Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Jayalalitha tells Indian govt. not to support Sri Lanka at UNHCR

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha Jayaram today (Feb. 29) demanded that the Indian government should support the US-backed resolution on human rights violations by Sri Lanka, which comes up for voting at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva next month.

Medecins Sans Frontieres deny presence in war zone

The medical humanitarian organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has expressed concern over an interview suggesting that it was present in 2009 in Sri Lanka’s war zone and received surrendering militants to be treated.  The interview published earlier this month in India and reproduced in the Sri Lanka media, the Secretary of Defence of Sri Lanka Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa is purported to have said

The Powers of the National Police Commission

By Lakshman Indranath Keerthisinghe
Politics are now nothing more than a means of rising in the world - Samuel Johnson Boswells Life of Johnson.
The National Police Commission, was inaugurated in November 2002 on the recommendation of the Constitutional Council. under the 17th Amendment to the Constitution. It became defunct due to the failure to appoint new
Commission members after the terms of the Commission and its Chairman lapsed in April 2009.

The Powers of the National Police Commission

By Lakshman Indranath Keerthisinghe 
Elle Gunawansa Thero with President Rajapakse
Politics are now nothing more than a means of rising in the world - Samuel Johnson Boswells Life of Johnson.
The National Police Commission, was inaugurated in November 2002 on the recommendation of the Constitutional Council. under the 17th Amendment to the Constitution. It became defunct due to the failure to appoint new

India should not support Sri Lanka at UNHRC hearing: Karunanidhi

CHENNAI: DMK, a key constituent of the ruling UPA at the Centre, on Wednesday said India should not support Sri Lanka, which is facing war crime charges, in the hearings being conducted by the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Assembly passes special resolution seeking economic sanctions on Sri Lanka

It wants those behind civilian deaths declared as "war criminals"
The Assembly on Wednesday passed a special resolution demanding that the Centre take action to get all those responsible for large-scale civilian deaths, during the Sri Lankan civil war, declared as ‘war criminals' by the United Nations.

Vaiko asks PM not to support Sri Lanka at UNHRC

Chennai: MDMK chief Vaiko on Tuesday termed as shocking a Sri Lankan official's claim about New Delhi's backing of Colombo in the ongoing UNHRC session and urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not to support it.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

RSF to UNHRC: With media gagged or threatened, no progress for freedom of information

Reporters Without Borders calls on all members of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council, which began its 19th session yesterday, to pass a resolution condemning the Sri Lankan government’s violations of freedom of information and to demand an end to threats and violence against news media and human rights defenders in Sri Lanka.

LSSP leader calls on people to defeat conspiracy

General Secretary of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party, Minister Prof. Tissa Vitharana yesterday called upon the people to unite to defeat the American conspiracy against Sri Lanka.

Election monitors concerned about North .

Election monitors yesterday said that more than 3,000 eligible voters in IDP camps may not have the chance to vote at the upcoming local government elections in Mulaitivu and Puthukudiyiruppu next month since they do not have a proper identification card.

National mechanisms of human rights are necessary: Dayan Jayatilleka .

While Sri Lanka faces heat at the Geneva sessions the Former Sri Lankan Permanent Representative there Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka has stated that national mechanisms of human rights are necessary to finally put to rest the calls for an international mechanism of accountability.

UK for UN intervention to ‘support change’ in SL

UNHRC chief pushes for new mechanism to tackle uncooperative Governments
The UK fired the first salvo at Sri Lanka at the 19th sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) yesterday.

TNA divided over Geneva decision

Tamil National Alliance leader R. Sampanthan’s decision to keep away from Geneva has come under severe criticism from several senior members of the party.  TNA spokesman and the Jaffna District parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran and Parliamentarian P. Ariyanenthiran have opposed Sampanthan’s decision saying it was a unilateral stance and that the party had not been properly consulted over the Geneva issue.

DDoS attack disrupts TamilNet web traffic

Distributed Denial-of-Service Attack (DDoS), identified by the service provider of TamilNet as originating in an orchestrated way from certain affluent parts of the world, has been disrupting web traffic of TamilNet.com since Saturday.

