“No one should harm anyone belonging to another religious group or ethnic group to achieve his or her personal goals. This is common to people who belong to all ethnic and religious groups” States Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith

BY
Yohan Perera

Colombo’s Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith said today the brutal attacks on Easter Sunday in 2019 was unleashed by a group, which tried to consolidate their political power by using religious extremism as a tool.

The Cardinal made these remarks during the unveiling of a monument constructed at General Cemetery in Borella, in memory of nine persons, who died in the attacks and buried at the cemetery.

Continue reading ‘“No one should harm anyone belonging to another religious group or ethnic group to achieve his or her personal goals. This is common to people who belong to all ethnic and religious groups” States Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith’ »

Mannar Emeritus Bishop Rayappu Joseph and the Madhu Church Crisis of 2008

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Former Catholic Bishop of the Mannar Diocese the Most Rev. Rayappu Joseph passed away peacefully in Jaffna on 1 April, just 15 days before his 81st birthday. He served as Mannar Bishop from 1992 to 2016. There was spontaneous grief and widespread mourning. Having served as Bishop for over two decades in Mannar, the prelate was immensely popular with his flock and fellow shepherds. Moreover the outspoken Bishop had endeared himself to the Tamil people at large by speaking out courageously on issues affecting the community.

The Mannar Emeritus Bishop’s funeral was held on Monday 5 April, at the St. Sebastian’s Cathedral in Mannar. Most of the Sri Lankan Catholic Bishops including Colombo Arch Bishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith participated in the requiem mass. The remains of former Mannar Bishop was laid to rest within the hallowed precincts of the St. Sebastians Cathedral. The entire Catholic -majority Mannar district observed Monday as a day of mourning.

Continue reading ‘Mannar Emeritus Bishop Rayappu Joseph and the Madhu Church Crisis of 2008’ »

Bishop Rayappu Joseph like Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Sought Justice for Victimised People

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The Easter Sunday bombings of April 21st 2019 and its consequences have caused a profound impact on the body politic of Sri Lanka. A significant feature of his fall-out has been the bold initiative taken by the Catholic Archbishop of Colombo His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith. Immensely disappointed by the slow and tardy progress shown by the State in taking legal action against those allegedly responsible for the explosions that killed over 250 and injured over 500 on Easter Sunday, the Catholic prelate has been pressuring the Government in several ways to enact legal proceedings speedily against those perceived as being responsible. Since a very large number of the victims were Christians worshipping at the Catholic St. Anthony’s Shrine in Kochikade,Colombo and St. Sebastian’s Chuch in Katuwapitiya, Negombo, Cardinal Ranjith’s demands are seen as valid and reasonable.(the third Church attacked was the Evangelical Christian Zion Church in Batticaloa).

From left seated – Bishop Winston Fernand SSS, Bishop Vianney Fernando, His Excellency Archbishop Joseph Spiteri Apostolic Nuncio, His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, Bishop Thomas Suvndranayagam, Bishop Rayappu Joseph, Bishop Kingsley Swampillai ;
From left standing – Bishop Harold Anthony Perera, Bishop Marius Peiris, Bishop Joseph Ponniah, Bishop Cletus Perera OSB, Bishop Valence Mendis, Bishop Norbert Andradi OMI and Very Rev. Fr. Nihal Nanayakkara-Pic: Sri Lanka Catholic Bishops Conference ~ 2010

In his zealous bid to seek justice for members of the Catholic flock who were affected victims of horrendous attacks Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith has upset quite a few including former President Maithripala Sirisena.
Continue reading ‘Bishop Rayappu Joseph like Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Sought Justice for Victimised People’ »

“OUR LANDS ARE UNDER THREAT”:Lands in Batticaloa District Where Tamils Have Been Living for Generations Under Increasing Threat from Different Governmental Bodies Overseeing agriculture, conservation and archaeology.

By

Meera Srinivasan

Over the last few months, farmers of Mavadi Odai in Sri Lanka’s eastern Batticaloa district frequently spotted something crop up on their land overnight — a border stone they had not planted.

“The Forest Department people come and put their stones when we are asleep, and then claim the land to be theirs,” says Marimuthu Raveendrakumar, 51, speaking of a growing insecurity among residents over land that they returned to only in recent years, after years of displacement during the civil war.

According to many in Batticaloa, the land where Tamil communities have resided and farmed for generations, is increasingly under threat from different governmental bodies that oversee agriculture, conservation and archaeology.

Continue reading ‘“OUR LANDS ARE UNDER THREAT”:Lands in Batticaloa District Where Tamils Have Been Living for Generations Under Increasing Threat from Different Governmental Bodies Overseeing agriculture, conservation and archaeology.’ »

Chinese communication facility TETRA — Terrestrial Trunked Radio — to be provided as Part of a Grant to Sri Lankan Police to improve communication between officers and police stations and provide for tabs to support the body cameras but cybersecurity professionals express concerns over the system.

By Damith Wickremasekara

The Chinese Government is to provide a grant to Sri Lanka to improve the communication facilities for the Police.

As part of the Chinese grant, a widely used communication facility known as TETRA — Terrestrial Trunked Radio — will be provided to the Police to improve communication between senior officers and police stations. It also provides for tabs to support the body cameras which will be initially available for police stations in the Western Province where a base station will be set up.

The grant will be officially provided when the Chinese State Councillor and Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe visits Sri Lanka later this month.

Continue reading ‘Chinese communication facility TETRA — Terrestrial Trunked Radio — to be provided as Part of a Grant to Sri Lankan Police to improve communication between officers and police stations and provide for tabs to support the body cameras but cybersecurity professionals express concerns over the system.’ »

Catholic Church Asks all devotees to observe two minutes silence at 8.45 a.m. on Wednesday April 21 on Second Anniversary of Easter Bombings;no major protest to mark the day but Catholics would gather in prayer and worship seeking justice for the victims. Holy Mass at St. Anthony’s Church,Kochchikade and St. Sebastian’s Church,Katuwapitiya.

By Chrishanthi Christopher

In the run up to the second anniversary of the Easter Sunday bombings on Wednesday April 21, the Catholic Church said there will be no major protest to mark the day, but Catholics would gather in prayer and worship seeking justice for the victims.

An Archdiocese spokesperson said holy masses, holy hours and prayer meetings would be conducted at St. Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade and at St. Sebastian’s Church in Katuwapitiya where the bombings took place. Some 271 people died in the suicide bomb attacks during Easter Sunday mass on April 21 2019. Prayers would also be offered for more than 300 people who were injured, some maimed for life.

Continue reading ‘Catholic Church Asks all devotees to observe two minutes silence at 8.45 a.m. on Wednesday April 21 on Second Anniversary of Easter Bombings;no major protest to mark the day but Catholics would gather in prayer and worship seeking justice for the victims. Holy Mass at St. Anthony’s Church,Kochchikade and St. Sebastian’s Church,Katuwapitiya.’ »

Arrest of consumer rights advocate Asela Sampath who pointed out alleged faults concerning the Rs 1000 “relief pack” distributed through Lanka Sathosa outlets shows Govt. will silence anyone raising uncomfortable questions say activists

By Sandun Jayawardana

The arrest of a consumer rights advocate who pointed out alleged issues concerning the Rs 1000 “relief pack” distributed through Lanka Sathosa outlets is an attempt to silence those who raise questions on behalf of consumers, activists claim.

Asela Sampath, National Organizer of the Canteen Owners’ Association, was taken into custody on April 13 by the Police through a warrant issued for his arrest over an incident at the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) head office in April, 2019. CAA officials had lodged a police complaint that Mr Sampath had been abusive and had threatened them. The case is pending at the Fort Magistrate’s Court. Mr Sampath is currently in remand custody till April 19.

Fellow activists however, point out that the arrest came just days after Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardana publicly called for the arrest of those who had spread “lies” about the Rs 1000 relief pack that the Government was distributing through Lanka Sathosa outlets during April. The subsequent arrest of Mr Sampath was highly unusual and disturbing, his attorney Senaka Perera told the Sunday Times. “He was not hiding. He was living at his home and was openly giving press conferences. When we visited the police station to see him, we were also told that there had been several other complaints lodged against him over more recent comments he made to the media regarding the relief packs, and police were going to notify the court about them as well.”

Sathosa and the State Trading (General) Corporation had been among the institutions that had lodged complaints against Mr Sampath over his comments regarding the relief packs, Mr Perera stated. “He was kept in police custody for more than 24 hours before being produced in court. The Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the Slave Island Police personally appeared in court for the police in this case and made it sound as if the police launched an operation to arrest my client though he had never hid from the courts. The OIC repeated several times in court that he had not come under any political pressure regarding this case, which to us is an indication of the exact opposite.”

Continue reading ‘Arrest of consumer rights advocate Asela Sampath who pointed out alleged faults concerning the Rs 1000 “relief pack” distributed through Lanka Sathosa outlets shows Govt. will silence anyone raising uncomfortable questions say activists’ »

18 Petitions filed against the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill claiming that the proposed Commission violates Sri Lanka’s Constitution will be taken up on April 19th for hearing by a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Jayanatha Jayasuriya with Justices Buwaneka Aluwihare, Priyantha Jayawardena, Murdu Fernando and Janak de Silva.

By Ranjith Padmasiri

A host of petitions filed against the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill claiming that the proposed Commission violates Sri Lanka’s Constitution will be taken up tomorrow for hearing by a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Jayanatha Jayasuriya.

The other judges are: Justices Buwaneka Aluwihare, Priyantha Jayawardena, Murdu Fernando and Janak de Silva.

Among the 18 petitioners are the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, the United National Party, the Smagi Jana Balawegaya, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, the Centre for Policy Alternatives, the President of the IT Professionals Association, and several other civil society members, including former LECO chairman Bandula Chandrasekara.

The petitioners have cited various clauses in the Bill which has been gazetted and are seeking a Supreme Court’s determination that one or more provisions of the bill require to be passed by a special majority in Parliament and approved by a referendum.

The moves came as concerns were expressed by political parties, professional organisations, civil society and the public regarding the bill’s clauses giving sweeping powers to a commission.

Continue reading ‘18 Petitions filed against the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill claiming that the proposed Commission violates Sri Lanka’s Constitution will be taken up on April 19th for hearing by a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Jayanatha Jayasuriya with Justices Buwaneka Aluwihare, Priyantha Jayawardena, Murdu Fernando and Janak de Silva.’ »

59 Year old Popular Tamil Film Actor Vivek Passes Away on Saturday ( April 17) at a Chennai Hospital to Which he was admitted on Friday After Suffering a Massive Heart Attack at Home


Tamil actor Vivek passed away in a Chennai hospital early on Saturday following a cardiac arrest. He was 59.

Vivek was admitted to the intensive care unit of the hospital on Friday morning after he suffered a heart attack. A medical bulletin said he underwent “emergency coronary angiogram followed by angioplasty” on Friday.

Soon after he fell sick, there were claims that his illness was linked to him receiving the Covid-19 vaccine, following which the Tamil Nadu Health Department was forced to call a press meet to dispel the rumours.

Continue reading ‘59 Year old Popular Tamil Film Actor Vivek Passes Away on Saturday ( April 17) at a Chennai Hospital to Which he was admitted on Friday After Suffering a Massive Heart Attack at Home’ »

Vivekh was a rare actor who practised what he preached through comedy and lived his life based on those beliefs


By

Srivatsan S

Actor Vivekh died early Saturday morning (4.35a.m.) after suffering a massive cardiac arrest on Friday. He was 59. The comedian’s untimely demise has shaken up the Tamil film fraternity, and legions of fans.

Vivekh was one of the lambs shepherded by legendary filmmaker K Balachander, who introduced the actor as ‘Vivek’ in Manathil Uruthi Vendum, in which he played a small role. But what was truly a breakthrough for Vivekh was his character in Balachander’s Pudhu Pudhu Arthangal (1989), wherein he played the hero’s manager. The film saw Vivekh doing a near-perfect impression of Tamil cinema actors, particularly of Rajinikanth, and effortlessly delivering punchlines that were so unique of its time — like, “Inniki setha nalaiki paal (today’s death is tomorrow’s milk),” which most people have pointed out on social media, drawing a parallel with the actor’s death.

This rather effortless idea of comedy spoke to the audience and Pudhu Pudhu Arthangal was the launchpad for a career of more than three decades, in making the audience laugh and introspect as well.

Continue reading ‘Vivekh was a rare actor who practised what he preached through comedy and lived his life based on those beliefs’ »

From Housewife in “Tintagel” To “Prime Minister At “Temple Trees”: Contours of Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s Political Journey


by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

( The World’s first Woman Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike was born on April 17th 1916. This article published in 2019 July is being re-posted here without any changes to commemorate her 105th Birth Anniversary)

Germany’s defence minister Ursula von der Leyen has been elected president of the European Union (EU) Commission following a secret ballot among Members of the European Parliament. She is the first woman to be elected as President of the EU commission and will replace current President Jean-Claude Juncker on November 1st this year. With Ursula von der Leyen’s victory another traditional male bastion has fallen.

There was a time when women were kept out of politics and denied even the right to vote. The adoption of the universal franchise principle along with the spread of democracy has led to a situation where more and more women are participating in politics now as elected representatives. Many hold ministerial portfolios while some have reached the top as heads of State and heads of Government. It is currently estimated that 22 women are functioning as Presidents, Prime Ministers or Chancellors in their countries respectively. Though impressive this number is by no means enough. We have miles and miles to go before women are elected to office worldwide in proportion to their numerical strength.

Sirimavo Bandaranaike-(April 17, 1916-October 10, 2000)

Even as this process of women becoming political leaders progresses it would be worthwhile to recall how Sri Lanka known formerly as Ceylon made history by swearing in the world’s first woman Prime minister fifty -nine years ago. It was on July 21st 1960 that Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike assumed office as Prime minister. It is said that the British press had to coin a new description “Stateswoman” instead of the usual statesman after she assumed office.
Continue reading ‘From Housewife in “Tintagel” To “Prime Minister At “Temple Trees”: Contours of Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s Political Journey’ »

Wijedasa Rajapakshe MP Accuses President Gotabaya Rajapaksa of Threatening him Over the Telephone for Alleging that the Port City would become a Chinese Colony; Former Minister Alleges Gota Used Filth on his and Says he is Fearful About Family and his Safety.

By
Sandun A. Jayasekera

Parliamentarian Wijedasa Rajapakshe today alleged that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had telephoned him early morning and threatened him over his allegations yesterday that the Port City would transform into a Chinese colony.

Continue reading ‘Wijedasa Rajapakshe MP Accuses President Gotabaya Rajapaksa of Threatening him Over the Telephone for Alleging that the Port City would become a Chinese Colony; Former Minister Alleges Gota Used Filth on his and Says he is Fearful About Family and his Safety.’ »

Opposition parties, civil society groups, and labour unions Mount Challenges in the Supreme Court Against Gazetted Bill on the Chinese-backed Port City in capital Colombo arguing it “directly affects” Sri Lanka’s sovereignty.

By

Meera Srinivasan

Filing about a dozen petitions at Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court on Thursday, opposition parties, civil society groups, and labour unions challenged a recently-gazetted Bill on the Chinese-backed Port City in capital Colombo, arguing it “directly affects” Sri Lanka’s sovereignty. The cases are scheduled to be heard by the top court on Monday.

The ruling Rajapaksa administration tabled a Bill, titled Colombo Port City Economic Commission’, in Parliament last week, outlining proposed laws for the $1.4 billion-Port City being built on reclaimed land at Colombo’s seafront.


Constitutional validity

However, Sri Lanka’s Opposition parties Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB or United People’s Front), Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), the United National Party (UNP), Colombo-based NGO Centre for Policy Alternatives, and labour organisations have challenged the constitutional validity of the proposed legislation for the Port City, touted by the government as an investment hub for foreign capital.

