Thursday, December 29, 2011

A/L exams lost its credibility: FUTA

(Lakna Paranamanna) The 2011 A/L results fiasco has violated the credibility and high standards maintained during the examination throughout the years, university academics said expressing their grave concern over the controversy.

LLRC Report: Sovereignty not a privilege but a responsibility -Daily Mirror Editorial

While the government appears to be enjoying absolute power and has widespread support among the people it goes into 2012 facing a major international crisis over accountability issues relating to the final months of the war against the LTTE.

SLA assaults, threatens activists who protest against sand mining in Batticaloa

[TamilNet] The occupying Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers at Mu'rakkoddaagn-cheanai camp in Batticaloa district have summoned civil activists from Chantha'na-madu river basin to their camp, intimidating them and issuing death threats to some of the activists for having protested against illegal sand mining carried out by TMVP paramilitary operated by the SLA.

LLRC Report: JHU to act strongly against recommendations

Continuing its strong line against the LLRC report, the JHU warns of a strong political decision if the government goes ahead with implementing the commission recommendations.JHU spokesman Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe said they have already made their strong objections known to the LLRC report.

More information unearthed in investigations into the murder of the Britisher

The police officers carrying out investigations regarding the murder of the British national committed at a tourist resort at Tangalle have come across details regarding a ransom clique that has close connections with the government.

LLRC: Another Nail in the Coffin of Justice, Democracy and Freedom

(Surendra Ajit Rupasinghe )
The entire value of the LLRC report rests upon two conditions: First, whether it addresses the core issues raised by allegations of violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, including war crimes and crimes against nature and humanity. The core issues include targeting civilians, shelling of No-Fire Zones and hospitals, atrocities such as rape, torture, mutilation and killing of prisoners of war,  withholding basic relief, and killing of those who surrendered.

TNA calls for an international mechanism for accountability in SL

 The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has called on the international community to establish a “mechanism for accountability” to bring to book the perpetrators of war crimes during the last stages of the Eelam War that ended in May 2009.

If GCE (AL) results fiasco occurred in another democratic country the responsible ministers and officials would have resigned voluntarily

(Sumanasiri Liyanage) Is the GCE Advanced Level results fiasco the latest of the government’s spiraling mismanagement of education? I received an official text message on Sunday afternoon informing that the GCE A/L results were available on the web. Although I do not have anyone known to me who sat for the GCE A/L examination this year and is awaiting results, I for an unknown reason checked the website and found no results were on display.

LTTE Human Right Violations and War Crimes against North East Muslims, Before the Ceasefire Agreement of 22nd February 2002

 (M.I.M. Mohideen)With the increased activities of the Tamil militants in the early part of 1985, the animosity and resentment of the Tamils towards the North East Muslims took a more acrimonious turn. Consequent to it, numerous incidents of extortions of money, robbing jewellry and other valuables at gun point, and threat to co-operate with the separatist movement took place.

Political thuggery, murder, mayhem should end

(Harischandra Gunaratna)
The main suspect responsible for the killing of the British tourist Kuram Shaika at the Nature Resort t at Medilla in Tangalle using a T 56 assault rifle, Sampath Chandrapushpa Dissanayaka, Chairman, Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha has been arrested with three others.

1,637 rape cases reported in 2011: Police

An increase in statutory rape cases have been reported in the country, the police said yesterday. Police spokesman SP Ajith Rohana said that they have detected an increase in statutory rape cases this year when compared with previous years.

Attempts to undermine investigation of Britisher’s murder

A group of persons identifying themselves as law abiding citizens of Tangalle, have complained to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) in writing that there are attempts by some elements with vested interests to undermine investigations into the killing of  a British national at a hotel in Tangalle  recently.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

‘The Tamil diaspora does not want peace’

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), ending the 30-year-old ethnic war. But a political settlement eludes the country. In this interview with R. Bhagwan Singh at his Temple Tree residence in Colombo, the President spoke about relations with India and China, and the difficulties in relation to the Tamil question.

MPS demands compensation for affected students

GCE Advanced Level examination results bungling should not be allowed to go off easily but the government must consider paying compensation for the affected candidates, demand the Movement for People’s Struggle.

‘GMOA to strike if SAITM report un-released’

The Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) yesterday threatened to go on an all-island strike if the Health Ministry does not release an inquiry report on the controversial South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) by the end of the month.

‘Please Stop Saying you Unified Country Because Sri Lanka was Never Divided to be Unified’-Sangaree Writes to Mahinda

Tamil United Liberation Front(TULF) Secretary – General and former Parliamentarian Veerasingham Anandasangaree has in a letter written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa stressed that a solution to the Ethnic problem is needed immediately

LLRC report: Right to Information revisited

“The Commission was deeply disturbed by persistent reports concerning attacks and obstacles placed on journalists and media institutions including news websites and killing of journalists and the fact that these incidents remain to be conclusively investigated and perpetrators brought to justice. The Commission was also alarmed by the deplorable attack on the Editor of the Uthayan newspaper in Jaffna, which occurred while the Commission’s sittings were still in progress.

Tamils to blame for Lanka solution delay: Rajapaksa

Brushing aside the criticism that he is nowhere near delivering a political solution even 30 months after ending the Eelam war, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has blamed Tamils, within the country and outside, for the delay by refusing to participate in the consultative process authored by him.

Sri Lankan ambassador promises accountability from war-crimes defendants

(Ashish Kumar Sen) Sri Lanka will hold accountable every person accused of war crimes during its decades-long civil conflict, the island nation’s ambassador to the U.S. says. The Obama administration and human-rights groups have questioned Sri Lanka’s commitment to accountability after its government released a 387-page report on the conflict that does not identify any war-crimes suspects.

Protestors force SL military to open cremation ground in HSZ

[TamilNet] Resettled Tamils in the eastern part of Kaangkeasanthu'rai (KKS) on Tuesday staged a spontaneous protest against the Sri Lanka military demanding the right of the dead to be cremated in their own cremation ground.

TNA & LLRC report

(Dayan Jayatilleka)  Whatever one may think of the LLRC and NORAD reports, it is incontrovertible that two of the three major players in the last stage of the Sri Lankan conflict have undertaken and undergone a preliminary audit of sorts—the Sri Lankan state and the Norwegians– while the third (and the second in importance) has not, and not even thought to. There has been no equivalent from within the Tamil civil society or the ‘Tamil nationalist movement’.

British govt. extremely concerned regarding Tangalle incident – British High Commission

The British High Commission in Colombo has said the incident in which a British national was murdered and his female partner critically injured by a group led by the Chairman of Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha is a very serious incident the British government is ‘extremely concerned about.’

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Implementing LLRC report in New Year will be the challenge

 Jehan Perera - The 388-page report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission appears to be earning more bouquets than brickbats. Even one of the government’s foremost critics, the International Crisis Group, has noted its positive contribution to affirming principles of good governance and a political solution to the ethnic conflict.

LLRC report has forgotten the Sinhalese - Champika

The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission report has crossed its limits, but its biggest blunder is making no mention about the Sinhalese people, alleges JHU secretary and minister Patali Champika Ranawaka.


Whatever the wordings in the title of the Commission may be, the real motive of the government behind the appointment of it is somewhat confusing when considering its terms and the title together. Also when the UPFA government’s stand with respect to the 2002 ceasefire agreement and the terms of the commission are taken together, the purpose of the government is far too perplexing.

LLRC Report: The Rock And The Hard Place

The government has a problem acknowledging reality, but so do its critics. The war was not all good and the Rajapaksas are not all bad. That is the middle ground. With the LLRC report, the government has admitted that civilians were killed, that hospitals were shelled and that people were detained and at times disappeared. They explain this as saying it was proportional (the cost of war).

Towards a Desperados' Paradise, Editorial, The Island

''The main suspect, at large at the time of writing this comment, will give himself up to the police through a lawyer and a farcical probe will be conducted into the incident. Nothing will come of the investigation to be conducted, if any, as the government does not want to open up a can of worms. All suspects are very likely to go scot free as no one will dare give evidence against them.''

Indian aid to war-affected Tamils diverted to Sinhala colonisers

[TamilNet] Sri Lankan Colonial Governor of the Northern Province, Major General (retired ) G.A.Chandrasiri, has diverted a portion of India-donated aid, meant for ‘resettled’ Tamil civilians in the five districts of North, once again as in the case of the India-donated tractors. This time, 2,000 bicycles were donated to each district. G.A. Chandrasiri has diverted 500 of 2,000 bicycles allocated to Jaffna district to Sinhala colonisers who have occupied the Ma'naalaa'ru division in Vanni.