SLA, paramilitary, force Tamils in Batticaloa to take part in anti-UN protests

SLA operated paramilitary operatives, dispatched by the occupying Sri Lanka Army in Batticaloa, visited the Village Development Council (VDC) leaders in various villages in the district on Monday instructing the heads of the VDCs to have at least 150 people to get on board the buses they would be bringing to transport civilians against their will to march from Batticaloa Hindu College to the Clock Tower in Batticaloa city.

SL colonial governor coordinates anti-UN demonstration of SLFP, EPDP in North


Occupying Sri Lanka’s colonial governor, Maj. Gen. G. A. Chandrasri was seen coordinating the two factions collaborating with the Rajapaksa regime, the Angkayan-led SLFP and Douglas Devananda-led EPDP, in staging a simulated demonstration in Jaffna and Vanni against UNHRC discussing Sri Lanka in Geneva on Monday.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Ex-UNP organizer’s son abducted



The 29-year-old son of the former UNP organizer for Mawathagama Kumari Ekanayake has been kidnapped.
Around 3.00 am today (Feb. 27), several men had arrived at the home of Kosala Ekanayake in a black-coloured dolphin van and took him away, saying the police wanted to obtain a statement from him.

Sri Lanka goes all out against resolution in UNHRC

The Sri Lankan government held a series of protests on Monday against what it calls “international conspiracies against the government” even as it sent a monster 52-member delegation to Geneva for the 19th convention of the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC).

Sri Lanka’s dead and missing: the need for an accounting

Nearly three years since the end of the war, there’s a growing need for an accounting of – and for – those killed and missing in the final months of fighting in northern Sri Lanka in 2009. Members of the UN Human Rights Council, opening its 19th session in Geneva today, should be ready to press the Sri Lankan government for real answers.

Statement by the Hon Mahinda Samarasinghe at UNHRC


''We as a Government, therefore, question the value addition of internationalizing through seeking to deliberate upon an effective ongoing domestic process in international fora. Such endeavours would only serve to detract from an expeditious resolution of the issues at hand. We also wish to emphasise that action initiated in the promotion and protection of human rights in a member State,.. ''

New wave of abductions and dead bodies in Sri Lanka

WATCHDOG
In the past 5 months – October 2011 to February 2012 – there has been a disturbing rise in the number of abductions, especially in and around the capital, Colombo. Out of 29 abductions and 3 missing persons reported in media, most have not returned to their homes and families, rendering them ‘disappeared’ persons.

Tamils await for govt’s reciprocate act to Sampanthan’s gesture

Now the ball is in govt courts says Mano Ganesan  
TNA leader Sampanthan has shown the political gesture towards the govt by deciding against the proposal of going to Geneva. Now, the Tamils and all peace loving people of this country look for government’s reciprocate action based on certain LLRC recommendations says DPF leader Mano Ganesan.

Separation between Suresh and Sambanthan on Geneva visit

Member of the Tamil National Alliance Suresh Premachandran announced leader of the party Sambanthan and Sumandhiran personally decided not to representate directly at the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva and also went on to say this was not the stance of the entire party.

People in Jaffna forced to participate in agitations

Security sections have been deployed to force masses in Jaffna into tractors to take them to participate in agitations carried out throughout the country to get support to the government say reports reaching ‘Lankatruth.’

Western conspiracy to thwart reconciliation process:‘Rally round President to protect Motherland’

All Sri Lankans irrespective of religious, political or racial differences should express their displeasure over the resolution to be moved tomorrow by the USA against Sri Lanka at the UNHCR sessions in Geneva, said the Most Ven. Niyangoda Sri Vijithasiri, Anunayaka Thera, Malwatta Chapter and the Most Ven. Galagama Atthadassi Anunayaka Thera, Asgiriya Chapter.

As UNHRC Summit begins : Islandwide protests against anti - Lanka resolution

The government is to hold massive islandwide protest campaigns today against the resolution which is to be presented against the Sri Lankan government at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions in Geneva to be held from today to March 24.

Darusman report should be withdrawn: Vasu .

The government yesterday claimed that the inaccuracy of the Darusman Report was proven by the census that was carried out by the Department of Census and Statistics.  Meanwhile the opposition claimed the report by the Census Department could not be taken as fact until there was proper verification of the methods used to collect the data.

As UNHRC Summit begins : Islandwide protests against anti - Lanka resolution

The government is to hold massive islandwide protest campaigns today against the resolution which is to be presented against the Sri Lankan government at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions in Geneva to be held from today to March 24.