Continue reading ‘Opposition parties, civil society groups, and labour unions Mount Challenges in the Supreme Court Against Gazetted Bill on the Chinese-backed Port City in capital Colombo arguing it “directly affects” Sri Lanka’s sovereignty.’ »

No New Year for Women Satyagrahis Protesting in Hinguragoda Over Failure of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to Implement Election Campaign of Abolishing Microfinance Debts and Setting up Alternative Sources of Credit

By

Meera Srinivasan

M. Champa Irangani is in no mood to celebrate ‘Avurudu’, or New Year, the biggest annual festival that Sri Lanka’s majority Sinhalese community observes mid-April, while Tamils celebrate the Tamil New Year around the same time.

“The New Year will dawn only the day our debts are cancelled. Until then we cannot celebrate. Surely not, when so many women have died by suicide under the pressure of microfinance loans,” she says, seated with dozens of affected women who have been observing a ‘satyagraha’ off the main road in Hingurakgoda town, in Sri Lanka’s Polonnaruwa district, for a month now.

Continue reading ‘No New Year for Women Satyagrahis Protesting in Hinguragoda Over Failure of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to Implement Election Campaign of Abolishing Microfinance Debts and Setting up Alternative Sources of Credit’ »

US $ 500 Million FTFF signed in Beijing between the China Development Bank (CDB) and Sri Lankan Finance Ministry Described as a Sinhala/Tamil New Year gift To Sri Lanka by the Chinese embassy in Colombo

On Monday a USD 500 Million Foreign Currency Term Financing Facility (FTFF) was signed in Beijing between the China Development Bank (CDB) and Sri Lankan Finance Ministry.

This is the second tranche of the total RMB 2 billion plus (USD 1 billion) FTFF pledged by the Chinese side to Sri Lanka after the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. The Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka described as a Sinhala/Tamil New Year gift.

Continue reading ‘US $ 500 Million FTFF signed in Beijing between the China Development Bank (CDB) and Sri Lankan Finance Ministry Described as a Sinhala/Tamil New Year gift To Sri Lanka by the Chinese embassy in Colombo’ »

Chinese Defence Minister’s Sri Lanka Visit Assumes Special Significance Against Backdrop of Beijing Developing Stronger Ties With India’s Neighbours To Wean Them Away From New Delhi


By P.K.Balachandran

The visit to Sri Lanka of China’s Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe later this month, may be described as a “routine ministerial visit”. But seen in light of the developing situation in Sri Lanka and the South Asian and Indian Ocean region, the visit is significant.

China is keen on developing ties with India’s neighbors in South Asia to wean them away from New Delhi. Beijing is effectively using its infrastructural development program under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) towards this end. It is also strengthening its military ties albeit only incrementally so far. At present it is keen to project itself as a “benign” power only promoting joint prosperity unlike the Western powers whose aims are imperialistic.

On their part, the US-led powers have formed the “Quad” comprising the US, India, Japan and Australia to protect the Indian and Pacific Oceans from coming under China’s hegemony. They see the BRI as a vanguard of China’s imperialistic project using financial debt to enslave recipient developing countries and reinforce subjugation by military might. The West is looking to outmaneuver China by military means. While this tactic may be appropriate in South China Sea, where China is using military muscle, it does not appear to be so in the Indian Ocean arena, where China’s intrusions are economic through its BRI, rather than military.

However, given the reality of the militarization of the Indian Ocean and South Asia due to Quad, and also because of the border and sovereignty conflict with India, China is building up military ties with Nepal and Sri Lanka. This is besides consolidating its existing politico-economic and military ties with Pakistan. In December 2020, China’s Defense Minister Wei Fenghe visited Pakistan and Nepal. He will be in Sri Lanka this month.

Continue reading ‘Chinese Defence Minister’s Sri Lanka Visit Assumes Special Significance Against Backdrop of Beijing Developing Stronger Ties With India’s Neighbours To Wean Them Away From New Delhi’ »

Notorious Underworld Figure Sanjeewa Samararatne alias Ganemulla Sanjeewa and 10 others Detained Since 2019 as Suspects for Complicity in Alleged Plot to Assassinate Jaffna District MP Sumanthiran Released by Colombo Chief Magistrate Following A-G Opining Insufficient Evidence to Prosecute

Well-known underworld figure Sanjeewa Samararatne – popularly known as Ganemulla Sanjeewa or Malingamuwe Sanjeewa – who was in custody for plotting to assassinate M. A. Sumanthiran MP, trading weapons and several other charges was released along with 10 others by the Colombo Chief Magistrate Court on April 12, 2021.

Colombo Chief Magistrate Buddhika Sri Ragala released the 11 suspects when the case came up before him.

Alongside the plot to assassinate M. A. Sumanthiran MP, investigators had probed related threads including digging up claymore mines and Type 56 assault rifles buried in the North by the LTTE, smuggling the same to Colombo and suburs and trading with underworld figures.

Continue reading ‘Notorious Underworld Figure Sanjeewa Samararatne alias Ganemulla Sanjeewa and 10 others Detained Since 2019 as Suspects for Complicity in Alleged Plot to Assassinate Jaffna District MP Sumanthiran Released by Colombo Chief Magistrate Following A-G Opining Insufficient Evidence to Prosecute’ »

Cinematic Links Between Director Lester and Actor Gamini

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Sinhala cinema’s pioneering director Lester James Peries is the Sri Lankan filmmaker I like, admire and respect most. The master movie maker’s 102nd birth anniversary falls on April 5. Sri Lankan Superstar Gamini Fonseka remains my favourite actor on the Sinhala silver screen since childhood. The Movie monarch’s 85th birth anniversary was on March 21. I have written extensively on both in the past. I intend focusing this week – drawing from some of my earlier writings – on the professional and personal bonds between my favourite actor and favourite director in the sphere of Sinhala cinema. From this April onwards I hope to write an article in these columns about a cinema-related topic on the first week of each month.

Cinematic Links Between Director Lester and Actor Gamini – by D.B.S.JEYARAJ

The Lester-Gamini “partnership” in movies spanned several decades and paid great dividends. It was Lester James Peries who gave Gamini Fonseka his first break in movies through his path-breaking film ‘Rekawa’.It was Lester who made Gamini an assistant director for his second film ‘Sandesaya,’ in which he also played the second lead to Ananda Jayaratne. Gamini’s first attempt at directing was ‘Parasathumal’ in which Lester played a behind the scenes role as an adviser and guide. Three of Gamini Fonseka’s memorable character portrayals on screen were as Jinadasa, Willie Abeynayake and Saviman Kabalana in the films ‘Gamperaliya,’ ‘Nidhanaya’ and ‘Yuganthaya’ respectively. All three were directed by Lester.
Continue reading ‘Cinematic Links Between Director Lester and Actor Gamini’ »

Mayor of Jaffna Viswalingam Manivannan Arrested by the Police TID Released on Bail by Jaffna Magistrate.Jaffna District MP Sumanthiran PC Along with 25 Lawyers Makes Submissions on Behalf of Jaffna Mayor

By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka police’s Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) on Friday arrested the Mayor of Jaffna for allegedly promoting the LTTE’s ideology, in the choice of uniforms for an environment task force of the local municipal council.

The move has drawn wide condemnation, including from the country’s Tamil polity and civil society. Late on Friday, the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court released him on bail, on a surety bond, amid a growing backlash.

In the early hours of Friday, police arrested the Jaffna Mayor Viswalingam Manivannan, in connection with the municipal body assigning light blue coloured uniforms to a newly set-up team tasked with monitoring environmental violations.

Continue reading ‘Mayor of Jaffna Viswalingam Manivannan Arrested by the Police TID Released on Bail by Jaffna Magistrate.Jaffna District MP Sumanthiran PC Along with 25 Lawyers Makes Submissions on Behalf of Jaffna Mayor’ »

Mrs. World Caroline Jurie says her only intention was to stand up against injustice caused to the competitors throughout this competition which she alleged was tainted with heavy politicization.

Mrs. World Caroline Jurie, today said she was ready to hand over her crown stating that she stood by her values even if she has to stand alone.

In a video statement, Jurie said as a woman, a mother and the crowned Mrs. World, she was aware that she held a great responsibility towards protecting the image of Sri Lankan women across the world.

Jurie said her only intention was to stand up against the injustice caused to the competitors throughout this competition which she alleged was tainted with heavy politicization. “It upsets me greatly when justice doesn’t prevail. This is why I stood up against injustice, from the beginning of the event, I stood up for what was wrong, but my efforts were futile until the very last moment, which led me to do what I did,” Jurie said.

She said she only stood for what she believed was right and will follow all legal procedures – as a normal Sri Lankan citizen – without influence – while always holding her head up high.

Continue reading ‘Mrs. World Caroline Jurie says her only intention was to stand up against injustice caused to the competitors throughout this competition which she alleged was tainted with heavy politicization.’ »

UNP condemns arrest of Jaffna Mayor and Calls on Govt. to present clear evidence regarding allegations and treat the Elected official with dignity and respect.


The United National Party (UNP) yesterday condemned the arrest of Jaffna Mayor Visvalingam Manivannan under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), and called for the official to be treated with dignity and respect.

Issuing a statement, the UNP said the arrest allegedly took place due to concerns raised regarding the uniforms worn by members of the Jaffna Municipal Council.

Continue reading ‘UNP condemns arrest of Jaffna Mayor and Calls on Govt. to present clear evidence regarding allegations and treat the Elected official with dignity and respect.’ »

Jaffna Mayor Visvalingam Manivannan Who was Arrested Under PTA for Allegedly Promoting Pro-LTTE symbols Is Granted Bail by Jaffna Magistrate

By Asiri Fernando

Jaffna Mayor Visvalingam Manivannan who was arrested for allegedly promoting pro-LTTE symbols yesterday was later granted bail by the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court.

He was moved to Vavuniya for questioning and to record a statement, according to Public Security Minister Rear Admiral (Retd.) Sarath Weerasekara.

Manivannan was arrested by the Jaffna Police and subsequently handed over to the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) in relation to employing five persons and providing them with a uniform, which the Police allege is similar to what was worn by the former Police division of the now defunct LTTE.

Continue reading ‘Jaffna Mayor Visvalingam Manivannan Who was Arrested Under PTA for Allegedly Promoting Pro-LTTE symbols Is Granted Bail by Jaffna Magistrate’ »

Re-crowned Winner of “Mrs Sri Lanka for Mrs.World” Beauty Pageant Pushpika de Silva May Enter Politics by Contesting from Ex-President Maithripala Sirisena’s Polonnaruwa District

By

Chaturanga Samarawickrama

The winner of Mrs Sri Lanka for Mrs. World Pushpika De Silva yesterday said that she may enter politics in the future. This may be possible now that Pushpika has received widespread publicity following the brawl on Sunday evening, with her even landing in tears in front of cameras yesterday.

While answering a question raised by a journalist during a media briefing at the Shangri-La Hotel yesterday, Pushpika, after initially breaking out in tears in front of the cameras, said that although she had no immediate plan for politics as she had to fulfil her duties for the crown, she may enter the political stream in the future.

Continue reading ‘Re-crowned Winner of “Mrs Sri Lanka for Mrs.World” Beauty Pageant Pushpika de Silva May Enter Politics by Contesting from Ex-President Maithripala Sirisena’s Polonnaruwa District’ »

Mrs. World Beauty Pageant Will be held in Sri Lanka as Scheduled Despite Ugly Catfight Between Curent Mrs. Sri Lanka Winner Pushpika de Silva and Last Year’s Winner Caroline Jurie

By

JAMILA HUSAIN

The Mrs.world International pageant will go ahead in Sri Lanka as scheduled in December and the recent incident where the reigning Mrs World, Caroline Jurie uncrowned Mrs Sri Lanka, attracting international attention will not have any impact, national Director for Mrs.sri Lanka for Mrs.world, Chandimal Jayasinghe said yesterday.

After returning the Mrs Sri Lanka crown back to Pushpika De Silva, who was uncrowned by Jurie on Sunday night on allegations that she was a divorcee, Chandimal said this incident would have no effect on the Mrs. World pageant, and it would go ahead in Sri Lanka as planned.

Continue reading ‘Mrs. World Beauty Pageant Will be held in Sri Lanka as Scheduled Despite Ugly Catfight Between Curent Mrs. Sri Lanka Winner Pushpika de Silva and Last Year’s Winner Caroline Jurie’ »

Eleven Islamic Organizations Allegedly Connected to Extremist Activity are to be Proscribed in Sri Lanka Upon a Directive Issued by Attorney-General Dappula de Livera

Attorney General Dappula De Livera has authorized the Proscription of eleven Islamic Organisations connected to extremist activities, AG’s Coordinating Officer State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne.

The 11 organisations to be banned are as follows:

Continue reading ‘Eleven Islamic Organizations Allegedly Connected to Extremist Activity are to be Proscribed in Sri Lanka Upon a Directive Issued by Attorney-General Dappula de Livera’ »

Gotabaya Rajapaksa Presidency faces multiple Pressures Due to Domestic, external, economic and political Problems.


By P.K.Balachandran

The Gotabaya Rajapaksa Presidency, which is in its second year, is facing multiple problems, both domestic and external, economic as well as political.

Divisions have arisen in the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) and also with alliance partners. There is difficulty in kick-starting the economy derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly due to flaws in the decision making and implementing apparatuses. The external debt repayment issue is looming in the horizon.

And last, but not the least, there is pressure from the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on war time and post-war accountability issues with the Council getting authorization for the setting up of a mechanism to collect data on alleged war crimes and rights violations after the war.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Rajapaksa Presidency faces multiple Pressures Due to Domestic, external, economic and political Problems.’ »

Catfight at Mrs. Sri Lanka Beauty Pageant!Reigning Mrs World Caroline Jurie Snatches Crown From New Winner Pushpika de Silva Alleging she is a Divorcee and therefore Ine;igibe and Crowns First Runner Up Instead;Huge Brawl Erupts Backstage

By

Jamila Husain

Following the brawl which erupted at the Mrs. Sri Lanka pageant in Colombo on Sunday night where the winner, Pushpika De Silva, was uncrowned by reigning Mrs World Caroline Jurie over allegations that she was a divorcee, the Mrs. World Organization yesterday responded saying delegates sent by Mrs. Sri Lanka-world to compete in the international pageant must be married.

The Mrs. World Organization, however in an email response to the Daily Mirror said they regretted the actions of reigning Mrs.. World Caroline Jurie at the Mrs. Sri Lanka pageant and added they were reviewing the incident to take steps as deemed appropriate based on the outcome of their assessment.

The Mrs. Sri Lanka pageant received widespread attention throughout the country since it was held on Sunday evening, after Jurie uncrowned the winner, Pushpika De Silva on stage and crowned the first runner up instead claiming that Pushpika was a divorcee and hence was ineligible for the crown.

Mrs.world organization said they were deeply disturbed and sincerely regretted the behavior of their current titleholder, as her actions went against the Mrs. Sri Lanka code of conduct and the predetermined regulations she is obliged to follow during her reign.

Continue reading ‘Catfight at Mrs. Sri Lanka Beauty Pageant!Reigning Mrs World Caroline Jurie Snatches Crown From New Winner Pushpika de Silva Alleging she is a Divorcee and therefore Ine;igibe and Crowns First Runner Up Instead;Huge Brawl Erupts Backstage’ »

Setback in Geneva For Sri Lanka at UNHRC Despite Strong Fightback

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

‘Is Sri Lanka fighting a lost battle in Geneva?’ was the heading of the article by this writer in these columns a fortnight ago. The answer became known conclusively as events unfolded at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on 23 March.

UNHRC#46

In spite of Sri Lanka’s strong opposition, the resolution titled ‘Promotion of Reconciliation Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka’ was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council at its 46th session held in Geneva. Twenty-two member states out of 47 voted in favour of resolution; 11 voted against the resolution while 14 abstained from voting.

Continue reading ‘Setback in Geneva For Sri Lanka at UNHRC Despite Strong Fightback’ »

Sri Lanka has again become a global cause of International civil society. Once you get on the agenda of international civil society, it is difficult to get off.

