Tuesday, January 31, 2012

CID fabricating evidence, Bhartha’s counsel says .

The Counsel for Baratha Lakshma Premachandra, Upali Kumarapperuma told court today that the CID is "fabricating evidence" when the case was taken up today. The Counsel further went on to point out that initially the CID had only said that they found two shots were released from R. Gamini the bodyguard of Premachandra but now they have come to the conclusion that the first shots were fired by him.

Clinton invites GL to Washington to discuss LLRC follow up

The US government has decided to grant space and opportunity to Sri Lanka to come up with concrete proposals on reconciliation and accountability issues. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has invited External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Pieris to visit Washington in March to discuss Sri Lanka’s plans to “move ahead on reconciliation and accountability issues and the Provincial Council elections of the Northern Province.”

Who’s the liar – the President or the Indian FM?

Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna who was in Sri Lanka on an official visit recently announced in a media conference held here that President Mahinda Rajapaksa agreed for a devolution package that goes beyond the 13th amendment. However, at the monthly meeting of media heads held at Temple Trees yesterday (30th) the President had said he had discussed with Krishna but had not agreed for a devolution that goes beyond the 13th amendment.

FREE MEDIA AND THE COLOURS OF JANUARY

When this correspondent went to the Fort Railway Station to join colleagues in a planned demonstration of media activists last Thursday, he was confronted by an unexpected situation. The site of the proposed demonstration was already occupied by (presumably) agents of the government who held a counter protest. Their placards read: “Free Media Movement is a Tiger voice,”

Formal dialogue needed at UN Human Rights Council to discuss both the LLRC and UN reports on Sri Lanka

Louise Arbour
For Tamils, the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war has brought no peace dividend; for Tamil women, peace has brought with it a continuation – and in some cases an intensification – of violence and insecurity. In the country’s predominantly Tamil-speaking north and east – a region half the size of Nova Scotia – tens of thousands of “war widows” have been living under the control of the central government and Sinhalese security forces since 2009 and the end of the civil war, whose last few months saw as many as 40,000 civilians killed.

Break in and search by ‘unknown’ persons of ‘Viluthu’ Office in Colombo condemned

We, the following undersigned citizens, strongly condemn the attack on the Viluthu office in Colombo between the night of the 23rd of January and early hours of Tuesday morning, the 24th January. The office was broken into and searched by unknown persons.

JVP dismisses MR’s all party conference

The JVP today dismissed President Mahinda Rajapksa’s proposal to convene an all party conference to discuss a solution to the ethnic issue. JVP Propaganda Secretary and parliamentarian Vijitha Herath said the all party conference is a failure like the conference that was previously summoned by the President.

Move for an independent LLRC “follow up mechanism”

 With the conclusion of the first visit of US War Crimes Ambassador at Large, Stephen J Rapp, there is now a move to promote an independent mechanism for follow up on LLRC Recommendations, say informed sources, close to the ruling party.

USA pressurises civil society to accept genocide and to live with it

Two officials from the US State Department who met civil society of Jaffna last week categorically told them that the US would not take up war crimes/ human rights issues against Sri Lanka in the March HRC session, as there is no sufficient pressure or request from the affected people.

3 to 5 children raped daily

Child and women rights activists hit out at Govt. apathy in tackling a burning issue
Last week a 28-year-old man from Dambulla was arrested along with an owner of a guest house and a three-wheeler driver for allegedly luring and raping a 13 year old girl. According to police the young girl had had a fight with her mother and gone to a relative’s house without telling her mother where she was going. On the way she had been picked up by a person travelling in a three wheeler before being taken to a rest house where she was raped.

Court dismisses police request against doctor protest

Colombo chief magistrate Rashmi Singappul dismissed a request by Cinnamon Gardens Police to ban a protest by Ayurvedic doctors at Lipton Circus today (Jan. 30).  The magistrate told police that they had powers, as per article 95 (01) of the Police Ordinance, to prevent any rally or protest being held in violation of the law.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Armed pro-govt mobs protected by police hijack ‘Black January’ media protest outside Fort Railway station

Pro-government protesters, some armed with clubs, seized the promenade outside Fort Railway Station on Wednesday, to prevent media activists from observing “Black January,” a month when many of Sri Lanka’s journalists were attacked over the years.

TNA demands finance as prerequisites to sit on the proposed PSC


The Tamil National Alliance yesterday insisted that land, police and finance powers be included in the devolution discussions with the government and all three had to be prerequisite for the party to sit on the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee to hammer out a final solution

US may be having evidence laying command responsibility on civilian leadership for alleged Sri Lankan war crimes

Emanuel Stoakes
The extrajudicial killing of civilians, surrendering soldiers and dissident journalists under the direction of the Sri Lankan government has been alleged by a former general in the Army who was extremely well-placed to comment on military activity during the island nation’s bloody civil war.

University dons threaten indefinite strike

University teachers last night announced an indefinite strike if the government presented the ‘private university bill’ to Parliament without consulting them.  The Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA) had taken this decision at its Annual General Meeting held at the Nawala Open University on Friday, FUTA President Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

“This Speaks A Lot About You” An Open Letter To H.E. The President

Kusal PereraAt the same time it is pointless and unrealistic to deny that the Tamil people have grievances. (emphasis added) The articulation of grievances by the Tamil people continues to remain at the centre of the Sinhala – Tamil relationship and need to be recognized and addressed directly and fairly as the first step in the post conflict process of reconciliation and peaceful co-existence…….” (8.153 / page – 292 of the LLRC Final Report)

STF killed Trinco students, Basil Rajapakse told Blake

In a classified memo written by US's Sri Lanka Ambassador Robert Blake in October 2006 to Washington, ten months after the extra-judicial execution of five students at a Trincomalee beach, Basil Rajapakse, advisor to Sri Lanka's President and brother Rajapakse, had told Ambassador Blake that Special Task Force (STF) was responsible for the killings, according a Wikileaks document.

Military involvement in infrastructure projects negates economic benefits like employment and income generation

Tisaranee Gunasekara
“Buying the army off tends to be a good insurance policy for would-be dictators” – Christian Caryl (Foreign Policy – 24.1.2012)
 Some walls should never be built; some should never be breached.
 Many of Sri Lanka’s most devastating ills emanated from our habit of building unnecessary walls, and demolishing necessary ones.

Eastern PC wants police, land powers

The Eastern Provincial Council led by Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan has unanimously passed a resolution demanding land and police powers for the council. A copy of the resolution has been sent to the Presidential Secretariat, a council spokesman said yesterday.

pro-government group, some armed with clubs disrupts Media protest

Pro government supporters, some armed with poles, having displaced the media activists from their 'Black January' protest, demonstrating in front of the Fort Railway Station. Pic by Saman Kariyawasam
''There was a different response last Wednesday when media organisations representing workers and journalists wanted to hold a peaceful protest on the promenade outside the Fort Railway Station. Police, as has become the practice now, failed in their attempt to obtain a stay order and were directed by a Magistrate to ensure traffic is not disrupted on the road outside. He allowed the protest. However, an estimated 1,500 strong pro-government group, some armed with clubs, crowded the promenade.''

The 'whitewash' of the LLRC's recommendations

 Kishali Pinto Jayawardene 
It is quite amusing to see the government and all its men using the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation (LLRC) as a barely inadequate fig leaf to cover its total lack of adherence to the substance of the Commission's recommendations.

Will ministers be able handle corruption in Mihin Lanka etc

There are bigger worries, both domestically and internationally, that are formidable challenges for him. In fact, last Wednesday he made a bold announcement at the weekly cabinet meeting to tackle governance issues within the government. Even if it was not formally announced by official spokesperson and Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, the move was welcomed by ministers. Noting that he has great respect for parliamentary traditions and being a democrat, he wanted ministers to study the latest report of the COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises) and initiate prompt action.

UNHCR March session: Three cabinet ministers to travel to capitals of member countries of the UNHRC

On the international front, with just three weeks to go for the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions in Geneva, pressure is building up on the government. Last week, Steven Ratner, a member of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's panel that probed alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka, addressed an audience in Geneva. It was at an "off-the-record" event organised by the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

TNA welcomes international mediation for future negotiations

In the backdrop of a deadlock in talks between the government and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the TNA said yesterday that they would welcome an international mediation at this time to facilitate future negotiations.