Raise plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka at UNHRC: CPI

Concerned at the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka following reports of alleged war crimes and violation of human rights during the war, the Communist Party of India asked India to raise the issue at the current United Nations Human Rights Commission meeting at Geneva.

Our duty to Sri Lanka, and human rights - Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson

Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson
It is not just Sri Lanka's people that the UN Human Rights Council must serve this week, but the cause of international law; This week the UN Human Rights Council has an opportunity and a duty to help Sri Lanka advance its own efforts on accountability and reconciliation. Both are essential if a lasting peace is to be achieved. In doing so, the council will not only be serving Sri Lanka, but those worldwide who believe there are universal rights and international legal obligations we all share.

Government responsible for the issue – JVP

The situation where organizations and foreign countries are trying to intervene in the affairs of the country is a creation of the government as its moves and anti people policies it adopts has allowed a situation where foreign countries and organizations could pressurize the country states the JVP.

Marie Colvin and Sri Lanka war crimes

Ms Colvin lost her eye in Sri Lanka when shot at by the military while entering Govt territory after filing a report from restricted LTTE-held territory in 2001. Her iconic figure with a black patch over the left eye reporting from global conflict zones has been seen by hundreds of thousands around the world.

LLRC recommendations must be adopted without external pressure - Amb. Wickramasuriya

Sri Lanka has progressively already adopted a broad range of measures to facilitate reconciliation after the May 2009 end of its conflict against terrorism, Sri Lankan Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya told a gathering of the Serendipity Group of retired U.S. diplomats, and international pressure might make it difficult to enact the LLRC’s recent recommendations.

Showdown in Geneva: Hate-campaign in Lanka

Last Wednesday evening, Rajapaksa was to go into action again. Besides Ministers and MPs, he summoned electoral organisers and party district representatives for a meeting at "Temple Trees." There, he delayed the weekly cabinet meeting, to put in place a programme of action not only to cope with public criticism over the fuel price increase but also on issues which were coming up at the UNHRC sessions in Geneva tomorrow.

What does the government have to fear from independent monitors?

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene 
The argument is put forward by some that if the current administration had taken steps to put its democratic record to right, post war, perhaps the scrutiny that we see now in regard to what is loosely defined as accountability, would not have been evidenced in all its intensity.

Ranil wants consensus on implementing LLRC report

Opposition UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday called upon the Government to work with the opposition to begin implementing the LLRC recommendations that have already received the approval of the opposition parties.

Debt trap: More loans to repay existing loans


Acting minister says it is within limits but officials say financial situation dismal
Cash flow problems have forced the government to raise a further loan of US$ 600 million this year through Development Bonds. This money will go to repay previous loans as well as interest on loans for the current year.

Will India vote for Sri Lanka in Geneva?

S Venkat Narayan
Policy-makers here are facing a serious dilemma: Should India vote for or against Sri Lanka if a resolution does come up against the island-nation in the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) during the session that begins on Monday, Feb 27?

Galloping Militarisation unleashed by Ruling Siblings exacting a heavy toll politically

Tisaranee Gunasekara
The prolongation of military commands made Rome a servile state” – Machiavelli (The Discourses)
Stratospheric defence costs constitute Lankan economy’s deadliest ticking time-bomb.
Militarization is menacing Southern (and Lankan) economic wellbeing as much as it is impeding Northern democracy.

JVP alleges govt. thugs disrupted leaflet distribution

The JVP alleges that thugs of the government disrupted a leaflet distribution by the party in Moneragala this morning (Feb. 26). The party is involved in an island wide campaign to raise public awareness on bribery, corruption, wastage and other wrongdoings of the government through the distribution of leaflets, said its media unit.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sri Lanka seeks to block UN resolution demanding probe into alleged war crimes

Sri Lanka is reportedly working to block a UN resolution demanding the country to fully investigate who was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Tamil civilians during military operations against ethnic rebels.

Sri Lanka War Crimes at UN: Tamil Government Plans Rallies, Booklet Release & other activities

Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) is organizing a huge rally outside the UN in Geneva on February 27th to highlight the mass killing of Tamils in Sri Lanka and to urge UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to pass a Resolution to establish an Independent, International Investigation on Sri Lanka. UNHRC’s 19th Session starts on 27th.

