Wednesday, November 30, 2011

TNA calls for debate on LLRC report

TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah called for a debate on the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Committee's (LLRC) report in Parliament. He questioned what the government is doing about the LLRC report.

Tear gas & water cannon for SYU ‘march’

The ‘protest march’ of the Socialist Youth Union’ was subjected to attacks of tear gas and high pressure water canon by the police a little while ago.  Five protest marchers have been injured due to the baton charge carried out by the police say reports.

Will the judiciary crack under pressure? .

It is our right to protest that no government or political party can investigate past decisions and actions of the former Chief Justice or else the next victim will be the incumbent chief justice and the government will take steps to appoint a new person.

Colombo plans to annex Tamil border villages in Batticaloa with Ampaa'rai

 [TamilNet] Colombo government has been planning to Sinhalicise about fifteen to twenty thousand acres of lands located along the border Tamil villages in the Batticaloa district from the administration of Batticaloa district to Ampaa'rai district secretariat, according to local district officials in Batticaloa.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sri Lankan Women Human Rights Defenders: Linking Past and Present Challenges

Subha Wijesiriwardena
 As another year begins to draw to a close on post-war Sri Lanka, we can take stock of which changes, or the lack of change, we see around us. The full scope of human rights is still not available to civilians living in formerly-Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) controlled areas, now tightly controlled by the Sri Lankan armed forces,

University student missing in Jaffna

[TamilNet] A student of the University of Jaffna, 27-year-old Vetharaniyam Latheesh, was missing after he left the gents hostel (Balasingham Hostel) of the University of Jaffna in Thirunelveali by 6:45 pm, Sunday evening. The student, studying at the Siddha Medicine department of the university located at Kaithadi, and used to stay in the hostel there, had come to the university hostel in Thirunelveali to meet a friend.

Farmers, teachers see real wages decline this year

Adjusted for inflation, the real wages of the services and industrial sector have grown substantially this year while real wages in the agriculture sector declined along with public sector wages, with real wages of teachers seeing the biggest dip, the Central Bank said.

Rebellion, Repression and the Struggle for Justice in Sri Lanka: The Lionel Bopage story

Professor Sisira Jayasuriya ,
This is a book that documents the life story of Lionel Bopage, who was one of the highest ranking leaders of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP- the Peoples’ Liberation Front) and a major figure in the JVP led youth insurrection of 1971 in Sri Lanka, drawing on a series of personal interviews with him.

Questions for Sri Lankan Ambassador of Australia: Dr. Senewiratne

“Are you aware of the internationally accepted ‘Command Responsibility’, that all those all the way to the top, be they military leaders or civilians (such as your President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, and his brother, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Secretary of Defence,. and some of these military men including yourself, could be held responsible?” asks Dr. Senewiratne to Samarasinghe. ''

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tamil prisoners on hunger strike

Prisoners say they were stripped naked before taken out and assaulted
At least 65 Tamil prisoners in Anuradhapura are on a hunger strike seeking proper protection.
The prisoners have launched a protest after being assaulted by the prison officials on Sunday, former Jaffna district parliamentarian MK Sivajilingam told BBC Sandeshaya.

Lawyers prevented from visiting beaten up Tamil prisoners - Udul

(Srilankamirror) - Lawyers were prevented from meeting the 65 Tamil inmates at Anuradhapura Prison, who were reportedly beaten up yesterday (Nov. 27).  A team of lawyers and representatives of the organization ‘We Are Sri Lankans’ tried to meet them today.

Another death in police custody

Norman Palihawadana
The police are investigating the death of a suspect taken in for questioning in connection with his alleged involvement in a series of robberies in the Jaffna peninsula.  Responding to a query by The Island, sources said that they were inquiring into the circumstances, under which the suspect, Skandarajah alias Sumanan had died in police custody.


According to the prevailing law, the culprits can be punished and jailed for five years, but no one has been jailed up to five years due to practical difficulties. In a stunning revelation it has been found that 70% of females between 15 and 45 have been subjected to sexual harassment in public transport and the situation would worsen if all Sri Lankans do not take serious note of the issue.

LLRC report:The Need for Transparency

Lakshman Indranath Keerthisinghe
“Our challenge is strongly to encourage the Sri Lankan government to embrace reconciliation,accountability, and respect for human rights, while trying not to push the country towards Burma-like isolation from the west” Patricia A. Butenis Former US Ambassador in Sri Lanka as revealed in Wikileaks cables. The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) presented its final report to the President last week.

What Happened To India’s 50,000 Houses?

Maryam Azwer
When The Sunday Leader interviewed R. Sampanthan a week ago, the TNA leader claimed that of the 50,000 houses the Government of India had donated to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Sri Lanka, only 50 had been fully completed.

JVP calls for war crimes probe

JVP leader admitted that Sri Lanka troops committed war crimes
An opposition party in Sri Lanka that supported the government's war against the Tamil Tigers has called for an investigation into alleged war crimes.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Prageeth’s wife writes to UN-CAT over Mohan Peiris claim

(Srilankamirror)The wife of missing journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda has written to the UN Committee Against Torture regarding a statement the former attorney general Mohan Peiris had made before the Committee.
Sandya Ekneligoda has sent the letter to UN-CAT secretary Joao Nataf over the fate of her husband, who went missing on 24 January last year.

Is US threatening action against Lanka at UN in Geneva if presidential pardon is not given to Sarath Fonseka?

Shamindra Ferdinando
 The UPFA alleges the US embassy is increasingly interfering in domestic political issues, thereby undermine the government.  The SLFP-led coalition believes that the US is trying to cause a rift in the government over the imprisonment of defeated presidential candidate, former Army Chief, Gen. Sarath Fonseka.

The military is taking over large chunks of land in North-Chandrika Kumaratunga

Ranga Jayasuriya
 Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga last week delivered a scathing attack on the government’s handling of the former IDPs at a discussion held in the South Asia Policy Research Institute in Colombo.
“You may be satisfied with it (reconciliation process), but I am not,” she said responding to Professor Rohan Gunaratna, who was the guest speaker.

Exposing SLA temple sanctions to BBC brings in attack on house in Jaffna

 [TamilNet] Attackers believed to be from the Sri Lanka Army opened fire and lobbed grenade and petrol bomb on the house of the head of the civic council (Piratheasa Chapai) of Kaarainakar, Mr Anaimukan Velayutham, a TNA member and a leading trader in Jaffna in the early hours of Saturday, causing minor injuries to his aged mother.

Govt-TNA talks: Where are the Muslim politicians?

Latheef Farook
Where are the Muslim parliamentarians and what about the burning issues facing the Muslim community? This is the question raised in many Muslim circles following reports of talks between the government and the Tamil National Alliance aimed at solving the problems of Tamils. However, Muslim politicians, it appears, have not even woken up from their long slumber, leave alone highlighting the grievances of Muslims.

I did my job, but this is the first time I have received death threats: Judge Deepali

 Chandani Kirinde
Deepali Wijesundara, President of the Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar that convicted former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka to three years imprisonment in the “white flag” case spoke to the Sunday Times on the threats she faced during the trial , after the judgment and other matters.

Mechanism to probe war incidents soon

(ST)Govt. takes action on LLRC recommendations; report in parliament early next month
 The Government will announce details of an investigative mechanism to probe incidents as recommended by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission when the report is tabled in Parliament early next month.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Treatment for Fonseka: Anoma seeks court order .

Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka’s wife Anoma said yesterday she would need a new court directive to ensure that her husband received medical treatment in hospital after the authorities had not permitted him to get such treatment recently.

All under control in Jaffna: Maj. Gen. Hathurusinghe .

Security in and around the Jaffna peninsula and the North has been tightened as the military has received information that a group was planning to paste posters in the area to mark  the birthday of Velupillai Prabhakaran.
Jaffna Security Forces Commander Major General Mahinda Hathurasinghe noted that no celebration or activity will take place in the Jaffna peninsula today.

Sri Lanka investigating civilian casualties from civil war

[JURIST] Sri Lankan Secretary of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa [official profile] stated on Thursday in a speech [press release and transcript] that the government has begun counting the number of civilian deaths from its 26-year civil war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) [JURIST news archive].