By

Radhika Coomaraswamy

(Radhika Coomaraswamy is former Under Secretary General and Special Representative of the Secretary General on Children and Armed Conflic)t

“Hey Geneva” laments Ajith Kumarasiri (musician, songwriter, and composer in Sri Lanka) in powerful Sinhala rhythm and blues. “We no longer kill.” “We don’t shoot anymore.” “Give us our island back.” Geneva as an idea is firmly embedded in the Sri Lankan consciousness. For many Sri Lankans, especially the Sinhalese, it is an attack on national honour, a place where their vulnerability as a small island is exploited. For many Tamils and now Muslims, it is a place of hope. For human rights activists the world over, it is their forum.

UNHRC

The setting

The Human Rights Council in Geneva is a place where Sinhala and Tamil nationalisms meet, confront each other and fight countless shadow battles. In some of the side events of the Council, before the novel coronavirus pandemic, people have fainted, come to fisticuffs and been removed by UN security. It is the place where both communities have large demonstrations next to the legless chair that reminds the Palais de Nations of the consequence of war. There are heated, blood-chilling speeches aimed at the supporters. For bystanders, much of this drama is quite unsettling.

The government playbook with regard to the Geneva process at the UN Human Rights Council is to present it as an enormous power play full of double standards. It is seen as western countries ganging up on Sri Lanka for its closeness to China. Imperialism and neocolonialism remain in the frame. There is no government recognition that there may be any grievance or a victim. This just compounds the insensitivity.

The government’s aim this year was to have no resolution at all, while the major Tamil groups wanted the Human Rights Council to begin a pathway to the International Criminal Court. In the end, the resolution decided to create capacity at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to collect, preserve and consolidate evidence not only on war crimes but also on other gross violations of human rights and serious violations of humanitarian law. There is no date or time period.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka has again become a global cause of International civil society. Once you get on the agenda of international civil society, it is difficult to get off.’ »

Is Sri Lanka Fighting a Lost Battle at the UNHRC in Geneva?

    By
    D.B.S.Jeyaraj

    The final version of the proposed resolution to promote “reconciliation, accountability and human rights” in Sri Lanka was tabled on 12 March at the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva. It was sponsored by the United Kingdom (UK) and co-sponsored by Germany, Canada, Malawi, Montenegro and North Macedonia.

    Is Sri Lanka Fighting a Lost Battle at the UNHRC in Geneva? 🖋 by D.B.S.JEYARAJ 🇺🇳🇱🇰🇺🇸🇬🇧🇲🇼

    A preliminary draft was tabled on 22 February at the commencement of the current session by the UK along with the other five countries known collectively as the “core group” on Sri Lanka. The resolution on Sri Lanka would be taken up for voting on 22 or 23 March by the 47 member states of the UNHRC. Sri Lanka is firmly opposed to the resolution and has called upon UNHRC member states to vote against and defeat the resolution.

    UK Stance

    Lord Tariq Ahmad, the UK Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, summed up the position and approach of the UK in tabling the resolution, in his response to a group of Tamil organisations in Britain which were clamouring for a stronger text in the resolution.

    Continue reading ‘Is Sri Lanka Fighting a Lost Battle at the UNHRC in Geneva?’ »

UNHRC, Gotabaya Government and the Great Game in Geneva

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The ‘Great Game’ in Geneva involving Sri Lanka is now underway at the UNHRC! The 46th regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that commenced on 22 February at the Palais des Nations in Geneva is scheduled to end after 30 days on 23 March.

The current membership (2021) of the UNHRC is as follows: Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, (Plurinational State of) Bolivia, Brazil. Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Czechia, Denmark, Eritrea, Fiji, France, Gabon, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Libya, Malawi, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Togo, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Uruguay, Uzbekistan and (Bolivarian Republic of) Venezuela.

via: UNHRC/FB

In speaking of the great game at the UNHRC in Geneva, it would be pertinent to refer to a pithy observation made by Sri Lanka’s Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena in Geneva last year. Addressing the UNHRC its 43rd sessions in February 2020, Gunawardena said that Sri Lanka’s foreign policy had been reduced to a “zero-sum game” and that his country was a “pawn on the chess board of global politics”. The Foreign Relations Minister’s remarks in 2020 aptly describe the nature of the Geneva ‘Great Game’ being played in 2021.

Continue reading ‘UNHRC, Gotabaya Government and the Great Game in Geneva’ »

300 kg heroin from Iran Seized in Sri Lankan Fishingboat “Ravihansi” off Kerala Coast by Indian Coast Guard Vessel;six Sri Lankan crew members L.Y. Nandana, H.K.G.B. Deshapriya, A.H.S. Gunasekara, S.A. Senarath, T. Ranasingha and D. Nissanka remanded to judicial custody


The Indian Coast Guard has seized a Sri Lankan fishing vessel carrying 300 kilograms of heroin and firearms and arrested six Sri Lankans during a raid carried out in the waters off the coast of Vizhinjam in Kerala, South India.

According to Indian media, on the intelligence received by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) of India and the Indian Coast Guard, the fishing vessel Ravihansi was seized on Thursday, 25 March.

All the six Sri Lankan crew members – L.Y. Nandana, H.K.G.B. Deshapriya, A.H.S. Gunasekara, S.A. Senarath, T. Ranasingha and D. Nissanka – were taken into custody on Saturday and they have been remanded to judicial custody.

Continue reading ‘300 kg heroin from Iran Seized in Sri Lankan Fishingboat “Ravihansi” off Kerala Coast by Indian Coast Guard Vessel;six Sri Lankan crew members L.Y. Nandana, H.K.G.B. Deshapriya, A.H.S. Gunasekara, S.A. Senarath, T. Ranasingha and D. Nissanka remanded to judicial custody’ »

Former Roman Catholic Bishop of Mannar Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph was a Passionate Human Rights Defender and an untiring advocate of Tamil rights and justice during Sri Lanka’s civil war and post-war years.

By
Meera Srinivasan

Former Roman Catholic Bishop of Mannar Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph, an untiring advocate of Tamil rights and justice during Sri Lanka’s civil war and post-war years, passed away on Thursday. He was 80.

The Bishop was a vocal critic of the state, periodically taking up allegations of war-time killings and disappearances in the Northern Province, according to those familiar with his activism.

Continue reading ‘Former Roman Catholic Bishop of Mannar Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph was a Passionate Human Rights Defender and an untiring advocate of Tamil rights and justice during Sri Lanka’s civil war and post-war years.’ »

Former Catholic Bishop of Mannar Rayappu Joseph (81)passes away at a private hospital in Jaffna.

Former Bishop of Mannar, Rayappu Joseph, passed away at the age of 81 on Thursday (01), while receiving treatment at a private hospital in Jaffna.

The late Right Reverend Rayappu Joseph had rendered a great service to the Roman Catholic Community in Sri Lanka, said Rt. Rev Dr. Emmanuel Fernando, Bishop of Mannar.

>Courtesy:News 1st

Indian Govt Bestows the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for Tamil Cimema “Superstar”Rajinikanth for his contributions as an actor, a producer and screenwriter;the honour is considered India’s highest award in cinema

Five days ahead of the Tamil Nadu poll, the Narendra Modi government on Thursday announced the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for Rajinikanth for his contributions as an actor, a producer and screenwriter.

The honour is considered India’s highest award in cinema

Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar made the announcement at his Delhi residence.

“Happy to announce #Dadasaheb Phalke award for 2019 to one of the greatest actors in history of Indian cinema Rajnikant ji. His contribution as actor, producer and screenwriter has been iconic,” Mr. Javadekar later tweeted.

Continue reading ‘Indian Govt Bestows the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for Tamil Cimema “Superstar”Rajinikanth for his contributions as an actor, a producer and screenwriter;the honour is considered India’s highest award in cinema’ »

People of this country must not be fooled by grandstanding and the same old lie being repeated over and over again. Please listen to what others are saying and then decide who the real traitors are and who the true patriots are”- Ex-Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera

( Remarks on the UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka made by former Foreign Minister Minister Mr. Mangala Samaraweera at the Press Conference held at the Solis Hotel on 31.03.2021.)

During the last few weeks, much has been talked about the Geneva resolution which was presented on March 23. I felt it as my duty to speak about this as the Minister of Foreign Affairs at that time when Sri Lanka along with the United States, United Kingdom and 40 other countries co-sponsored the 30/1 resolution on Sri Lanka.

If we are to go back to the beginning, it was on May 23, 2009, just a week after the conclusion of the deadly war with the LTTE, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, came to Sri Lanka on the invitation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

In the joint communique which was issued at the conclusion of this meeting, the two sides agreed to conduct an inquiry into the alleged war crimes and the alleged human rights violations in the country. Within four days of Mr. Ban Ki-moon’s arrival, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva called a special Session on Sri Lanka to discuss the situation here.

For this Session, Sri Lanka very hurriedly presented a resolution to the UNHRC, the 25/1 resolution of May 2009 on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka and to undertake a comprehensive investigation into the alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties.

Continue reading ‘People of this country must not be fooled by grandstanding and the same old lie being repeated over and over again. Please listen to what others are saying and then decide who the real traitors are and who the true patriots are”- Ex-Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera’ »

Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena Tells Parliament that the Recent UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka was “Illegal” but Sri Lanka would continue to engage with the UN agencies.

By Saman Indrajith

The government yesterday told Parliament that the recently ratified UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka was illegal.

Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said that the resolution was an attempt to interfere in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs. “Sri Lanka considers the resolution unwarranted. This resolution against Sri Lanka is illegal.”

Minister Gunawardena said that Sri Lanka was a sovereign state and the government would protect the country’s sovereignty.

Gunawardena said that the new resolution had not been backed by a majority of the UNHRC members.

Minister Gunawardena tabled the resolution in Parliament along with details of the co-sponsors of the document.

However, the Minister said that Sri Lanka would continue to engage with the UN agencies.

The resolution co-sponsored by the former government had been a great betrayal, the Foreign Minister said, adding that the Government would address accountability issues in Sri Lanka through a domestic mechanism.

Continue reading ‘Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena Tells Parliament that the Recent UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka was “Illegal” but Sri Lanka would continue to engage with the UN agencies.’ »

The Adani Ports Group Seeking to Develop Colombo West Container Terminal is paying up to $US52 million over a proposed container port Deal in Yangon to a Myanmar military Junta -controlled company that has just been slapped with sanctions by the United States over human rights violations.

Exclusive by investigative reporter Josh Robertson

The Adani Group is paying up to $US52 million ($68.1 million) to a Myanmar military-controlled company that has just been slapped with sanctions by the United States over human rights violations.

Leaked documents in a report by human rights lawyers and activists obtained by the ABC reveal the scale of Adani’s cooperation with the junta over a proposed container port in Yangon.

Video and photos show Adani Ports’ boss met with the junta’s top general in 2019, contradicting the company’s claim last month that it had never “engaged with military leadership” in Myanmar.

The US government sanctions against Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) are likely to ramp up pressure on the Australian government’s Future Fund to dump its $3.2 million investment in Adani Ports, which also owns North Queensland operations linked to the Carmichael mine.

The leaked documents, from the Yangon Region Investment Commission, show Adani’s subsidiary is paying $US30 million to MEC in “land lease fees”.

) Continue reading ‘The Adani Ports Group Seeking to Develop Colombo West Container Terminal is paying up to $US52 million over a proposed container port Deal in Yangon to a Myanmar military Junta -controlled company that has just been slapped with sanctions by the United States over human rights violations.’ »

Zahran Hashim, Kattankudy and the Islamic State in Sri Lanka.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The final report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) into the Easter Sunday attacks was handed over to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa by the Chairman of the Commission Supreme Court judge Janak de Silva at the Presidential Secretariat on February 1st 2021. Former President Maithripala Sirisena appointed the Commission of Inquiry on September 22, 2019 to investigate and report on the series of terrorist attacks on Easter Sunday and to recommend necessary action based on the findings. The first and second interim reports were handed over to President on December 20, 2019 and on March 02, 2020 respectively.

pic via: Screengrab of video by Aamaq

The report’s release has once again drawn attention to Mohammed Zahran Mohomed Hashim known as Zahran Hashim. The fiery Muslim preacher from Kattankudy in Batticaloa was a man about whom very little was known outside of Islamic circles before the Easter Sunday bombings. However his name is now a household word as the alleged mastermind behind the Terror attacks on April 21st 2019. This column intends to focus on Zahran Hashim alias “Abu Ubaidah” and his deadly legacy this week.

Continue reading ‘Zahran Hashim, Kattankudy and the Islamic State in Sri Lanka.’ »

Countries which did comply with UN Resolutions were made to do so by a powerful country or a set of powerful countries through sheer coercion, economic or military or both.

By P.K.Balachandran

As early as 2002, the UN correspondent of the Los Angeles Times, Maggie Farley, noted that more than a hundred UN resolutions were being violated, and that in many cases, enforcement of resolutions was blocked by the US or its allies.

She made this observation based on a 15-year review of compliance with UN resolutions done by the University of San Francisco Professor Stephen Zunes. Zunes had concluded that compliance depended on the influence of each State and its backers. The more powerful the backer, the less the chance of compliance, he said. Those countries which did comply were made to comply by a powerful country or a set of powerful countries through sheer coercion, economic or military or both.

For a start, UN resolutions are not binding, and if they are, as in the case of some Security Council resolutions, the powers-that-be might not enforce them for economic, political or geo-political reasons. Between 1967 and 2002, Israel had violated 31 resolutions. Twelve violations related to the “Fourth Geneva Convention for Occupying Powers,” relating to deportations, demolitions of homes and seizure of property.

Among the resolutions violated was No: 487 of 1981 which had called upon Israel to place its nuclear facilities under the safeguard of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency. While the US went to war with Iraq for violating UN resolutions, it would not envisage war against Israel to enforce a UN resolution. In fact, the US had used the veto several times to block resolutions on Israel. In 2018, the US quit the UNHRC complaining against its bias against Israel.

Continue reading ‘Countries which did comply with UN Resolutions were made to do so by a powerful country or a set of powerful countries through sheer coercion, economic or military or both.’ »

Chinese President Xi Jinping Tells Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa that China is willing to work with Sri Lanka to enhance Belt and Road Cooperation and contribute to the economic revival of Sri Lanka in post-pandemic era.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday told Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa that China is willing to work with Sri Lanka to enhance Belt and Road Cooperation and contribute to the economic revival of Sri Lanka in post-pandemic era.

Xi said China will continue to provide necessary assistance to Sri Lanka, conduct cooperation in areas including aviation and education and explore other potential cooperation areas.

Continue reading ‘Chinese President Xi Jinping Tells Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa that China is willing to work with Sri Lanka to enhance Belt and Road Cooperation and contribute to the economic revival of Sri Lanka in post-pandemic era.’ »

“Not one Muslim country did vote against Sri Lanka, though four countries voted for Sri Lanka, notwithstanding utterances by sections in the government violative of the human rights of the Muslims.”


(The following is the text of the statement issued by M M. Zuhair PC, former MP, Latheef Farook, Journalist and Author, Mass L Usuf, Attorney-at-Law and Advocacy Columnist and Mansoor Dahlan, Theology Scholar)

“We as a country may not be happy about the outcome of the UN Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) resolution adopted on 23rd March 2021. Indeed the government must explain the serious implications of the ‘anti-Sri Lanka resolution’ to all Sri Lankans without attempting to save face on deceptive technicalities. We need to explain how and why the development and economic recovery of the nation will be adversely affected, unless the early warnings are heeded. The government must, as a necessary preliminary step, take the lead in encouraging all ethnic and religious groups to come under the umbrella of a united nation, eschewing all divisive rhetoric.

Neither the contents of the UNHRC resolution nor the detailed report of the High Commissioner that preceded it, has received the coverage they deserve, particularly in the country’s Sinhala media. On the other hand the report of the Commission of Inquiry into the 21/4 Easter Sunday attacks (COI) had however received ‘anti-Muslim coverage’ excessively in sections of the country’s mainstream Sinhala media over a continuous period of two years. This has regrettably created unwarranted new lines of hatred and divisions instead of unitedly overcoming the 21/4 tragedy. We appeal to the Sinhala media to give reasonable coverage to Muslim responses, which only sections amongst them have done.