LLRC criticisms escalate as Colombo threatens legal action

[TamilNet] Questioning the need for "a seven-man presidential Commission costing millions of rupees for platitudinous recommendations that the government will ignore," Prof. Kumar David, in an opinion column in Lakbima says, "[t]his game [LLRC] is not being played for reconciliation with the Tamils; it is being played to get the human rights and international agencies baying for blood off the government’s back," and notes,

Rajapaksa strengthens blueprint of Sinhalicisation in East

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has re-appointed former Sri Lanka Navy Chief of Staff, Rear Admiral (Rtd) Mohan Wijewickrama as the Governor of Eastern Province for the second term on December 22. Wijewickrama's re-appointment is considered as a move by Mr. Rajapaksa to keep the civil administration of the Eastern Provincial Council under the control of Sri Lankan military.

Russia hails LLRC Report

The Russian Government on December 22, said that the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) will help accelerate the national reconciliation process and strengthen peace in Sri Lanka.

Tourism decries Tangalle tragedy as biggest setback

A shocked leisure industry yesterday decried the deadly attack on tourists in Tangalle over the weekend as the biggest setback for the sector which was rebounding following the end of the war. They urged the Government and law enforcement authorities to ensure harshest punishment against those responsible whilst calling for adequate measures to ensure safety of tourists.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Acquired companies in Colombo to be assigned under the Defence Ministry .

Out of the 36 enterprises acquired by the government and handed over to the Treasury Secretary under the laws to revive under performing and under utilized assets, the actions of the Competent Authorities appointed five companies located in Colombo would be monitored and operated by the Defence and Urban Development Ministry.

Woman in British man murder raped?

The woman, said to be the wife of the British man who was murdered in Tangalle, had reportedly been raped by the assailants, according to Hiru FM.  The woman, identified as 24-year-old Victoria, has been admitted to the ICU of Karapitiya Hospital in serious condition.

Here’s the Rajapaksa pal who murdered the British national

 It is revealed that the suspect who killed a British national by shooting at a hotel at Madilla in Tangalle is the Chairman of Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha Sampath Chandra Pushpa. The reason for the clash that caused the death of the British national is a clash between the management of the hotel and a group led by Sampath Chandra Pushpa. The foreigner had attempted to settle the clash.

SL military appropriates 54 acres of Palaali Training College

Sri Lankan Defence Ministry has set afoot plans for grabbing the lands of Palaali Teachers Training College, one of the two key academic institutions of Tamil teachers in the North, for military purposes. The latest move by Colombo to appropriate the 54 acres of the land situated near the Palaali airport in the High Security Zone and to possibly annex the personnel of the institution with Koappaay training college, has drawn severe reactions from the educationalist and academic circles as well as the civil society in the North.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

British tourist killed on Christmas eve

The couple was attacked as they attended the Christmas dinner dance at The Nature Tangalle 
Journalists in the southern Sri Lankan town of Tangalle have received death threats following their coverage of an attack on a tourist couple at a holiday resort.

India Welcomes Report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission of Sri Lanka and Urges Implementation of Recommendations

This is the text of an official communique released by the Ministry of External Affairs(MEA), India on December 25 th2011- In response to a question the Official Spokesperson (MEA) said:    The report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), was tabled by the Government of Sri Lanka in its Parliament on 16 December. While we are still studying the report which runs into over 400 pages, I can share with you some initial comments on its contents.

Hope Lanka acts decisively on devolution of Power

(PTI) India today said it expected Sri Lanka to "act decisively" to achieve meaningful devolution of powers to its provinces in the backdrop of the military operation against the LTTE. In its first comments on the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), India also asked Sri Lanka to set up an "independent and credible" mechanism to probe allegations of human rights violations.

Global Tamil Forum Statement on LLRC Report

Global Tamil Forum (GTF) welcomes the long delayed publication of the ‘Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission’ (LLRC) report. Its findings only serve to emphasise the importance of establishing an international, independent accountability mechanism to investigate whether Government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) breached any international law, committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the last months of the war.

TNA leader Sampanthan writes to Mannar Catholic Bishop about Tamil Civil Society appeal

''It is not always possible to release to the public, all matters that take place in our talks with the Government. Our talks are however so structured to ensure that any political solution will be reasonable, workable and durable, and that it will conform to the aspirations of the majority of our people.  We are prepared to meet and discuss with you and others all matters raised in the aforesaid letter. Arrangements for such a meeting can be finalized on hearing from you.''

Was Rev Sr. Mary Eliza of “Prem Niwasa”‘s arrest and detention legal?

By A concerned lawyer
 The National Child Protection Authority purporting to act under the provisions of Section 34 of the NCPA Act No. 50 of 1998 arrested and detained Rev. Sister. Eliza in remand custody for an alleged offence under Section 34 of the said Act

LLRC has failed totally on the most crucial issue of accountability – Sumanthiran

 Jatila Karawita
TNA National List MP M.A. Sumanthiran says that the LLRC Report has ‘dramatically failed to address the accountability issues pertaining to the final phase of the North-East ethnic conflict between the government security forces and the LTTE.’

LLRC was born to deflect international criticism and forestall a UN inquiry

Tisaranee Gunasekara
“… From the very beginning there was a very clear military plan and in parallel…a plan for humanitarian assistance”  Gotabhaya Rajapaksa (Testimony before the LLRC)
 “….the Commission is satisfied that the military strategy that was adopted…was one that was carefully conceived, in which the protection of the civilian population was given the highest priority.” (The LLRC Report)

LLRC & Killing fields ,Editorial LB

For those who are now debating the pros and cons of the LLRC Report, anything including obscenely frenzied prevarication seem to pass muster. For those who did not think that the state appointed LLRC commissioners could be quite so open about mistakes made by the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL), there is a certain level of bewilderment they can hardly conceal.

LLRC's New Year gift for Lanka , editoral, ST

The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report that was made public last week has attracted mixed reactions, both domestically and internationally. Predictably, global human rights groups found the report wanting because not only did it not meet their expectations with regard to the investigations on allegations of violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) by the Security Forces during the last stages of their military campaign against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) back in early 2009, but they had pre-judged the findings of the LLRC.

Minister & EPDP leader Douglas to take LLRC to court

The EPDP Leader and the government strongman in Jaffna, Minister Douglas Devananda says that he would go to courts against the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission over allegations raised against the EPDP in the LLRC Report that it was responsible for operating illegal armed groups and abducting people.
In an interview with   Ranga Jayasuriya, he alleged that the Commission had misquoted him and that the selected content of the LLRC Report, which had adverse reference to the EPDP — had been leaked to the media even before it was submitted to Parliament.

Legal Action Against Groups Criticising LLRC

Raisa Wickrematunge
 The External Affairs Ministry has warned that legal action will be taken against any group or institution which spreads false claims regarding the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LRRC).
 Deputy Minister of External Affairs, Neomal Perera said that while certain institutions had been identified as making false statements on the LLRC report, the legal department had not yet reported specific names to him.
 Perera said that the institutions included media bodies as well as non-governmental organisations.

Economy in 2011: A balanced scorecard

Nimal Sanderatne 
Economic growth is expected to be around 8 per cent this year. The agricultural, industrial and services sectors of the economy have all contributed to this growth that has been supported by growth in exports, increased tourist earnings and continued higher inflows of remittances.

LLRC: Some report: Internatioanl responses

The United Nations' spokesman in a note sent out to UN-based correspondents said, "The United Nations will be studying the report closely. The Secretary-General hopes that the Government of Sri Lanka will move forward with its commitment to address accountability concerns in good faith as an essential step towards reconciliation and lasting peace in the country."

LLRC Report: President meets editors

If it came to parliament more than a month after the Commission led by President's Counsel and former Attorney General, C.R. de Silva, handed over the report to President Rajapaksa, the situation has been further confounded. More than two weeks after the report was tabled in Parliament, thus bringing it into the public domain, there appears to be no strategy on the part of the External Affairs Ministry (EAM) to launch a diplomatic campaign overseas to stem any adverse fallout.

LLRC report:: Western powers, Roadmap and Internatioan groups

 Sunday Times Political Editor 
 Western powers murmur but Sri Lanka yet to come up with roadmap for reconciliation and good governance
Positive features in LLRC report, but issue of accountability for military excesses not addressed, say international groups

Saturday, December 24, 2011

LLRC report fails to address war crimes committed during the last stages of the civil war in 2009

The final report published by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) of Sri Lanka established by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in May 2010 largely exonerates government forces from liability for serious international crimes perpetrated during the last stages of the civil war in 2009 and the Commission has so far failed to fully investigate neutrally and with impartiality abuses that occurred in 2009, said the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).