UN CAT to GOSL: take immediate measures to investigate all acts of torture and punish;consider an international investigatory body to fellow up LLRC report

''Notwithstanding the new circumstances prevailing since the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the end of the military conflict that has consumed the country for nearly 30 years, and the State party’s public commitment to the Committee that it has a zero-tolerance policy on torture as a matter of State policy and practice, the Committee remains seriously concerned about the continued and consistent allegations of widespread use of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of suspects in police custody, especially to extract confessions or information to be used in criminal proceedings.

Sri Lanka: Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture

1.   The Committee considered the combined third and fourth periodic report of Sri Lanka (CAT/C/LKA/3-4) at its 1030th and 1033rd meetings, held on 8 and 9 November 2011 (CAT/C/SR.1030 and 1033). At its 1050th, 1051st and 1052nd meetings, held on 22 to 23 November 2011 (CAT/C/SR.1050, 1051 and 1052), it adopted the following concluding observations.

Former AG 'misled UN' says FMM

'Mr Jayantha had denied that he ever made a statement requesting investigations to be stopped'
A media watchdog in Sri Lanka has accused the government of misleading the United Nations over the plight of missing and tortured media personnel.

Sri Lanka’s war against Tamil heroes continues for the third year

 [TamilNet] Genocidal Sri Lanka occupying the country of Eezham Tamils continued for the third year in militarily preventing people observing the Heroes Day week ending on Sunday. SL military’s paranoia or arrogance of oppression has gone to the extent of ordering temples not to toll bells or light lamps during the week. Military is also placed near some temples to watch for any breaches.

Ceylon Teachers Union condemns Tamil teacher killing in Moothoor

 [TamilNet,] The Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) Friday demanded that culprits behind the brutal murder of a young Tamil teacher Miss Kurukulasingham Srivathani should be arrested without delay and be brought before court of law and to ensure the security of the teaching community.

Friday, November 25, 2011

External solutions not for Sri Lanka - Defence Secretary

Sri Lanka as a sovereign nation with a rich culture and a proud heritage does not need external guidance to achieve post conflict reconciliation. This will be achieved through an organic, local effort consistent with our culture and our values, and not based on external ideals imposed by others, Defence and Urban Development Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said.

Sri Lanka Mirror website to take legal action

The Sri Lanka Mirror news website said yesterday that it was on the verge of shutting down as it was incurring losses after the government arbitrarily blocked the website along with four others and said it had filed a fundamental rights case regarding the matter.

Uthayan News Editor goes overseas seeking protection

The News Editor of the Uthayan newspaper published in Jaffna, Gunasundaram Kuganadan has traveled overseas for protection, it is learnt. Fifty seven year old Kuganadan was subjected to an inhumane assault on July 29th when he was on his way home after work. He was treated in hospital following the severe injuries sustained during the attack.

International day against impunity – NfR calls on Government of Sri Lanka to investigate crimes against media and journalists

''This is a concern for us, but our greater worry is the failure of the GoSL to bring to account those responsible for the murder of a number of journalists, as also brutal attacks with murderous intent that have left a number of journalists seriously disabled.''

Thursday, November 24, 2011

UK wants LLRC report public

Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt has called on the Government of Sri Lanka to release publicly the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Committee’s report on post conflict issues in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Committee presented their report to President Rakapaksa on 20 November.

Rudd promises comment on Sri Lanka report

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has promised to comment on a Sri Lankan government report into the civil war when it is made public. The probe into the civil war against Tamil rebels has called for further investigations of alleged war crimes committed in the final stages of fighting in 2009, media reports say.

Abducted fish trader returns home

The police are probing to track down the person who was behind the abduction of the prominent fish trader in Dematagoda and Peliyagoda, allegedly by two men in camouflage military uniforms. He returned home on Wednesday night. Lalith Kumara was assaulted by the unidentified masked men and they robbed cash and jewellery he possessed at the time which is worth around Rs.250,000.

The age of the thug, the vagabond and the sycophant

S. L. Gunasekara
(Sri Lanka Guardian) Unruly scenes and episodes of thuggery in what is, for some quaint ‘reason’, termed the "August Assembly", namely Parliament, are regrettably, nothing new. Perhaps a new "low" was established by the scenes of rampant thuggery in the presence of the President of the Republic and the leader of the UPFA/SLFP while the President was reading the budget speech.

The civilian death toll in early 2009: A flawed estimate from Gunaratna

''Let me present their summary estimates as a preliminary to elaborations that underline the difficulty of reaching an exact figure.
= "My estimate is that the deaths — cadres, forced labour and civilians — were very likely around 10,000 and did not exceed 15,000 at most" — RajasinghamNarendran.ii
= [approximately] 12,000[without counting armed Tiger personnel]– Dr. MuttukrishnaSarvananthan.iii
= "roughly16,000 including LTTE , natural , and civilians" — Dr. Noel Nadesan.iv
Michael Roberts

Samurdhi officers lose confidence in govt.

(Srilankamirror) - Samurdhi officers have lost their confidence in the government following the presentation of budget 2012, says the Samurdhi Development Officers’ Association.

Abductors wore military type uniforms

Norman Palihawadana
Chairman of the Dematagoda Traders’ Union, Lalith Gunaratne yesterday said that his abductors had seized Rs. 60,000 he had in his possession along with two gold rings.  Gunaratne said, "The gang comprised four persons. They wore military-type uniforms. They dragged me into freezer truck, tied my hands and blindfolded me.

Sri Lanka declares 2012 as Year for a Trilingual Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan Government has decided to declare year 2012 as the Year for a Trilingual Sri Lanka aimed at motivating the people to acquire trilingual skills.

MR warns of post-war threats to national security

Shamindra Ferdinando
President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Tuesday (22) said that some of the self-styled human rights champions had the audacity to call the killing of hardcore LTTE terrorist Thamilselvan in a SriLanka Air Force raid an attack on the peace process.

Sri Lanka takes first count of civilian war deaths

(AP) Sri Lanka said Thursday it was counting on its own how many civilians were slain at the end of its bloody civil war to counter claims that tens of thousands were killed and fend off international calls for a war crimes probe. Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa also acknowledged for the first time that soldiers may have committed unspecified "crimes." He promised to investigate and punish them.

Sri Lanka rupee flat; T-bills hit 16-mo high

* Cenbank says no more depreciation sets rupee at 113.50/90, from early trade 110.80/114.20
    * Cenbank spends at least $60 mln to defend rupee-dealers
    * T-bills at 16 month high; bond investors struggle to exit

US Senators urge Secretary of State to take lead in establishing independent international commission if LLRC fails to meet standards

Letter from US Senators dated Nov 4th, 2011 to US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, urging The United States to “take the lead in pressing for the establishment of an independent international commission, either by the UN Human Rights Council or under the Secretary-General’s own authority”, was released to the media today.

Lawyers express concern over PSC ( on former CJ)

A group of well-known lawyers have expressed concerns about the government’s move to appoint a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to probe the conduct of former Chief Justice, Sarath N. Silva.  The signatories to the letter include Attorneys Saliya Peiris, J. C. Weliamuna, Upul Jayasuriya, J. C. Boange, U. R. Wijetunga, Jayantha Dias and K. A. R. Abeygunawardena.

Sri Lanka approves committee on postwar reforms

(AP) — Sri Lanka's Parliament on Wednesday approved the creation of a multiparty committee to recommend constitutional changes for ethnic reconciliation two years after a devastating civil war. However, a lawmaker from the largest party representing ethnic minority Tamils said it would not participate in the committee at this time because the recommendations of a previous committee had never been implemented.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Sri Lankan editor trapped in his office for the last five years

New freedoms promised by the end of 25-year civil war are still being denied journalists in Sri Lanka, where many who have taken an unbiased stance have paid with their lives.
It is not simply dedication to his job that has led newspaper editor MV Kaanamyl-nathan to not leave his office for five-and-a-half years.

Tracing Sri Lanka's missing children

 Devi Selvaratnam holds up a photograph of her son Sivakajan
Mel Gunasekera | AFP
Two and a half years after the end of Sri Lanka's bloody ethnic conflict, hundreds of families displaced by the war are still engaged in a fraught, exhausting search for missing children.  Hundreds of thousands of ethnic Tamil civilians were caught up in the chaos of the military's ferocious final assault on cornered Tamil Tiger rebels in the jungles of northeast Sri Lanka in April and May 2009.

