka a situation where our principal communities, as collectivities, have been in a chronic state of violent conflict with each other. It was not the case, even during the ‘holocaust’ of July 1983, that the ordinary man of the street was ‘going for the jugular’ of his neighbour, in consideration of the latter’s communal, cultural and other species of identity.
Continue reading ‘Chauvinisms of the North and South are Mutually-reinforcing and Tend to Feed off each Other.’ »
by Kath Noble
Last week, we were once again forced to think about what happened at the end of the war, with Channel Four releasing a preview of its latest documentary, ‘No Fire Zone’, and the director, Callum Macrae, promoting it in interviews with newspapers and television stations around the world.
In principle, this should be a good thing.
Nobody should be left to think that getting rid of the LTTE was easy. The government made a huge mistake in presenting its military campaign as a ‘humanitarian operation’ with ‘zero civilian casualties’. In the first place, this was a propaganda disaster, since everybody who had to be persuaded that the war shouldn’t be abandoned knew that it couldn’t possibly be true, on the very obvious basis of experience throughout the world and throughout history. It simply goaded people like Channel Four to try to catch them out.
Continue reading ‘If Navi Pillay got her way and War Crimes Investigation is Launched Against Majority will Sri Lanka will be Thrust into Further Chaos’ »
DR. DAYAN JAYATILLEKA
THE LEFT AS POLITICAL ACTOR (PART 1)
Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Virginia (founded by Thomas Jefferson), HL Seneviratne, writing in the Colombo Telegraph some weeks ago, raised the question ‘Is There a Role for the Left?’ and answered in the affirmative. I agree, though I suspect he is addressing a different tradition and generation of the Left than I am.
In order to make any headway whatsoever, all streams of the Lankan Left cannot avoid and must adopt a correct stance (note that I do not say the correct stance) on the interrelated issues of the war, the Tamil question, the minorities in general, and human rights/humanitarian law. With a single huge exception, nowhere on the planet has the Left made gains while going against patriotism. That exception was the Russian Revolution but as George Lichtheim noted, that was in a society where the bulk of the population, consisting of the peasantry, were not yet franchised and did not feel themselves stakeholders in the state. He went on to point out that by contrast, in those societies that had universal suffrage, the Left could not but support their national states during the war. Thus Russia was the exception that proved the rule—and in any case, the Russian state (unlike the Sri Lankan) lost WW1.
Continue reading ‘Legitimate Partner in South-North Project to Build a Sri Lankan Nation is What’s Left of the Tamil Left, Martyred by Tiger Fascism and Ignored by the State.’ »
Shirani Bandaranayake with Pradeep Kariyawasam
Dr.Shirani Bandaranayake who is regarded as the De-jure Chief Justice of Sri Lanka despite being “removed”from Office by President Mahinda Rajapaksa after what seemed like a “witch trial” was conducted by seven Government parliamentarians of an eleven member Parliamentary select Committee is being kept under Strict surveillance by “Officially” sanctioned Police acting “Unofficially”.
It is learnt that Police personnel assigned for her protection stationed in the vicinity of her residence at Lake Drive in Rajagiriya are behaving in an unacceptable and inappropriate manner under the guise of maintaining security.
Continue reading ‘De-jure Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake under Strict Surveillance by “Officially” Sanctioned Police acting “Unofficially”’ »
The Social Architects
The administration of President Mahinda Rajapaksa won the ethnic war, but Sri Lanka’s protracted conflict is more alive than ever. There is a lot of talk about how the situation in the North and East has improved, but most of these assertions are misleading. The rebuilding of physical infrastructure alone is not a very helpful indicator when it comes to reconciliation.
The dearth of psychosocial assistance being provided, the thousands of disappeared who remain missing and the continued erosion of the rule of law contradict the Government of Sri Lanka’s (GoSL) assertion that the country has made meaningful progress on the reconciliation front.
Continue reading ‘A Survey of 2000 Households in the North-East and Nuwara-Eliya about 34 Recommendations in LLRC Report’ »
Sri Lanka featured prominently at the very first meeting of the 22nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council that opened in Geneva yesterday, with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay flagging the country’s “massive violations” as proof that the world needed to do more to combat impunity for international crimes.
In her opening statement to the 22nd Session, High Commissioner Pillay cited ‘massive violations in Iraq and Sri Lanka’ to illustrate her point that “there are still far too many people with command responsibility who escape justice for serious crimes and gross human rights violations”.