MRG calls for independent international mechanism to deal with issue of accountability in Sri Lanka

Minority Rights Group International (MRG) welcomes some recommendations made by the Sri Lankan government’s ‘Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission’ (LLRC), but condemns its failure to deal with the crucial issue of accountability regarding events during the latter stages of the war in 2009.

Govt must make start by acting on LLRC’s recommendations – The Hindu

The much-awaited report of Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, tabled in Parliament recently, has established a key fact — that there were “considerable” civilian casualties in the final stages of the military operation that ended in the total defeat of the LTTE.  This is a step forward from the Sri Lankan government’s earlier insistence that there were “zero civilian casualties.”

SLA steps up harassment on University students in Jaffna

Sri Lanka Army deployed hundreds of soldiers around the University of Jaffna Thursday evening harassing the students by checking everyone at the two main entries to the University throughout the evening and night. The latest move comes following the death threats issued to 8 named student activists and three lecturers of the Jaffna University.

The LLRC, Accountability and Reconciliation Issues

 The final report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission was unexpectedly released on Friday last week, after a lot of uncertainty as to when and how it would released - whether in full, only selected parts or not at all. In the end, good sense seems to have prevailed, in striking contrast to the reports of previous Commissions of Inquiry and of the All Party Representative Committee which still seem to be gathering dust in the Presidential Secretariat.

Truth and reconciliation commission needed to go deeply into entire tragedy of war

National Peace Council/ Media Release
The final report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa has drawn a mixed reaction. The 388 page report has been criticized by the main Tamil political party, the Tamil National Alliance, and by international human rights organizations.

Peradeniya Arts Faculty Teachers condemn state iron fist

Cyril Wimalasurendre
 KANDY: The Peradeniya Arts Faculty Teachers Association (PAFTA) has strongly condemned the excessive use of force by the state to suppress the lawful expression of dissent by the students of the University of Peradeniya on Wednesday (21).  The PAFTA in a statement issued yesterday (23) has stated that it also condemned the suspension of the student unions of the university by the Vice Chancellor on the recommendation of an Advisory Committee.

As Sri Lanka Threatens Critics of LLRC, Ban Awaits Cheat Sheets of DPA, HRC

Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, December 23 - One week ago about Sri Lanka, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon "noted that the report of Sri Lanka's Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) was tabled in parliament today and welcomed that it has been made public. The United Nations will be studying the report closely."

Missing activist’s wife lodged complaint at ICRC

Lakna Paranamanna
Wife of missing activist Kugan lodged a complaint at the ICRC today regarding the disappearance of her husband and the other missing activist - Lalith. The complaint was lodged today by Kugan's wife Muruganandan Janadha under No: LKC 111264. Kugan's eight year old daughter and missing activist Lalith's father was also present to lodge the complaint.

Advisory council and guidelines for sentencing .

The Justice Ministry will set up a Sentencing Advisory Council and introduce Sentencing Guidelines for Sri Lanka’s judicial system and thus prevent anomalies in the sentencing procedure, a senior ministry official said yesterday.  Justice Ministry Secretary Suhada Gamalth said studies conducted by the ministry had revealed there were instances where judges at different courts had sentenced convicts to varying jail terms for similar offences and this reflected badly on the judiciary.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Fmr. AG’s speech featured in Ekneligoda case .

When the case into the disappearance of senior journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda was taken up at the Homagama Magistrate’s Court today, the counsel appearing on behalf of Mr. Eknaligoda’s family said he intended calling former Attorney General Mohan Peiris as a witness in the habeas corpus inquiry.

EROS will stand by Government on LLRC report

Nesan Shankar Raji- Senior leader and spokesperson
The Eelam Revolutionary Organisation (EROS) wishes to thank His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa for expediting and releasing the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report within a remarkable 18 month timeframe.

BTF calls on UK to push for an international investigation into SL

The British Tamils Forum has called upon the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to instigate an international diplomatic initiative to set up an International Independent investigative mechanism to probe Sri Lanka.  The BTF has stated that indications were that the Sri Lankan regime will most certainly resist such a move. 

‘There is much of value in the LLRC report that the international community should pay attention to and can learn from’ – I.C.G.

 The International Crisis Group welcomes the public release of the report of Sri Lanka’s “Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission” (LLRC), presented to the Sri Lankan parliament on 16 December 2011.
The report acknowledges important events and grievances that have contributed to decades of political violence and civil war in Sri Lanka and makes sensible recommendations on governance, land issues and the need for a political solution. But it fails in a crucial task – providing the thorough and independent investigation of alleged violations of international humanitarian and human rights law that the UN and other partners of Sri Lanka have been asking for.

The expired ‘new’ report .

The report of the ‘Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission’ (LLRC) was presented by the government to Parliament last Friday. The government has opened its ‘magic box’ which it claimed had answers to all the accusations that were levelled against it during the two-and-a-half year period since the end of the war. However, this has been exposed before society as just an empty box that could not perform any tricks.

Grimm: Sri Lankan Government Risks Squandering Hard-Won Opportunity

Rep. Michael Grimm
The end of a three-decade long civil war in Sri Lanka has given the country an incredible opportunity to address the war's root cause — long-standing ethnic tension — and forge ahead with its plans for an open, democratic and prosperous future. The war between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam was devastating to all Sri Lankans: Countless lives were lost, individuals were stripped of their livelihoods and hundreds of thousands of people were displaced.

RC Church welcomes LLRC report

The Catholic Church yesterday stressed that the voice of the people who had been caught in the conflict for more than 30 years, is clearly embedded in the final report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) rather than in the report of the experts panel appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.

Business cartel taking over govt., warns Ranil

Stock exchange fixed,  Treasury Sec. could face same fate as former SEC head, DG
 Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe says a business cartel was trying to takeover the government and that Treasury Secretary Dr. P. B. Jayasundera could face the same fate as the former Chairperson and Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka.

Indian devolution model cannot be replicated in Sri Lanka – Govt.

Zacki Jabbar
The government said yesterday that it was not prepared to adopt the Indian devolution model in Sri Lanka.  Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwalle,addressing the weekly cabinet press briefing in Colombo,said that ITAK which claims to represent the Tamil people,was trying to create a de-facto state by laying down conditions such as the re-merger of the North and East and land and police powers for the two provinces.

TNA: will soon take a call on talks

 R.K. Radhakrishnan
The talks between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), an umbrella group of Tamil political parties representing the Northern Tamils, is headed for another trough, with both sides levelling a series of allegations against the other. It began soon after the TNA expressed its views on the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission on Monday. The TNA said the LLRC report “categorically fails to effectively and meaningfully deal with issues of accountability” and called for the establishment of an international mechanism for accountability.

A third of south Asians made to pay bribes: survey

Frankie Taggar
More than one in three south Asians say they were forced to bribe officials in the last year, mainly for services they were legally entitled to, an international anti-graft watchdog said on Thursday.  A survey released by Berlin-based Transparency International in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu showed bribery has become so endemic that the region is second only to sub-Saharan Africa as the corruption hotspot of the world.

Govt. ready to act on RW’s call for NGO probe

Shamindra Ferdinando
 In the wake of UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s unprecedented claim that a German NGO had thrown its financial weight behind those seeking to oust him from the party leadership, the government is now contemplating a comprehensive inquiry into NGO activity.

Promising ‘Sri Lanka Peace Collection’ gets US backing

The promising Sri Lanka Peace Collection has successfully garnered the US Government’s nod.
‘Sri Lanka Peace Collection’ is the Government’s initiative to provide livelihood support for war widows through the country’s handloom sector.

Post-war road development projects receive French boost

In line with an ongoing accelerated post-war project to develop the road network, the Treasury on Dec. 20 finalized an agreement with France to finance the widening and reconstruction of bridges.  French Ambassador Ms Christine Robichon end Treasury Chief Dr. P. B. Jayasundara signed the agreement at the Ministry of Finance and Planning.

LLRC report: Experiment with truth - Hindu Editorial

The much-awaited report of Sri Lanka's Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, tabled in Parliament recently, has established a key fact — that there were “considerable” civilian casualties in the final stages of the military operation that ended in the total defeat of the LTTE. This is a step forward from the Sri Lankan government's earlier insistence that there were “zero civilian casualties.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Canada commends LLRC report .

The Canadian government has commended the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) for its final report and urged the Sri Lankan government to implement its recommendations.   But Canada also opined that the report does not “adequately address” the allegations of human rights violations relating to the final stages of the war.


(Sri Lanka Guardian) It has become necessary to reflect on the conflict phase and the sufferings the country has gone through as a whole and learn from this recent history lessons that would ensure that there will be no recurrence of any internecine conflict in the future and assure an era of peace, harmony and prosperity for the people.