LLRC Report will not satisfy some whose minds are fixed on vilifying Sri Lanka

''Whatever the contents of the LLRC Report, it is clear that it will not satisfy some whose minds are fixed on vilifying Sri Lanka and nothing will change their opinion. Those who continue to insist on an independent international investigation, disregard the comprehensiveness of the LLRC Report and its equally detailed annexures, which following over 1000 oral submissions and 5000 written submissions, ''
Ravinatha Aryasinha

Minorities should consider adopting an inclusive approach

''In their preoccupation with their own problems, which are certainly matters of the greatest consequence, minorities have totally lost sight of the many ways in which they should and could fight many other equally important causes jointly with the majority.  For example, assuming - however far-fetched it may be - that the North-East Tamils get "13-A plus devolution" within a unitary or even united Sri Lanka, the retention of 18-A will make complete nonsense of whatever they achieve on paper.''
Dr. A. C. Visvalingam, President, CIMOGG

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sri Lanka contracts to China queried by legislator

A series of construction contracts given to Chinese firms mostly with borrowed money from China which will have to re-paid by Sri Lanka, should have been awarded by open tender, a legislator has said.Harsha de Silva, a legislator representing Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party, said the commercial viability of some projects were questionable, and in some cases Sri Lanka may be forced to sell the projects to China when debts could not be repaid.

Comments on TNA’s response to LLRC report

Neville Ladduwahetty
 The response below is limited to issues raised by the TNA that have a bearing on Accountability.
 Paragraph ii of the TNA response states: "The Commission falls dramatically short of international standards applicable to accountability processes".

Media activists challenge government

Media activists coming down hard on Minister Keheliya Rambukwella for his statement accusing journalists of being in the LTTE payroll have demanded legal action against those reporters if proved.  “We challenge the government to prove these charges, because we’re ready to face the consequences,” said Sunil Jayasekera, Convener of the Free Media Movement.

Ensure Sri Lanka Delivers


The visit by an Indian External Affairs Minister to Sri Lanka is always an important affair. Sri Lankans of all communities and political leanings watch it carefully. They listen to the statements and read between the lines. To many, especially for the Sri Lankan Tamils and the committed democratic sections of the Sri Lankan and
Indian polity, these are moments of hope. S.M. Krishna has had a busy week in Sri Lanka. Can peoples’ hopes in a post-conflict situation be fulfilled by this visit?

Police powers should be devolved to PCs - Vasudeva

 Minister of National Languages and Social Integration Vasudeva Nanayakkara has said that police powers should be devolved to Provincial Councils.  Speaking to the ‘Ravaya’ newspaper, this would subject the activities of the police to broader supervision than in the present.

Human skeletons found in SLA abandoned locality in Jaffna

Skeletons of two persons, allegedly slain by the Sri Lankan military in recent times, have been recovered from an abandoned well near a bund constructed by the occupying Sri Lanka Army in I'lavaalai, Pa'ndaththeruppu situated in Valikaamam in the Jaffna district on Wednesday. Brain parts found inside one of the two skulls indicate that the victims have been slain in recent times, eyewitnesses told TamilNet.

Resettled Tamil woman's body recovered near SLA bund in Thenmaraadchi

The skeleton of a recently slain 28-year-old unmarried Tamil woman has been recovered near an abandoned military bund used by the Sri Lanka Army in A'rukuve'li, located along Kearatheevu Road (Jaffna - Mannaar Road) in Thenmaraadchi on Wednesday. The victim, Atputhamalar Subramaniyam, who had resettled in Thanangki'lappu near Ma'ravanpulavu of Thenmaraadchi last year, has been missing since November 13.

Sri Lanka Heading Towards Inevitable 20 Percent Depreciation of the Rupee

 Dr. Arujuna Sivananthan
 Fast eroding foreign exchange (forex) reserves and a ballooning trade deficit has led to internecine warfare between Sri Lanka’s two economic policy setting organs; i.e. its Treasury and Central Bank (CB) such that the latter was kept in the dark when President Rajapakse announced the unanticipated 3 percent devaluation in the rupee-US dollar (USD) exchange rate to 113.89/90 during his budget speech.

Sri Lanka is heading for a debt crunch: Ravi K



The Sri Lankan economy is dragged out – the country is over-borrowing, underperforming and leading into a debt crunch, claims United National Party Colombo District Parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake. Karunanayake accuses the Rajapaksa administration of damaging the country’s social fabric, which he says is Sri Lanka’s biggest asset.
 Following are excerpts of an interview:

Attack on Viluthugal Office and the Hidden Truths

There exists a direct connection between  the attack on the Viluthugal office at 3, Torrington Avenue, Colombo 7 and the Sri Lankan army intelligence, according to the  GTN intelligence reporter.  This is evident from a dialogue the reporter had with an officer who is connected with the defense sector.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

‘Local code of media ethics will be introduced, don't want UK one ’ - Minister

“President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is a true Sri Lankan from Medamulana will not accept a code of media ethics imported from the UK, as suggested by the Opposition Leader. A local code of media ethics formulated by Sri Lankan journalists, academics etc to match local requirements is to be introduced this year,” Cabinet Spokesman and Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said.

University non-academics protest banned .


Police had sought a court order preventing the protest march organized by non-academic staff of universities reaching the University Grants Commission premises today.

Action of journalists doubtful-Keheliya ( but could not name them)

Cabinet Spokesperson, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella charged that reasonable doubt is cast over the actions of certain journalists who are working based on secret agendas.  Speaking at a press conference held yesterday to update cabinet decisions; Rambukewella noted unfortunately the legal framework of the country does not allow the government to file charges against these journalists who work against their motherland.

LLRC report not be submitted to UNHRC - Minister Peiris

The government will not submit the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) during the sessions in March, Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris told reporters in Colombo today.

pro gov group takes on FMM

Hundreds of journalists representing private and public sector media institutions yesterday launched a massive protest against attempts by the Opposition in connivance with the Free Media Movement (FMM) to tarnish the image of the country at a time when it has won accolades from all parts of the world for restoring peace and democracy in the country.

'JVP rebel group controlled by foreign spy service'

A foreign spy service may be guiding the rebel group of the JVP which had always adopted a two pronged policy of democracy and revolution, National Freedom Front leader and Construction Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities Minister Wimal Weerawansa said.

Journalists in exile conspiring

Journalists who havefled the country are conspiring to defame the country, Minister of Media - Keheliya Rambukwella has said. Making an exclusive statement to the state-owned Dinamina newspaper, Minister Rambukwella has said that all journalists must stand against this in order to defeat this conspiracy.

Lawyers Urge The Government Of Sri Lanka To Respect The Right To Peaceful Assembly

The Lawyers for Democracy (LfD) in a statement condemns the tactics used by the Government and its agents to disregard the fundamental right of a citizen to conduct peaceful protests in Sri Lanka, and the use of deplorable strong armed tactics to prevent a lawful protest rally organized by media groups today (25th January 2012) titled ‘Black January’to be originally held at the Fort Railway station, Colombo.

People in North don’t want police, land powers: Basil

People in the North and East have not demanded for land and police powers and it is only the political parties that are agitating for these powers, Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa said yesterday.

Pro-govt. group forces Black January protesters out

While Sri Lanka slipped to 163rd position on the World Press Freedom Index, a pro-government mob yesterday prevented seven media organisations from staging a protest, titled Black January against media suppression, at the Fort Railway Station premises despite a Court order granting them permission.

Poorest Still Go Hungry

Experts agree that Sri Lanka's free pre and postnatal clinics across the island nation have helped bring infant mortality down to 15 per 1,000 live births and the under-five mortality rate to 21 per 1,000 live births.

Sri Lanka drops in RSF World Press Freedom Index

   
Jan 25, Colombo: Sri Lanka dropped down five places last year from 2010 to rank among the 20 worst countries in a leading survey of press freedom. The annual World Press Freedom Index for 2011 compiled by Paris based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has ranked Sri Lanka 163 out of 178 countries ranked. Sri Lanka was ranked 158 in 2010.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Theoretical Sophistries and Political Sycophancy of H.E. Ambassaor Dr. Dayan Jayatileke:

 Surendra Ajit Rupasinghe:
I shall consider  two of Dayan’s arguments to present my views:
1.0.    That the LTTE was – is-  a fascist organization, which he describes as ‘the most ruthless     terrorist organization in the world’, and which, therefore, had to be militarily liquidated     by the State.
2.0.    That sovereignty of the State stands above the sovereignty of the People.

Black January media protest: Police harassments continue

'Black January' shifted to Lipton Circus
The Black January protest is to be held at the Lipton Circus at 3.00 pm today (Jan. 25), reports say.
The demonstration was earlier scheduled to be held at 2.00 pm at the Fort Railway Station compound.  Speaking to 'Srilankamirror' on behalf of the Sri Lanka's Alliance of Media Organizations, convener of the FMM, Sunil Jayasekara confirmed the report.