Primarily the COI report is faulty, ignores geo-politico-strategic implications and in addition Sinhala media coverage on the subject is mostly one sided. What is required today is a fair, balanced and robust public discussion on the UNHRC report and resolution, followed by remedial action on the issues, the UN-HCHR was tasked with on 23/3 by the UNHRC. That will help avoid Sri Lanka’s economy plunging down any further.

Continue reading ‘“Not one Muslim country did vote against Sri Lanka, though four countries voted for Sri Lanka, notwithstanding utterances by sections in the government violative of the human rights of the Muslims.”’ »

” We are not ready to bring back separatism in the name of devolution of power and betray our sovereignty” – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa


(Views expressed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa addressing the gathering at the 16th “Discussion with the Village” programme held at the Derangala Maha Vidyalaya premises in the Kiriwelkele North Grama Niladhari Division 3, of Pitabeddara Divisional Secretariat Division in the Matara District on 2021-03-27)

We are conducting the “Discussion with the Village” programme at the district level. This is the 16th in the series. For this programme, we select the poorest village in the district. The other villages I went so far were more remote and difficult areas than this village. There were many long-standing unresolved problems. Those villages even don’t have proper road networks and there were no infrastructure development.

I know you also have various issues. We hope to find solutions for your existing problems giving considerations to your own suggestions. The Secretaries of the respective Ministries are participating with me on this occasion. You have an opportunity now to submit your grievances directly to the officials and find solutions.

Even after coming to power, we go among the people to witness ourselves the difficulties suffered by fellow citizens first hand and to listen to them in order to relieve them of their burdens with a correct understanding. All of you are aware that everything is done through government officials in our country. People’s day to day life depends on their decisions. My primary objective is to transform public servants into responsible officers, who clearly understand the problems of the people and take steps to solve them speedily.

Continue reading ‘” We are not ready to bring back separatism in the name of devolution of power and betray our sovereignty” – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ »

By Abstaining at the UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka Vote, India has utilised the opportunity to preserve its diplomatic space and to contain the pervasive influence of China over Colombo even while maintaining its support for the Tamil minority to achieve equality, justice, dignity and peace.

(Text of Editorial Appearing in “The Hindu”of March 25th 2021 Under the Heading “Tactical abstention: On the U.N. Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka”)

By abstaining from the vote on the U.N. Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka, India has signalled its unwillingness to upset its neighbour. At the same time, it does not want to be seen as ignoring Sri Lanka’s reluctance to meet the political aspirations of the Tamils or endorsing the country’s stubborn refusal to ensure any sort of accountability for its war-time past.

It may be easy for the political opposition to dismiss India’s abstention as showing an intent to shield Sri Lanka from a credible investigation into allegations of war crimes. A more reasonable assessment would be that India seems to have utilised the opportunity to preserve its diplomatic space and to contain the pervasive influence of China over Sri Lanka even while maintaining its support for the Tamil minority to achieve equality, justice, dignity and peace.

Continue reading ‘By Abstaining at the UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka Vote, India has utilised the opportunity to preserve its diplomatic space and to contain the pervasive influence of China over Colombo even while maintaining its support for the Tamil minority to achieve equality, justice, dignity and peace.’ »

Cultural Cross-border collaboration and exchange between Sri Lankan and Indian Artistes has been halted by the COVIS -19 Pandemic Travel Restrictions

By

Meera Srinivasan

Yazhpanam P.S. Balamurugan had to cancel nearly a dozen performances in India last year, after the pandemic made it impossible to travel from Jaffna, where he lives, in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province.

“I participated in some online events, and in another instance recorded a performance here and shared it with organisers there, but there’s nothing like a live performance in front of an eager audience,” says the nagaswaram artiste, who has a steadily growing fan base in south India.

Those who heard him play Charukesi at a Chennai concert over two years ago have neither forgotten the rendition nor been able to appreciate other Charukesis since, without being reminded of his. The robust sound emanating from his wind instrument, sustained by long, full breaths, brimming with life and emotion, casts a spell on audiences.

For Sri Lankan artistes like him, performing in India defied the usual logistical complications of going abroad. The relatively friendly visa regime, innumerable flight options, and the short travel time — a Colombo-Chennai flight takes less than an hour, and a Jaffna-Chennai flight was introduced in 2019 — made travel fairly simple. “I can’t wait to travel and perform there again once borders open up,” says Balamurugan.

Kandyan dance exponent and guru Upeka Chitrasena has performed across the world, but the audience in India, especially Chennai, is “something else,” she says. “Rows and rows of elderly people and children sit through performances, keeping taal and responding with spontaneous applause when they like something. It is rare to see that sort of engagement and passion.”

Continue reading ‘Cultural Cross-border collaboration and exchange between Sri Lankan and Indian Artistes has been halted by the COVIS -19 Pandemic Travel Restrictions’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Declares Sri Lanka will face the aftermath of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) without fear and emphasises the Government would never succumb to international pressure as it represents a free nation.


President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Saturday (Mar 27) said Sri Lanka will face the aftermath of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) without fear and insisted the Government would never succumb to international pressure as it represents a free nation, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said.

The President also said Sri Lanka will not be a victim of big power rivalry in the Indian Ocean.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Declares Sri Lanka will face the aftermath of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) without fear and emphasises the Government would never succumb to international pressure as it represents a free nation.’ »

Parliament Asst Secy Gen refuses to disclose details about educational qualifications of ministers and MP’s Citing “invasion of Privacy” in Response to Application Filed Under Right to Information Provisions

s
By S. Rubatheesan

Parliament has refused to disclose educational qualifications of ministers and Parliamentarians (MPs) on the basis it would be an ‘invasion of privacy’.

Responding to a Right to Information (RTI) application filed by the Sunday Times, Parliament’s Assistant Secretary General and Information Officer Tikiri Jayatilleke said: “Educational qualifications relate to personal information, the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information or the person concerned has consented in writing to such disclosure.”

Continue reading ‘Parliament Asst Secy Gen refuses to disclose details about educational qualifications of ministers and MP’s Citing “invasion of Privacy” in Response to Application Filed Under Right to Information Provisions’ »

The presidency was supposed to save us from oblivion, but what can save us from the presidency?

By Krishantha Prasad Cooray

In 1978, J.R. Jayawardena ushered in the executive presidential system in Sri Lanka as a panacea for all the nation’s woes. By 1991, his co-architects in this venture, Gamini Dissanayake and Lalith Athulathmudali, had realized the dangers inherent in the executive presidency. They formed the DUNF not only as an opposition movement aimed at defeating President Premadasa, but also as a national movement to abolish the executive presidential system entirely.

Every president elected since, from Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and Mahinda Rajapaksa to Maithripala Sirisena campaigned for president promising to abolish the presidency. Though these promises remained unfulfilled, under Kumaratunga and Sirisena two constitutional amendments were enacted limiting the draconian powers of the presidency. The 17th Amendment was never properly implemented while the 19th Amendment was. Although Sirisena’s administration sadly did not go through with calling for a referendum to abolish the presidency entirely, President Sirisena became our first ever head of state to voluntarily prune his own powers.

The 18th Amendment on the other hand strengthened presidential powers while removing the term limit provision, the only democratic safeguard in the system. The purpose of the bill was to enable President Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest for a third term and more. Ironically, this piece of legislation was a significant factor in his defeat in January 2015. The idea of a presidential king in all but name was an anathema to many and helped unite and rally a divided opposition.

The executive presidency was said to have been designed for J.R. Jayawardena to bring out the best in his ability to govern. In practice, it brought out the worst and led directly to anti-democratic episodes like the 1982 referendum and stripping Srimavo Bandaranaike of her civic rights.

The executive presidency was supposed to usher in an era of stability, peace and prosperity. Instead, the 43 years of its existence had been a time of relentless instability. With or without a civil war, the excesses of presidents, drunk on power, exacerbated existing problems and sparked new ones. President after president was dazzled by the trappings of their office and overwhelmed by the power of this beast. They all ultimately left office with more shame than pride. It has taken barely four decades of executive presidency to bring Sri Lanka to the brink of becoming a failed state.

Continue reading ‘The presidency was supposed to save us from oblivion, but what can save us from the presidency?’ »

United National Party blames Govt for colossal failure at recent UNHRC sessions in Geneva.UNP Chairman Vajira Abeywardena says the Government’s decision to withdraw from the previous resolution, which was co-sponsored by Sri Lanka that resulted in the fresh resolution.


The United National Party (UNP) yesterday blamed the Government for a colossal failure during the recent UNHRC sessions in Geneva.

UNP Chairman Vajira Abeywardena, speaking to media at Sirikotha, stated that it was the Government’s decision to withdraw from the previous resolution, which was co-sponsored by Sri Lanka that resulted in the fresh resolution. Under the UNP Government in 2015, the country co-sponsored a resolution that had the unanimous support of the council. The current Government reversed that decision and left us with only the support of 11 countries.

He also said that it was Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2009, who entered into an agreement with the then UN Secretary-General.

Continue reading ‘United National Party blames Govt for colossal failure at recent UNHRC sessions in Geneva.UNP Chairman Vajira Abeywardena says the Government’s decision to withdraw from the previous resolution, which was co-sponsored by Sri Lanka that resulted in the fresh resolution.’ »

“Sri Lanka considers the draft resolution to be unwarranted, unjustified and in violation of the relevant Articles of the United Nations Charter that provides for the mandate of the Human Rights Council.For the above reasons, this Resolution against Sri Lanka is illegal.”Says Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena in Parliament

(Text of Special statement made by Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena in Parliament on March 25th 2021 on the UN Human Rights Council Resolution Regarding Sri Lanka)

The United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva adopted by a vote, the draft Resolution titled ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability, and human rights in Sri Lanka’ (A/HRC/46/L.1/Rev.1) tabled by a ‘Core Group’ of countries, on 23 March during its 46th Session. Out of the 47 Members of the Council, 22 countries voted in favour, 11 voted against and 14 abstained. It is implicit from the voting result that the majority of the Council did not support this Resolution.

At this meeting, Sri Lanka, as the country concerned, reiterated its position on this Resolution against the country, and the politically motivated process behind it, as has been briefed to the Human Rights Council before, including through my statement at the High-Level Segment of the 43rd Session, in February last year. Sri Lanka rejected this Resolution which had no consensus and requested the Members of the Human Rights Council to reject this Resolution by a vote.

I have provided a briefing on this matter to the Cabinet of Ministers itself.

Sri Lanka considers the draft resolution to be unwarranted, unjustified and in violation of the relevant Articles of the United Nations Charter, in particular Article 2(7) and relevant Sections of the United Nations Resolution 60/251 that provides for the mandate of the Human Rights Council. For the above reasons, this Resolution against Sri Lanka is illegal.

Continue reading ‘“Sri Lanka considers the draft resolution to be unwarranted, unjustified and in violation of the relevant Articles of the United Nations Charter that provides for the mandate of the Human Rights Council.For the above reasons, this Resolution against Sri Lanka is illegal.”Says Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena in Parliament’ »

Five Indian Fishing Boats Seized and 54 Fishermen Arrested by Sri Lankan Navy;Indian High Commission Seeks Exoeditious Consular Access to Provide Emergency Supplies to Apprehended Indian Nationals

(Text of Statement Issued by the High Commission of India in Colombo on the apprehension of 54 fishermen and 5 boats from India)

High Commission has been informed about the apprehension of 54 fishermen and five boats from India by Sri Lanka Navy on the night of 24 March 2021. We reiterate that issues associated with Indian fishermen are to be dealt in a humanitarian manner.

Continue reading ‘Five Indian Fishing Boats Seized and 54 Fishermen Arrested by Sri Lankan Navy;Indian High Commission Seeks Exoeditious Consular Access to Provide Emergency Supplies to Apprehended Indian Nationals’ »

Dinesh Tells Proponents of UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka to divert millions sought for implementation for SL resolution to welfare of people in war-affected areas


Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena yesterday called on the proponents of the UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka to divert millions of dollars it is seeking for the implementation of the proposal to improve the lives of the people affected by the conflict.

“This huge amount of funds is sufficient to build thousands of houses in the areas affected by the conflict, possibly to vaccinate the population of the entire Jaffna peninsula against COVID-19, or to provide drinking water to the entire province,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Dinesh Tells Proponents of UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka to divert millions sought for implementation for SL resolution to welfare of people in war-affected areas’ »

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau Welcomes Adoption by the UNHRC of resolution on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka saying ” Canada, as part of the Core Group on this resolution, worked alongside members of the council for the passage of this resolution.”

(Text of Media Release Issued by the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement:

“Canada welcomes the adoption of the UN Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) resolution on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka.

“Today’s resolution represents the international community’s continued support for ensuring reconciliation, accountability and respect for human rights in Sri Lanka.

Canada, as part of the Core Group on this resolution, worked alongside members of the council for the passage of this resolution.

Continue reading ‘Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau Welcomes Adoption by the UNHRC of resolution on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka saying ” Canada, as part of the Core Group on this resolution, worked alongside members of the council for the passage of this resolution.”’ »

Resolution on Sri Lanka Adopted by the UNHRC in Geneva with 22 Member States Voting for and 11 Voting Against While 14 Abstain from Voting; Resolution A/HRC/46/L.1 Co- Sponsored by 6 Core Group Countries Gets Additional Co -sponsorship by 35 More Countries Including the USA

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva on Tuesday March 23rd 2021 adopted a resolution titled ‘Promotion of Reconciliation Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka’ with Twenty-two member states out of Forty -Seven voting in favour of it. Eleven members voted against the resolution while fourteen countries abstained from voting.

via: @unhumanrights – March 23, 2021

The Resolution A/HRC/46/L.1 was presented to the Council by Julian Braithwaite, the UK representative to Geneva, on behalf of the Core Group of countries co-sponsoring the resolution on Sri Lanka. These countries comprise the UK, Canada, Germany, Montenegro, Malawi and North Macedonia.

The vote was called for by China and Pakistan taken online through Zoom as all 47 members of Council could not attend in person due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Continue reading ‘Resolution on Sri Lanka Adopted by the UNHRC in Geneva with 22 Member States Voting for and 11 Voting Against While 14 Abstain from Voting; Resolution A/HRC/46/L.1 Co- Sponsored by 6 Core Group Countries Gets Additional Co -sponsorship by 35 More Countries Including the USA’ »

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet expresses hope that Sri Lanka would “change course” from current policies after passage of Resolution in the Geneva UN Human Rights Council

UN Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet has expressed hope that Sri Lanka would “change course” from current policies as she welcomed the decision of the Human Rights Council to ramp up monitoring of human rights and war-time abuses in the island.

On Tuesday, 22 member states of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) voted to adopt Resolution 46/1 to promote reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka and expand UN oversight on the country’s rights record and justice failures.

Speaking to the BBC on Tuesday (23) after a vote on the Sri Lanka resolution at the Council, High Commissioner for Human Rights Bachelet said the UNHRC had decided to pursue accountability for past crimes.

Continue reading ‘UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet expresses hope that Sri Lanka would “change course” from current policies after passage of Resolution in the Geneva UN Human Rights Council’ »

India Abstains from Voting at the UNHRC in Geneva While China and Pakistan vote against the resolution in support of the Sri Lankan government.

By

Meera Srinivasan

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India on Tuesday abstained from a crucial vote on Sri Lanka’s rights record at the UN Human Rights Council. The resolution on ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’ was however adopted after 22 member states of the 47-member Council voted in its favour.

Both, the Government of Sri Lanka and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the main grouping representing war-affected Tamils of the island’s north and east, that sought the exact opposite outcomes on the passage of the resolution, had earlier expressed hope about obtaining India’s support to their respective calls.

Continue reading ‘India Abstains from Voting at the UNHRC in Geneva While China and Pakistan vote against the resolution in support of the Sri Lankan government.’ »

UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka is a a clear reminder from the international community that the alleged abuses in the Sri Lankan conflict will not be forgotten or ignored.