Sri Lanka university teachers meet on November 24 to discuss trade union action

 The executive committee of the Federation of University Teachers' Associations (FUTA) is to meet on November 24 to discuss the actions to be taken by the union regarding the government's failure to fulfill the promises made to them.

Sri Lankan Opposition Attacked in Parliament

Lawmakers from Sri Lanka's ruling party attacked opposition members who were protesting inside Parliament on Monday as President Mahinda Rajapaksa presented next year's budget. Opposition United National Party legislators tried to hold up placards protesting the proposed budget, which they said did not contain enough measures to ease the economic burden of the people.

Assault of UNP MPs inside parliament proof of Rajapaksa dictatorship – John

Zacki Jabbar
The assault of UNP MPs, inside the parliamentary chamber, by some government MPs yesterday, reflected the dictatorship that had been foisted on the people by the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, John Ameratunga MP said.

Govt. ready to acquire 37,000 hectares

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in his budget speech, announced yesterday that 37,000 hectares of land belonging to the plantation sector would be acquired in the similar manner the government took over underperforming and underutilised assets of 37 companies through the Act enacted in the House on November 9, 2011.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Some observations on the Final Report of the Commission on the Expulsion of Muslims from the Northern Province by the LTTE in October 1990

This report provides what will be the definitive account of the story of the Northern Muslims following on their expulsion from the Northern Province by the LTTE in October 1990. Faithful throughout to the narrative of the affected, and respectful in its well- nuanced references to earlier writings- Hasbullah, Thiranagama and others- its approach earns the reader’s respect and trust.

Rs. 100,000 for the third child in police/armed force families

Srilankamirror - Each parent of war heroes would be made a monthly payment of Rs. 750 from the 2012 budget that is being presented by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He said that Rs. 1,700 million has been allocated to commence the Rana Viru Divi Neguma programme. The programme is aimed at benefiting the disabled soldiers.

President deceived us - university lecturers

(Srilankamirror) - University lecturers have alleged the president has deceived them without giving a pay hike through the budget, as promised. President of the University Teachers Association Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said they had abandoned union action a few months back on the basis of the promise given by the president.

Rajapakse's media fears spread from TamilNet to Sinhala opponents

 [TamilNet] "The ban on TamilNet is the first instance of what the Free Media Movement believes may soon be a slippery slope of web and internet censorship in Sri Lanka," BBC reported on 20th June 2007 when local reports indicated that access to TamilNet was blocked by unannounced directives to service providers from officials in Colombo.

Treaties provide absolute immunity against civil suits, Silva asserts ( war crime case against Shavendra Silva)

[TamilNet] Shavendra Silva, currently Sri Lanka’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations charged with torture and execution of Sri Lanka's Tamils by two plaintiffs, filed a motion in the District Court of Southern District of New York Friday seeking to dismiss the case against him. Defendant Silva's motion asserts that arguments by plaintiffs reveal "a misconception of nature of immunity," disregard terms of treaties that Silva claims provide "absolute immunity," and ignore federal case law.

Unemployed graduates complain of death threats

Dasun Edirisinghe
Unemployed graduates, who recently renewed their fight for jobs, were threatened with death last week by unidentified groups, according to the Combined Association of Unemployed Graduates (CAUG).  CAUG media spokesman Dhammika Munasinghe told The Island that members of their Batticaloa branch had received death threats after holding a protest and a seminar in Batticaloa.

The Real Lessons of Sri Lanka's War: A Global Power Shift and the End of Human Rights

''First, Sri Lanka's experience reveals the true price of ending conflict through a purely military solution: accountability and political compromise. Thanks to its decisive victory over the Tigers, Rajapaksa's government is so popular that it has little incentive to make any real effort at political reconciliation. Talks with ethnic Tamil political parties have gone nowhere; and the LLRC report has shed no light on any of the allegations of war crimes committed during the last phase of the war''

EXCLUSIVE Highlights of LLRC findings and recommendations - The Island

''Implement LLRC report, no need for intl. probe, govt. told, Disappearances should be probed, Need for trilingual nation stressed, Urgent Bills frowned on, Douglas Devananda criticised, Illegal arms must be recovered, ‘Killing Fields’ video a fabrication

Restriction of Content on the Internet in Sri Lanka

a. Arbitrary blocking or filtering of content
During the latter part of the war, websites that purported to provide alternative coverage on the war were blocked. From June 2007, allegedly on the orders of the Sri Lankan government, all Internet service providers in Sri Lanka blocked users from being able to access the website

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mervyn warns journalists to book coffins

Katunayake (Srilankamirror) - Minister Mervyn Silva has warned journalists, whom he claimed were insulting the president and other important persons, to book coffins for themselves immediately.  He said at a function in Katunayake yesterday (Nov. 20) that he was finding the addresses of such journalists.

Army organizes seminars for Jaffna O/L candidates

Jaffna (Srilankamirror) - The Army on November 19 held Jaffna’s largest education seminar of the year at three centres to prepare the GCE O/L school candidates for their examination next month.  It was held under the guidance of Security Forces Headquarters of Jaffna in liaison with provincial education officials.

Hirunika Premachandra addresses crucial issues affecting Sri Lanka in ‘Sirasa’ TV interview

Sumanasiri Liayanage 
While young people all over the world are experimenting with new forms of social resistance, the young, energetic and brave 24 year-old daughter of the slain politician, Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra (BLP), Hirunika Premachandra in her interview with Sirasa, Kingsly Ratnayaka, proposed that in order to understand the incident that occurred at the local government election day, it has to be located in a broader political landscape of the island.

Judge Warawewa harassed for judgment: Ranil .

High Court Judge W. T. M. P. B. Warawewa who acquitted former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka of all charges in the white flag case has already been subjected to harassment, Opposition UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe alleged today.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Tamil people have not been treated as equal citizens for a very long time-Sampanthan

Maryam Azwer
Leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Rajavarothiam Sampanthan, says the Tamils in the country are still not treated as equal citizens and have lost their dignity and self respect.  In an interview with The Sunday Leader, R. Sampanthan also spoke on Sinhalese settlement in the North and East, as well as local and international efforts towards assuring accountability for alleged war crimes.

TNA wants political solution decided by year end

Srilankamirror - The TNA says the party’s aim is to conclude discussions with the government on finding a political solution to the ethnic issue by the end of the year.  Requests made by the TNA from the government to set a deadline to the discussions in order to make it more effective had not received a positive response.

GOSL before CAT: Tissa Denies Mohan’s Claims

Raisa Wickrematunge-
Senior Tamil journalist J. S Tissainayagam denied allegations that he “admitted his complicity” to an offence in order to gain a Presidential pardon. The allegation was made on November 9, when a delegation led by Presidential Counsel and Senior Legal Adviser to the Cabinet Mohan Pieris answered questions raised by the Committee Against Torture on whether the Convention Against Torture was being properly implemented.

GOSL before CAT: Sugar coating bitter realities with laughable theatrics

 Kishali Pinto Jayawardene  
It was to be expected that the performance of the Sri Lankan government before the members of the Committee Against Torture (CAT) in Geneva on the 8th and 9th of November 2011 would be evasive and problematic. However, the reality was far worse than the uneasy expectation. In actual fact, the State Party submission and its responses to the penetrating questions posed by Committee members was an exercise in outright deception if not chicanery.

Multi-million extravaganza by Lanka in the Caribbean-How public money was wasted in a spirit of 'win or lose we booze'

Barely an hour after a Sri Lankan Airlines A-340 airbus dropped its wheels on the Robert L Bradshaw International Airport in the Carribean island of St Kitts, an entourage of 160 checked into their rooms at the four-star Marriot Resort and Royal Beach Casino.

General Fonseka's dock statement after the conviction

''Before Frederica Jansz published these lies which she claims I said, many in the country had heard about it. I believe even the judges would have heard about it. Even before Frederica Jansz wrote this, the Daily Mirror had reported this in the same manner. Even the Sunday Times has written this again over the last weekend. Will action be initiated against those who wrote about it and people who informed them about it?''