The Sinhalese are ready to die, one after the other, to the very last man without succumbing to pressure - JHU.

Interview   Udaya Gammanpila, legal advisor JHU
Q: There have been numerous attempts to solve the so-called ethnic issue through initiatives such as the Indo-Sri Lanka peace accord, the ISGA, and the CFA. What is your solution to this issue?

Why Krishna's visit to Lanka can't be termed 'successful'

M Krishna's praise for the Sri Lankan government-appointed Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission will diminish our credibility as an honest broker in the eyes of the Sri Lankan Tamils who are becoming increasingly bitter towards India , feels Satish Chandra.

Black January media protest is underhand move against SL - Gov press

People from all walks of life yesterday expressed their dissatisfaction over a scheduled protest today by a handful of persons posing as journalists, whose agenda it is to tarnish the country’s image. They said that these elements with vested interests are trying to disrupt the day- to- day life of the people by launching these protests to achieve their sinister agendas.

Solving ethnic issue: UNP willing to cooperate with government but ...

13 A provided for land and police powers
The UNP said yesterday that it was willing to co-operate with the government to find a political solution to the ethnic issue, but the the latter should stop its dilatory tactics such as the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee on the national question.

Women's vigil for disappeared

Mothers and wives against abduction and disappearances held a vigil in front of the Fort railway station.
The vigil marked the second anniversary of the disappearance of Journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda.
"We are invoking the blessings of sacred women such as Virgin Mary, Godess Pathini, Kali and Maha prajapathi Gothami to find our children and husbunds," said Sandya Eakneligoda, wife of Prageeth.

The working of Provincial Councils - II

Recommendations
The Institute of Constitutional Studies (ICS) carried out a comprehensive study on the working of Provincial Councils in the 22 years of their existence.

Working of Provincial Councils in Sri Lanka — I

''It is a Parliamentary form of Government that operates in the Provinces. In relation to matters set out in the Provincial and Concurrent Lists, the Governor must act on the advice of the Board of Ministers and the Chief Minister. A Governor cannot disregard the advice of a Chief Minister and dissolve a Council on the directions of the President.''
Today, we publish the summary of the report.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Police want court ruling against media protest

Court ruling on Black January protest on 25th 
Fort Magistrate Kanishka Wijeratne today decided that the ruling of the petition against the Black January protest will be handed 0 January  25th.  The Black January protest is scheduled to be held in front of Colombo Fort Railway Station on the same day.

Going beyond the 13th Amendment: Newspaper coverage of the Sri Lankan’s President’s assurance to India

Our affiliate Vikalpa did a short media monitoring exercise anchored to the front page reportage of the Indian Foreign Minister’s official visit to Sri Lanka and the press conference in which the President’s commitment to going beyond the 13th Amendment was reiterated by him. The following is a translation of the report that first appeared on Vikalpa.

Sri Lanka: Viluthu, A Tamil advocacy institution in Colombo attacked and ransacked - NfR

Press release/ 24 January 2012
Main office of Vilithu,( Centre for Human Resource Development) a Tamil civil society organisation engaged in advocacy work was attacked and ransacked on the early hours of Tuesday 24th January 2012. The office was located at No 3, Torrington Avenue, Colombo 07 in the close proximity to Canadian High Commission, Embassies of the Netherlands, Sweden, and highly guarded Sri Lanka Broadcasting Cooperation. 

Government to sustain law and order , minister attack FMM

* ‘Unpatriotic elements who depend on NGO dollars trying to create problems’
* ‘People lending fullest support to government to continue development activities’
The government is well equipped and ready to face any challenge posed by disruptive elements who are attempting to create a conflict situation in the country, Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said.

JHU insists govt. has no mandate to go beyond 13-A

The government had no mandate to talk of a political solution beyond the 13th amendment to the Constitution, Jathika Hela Urumaya insisted yesterday.  JHU media spokesman Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe told The Island that the people had voted for the Mahinda Chinthanaya manifesto which did not promise a solution beyond the 13th amendement to the Constitution.

Senate cannot be a solution to the demand for autonomy in managing local and provincial affairs

National Peace Council
During his recent visit to Sri Lanka, Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna gave support to the Sri Lankan government’s intention to have a Parliamentary Select Committee work out the modalities of a political solution to the ethnic conflict.

All months are BLACK - Editorial, The Island

A collective of media rights groups is scheduled to stage a massive protest, Black January, tomorrow in Colombo against attacks on journalists. All right-minded people will readily pledge their solidarity with the campaigners for media freedom and protection of journalists. The past few years have seen a spate of attacks on the media.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sri Lanka: No Progress on Justice

Further Repression of Media, Civil Society, Minorities
In 2011, accountability remained a dead issue, the media faced increasing censorship, and the long-standing grievances which led to the conflict were not seriously addressed. Sri Lankans face a lack of justice, weak rule of law, land grabbing, and a censored media from a government that is increasingly authoritarian. 
Brad Adams, Asia director

Former Tigers 'threatened' in north

'These former LTTE cadres are now forced to live under the watchful eye of military intelligence,' says Councillor MK Sivajilingam. The military in Sri Lanka is constantly threatening former Tamil Tigers who were released in the north following rehabilitation, to stay away from political activities, local politicians say.

Towards an Asean declaration of human rights

A GUARANTEE OF FREEDOMS
A much awaited outcome of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations's commitment to human rights in 2012 will be the finalisation of an Asean instrument on human rights, particularly in the form of a Human Rights Declaration. It will underline the perception and position towards human rights in this region.

Sri Lanka confident of facing UNHRC

Sri Lanka is confident at facing international pressure at the March sitting of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Human Rights Envoy Mahinda Samarasinghe said. Speaking to Ceylon Today, Plantation Minister Samarasinghe said Sri Lanka has so far been able to defer any move against the country’s human rights record at the UNHRC, and added he was “not worried” about the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) being discussed at the body in Geneva.

Examinations Department should pass the Integrity Test - JC Weliamuna


Basic Questions to Answer
---------------------------------------
 In the late 1970s, a Deputy Commissioner of Examinations was prosecuted for interfering with the results of a son of a Minister and a son of a school principal. He was jailed. It was possible to prosecute him because the then Commissioner got wind of this illegal activity and moved for prosecution of this officer. Is this possible now? Can an officer who extends favours to a politician in power be ever prosecuted presently? This is the question before you and me today.

TNA should use its Tamil national mandate: Bishop of Mannaar

The aim of the Tamil civil groups’ memorandum dated 13 December 2011 and addressed to the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) was in fact to strengthen the Tamil national polity and its democratically mandated representatives. It was not meant to weaken the TNA.

Postal agitations again

The Joint Postal Trade Union Alliance (JPTUA) has decided to re-launch the trade union action demanding the removal of the Post Master General.  The spokesperson for JPTUA Chinthaka Bandara said trade unions decided to re-launch the trade union action as the PMG who has been accused of various irregularities has not resigned from his post.

Buddhist vihares grab Tamil lands for Sinhalicisation in Trincomalee

Hundreds of acres of lands are being alienated to Buddhist Vihares in Trincomalee district on the instruction of the Colombo government and at the request of the heads of such Vihares, civil sources in Trincomalee told TamilNet. After the war, the SL military-led administration in the district had allocated initially 2 acres per new Buddhist stupa in Tamil areas at Pulmoaddai, Ilaththik-ku'lam, Thiriyaay, Chempiyan-malai in Kuchchave'li DS division.

University dispute: dons up the ante

University teachers who staged a token strike on Jan. 18 against proposed private university bill and salary issues, now demand a discussion forum on the higher education reforms among the academics.President of the Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA) Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri told The Island that there had been no response from the government to their token strike but they had an earlier planned meeting with Higher Education Minister S. B. Dissanayake on Friday.

Demonstrations at the hospitals from tomorrow.

Mr Gamini Kumarasinghe, the Secretary of all Ceylon Health Services Union says that, they have decided to launch demonstrations in all leading hospitals throughout  the island tomorrow,against  not fulfilling of their 11 demands including the stoppage of privatizing the health services.