China calls for creating good environment for Sri Lanka's stability, construction

(Xinhua) -- China on Thursday called on the international community to create a good environment for the stability, construction and development of Sri Lanka.  Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin made the remarks when asked to give comment on the post-war reconstruction and economic development of Sri Lanka.

Suspending of Unions is first step to privatisation of education: JVP .

The JVP alleged that the suspending of Students Unions of the Peradeniya University is the first step towards creating a conducive environment for the introduction of Privatisation of free education in the country. The JVP stated that the government’s suppression of the democratic rights of students would lead to bloodshed.

Protesters want end to disappearances

Street protests yesterday in Colombo reflected growing anxiety about the disappearance of dissidents following the apparent abduction of two activists last week.  Activists joined relatives of ‘disappeared’ and political prisoners to demand that authorities release suspected inmates long held in custody without being charged at unknown destinations throughout the island.

Most serious problem faced by people in the North-East on a day to day basis is that of militarisation

Today, the most serious problem the people in the North – East face on a day to day basis is that of militarisation. The military controls all aspects of individual, social and professional life. But perhaps the most destructive practice is the running of commercial enterprises by the military. From barber saloons to bars, and restaurants and hotels to tourist services – the military’s presence is strong.
M.A. Sumanthiran

Dep. Minister in Gampaha taking bribes? .

A certain deputy minister who represents the Gampaha District takes a bribe of Rs.3.5 million from anyone putting up a filling station in the district, Parliament was informed today. Western Provincial Council Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunga has made a written complaint to President Mahinda Rajapaksa in this regard. A copy of the letter was tabled by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake today in the House to be included in the Hansard report.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Findings of the LLRC Report Are ‘Grossly Inadequate’

Canadian Tamil Congress Preliminary Reaction to the LLRC Report .
May 19th, 2009 marked the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war; one of the world’s bloodiest and longstanding ethnic conflicts which left parts of the island distraught, devastated and hundreds of thousands of people displaced. Since the end of the war, there have been persistent and desperate calls by human rights activists, NGOs and the international community including the UN, to look into questions of human rights violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) appears to be Sri Lanka’s answer.

LLRC Report & Resettlement of Northern Muslims

Dr Rifai
Recently chairman of the lesson learnt and reconciliation commission C. R.De Silva and his team published their report recommending many reconciliation steps to build a peaceful communal relationship between different communities in Srilanka. Some daily news papers have already begun to publish this report in series so that public will know what is on and what is not on it. Reading through some elements of this report it appears that this is one of the solid and comprehensive reports that have been published in Srilanka in recently years.

Lessons unlearnt and reconciliation deconstructed

Dr Kumar David
The LLRC (Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission) appointed by President Mahinda Rajapakse has submitted its report and it is now in the public domain. I do not intend to summarise the 460-pages but only to give my evaluation in a few paragraphs. I will follow this up with a short closing section in which I will make an assessment of what the report’s impact is likely to be on foreign actors. The initial evaluation will be grouped under four headings.

Govt. intensifies student crackdown - SSU

(Srilankamirror) - The Socialist Students Union accuses the government of intensifying its crackdown on students. In a statement, the SSU charged that in addition to setting up police posts at universities, the rulers are now using police and the Army to lay siege to universities.

Implementing the LLRC recommendations

Neville Ladduwahetty,
While the subject of reconciliation is addressed in Chapter 8 of the LLRC report, recommendations as to how issues pertaining to reconciliation are addressed are contained in Chapter 9. There is bound to be disagreement as to the validity and relevance in respect of the totality of the recommendations. However, there has to be consensus in respect of some core recommendations , some of which would require time and resources to implement while it would be possible for others to be implemented within a relatively short time frame.

High Commissioner Dr. Chris Nonis presents the LLRC Report to British Parliamentarians

High Commissioner Dr. Chris Nonis briefed British Parliamentarians from the House of Commons and the House of Lords, academics and Think Tanks, at an interactive dialogue on the LLRC Report held last afternoon in Portcullis House in the British Parliament.

Shed LTTE mentality, Rajapaksa tells Tamils

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa asked the TNA, country's main Tamil political party, to shed the 'LTTE mentality' and join hands with the government to deal with various contentious issues.  Rajapaksa's comments came after TNA called for an international inquiry into alleged war crimes based on the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

No Police Powers to Provinces

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has reiterated that the demand of the Tamil National Alliance for police powers to the North and East is not a practicable proposition. He pointed out that such an arrangement was causing problems in India, for instance, where during a law and order crisis, the Indian Centre has to liaise with the State Chief Ministers and this gets in the way of the centre in solving law and order problems immediately in the states concerned.

SIS alerted on armed groups in East

Western Province Governor Alavi Moulana is to meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa to brief him on the threat posed to Eastern Province Suffi Muslims by armed groups, funded by Jihadi militants.  Governor Moulana told Ceylon Today the Muslim armed groups operating in the East are systematically wiping out traditional Suffi Muslims in the area. 

President’s Fund too to the gnome!

A sum of Rs. 1057173093/= from the President’s fund that has been established to donate to various public welfare including surgery for heart patients has been misappropriated. This is revealed in the report for 2009 released by the Auditor General.

Malnutrition among 40 pc of expatriate EPZ workers

(Srilankamirror) - Around 40 per cent of expatriate workers in free trade zones suffer from malnutrition and are of low weight, said senior coordinator of the International Organization for Migration Dr. Sharika Peiris.
 According to a survey, 73 pc of them are women, she said, adding that the monthly average food and health spending of a worker were Rs. 3,147 and Rs. 387 respectively.

The LLRC report and ‘accountability’ in Sri Lanka

Gibson Bateman
 Readers will find no big surprises after reading the final report of Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).  It is very much what most people were expecting. A document that looks to the future, exonerates the military, does not touch on the question of accountability and includes some touchy-feely language about the country’s need to move forward, celebrate its diversity and be grateful for the defeat of terrorism.

LLRC Report is Janus-faced in the best, original sense of the term

Dayan Jayatilleka
Though not without flaws and lacuna, the long awaited LLRC report does not disappoint, and reaches high standards, ranking with the best reports emanating over the decades from official and semi-official/autonomous Sri Lankan commissions, reviews and probes.  It is a serious, thoughtful, carefully written and constructed text, striking in its fair-mindedness and balance.

US Tamil Political Action Council calls for internationally established investigation to ascertain facts and propose remedies

US Tamil Political Action Council dismayed at flawed domestic inquiry in Sri Lanka: Urgent International Investigation Need of the Hour 
The United States Tamil Political Action Council (USTPAC) finds the report of Sri Lanka’s domestic inquiry into alleged war crimes deeply flawed and urges the implementation of UN Panel of Experts’ recommendations by creating an international investigative mechanism.

Women’s Insecurity in the North and East: Gender-based violence and prevention of building own capacity within communities

''These events have left women and girls vulnerable at multiple levels. In the Vanni in particular, their housing is inadequate, and they have limited means of transportation and employment opportunities. Many do not have sufficient funds to feed their families, let alone to care for those who were maimed or disabled in the war. The continuing search for the missing and the struggle to maintain relations with the detained are further strains.''
 International Crisis Group

LLRC report reflects a shift of thinking which calls for a break with the past of post war nationalism

Jehan Perera
 The initial reaction to the long awaited report of Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission from the international human rights organizations was one of rejection.  They expressed their lack of satisfaction with the commission’s findings, some even going to the extent of calling it a white wash’.

US wants to see 'LLRC gaps' filled domestically by Colombo

 [(((Tamilnet) While Human Rights groups and Tamil parties in the island as well as the diaspora groups slammed the LLRC report by Rajapaksa-appointed Commission of Colombo, the US State Department said “the report has addressed a number of the crucial areas of concern to Sri Lankans” and saw the accountability issue as a domestic one without calling for international investigations.

TNPF slams LLRC report

 [TamilNet] In a press briefing held in Jaffna following the public release of the LLRC report, the by the Tamil National People Front (TNPF) said it totally rejects the report and added that the report is a deliberate attempt to whitewash the egregious crimes committed against the Tamil people. "The report places the blame on the LTTE and other tamil groups.

Sirikotha Attack: Protesters funded by German NGO, UNP leader tells Parliament

Saman Indrajith- UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday told Parliament that a German NGOfunded the protesters who attacked the UNPheadquarters, Sirikotha on Monday. He said he had sought the help of German Ambassador in Colombo to put an end to financial assistance to troublemakers. He urged the government to conduct a probe to find out whether the German funds had been utilised for Monday’s attack.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

GOSL to investigate ‘specific situations’ set out in the LLRC report

Prof. Peiris decries US stand on LLRC
Shamindra Ferdinando - External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris yesterday decried a statement attributed to US State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, on the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report, as the most unreasonable statement issued by the State Department.