Post-war situation in Northern Sri Lanka & Prospects for Reconciliation

Changes since the end of the war:
30 months after the end of war, more people travel between the once off limits North[i] and the South and many of the travel restrictions have been eased. The dreaded Medawachiya checkpoint is no more, and since 2010, we have not taken a flight or ship to Jaffna, travelling by road instead.

The White Flag case: The reasons behind the two verdicts

Manopriya Gunasekara
Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka was sentenced to three years in prison and fined Rs.5000 by the Colombo High Court on Friday with two of the three judges on the Bench, in the “White Flag” case, finding him guilty of “propagating a false rumour’ in violation of emergency regulations and the Criminal Procedure Code.

LLRC: Probe possible war-related incidents

(ST)Information points to prima facie evidence but no names named ; Channel 4 video rejected as fabrication, but Darusman report taken note of
The final report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) will ask the government to investigate incidents that may have occurred during the final stages of the war that militarily defeated the Tiger guerrillas two and half years ago.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Bharatha’s family receives death threats

(Srilankamirror) - The widow of slain presidential advisor Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra has complained to police that her family was receiving continuous death threats.   In her complaint to Cinnamon Gardens Police last night (Nov. 18), she has alleged threatening phone calls to her daughter, son and to herself.

IUSF convener rubbishes J’pura campus bombs claim

(Srilankamirror) - IUSF convener Sanjeewa Bandara has rubbished the claim by the government that bombs and weapons had been found from universities. He told ‘Srilankamirror’ that the government was trying to convince society that university students were resorting to terrorist acts and to justify military and police interventions in universities.


(Srilankamirror) - TULF leader is advising president Mahinda Rajapaksa in good faith that no satisfactory permanent solution can ever be found to the national question under a unitary system of governance.   In a letter to president Rajapaksa, the TULF leader says, “I had been repeatedly saying that only the Indian Model will be acceptable to the minorities as the only alternative to a “Federal Model” if the term “Federal” is allergic to some.”

Administration of 7 Tamil villages to be brought under Muslim dominated Ea'raavoor UC

 [TamilNet]Colombo government has recently given instructions to Ea'raavoor Urban Council chairman Ali Zahir Mowlana to bring 7 Tamil villages under his administration using the Urban Council, informed sources told reporters in Batticaloa.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sri Lanka ex-army chief jailed for three years

Amal Jayasinghe, AFP
A Sri Lankan court Friday jailed former army chief Sarath Fonseka for three years for alleging that the president's brother had ordered the execution of surrendering Tamil rebels.  Fonseka, who ran against President Mahinda Rajapakse in 2010 elections, is already serving a 30-month prison term after a court martial convicted him on corruption charges.

Lankans should stand up against lawlessness - Anoma

All Sri Lankans should stand up against the lawlessness in the land, Anoma Fonseka stated following the three year sentence given to her husband Sarath Fonseka today in conclusion to the White Flag hearing. She claimed that she was already prepared for the outcome of the verdict while stating that she was neutral towards the decision of the High Court.

Web ban: Minister Keheliya’s statement irrelevant to Sri Lanka Mirror

Sri Lanka Mirror emphasizes that Mass Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella’s statement that the government banned several websites which do not comply with ‘the right to reply’ concept is not relevant to the blocking of our website.

Fonskea sentenced to three years RI in White Flag case .

Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka was sentenced to three years RI and fined Rs. 5,000 in the White flag case.  The judgment was divided with Deepali Wijesundara who presided over the High Court Trial-at-bar and judge M.S Razeen finding him guilty for the first of the three counts and Judge W.T. M. P.B.  Warawewa finding him not guilty for the three offences.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Opinion of the Supreme Court Regarding the Expropriation Bill was a disappointment

''On the day the Expropriation Bill was passed, Parliament was informed that the Government had pumped over Rs 10,000 Million between 2007 and 2010 into Mihin Lanka despite colossal losses. If the principle of equality were to apply, the Act ought to apply to Mihin as much as it applies to Hilton''

Government took the decision to ban webistes without a court order

Sri Lankan government has confirmed that it has taken down several websites without a court order.
Speaking to journalists in Colombo on Tuesday, Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that government took the decision to ban websites without legal recourse.

AG to look into cases handed by the LLRC

Srilankamirror - The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) has handed several cases brought before the Commission by persons who have appeared before it to the Attorney General (AG) for further investigation.

Sri Lanka’s Fear Psychosis

Frederica Janz
 ■Sri Lankans across the board, renowned for their friendly smiles and easy ways are too afraid to speak
A Norwegian journalist Correspondent for Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation sat across from me in my office last Tuesday. Norwegian Broadcasting is state owned and the largest media organization in Norway, BUT with absolutely no interference in editorial content.

Violence against women campaign from Nov. 24

Pabodha Hettige 
The Legal Aid Commission of Sri Lanka is planning to launch a campaign, on November 24, to eliminate violence against women, an official of the commission said.  "The campaign will mainly focus on women being sexually harassed in public transport

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Former CJ and AG Sarath N Silva – A Mere Mortal

Vimukthi Yapa
 It will be no exaggeration to say that, Sarath N. Silva was one of the most controversial figures to have sat in the highest court of law in this country. Considering the prevailing state of affairs, being controversial   alone may not be such a bad thing.

Sri Lanka's savage smokescreen

Sri Lanka's former attorney general Mohan Peiris, who is now the senior legal adviser to the cabinet and who many Sri Lankans say is aiming to become the next Supreme Court Chief Justice, has made conflicting statements about missing journalist Prageeth Eknelygoda.

Investor confidence worsens by the day; bourse loses Rs. 53 b in value

 Investor confidence is worsening by the day judging by the continued tumble in value of the Colombo bourse, as it suffered one of the sharpest declines yesterday.  The market capitalisation of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) dipped by Rs. 53 billion, bringing the loss of value since 3 November to a staggering Rs. 127 billion.

Fitch joins chorus, says nationalisation law could hinder investment

Fitch Ratings yesterday warned that Sri Lanka’s new law that enables the Government to take control of businesses could hinder investment in the country, although much will depend on the scope of the law. Earlier this month, the Sri Lankan Parliament passed the Revival of Underperforming Enterprises and Underutilised Assets Act, identifying 37 business or assets that can be brought under Government control.

SC dismisses petitions against new bill

Chitra Weerarathne
 A five-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court yesterday dismissed the three fundamental Rights petitions challenging the Bill and the subsequent Act to acquire private assets which are underproductive, and underutilized.  The Bench ruled that there was no basis to grant leave to proceed with the application.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sri Lanka at 'critical point' post-LTTE, says politician

 M.R. Narayan Swamy
(IANS) A prominent Sri Lankan politician who played a key role in the peace process says his country stands at 'a critical point' when decision makers need to make choices to help heal the wounds of a war that ended two years ago.

The disappearance of journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda: GOSL should prove former AG's statement to the Committee against Torture - FMM

Press release/ 14.11.2011
The Free Media Movement (FMM) expresses its serious concern on the statement made by the former Attorney- General Mr. Mohan Pieris that the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL)  has confirmed information of journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda  living in a foreign country as a political refugee.

How and why the Oslo sponsored Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission failed in Sri Lanka

The Norwegian government commissioned evaluation team that went into the whole Norwegian involvement in Sri Lanka has paid special attention to the functioning of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission which operated under Norwegian leadership. What follows are excerpts from the report which give the reasons for the failure of the SLMM.

International unity on criticism of Sri Lanka’s conduct: Armitage

 [TamilNet] Expressing dismay at the “chauvinistic attitude” of the Sri Lankan state, former US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said on Friday the international community was united in its criticism of Sri Lanka’s conduct in the north and east and that SL President Mahinda Rajapaksa would not be welcomed internationally unless conditions there improved.

The US yesterday targeted Sri Lanka again over alleged accountability issues.

Shamindra Ferdinando
Speaking on the ‘importance of common strategies for global and regional maritime security’ at the inaugural session of Galle Dialogue 2011, Robert Scher, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for South and Southeast Asia, went out of his way to declare that the Obama administration expected Sri Lanka to take tangible action on the human rights front.