Examining Sri Lanka’s Diplomacy Machine

''Strident calls for an international mechanism will be made this spring in Geneva. If no resolution gets through either of the next two sessions of the HRC (another session will be held this summer), then Rajapaksa’s government can probably rest easy as long as they stay in power. ''

Ground being prepared for int’l war crimes probe

In the run-up to the Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva next month, those pushing for an international war crimes inquiry targeting Sri Lanka are stepping up pressure, with a key member of UNSG Ban Ki-moon’s Panel of Experts (PoE) on accountability in Sri Lanka, Prof. Steven Ratner reiterating the demand for an international investigation.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Give our message wings to fly with so that our appeal for the freedom of expression in Sri Lanka will echo around the world - Media appeal to Galle Literary Festival

''As you enjoy an environment in which you may discuss matters of literature and the arts in relative comfort and freedom, we appeal to you to recall the reality of our situation, and to engage with it in your discussion forums. Support the freedom of expression in Sri Lanka in every way that is open to you, here and once you have returned to your homes. Give our message wings to fly with so that our appeal for media freedom and the freedom of expression in Sri Lanka will echo around the world. ''

Media groups to mark 'Black January'

Media organisations in Sri Lanka have urged the authorities to investigate all recent attacks on media personnel and institutions. The watchdogs say they will stage a protest on 25 January in Colombo against a series of attacks against media personnel in recent years.

Political dialogue must be accompaneied by concrete changes on the ground - NPC

''The National Peace Council is of the view that procrastination will not resolve the problem but only harden the attitudes of the Tamil polity. Despite the end of the war more than two and a half years ago, little has been forthcoming so far in terms of any advance towards a political solution that is based on devolution of power.''

Political solution: How Much More To Discuss And What For ?

Kusal Perera
      * At least 25 years of social debate on PCs and power devolution
     * 25 years of PC rule, the people are familiar with
     * 128 meetings held by the APRC to discuss a “home grown” solution
     * Two comprehensive reports by the Expert Panel appointed by President Rajapaksa to  
         support APRC deliberations
     * Over eight meetings between the GoSL and TNA after concluding the war in May
        2009

Yet another white Van abduction: Parliament translator Sathyaseelan abducted ( Abducted man found in hiding )

Sathyaseelan Pakiaraj, the popular Parliament Sinhala to Tamil translator had been abducted at Trincomalee by a group that came in a white Van early morning today.

Southern political activists enroute to Jaffna for protest demonstration obstructed by Army and Police at Puliyankulam

Nearly a thousand political activists who were heading to Jaffna to take part in a protest campaign against the abduction of two of their colleagues had a taste of the bitter post-war reality in the North even before they could reach the peninsula.  Twelve bus loads of activists were held up at impromptu check points and barriers for no apparent reason, though the military and the police spun ludicrous stories to validate those ad hoc measures which were primarily intended to sabotage the protest.

Destructive Rajapaksa governance will cause the debilitation of every major Lankan institution

''Rajapaksa governance is degenerative. Its monomaniac focus on the Dynastic Project makes it favour Rajapaksa kith and kin and place a far greater premium on servility than on qualification or ability. If this process continues, the Rajapaksas will, advertently or inadvertently, cause the debilitation of every major Lankan institution, including the military and the Sangha Sasana. The obvious harm that is being done to the education sector is an early indication of the havoc Rajapaksa governance will wreak, in the years to come. ''
Tisaranee Gunasekara

Grievances of Tamils must be addressed: JVP .

The JVP which expressed somewhat favourable sentiments on President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s recent pledge to convert Sri Lanka into a trilingual nation, called for its quick implementation while opposing the full implementation of the Indo Lanka accord and 13 plus.

Flak over movie at Galle Lit Festival

One of the four short movies shown at the Galle Lit Festival 2012 on Friday targeted Sri Lanka over banning transport of medicine, fuel and food to the northern Jaffna peninsula in the 90s.  Directed by Kannan Arunasalam’s ‘ Kerosene’ which had been used previously by those campaigning against the present government, wouldn’t have upset any if the event wasn’t sponsored by countries trying to haul Sri Lanka up before an international war crimes tribunal.

TNA rejects proposed Senate Structure / Senate – Already Discussed: TNA won’t quit talks - GOSL paper

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran said yesterday that the Tamil people will not accept the proposed senate structure as means of devolution of power. He said the Tamils have lost faith in commitments made by the government.

Govt.'s double speak on 13 plus

Krishna makes one claim, Peiris another, President yet another; confusion confounded
UPFA allies JHU and NFF oppose extra powers while TNA also goes here and there

When President Mahinda Rajapaksa chose to celebrate Thai Pongal, the widely observed Hindu harvest festival, it was one day too late.

GOSL launch new round of hate media attacks against Human Rights Defenders


In the second week of January Sri Lanka Government launched a new round of attacks on Press freedom activists and human rights defenders ( HRDs) through on of its main TV channel. In a news feature segment ( Vimasuma) broadcasted as a part of its news bulletin GOSL  indirectly threatened  those HRDs with death.  Showing visuals of press freedom activists who live in exile today it said '' Those who betrayed the motherland for gold and titles even killed in time of kings. Their decedents live on today'' The programme was ended with the prediction that ''They do no good to this country, some day they will also face no good.''

A similar programme was broadcasted by the same channel on 20th January with same allegations and visuals.  Watch the news clip with English  subtitles here.

President Rajapaksa mimicked on stage; Principal interdicted

Mimicking President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a school play has cost the school principal his job.
However, the Principal E.K.Premasiri said yesterday it was he who had first informed police of such a play and wanted them to investigate.

Sexual abuse of another foreign woman down south

Increased police presence needed for unsupervised, unlicensed guest houses in new tourist zones 
A Dutch couple was holidaying in Polhena, Matara early this month. The 25-year-old woman and her husband in the early 30s, were relaxing on the beach, when the husband decided to visit the nearby market.

161 Islamic missionaries ordered to leave country

A group of 161 foreign nationals, who are in Sri Lanka to preach the virtues of Islam to Muslims, have been ordered to leave the country. “The group which arrived in different batches has violated their visa status,” Immigration and Emigration Controller Chulananda Perera told the Sunday Times. He said visas were granted to them to visit Sri Lanka as tourists.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Media protest in Galle ( Literary Festival)

Sri Lankan media rights activists participated in a protest in Galle on Saturday and distributed leaflets highlighting media suppression and human rights situation in Sri Lanka. The protest was held near the venue of the annual Galle Literary Festival where international authors are attending.

Missing ITAK representative in Jaffna under ‘investigation’ in Colombo

The organizer of Ilangkai Thamizh Arasuck Kadchi (ITAK) in Jaffna City and a former representative of Jaffna University Student Union, Mr. Arnold, has been reported missing after being invited to Colombo by someone. He has been allegedly abducted and subjected to investigations by the Criminal Investigation Department of the Sri Lankan Police in Colombo, informed circles in Jaffna said.

President Rajapaksa must Address Specifics of a Political Settlement - The Hindu

India’s respected newspaper “The Hindu” has experienced a change at the Editorial helm with the Editor in Chief Narasimhan Ram stepping down with effect from January 19th 2012.  The Hindu’s national bureau chief Siddharth Varadarajan has succeeded him as Editor.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Indian FM exerts pressure on TNA, wants Sampanthan in Rajapaksa's PSC - TamilNet

Tamil National Alliance has been pressurised by the visiting Indian Foreign Minister S. Krishna to take part in the SL Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC), sources close to TNA told TamilNet Wednesday. At the same time, demanding the TNA to come through the PSC farse, the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's delegation that has been engaging with the TNA in fruitless talks, boycotted scheduled talks this time for the second day.

‘Agree with the 13th Amendment. But no police powers’.Tissa,Vasu,DWE

Participating in a media meeting, Ministers DEW Gunasekara, Professor Tissa Vitarana,and Vasudeva Nanayakkara,have said that, they do not agree with the proposal to provide Police powers for the Provincial Councils.

Thirteen Plus means 'setting up a senate'


"The president assured me that he stands by his commitment to pursuing the Thirteen Plus approach" SM Krishna
Government Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told journalists in Colombo on Thursday that the government expects to establish a senate to 'represent minority groups and for consultation'. However, Minister Rambukwella said that Thirteen Plus does not include devolving land and police rights.

Rejected asylum seeker kills herself and her child in Norway

A 24-year-old Eezham Tamil asylum seeker has set fire to herself and her 20-month-old baby child Tuesday at an asylum camp in western Norway. The Norwegian newspaper Bergens Tidende reported Thursday that the mother succumbed to her injuries the same day and the son on Wednesday after doctors fought to save their lives. The future was very bleak for the victim, who was living in Norway since 2006 undergoing a lot of suffering. One week before her death, her 18-year-old sister was found dead in Jaffna.

Higher levels of malnutrition among plantation sector population

Tea in Sri Lanka is one of the country’s biggest cash crops, but families working on tea estates are among the nation’s poorest in terms of earnings as well as nutrition, say experts who back regional approaches to tackle nutrition disparity.