A JVP member abducted

Mr. H.M. Sisira Senaratne, an activist of the JVP was abducted while travelling by motorbike at Viyana Channel at Mahiyangana and had been left in the jungles of Dmabana say reports.  A group of persons who had arrived in a white van on the 15th at about 9.00 p.m. has carried out the abduction by spraying a chemical on to Mr. Senaratne’s face.

Sri Lankan leader accuses US of unfair criticism

(AP) — Sri Lanka's president accused the United States on Tuesday of unfairly singling out a government war commission for criticism after it cleared the military of deliberately targeting civilians during the country's civil war. President Mahinda Rajapaksa's office said he told newspaper editors that the U.S. is demanding that Sri Lanka immediately settle war accountability issues, while not criticizing other countries that have been much slower in dealing with similar post-conflict situations.

TNA wants accountability mechanism for Sri Lanka

K. Radhakrishnan
Calling upon the international community to establish a “mechanism for accountability” to bring to book the perpetrators of war crimes during the last stages of the Eelam War that ended in May 2009, the Tamil National Alliance on Monday said the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission report “categorically fails to effectively and meaningfully deal with issues of accountability”.

Sri Lankan Tamil leaders reject commission report, call for international war crimes probe

(AP) Sri Lankan ethnic Tamil leaders called Monday for an international war crimes inquiry into events during the final stages of the country’s civil war, criticizing a commission report that cleared government forces of deliberately targeting civilians.

Disappearance of HumanRights Defenders & Political Activists Lalith Kumar Weeraraj and KuganMurugan on 9th December 2011

TwoSri Lankan human rights defenders and political activists disappeared in Jaffnain the North of Sri Lank on 9th December 2011. There is still nocredible news of their whereabouts and human rights groups have voiced seriousconcerns about their safety. Mr. Lalith Kumar Weeraraj and Mr. KuganMuruganandan were last seen by relatives, leaving Mr. Muruganandan’shouse at Avarangal Jaffna, at 5 pm on 9th December. They have notbeen seen since.

Remembering the APRC expert panel ‘majority’ report

D.B.S. Jeyaraj
“Nallathor Veenai Seithe –athai
 Nalankeda Puzhuthiyil Erivathundo?”  (Do we make a good “veena”(musical instrument)and throw it away in the dust to decay?)-Subramaniya Bharathiyar

Learnt Lessons, Commissioned Reconciliation ., Editorial, Daily Mirror

 It was a political case, both by the critics of the Government within and sections of the international community, that the LLRC was not aimed at, or empowered to address ‘accountability issues’ in terms of ‘war crimes’. The absence of a military expert(s) on the panel should have made clear that a tactical understanding of the ground situation at any given hour in a fast-paced war at times was impossible for the commission to comprehend, for it to draw conclusions.

US voices concern on Sri Lanka war report

(AFP ) The United States on Monday voiced concern over a Sri Lankan commission's report on the end of the island's civil war and urged the government to address human rights allegations more fully.  In a 400-page report released last week, the government-created commission cleared the military of charges that it deliberately targeted civilians as it wiped out the Tamil Tiger leadership in 2009, ending decades of war.

Monday, December 19, 2011

LLRC : What we expected - A Statement from the Asian Human Rights Commission

( Sri Lanka Guardian) There was no reason to expect much from the report of the LLRC as this commission had no mandate to investigate and to file a report on the basis of investigations. It was a mere commission of gathering some views but even in that the people who were most affected, that is those who are from the north and the east, did not have genuine freedom to give a narrative of what they knew about what had happened to them and those known to them.

LLRC: impartial and objective - opinions

Disna Mudalige and Waruna Padmasiri
The final report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), would help wipe out the scepticism of certain countries and human rights Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) over the commission’s impartiality and objectivity, Plantation Industries Minister and Special Envoy of the President on Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe told the Daily News yesterday.

Sri Lanka needs rule of war, public service: lessons commission

(LBO) - Sri Lanka has to re-build an independent public service and restore rule of law to give freedom to citizens, a commission of inquiry on lessons learnt and reconciliation following the end of a 30-year civil war has said.  "A democracy must assure a fair system of governance under the Rule of Law rather than the rule of men," a final report published by the commission of inquiry said.

Tamil party of Sri Lanka criticizes Reconciliation Commission report

 The major Tamil political party of Sri Lanka, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) says the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), appointed to probe Sri Lanka's decades long war, has severely contradicted itself in its report and has a shortcoming as well.

The LLRC Report: A Critical Reading

For quite sometime, ever since the establishment of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), the Government of Sri Lanka has been asking its critics not to pre-judge the work of the LLRC and to await, patiently, the finalization and publication of the Report. The Report has now been published. What do we have here? Is it one that establishes beyond doubt that the Government’s version of the war, or the human rights situation in the country, is correct? If not, where has it gone wrong?

The LLRC report and SL’s future

The LLRC report which was presented to Parliament last Friday by the Leader of the House, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, is a historic document in that it could pave the way for a new beginning to be made by Sri Lanka in the direction of durable social peace and reconciliation. It is a document which progressive opinion in this country and the world over were waiting for.

In a country where the public relations Minister is demanding ‘extortion money’- is there a Govt. or anarchy?

(Lanka-e-News ) The Minister of public relations Mervyn Silva of the Rajapakse regime clearly demonstrated that in Sri Lanka now , there does not exist a Govt. but it is anarchy that is prevailing when he confirmed that he is a Minister who is an extortionist committing this crime openly and with impunity, because the victims have no one to go to and get their woes redressed under this regime...

Implementing urgent issues such as establishing democracy & good governance need not have recommendations of a commission – JVP

The JVP issuing a press statement regarding the LLRC report states the President appointed the commission not with a genuine intention of studying the occurrences that occurred during the 30 year old separatist war or the socio- economic-political reasons that effected the separatist struggle in Sri Lanka and finding solutions for the issues but to evade the accusations and pressure that were aimed towards the government at the end of the war.

LLRC, a farcical attempt at accountability: paper

(Tamilnet) Noting that the "LLRC has for too long been the international community's fig leaf, used by governments across the world, including the US and the UK, to stall calls for accountability and a credible investigation into allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide," the Tamil Guardian in its analysis of the report, points out that the report exposes the lack of mandate and the will to investigate international crimes the world was expecting to see, and

Extremes in both ethnic communities are an important factor of obstruction - Dayan Jayatilleka

Interview of Ambassador Dayan Jayatilleka
Yesterday Sri Lanka rejected calls for an independent probe into war crimes committed during its thirty years civil war. The External Affairs Minister –G.L. Peiris- also said they did not need international policemen to solve internal issues.

LLRC shows the way

The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) has, with its final report now in the public domain, made its critics including some international human rights groups that questioned its credibility, badmouthed some of its members, pooh-poohed its mission as a ruse and expected it to come out with a whitewash of the government so that they could justify their call for an international war crimes probe, eat their words. Equally, it has disappointed those who wanted it to echo the government's views on the war.

Sri Lankan army commanders 'assassinated surrendering Tamils'

Alex Spillius and Emanuel Stoakes
The claims are contained in a sworn deposition, seen by The Daily Telegraph, made by a career officer who rose to the rank of major general before he fled the country in fear of his life to seek asylum in the United States.

‘Final solution only through PSC’

UPFA Parliamentarian Sajin Vass Gunawardena yesterday emphasized that any final solution to the Tamil question will only be through the PSC process. MP Gunawardena who is the Secretary of the committee appointed to have discussions with the TNA said there was no deadline agreed to or even discussed as to the committee proceedings.

MPS to seek EU intervention .

The Movement for People’s Struggle (MPS), a breakaway faction of the JVP,  yesterday said it would  seek the  support of the European Union (EU) this week to secure the release of its Jaffna District organiser Lalith Kumar Weeraraju and Kugan Maruganathan who were abducted in Jaffna recently.

Police families commend LLRC report

Family members of the missing policemen in Sri Lanka have welcomed the recommendation by a presidential panel for a full investigation into the alleged killing of six hundred policemen. The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) has recommended that the killing of nearly 600 policemen in the east by who surrendered to Tamil Tigers in 1990.

LLRC a waste of time and money: JVP

The JVP today charged that the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) process was a waste of time and money as the government did not appoint the LLRC to solve the national question that still existed even after the war is over. The party politburo in a statement claimed the LLRC was appointed to rescue the President from the crisis he was faced with.