Continue reading ‘UN Human Rights Council Session Commences in Geneva with Navi Pillay Flaying Sri Lanka for “Serious Crimes and Gross Human Rights Violations”’ »
In the aftermath of a pyrrhic victory over the LTTE and in a mood of triumphalism, President Mahinda Rajapaksa lectured to an anxious nation that there would henceforth be no more Sinhalese, Tamils or Muslims, and no more majority and minority in his country but only Sri Lankans. Those who listened to those words at that time or read them afterwards heaved a sigh of relief. After a little more than one quarter of a century of physical and mental trauma inflicted upon the nation by a reckless civil war, there was every reason for the people to believe that those words of the President would be the harbinger for a bright future in which there would be genuine democracy with its embedded qualities of freedom of expression, rule of law, equality of opportunity and justice.
Disappointingly, the political and administrative developments since then have made it clear that the President’s words were no more than political rhetoric. The war wounds still remain unhealed; the national Legislature has lost its democratic aura and credibility; the Judiciary – the ultimate refuge for the grieved in a democratic society – has lost its independence; nepotism and corruption are rampant; dissent to reigning views is suppressed; and the economy in the name of globalization is increasingly falling under foreign ownership.
Continue reading ‘Resumption of Anti-Muslim Campaign Echo the same Anti-Muslim Sentiments of Sinhala Buddhist Agitators Before 1915 Anti-Muslim Riots’ »
Former President of Sri Lanka, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, may be out of power but her words still carry much weight. Meeting her at a wedding in Delhi recently, I asked what she thought of the current situation in Sri Lanka. Her answer was succinct: “We may have won the civil war against Tamil separatists but we are losing the battle for peace.”
Like the Nehru and Bhutto families, Kumaratunga is a daughter of history with her late parents, Solomon Dias Bandaranaike and Sirima Bandaranaike, being former Prime Ministers of Sri Lanka. Kumaratunga was President of Sri Lanka from 1994 to 2005, during one of the most turbulent periods of the island’s history that saw an escalation of the bloody civil war between Tamil separatists led by Velupillai Prabhakaran, the dreaded chief of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and Sri Lanka’s Security Forces.
Continue reading ‘“When I Spoke to Defence Secretary Gotabhaya he did not Want to Dwell too Much on How Prabhakaran Met his End”’ »
Economic hit men are feared as well as loved. Feared because they hit you without you knowing from where you were hit; loved because they give you so much of excitement that you can talk about them for days without being bored. This was exactly what happened when John Perkins released ‘Confessions of an Economic Hit Man’ in 2004 alleging that the World Bank and US AID, two international agencies that provide development lending and aid to world’s poor countries, have employed economic hit men to destroy the countries which they planned to support.
Critics of Perkins were very quick to point out that he was a person infected by ‘conspiracy theory ailment’ and he had presented a dramatised story without facts or documentary evidence. Yet his book became so popular that it was on the top of the bestseller’s list for many years. Since then, it has become fashionable to label those who are disliked as ‘economic hit men’ because it tells a whole story in just three words. But, Perkins made history by coining a popular term to describe a great danger that is to befall on an economy due to orchestrations or wrong moves of men and not due to natural events. In that sense, there is an economic hit man today in town and that economic hit man is, by any comparison, the worst kind of economic hit men which Sri Lanka could have ever encountered.
Continue reading ‘The War on Halal is an “Economic Hit man”Campaign Orchestrated by some in the Majority Race against the Economic Interests of the Minorities’ »
The Department of Immigration & Emigration (DIE) and the office of the Legal Draftsman are at loggerheads over the new amendments to the Dual Citizenship Act.
It is learnt that the two departments are forwarding papers to and fro, between their offices, while having a disagreement as to how the new amendments could be accommodated. In an interesting twist to the year-long drawn out amendment, it is learnt that the two departments have also lost track as to where the documents are at present.
While the Controller, DIE, Chulananda Perera, said the draft amendment to the Dual Citizenship Act is still with the Legal Draftsman and they are awaiting his observations, the Legal Draftsman, G.A.S. de Silva, said he had sent the observations to the DIE.
Continue reading ‘Legal Draftsman and Immigration Controller Clash over Proposed Amendments to the Dual Citizenship Act’ »
Here in India, even in the midst of all the violence and greed, there is still hope. If anyone can do it, we can. We still have a population that has not yet been completely colonized by that consumerist dream.