LLRC report - A point of departure

Prof. N. Selvakkumaran, Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Colombo
Delivering the Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam Commemoration lecture this week in Colombo, Prof. N. Selvakkumaran, Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Colombo, says there is a necessity for major constitutional and legal reforms in the post-conflict Sri Lanka so that the negative peace that is prevailing now can be transformed into a positive one. Excerpts from his widely-hailed speech.

International elements grooming groups towards regime change as they did in Libya - Minister

The government said in Parliament today that certain international elements were grooming some groups in Sri Lanka to bring about a regime change in the same manner they did in Libya.  Making his remarks during the debate on the adjournment motion in Parliament, Leader of the House Nimal Siripala de Silva said that these international forces were well aware that the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa could not be defeated through democratic means.

Terrorist trying to create devastation again in the country - President

The government will take measures to grant a pension to Civil Defence Department members, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said .  President Rajapaksa was addressing a gathering in Mihintale, Anuradhapura yesterday afternoon while participating in an event to unveil a War Heroes memorial statue.

Army to build 1000 National Schools? .



The Ministry of Education made a request to the Ministry of Defence on the possibility of the security forces playing a in building 1,000 National Schools at a cost of Rs.3.5 Billion.  A letter to this effect had been sent by Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena to Defence Ministry Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa recently.

LLRC report:Ganesan accuses government of being indecisive

Contradicting views held by the government and one of its key coalition partners Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) over the implementation of the LLRC recommendations reflects the indecisiveness of the ruling regime, leader of the Democratic People’s Front (DPF), Mano Ganesan said.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Black January protest next week

The Alliance of Media Organizations says it will organize a major demonstration next week against the government’s suppression of the media.

 In a statement, it says the agitation will start at 2.30pm on January 25 in front of Colombo Fort Railway Station.


Govt to withdraw controversial land circular and present new circular

''The challenged circular provides that competing claims to state lands in the North and East would be decided by two Committees of Inquires and special mediation boards. The committees include military personnel in their membership, such as the Area Civil Coordinating Officer and a representative of the relevant Security Commander. Nominees of the police or of the three armed forces are appointed to an Observation Committee, which is established to assist the Committees of Inquiry.''

Sri Lanka must devolve powers in 'very visible manner': SM Krishna


India today underlined the need for Sri Lanka to devolve powers to Tamil-dominated provinces envisaged under a key constitutional amendment in a "very visible manner" to fulfill the political aspirations of the minority ethnic community.

Sri Lanka - A prince above the law

It’s December 2010, and two young law students are sitting for their exam.  The one is in a hall full of students, who are being monitored closely by the examiner to make sure they’re following the rules:  no phones, no electronic devices, no cheating.  The other, meanwhile is taken to a private air conditioned room with a computer with internet access, and is allowed to keep his phone.  As an added bonus, he has two teachers from the college sitting by his side perhaps simply for moral support, or perhaps for slightly more.

Kadirgamar murder suspect 'tortured'


The main suspect in the murder of Sri Lankan Former Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar informed courts that he was tortured while in police custody to extract a confession.

Kalpitiya: Muslim woman defeats mega tourism project over land expropriation

A court has recognized the right of ownership Saleema of family land, where a local entrepreneur was building luxury resorts. Her legal battle cost her 300 thousand rupees (2 thousand euros). She will be compensated with 5 million rupees. Local activists: "Her example gives strength and courage to those who risk losing their land."

INDIAN EXTERNAL MINISTER SM KRISHNA REACHES OUT TO PEOPLE OF NORTHERN SRI LANKA

As most of you are aware India’s minister of External Affairs SM Krishna is currently in Sri Lanka. Krishna is a Kannadiga and a former chief minister of the South Indian state of Karnataka.  A highlight of the Indian foreign ministers Lankan trip was his visit to the Northern Province where many Tamils reside. Krishna participated in many functions related to projects benefitting by India’s generous assistance and aid.

Mervyn vs. Kelaniya PS: A MERV’ WIN IN DOUBT

As Minister Silva continues to face a spate of allegations mounted by his former acolytes, some of his closest friends have reportedly ditched him by fleeing overseas. A few others have got caught to the white van menace and among them have been two of his former coordinators Amal Rodrigo and Donald Ranjith.

Company to be formed by Army to undertake projects .

Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya said that the Army will form a separate company within its management to carryout development and construction projects at a low cost by following the tender procedure of the government.

Reveal government’s solution for national question – JVP

The JVP in a media release states people in Sri Lanka should come to know regarding the solution for the national question put forward by the President and the Government not through the foreign minister of India. It states the President and the government had made irresponsible statements at various instances regarding the national question and demand the President and the government to put before the people in this country immediately if they have any permanent solution for the issue.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Time to rise up against separatism - Patali

 JHU’s Patali Champika Ranawaka has said that time has come for Sri Lankans to rise up against western countries who are trying to create havoc in the island.  He was addressing a recent seminar on the LLRC report.  Mr. Ranawaka said India nor any western nation believed Sri Lanka would win the war, and after the defeat of separatist terrorism, they are now attacking Sri Lanka.

Institutionalization of family bandyism in the politics of Sri Lanka


''Today, we have Mahinda Rajapaksa, whom the Bandaranaike family did not want as President and with him a whole host of members of the Rajapaksa family in various high positions. It is no secret that even ministers pay unctuous obeisance to the Rajapaksa family whether they are technically higher or lower in precedence to them. They pay obeisance not because of any table of precedence or genuine respect but purely and simply because they realize that as things look today, it is only through the Rajapaksa family that one could get anywhere in politics
''
S L Gunasekara

IUSF complains to IGP over death threats to student leaders

 The Inter-University Students’ Federation (IUSF) lodged a complaint with IGP N.K Illangakoon against armed groups issuing death threats to student leaders, today.  A three member delegation of the IUSF met the officials at the IGP’s office and handed over the complaint.

Sri Lanka Brief in solidarity with English Wikipedia anti-SOPA blackout

Today, the Wikipedia community announced its decision to black out the English-language Wikipedia for 24 hours, worldwide, beginning at 05:00 UTC on Wednesday, January 18 (you can read the statement from the Wikimedia Foundation here). The blackout is a protest against proposed legislation in the United States – the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate – that, if passed, would seriously damage the free and open Internet, including Wikipedia.

Sri Lanka: Obstruction of the campaign against disappearances in Jaffna is an indication of the dangerous level of militarisation in Sri Lanka - NfR

NfR Sri Lanka, a network of Sri Lankan journalists and human rights defenders, strongly condemns the obstruction of the protest campaign against the disappearances in Sri Lanka by security forces without any legal ground. This blatant violation of people's democratic rights shows that in the so-called liberated North of Sri Lanka not the rule of law but the rule of the military prevails. This anti-democratic behaviour of the military personnel stationed in the Northern Province reinforces the recommendation of the LLRC for immediate demilitarisation and re-establishing the civil administration.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Protesters against abductions denied access to Jaffna.

Union of organizations against abductions and disappearance had organized an awareness program through the media of leaflets for 17th (today) in protest against the continuing abductions and disappearances.  They were stopped by the security forces at Puliyankulama this afternoon. The officers had told them that they could not be permitted to go to Jaffna and they could go to Mulative if necessary.

Independent inquiry into war crimes unnecessary if committed by the security forces - JHU.

Minister of Power and Energy Champika Ranawaka said that a census in the war-torn areas was important as it would enable everyone in the arena to get an idea of the overall picture of what happened during the war.

Move towards expeditious political settlement, India urges Sri Lanka

. “The Government of Sri Lanka has on many occasions conveyed to us its commitment to move towards a political settlement based on the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution, and building on it, so as to achieve meaningful devolution of powers. We look forward to an expeditious and constructive approach to the dialogue process. We believe that continuation of the dialogue between the Government and the TNA would pave the way for political settlement, including under the rubric of the Parliamentary Select Committee,”

Devastating critique of LLRC Report by the TNA

D.B.S.Jeyaraj - The controversial report presented by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) has evoked much interest in many different circles. It is being projected by some as Sri Lanka’s effective response to the demand for an International accountability mechanism on the one hand while others criticize it as falling far short of International standards.

Activists stopped while on their way to North

Police have stopped a group of activists on its way to the north to campaign against disappearances and abductions.
At the Medavachchiya police checkpoint, buses transporting them were stopped, with a top police officer telling them that they could not proceed further as the Sangupiddi Bridge has collapsed.