Sri Lanka war report lays blame on both sides

Ben Doherty
SRI LANKA'S civil war reconciliation commission has blamed both Sinhalese and Tamil leaders for the violence that gripped the country for more than a quarter of a century, but it has refused to criticise the army for the violence at the end of the conflict, in which it is alleged civilians were targeted and up to 40,000 non-combatants killed.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

LLRC Recommendations: Can the Rajapaksa Regime Digest?

 Kusal Perera
Finally, the full report of the long awaited Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) is in public domain, after it was presented in parliament on Friday (16 December, 2011) by the Leader of the House, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva. He in fact sounded very certain the recommendations would be carried out to the letter.

LLRC report is verbose fig leaf to cover Rajapaksa wrongdoing in conduct of war

 Tisaranee Gunasekara
The LLRC has done its job. The LLRC Report has cleared its appointing authority, President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, of any and all wrongdoing in the conduct of the Fourth Eelam War. The LLRC report duly concurs with the Rajapaksa narrative on the Fourth Eelam War on every essential count.

LLRC calls for Rule of Law, not rule of men

    * Implementation of recommendations crucial for Sri Lanka
    * Grievances of Tamil people must be addressed; trilingualism and talks with diaspora suggested
Sunday Times Political Editor
More talks on the final report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) began last week just after President Mahinda Rajapaksa, returned from attending the Asia Pacific Democracy Forum in Bali, Indonesia.

Weighing the LLRC report in the scales of justice

 Kishali Pinto Jayawardene
Stripped of all ambiguities, the moral question regarding state accountability for civilian casualties during the last stages of the war between government troops and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was whether the government deliberately pressed ahead with its military offensive despite knowing full well the terrible toll that it would take.

Straining out ants but swallowing elephants

 ''Take some examples from the COPE report. They range from mega losses like Mihinair (Rs. 13,000 million in three years) to the chairman of Paranthan Chemical Company, a state enterprise, registering a lorry which belongs to the state under his name and then hiring it from him. It ranges from Sri Lanka Cricket spending Rs. 6,000 million when its entire asset base is only half of that; to a one-time Minister of Environment taking a luxury vehicle belonging to the State Timber Corporation and not returning it; the whereabouts of the vehicle are not known. Simply put, this is plunder of state property.''

US GSP probe resumes in Jan.

 Feizal Samath 
Hearing in a public petition filed by an umbrella of US labour unions challenging the Sri Lankan government’s failure to allow unions within the export processing zones and outside, resumes in Washington next month, officials said.The petition filed by AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations) urges the US government to stop GSP benefits to Sri Lanka unless the situation improves as per freedom of association, collective bargaining and acceptable conditions of work.

Parent Seeks HRC Intervention To Find Whereabouts

Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
JVP dissident Lalith Kumara Weeraraj’s father, A. Weeraraja, requested the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) to intervene and inform of his whereabouts and allow the family members to meet him.
Weeraraja on Friday (16) made the request from the HRCSL following a statement made by Cabinet Spokesperson, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella to the media that Lalith Kumara and Kugan Muruganadan who have been missing since the 9th were “not missing.”

HR groups say report fails to address accountability

UN Studying LLRC Report
 Easwaran Rutnam
The United Nations (UN) says it is studying the final report of the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) which was made public on Friday December 16. Leading international human rights groups, meanwhile, said the report fell short of addressing accountability issues including the ‘white flag’ incident.

Missing Kugan’s motorbike found in Achchuveli Police

The motorbike of Kugan Muruganandan who has been missing since the 9th has been found at the Achchuveli Police. Kugan’s wife has identified her husband’s motorbike. When inquired, the police had informed her that the motorbike was found near a kovil three kilometers away from the police station.

Your “Privacy” Is At Stake !

''Said to be the first of its kind in South East Asia, Colonel Dr. De Silva had said, a pilot project was concluded in Gampaha district, with grama seva officers trained for 12 months with divisional secretaries. This project is not just a personal information gathering effort. It would have family background of the individual and even details such as the road network, electricity, water and even the drainage system to compile a comprehensive data book ''

Rajapakse accepts Court summons, asks US to confer immunity

After avoiding service for more than 9 months, and despite statements by Colombo that Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse is not answerable to US Courts, Rajapakse-appointed counsel from the lobby firm of Patton Boggs filed a motion with the District Court of District of Columbia for "enlargement of time to respond to the complaint" related to the legal action, 11-cv-00235, by three Tamil plaintiffs sponsored by Tamils Against Genocide (TAG), a US-based activist group.

Sri Lanka: Report Fails to Advance Accountability

 The report of the Sri Lankan government’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) disregards the worst abuses by government forces, rehashes longstanding recommendations, and fails to advance accountability for victims of Sri Lanka’s civil armed conflict, Human Rights Watch said today.

Former SC judge sceptical of solution without internal or external pressure

“I do not see any possible solution to the ethnic conflict immediately, unless extraneous pressure, inland or foreign, compels the powers that be to relent,” said former Supreme Court Judge CV Wigneswaran in giving an interview to Colombo-based Daily Mirror, Thursday. Justice Wigneswaran’s interview gains significance in the light of Sri Lanka’s ‘leaked’ LLRC report,

Armed forces to be withdrawn from community life

The government, which tabled the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report in Parliament yesterday, said the armed forces would be withdrawn from all aspects of community life.
House Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva tabled the two-volume report and highlighted its salient points. He said the armed forces would disengage themselves from civil administration, and in particular, from any decision making aspects in respect of land issues.

LLRC wants political leaders to apologise to people for war

Saman Indrajith
The Lessons learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) has called for a joint declaration of apology from leaders of all sides to the country’s citizens who have suffered as a result of the 30 year long conflict.
"Leaders of all sides should reach out to each other in humility and make a joint declaration, extending an apology to innocent citizens who fell victim to this conflict, as a results of the collective failure of the political leadership on all sides to prevent such a conflict from emerging," the LLRC says in its report which was presented to Parliament yesterday.

LLRC report out what next?

The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report presented to the Parliament on last Friday envisaged with 285 main recommendations including allegations for both the major political parties of the country and Tamil political leaders. It has also called for a joint declaration of apology from political leaders of all sides to the country’s citizens who have suffered as a result of the 30 year long conflict.

Heed LLRC's call to save Rule of Law, Editorial, Sunday Times

  '' Yet, the message is clear. It is not something that independent media in this country and other independent observers and analysts with a love for this country have not said, and continue to say. The LLRC has only endorsed this; that there is something rotting in the state of Sri Lanka, and those are the independent institutions, the pillars of democracy. The Commission has quite rightly referred to the need for "The Rule of Law and not the Rule of Men.''

Now implement recommendations, Editorial, The Nation

When President Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed a Commission to obtain through representations and discussion the lessons learnt from the decades-long conflict, the act was pooh-poohed by his detractors as an exercise in foot-dragging. Some said he was buckling down to pressure from powerful players in the international community.

LLRC – near enough, or not? Editorial Lakbima News

The LLRC report released in parliament this week probably sets a record as a document which was mercilessly attacked before it saw proper light of day — without anybody really having seen so much as one single letter or word of its content.

Sri Lanka report says military did not target civilians

Jaimie Cremeans
[JURIST] Sri Lanka's Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission [official website] released a report [text, PDF] Friday concluding that Sri Lanka's military did not intentionally attack civilians following the country's civil war. The LLRC was created by the Sri Lankan government in 2010 to investigate 2009 events in which civilians were killed.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sri Lanka Report FallsShort

The final report of Sri Lanka’s Lesson Learnt and Reconciliation Commission(LLRC), released publicly today, acknowledges serious human rights problemsin Sri Lanka but falls short of fully addressing the war crimes and crimesagainst humanity committed during the final phases of the conflict betweenthe government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, Amnesty Internationalsaid today.

“A preliminary review of the report suggests that it acknowledges thevery serious human rights problems in Sri Lanka.  But where it appearsto really falter is in ignoring the serious evidence of war crimes, crimesagainst humanity and other violations of the laws of war by governmentforces, even though the report highlights the serious and systematic violationscommitted by the LTTE,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacificdirector.

“There is a clear sign of the bias we had feared and already detectedin the LLRC’s composition and conduct. It does however offer some interestingrecommendations about how to improve the overall human rights situationin Sri Lanka that the government needs to take seriously,” said Sam Zarifi,

“The Sri Lankan government must now address the findings included in thisreport. It should report to the UN Human Rights Council at its next sessionin March 2012 on its measures to implement the report’s recommendations,including the need for further investigation of alleged violations of thelaws of war, taking account of the findings and recommendations of thereport of the UN Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Accountabilityin Sri Lanka.”