By

Anbarasan Ethirajan, BBC World Service South Asia Regional Editor>

Despite weeks of intense behind-the-scenes diplomatic campaigning, the UN Human Rights Council resolution has gone against the Sri Lankan government.

The new resolution gives more powers to the UN human rights chief to ensure accountability for the alleged war crimes during the conflict with the Tamil Tiger rebels which ended in 2009, and the evidence gathered can be used for any future prosecutions.

Continue reading ‘UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka is a a clear reminder from the international community that the alleged abuses in the Sri Lankan conflict will not be forgotten or ignored.’ »

“I welcome the Human Rights Council’s decision to continue its monitoring of human rights in Sri Lanka and pursue accountability for past crimes”- UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michele Bachelet


The United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet has been authorised to collect and preserve evidence of alleged war crimes during Sri Lanka’s long civil war, which ended in 2009.

The UN believes 80,000-100,000 people died in the 26-year conflict with the Tamil Tiger rebel group.

A resolution passed by the UN Human Rights Council accused Sri Lanka of “obstructing accountability”.

Sri Lanka described the resolution as “unhelpful” and “divisive”.

The council’s resolution also called for trials of suspects in foreign countries.

Continue reading ‘“I welcome the Human Rights Council’s decision to continue its monitoring of human rights in Sri Lanka and pursue accountability for past crimes”- UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michele Bachelet’ »

Resolution to promote accountability, reconciliation and human rights in Sri Lanka Presented by the UK with Over 30 Co-sponsoring Counries will be taken up for Voting by the United Nations Human Rights Council around 10.30AM Geneva time as the first item on Tuesday March 23rd 2021 UNHRC Agenda

Forty-seven member states of the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council will cast their votes on a resolution that will keep the international spotlight on human rights violations in Sri Lanka, and establish a central database of evidence to future prosecutions against perpetrators of war-time abuses.

The database which will be managed by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) will be the second international mechanism established pertaining to war crimes and human rights violations in Sri Lanka. The UNHRC established a OHCHR-led investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) when it adopted a resolution in 2014.

Daily FT learns that the resolution on Sri Lanka has over 30 co-sponsors and has been championed by a core group of countries led by the United Kingdom. The US, which has pledged to rejoin the UNHRC, has strongly supported the resolution on Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Resolution to promote accountability, reconciliation and human rights in Sri Lanka Presented by the UK with Over 30 Co-sponsoring Counries will be taken up for Voting by the United Nations Human Rights Council around 10.30AM Geneva time as the first item on Tuesday March 23rd 2021 UNHRC Agenda’ »

Tamil National Alliance “Hopes are High” that India Will Vote for the resolution on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva Says Party Spokesman MA Sumanthiran MP.

By

Meera Srinivasan

The Tamil National Alliance’s (TNA) “hopes are high” that India will vote for the UN resolution on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka next week, according to its spokesman and Jaffna legislator M.A. Sumanthiran.

Whether India votes for the resolution or abstains is “entirely a matter that they will decide”, but the TNA’s expectations are “clearly” that India must support and vote for the resolution, he says, speaking to The Hindu on the coming vote.

Despite its diminished presence in Parliament since the August 2020 general elections, the TNA remains the largest grouping representing the Tamils of the north and east in Sri Lanka, with 10 MPs in the 225-member House.

“Our hopes are high this time, since India’s statement at the Interactive Dialogue segment placed the political aspirations of the Tamil people on par with recognising the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka,” Mr. Sumanthiran says, referring to the intervention made by India’s Permanent Representative in Geneva, on February 25.

Continue reading ‘Tamil National Alliance “Hopes are High” that India Will Vote for the resolution on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva Says Party Spokesman MA Sumanthiran MP.’ »

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapakasa,that India “will not do any injustice to Sri Lanka,” at the UN Human Rights Council says the Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary Adm.Prof .Jayanath Colombage.

By P.K.Balachandran

In his recent telephone conversation with the Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapakasa, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured that India “will not do any injustice to Sri Lanka,” says the Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary Adm.Prof.Jayanath Colombage.

He denied a report in the State-owned Daily News which quoted him as saying that India had assured that it would “support” Sri Lanka, and “protect the country’s sovereignty during the UNHRC sessions.”

The paper further quoted the Foreign Secretary as saying: “Being the super power they (India) are, Sri Lanka greatly appreciates their position.” The Foreign Secretary was speaking at the Third Digital Dialogue hosted by the Media Center for National Development, the paper said.

Clarifying the position, Colombage said that in his recent telephone conversation with the Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapakasa, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the latter assured that India “will not do any injustice to Sri Lanka.”

Continue reading ‘Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapakasa,that India “will not do any injustice to Sri Lanka,” at the UN Human Rights Council says the Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary Adm.Prof .Jayanath Colombage.’ »

Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena hits out at the resolution pending before the UNHRC on Sri Lanka calling it a political move by the core group of countries and not one put forward to assist the country in its efforts to address accountability and human rights-related issues.

By Chandani Kirinde

Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena yesterday hit out at the resolution pending before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Sri Lanka, calling it a political move by the core group of countries and not one put forward to assist the country in its efforts to address accountability and human rights-related issues.

“The resolution refers a great deal to the internal day-to-day affairs of the Government, such as running a department or a ministry, or appointments given to public officials, and ignores the progress Sri Lanka has made in the last few years on human rights and related issues. The core group of countries have been preoccupied since the election victory of the President and subsequently of the government. This is a political resolution,” Gunawardena told the Daily FT.

He said it was particularly unfortunate that the United Kingdom as a country that heads the Commonwealth is being unfriendly to Sri Lanka and sponsoring a resolution on another Commonwealth member nation.

Continue reading ‘Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena hits out at the resolution pending before the UNHRC on Sri Lanka calling it a political move by the core group of countries and not one put forward to assist the country in its efforts to address accountability and human rights-related issues.’ »

As the military seeks to consolidate power, it is increasingly targeting journalists with lawsuits and violence in order to stop them from reporting the truth about what’s happening in Myanmar.


By FRONTIER

“Don’t be afraid of them,” The Hakha Times CEO Ya Lalawmpuia, also known as Pa Pui, advised his newsroom on March 3. “If we are afraid, we will not be able to reveal the truth about what they [police and soldiers] are doing.”

Less than a week earlier, on February 27, Pa Pui, 50, had been arrested in Hakha, the Chin State capital, while live streaming a protest.

“They [the police] beat me. I told them I was from the media, but they cursed and told me to stop talking nonsense,” he told Frontier. “They did not f*cking care ­– they threw me forcefully into the police truck.”

Pa Pui said more than 10 officers detained him, then took him to the Hakha Myoma police station and held him overnight. He was released at 2pm the following day.

“They forced me to sign an agreement not to livestream any protests or military deployments, which doesn’t make sense – I’m a journalist,” he said.

He signed the paper but told them he would not abide by the agreement.

“Although I signed the agreement, I told them I’ll keep covering protests without hesitation because it’s my job,” he told Frontier. “If I’d refused, I would have stayed in jail. I wanted to get out as soon as possible and get back to work.”

Hakha is home to at least six media outlets, as well as a handful of reporters for Yangon and Mandalay-based publications. Pa Pui is not the only one to be arrested: another journalist at The Hakha Times and a reporter for the Chinland Post were also detained and later released for reporting on the coup and the popular resistance to it.

Continue reading ‘As the military seeks to consolidate power, it is increasingly targeting journalists with lawsuits and violence in order to stop them from reporting the truth about what’s happening in Myanmar.’ »

“In Sri Lanka now there are warrants, seizures and disinformation campaigns, which erode public trust in critics and the news media. As one of the earliest targets of this subdued terror campaign, I can attest to its effectiveness” States Former “Sunday Observer”Editor Dharisha Bastians


By

Dharisha Bastians

Terror tore through me when I heard that my friend and editor of the Nation newspaper, Keith Noyahr, had been abducted. It was May 2008; the civil war was raging and Sri Lankan troops were chalking up victories against Tamil Tiger separatists in the north. In the fog of war, government critics were being terrorised all over the country. We had learned to expect the worst when a journalist went missing.

Within days, Noyahr had fled the country. He told investigators he had been suspended in midair, stripped and beaten by his captors.

Seven months later, we realised the attack had been a trial run. In January 2009 the murder of Lasantha Wickrematunge, another Sri Lankan journalist and editor of the Sunday Leader, sent shockwaves across the world.

The man Wickrematunge’s daughter has accused of planning her father’s killing, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, is now president of Sri Lanka. His election in 2019 heralded an immediate crackdown against the media.

Human Rights Watch says the Sri Lankan media practices “rampant self-censorship” – perhaps because there is an eerie familiarity to the recent intimidation. The last time this regime held power, journalists had a front-row seat to repression.

Continue reading ‘“In Sri Lanka now there are warrants, seizures and disinformation campaigns, which erode public trust in critics and the news media. As one of the earliest targets of this subdued terror campaign, I can attest to its effectiveness” States Former “Sunday Observer”Editor Dharisha Bastians’ »

Sri Lanka to ban the wearing of burqas;Public Security Minister Sarath Weerasekara cites national security for decision saying garments are ‘sign of religious extremism’; plans to close more than 1,000 Islamic schools known as madrassas.

Sri Lanka has announced plans to ban the wearing of burqas and said it would close more than 1,000 Islamic schools known as madrassas, citing national security.

The minister of public security Sarath Weerasekara, said he had signed a paper on Friday seeking the approval of the cabinet of ministers to ban burkas – outer garments that cover the body and face worn by some Muslim women.

“The burqa has a direct impact on national security,” Weerasekara told a ceremony at a Buddhist temple on Saturday. “In our early days, we had a lot of Muslim friends, but Muslim women and girls never wore the burqa,” Weerasekara said, according to video footage sent by his ministry. “It is a sign of religious extremism that came about recently. We will definitely ban it.”

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka to ban the wearing of burqas;Public Security Minister Sarath Weerasekara cites national security for decision saying garments are ‘sign of religious extremism’; plans to close more than 1,000 Islamic schools known as madrassas.’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Wants to Re-open Over 50 Dismantled Security Camps in the Pre-dominantly Tamil Speaking Eastern Province “Because separatist terrorism or Islamic extremism will not be allowed under our government.”


By P.K.Balachandran

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has said that security will be beefed up in the Eastern Province to stem separatist terrorism and Islamic extremism.

Tamils and Muslims together outnumber the Sinhalese in the Eastern Province.

The province had been the base of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and also Jehadists who staged the April 21, 2019 suicide bombings in Colombo and other places.

Speaking at the 14 th. “Discussion with the Village” program in Galagoda East in Galle District on March 13, the President said: “ There were about 50 camps in the Eastern Province. They had been removed and only a handful of camps remain. I have advised that these camps be opened again, because separatist terrorism or Islamic extremism will not be allowed under our government.”

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Wants to Re-open Over 50 Dismantled Security Camps in the Pre-dominantly Tamil Speaking Eastern Province “Because separatist terrorism or Islamic extremism will not be allowed under our government.”’ »

20 plantation companies file writ application before Court of Appeal seeking an order to invalidate the gazette notification issued last week to increase the daily wage of plantation workers to Rs. 1,000.

Twenty plantation companies yesterday filed a writ application before the Court of Appeal seeking an order to invalidate the gazette notification issued last week to increase the daily wage of plantation workers to Rs. 1,000.

The application names the Labour Minister, Ministry Secretary and the Wages Board as respondents. The petitioners argue that increasing the plantation wage by the Labour Ministry puts the industry at risk by escalating costs to unsustainable levels and therefore seek to invalidate the gazette issued on 10 March.

In response to the application, Labour Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva told reporters he is confident the Court of Appeal will uphold the decision of the Government as it was made with the best interests of the plantation workers at heart.

Continue reading ‘20 plantation companies file writ application before Court of Appeal seeking an order to invalidate the gazette notification issued last week to increase the daily wage of plantation workers to Rs. 1,000.’ »

” We believe the resolution the UK has presented to the UNHRC is an ambitious one that can pass in the face of challenging UNHRC dynamics”- UK Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth Lord Tariq Ahmad


(Text of Detailed Response by UK Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth Lord Tariq Ahmad to Representaions made by a group of Tamil Organizations Concernig the Resolution on Sri Lanka Sponsored by the UK at the United Nations Human Rights Council 46th session in Geneva)

“Thank you for your correspondence of 1 March and petition regarding the UK’s approach to Sri Lanka at the 46th UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), and for recommending amendments to the draft resolution.

“I recognise the points you have raised, and understand that achieving justice, peace and accountability is a priority for all Sri Lankans affected by the conflict. Please be assured that this is a long standing priority for the UK, and that we regularly raise the importance of justice and accountability with the government of Sri Lanka, both privately and publicly.

“We have highlighted our concerns about the lack of progress towards accountability and the wider human rights situation, including in our statements to the UNHRC in February, June and September 2020. As Minister of State for South Asia and Minister responsible for Human Rights, I set out our serious concerns about human rights in Sri Lanka in a statement at the UN Human Rights Council on 25 February.

“I have also raised the importance of accountability, justice and reconciliation on several occasions with the Sri Lankan High Commissioner and Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, most recently during calls on 12 February and 22 January respectively.

Continue reading ‘” We believe the resolution the UK has presented to the UNHRC is an ambitious one that can pass in the face of challenging UNHRC dynamics”- UK Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth Lord Tariq Ahmad’ »

Human Rights Ambassadors of the United Kingdom, German, Sweden, Netherlands, Lithuania, Estonia and Luxembourg Issue Joint Statement denouncing the treatment of Attorney-at Law Hejaaz Hizbullah stating that they “regret to note that after 10 months of detention, Mr. Hizbullah is now being accused of speech related offences”


Eight European Human Rights Ambassadors have denounced the treatment of Attorney-at Law Hejaaz Hizbullah stating that they “regret to note that after 10 months of detention, Mr. Hizbullah is now being accused of speech related offences”.

The statement signed by Human Rights Ambassadors of the United Kingdom, German, Sweden, Netherlands, Lithuania, Estonia and Luxembourg state that Hizbullah was a defender of human rights.

Continue reading ‘Human Rights Ambassadors of the United Kingdom, German, Sweden, Netherlands, Lithuania, Estonia and Luxembourg Issue Joint Statement denouncing the treatment of Attorney-at Law Hejaaz Hizbullah stating that they “regret to note that after 10 months of detention, Mr. Hizbullah is now being accused of speech related offences”’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa promulgates new regulations under the Prevention of Terrorism Act for the deradicalisation of those holding violent extremist religious ideologies and persons causing or intending to cause acts of violence or religious, racial, or communal disharmony or feelings of ill will or hostility between different communities.

By Chandani Kirinde

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has promulgated new regulations under the Prevention of Terrorism (PTA) Act for the deradicalisation of those holding violent extremist religious ideologies.

The regulations will apply to those who surrender to law enforcement officials or are taken into custody on suspicion of being a person who causes or intends to cause acts of violence or religious, racial, or communal disharmony or feelings of ill will or hostility between different communities.

Reintegration centres will be set up under these regulations with the approval of the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence which will function under the Commissioner-General of Rehabilitation.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa promulgates new regulations under the Prevention of Terrorism Act for the deradicalisation of those holding violent extremist religious ideologies and persons causing or intending to cause acts of violence or religious, racial, or communal disharmony or feelings of ill will or hostility between different communities.’ »

Indian High Commissioner Gopl Baglay Re-iterates that the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil community Could be achieved through meaningful devolution within a united Sri Lanka During Discussions with Cross Section of Tamil Political Leaders in the North and East

(Text of Press Release Issued by the High Commission of India in Colombo about High Commissioner Gopal Baglay’s s meetings with political leaders of Northern and Eastern Provinces)

High Commissioner H.E Shri Gopal Baglay held a series of meetings with leaders of various political parties in Jaffna and Trincomalee on 13 March 2021, the third day of his visit to the Northern and Eastern Provinces.