Jaffna’s Thinakkural Rest Hotel hall damaged in attack

An armed group this afternoon (Jan. 17) stormed Thinakkural Rest hotel in Jaffna and damaged its property. The main hall of the hotel, located at No: 45 in Nallur, was badly damaged in the attack, reports said.This was to be the venue for a media briefing to be held by organizations against abductions and enforced disappearances, which is holding a leaflet campaign in the North.
Srilankamirror

‘Unity among groups will come sooner than later’.- Champa Senavirathna

The wife of JVP’s Premakumar Gunaratnam, Champa, who was questioned by the police when she visited Sri Lanka recently and was returning to Australia where she is domiciled, tells The Nation in an exclusive interview the inside story of the present JVP and its past.

The J.V.P. rebels are trying to inflame the country

Mr Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the Defence Secretary says that, the attempts made by the J.V.P. rebels group to provoke the former L.T.T.E. supporters who were rehabilitated and released to the society and create a violent situation in the country, will not be allowed.

Structural genocide will be complete in Mullaiththeevu in 2 years if TNA fails to act’

[TamilNet] Uprooted Tamils from the strategic Ma'nalaa'ru region in Vanni, bordering the Mullaiththeevu and Trincomalee districts, have complained that 1,500 acres of their fertile lands northwest of Kokku'laay lagoon, have not been handed over to them. The agricultural lands that belong to the Tamil civilians of Kokku'laay, Kokkuth-thoduvaay and Karainaadduk-kea’ni villages still remain occupied by the Sri Lankan military since December 1984 when the SLA forcibly expelled the Tamils from these villages.

Final phase of Lankan war merits investigation: Gordon Weiss

The political evolution of China and India and the movements in the UN Human Rights Council offer some scope for a possible international investigation into the alleged civilian deaths during the 2009 siege in Sri Lanka, says Gordon Weiss, author of The Cage, that vividly documented the final days of the defeat of LTTE and the suffering of Tamil civilians.

TNA Seeks India's Help for 'Corrective Steps'

 Tamil National Alliance, an umbrella group of Tamil political parties, today complained to External Affairs Minister S M Krishna's about Lankan government's "lethargic" attitude in talks for evolving a political solution to the ethnic crisis and sought India's help for "corrective steps".

Monday, January 16, 2012

Silva’s Report, Role of International Community and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka


 One of the most fundamental challenges of peacemaking and peacebuilding is confronting the past while building a just foundation for the future. Fighting impunity and pursuing peace are not incompatible objectives – they can work in tandem, even in an ongoing conflict situation. – Ban Ki -moon, The Secretary General, UN [1]

Ex-LTTE Rebels Warned by Military

The Sri Lankan Army has warned ex-LTTE rebels that joining any groups looking to destabilise the country will result in their arrest.  Commissioner General of Rehabilitation Major General Chandana Rajaguru, speaking to The Sunday Leader, explained that any former LTTE cadre who is found to be involved with groups looking to destabilise the country will be arrested.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

TNA dismisses LLRC report and sets the agenda for talks

“The need for an accountability process that meets international standards while delivering on the right of victims to truth, justice and reparations (including guarantees of non-recurrence) is an urgent and important one. Given the government’s failure to institute a process that meets these benchmarks, the TNA calls on the international community to institute measures that will advance accountability and encourage reconciliation in Sri Lanka in keeping with the recommendations of the UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts,” the TNA said in its 70-page analytical ‘Response to the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission Report.''

Executive Summary of the Tamil National Alliance's response to the LLRC report

January 2012
i. As the elected representatives of the worst affected victims of the war, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has consistently maintained that genuine reconciliation in Sri Lanka is contingent on a credible accountability process that ensures the right of victims to truth, justice and reparations. On 15th May 2010, the President appointed the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and held out to the world that this Commission
would address accountability issues.

Tiger fascism is no more but Sinhala supremacism has made a triumphant return

Tiger fascism and Sinhala supremacism: two inimical but mutually sustaining extremisms which have been the bane of post-independence Ceylon/Sri Lanka. Sinhala supremacism created a language issue, prevented its resolution and enabled its metamorphosis into an ethnic problem.  Tiger fascism rendered a negotiated settlement of the war impossible and murdered many Sinhala and Tamil moderates who stood for a devolution-based political solution to the ethnic problem.

Military occupation of land is part of a wider phenomenon of militarization

Control over territory was central, to the LTTE’s futile battle for a separate homeland. Now, nearly three years after the war ended, ownership of land in the north and east remains a complicated, controversial and tangled mess.  Two new reports shed light on serious disputes related to property throughout the north and east. Much of these issues are results of the protracted war and are so overwhelming that government agencies seem unable to deal with them.

US Justice Dept suggests immunity for President Rajapaksa in Torture Victim Protection legal action


''4. The United States is filing separately on this date a Suggestion of Immunity in this case recognizing the immunity of President Mahendra Rajapaksa, the President and sitting head of state of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. As explained in that Suggestion of Immunity, the United States believes that its determination regarding President Rajapaksa’s immunity is dispositive of this matter. Therefore, the United States will not address the political question doctrine or the Act of State doctrine at this time.''

Sri Lanka’s Disappeared ; Police to begin probe on hundreds of missing persons

The police have begun investigations into hundreds of people reported missing over the past several months.  In the last 40 days alone eleven persons have been abducted in white vans.  They have disappeared with no clue except for Amal Rodrigo, Coordinating Secretary for Mervyn Silva who was returned after being abducted.

Youth unemployment crisis in Sri Lanka


Youth unemployment is a major issue in Sri Lanka in which many qualified youth have the ‘technical skills’ or appropriate academic qualification for a job but lack the soft skills to convert knowledge into a profession, according to a top ILO (International Labour Organisation) official.

LLRC report, UNHRC and International Community

India's call for an "independent and credible mechanism is put in place to investigate allegations of human rights as brought out by the LLRC" was endorsed by Britain and Canada this week. Alastair Burt, Minister with responsibility for Sri Lanka, commenting on the LLRC report told the House of Commons: "We continue to believe it is important that an independent, credible and thorough mechanism is put in place to investigate all allegations of grave abuses…"

Devolution, LLRC report and India

Indian External Affairs Minister Krishna's talks with Rajapaksa assume greater significance in the light of last month's release of the final report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and matters arising from it. In what was described as 'initial comments,' an Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson said among other matters that it is "important to ensure that an independent and credible mechanism is put in place to investigate allegations of human rights violations,

Government-TNA talks: Breaking the deadlock

 Javid Yusuf  - With the defeat of the LTTE in May 2009, space has opened up for consideration, in an open and dispassionate manner, of the core issues that gave rise to the conflict. However, realisation has dawned on most people that this is not merely an opportunity for such an exercise, but also that, there is an absolute need to do so, in order to prevent history from repeating itself.

University teachers join the fray as undergrads’ protests snowball

Academic staff to strike on Tuesday as Govt. under pressure puts on hold private university Bill
The wave of student protests over the proposal to introduce private universities in the country has now spread even higher, with the academic staff lined up to strike on Tuesday, in support of the undergraduates, as the Government backed down, saying it had put the move on hold.

CID probes charges against Mervyn

Allegations of extortion and other illegal activities by Minister Mervyn Silva are being probed by Criminal Investigation Department detectives on a directive by Police Chief N.K.Illangakoon. The probe follows a petition handed over to the Ministry of Defence by UPFA members of the Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha .A copy of the petition has also been given to the CID.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

EPC needs land powers to preserve traditional Tamil homeland: R. Thurairatnam

 [TamilNet] Land powers should be provided to Eastern Provincial Council in order to safeguard the traditional homeland of Tamil speaking people from being plundered by the Colombo government under the pretext of setting up army cantonments and implementing tourist and various corporate projects, councilor of the EPC from Batticaloa district R.Thurairatnam, has said.

New act will cripple education, health sectors: GMOA

The Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) yesterday said the proposed Qualification Framework, Quality Assurance and Accreditation of Higher Education Institutions Act proposed by the government specified that a structure superior to the University Grants Commission would be established.

Over 60 percent of households in the Northern Province are food insecure

''Over 60 percent of households in the Northern Province are food insecure (46 percent moderately food insecure and 15 percent severely food insecure). This despite improvements among the returnee1 population in income and food security levels since October 2010. The trend and severity of food insecurity are particularly worrisome in Killinochchi. Low income levels and high food prices have led to weak purchasing power of households in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. ''

US "suggests" immunity to Rajapakse from suit

 [TamilNet) In a clear articulation of US State Department's continuing support of Sri Lanka's President Rajapakse, the US Justice Department, based on a directive from legal adviser Harold Koh, has suggested to the District Court of District of Columbia that Rajapakse has immunity from the suit filed by three Tamil plaintiffs for alleged complicity in war-crimes.