We have a living tradition of those who have struggled for Gandhi’s vision of sustainability and self-reliance, for socialist ideas of egalitarianism and social justice. We have Ambedkar’s vision, which challenges the Gandhians as well as the socialists in serious ways. We have the most spectacular coalition of resistance movements, with their experience, understanding and vision.
Continue reading ‘Re-imagining a New World Beyond Capitalism and Communism is the only Hope for Humanity’ »
By Vidya Bhushan Rawat
There is a feeling of outrage over the latest revelation of Channel 4 story on Sri Lankan army’s brutalities in the anti LTTE operations in North of the country, a territory which was the stronghold of LTTE. There is no doubt that Sri Lanka was a fighting one of the biggest battle for its survival against a fascist organization which rarely cared for human being and butchered them like animals. There is no denial in facts that LTTE used child soldiers and Sri Lankan army complemented it when they ran out of soldiers in their army to combat the LTTE pressure. The government used all resources to eliminate the most ferocious man called V.Prabhakaran, stories of whose ‘bravery’ is part of folklores in Tamilnadu while making him a perfect villain and hateful figures for rest of Sri Lanka.
Prabhakaran was eliminated but now disturbing evidences are coming to the fore that his 12 years old son was brutally murdered on point blank range by the Srilankan armed forces. Though the Lankan army has out rightly rejected these charges yet it is difficult to find that there were no brutalities in the operation and therefore it will be good if the Sri Lankan government apologize to its Tamil population for the excesses happened during the anti LTTE operations and start a ‘reconciliation’ commission so that the country is united and Tamils live there with dignity and self-respect as citizens of that country.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Govt must have Impartial Inquiry and Punish those Responsible for Ghastly Act of Killing an Innocent Child at Point Blank Range’ »
Mohamed al-Zawahiri, younger brother of Osama bin Laden’s successor, Ayman, made a particularly intriguing statement in Cairo last month. Talking to that wonderful French institution Le Journal du Dimanche about Mali, he asked the paper to warn France “and to call on reasonable French people and wise men not to fall into the same trap as the Americans. France is held responsible for having occupied a Muslim country. She has declared war on Islam.” No clearer warning could France have received. And sure enough, one day later, suicide bombers attacked occupied Gao, while, exactly 10 days later, France lost its second soldier in Mali, shot dead by rebels in a battle in the Ifoghas mountain range.
That’s where, according to the tired old rhetoric of President Hollande,there had been a battle with “terrorists” who were “holed up” in the area during an operation which was “in its last phase”. The phraseology is as wearying – you could listen to the same old wording in almost every US pronouncement during the Iraqi war – as is the West’s incomprehension of the new al-Qa’ida.
Continue reading ‘French in Mali: Sending Wretched Armies to Occupy Muslim Lands is Exactly what al-Qa’ida Wants the West to do’ »
Purely for the sake of amusement, I encourage you to follow the Twitter account of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS). Claiming to be the revival of ‘real Buddhism’, the BBS will ask you to ‘rise up’ against the issuing of Halal Certificates, and inform you that they are enlightening Buddhists of the threats from the ‘dark forces’ of the minority. And just when you think you have them pegged as insufferably extremist, they will retweet a quote from the Dalai Lama espousing the need to have tolerance and love for all beings. It’s a masterclass in farce, and one wishes they were so easily dismissible. It is when their rhetoric becomes racist that you will perhaps need to block the BBS. Case in point- just a couple of days ago they responded to a Tweeter by calling him a ‘thambiya’- a terribly crude way of referring to a Muslim person. Whether Muslim or not, it was difficult not to be appalled.
Continue reading ‘Why have we not seen any serious dismissal of the Bodu Bala Sena by the Rajapaksa administration?’ »
By Ranga Jayasuriya
Nick Clegg, the British Deputy Prime Minister and the Liberal Party Leader once famously said if the Britons want to have more children, which is perfectly fine, but they should be able to afford them. That is plain talking. That may even be politically suicidal should it be said in this part of the world. Clegg’s remarks were made with reference to families who have three to four kids, and who live off State benefits and still want to have more children. In pure economic terms, that amounts to abusing the welfare system to make an extra buck since the system adds an extra premium to your dole for every child you have. On the other hand, though it may be politically incorrect in the conventional eye, social scientists would reveal that those large ‘benefit families’ driven by a dependency culture are more than likely to fail in providing the right environment for the upbringing of their offspring.
