Thursday, March 31, 2011

Eastern University closed down indefinitely

While the Tamil Youth Organisation in UK was engaged in an awareness campaign for boycotting genocidal Sri Lanka in international sports, a cricket-related euphoria of the Sinhala students in the Eastern University of Sri Lanka in Batticaloa resulted in attack on Tamil students and indefinite closure of the university. Inebriated by euphoria of Sri Lanka’s victory in the cricket semi finals that took place in Colombo, the Sinhala students of the Batticaloa University entered into the hostel of the Tamil students and attacked them on Tuesday midnight. Following the incident, the SL police at the university check post that entered into the campus without permission from the Vice Chancellor also started attacking the Tamil students. As Tamil students started boycotting classes on Wednesday the university is closed down indefinitely.

Thousands of SL troops round up resettled villages in Jaffna, Mullaiththeevu

Thousands of occupying troops of Sri Lanka Army rounded up the village Uduththu’rai in Vadamaraadchi East and are engaged in search operation since Thursday early morning. A similar operation is simultaneously being undertaken in Mullaiththeevu also. Vanni IDPs were recently resettled in both the places. The operation is said to be following an alleged incident in which some SL troops who went on a boat are missing in the sea and only their boat came ashore.

The SL troops came in armoured vehicles rounded up the entire coastal area.

Over a million children lack toilet facilities

By Azra Ameen

Around 1,299 schools or nearly one million school children and around 200,000 families in the island do not have access to toilets, Deputy General Manager of the National Water Supply and Drainage Board, Deepthi Sumanasekera said following a survey conducted by the National Water Supply and Drainage Board.

Nearly 1,860 schools have dilapidated toilets or don’t have access to water.

"Those who do not have access to toilets are bound to be easy prey to various diseases and kidney damage," Chairman of the Sri Lanka Water Partnership Kusum Athukorala said.

SRI LANKA: Persecuting of NGOS under the pretext of prosecutions

These days there is considerable discussion about investigations into some NGOs in Sri Lanka. The president himself is talking in public about this issue and already implying that there is some kind of wrong doing on the part of some NGOs. This has also been followed by several media channels. Therefore some simple reflections on the issue are in order.

There is a vast difference between prosecution and persecution. This difference may not be quite so clear in Sri Lanka anymore. There is a great deal of persecution going on under the name of prosecution and the public may be very much confused about what is a legitimate prosecution and what is, in fact, a terrible persecution.

Leaving aside this contextual situation in Sri Lanka for a moment let us go into a basic reflection on what, under a rule of law system, is a legitimate prosecution and what is, in fact, a persecution. A legitimate prosecution begins with an existing law in the country. The law clearly lays down some act which may be considered a crime. A complaint about the commission of a crime by someone is the beginning of a path that may lead to a prosecution before a court of law.

Go beyond 13th amendment, India tells TNA

India has instructed Sri Lanka’s main Tamil political party, The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to go beyond the 13th Amendment when they hold discussions with the Sri Lanka government on power devolution.

Jaffna District TNA Parliamentarian Mavai Senadhirajah said however, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has categorically informed that the police powers would not and could not be devolved under any circumstances, during their recent powwow with the government representatives.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Friday Forum deeply concened about recent appointments to Human Rights Commission

We wish to question what human rights protection experience and credentials they bring to the Human Rights Commission. In short, the criteria that may have been used for selection is highly suspect.
The Friday Forum is an informal gathering of public spirited persons who are dedicated to promoting peace and development in Sri Lanka within a framework of democracy, social justice and pluralism. To that end, the Forum has, from time to time, made interventions regarding matters of public concern. This statement too is made in the spirit of democratic engagement through the articulation of our views on matters of vital importance to national life.

The Friday Forum wishes to express its deep concern about recent appointments made to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, details of which were carried in newspaper reports. We are concerned about two important dimensions relating to the appointments: first, the process by which the appointments were made and secondly, the suitability of some appointees to serve on the Commission.

First, there is no transparency regarding the process by which the appointees were selected. We understand that the opposition did not participate in the process.


KILINOCHCHI, 23 February 2011 (IRIN) - Former female combatants in northern Sri Lanka face a tough time returning to civilian life, with fewer marriage, education and job prospects due to stigma, say aid workers and activists.

"Former female child soldiers are just not being perceived positively by society," said Thaya Thiagarajah, a senior official with the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India, noting how cultural and social barriers are the biggest barriers to their smooth reintegration.

Marriage prospects for female former rebels who fought with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are bleak, said Selvanayagam Selvantha, a local aid worker with the same church, located in the former conflict zone.

Mandate for TNA to seek federal system based solution - Premachandran

By Wilson Gnanadass

TNA parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran said the mandate the party has obtained from the people is to find an immediate solution based on a federal system and this fact must now be honoured by the present government.