GoSL refers to US HR record, demands impartiality

External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris yesterday said that the hands of those wanting to haul Sri Lanka up before the United National Human Rights Council (UNHRC), on the basis of unsubstantiated UNSG Ban Ki-moon’s so-called Panel of Experts (PoE) report, weren’t clean. Unlike unproven allegations contained in the PoE’s report and ‘Channel 4 News’ production, ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ the conduct of those human rights champions had been exposed on numerous occasions since the launch of global war on terror, Prof. Peiris told The Island.

Constitutional changes in the offing while AG studies LLRC Report

With the United Nations Human Rights Commission scheduled to open it annual four week session in Geneva on Monday, the government said that Sri Lanka’s legal framework was likely to be changed, depending on the recommendations of the Attorney General, who was in the process of studying the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Report.

US issues warning on Sri Lanka's mass demonstration against UNHRC resolution


Feb 25, Colombo: The United States Embassy in Sri Lanka has issued a warning to the US citizens over the mass solidarity demonstration planned to be held in Colombo and other major cities in Sri Lanka on Monday (27).

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Statement issued by the Tamil National Alliance on UNHRC and Sri Lanka situation

''The Sri Lankan State has a notorious reputation for failure to fulfill commitments it makes, and for not making public reports of processes which could hold it accountable. The Tamil National Alliance genuinely fears that if the present unstable situation continues, violence could recur and the civilian population could again be the victims. ''

Nambiar speaks up about ‘White Flag’ incident

UN Official Vijay Nambiar stated to Indian media that he had spoken to high ranking officials of the Sri Lankan government in order to witness the surrender of those pertaining to the ‘White Flag’ incident but had been refused entry.

Attacks on dissent in Sri Lanka, Part 1 –Incidents in 2012

Watchdog
2012 has seen a sustained campaign Sri Lankan against human rights defenders with a special focus on any engagement with UN processes, including the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council beginning in February in Geneva.

Attacks on dissent in Sri Lanka Part 2 – incidents in 2011

Watchdog
 Human Rights Defenders in Sri Lanka continue to suffer attacks and intimidation through 2011 and 2012.  This submission focuses on incidents in 2011.   Impunity for attacks and threats against HRDs, labeling HRDs as ‘terrorists’ or traitors, the campaign against HRDs in the State media and linking these to their participation/involvement in  of the UN Human Rights Council have significantly increased the risks involved in defending human rights in Sri Lanka.

Attacks against Dissent Sri Lanka Part 3 – Northern situation

Watchdog,
Since 2009, many HRDs, including journalists and political activists have been threatened, attacked, intimidated, detained on false charges, disappeared or killed.  In each case, they were selectively targeted because they dared to express dissenting opinions or because they encouraged others to do so. Political groups and opposition activists have also faced severe reprisals since 2010.

Put off UNHRC resolution till October: Govt. .


Amid attempts by the United States to bring a resolution against Sri Lanka at the 19th United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions, the government said it would prefer the matter being taken up at the Universal Periodic Review in October this year.

Govt. delegation meets Navaneetham Pillay in Geneva .

Two days ahead of the 19th sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) here in Geneva, Human Rights Commissioner Navaneetham Pillay raised the issue that the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) had not dealt with the accountability issues raised in the UN panel report dubbed by the government as the Darusman report.

Bringing justice to Sri Lanka's victims

During the past year, the U.N. has launched independent investigations into possible war crimes in Ivory Coast, Libya and Syria.  But in Sri Lanka, where as many as 40,000 civilians were killed in the final phases of the country's civil war, the U.N. has been unable to muster support for an independent investigation into atrocities.

8,000 killed in final phase of Sri Lanka's civil war: report

Nearly 8,000 people were killed in the final phase of Sri Lanka's war against Tamil Tigers in 2009, according to government figure released today. The casualty statistics by Lanka's Census Department for the first time in a war says that 11,172 people were killed in 2009 at the height of the country's civil war, a figure in stark contrast to estimates by international rights groups.

Batticaloa: men of a village missing for three years

Twelve women, Catholic and Hindu from Thumpalachcholai have not see their husbands, sons and brothers since the end of ethnic conflict.  No response or aid from the authorities. The police had interrogated some, suspected of being Tamil rebels. Aid of some NGOs.