The LLRC received numerous testimonies about enforced disappearances, illegalor abusive detention and extrajudicial executions. It has called on theSri Lankan government to investigate these reports and prosecute violators. 

Importantly the report notes that many people stressed that “definitiveaction against alleged cases of disappearances as well as preventive measurewould have a significant impact on the reconciliation process.”

Amnesty International has long held that accountability is essential toreconciliation in Sri Lanka. Although the Sri Lankan authorities shouldtake seriously the LLRC’s recommendations, Amnesty International believesthat given Sri Lanka's long history of impunity, lack of apparent politicalwill to address ongoing violations and enormous backlog of unresolved casesof violations, effective investigation and prosecution of all wrongdoers(including commanding officers) is very unlikely without the active supportof the international community.

The report’s major shortcoming is in addressing alleged violations ofthe laws of war, where the LLRC appears to have taken the government'sresponses uncritically. The LLRC admits what the Government of Sri Lankahas assiduously denied – that civilians, including those in hospitals,suffered directly as a result of LTTE and government shelling, but theLLRC's blanket rejection of government targeting of civilians and its deliberatedownplaying of the numbers of civilians caught in the final phase of theconflict is not warranted by the evidence, including that presented tothe LLRC.  

“The LLRC has admitted its own inability to establish the facts aboutthe conduct of the fighting, and points out legal complexities beyond itsabilities. This is why the international community must now follow up withan investigation, bringing to bear the full resources and assistance ofthe UN and the international community,” Sam Zarifi said.

For more information orcomment please contact Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Press OfficerKatya Nasim at +44 2074135871 / +44 7904 398 103

Public Document
For more information pleasecall Amnesty International's press office in London, UK, on +44 20 74135566 or email:
International Secretariat,Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW, UK

Katya Nasim
Asia-Pacific Press Officer
International Secretariat, Amnesty International
T: + 44 (0) 207 413 5871
M: + 44 (0) 7904 398 103
Skype: katya.nasim1

Military will counter Moon panel report

Shamindra Ferdinando
The military would counter allegations contained in the unsubstantiated report by UNSG Ban Ki-moon’s Panel of Experts (PoE), Army Chief Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya said yesterday.  A confident Jayasuriya emphasized that the military was in the process of finalizing its response to the PoE’s allegations.

"Security Forces had not deliberately targeted civilians in the NFZs" - LLRC

"In evaluating the Sri Lanka experience in the context of allegations of violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), the Commission is satisfied that the military strategy that was adopted to secure the LTTE held areas was one that was carefully conceived, in which the protection of the civilian population was given the highest priority.

Q+A: The report of Sri Lanka's civil war inquiry

C. Bryson Hull
(Reuters) - Sri Lanka on Friday made public a report by the presidentially-appointed Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), providing a set of recommendations and findings on the end of the island nation's three-decade civil war.

J.C. Weliamuna recognized for his human rights work

(Srilankamirror) - The Sri Lanka branch of Transparency International has recognized J.C. Weliamuna for his contributions to the field of human rights.  The citation read at the NIA presentation for him recognized the unyielding integrity, personal commitment and courage of the former executive director of TISL and director of Transparency International.

Death threat issued to 8 student activists, 3 lecturers of Jaffna University

“There will be ‘maximum punishment’ [assassination] for those who disturb the ‘freedom’ that we gave to Tamil people by shedding our blood,” say posters and notices distributed by helmet-wearing unknown operatives who entered the premises of the University of Jaffna Thursday. The poster, titled “last warning” and issued in the name of “Naam Ilangkaiyar Security Force” (We Sri Lankans Security Force), names 8 students from 4 districts and 3 lectures of the University of Jaffna.

Public Memo to Members of Parliament representing the Tamil National Alliance from members of Tamil Civil Society

 ''TNA should take up the position with the Government and the International Community that to conduct Provincial Council elections when talks are underway is unnecessary and inappropriate.  There is sufficient political justification to take up this position.  There is no need for the TNA to receive a fresh mandate to represent our political aspirations.  If the Government disregards this and calls for elections the TNA should not  Directly particiapte.  We could think of alternative Strategies to make sure that the  Northern Provincial Council does not fall into anti-Tamil, pro-Government forces.''

Motorbike of disappeared activists found

The motor bicycle which both Lalith Kumar Weeraraj and Kugan Muruganathan travelled has been found in Jaffna. The wife of disappeared activist, Kugan Muruganathan had seen the motorcycle in Achchuveli police station when she went to enquire about the on going investigations on Thursday evening, Udul Premaratne of ‘We Sri Lankans’ told BBC Sandesaya.

Text Speech Delivered by Leader of the House in the Parliament in tabling the Report of the LLRC

The Report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission in Sri Lanka was tabled in Parliament today, 16 December 2011, by the Leader of the House Hon Nimal Siripala de Silva.

The eight-member Commission, which was appointed by His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa on 15 May 2010 held its first sitting on August 11, 2010, which was followed by regular public hearings in Colombo and in the former conflict affected areas. This included field visits to meet people directly affected by the conflict. It received over 1,000 oral submissions and over 5,000 written submissions.

The statement made by the Leader of the House Hon Nimal Siripala de Silva in Parliament, setting out the government’s initial response to the major recommendations contained in the Report is annexed hereto.

The full report can be viewed online at the following website:
Text Speech Delivered by Leader of the House in the Parliament in tabling the Report of the LLRC

The achievement of national reconciliation is one of the principal aims of the government after the eradication of terrorism. The reign of terror, which our country had to endure for thirty long years, was the main impediment to economic and social development in every sector. It is a matter of deep satisfaction to the government that it has been able to rid Sri Lanka of this menace.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The abduction and the brutal murder of Mohamed Sali Mohamed Niyas

The family of Mohamed Sali Mohamed Niyas has written to human rights organisations complaining that there are no genuine investigations into his abduction and murder and also complaining that the family members are constantly receiving death threats over the telephone.

Ensure safety of those abducted, urges Jana Aragala Movement

The Convener of the Jana Aragala movement Chameera Koswatte says that the government cannot escape from the responsibility of ensuring the security of two of its members who went missing in Jaffna recently.  He made this statement during a media briefing Wednesday.

The state of State media

THE media is a beleaguered industry in Sri Lanka, but freedom of expression is perhaps more strangled in State-owned institutions. Therefore, it was refreshing to hear MP Namal Rajapaksa asking the State media to be more impartial in their reporting and not concentrate so much on his family.

Deported Tamils 'face torture' on return to Sri Lanka

Up to 50 passengers heading to Sri Lanka on a UK Border Agency forced-removals flight risk being tortured on their return, human rights organisations have warned. The flight, which will depart on Thursday afternoon from an as yet undisclosed British airport, is expected to go ahead despite new evidence of recent alleged mistreatment by Sri Lankan security services.

Sri Lanka to implement National Action Plan on HR

Sri Lanka is to established Human Right Council to deal with related issues, Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that the Government of Sri Lanka as per the voluntary pledge given in the course of its participation at the Universal Periodic Review meeting at the UNHRC in 2008 has decided to implement the National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP) already approved by the Cabinet of Ministers

Nun cleared of Sri Lanka 'baby farm' allegations

 (AP) — A Roman Catholic nun from Mother Teresa's charity who had been accused of running a "baby farm" has been cleared by a Sri Lankan court of any potential charges.Judge Yvonne Fernando discharged Sister Mary Eliza on Thursday without presenting charges. Eliza, from Mother Teresa of Calcutta's Missionaries of Charity, was arrested last month for allegedly selling babies born from unwed mothers.

Tamil refugees and war widows in militarised Jaffna

Melani Manel Perera
Almost three since the end of the civil war, the northern peninsula has one one soldier for every 11 civilians, that is 40-50,000 troops out of a population of 600,000. About 39,000 war widows and 200,000 internally displaced people are still waiting. Tamils too are waiting for the government to provide housing, jobs, land and aid.

Sri Lanka unblocks 1 news website after month

 (AP) — Sri Lankan authorities agreed Thursday to restore access to a news website that had been blocked with four others for more than a month over alleged insults and character assassination. The Telecommunication Regulatory Commission agreed to unblock on several conditions, including that it will not provide links to sites that are blocked or unregistered, said Saliya Pieris, counsel for the website.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

International Human Rights Day: A Memorable Day of Defiance for Freedom and Democracy:

International Human Rights Day was turned into a Day of Defiance by all who participated and lit a flame of hope for Freedom and Democracy for the People of Lanka. in the cradle of Jaffna.International Human Rights Day was commemorated in Jaffna with the collaboration of the following

MP barred from Menik Farm: Speaker orders probe

Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa said yesterday he would instruct the Police Chief to inquire why Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) dissident MP Ajith Kumara was not allowed to visit displaced families living in the Menik Farm welfare village in Vavuniya.