Last week, the Ministry of Health sent a circular to all government hospitals and private institutions, banning all irreversible family planning methods that control birth. Interestingly, the recent decision came after the Bodu Bala Sena, the controversial Sinhala Buddhist organization launched a series of protests and acts of sabotages against several family planning clinics that were managed by the Ministry of Health and designated NGOs. The monks of the Bodu Bala Sena also met with the President, during which they highlighted, among others, the ‘existential threat’ posed by birth control activities, which they alleged, are being carried out, targeting Sinhalese women, specifically.
Continue reading ‘Banning Birth Control at Behest of Bodhu Bala Sena will roll back Successful Family Planning Leading to Unbearable Baby Boom’ »
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA-Bombay Jayashri, the sole Indian nominee at this year’s Oscars, lost the Best Original Song trophy to British singer Adele, who won the statuette for her soulful rendition of James Bond theme Skyfall.
Continue reading ‘Tamil Lullaby in “Life of Pi” Written and Sung by Bombay Jayashri Fails to Win Oscar in best Original Song Category’ »
By Camelia Nathaniel
Sri Lankan fishermen in the North and East continue to encounter harassment by Indian trawlers that enter Sri Lanka’s territorial waters illegally, officials said. However in spite of various discussions being held between the two countries, there has been no reduction in the number of Indian trawlers entering Sri Lankan fishing grounds, which has led to the overexploitation of our resources and destroying our marine resources.
The Convener of the National Fisherman’s Solidarity Movement Herman Kumara told The Sunday Leader that after the end of the war Sri Lankan fishermen returned to the sea, but Indian trawlers had been fishing in Sri Lanka’s waters around three days per week, during the early stages.
Continue reading ‘Over 5000 Indian Fishing Trawlers Entering Sri Lankan Territorial Waters on Daily basis Deprive Fishermen and Destroy Marine Resources’ »
The town of Narammala is a busy, bustling one. Although it lies several kilometres away from Kurunegala, it still abounds with shops, eating houses and banks. But beneath the bustle is a layer of tension. Some 30 Muslim-owned shops received a shocking letter in the post around February 11 – ‘Close your shop by the end of March, or you will die’, the letter said, the word ‘maranawa’ scrawled in red ink. The letter was signed, Bauddha Sanvidhana Ekathuwa with a scrawled sign resembling a sword. The shopkeepers were afraid to speak, and greeted us with wariness. But every one of them has a copy of that letter close to hand.
Continue reading ‘Muslims in Wayamba feel Insecure as scattered acts of anti-Muslim Violence Increase in Kurunegala District’ »
Deputy Irrigation and Water Management Minister, W. B. Ekanayake, and son, Rasika Ekanayake, a member of the Manupa Pradeshiya Sabha, are accused of grabbing land in Anuradhapura.
Amongst the State lands the Ekanayake family has encroached on over the years, are irrigation reservations in Tissa Wewa and Ponnaramkulam aru in Anuradhapura.
Continue reading ‘Deputy Irrigation Minister Ekanayake and son Rasika Illegally Grabbing Land in Areas Adjacent to Tissa Wewa in Anuradhapura District’ »
N Sathiya Moorthy
As was only to be expected under the circumstances, the Sri Lankan Government has promptly dismissed the published pictures of LTTE leader Prabhakaran’s 12-year-old son Balachandran, before and after his killing in the Northern war-zone in May 2009, as “lies, half-truths and speculation”. India, which has a stake in it all, has reacted cautiously. New Delhi could not vouch for the authenticity of the pictures is how External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has put it.
The published pictures form a part of the upcoming documentary, “No War Zone: Killing Fields of Sri Lanka”, to be shown in Geneva, timed to coincide with the UNHRC session, due to discuss ‘accountability issues’ flowing from ‘Eelam War IV’. The latter is part of the US effort, flowing from the UNHRC resolution, with India voting in favour, last March. The former is an effort at forcing New Delhi’s hand to vote in favour of the follow-up procedural resolution that the US has proposed to bring before this year too.
The documentary seems intended to influence India. This has become clear with the the director of the BBC-Channel IV documentary, Cullum Macrae, declaring that the “film will test India over its next move on the UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka”. Media reports quoting the director have said, “The new evidence in the film is certain to increase the pressure on the Indian Government to not only support a resolution on Sri Lanka and accountability, but also ensure that it is robustly worded, and that it outlines an effective plan for international action to end the impunity in Sri Lanka.”