Nugegoda bookshop owner who was abducted dropped at Kelanimulla after 2 days relates his ordeal and terror experience

(Lanka-e-News)The owner of Millenium bookshop , Kapila Chaminda Bandara who was abducted on 11th night was yesterday night (13) brought to Kelanimulla district and dropped .He revealed his terror experience and ordeal he faced to Lanka e news :

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sri Lanka's highest court under fire in parliament

(LBO) - Sri Lanka's Supreme Court came under fire in parliament on a debate on an expropriation bill, after the highest court reportedly said it was consistent with the constitution.  The expropriation law came under fire for being deeply flawed and amounting to ad hominem legislation, which is targeted at a specific citizen instead being equally applicable to all, and for arogating the powers of the judiciary and executive.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

India, LTTE met 'secretly' before Sri Lanka truce: Eric Solheim

M.R. Narayan Swamy | IANS
Oslo, Nov 13 (IANS) Indian officials met in 'secret' with the LTTE ahead of Sri Lanka's 2002 truce although New Delhi considered the Tamil Tigers a terrorist group, Norwegian cabinet minister Erik Solheim has revealed.  The former envoy to Sri Lanka also said - confirming for the first time ever an IANS report of 2008 - that India played a covert role in events that led to the Tamil Tigers and Colombo signing a ceasefire agreement (CFA) nine years ago.

TNA objective is to find political solution within an undivided united country-M.A. Sumanthiran

'' We have very clearly stated our position with regard to that. In our meetings with the Sri Lanka Tamil community in Canada and UK, Mr. Sampanthan has told them that our objective is to find a political solution within an undivided, united country and that we cannot be running two courses. This is our clear position. And we will work towards that.''
Arthur Wamanan

University students in Jaffna still face death threat from SLA intelligence

 [TamilNet] Representatives of the Jaffna University Students Union (JUSU) are continuously being threatened with death and intimidation by the Sri Lanka Army intelligence operatives. Some members of the JUSU on Tuesday narrowly escaped from the hands of the SLA intelligence division personnel when they were returning from Puththoor in Ki'linochchi

Immunity of the Executive President from Legal Proceedings

 Lakshman Indranath Keerthisinghe Attorney-at-Law
 The question has often been asked by ordinary citizens: ‘If all persons are equal before the law, why should the Executive President enjoy immunity from legal proceedings under the Constitution?’ An attempt is made in this article to supply an answer to that question without traversing complex legal arguments,

D-Day Looms For former CJ Sarath N. Silva

Easwaran Rutnam
To say Sarath Nanda Silva was the most controversial Chief Justice ever is an understatement. While most independent institutions in the country were undermined and discredited by successive governments, the Supreme Court managed to maintain its credibility with the people.

Displaced Jaffna residents still waiting to go home – two years after war ended

Story and photos by N. Parameswaran
There are still some 34.000 people, or 2,000 families, living in welfare centres or rented houses in the Jaffna district, close on two years after the conflict in the North and East ended. Another 7,100 displaced Jaffna residents are housed in refugee camps in India, as shown in the Jaffna District Secretariat records.

Yet another youth dies in police custody

Manopriya Gunasekera
Police dump body at hospital and nowhere in sight when youth is officially pronounced dead
Dr Ms D. Ranatunga, a medical officer of the Dompe hospital, told a Magisterial inquiry that, after the youth, who was brought by police to the hospital, was pronounced dead, there were no police officers even to find out the name of the deceased.

Save your child from sex predators- Three children are abused every day in Lanka

Damith Wickremasekara
At least three children are raped daily in the country and several sexually abused. This is based on the shocking statistics maintained by the Police for this year. The majority of the cases were reported from the rural areas of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Ratnapura, while there have been complaints from the Western Province too.

LTTE leaders tried to surrender through Basil, says Norway

An evaluation report by Norway of its peace efforts in Sri Lanka between 1997 and 2009 has named presidential advisor and Minister Basil Rajapaksa as the person through whom the LTTE leadership tried to negotiate a last-minute surrender deal before the entire hierarchy of the group was killed in May, 2009.

Beware: FDI flows to Sri Lanka may decline and depress prospects for income growth

 Lloyd F Yapa
Sri Lanka (SL) has ambitions of doubling the present level of per capita income to about US$4000 per person by 2016 (Mahinda Chintana – Idiri Dekma) and alleviating poverty (currently about 42.0 % of the population in terms of earnings of less than US$ per day per person). Economists have pointed out such growth needs annual investments in the range of 35-40% of GDP.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

LLRC witness rattled by CID summon

A widow who gave evidence to the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) is now rattled by the summon given by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). CID has asked Ratnam Poongothai, a forty five year old widow of four children from Kalmunai to give detailed explanation on what she said to the government appointed war panel, LLRC.

Situation in Sri Lanka Today is the most serious Tamils have faced in 2500 years of Recorded History

''The Ministry of Reconstruction has been allocated less than a billion (Rs 481 million to be exact), less than every other Ministry, even though most Tamils in the North and East lack basic facilities.  Almost half of the massive military budget of Rs 230 billion, will be spent on the 200,000 strong Army, one of the largest per capita in any country in the world. This massive ‘Defence’ spending, indicates that the Government is preparing for a violent confrontation with working people''
Dr. Brian Senewiratne

TNA MP criticizes SC’s determination of Expropriation Bill

TNA parliamentarian and Attorney M.A. Sumanthiran says that the manner in which the Supreme Court has determined the Expropriation Bill is a sad indictment on the highest court of the land. Sumanthiran has said in parliament that it was sad to see what the Supreme Court has been reduced to, especially how the court has pronounced upon the bill without any material whatsoever placed before them.

Ploy behind website registration too transparent - Karu

(Srilankamirror) - Deputy Leader of the UNP Karu Jayasuriya says the ploy behind the Media Ministry move to register websites - to censor news not favourable to the government - is too transparent.  This is why both the United States and the European Union too have voiced serious concern, Mr. Jayasuriya says in a statement.

Mihin Lanka’ bared!

‘Mihin Lanka’ airlines that gobbled Rs.5930 million within a period of five years incurred a loss of Rs.6816 within the same period. This is revealed in an answer by the Minister of Civil Aviation Priyankara Jayaratna to a question posed by the Leader of the group of JVP Parliamentarians Anura Dissanayake in Parliament yesterday (9th).

. . Women Left Behind: Truth Commissioning in Sri Lanka

Centre for Human Rights
 The power and promise of national exercises like the LLRC lie in the way that they can access the voices of those who have not traditionally been heard, and use them to build a more representative and inclusive collective memory. Yet for Sri Lanka’s Tamil women, the LLRC simply reaffirms bad old habits, writes Jo Baker [i]

Pawns of Peace: Evaluation of Norwegian Peace Efforts in Sri Lanka

Jonathan Goodhand and Bart Klem and Gunnar Sorbo
Norwegian peace efforts in Sri Lanka have been the subject of heated debate and controversy, ever since they became public in December 1999. This debate has spawned many different stories about Norway’s involvement in Sri Lanka, some of them very critical.

The Islamic Republic of Sri Lanka

Last weekend I received a call from a friend who was understandably outraged. On the way to her estate to join her husband who had been working there for some days, she was instructed by him to stop and buy a bottle of old arrack en route. She went to the Chilaw Food City only to be told that she cannot buy alcohol as she is female.

Child abuse complaints alarmingly high

Maheesha Mudugamuwa
The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) had received more than 7,000 complaints of child abuse since it established a telephone hotline, NCPA Deputy Chairman Nanda Indrawansa said. Indrawansa said anyone could use the hotline number to report incidents of child abuse. Most of the complaints had been received on the hotline. The system was set up to screen cases, he said.

TNA defends talks with US

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) yesterday strongly defended its decision to hold political discussions with US State Department officials in Washington and said the TNA delegation had not discussed anything that had not already been stated by the party publicly in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka will take action if the LLRC finds human right violations: President

Mahinda Rajapakse's interview to NDTVMaya Mirchandani
 Addu:  Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse told NDTV that if the reconciliation commission report endorses any human rights violation in the war against the Tamil Tigers, the government will take action without shielding anyone. He also says the Lankan navy has been stopped from taking Indian fishermen into custody anymore.