Army takes control over Dambulla market .

The Army has taken over control at the Dambulla Economic centre - a day after police and farmers clashed during a protest agaisnt the law on compulsory use of plastic crates to transport vegetables.  More than 300 army personnel have been deployed in the Dambulla Economic Centre, despite only a few lorries turning up with vegetables. Most shops remains closed as the usual number of lorries failed to turn up.

42 Political Activists and HRDs Detained and Prevented from Participating in Peaceful Protest in Jaffna Town on Human Rights Day

On December 10th 2011, a group of 42 HRDs and political activists from the South of Sri Lanka were detained by police in the Northern town of Jaffna and prevented from attending a protest to mark international human rights day in Jaffna. Events to mark Human Rights Day including protests in other parts of Sri Lanka such as in Colombo, Kandy and Kurunegela were allowed to take place without disruption. However in Jaffna the police detained HRDs travelling to the protest and also attempted to disperse those gathered at the main protest venue in Jaffna town.

Condemn government’s policy of suppressing opponents

The Political Bureau of the JVP has issued a media statement regarding the two disappeared political activists Lalith Kumara and Kugan Murugan whose whereabouts are still not known. Here is the full text of the JVP statement:

Amnesty International: Fears for missing Sri Lankan activists

Sri Lankan political activists Lalith Kumara Weeraraju and Kugan Muruganandan have been missing since 9 December. They were arranging a press conference for the following day to publicize a protest. Lalith Kumara Weeraraju’s family received a phone call saying that he had been killed.

Sri Lanka asked to deal with crowded prisons; ICRC meets Hakeem to seek post-war role

Shamindra Ferdinando
With the rapid diminishing of its role in Sri Lanka, due to the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009, the ICRC is now seeking a larger role in revamping the country’s prisons. The Geneva-headquartered humanitarian agency wants an agreement with the government regarding its post-conflict role here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Call to investigate Sri Lanka disappearances

A human rights group has called on Sri Lanka's government to investigate the disappearance of two activists in the northern city of Jaffna. Lalith Kumar Weeraraj and Kugan Muruganathan disappeared last week. They organised demonstrations on behalf of the families of missing people.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Democracies, dictatorships and the exercise of civic responsibilities

Jayantha Dhanapala
My first words must of course, be words of sincere thanks to Transparency International Sri Lanka for inviting me on this important annual occasion of the National Integrity Awards held, most appropriately, today on United Nations’ International Anti-Corruption Day.

Lankan development dropout due to corruption : Presidential Advisor Ashoka de Silva

Former Chief Justice of Sri Lanka and Presidential Advisor Ashoka de Silva says that the country's development rate has dropped by 2 percent due to the increase in corruption. De Silva has said that corruption costs Rs. 100 billion to the country, which in turn affects the poverty levels.

TNA should demand transfer of power from military to elected provincial councils in North and East as pre-condition for participation in parliamentary select committee

Sumanasiri Liayanage
Although I took up this and related issues many a time before, the current impasse in talks between the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has compelled me to address those issues once again as, in my view, the resolution of the national question would be key to Sri Lanka’s future.

Police, Army go on crate watch

Reports say that a large number of lorries transporting vegetables to Colombo has been taken to the Nawaloka ground with the intervention of police and Army. The lorries heading for Colombo when they were stopped by the police and the Army for not complying with latest regulations of the Trade Ministry.

A twenty-eight year old man from Chunnakan, Jaffna was killed in police custody and his body dumped in a river

Sri Skandaraja Sumanan, a twenty eight year old man was taken into custody by two persons in civilian dress who identified themselves as officers from the Police Intelligence Services. He was taken into custody at the junction of Punnaly Kattuwan, in front of a barber shop. He sat between the two officers on their motorcycle and was taken to the Jaffna Police Station.

HR groups fear for lives of two missing JVP dissidents

 Norman Palihawadane
Human Rights and civil organizations fear for the lives of two missing members of the Movement for People’s Struggle. An organizer of the MPS, formed by JVP dissidents, and another individual are reportedly missing since Friday. Their whereabouts are unknown since leaving to make arrangements for a media conference to be held in Jaffna on Saturday, Convener of the MPS Chameera Koswatte said.

JVP presents 13-point plan for reconciliation

 Shamindra Ferdinando
 The JVP on Saturday (Dec. 10) said that those held for their alleged involvement with the LTTE should have been tried before Tamil speaking judges.  Launching a special political campaign in the Northern Province, the JVP lambasted the UPFA government for keeping LTTEsuspects in the dark as to what was going on in courts.

Sri Lanka Supreme Court to hear petition against the blocking of websites next year

Sri Lanka Supreme Court yesterday announced that the petition filed by the Free Media Movement (FMM) against the blocking of five news websites would be taken up for hearing next year.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

President Rajapaksa makes convicted criminal Iniya Barathy a ‘Deshamanya’

 Tisaranee Gunasekara
It was an explosive revelation by any yardstick. The former Questioned Documents Examiner of the Elections Department had determined that the 62 ballot papers found abandoned near the Ratnapura technical college (and marked for common oppositional candidate Sarath Fonseka) were authentic and not photocopies.

Supreme Court determines land is a devolved subject coming under provincial councils

Namini Wijedasa
The government last week withdrew an amendment to the Town and Country Planning Ordinance that if passed would have given the Minister of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs vast powers over any private property in the country.

Abducted JVP organiser in Jaffna feared killed

Lalith Veeraraj, the Jaffna district organiser of the Movement for People’s Struggle, a JVP dissident group and his friend Kugan Murugananthan, who were reported missing in Achchuveali on Friday are feared killed, according to the MPS faction of the JVP which staged a press conference in Jaffna on Saturday.

HR activists abducted in North Police abort demo by missing persons’ next-of-kin

Chris Kamalendran 
Two activists from the Movement for People’s Struggle (MPS) were abducted from a suburb in Jaffna on Friday evening, a day ahead of International Human Rights Day yesterday. The Movement’s Jaffna District organiser, Lalith Kumar Weeraraj and Murugappan Kugan were grabbed at Avarankal Road in Jaffna, while riding his motorcycle home, MPS spokesman, Udul Premaratne said.

Eknaligoda case: Focus on ex-AG

Chris Kamalendran
The Human Right Commission of Sri Lanka said yesterday it had not yet taken a decision on whether to summon former Attorney General Mohan Peiris to come before it in connection with a complaint made by missing journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda’s wife.

We are backtracking on democratic change – Vasu

Chandani Kirinde 
 On the eve of the 11th anniversary of the Democratic Left Front (DLF) led by Vasudeva Nanayakkara, the veteran left politician, who is also the Minister of National Languages and Social Integration, spoke to the Sunday Times on his growing concern about democracy and increasing militarisation of society under the present administration, in which his party is a constituent partner.

Relatives in quandary over missing men

Loku Seeya’s body found dumped in sea in Akkaraipattu; Karate Dhamikka’, ‘Galaboda’ , ‘Kota Lakshman’ ‘Feroze’ ‘Haja’ ‘Navy Ruwan’ and Christopher Fernando still unaccounted for
Leon Berenger
Mystery surrounds the abduction of some nine people over the past two months, with anxious relatives waiting for them to return home and police saying that the hunt is on for those listed missing.

Judges to get guidelines on sentencing

Chandani Kirinde
The Sentencing Policy Bill which will give the judiciary guidelines on penalties is one of a string of new laws the government will introduce next year. According to Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem, the new law will ensure uniformity in the sentences passed on those found guilty.

Full LLRC report to be tabled: Basil

The final report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission will be tabled in Parliament in its entirety. Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa told reporters that the move was to obviate any misunderstanding or misrepresentation which might otherwise occur.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

JVP dissident from Jaffna missing since yesterday

 (Srilankamirror )- Jaffna organizer of the Movement for People’s Struggle formed by the JVP dissidents and another member are missing since last evening. The JVP dissidents formed a new movement called the Movement for People’s Struggle and a press conference was held in Jaffna yesterday. The movement was to be launched today.

Bell Pottinger and Sri Lanka: A trail of spin doctoring and whitewashing

By Groundviews
Mainstream media in Sri Lanka has been curiously silent over recent revelation
in the British media on the government's connections with the infamous 
British PR firm Bell Pottinger. On 6th December, The Independent ran a story 
on how Bell Pottinger had written the President's speech to the UN after the 
end of the war in 2009. The article noted,