Continue reading ‘Pictures of Tiger Chief Prabhakaran’s Son and British Channel 4 TV Documentary are Aimed at Influencing India’s Position on Sri Lanka in Geneva’ »
by Prof. Carlo Fonseka
Bandula Padmakumara is the enterprising creator and the moving spirit behind Mul Pituwa. It has proved to be one of the most prestigious and sustainable programmes in the three-decade history of television in the country.
I reckon that Mul Pituwa has commanded most of the time I have spent watching television. So Bandula’s must be the face that I have seen most and the voice I have heard most on the idiot box. I can count on my fingers the number of days on which I have not watched Mul Pituwa ever since its inception.
Continue reading ‘Bandula Padmakumara: The moving spirit behind the Television’s Long Running “Mul Pituwa”’ »
Prof.Rajiva Wijesinha MP
After some depression about not achieving very much with regard to either Reconciliation, or the Human Rights Action Plan, I was heartened by several factors last week. In the four Divisional Secretariat meetings I attended in the Wanni, it was clear that things were improving all the time. Several problems were brought to my attention, but these were largely practical problems, similar to those prevalent in other parts of the country. The impact of inclement weather on agriculture, the need for better roads for rural connectivity, and for better electricity connections, shortages of teachers for essential subjects, are national problems, not consequences of the conflict.
Continue reading ‘People in Jaffna are Deeply Concerned About the Failure of Government to Function in Tamil’ »
Shamindra Ferdinando reporting from Palaly
Jaffna Security Forces Commander Maj. Gen. Mahinda Hathurusinghe said that the military wouldn’t have been able to vacate the Jaffna High Security Zones (HSZs) if the LTTE had retained a conventional fighting capability.
He pointed out that HSZs in the Jaffna peninsula had remained in place though the peninsula was liberated in December 1995. “We never thought of giving up HSZs until the defeat of powerful LTTE formations operating in the Vanni in May 2009,” the Jaffna Commander said, adding that since then the military had handed over a substantial part of privately owned land to their rightful owners. “The release of 5,258 acres of land took place on a staggered basis. At the height of the conflict we held altogether 11,234 acres in the peninsula,” the Jaffna Commander said. The military continues to hold 5,976 acres.
Continue reading ‘7233 Plots of Land have been Identified as Belonging to Civilians Within the 5976 Acres of Land Being Held by the Military in Jaffna -Maj Gen Hathurusinghe’ »
Ira de Silva
Canada has overtaken other pro-LTTE groups against Sri Lanka as the current Canadian Government is being “guided/dictated to” by the LTTE front organisations in Canada on it’s policy on Sri Lanka. It is now the Canadian Government that is pushing the LTTE agenda.
The current government’s main organiser of the so-called ethnic vote is the Minister of Immigration and Citizenship, Jason Kenney. His main focus, is the Greater Toronto Area, where thirteen parliamentary seats are available to whichever political party offers the “ethnic vote” what they want most.
Continue reading ‘Canadian Govt Overtakes Pro-LTTE Groups in Pushing the LTTE Agenda’ »
Two eyewitnesses have come forward for the first time to support allegations that the Sri Lankan army executed two Tamil Tiger rebel leaders after they surrendered, carrying a white flag, at the close of the island’s civil war in 2009.
Their accounts cast fresh doubt on the Sri Lankan government’s claim that the rebels were killed by their own supporters and add to a growing body of evidence of war crimes allegedly committed by the Sri Lankan military during the conflict.
Continue reading ‘Two new “Eye-Witnesses”Allege they saw “White Flag Surrender”of LTTE Leaders Nadesan and Pulidevan to Sri Lankan Army’ »
By Chrishanthi Christopher
Last week the government sent out a communiqué to all government hospitals and private institutions banning all irreversible family planning methods that control birth.
Following the ban Maternity Hospitals and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that do Ligation and Resection of Tubes (LRT) on women and Vasectomy on men shelved their plans and struck off all scheduled procedures from the hospital registers. This follows an announcement by the government that the procedures should not be carried out on women and men unless it is done for medical purposes.
Continue reading ‘Govt Bans LRT on Women and Vasectomy on Men After Bodhu Bala Sena Protested Against Birth Control to Protect Dwindling Sinhala Race’ »