STF in charge of traffic control on new expressway

 The Special Task Force (STF) Police are conducting a series of rehearsals on servicing the motorists on the country's first high speed expressway.

80% unemployed graduates are women .

Some 80% of unemployed graduates in the country are women who struggle due to no available income which will have grave social and economic implications if the government does not address the problem, the Combined Association of Unemployed Graduates said today .

Sri Lanka expropriation law deeply flawed: lawmakers

(LBO) - Sri Lankan lawmakers expressed deep concern over a hastily passed expropriation law, which they said arrogated judicial and executive roles to elected members, undermining a constitutional separation of powers and violated property rights.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Devastating impact of expropriation law in 6 to 12 months’

(Srilankamirror) - The devastating impact by enacting the expropriation law will be seen in the next six to twelve months, says UNP MP and consultant economist Dr. Harsha de Silva.  He says in a statement that it is tragicomic to see the extent to which this government appears to be going to cover up its tracks in committing this grave economic crime in a most dictatorial manner.

Norway ‘LLRC’ distributes blame, washes hands of victims after ‘victory’

(TamilNet) A report on Norway’s failed peace process in Sri Lanka, “Pawns of Peace: Evaluation of Norwegian Peace Efforts in Sri Lanka, 1997-2009” was released in Oslo on Friday. Whether pawns of peace or ploys for genocide, Norway’s report distributed blame among all the actors. A deficiency the report finds in Norway was not its grave failure to warn the world about peace turning into genocide, but that Norway should have escaped from the scene at an earlier stage.

Sri Lanka BOI deletes page promising freedom from expropriation

(LBO) - Sri Lanka's Board of Investment, the state investment promotion agency, has deleted a page which 'guaranteed' investors freedom from expropriation, raising questions of heightened political risk, lawmakers said.
Sri Lanka passed a law to expropriate assets of 37 businesses, in several of which foreign investors were involved, after rushing it to parliament as an urgent bill,

Sri Lankan government to impose guidelines on media

The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by the Sri Lankan government's announcement of an upcoming set of guidelines and code of conduct for journalists and media organizations, and believes these regulations will only increase the government's control of the media.

CAT: SL responses just hit the tip of the iceberg, and left many questions answered - UN Rapporteur

Follow-Up Questions by Committee Experts to Sri Lankan Delegation
FELICE GAER, the Committee Expert who served as Rapporteur for the report of Sri Lanka, said that the delegation’s responses just hit the tip of the iceberg, and she was left with as many questions, if not more, than before.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

SRI LANKA: 'In reality there may be torture but our law against torture is fine'

A Statement from the Asian Human Rights Commission
The second day of the 47th Session on Sri Lanka at the CAT took place yesterday (November 9, 2011). At this session the Sri Lankan delegation was required to reply to the long list of questions posed by the committee members the previous day. However, Mr. Mohan Peiris, who spoke on behalf of the government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) preferred to give a long tedious lecture on the law in Sri Lanka instead of answering questions which were about factual situations and actual violations.

CAT: Three particularly worrying trends in GOSL report - Flice Gaer, rapporteur for the report of Sri Lanka

''However, the Committee had received extensive allegations of torture and ill-treatment, ranging from ordinary corners of the country to the centre of the conflict zone. The allegations included cases of disappeared persons, acts of cruelty and ill treatment by the police, harassment of humanitarian workers, human rights lawyers, journalists and ordinary persons, of secret detention centres and of deaths in custody.''

Sri Lanka targets dissident websites

(AFP) Sri Lanka on Saturday warned websites to register with the authorities after the United States expressed deep concern over Colombo's blocking of a popular Internet-based dissident publication. The Ministry of Mass Media and Information said many reports posted on dissident websites amounted to character assassination of President Mahinda Rajapakse, his ministers and top officials.

Sri Lankan army deserters granted amnesty

(UPI) -- Sri Lanka is granting what amounts to amnesty to 60,000 army soldiers who deserted during the island nation's 30-year civil war against Tamil separatists. The deserters will be "de-listed," army spokesman Brig. Nihal Hapuarachchi said.

Sri Lanka passes expropriation law, raising fresh fears

(LBO) - Sri Lanka passed a law to expropriate assets of dozens of enterprises despite protests from trade chambers, religious and opposition groups who warned that it will scare off investors.  Ministers said the law was needed to take back land from enterprises that were not fully utilizing what was given or were not using resources as agreed upon.

Sri Lanka court stays war-zone new land registration process

(LBO) - A controversial new way to register land in Sri Lanka's former war zones outside established procedure has been stayed by the island's Court of Appeal with the state also not objecting, lawyers said.  In July 2011, Sri Lanka's Commissioner General of Lands had issued a circular Regulating the Activities Regarding Management of Lands in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, which had raised concerns among residents and civil society groups.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Prior registration required for new websites

(Srilankamirror) - Registration is required of new websites with content about Sri Lanka before their launch, said the Ministry of Media and Information.  The Ministry’s additional secretary (development and planning) K.W.T.N. Amaratunga says a request for registration should accompany a letter requesting same.

Lawyers file response in courts saying Sri Lankan General Shavendra Silva Not Entitled to Immunity from War Crimes Lawsuit

 Attorneys yesterday filed a formal response to Sri Lankan Major General Shavendra Silva’s motion to dismiss the war crimes lawsuit against him in the Southern District of New York.  Today, international human rights groups united to urge the United Nations to suspend the credentials of Silva, who is Sri Lanka’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

‘War tourism,’ in an environment where survivors worry about next meal and still haunted by violent past

Nita Bhalla
(AlertNet) The packed buses hurtle along the once forbidden, dusty A9 highway from the Sri Lankan capital across the former frontline to the “liberated” north – a region held by the defeated Tamil Tiger separatists for the best part of a quarter of a century.

Sri Lanka pledges legal reforms to UN

Promising legal reforms to the United Nations, senior legal advisor to Sri Lanka cabinet, Mohan Pieris told the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) that Sri Lanka is resorted to the option that promotes reconciliation.
“The government deliberately and consciously shows the route of restorative justice providing option to get punished or rehabilitated" Mr.Pieris said.

Army to build five-star hotel in Colombo

(Srilankamirror)The Army is conducting a feasibility study to build a five-star hotel in Colombo city, said military spokesman Brig. Nihal Hapuarachchi.  Also, the Army will be building five hotels in the Eastern Province, he said.
 Around five hotels, each having up to 30 rooms, are under construction at Nilaweli, Arugam Bay and Yala.

The real threat of 'law of the jungle' .

''There was much talk regarding filing as well as withdrawing cases on political requirements through the Attorney General. Exonerating former ruling party Parliamentarian Kathriarachchi from murder charges, exculpating ruling party Parliamentarian Duminda Silva from rape charges and withdrawing unauthorized building charges against ruling party Parliamentarian Earl Gunasekera are several such instances. The list is too long to put down here. ''

Arbitrary Blocking and Registration of Websites: The Continuing Violation of Freedom of Expression on the Internet

9th November 2011, Colombo, Sri Lanka: We the undersigned civil society organisations and individuals express grave concern over the press release issued by the Director General of the Department of Government Information on 5th November 2011, which requires all ‘websites carrying any content relating to Sri Lanka or the people of Sri Lanka… uploaded from Sri Lanka or elsewhere’ to ‘register’ for ‘accreditation.

Sri Lanka: The internet, remaining space for free expression under attack

Press release/ 09 Nov 2011
Last Friday (04th November 2011) the Government of Sri Lanka took the unprecedented step of demanding that all internet based web sites which cover Sri Lanka news and views should register with the information ministry. Sending a strong message of intended action against websites which do not register in accordance with the directive of the  GOSL official internet provider, Telecom and its subsidiary Mobitel blocked  seven web sites immediately without any prior warning.

Lawyers demand the Government to withdraw the ban on websites immediately.