One operator won’t be allowed to run multiple web sites in SL & sites approved

Mass Media and Information Secretary W. B. Ganegala yesterday said that no one would be allowed to operate more than one news website under any circumstances.  In a brief interview with The Island, Ganegala said that 27 operators had received their licenses from Mass Media and Information Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, at the ministry, following a thorough inquiry conducted by the ministry with the assistance from relevant government agencies.

Restoring confidence in the criminal justice system


''The news reports that we have quoted sadly reflect the pathetic state of law enforcement in our country. There are three tiers in law enforcement in any democracy – the Police who perform the investigative role, the Attorney-General’s Department who act as the prosecutors and the Judiciary who have to ensure that justice is meted out fairly and equally. Law enforcement fails when just one of these arms fails to function as they should. But there is a danger of total collapse when two or three of these tiers lose their independence''

"State intelligence services are inquiring into various developments to thwart possible attempts to undermine political stability.


Shamindra Ferdinando- . Is the ongoing simmering internal dispute in the JVP real or a clever ruse to attract those opposed to the Rajapaksa regime, but are disappointed with both the main Opposition party the UNP and the JVP?

Friday, January 13, 2012

White Van abductee 'tortured in police'

Suspect says he was abducted by a group but later turned up at a police detention centre .
A Tamil Tiger suspect in Sri Lanka has detailed in the court the alleged torture in police custody after being abducted by a white van.

Consequent to SC directive:Govt. bans 30 websites, registers 45

Shamindra Ferdinando - The government has registered 45 news websites in line with a disputed decision taken late last year to regulate websites. Government sources said that the Mass Media and Information Ministry would issue letters of registration to 45 out of 80 websites, which had sought approval from the government.

'Ex-LTTE cadres are with us' Jana Aragala Group

KELUM BANDARA - JVP dissidents said yesterday that former LTTE cadres had joined hands with them in political work in the Northern Province, and their activist Kugan Maruganathan who was abducted on December 9, last year was also involved in the activities of the organisation at that time.

Disappearances in Sri Lanka - Murky business

THE 2009 victory of the Sri Lankan government over the Tamil Tigers in the country’s long-running civil war may have brought peace, but it has been an uneasy one. Now people from all walks of life are disappearing. No-one knows why but some blame the government.

Prageeth Eknaligoda case: Appeal Court ruling on former AG

Sri Lanka's Appeal Court has ruled that former Attorney General Mr. Mohan Pieris could be called in as a witness to inquire into the disappearance of journalist, Prageeth Eknaligoda.  State Counsel told court that the order given by the Homagama Magistrate Court to call former attorney general before court was illegal.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

LLRC report: Decisive action now required.- Canada

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement on the final report of Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission: “Canada notes the public release of the report of Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. Although we are still studying the report, the commission has addressed and provided recommendations in some areas of concern, including reconciliation, the rule of law and demilitarization.

Canadian Parliamentary delegation says: LLRC report, guide to reconciliation

Chaminda PERERA - A visiting Canadian Parliamentary delegation observed that the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) recommendations would have a positive impact on the reconciliation process, involving the different communities in Sri Lanka.

UK Foreign Office Minister responds to LLRC report on the conflict in Sri Lanka

''Ultimately, the success or failure of the LLRC will be judged on the Sri Lankan government’s implementation of its recommendations.   On accountability, implementing the report’s recommendations would represent a useful first step. But we continue to believe it is important that an independent, credible and thorough mechanism is put in place to investigate all allegations of grave abuses. ''

Canada says LLRC report does not fully address HR accusations

Canadian foreign affairs minister John Baird says the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission report does not fully address the grave accusations of serious human rights violations that occurred toward the end of the conflict in Sri Lanka.

Govt's move to deflect dissent - FMM

The Free Media Movement of Sri Lanka (FMM) says that it did not campaign against the European Union's Generalised System of Preferences plus (GSP+) facility to Sri Lanka. It said that FMM only campaigned for retaining GSP+ by urging Sri Lanka government to respect human rights obligations.

The private universities debate

 Dr. Kumar David -A Bill to allow the establishment of private fee paying universities – they will invariably be in partnership with an established overseas institution – is being drafted in great secrecy and will soon be rushed through parliament. The ever pliant Supreme Court will certify it as an urgent Bill as it did with the foul 18-th Amendment to the Constitution and the recent Act nationalising 35 enterprises.

Sri Lanka university student groups accused of trying to launch an armed struggle

Jan 11, Colombo: Higher Education Minister of Sri Lanka S.B. Dissanayaka has accused some university student groups of trying to launch an armed struggle in the country. During a function in the Jaffna University in the North, Dissanayaka has said that some students groups mainly supported by the Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) dissidents were trying to build links with youth who were formerly affiliated to the LTTE.

JVP student faction seeks Tamil youth for military inspiration: SL Minister

[TamilNet] - Calling themselves as a student group, a group of the factionalised JVP is seeking to exploit former LTTE cadres in its search for military inspiration and the group is targeting to exploit the Tamil students for a military cause, claimed S.B. Dissanayake, the SL minister of Education, who has been visiting the islets of Jaffna and the University of Jaffna with the backing of EPDP paramilitary leader Douglas Devananda,

SRI LANKA: New wave of student protests

Dinesh De Alwis - Buddhist student monks have joined thousands of other university students in a new wave of protests to hit Sri Lanka in recent weeks, forcing the temporary closure of at least two major universities this week and widespread disruption of classes.

WILL THERE BE A REGIME CHANGE IN SRI LANKA?

Leela Isaac -  A regime change takes place only if the majority of people in a country want a change. In Sri Lanka today not many people would want it. After 30 years of war and terror, people are able to get about without fear, safe in the knowledge that the LTTE has been annihilated. It is this regime, the Rajapakse regime that made it possible and so the sense of gratitude is very strong among the people.

The Final Report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission: A Response

''We welcome the Report’s contributions to political discourse, but even its most critical conclusions reveal its irredeemable limitations: like the many commissions of inquiry before it, it is neither a truly investigative body, nor empowered to hold political elites to account. Nevertheless, the Report, which contains the testimony of thousands of citizens and surveys the political challenges confronting Sri Lanka, invites further discussion and debate.''
Lanka Solidarity

Motorbike squad destroys Swami Vivekananda statue in Batticaloa

 [TamilNet] - A group of men who came in motorbikes Tuesday around 00:30 a.m. destroyed the statue of Swami Vivekananda, a well known Vedantic spiritual leader of Hinduism from the 18th century. The statue, located in front of a fuel filling station on Batticaloa Kalmunai Road (A4) and is regarded locally as a border mark of Tamil dominated Aaraiyampathi and Muslim dominated Kaaththaankudi in Batticaloa district.

Arundhati Roy criticises protest in Chennai against Gordon Weiss’s book ‘The Cage’

Arundhati Roy reacts to the objection to her attending the fair organised by The Book Sellers and Publishers Association of South India.  “The protest began when The Cage by Gordon Weiss (former UN spokesperson in Sri Lanka) was released.  The book indicts the Sri Lankan government for war crimes, but is also sharply critical of the LTTE’s tactics.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Alistair Burt: We are studying the LLRC report in detail and intend to make a statement shortly

HOUSE OF COMMONS - HANSARD 10.01.2012 .
Mike Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the recent publication in Sri Lanka of the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, what recent representations he has made to his Sri Lankan counterparts concerning investigation of enforced disappearances in that country. [88066]

Electronic Media Journalist Questioned in Custody at Jaffna Police Station.

The incident had received wide publicity in the media and the GA had made the complaint in such an atmosphere.
Electronic Media Journalist Questioned in Custody at Jaffna Police Station. An independent journalist from Jaffna was held up in custody at the Jaffna police station yesterday and questioned for three hours.

SRI LANKA: UNHRC holds that the government is responsible for the death of Sugath Nishanta Fernando of Negombo


The United Nations Human Rights Committee has issued its determination regarding the complaint made by a Sri Lankan citizen, A.S.S. Pathmini Peiris, in connection with the murder of S.K.A. Sugath Nishanta Fernando who was assassinated on 20 September 2008. Previously Mr. Fernando had complained of the torture of himself, his two children and his wife due to a Fundamental Rights Application filed by him complaining about several police officers in Negombo including a Headquarters Inspector and a Senior Superintendent of Police.