The TNA that had been branded earlier as the ‘LTTE’s proxy’ won 12 councils of the 15 it contested convincingly.

Premachandran pointed out that the TNA has once again proved to the South that it is a party that still commands the support of the majority of the Tamils in the north and east and could secure more support in the days to come.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Politics of Domestic and International Accountability Options in Sri Lanka

Alan Keenan   

1. The need for an international investigation

The International Crisis Group, like others concerned with a sustainable and just peace in Sri Lanka, has been calling for the establishment of an independent and international commission to look into the many credible and well-documented allegations of war crimes in the final months of Sri Lanka’s long civil war. A serious and independent accountability mechanism is needed, first of all, as a matter of principle. The violations of international humanitarian law that we have evidence of and wrote about in our May 2010 report on War Crimes in Sri Lanka, point to the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians in the final four months of fighting and an assault on the fundamental principles of the laws of war. These are simply too serious to be left without investigation or acknowledgment. Accountability is also important for achieving a set of broader conflict resolution goals: to open up greater political space in Sri Lanka’s shrinking democracy, to lay the groundwork for political reconciliation between the island’s different ethnic communities, to ensure that Sri Lankan Tamils have a clear account of atrocities by the LTTE that can’t be dismissed as pro-government propaganda, and, crucially, to discourage other governments from using indiscriminate and disproportionate force in their own particular “wars on terrorism”.

UPFA MP discharged from rape charge

United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) Colombo district Parliamentarian Duminda Silva was discharged by High Court Judge Sunil Rajapakse on March 24, on charges of rape and engaging in sex with an under-age girl.

The judge accepted the request made by State Counsel representing the Attorney General that the latter has agreed to withdraw the indictment as the girl reportedly raped was reluctant to give evidence during cross-examination.

AG’s withdrawal of murder charges illegal says lawyer

By Manopriya Gunasekara

Questioning the Attorney General’s withdrawal of murder charges and acquitting the accused in the Nampamunuwa murder case - former MP Chandana Kathriarachchi and three others - lawyer J.C. Weliamuna, watching the interests of the deceased said that the action was illegal.

Former MP Kathriarachchi and three others were charged for murdering a supporter of the opposition (UNP) at Nampamunuwa Salgaha Junction in Piliyandala during the Nampamunuwa Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society election in 2006.

TNA seeks police and land powers for North -Devolution issues to be taken up with President

By Chris Kamalendran

The Tamil National Alliance wants the Government to grant the Northern Province police powers besides the right to manage land and forest reservations.

This request will be placed before President Mahinda Rajapaksa through a government committee in the course of periodic consultations. The TNA points out that these subjects are already listed in the Concurrent List of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

These are the major subjects of power sharing the TNA wants to discuss with the Government. TNA MP Mavai Senathiraja told the Sunday Times this would be the first time issues relating to power sharing would be discussed by the TNA with UPFA leaders.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Rajapaksa Blitzkrieg; Basil’s Empire

“To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.”

— Orwell (In Front Of Your Nose)

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

As the latest WikiLeaks-cables reveal, lies and deception occupy a position of honour in the Rajapaksa modus operandi. Open defiance is not the Rajapaksa way, when operating in an unfavourable climate of opinion. Instead, the siblings favour the stealthy approach of Velupillai Pirapaharan, using deceptive declarations and false promises to camouflage a ruthless will and a steely determination. Thus they bedevil critics and disarm opponents, until the ground reality changes and their objective becomes a fait accompli.

Understanding the Rajapaksa Way is important because the siblings are planning the next critical step, aimed at nullifying the 13th Amendment and debasing parliamentary sovereignty, both sources of countervailing power and thus inimical to Rajapaksas supremacy. Legislation to set up Jana Sabhas will be presented in parliament in April. Jana Sabhas will not be elected institutions; their members will be appointed by the Rajapaksas and their acolytes. Barring a few token credentialed members, an absolute majority of these appointees will be political stooges whose main – and perhaps sole – qualification will be unquestioning loyalty not to the SLFP/UPFA but to the Rajapaksa Family.

Mahinda Rajapaksa is the ‘uncrowned Ruler-King’ and one brother is the omnipotent Defence-Czar; the Jana Sabha system will establish another Rajapaksa-sibling as the almighty Development-Czar.

University lecturers harden stance

President’s intervention sought

By Arthur Wamanan

University lecturers, threatening to step down from the administrative level if the government fails to increase their salaries are planning to seek President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s intervention for a salary hike.

After their attempt to press the government for an increment failed, the irate lecturers last week decided to inform President Rajapaksa in writing, urging for his immediate involvement.

According to the Federation of the University Teachers Association (FUTA), President Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri, the situation has now gone out of control and the lecturers are determined to strike harder if their demands are not met.