''Lawyers for Democracy (LfD) states that the present regime fears criticism, dissent and any democratic challenge on their undemocratic and corrupt actions. In the recent past, Sri Lanka has had a questionable track record of limiting freedom of expression with dozens of journalists being killed and few media institutions being attacked. In none of these cases, were there any credible investigations. ''

Website owners seek legal action : Will regime scoundrels have even a stinking drain to hide themselves when their dismal end comes?

(Lanka-e-News) The owners of websites and Editors are gearing to file legal suits against the imposing of illegal bans on websites . It is also reported that media Organizations are also getting ready to file another case against the ban . The ban is clearly illegal as it is an absolute denial of media rights and the right to information of the public, and therefore constituting a violation of fundamental rights.

Sri Lankan chambers now want expropriation bill deferred .

Sri Lanka’s leading business chambers, which issued a meek statement on Saturday after meeting President Mahinda Rajapaksa to discuss the controversial assets bill, changed tack on Tuesday and urged that it be deferred until there was wider public participation in its process.

“A shocking mockery of the Legislative process, constitutionality and the Rule of Law”

The government which controls a two-third majority in Parliament is rushing through a convoluted Bill bearing the title Revival of Underperforming Enterprises and Underutilized Assets Act. Ordinarily, in terms of Article 78 (1) of the Constitution, every Bill should be published in the Gazette at least 7 days before it is placed on the Order Paper of Parliament.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sri Lanka: Call To Prosecute Security Agents Involved In Torture

Eurasia Review
Sri Lanka is not credibly investigating torture, Amnesty International said on the eve of a review by the UN Committee Against Torture into the country.  In its briefing to the UN committee, Amnesty International, working closely with Sri Lankan human rights defenders, documented a persistent pattern of torture of detainees and a culture of impunity in Sri Lanka.

Web Censorship Targeting Critical Voices in Sri Lanka - IFJ

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the new registration rules introduced by the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) for websites hosting any manner of content on the country, which has led to the blocking of several websites for internet users in Sri Lanka. These include Lanka News Web, Sri Lanka Mirror, Sri Lanka Guardian and Lanka Way News.

EU Heads of Mission concerns the blocking of news websites in Sri Lanka

EU Heads of Mission in Colombo view with concern the recent blocking of various news websites in Sri Lanka.
The EU considers that freedom of press forms an integral part of any democratic system. The EU therefore believes that the media should be allowed to operate independently.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sri Lanka blocks 5 news websites over 'insults'

(AP)Sri Lanka has blocked five news websites because they committed character assassination and insulted people including key political leaders, officials said Monday. Media groups criticized the moves as undemocratic, and the U.S. Embassy recently raised concerns about press freedom in Sri Lanka.

Colombo bourse needs a full revamp: Daysasiri .

UNP Kurunegala District parliamentarian Dayasiri Jayasekara speaking to the Daily Mirror online today said that the stock market is run by a mafia with black money. “The stock exchange is completely dominated by a few people who are investing their illegal money into the system and at the end of it all they make their millions and the small timers are left wondering what happened to all their hard earned money,” he said

Families search for thousands of missing victims from brutal war

Andrew Buncombe
His name was Abi, he was six, and the last his family glimpsed of him was in the frenzied moments after deadly shells struck close to the bunker where they had been sheltering. His sisters were gravely injured, his mother too, and the young boy put his arm around her. "Mother," he sobbed three times.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Three of Baratha murders have been already killed , President Rajapaksha told Hirunika

President holds out veiled threat to late Bharatha’s daughter –flees country in fear
Lanka-e-News  The Regime chief Mahinda Rajapakse has held out illicit veiled threats to the grieving widow and daughter of late Bharatha Lakshman who was murdered allegedly by kudu (drugs) Duminda recently.

TNA travel to the USA viewed with hostility by the Mahinda Administration

 Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne
 This government is going along the path of destruction; that is looking from the side of the poor and the proletariat. Prices are rising, while incomes of workers are not rising to compensate for inflation. In reality, people have become poorer, as their buying power is becoming less and less.

Thou shallt not oppose the ruling family: New First commandment for Sri Lanka

Tisaranee Gunasekara
“The evils of tyranny are rarely seen but by him who resists it”. John Hay (Castilian Days II)
 ‘Either you are with us or against us’: that was the Rajapaksa leitmotiv during the Fourth Eelam War. According to this credo, only those who supported and obeyed the Rajapaksas, uncritically and unquestioningly, were considered ‘friends’ by the Ruling Siblings. Everyone else was castigatingly-categorised as ‘national enemies’, irrespective of their stance on the LTTE.

Court criticised for backing Tamil deportations

Refugee agencies have blasted a ruling by a Swiss federal court backing the repatriation of rejected asylum seekers to post-civil-war Sri Lanka. The Federal Administrative Court said despite existing human rights concerns it was still safe to send asylum seekers back to all but one area of Sri Lanka - thereby upholding a decision made by Swiss migration officials at the start of the year.

Nationalization ‘Blow’ to Post-War Sri Lanka Hopes

Amal Jayasinghe
Colombo, Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka’s president has vowed to turn his war-battered nation into the “miracle of Asia,” but a controversial new nationalization law is seen as a major blow to hopes of wooing foreign capital. The government says the move will boost investor confidence in the south Asian country, hungry for foreign investment as it recovers from decades of ethnic bloodshed that came to an end in 2009.

Website blocking 'a brutal crackdown'

A survey revealed that certain websites violate the country's laws, says media ministry
Media watchdogs in Sri Lanka have raised serious concerns over the latest move by the government to block certain websites seem to be critical of the government.

Govt. blocks more websites, all must register

 Leon Berenger
More news websites were blocked yesterday as the Government said those carrying news relating to Sri Lanka should register with it – prompting strong protests by the main opposition United National Party. Following the ban on lankaenews website, the government yesterday blocked,,, and, which is the official website of the UNP.

Sri Lanka’s continued militarisation

Gibson Bateman, New York
For the Tamil people of Sri Lanka’s north and east, the end to conflict has not engendered the positive changes one might have hoped for. When President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government achieved victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May 2009, most of the LTTE leadership was killed. It is now hard to envision another Tamil nationalist movement taking up arms against the state; but the military’s strong presence within the country continues unabated.

Sri Lanka urges news websites to register after ban

Sri Lanka ordered news websites on Saturday to register with the Media Ministry, in what critics called a further step toward restricting media after the banning of an anti-government site last month.“It’s a request from the Media Ministry to register (news) websites with the ministry,” said Director General of the government’s Information Department Ariyarathna Athugala.

Army to establish construction company

(Srilankamirror)  The Army is to establish a development and construction company that will come under defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, says Army chief Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya.  This company will undertake and assist development work of the state in an efficient and cost effective manner, he says.

Parliament to receive LLRC report from MR

Shamindra Ferdinando
 Those countries wanting to haul Sri Lanka before an international war crimes tribunal, over accountability issues, are preparing to attack the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report, which is now expected to be handed over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Nov. 19 – four days after the lapse of a deadline to finish its work, senior officials say.

Sri Lanka targets dissident websites

(AFP)  Sri Lanka on Saturday warned websites to register with the authorities after the United States expressed deep concern over Colombo’s blocking of a popular Internet-based dissident publication.  The Ministry of Mass Media and Information said many reports posted on dissident websites amounted to character assassination of President Mahinda Rajapakse, his ministers and top officials.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Gamage stresses sour part of ‘Sevanagala Sugar’ story .

Industrialist turned Ampara district UNP organizer Daya Gamage who owns the Sevanagala Sugar Industries Ltd. yesterday said direct and indirect livelihoods of around 50,000 people would be at stake due to the government’s plan to acquire properties of his factory through the proposed ‘Revival of Underperforming and Underutilized Assets Bill’.

Pro-LTTE retirees to lose pensions

(Srilankamirror) The government is considering halting the payment of pensions of retired pro-LTTE public servants who act against Sri Lanka from overseas, ‘Divaina’ reports. blocked by SLT

Srilankamirror- website has been blocked by the internet service provider Sri Lanka Telecom.