In the first of these meetings, Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) MP Hon’ble Kulasingam Dhileeban thanked India for its consistent position on the implementation of 13th Amendment, and requested more Indian assistance projects in Wanni electoral district.

A 15-member TNA delegation led by the President of ITAK Hon Mavai Senathiraja, Members of Parliament Hon’ble Selvam Adaikalanathan (TELO), Hon’ble Sidhthathan (PLOTE), Hon’ble Sumanthiran, Hon’ble Sritharan, Hon’ble Charles Nirmalanathan and several young council leaders from the Northern Province apprised the High Commissioner of development requirements of the people of the Province. Several practical suggestions were made for deeper engagement in the fields of water, sanitation, education, skill development, health, agriculture, connectivity and fishing.

Continue reading ‘Indian High Commissioner Gopl Baglay Re-iterates that the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil community Could be achieved through meaningful devolution within a united Sri Lanka During Discussions with Cross Section of Tamil Political Leaders in the North and East’ »

Indian Envoy Gopal Baglay’s Northern Province Visit Lays Emphasis on cultural, civilisational, contemporary and commercial Connectivity

(Text of Press Release Issued by the High Commission of India in Colombo Regarding the Visit of Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay to Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka)

The second day of the High Commissioner’s visit to the Northern Province saw emphasis on connectivity – cultural, civilisational, contemporary and commercial.

The High Commissioner visited Kankesanthurai (KKS) harbour and took stock of the project to rehabilitate it with Government of India’s assistance of US Dollar 45.27 million. When completed, the project will enable movement of goods and ferry from Kankesanthurai to India.

The High Commissioner visited Palaly airport. In light of the readiness of the Government of Sri Lanka to resume flights between Jaffna and Chennai and also reopen Palaly for domestic flights within Sri Lanka, the High Commissioner saw the facilities created there for international flights, which had been discontinued last year due to COVID-19 pandemic. He also discussed expansion of the infrastructure at the airport in view of existing and growing requirements to enhance air connectivity with India, including for promotion of trade, such as Sri Lanka’s exports to India and through India to other destinations.

Continue reading ‘Indian Envoy Gopal Baglay’s Northern Province Visit Lays Emphasis on cultural, civilisational, contemporary and commercial Connectivity’ »

Unprecedented Toughening of language in Resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva by the Co-sponsors could be signalling a degree of confidence on the part of the co-sponsors that the Council may vote to adopt the resolution.

The UNHRC draft resolution on Sri Lanka in its third revision contains a strengthened paragraph on the implementation of the 13th Amendment and sets the stage for the country’s human rights record to be in the international spotlight every six months.

The revised draft was expected to be tabled by end of business in Geneva yesterday (12) ahead of a UNHRC deadline for submission of draft proposals. However, written revisions to the text are possible until 16 March.

The 11 March draft calls on the Government of Sri Lanka to fulfil its commitments on devolution of power, and “respect local governance” by holding Provincial Council Elections and ensuring all Provincial Councils can function effectively in accordance with the 13th Amendment. The most recent revision to the paragraph on devolution makes specific reference to the Northern Provincial Council.

Continue reading ‘Unprecedented Toughening of language in Resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva by the Co-sponsors could be signalling a degree of confidence on the part of the co-sponsors that the Council may vote to adopt the resolution.’ »

Passage of Resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva Will Establish a Mechanism to “collect, analyse, consolidate and preserve evidence” on Human Rights Violations in Sri Lanka that would support judicial proceedings in other UN member states to Indict and Prosecute Alleged HR Violators in Sri Lanka overseasInvoking Universal Jurisdiction

OHCHR evidence preservation body for Lanka fleshed out in Geneva

Establishing a dedicated capacity at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to collect and preserve evidence about grave rights violations in Sri Lanka will cost an estimated $ 2 million, UNHRC member states were informed this week.

If established, the mechanism would support judicial proceedings in other UN member states with jurisdiction to prosecute extra-territorial breaches of international law, bringing perpetrators of grave rights abuses in Sri Lanka one step closer to being indicted and tried overseas.

At the third informal consultation on the Sri Lanka Resolution held virtually on Monday (8), the United Kingdom which is the main sponsor of the draft said that based on initial discussions with the OHCHR, the evidence gathering mechanism would comprise a team of at least six people and require at least $ 2 million for an initial 18-month period of operation.

Continue reading ‘Passage of Resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva Will Establish a Mechanism to “collect, analyse, consolidate and preserve evidence” on Human Rights Violations in Sri Lanka that would support judicial proceedings in other UN member states to Indict and Prosecute Alleged HR Violators in Sri Lanka overseasInvoking Universal Jurisdiction’ »

Co-sponsors of Resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva Decline to Amend Reference to “Mandatory Cremations” in Wording of Text Despite Demands by Sri Lanka For Its Deletion.

The language of the draft resolution on Sri Lanka continues to tighten unprecedentedly as the days wind down for negotiations on the text before it is put to a vote at the UN Human Rights Council at the end of its 46th Session on 22-23 March.

The co-sponsors of the resolution on Sri Lanka are likely to incorporate language into the resolution that calls on High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet to present written reports or oral statements every six months until the resolution comes up for renewal in September 2022 following negotiations on the draft text this week, Daily FT learns.

The most significant change in the revised draft of the Sri Lanka resolution circulated among member states of the UNHRC on 5 March was the inclusion of the word “collect” to Operative Paragraph 6. Operative Paragraph 6 now calls on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to “Collect, consolidate, analyse and preserve evidence” relating to human rights violations and “related crimes”. The phrasing “related crimes” was a suggestion by the United States delegation, which has taken a substantial role in ongoing negotiations on the draft text.

Continue reading ‘Co-sponsors of Resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva Decline to Amend Reference to “Mandatory Cremations” in Wording of Text Despite Demands by Sri Lanka For Its Deletion.’ »

The Centre for Policy Alternatives is deeply troubled with report of the ‘Commission of Inquiry to Investigate Allegations of Political Victimisation During the Period Commencing 8 January 2015 and Ending 16 November 2019’ tabled in Parliament, and the t action taken to establish a Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry based on its findings.

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The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) yesterday said it was deeply troubled by the Presidential Commission on Political Victimisation report and warned appointment of a Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry (SPoI) could undermine judicial independence and renewed calls to repeal the Special Presidential Commissions of Inquiry Act as it could be used to target political opponents.

The full statement is given below.

The CPA is deeply troubled with the report of the ‘Commission of Inquiry to Investigate Allegations of Political Victimisation During the Period Commencing 8 January 2015 and Ending 16 November 2019’ (The CoI), which has this week been tabled in Parliament, and the subsequent action taken based on its findings to establish a Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry (SPCoI).

CPA will shortly issue a commentary raising concerns with the CoI report but as an initial comment, CPA notes that the findings of the CoI report raise grave concerns with implications for the independence of the Judiciary, the rule of law and democracy in Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘The Centre for Policy Alternatives is deeply troubled with report of the ‘Commission of Inquiry to Investigate Allegations of Political Victimisation During the Period Commencing 8 January 2015 and Ending 16 November 2019’ tabled in Parliament, and the t action taken to establish a Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry based on its findings.’ »

144 intermediate housing units for Pilgrims to Our Lady of the Rosary Church at Marudhamadu in Mannar Costing 300 Million Rupees to be Constructed Within Madhu Church Precincts with Indian FinancialAssistance

The construction work to build 144 intermediate housing units for Madhu pilgrims was commenced at the Madhu Church premises in Mannar on Thursday yesterday under the patronage of Indian High Commissioner Dr. Gopal Bagle, Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga and Bishop of Mannar Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Fernando.

The total cost for the project is estimated at Rs. 300 million and is built with the assistance of the Indian Government.

Continue reading ‘144 intermediate housing units for Pilgrims to Our Lady of the Rosary Church at Marudhamadu in Mannar Costing 300 Million Rupees to be Constructed Within Madhu Church Precincts with Indian FinancialAssistance’ »

Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry Expresses Concern to Chinese Embassy in Colombo about Doormats and Toilet Mats with Images of Sri Lanka’s National Flag Being Manufactured in China and Marketed Worldwide Through On Line Platforms

By

JAMILA HUSAIN

The Foreign Ministry today said that it had called for a full scale inquiry into the sale of non slip doormats on the Amazon site with the print of Sri Lanka’s national flag.

The Ministry, in a statement said that following, recent reports on social media platforms of a “Sri Lanka Flag Non-Slip Doormat” which is being advertised for online purchase on the Amazon website, Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage has informed the Sri Lanka Embassy in Beijing to contact the manufacturer concerned in China and also has brought to the attention of the Chinese Embassy in Colombo, the advertising of Sri Lanka’s national flag as a doormat.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry Expresses Concern to Chinese Embassy in Colombo about Doormats and Toilet Mats with Images of Sri Lanka’s National Flag Being Manufactured in China and Marketed Worldwide Through On Line Platforms’ »

Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay Commences 4 -day visit to the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka;Attends Maha Sivarathri Pooja at Historic Thirukketheeswaram Temple in Mannar

(Text of a Press Releae Issued by the High Commission of India in Colombo)

High Commissioner H.E Gopal Baglay commenced his four-day visit to Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka on 11 March 2021. He started his visit by attending Shivratri Pooja at the sacred Thiruketeeswaram Temple. After offering prayers at the Temple, High Commissioner reviewed the restoration project that was carried out by Government of India at the Temple. It would be recalled that this project was executed on grant basis at a cost of SLR 326 million.

High Commissioner also prayed at Ramsethu (Adam’s bridge) – a connecting bridge between India and Sri Lanka over several centuries on the same day.

Continue reading ‘Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay Commences 4 -day visit to the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka;Attends Maha Sivarathri Pooja at Historic Thirukketheeswaram Temple in Mannar’ »

81% of the total cargo arriving at the Colombo Port is transhipment cargo with Over 70% of the transhipment business is linked to the Indian market.

By

Meera Srinivasan

In a Cabinet decision on February 1 this year, Sri Lanka booted India and Japan out of a 2019 deal to jointly develop the East Container Terminal (ECT) at the Colombo Port, as trade unions and sections of the Buddhist clergy vehemently opposed foreign involvement in the strategic national asset. Further, some raised questions about the possible conflict of interest, given that the Adani Group operates about a dozen ports in India.

Both India and Japan expressed displeasure at the Sri Lankan government’s “unilateral” decision, reneging on a tripartite agreement signed by the former Maithripala Sirisena-Ranil Wickremesinghe government.

As an alternative, the Rajapaksa administration offered the West Container Terminal (WCT) at the Port to India and Japan for joint development on new terms, with higher stakes of 85 % for the foreign partners.

On March 1, the government approved a joint venture with the Adani consortium to develop the WCT, on a Build-Operate-Transfer basis for 35 years. But Sri Lanka’s change in course has been far from smooth.

Why?

Both India and Japan have distanced themselves from the decision New Delhi has termed Colombo’s statement, that the Indian High Commission had approved the Adani Group’s proposal to develop the WCT as “factually incorrect”. Japan is yet to name an investor, according to Sri Lanka’s Cabinet spokespersons.

Continue reading ‘81% of the total cargo arriving at the Colombo Port is transhipment cargo with Over 70% of the transhipment business is linked to the Indian market.’ »

Intelligence services have identified Naufer Moulavi as the mastermind behind the Easter Sunday terror attacks Discloses Sarath Weerasekara:”99 suspects have been arrested in Sri Lanka and 35 suspects overseas for directly and indirectly supporting the Easter Attack”Reveals Public Security Minister; Eleven Identified extremists organisations to be Banned

By

Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardane

The intelligence services have identified Naufer Moulavi as the mastermind behind the Easter Sunday terror attack while Ibrahim brothers and several international organisations have funded the Thawheed Jamaath to carry out the attack, Public Security Minister Sarath Weerasekara said today.

He told Parliament that it was revealed that Naufer Moulavi, who was based in Qatar, had provoked Zahran and his followers to carry out the attack by brainwashing them.

He said it was also revealed that two Sri Lankan born Australian nationals Lukman Thalib and his son Lukman Thalib Ahmed had facilitated Zahran to meet four religious extremists in the Maldives.

Continue reading ‘Intelligence services have identified Naufer Moulavi as the mastermind behind the Easter Sunday terror attacks Discloses Sarath Weerasekara:”99 suspects have been arrested in Sri Lanka and 35 suspects overseas for directly and indirectly supporting the Easter Attack”Reveals Public Security Minister; Eleven Identified extremists organisations to be Banned’ »

EASTER BOMBINGS: “Who stood to benefit is one question that ought to be asked, who benefited is another question that must be asked. We all know the answer” states TNA Jaffna MP Sumanthiran in Parliament


(Text of Speech made in Parliament on 10th March 2021 during the debate of the report of Easter Sunday attack by TNA Jaffna district Parliamentarian M.A.Sumanthiran PC)

Thank you, deputy chairman of committees for the opportunity to speak at todays’ debate.

As I commence I must bring to the notice of the house that we are debating not just a report but an incident that happened almost 2 years ago, which took away 270 odd lives and critically injured more than 500 people in a series of bomb attacks, suicide attacks unprecedented not just in this country. I would say anywhere in the world that such coordinated attack at different places took place within the space of a few hours and that too on Easter Sunday. The target was clearly the Christian Church.
Continue reading ‘EASTER BOMBINGS: “Who stood to benefit is one question that ought to be asked, who benefited is another question that must be asked. We all know the answer” states TNA Jaffna MP Sumanthiran in Parliament’ »

SJB and TNA MP’s Ranjith Madduma Bandara and MA Sumanthiran Call for International Investigations Into April 21st 2019 Bombing Incidents as the debate on the report of the commission that probed the 2019 Easter Sunday terrorist attacks gets underwayin Parliament

By Chandani Kirinde

Government and Opposition MPs traded charges in Parliament yesterday as the debate on the report of the commission that probed the 2019 Easter Sunday terrorist attacks got underway with some backing calls by the Catholic Church for an international investigation into the attacks.

SLPP National List MP Jayantha Weerasinghe commenced the adjournment debate, calling for action against those named by the Commission of Inquiry as having been responsible for lapses which resulted in the attacks.

“Those who were in power during the time the attacks were carried out are solely responsible for what happened. This Opposition might try to find cover using a new name by calling itself the Samagi Jana Balawegaya, but they are the ones who were in power in 2019,” Weerasinghe said. However, SJB MPs said that the current Government had benefited from the fallout of the attacks and used the terrorist incidents to shore up support during the elections and come to power.

Continue reading ‘SJB and TNA MP’s Ranjith Madduma Bandara and MA Sumanthiran Call for International Investigations Into April 21st 2019 Bombing Incidents as the debate on the report of the commission that probed the 2019 Easter Sunday terrorist attacks gets underwayin Parliament’ »

Sudden Reduction of Special Commodity Levy for Sugar from Rs 50 to 0.25 Cents per KG Results in 15.6 Billion Rupee Loss for Treasury:UNP Demands Govt Probe Into Sugar Scam Exceeding 2015 Treasury Bond Scam and Divulge Names of Importer andPowerful Persons in Govt Allegedly Responsible

United National Party (UNP) member Palitha Range Bandara yesterday urged the Government to investigate the Rs. 16 billion tax loss due to the reduction of the Special Commodity Levy and reveal to the public who profited from the racket.

The former Parliamentarian made the comments at a press conference held at Sirikotha.

“The Government’s decision to suddenly reduce the tax on sugar from Rs. 50 per Kg to Rs.0.25 was not reflected in market prices. No relief was felt by the consumer. We now learn that it has cost the Government Rs. 15.9 billion in losses. So, who profited from this scam?” Bandara questioned, pointing that the loss to the Treasury was more than what was lost during the 2015 bond scam.