LLRC report follow up - Reconciliation ministry mooted in Sri Lanka

An advisor to the Sri Lankan president has suggested setting up a temporary ministry to fast-track the reconciliation process following the end of the dragging ethnic conflict. Rajiva Wijesinha, the advisor on reconciliation to Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa, said a separate ministry for reconciliation, with responsibilities of implementing the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) should be set up.

JVP faction preparing for uprising - minister

Nadira GUNATILLEKE - The split in the JVP poses a great danger to the country’s democracy. According to the information received by the government a faction is getting ready to launch another insurgency. Both factions are trying to be heroes among schoolchildren and undergraduates, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena told the ‘Daily News’ yesterday.

LLRC recommendations to be implemented .

The Secretary of Defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksa speaking yesterday said that reconciliation in its true sense within Sri Lanka defers from other countries. “Re conciliation is important but reconciliation in Sri Lanka is different from other countries. A dictator did not govern Sri Lanka and we had a fully-fledged democracy even during the war. Presidents and governments changed despite the war,” he said.

If you want to change the Govt. change it at the polling booth: Gota .

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa speaking on the spate of revolutions that swept across the Arab continent said that a revolution of the sort should not take place in Sri Lanka. “There are various groups who are trying to topple this government and have taken example from the wave of protests in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt. Sri Lanka does not need such a revolution because this country is a fledgling democracy and unlike those countries which were governed for decades by dictators this country has never had such a situation,” he said.

Group of uni. students trying to launch armed struggle: SB .

Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake charged today that a group of university students in the south were trying to team up youth who were involved with the LTTE at that time to launch another armed struggle.
Addressing a function at the Jaffna University, the Minister said that these students have political dealings with the breakaway group of the JVP.

SL paramilitary in Jaffna monopolises cable TV market at gunpoint

 [TamilNet] - Hundreds of private cable operators, who have been supplying cable Television covering the villages of Jaffna for years have been harassed and coerced into working under a paramilitary operated cable operator, MBL Cable Network, in Jaffna. Independent operators who were operating their own dishes and distributing television channels to private consumers were told that their business was illegal and they have to buy the channels and lease the network being established by the paramilitary company that had exclusive ‘government permission’.

By ignoring Tamil and Muslim issues the national opposition is conducting a one-eyed democracy campaign

Mano Ganesan - “It is Answering Time for the southern Sinhala establishment. Tamils in particular and the Sri Lanka onlooker world community in large are the petitioners.  Does Sinhala establishment consider the military defeat of LTTE as the defeat of the Tamil people?

Sri Lanka warns of Tamil Tiger separatist revival

 Sri Lanka is maintaining high defence spending and sizeable military to guard against any possible resumption of violence by Tamil Tiger separatists who are trying to regroup, a senior defence official said.  The island's intelligence services had picked up evidence of attempts to reactivate the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam separatist group which was defeated in May 2009 after a 30-year war, defence ministry secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said.

While UN Claims Zero Tolerance, No Discipline of Sri Lankan Abusers in Haiti

Matthew Russell Lee - As the UN praises its own response to the earthquake in Haiti two years ago and even the cholera epidemic the UN alleged brought after that, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky on Tuesday could not say if even one of the 114 Sri Lanka soldiers repatriated for pedophilia had been disciplined.

Gunaratnam (Peoples Struggle Movement) doing LTTE bidding

Dharma SRI ABEYRATNE - On the advice of LTTE supporters, a JVP faction led by Kumar Gunaratnam is engaged in hampering the university system, Higher Education Ministry Secretary Dr. Sunil Jayantha Navarathna said. 
He said that the new JVP faction is behind the recent incidents in universities including student demonstrations at the Sri Jayewardhanapura University.

Sri Lankan government accuses media movement of petitioning to cancel GSP+ facility

 The Sri Lankan government Tuesday said that its Intelligence Unit has uncovered information on a campaign carried out by the members of the media rights group, Free Media Movement (FMM) requesting the termination of the GSP+ tariff concession to Sri Lanka.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Information unearthed on petitions sent for suspension of GSP+ - GOSL website

 ''It has been found that these anti-national elements sustaining on foreign funds have sent about 700 petitions calling for the suspension of GSP+ facility to Sri Lanka. These petition programmes has been carried out by persons such as Sunanda Desapriya, Podala Jayantha and Uvidu Kurukulasuriya who have used financial resources of the free-media movement for their personal benefits.''

LRRC report and pressures from Tamil civil society

Jehan Perera -  The TNA has yet to issue its follow up response to its initial rejection of the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. In a strongly worded statement the TNA noted that "The report of the LLRC is a serious assault on the dignity of the victims of the war in Sri Lanka, and as such, has not only gravely damaged the chances of genuine reconciliation but has further alienated the victims of the war."

Drug dealer has the ID given to PC member Hasitha Madawala - Mervyn

 Minister Mervyn Silva says police are investigating as to how an identity card he has issued to Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha member Hasitha Madawala has come to be in the possession of a drug dealer.

SLFP disciplinary committee asks for file on Mervyn

The SLFP disciplinary committee has asked the Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha members to hand over documents to prove the allegations of corruption leveled against Public Relations and Public Affairs Minister Mervyn Silva.

Stop attempt to establish paying wards in government hospitals - ACHSU

In an atmosphere where free health service is broken-down so badly that patients have to bring in equipment necessary for treatment that should have been made available in hospitals, the attempt by the government to establish paying wards in government hospitals should be defeated states All Ceylon Health Services Union (ACHSU).

Stresses commitment to protect human rights of all Lankans



Manjula FERNANDO  - Plantation Industries Minister and President’s Special Envoy on Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe expressed his views to the Sunday Observer on the possibility of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report being debated at the 19th UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions in Geneva and the implementation of the National Action Plan on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.

Govt. to amend 13th Amendment - Land, police powers cannot be granted in toto – Keheliya

Zacki Jabbar -  Despite India and the Tamil National Alliance insisting that the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution be implemented in toto, the Mahinda Rajapaksa government said yesterday that in view of the LLRC’s recommendations, the 13th Amendment, which was a sequel to the Indo-Lanka Accord, would have to be modified.

Sri Lanka's woeful January way-points

For Sri Lankan journalists, January might be the cruelest month. In January 2011, Sonali Samarasinghe wrote about the death of her husband Lasantha Wickramatunga two years earlier on January 8, 2009. In January 2010 I reported in "Sri Lanka: A year later, still failing to fight media attacks" about the government's inactivity in investigating Wickramatunga's death one year on.

Monday, January 9, 2012

PROBLEM & SOLUTION: PARAMETERS OF POSSIBILITY ( re ethnic issue)

''Once you’ve dispensed with the layers of very proper titles, you realize what the report contains. It tells you what Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims think, today, over two years after the war, about the most contentious issues that have divided us over the post-independence decades. As if that weren’t important enough, it thereby tells you what the firm (possibly solid) contours of communitarian consciousness are, what the problem is, what the possible options are and which ones are impossible. Thus, the ICES survey gets to the crux of the matter''

Lasantha murder: International probe urged

 On the third death anniversary of a slain newspaper editor his widow has called on the international community to exert pressure on Sri Lanka government to hold an independent investigation into his murder.
Sonali Wickrematunge Samarasinghe, the widow of Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, says the investigation needed "to bring back the rule of law rather than the rule of one family."

So far no Rajapaksa has condemned the alleged crimes of their henchman

Tisaranee Gunasekara -
 “Nothing is closer to the law of the jungle than a system of distorted laws and procedures” – Haaretz Editorial (2.1.2012)  President Rajapaksa won the Eelam War, with the help of countless others (including the imprisoned Gen. Fonseka). In fairytales, the hero who saves a country from some deadly peril is rewarded with kingship and a happy ever-after ensues. In real life, when heroes claim countries as their reward, tyranny beckons and tragedy happens.

“Rethink policy to empower Sri Lankan Tamils economically”

In the present-day world where politics is invariably trumped by economics, India has to have a drastic rethinking of its policy in favour of economically empowering the Tamils in Sri Lanka as a sustainable solution for their rehabilitation, former diplomat G. Parthasarathy said on Sunday.

FUTA vows to stop private university bill

Dasun Edirisinghe -  Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA) yesterday vowed to stop the introduction of an Act to enable the setting up of private universities here and that would be the main demand of their token strike scheduled for Jannuary 17, the Association said.

Any amendment to election laws should include abolishment of executive presidency – JVP

The government hiding behind the public opposition to the preferential voting system is attempting to bring in an amendment to local government election laws, the real degeneration of the political culture in the country can