Offer Rajapaksa Bros Inc. Hambantota as their very own country to reduce political pollution in Colombo

Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake
Facades of Development: Of Commonwealth Games and Drag Racing @ Green Path
We woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of screeching tires, booming exhausts and the smell of burning rubber recently. My cousin’s children had nightmares and could not get back to sleep when the test runs were done. Calls to police emergency numbers were ignored:

Bar Association wants govt to withdraw new “fast tracked” enterprises and assets take over bill

Shibly Aziz PC
A draft (Bill) of a law proposed to be passed by Parliament titled The Revival of Underperforming Enterprises and Underutilised Assets Act was recently referred to the Supreme Court for its consideration as a Bill that is ‘urgent in the national interest’ in the opinion of the Cabinet of Ministers, acting under Article 122 of the Constitution.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Court upholds Tamil repatriation decision

The Federal Administrative Court has ruled that rejected asylum seekers from Sri Lanka can be sent back to their country.  The Swiss Federal Office for Migration had ruled Tamil refugees could return to Sri Lanka, and a previous Senate vote confirmed that view.

Jagath Pushpakumara’s thugs takeover Sevanagala Sugar Factory

 (Srilankamirror) - The Sevanagala Sugar factory, owned by Daya Group of Companies, has been illegally taken over and occupied by thugs employed by Coconut Development Minister Jagath Pushpakumara, said the Group’s media unit in a statement.

Peace, Military & People: A discussion on the validity of the non-military engagement of the military

''For a population of a little over 20 million in Sri Lanka, we have a total military strength of approximately 200,000 and a police force (including STF) of around 75,000. That means the law enforcement/military density (or ratio to population) is about 8 to 1. To understand this in proper context, the total population has able people as well as  the minor children and elders. ''
JC Weliamuna

Sri Lankan military takes over three stadiums

ESPNcricinfo staff
Three of Sri Lanka's international venues, including the newly built stadiums in Pallekele and Hambantota, have been handed over to the military indefinitely because Sri Lanka Cricket is unable to afford the maintenance costs.

Sri Lanka state entities making losses; ruined by political meddling: report

(LBO) - Sri Lanka's state entities have been badly hit by the appointment of unqualified persons to top positions and while annual accounts were not available for some, a media report said.  

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sri Lanka army to run cricket stadiums

Charles Haviland
 The armed forces in Sri Lanka are to take over maintenance of the country's most prestigious cricket stadiums.
The country's heavily indebted cricket board says it can no longer afford to carry out the task.
The sports ministry has announced that the army, navy and air force will each look after one stadium.

Test Criket grounds under Military admin

As part of the Rajapakse regime’s plan to give over the administration to army control, with sudden and immediate effect from today, all the International playgrounds in the Island which were under the Sri Lanka Cricket Association had been brought under the purview of the defense Ministry.

Duminda Silva is above the law - AHRC

Duminda Silva is above the law, says the Asian Human Rights Commission.This is not due to any constitutional status that he has, as for example, the President of Sri Lanka who is by virtue of article 35 of the Constitution, above the law, the AHRC says in a statement.  In the case of Duminda Silva he is above the law only because the president or his brother, the Secretary of Defence, Gotabhaya Rajapakse has placed him above the law.

Assault on FTZ workers: Investigations not yet over: SG

When the rights petitions of the aggrieved workers of the Katunayake Free Trade Zone complaining of police assault came up before the Supreme Court, the Solicitor General told Court that the investigation is pending and assured that the investigation would be completed within a month.

Gender gap increases in Sri Lanka in 2011

 Sri Lanka's gender gap increased over the last year and gender equality ranking declined from a 16 in 2010 to a 31 this year, a report released by the World Economic Forum showed. The World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2011 showed that Sri Lanka has slipped several places from its privileged position in the top 20 over the last five years. Sri Lanka fell from closing 74.6 percent of the gender gap in 2010 to 72.1 percent this year.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

WE REMEMBER after 21 years…

 ''Further, on 9th September, 1990, the army arrested all the members they could find of the four villages in the area of the same army camp, Saththurukondan, Pulliaradi, Kokkuvil and Pannichaiadi, ranging in age from 70 years to 2 months, a total of 184 persons. None of these persons have been seen by anyone after that day.''

Death threats against newspaper editor - RSF

Reporters Without Borders has written an open letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa urging him to take whatever measures are necessary to protect Frederica Jansz, the editor of The Sunday Leader, and to ensure that those responsible for last week’s death threats against her are arrested.

An open letter to ‘Shooty’, who committed suicide in Villawood detention centre

Tom Keneally
Dear ‘Shooty’,
 I‘ve just watched our Prime Minister talking about shared Commonwealth values in Perth. My mind turned at once to you and your solitary, late-night death in Villawood detention centre last week. I say solitary, but you may have had a mobile. You may have talked to your girlfriend on the outside that dismal night. She is said to have urgently rung Villawood to ask the desk there to call an ambulance because you were taking poison or a lethal overdose. But they declined to make the call at that stage.

51 Jaffna students get scholarship from the Army.

Sri Lanka Army, deployed in the northern part of the island has initiated a number of projects for the development of the education in the area. Constructing and renovating school buildings, distributing school items, offering scholarships to children, organizing education trip to places in the south and organizing seminars for GCE (A/L) and O/L candidates are some of them.

Education and its (dis)contents:a critique of state policy on education and a call to action

''Folks, let us not wait until the state tells us what to do. We from the university system and from outside it, civil society (by civil society I do not mean NGOs), need to undertake a serious study of the imperatives of education that would act as a public commission and a public document that would help shape policy. Today, a new University Act is in the making, but there is no open debate on it; nor is there any active participation in the design of it by the university community. It is imperative that we involve ourselves in these programmes as a democratizing act and in promoting education in the many names of freedom''
Sivamohan Sumathy

Takeover Bill under fire at Party Leaders meeting

The contentious Takeover Bill on underperforming State enterprises and underutilised assets had come under fire by the Opposition at the Party Leaders meeting yesterday in Parliament.  At the meeting, representatives of the UNP and TNA have vehemently opposed the bill, questioning why it was being introduced as an urgent bill and

TID harassing war crimes victims

Special Correspondent in Colombo
(Sri Lanka Guardian) According to news reaching Sri Lanka Guardian, relatives of the LTTE senior activists who were presumed killed in captivity by the security forces are said to be harassed by the Terrorism Investigation Department (TID) of the Ministry of Defence.

Shavendra raises immunity defense to escape torture charges

Sri Lanka's Acting Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and ex-Major General in Sri Lankan Army (SLA), Shavendra Silva, has invoked Article-31 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Immunity as his defense to war-crimes charges leveled against him by two Tamil plaintiffs in the District Court of Southern District of New York (Case 11 Civ. 6645), court records show.

UNP lambastes govt. plan to take over loss incurring private ventures

The UNP yesterday lashed out at the government for a controversial move to rush through a Bill titled ‘Revival of Underperforming Enterprises and Underutilized Assets’.
The UNP has alleged that the Rajapaksa administration is playing politics with the national economy.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sri Lanka to make post-war report public - foreign minister

 Sri Lanka will make public its report into the end of the civil war with the Tamil Tigers, the foreign minister said on Tuesday, seeking to allay concerns in the West, which has in the past pushed for an international probe into war crimes allegations.

SRI LANKA Report 2010: Observatory for the protection of human rights defenders

  • Political context
  • Restrictions on freedoms of association and peaceful assembly in the north of the country 
  • Serious reprisals against human rights defenders seeking accountability for human rights violations
  • Slandering campaigns against human rights defenders and NGOs

Chelvanayakam statue decapitated in Trincomalee

The statue of Thanthai Chelva (SJV Chelvanayakam) located near the Sivan Temple at Thirugnaanasampanthar Street in Trincomalee was decapitated on Sunday night. People who were enraged to notice the desecration on Monday morning placed a cloth on the headless statue

The Lionel Bopage story: Rebellion, repression and the struggle for justice in Sri Lanka

''Lionel Bopage was for more than 10 years a central leader of Sri Lanka’s Janata Vimukthi Peramuna or People’s Liberation Front (JVP): a revolutionary, Marxist party that exploded onto the scene in 1971 with a failed attempt at armed insurrection. As Bopage gave so much of his time and energy to the party (including about six years in prison), a large part of the book functions as a history of the JVP and its ideas in those years.''
Review by Ben Courtice