Continue reading ‘Sudden Reduction of Special Commodity Levy for Sugar from Rs 50 to 0.25 Cents per KG Results in 15.6 Billion Rupee Loss for Treasury:UNP Demands Govt Probe Into Sugar Scam Exceeding 2015 Treasury Bond Scam and Divulge Names of Importer andPowerful Persons in Govt Allegedly Responsible’ »

Plantation Workers Get Rs 1000 Daily Wage fter Prolonged Struggle:Labour Ministry Gazettes Daily Wage Comprising Rs 900 Basic Salary and Rs 100 as Budgetary Allowance; New Rates Effective From March 5th 2021.Labour Minister Hails it as “Great Breakthrough”

By Uditha Jayasinghe

The years-long battle for plantation workers to be given a Rs. 1,000 daily wage wound to a close yesterday after the Government issued the necessary Gazette notification.

The Gazette was issued by Labour Ministry Secretary M.P.D. Mapa after the Wages Board cleared the way on 1 March. Under the Gazette, the basic wage has been raised to Rs. 900 and workers will be given an additional Rs. 100 as a budgetary allowance. The new daily wage will be applicable from 5 March.

Labour Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva hailed the breakthrough yesterday, recounting to reporters the two dozen rounds of talks that had taken place since last August to find a common ground between trade unions, Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) and representatives of the Employers Federation of Ceylon.

The Minister argued that even though the Wages Board had side-lined the collective agreement, which promoted a more productivity based model, there was still room for increasing productivity in the sector.

Continue reading ‘Plantation Workers Get Rs 1000 Daily Wage fter Prolonged Struggle:Labour Ministry Gazettes Daily Wage Comprising Rs 900 Basic Salary and Rs 100 as Budgetary Allowance; New Rates Effective From March 5th 2021.Labour Minister Hails it as “Great Breakthrough”’ »

“By turning a blind eye to the State’s effort to subvert these investigations, you have jeopardised the credibility of the Commission, the Police, the Attorney General’s Department and the entire Sri Lankan criminal justice system.”- Ahimsa Wickrematunge Writes to National Police Commission

(Slain “Sunday Leader”Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge’s daughter Ahimsa Wickrematunge has responded to the National Police Commission over the suppression of evidence in her father Lasantha Wickrematunge’s murder investigation.)

Following are excerpts of Ahimsa’s letter:

Re: Appointing a suspect to run the Criminal Investigation Department (CID)

I write to respond to your letter dated 21 January 2021 (your ref: NPC/PCID/HO/61/2020), in which you address the complaint I lodged with the Commission on 17 June 2019 on the above subject.

I drew the attention of the NPC to the fact that it appointed Mr. Prasanna J. Alwis as CID Director despite the CID having previously caught him tampering with evidence in the investigation into my father’s murder. I asked the Commission to investigate how this happened.

You confirm in your letter that “evidence with regard to the death of Lasantha Wickrematunge had been suppressed by SSP A.R.P.J. Alwis and that was reported to the Magistrate of Mt. Lavinia on 4 October 2019.” You also state that “extracts on destroying and suppression of evidence have been handed over to Hon. Attorney General under C.R.01 40/2020.”

This file was submitted to the Attorney General before Mr. Alwis was appointed to head the CID. I cannot believe that the Commission and Attorney General blessed the regime’s decision to put the CID in the hands of an officer who tampered with a murder investigation. Throwing natural justice to the wind, Mr. Alwis was once again allowed to oversee my father’s case. The Commission must answer for appointing an accused criminal to head the CID.

Continue reading ‘“By turning a blind eye to the State’s effort to subvert these investigations, you have jeopardised the credibility of the Commission, the Police, the Attorney General’s Department and the entire Sri Lankan criminal justice system.”- Ahimsa Wickrematunge Writes to National Police Commission’ »

Govt will not proscribe the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) as recommended by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) that probed the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks as it was not acceptable to Govt says Prof G.L. Peiris

By Shamindra Ferdinando

SLPP Chairman Prof. G.L. Peiris yesterday (8) ruled out the possibility of proscribing the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) as recommended by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) that probed the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks.

Addressing the regular weekly SLPP briefing at the Waters Edge, Prof. Peiris, who is also the minister of education, emphasized that the particular recommendation wasn’t acceptable to the government. He described it as a difficult recommendation.

Declaring that the proscription of the BBS wouldn’t do any good, Prof. Peiris said implementation of PCoI recommendations would be the prerogative of the government.

Prof. Peiris assured that the government would implement the remaining recommendations.

Continue reading ‘Govt will not proscribe the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) as recommended by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) that probed the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks as it was not acceptable to Govt says Prof G.L. Peiris’ »

Adani Group was selected for the WCT project despite no specific request from the Indian Government because the Sri Lankan Government continued under the “assumption” it would remain as the Indian nominee for the WCT as in the case of the ECT Earlier Explains Cabinet Co-spokesperson Gammanpila

By Uditha Jayasinghe

The Government yesterday defended its decision to approve Adani Group to develop the West Container Terminal (WCT) conceding that the Indian Government did not specifically nominate the

company, but that the selection was based on an “assumption” as the second terminal project was deemed less strategic.

Cabinet Co-spokesman and Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila, responding to questions at the weekly Cabinet briefing, took pains to explain Government thinking behind the decision after Indian authorities denied they had backed Adani Group to front the WCT Joint Venture with local conglomerate John Keells Holdings and Japan.

Continue reading ‘Adani Group was selected for the WCT project despite no specific request from the Indian Government because the Sri Lankan Government continued under the “assumption” it would remain as the Indian nominee for the WCT as in the case of the ECT Earlier Explains Cabinet Co-spokesperson Gammanpila’ »

Trade Unions attached to the Colombo Port opposed to any direct agreement about development of West Container Terminal (WCT) between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Adani Group of Companies that does not involve the Indian government

BY PAMODI WARAVITA

Trade Unions (TUs) attached to the Colombo Port would be opposed to any direct agreement about the development of the West Container Terminal (WCT) between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Adani Group of Companies, The Morning learnt.

“We are against a unilateral agreement with Adani that does not involve the Indian government,” Trade Unions to Protect the ECT Co-Convener Sanjeewa Kumara Weligama told The Morning yesterday (7).

Continue reading ‘Trade Unions attached to the Colombo Port opposed to any direct agreement about development of West Container Terminal (WCT) between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Adani Group of Companies that does not involve the Indian government’ »

M.N.Nambiar : The Virtuous Villain of Tamil Cinema who Terrified People by his Grimaces and Scowls

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

M.N. Nambiar

M.N. Nambiar

(Popular Tamil film actor M. N. Nambiar who excelled in playing “villain”roles on screen was born on March 7th 1919. This article appearing in the “Spotlight” cinema Column of the “Daily FT” on November 28th 2015 is being re-posted here with minor changes in the first paragraph to denote the 102nd birth anniversary of the versatile MN Nambiar)

The 102nd birth anniversary of the man named Manjeri Narayanan Nambiar or M.N. Nambiar falls on 07 March 2021. The popular Tamil film actor excelled in playing the villain on screen. Nambiar was a terrible villain who could terrify people by merely grimacing and scowling. M.N. Nambiar was arguably the greatest screen villain of Tamil cinema.

Nambiar was a rare individual who played villainous roles on screen while remaining a virtuous person with saintly qualities off-screen. Contrary to his villainous screen persona, Nambiar was in real life a teetotaller and vegetarian and, above all, a man who upheld ethical values without any scandal or gossip ever being attributed to him.

Ayirathil Oruvan

Ayirathil Oruvan

He was also a great devotee of Sabarimalai Shree Aiyappan and undertook annual pilgrimages to the shrine for over 65 years. He was one of those instrumental in popularising the comparatively unknown deity over the years. He initiated mountain-trekking pilgrimages at a time when it was not ‘fashionable’ to worship Shree Aiyappan on the scale it is being done today. As a result, he was hailed not merely as a ‘Guruswamy’ but a ‘Mahaguruswamy’ by Aiyappan devotees.
Continue reading ‘M.N.Nambiar : The Virtuous Villain of Tamil Cinema who Terrified People by his Grimaces and Scowls’ »

Understanding and Tackling COVID-19 Misinformation in South Asian and other Diverse Communities in Canada

By: Harrish Thirukumaran

Eleven months after the COVID-19 disease became recognized as a global pandemic in March 2020, the number of Canadians diagnosed with the virus increased daily or have been in high figures. A multitude of factors have been blamed for this steady increase. Throughout this time, the health situation has led to many of us following a set of public health guidelines and orders as one of many efforts to control and combat the disease. These include physical distancing with individuals not part of your immediate household and staying at home as much as possible.

More recently, however, attention has been focused on Canada’s South Asian community, in relation to high COVID-19 case numbers in the Greater Toronto Area and elsewhere in Canada. In Peel Region, where South Asians represent half of its total visible minority population (Statistics Canada, 2017), the community represents nearly half of all confirmed COVID-19 cases in the area. This is something that has affected me personally and generated my own curiosity as a Canadian who has South Asian ancestry, prompting me to write this article to understand this issue and to hopefully educate others on it.
Continue reading ‘Understanding and Tackling COVID-19 Misinformation in South Asian and other Diverse Communities in Canada’ »

Gota Govt Suspends “Compulsory Burials in Iranaitheevu Only” Order; Burials of Muslim COVID Victims Allowed in Oddamaavady in Batticaloa district; 9 Buried in Land Donated by Muslim Businessman on March 5; Another 8 to be Buried on March 6th.


By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Even as proceedings at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) continued in Geneva, the Sri Lankan Government headed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa , in a significant political move, backtracked from its rigid stance on permitting the burial of COVID -19 victims of the Islamic faith in Sri Lanka.

🕌 Mosque in Oddamaavady- pic via: FB KalkudahNation

While suspending on the one hand, its earlier order that COVID -19 victims should only be buried in the Iranaitheevu island on the Gulf of Mannar located ten KM away from the coast of Kilinochchi district, the Govt on the other hand gave permission and clearance for COVID -19 victims to be buried at a selected location in the Oddamaavaddy area of Batticaloa district.

After Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Colombo visit ,the Gotabaya Govt relaxed rules on the forced cremation of Muslim OVID victims. It gazetted provisions enabling the burial of COVID victims. Later the Govt issued guideline directives through the health ministry stipulating that burials could only be permitted in Iranaitheevu, home to over 165 Tamil Catholic families who had been displaced during the war. The Iranaitheevu community protested strongly against the unilateral decision of the Govt being taken without consulting the residents of the Island.

The move to permit burials in Iranaitheevu alone was firmly opposed by Muslim organizations and political parties who proposed that burials be allowed in selected places in Muslim populated areas in accordance with health ministry guidelines. Some alternative venues in Muslim areas were also suggested. Letters of concern were also sent to the global Organization of Islamic Cooperation(OIC) and the World Muslim Congress(WMC).

Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader Rauff Hakeem MP encapsuled the feelings of the Muslim community over the enforced burial at Iranaitheevu through the following tweet “ Banish the bodies to Iranativu! They created the false narrative and wish to prove they were right all along. There is no end to their sadistic pleasure in harassing a hopelessly traumatized community. Pathetic racism prevails!

Continue reading ‘Gota Govt Suspends “Compulsory Burials in Iranaitheevu Only” Order; Burials of Muslim COVID Victims Allowed in Oddamaavady in Batticaloa district; 9 Buried in Land Donated by Muslim Businessman on March 5; Another 8 to be Buried on March 6th.’ »

Formation of a political party called Ilankai Bharatiya Janatha Katchi (IBJK) Announced in Jaffna by Colombo Based Tamil Businessman Velusamy Muthuswamy: New party would be known in English as Sri Lanka Bharathiya Janatha Party (SLBJP) and in Sinhala as Sri Lanka Bharathiya Janatha Paksaya (SLBJP).

By P.K.Balachandran

A Colombo-based Tamil hotelier of Indian Origin, Velusamy Muthuswamy, has announced the formation of a political party called Ilankai Bharatiya Janatha Katchi (IBJK) to further the socio-economic development of all Sri Lankans, especially the Tamils in the plantation areas and the war-torn Northern and Eastern provinces.

It will promote education, multiple language skills, sports and entrepreneurship, Muthuswamy said.

He made the announcement in Jaffna in Northern Sri Lanka on Saturday. Muthuswamy told the Jaffna media that that radio journalist M.Indrajith will be the party General Secretary and V.Dilan, a businessman, will be the Treasurer. The party would be known in English as Sri Lanka Bharathiya Janatha Party (SLBJP) and in Sinhala as Sri Lanka Bharathiya Janatha Paksaya (SLBJP).

Continue reading ‘Formation of a political party called Ilankai Bharatiya Janatha Katchi (IBJK) Announced in Jaffna by Colombo Based Tamil Businessman Velusamy Muthuswamy: New party would be known in English as Sri Lanka Bharathiya Janatha Party (SLBJP) and in Sinhala as Sri Lanka Bharathiya Janatha Paksaya (SLBJP).’ »

Eleven President’s Counsels have expressed “serious concern” that the contents of the report of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into Political Victimization may “undermine the Rule of Law in this country, impair independence of the judiciary and erode impartial and efficient functioning of the Attorney General’s Dept.


Eleven President’s Counsels and former Presidents of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) have expressed “serious concern” that the contents of the report of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into Political Victimization may “undermine the Rule of Law in this country, impair independence of the judiciary and erode impartial and efficient functioning of the Attorney General’s Department.”

The senior lawyers, have written to the Secretary of the BASL over news items carrying purported excerpts of the CoI’s proceedings. The lawyers include the incumbent President of the BASL, Mr. Kalinga Indatissa PC and the President-elect, Mr. Saliya Peiris PC.

Continue reading ‘Eleven President’s Counsels have expressed “serious concern” that the contents of the report of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into Political Victimization may “undermine the Rule of Law in this country, impair independence of the judiciary and erode impartial and efficient functioning of the Attorney General’s Dept.’ »

The Tamil National Alliance the largest Tamil Party representing the Tamil People of the North and East of Sri Lanka appeals to the member States of the UN HUman Roghts Council “on behalf of our people” to ensure the passage of the HRC 46/1 at the UNHRC in Geneva

(Text of a media release issued on March 5th 2021 stating the Response of the Tamil National Alliance to the statement of Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Human Rights Council)

Our attention has been drawn to the statement made by Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena at the High-Level Segment on 23rd February 2021, and at the Interactive Dialogue on the OHCHR Report on 24th February 2021 during the ongoing 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Hon Dinesh Gunawardena says that the government of Sri Lanka withdrew from its co-sponsorship of resolutions HRC 30/1 and HRC 40/1, adopted in October 2015 and March 2019 respectively.

The State co-sponsored the above resolutions and another resolution HRC 34/1 in March 2017, at the different times they were adopted by the council.

Once adopted, the passage of the resolution is complete and there can be no question of withdrawal on behalf of the State by a following Government.

Continue reading ‘The Tamil National Alliance the largest Tamil Party representing the Tamil People of the North and East of Sri Lanka appeals to the member States of the UN HUman Roghts Council “on behalf of our people” to ensure the passage of the HRC 46/1 at the UNHRC in Geneva’ »

Sri Lankan government’s claim that a proposal on Colombo Port’s Western Container Terminal has been approved by the Indian High Commission in Colombo is factually incorrect says Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava


The Indian Ministry of External Affairs on Friday described as ‘factually incorrect’ the Sri Lankan government’s claim that a proposal on Colombo Port’s Western Container Terminal has been approved by the Indian High Commission, and said it understands that the Lankan dispensation has engaged directly with investors on this project.

Sri Lanka announced on Tuesday that it has approved the proposal to develop the strategic Colombo Port’s Western Container Terminal (WCT) under a joint venture with India and Japan for a period of 35 years, weeks after it scrapped a trilateral deal with both the countries to develop another terminal at the same port.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan government’s claim that a proposal on Colombo Port’s Western Container Terminal has been approved by the Indian High Commission in Colombo is factually incorrect says Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava’ »

“I hold Rajapaksa responsible — as I made plain when I moved to sue Rajapaksa in Los Angeles for his role in my father’s murder.it is high time for the world to draw a red line at the killing of journalists and ensure that murderous autocrats pay a price”

by

Ahimsa Wickrematunge


(Ahimsa Wickrematunge, a writer and activist, is the daughter of murdered Sri Lankan journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge)

In 2007, my father, Lasantha Wickrematunge, one of Sri Lanka’s most fiercely independent journalists, exposed an arms deal involving then-Secretary of Defense Gotabaya Rajapaksa embezzling over $10 million in government funds.

Rajapaksa took him to court, alleging defamation. Shortly thereafter, my father’s printing press at the Sunday Leader, where he was editor in chief, was stormed by a masked gang in the middle of the night. Two of his staff were assaulted, and the press itself was set on fire.

On Jan. 8, 2009, weeks before my father could testify about the corrupt arms deal, military intelligence officers ambushed him as he drove to work. They murdered him, tearing my family apart, ripping a hole in my soul and petrifying journalists across Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘“I hold Rajapaksa responsible — as I made plain when I moved to sue Rajapaksa in Los Angeles for his role in my father’s murder.it is high time for the world to draw a red line at the killing of journalists and ensure that murderous autocrats pay a price”’ »

The “Maravanpulavu” Man Behind Moves to Form the “BJP” in Sri Lanka

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

(This is an Updated Version of an Article written for the “DBS Jeyaraj ” Column in the “Daily Mirror ” of Feb 20th 2021.)

The flower bud is the accredited electoral symbol of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) which is ruling Sri Lanka. However the image of that flower bud resembles the lotus flower bud. In fact a lot of lotus buds are used to decorate platforms of the SLPP known in popular parlance as the “pohottuwa” party.

“Maravanpulavu” Satchithanandan – pic via: FB-SivaSenai-Vavuniya

The Lotus flower is the symbol of India’s ruling party the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP). The SLPP in English means Sri Lanka peoples front. The English meaning of BJP is Indian Peoples Party. Both the SLPP and BJP claim to be the people’s parties of Sri Lanka and India with related symbols namely the lotus bud and lotus. Lotus buds bloom into Lotus flowers. Mother Nature decrees it so.

Continue reading ‘The “Maravanpulavu” Man Behind Moves to Form the “BJP” in Sri Lanka’ »

Sri Lankan Envoy to UN in Geneva C.A. Chandraprema Demands sweeping changes to the draft resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC including the deletion of the reference to forced cremations of coronavirus deceased and removal of operative clauses 5,6&7 during two informal discussions.

The Government has demanded sweeping changes to the draft resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council, including the deletion of the reference to forced cremations of coronavirus deceased during informal discussions on the draft text this week.

Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva C.A. Chandraprema insisted that the co-sponsors remove the reference to mandatory cremations, because it was “obsolete” after Government had reversed its policy.

The Government also demanded the removal of operative – or actionable – paragraphs 5, 6 and 7 of the draft resolution to Promote Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka that will be put to a vote at the 47-member UN Human Rights Council later this month.

The Sri Lankan Delegation participated in a virtual informal consultation on the draft resolution, on Monday (1) and Tuesday (2) on the sidelines of the Human Rights Council’s 46th Session.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Envoy to UN in Geneva C.A. Chandraprema Demands sweeping changes to the draft resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC including the deletion of the reference to forced cremations of coronavirus deceased and removal of operative clauses 5,6&7 during two informal discussions.’ »

Sri Lanka Islamic Centre to write to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the World Muslim Congress urging immediate intervention and seeking redress after the govt announced that burials of the COVID-19 dead would take place only iin the Iranaithivu Islet

By

JAMILA HUSAIN

A leading Muslim organisation in Sri Lanka will this week send an official letter of concern to the global Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the World Muslim Congress, seeking their intervention to urge the Sri Lankan government to allocate a decent land for the burial of Muslim COVID-19 victims.

The Daily Mirror learns that the Sri Lanka Islamic Centre, which is a member of the World Muslim Congress will raise serious concerns with the global bodies and will also send a letter to the World Muslim Congress office in Geneva urging for immediate intervention after the government announced that burials of the COVID-19 dead would take place on the Iranaithivu Island, in the Gulf of Mannar.

Senior Muslim officials said they were disappointed at the government’s decision to allocate the Iranaithivu Isle for the burials and instead urged the government to find a suitable land elsewhere in the country.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Islamic Centre to write to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the World Muslim Congress urging immediate intervention and seeking redress after the govt announced that burials of the COVID-19 dead would take place only iin the Iranaithivu Islet’ »

Muslims Urge Govt to Allow Burials of COVID Victims in Kuppiyawatte Muslim Burial Grounds in Colombo Instead of the Iranaitheevu Island 10 KM away from the Kilinochchi district Coast in the Gulf of Mannar


.By
JAMILA HUSAIN

Muslims in Sri Lanka will make an urgent appeal to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, to find a suitable land for the burial of Muslim COVID-19 victims, instead of burying them in the island of Iranaitivu, in the Gulf of Mannar, stating it was not a practical solution to bury the victims there.

The Daily Mirror learns that the trustees of the Maradana mosque have written to the Director General of Health, Dr. Asela Gunawardena requesting the Kupiyawatta Muslim burial ground in Colombo to be utilized for the burial of COVID-19 dead as a ground water table test report was carried out recently by the Department of Geology, University of Peradeniya, where it was determined that the water table was detected at a depth of 2.5 to 3 meters which is suitable for COVID-19 deceased burials according to the Health Ministry’s expectations.

Continue reading ‘Muslims Urge Govt to Allow Burials of COVID Victims in Kuppiyawatte Muslim Burial Grounds in Colombo Instead of the Iranaitheevu Island 10 KM away from the Kilinochchi district Coast in the Gulf of Mannar’ »

Despite India’s non -Committal on the Issue, Sri Lanka is ‘Confident India will stand on the right side’ and vote against Resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva

The Government yesterday expressed confidence that India would stand with Sri Lanka on the “right side” at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions and support it to defeat the resolution that is set to be moved next week.

Cabinet spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told the weekly Cabinet briefing that the Sri Lankan Government was confident of India’s support even though the country’s closest neighbour has remained noncommittal.

Continue reading ‘Despite India’s non -Committal on the Issue, Sri Lanka is ‘Confident India will stand on the right side’ and vote against Resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva’ »

Cabinet Spokesman Keheliya Rmbukwella denies that agreeing to foreign investment from India and Japan for the West Container Terminal was a deviation from the Government’s policy of not giving strategic assets to other countries

By Uditha Jayasinghe

Cabinet has cleared the West Container Terminal (WCT) of the Colombo Port to be developed as a 35-year joint venture with India’s Adani Group and its local partner John Keells Holdings PLC as well as with investment from Japan, a top official said yesterday.

Cabinet Spokesman and Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters at the weekly Cabinet briefing that the decision was taken in accordance with policies outlined in the President’s manifesto ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’.

He acknowledged that the Government had also taken into consideration the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed by the former administration with India and Japan for the East Container Terminal (ECT). The new venture will also include a stake for the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA).

Continue reading ‘Cabinet Spokesman Keheliya Rmbukwella denies that agreeing to foreign investment from India and Japan for the West Container Terminal was a deviation from the Government’s policy of not giving strategic assets to other countries’ »

Sri Lankan Cabinet Approves Decision to Grant Development of West Container Terminal of Colombo Harbour Project to Investors Nominated by India and Japan who will be Accorded a Higher Stake of 85%

By

Meera Srinivasan

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Sri Lanka on Tuesday said it will develop the West Container Terminal (WCT) at the Colombo Port along with India and Japan, in a near-360 degree policy turn from a month ago, when the two partners were ejected from a 2019 tripartite agreement to jointly develop the East Container Terminal (ECT), amid port unions’ resistance to “foreign involvement”.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Cabinet Approves Decision to Grant Development of West Container Terminal of Colombo Harbour Project to Investors Nominated by India and Japan who will be Accorded a Higher Stake of 85%’ »

Chinese Permanent Representative in Geneva CHEN Xu extended China’s strong support to Sri Lanka in his official statement in the interactive dialogue on the OHCHR Report on Sri Lanka during the 46th Session of the UNHRC

Chinese Permanent Representative in Geneva Ambassador CHEN Xu on Thursday extended China’s strong support to Sri Lanka in his official statement in the interactive dialogue on the OHCHR Report on Sri Lanka during the 46th Session of the Human Rights Council.

The full text of the statement is as follows:

“As a friendly neighbour of Sri Lanka, China sincerely hopes that Sri Lanka maintains political stability, ethnic solidarity and national unity, and wishes Sri Lanka greater achievements in its national development. We commend the Government of Sri Lanka for its efforts to actively promote and protect human rights, advance sustainable economic and social development, improve people’s living standard, protect the rights of vulnerable groups, advance national reconciliation and combat terrorism.

Continue reading ‘Chinese Permanent Representative in Geneva CHEN Xu extended China’s strong support to Sri Lanka in his official statement in the interactive dialogue on the OHCHR Report on Sri Lanka during the 46th Session of the UNHRC’ »

23 aircraft of the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy will participate in the Grand Fly past and Aerobatic Display at Galle Face to Celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Sri Lankan Air Force

(Text of a Press Release Issued by the High Commission of India in Colombo)

The Sri Lanka Air Force is celebrating its 70th Anniversary on 02 Mar 21 and the presentation of President’s Colours to No. 5 Fighter Squadron and No. 6 Helicopter Squadron of the Sri Lanka Air Force. To commemorate this historical event, a Fly Past and an Aerobatic Display is also being organised for the first time in Sri Lanka at a grand scale at Galle Face from 03-05 Mar 21.

As a gesture of solidarity, and in keeping with years of close interaction and camaraderie between the two countries and their militaries, Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Navy will participate in the event with an Aerobatic Display by Sarang (Advance Light Helicopter), Surya Kiran (Hawks), Tejas Fighter Aircraft, Tejas Trainer and the Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft. A total of 23 aircraft of the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy would participate in the grand event.

The detachment for the Aerobatic Display arrived in Colombo on 27 Feb 21, with the support of C17 Globe Master and C130J transport aircrafts of Indian Air Force.

Continue reading ‘23 aircraft of the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy will participate in the Grand Fly past and Aerobatic Display at Galle Face to Celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Sri Lankan Air Force’ »

“We can’t do anything just because someone points a gun at our head and says, okay reconcile. It will never happen.” – Says Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary Adm.Jayanath Colambage in Interview with “The Hindu”

By

Meera Srinivasan

Seeking India’s “proactive” support at the UN Human Rights Council, where a resolution on Sri Lanka will be soon put to vote, the Secretary to Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “India cannot abandon us”.

“If the world is one family, as your Foreign Minister has said, then we are immediate family, isn’t it,” Admiral Jayanath Colombage (retired) said, citing External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s reference to ‘vasudhaiva kutumbakam’ in his recent address to the Council.

The Foreign Secretary, a former Navy Commander, spoke to The Hindu on Sri Lanka’s prospects at the ongoing session in Geneva, Indo-Lanka relations, Colombo’s broader foreign policy choices, and strategy for reconciliation from “within”, and regional cooperation.

Sri Lanka, Mr. Colombage said, would be “very uncomfortable” if countries in the region did not extend support in Geneva. He expressed hope that India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh — who are among members of the current Council — will back Sri Lanka, since the countries had similarities, “are battling COVID-19 and facing allegations of human rights violations”.

Continue reading ‘“We can’t do anything just because someone points a gun at our head and says, okay reconcile. It will never happen.” – Says Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary Adm.Jayanath Colambage in Interview with “The Hindu”’ »

Commission of Inquiry Probing Easter Sunday Bombings Discloses Much Information about Zahran Hashim the Ring Leader of the Group Responsible for the Attacks

By Sandun Jayawardana

The authorities failed to take adequate and effective steps to meet the threat from Islamic extremism in the critical build-up phase from 2016 to 2019 prior to the Easter Sunday terror attacks, the Commission of Inquiry (COI) that investigated the attacks has noted in its final report.

Volume 1 of the final report, a copy of which has been seen by the Sunday Times, describes in extensive detail how Zaharan Hashim, the ringleader of the terror cell that carried out the attack, had transformed over the years from a radical preacher to fully-fledged terrorist and how repeated warnings made to the authorities regarding his radicalisation fell on deaf ears.

It also notes how he travelled to various parts of the country, recruiting followers, giving sermons and conducting training camps where participants were given weapons training in addition to being indoctrinated in extremist ideology. Much of this took place despite Zaharan being well known to law enforcement authorities and despite him being sought after by authorities from March 2017.

The report also specifically identifies that it was from an Indian counterpart that the then Director of the State Intelligence Service (SIS) Nilantha Jayawardena had received an intelligence warning of an impending suicide attack by Zaharan and his followers.

Continue reading ‘Commission of Inquiry Probing Easter Sunday Bombings Discloses Much Information about Zahran Hashim the Ring Leader of the Group Responsible for the Attacks’ »

Despite Issuance of Gazette Allowing Burials of COVID Victims Health Ministry Officials Continue to Enforce Forced Cremation Saying Guidelines Have to be Prepared after consulting agencies about the possible pollution of ground water while taking into consideration the social impact as there could be opposition to burial in certain areas.

By Damith Wicremasekara

Cremation of people who die of COVID-19 will continue until modalities and guidelines for burial are worked out, a senior Health Ministry official said yesterday.

He said more time was required to prepare fresh guidelines and name designated places for burials.


He said locations for burial would need to be decided upon after consulting agencies which could provide an opinion about the possible pollution of ground water while taking into consideration the social impact as there could be opposition to burial in certain areas.

Continue reading ‘Despite Issuance of Gazette Allowing Burials of COVID Victims Health Ministry Officials Continue to Enforce Forced Cremation Saying Guidelines Have to be Prepared after consulting agencies about the possible pollution of ground water while taking into consideration the social impact as there could be opposition to burial in certain areas.’ »

Saliya Pieris, PC elected as 26th President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) for the year 2021-2022 with a thumping majority over his rival candidate Kuvera de Zoysa. PC.

Saliya Pieris, PC, was this week elected as 26th President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) for the year 2021-2022 with a thumping majority over his rival candidate Kuvera de Zoysa, PC.

Mr Pieris secured total of 5,178 votes while Mr de Zoysa polled 2,815–a difference of 2363 votes. In Colombo, Mr Pieris scored a massive 2,416 votes while Mr de Zoysa gained 1,146.

He also performed well in Kurunegala where he polled 192 to his rival’s 43; in Galle, where he counted 151 votes to 57; in Kuliyapitiya , where he won 84 votes over 14; and in Matara where he gained 176 to Mr de Zoysa’s 62. In Mt Lavinia Mr Peiris received 71 votes against 38 while in Vavuniya Mr Peiris received 28 against four.

Continue reading ‘Saliya Pieris, PC elected as 26th President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) for the year 2021-2022 with a thumping majority over his rival candidate Kuvera de Zoysa. PC.’ »

Sri Lanka Muslim Congress is relieved that the Govet after prolonged vacillation has finally restored the constitutionally protected fundamental the right for burial of COVID 19 victims and COVID-19 suspected victims States Party Leader Rauff Hakeem

(Text of a Press Release Issued by Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Leader Rauff Hakeem MP)

We are relieved that the Government after a prolonged vacillation has finally restored the constitutionally protected fundamental the right for burial of COVID 19 victims and COVID-19 suspected victims.

In this regard it is quite obvious that if not for the inclusion of this matter in the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the subsequent inclusion of the matter in the resolution on Sri Lanka tabled by the core group, the deliberate intransigence that resulted in
outrageously traumatizing a section of Sri Lankan people would not have been resolved.

The concern raised by the Secretary General of the OIC during the High-Level Segment and the overwhelming demonstration by almost all the Western States during the Interactive Dialogue on Sri Lanka yesterday (25 th February 2021) at the ongoing UNHRC sessions expedited the process.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Muslim Congress is relieved that the Govet after prolonged vacillation has finally restored the constitutionally protected fundamental the right for burial of COVID 19 victims and COVID-19 suspected victims States Party Leader Rauff Hakeem’ »