Habeas corpus filed seeking ‘Mervyn’

The wife of a drug offence suspect, who was abducted in front of the Hulftsdorp court complex, yesterday (Feb. 24) filed a habeas corpus petition in the court of appeal, seeking that her husband be produced before courts.

Burgeoning Defense Expenditure and Escalating Social Antagonism

Chanakyan
 The defense personnel in Sri Lanka are paid on average, half a million rupees per head per annum.   Stranger than fiction, but none the less true. If this is the average, how much is it for the higher echelons? Best left to one’s speculative capability. The budget for 2012 provides this sum – Rs. 161.580 billion for salaries and wages plus overtime and other allowances. The estimated strength is 320,000.

How bad is the crisis for Mahinda Rajapaksa?


“Although certain foreign powers have attempted to conspire against and oust me from the presidency, I will not leave this position before completing my duties” – President Mahinda Rajapaksa (Ada Derana Online / February 19, 2012 01:27 am)
That perhaps is the easiest of the answers possible for any Head of State under pressure from his own people who voted him to power and from the international community, to explain his own dilemma.

History after the War: Challenges for Post War Reconciliation

 Dr.Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri
The end of the war is certainly not the end of the conflict that led to the military confrontation between the military forces of Sri Lanka state and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). This conflict surfaces in different guises, the military episode being only one. It is well-known that conflicting interpretations of the past of the island by conflicting parties is a major factor in the conflict.[1]

Some Constitutional Aspects of Sri Lanka’s post-war reconciliation debate: The LLRC Report and the TNA response

Asanga Welikala
The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), appointed by the Sri Lankan government to recommend measures for post-war reconciliation, published its much-anticipated report in December 2011. The nature of the Commission’s mandate, composition, and the legal framework of its operation, as well as the hopeless record of similar bodies in the past, had led some to dismiss the LLRC as inadequate to its historic task.

Friday, February 24, 2012

'Over 7000 civilians died' Sri Lanka government

Over 7000 deaths appear to be related to the military battle
The BBC has learned that according to Sri Lankan government statistics, about 9,000 people died in the war-torn north of Sri Lanka during the controversial final phase of the war three years ago.

Key Findings on Accountability in Sri Lanka

Eight students from the University of Virginia School of Law* visited Sri Lanka from January 1 to January 16, 2012 as part of the Cowan Fellows Human Rights Study Project, an independent student organization. They conducted interviews in Colombo, Kandy, and the Vanni region with Government officials, activists, NGOs, journalists, IDPs, ex-detainees and other individuals about the current status of human rights in Sri Lanka.

Basil says TNA answerable at UNHRC for HR violations

Minister Basil Rajapaksa has said that the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) would have to answer for the human rights violations committed by the LTTE, if it participates in the UN Human Rights Council's session in Geneva.
Minister Rajapaksa said that the TNA in their election manifestoes in 2001 and 2004 have mentioned that they are the sole representatives of the LTTE that killed thousands of people including the leaders of the Tamil community.

Sri Lanka and the West head for a showdown over human rights

Sri Lanka and the UN; Unslayable ghosts
BURY the past. Those killed nearly three years ago in the last, savage days of Sri Lanka’s civil war will never return. Foreign and local critics who harp on about horrors are doing down a fragile country. “Any sensible person will realise the advantage our people got. Today there is no more killing, fighting. It is peaceful, people are free.”

US urges 'concrete' reconciliation steps by Sri Lanka

The United States said Thursday it wanted Sri Lanka to take "concrete steps" on reconciliation as the Colombo government vowed mass protests against US-backed calls for a UN censure on human rights.  Sri Lanka has faced strong international criticism over the bloody finale of its civil war in 2009 but has avoided censure at the UN Human Rights Council amid hopes overseas that Colombo would come up with a domestic plan.

War-crime allegations lead to Shavendra's ouster from UN post

Louise Frechette, a Canadian official who chairs the special advisory group (SAG) at the United Nations in New York, said in a statement released at the UN Head Quarters today, that she has advised Major General Shavendra Silva of Sri Lanka, that "his [Silva's] participation is not appropriate or helpful for the purposes of this Group [SAG]. He [Silva] will not participate in its deliberations."

Channel-4 wins trophy for Sri Lanka's war-crimes documentary

ITN for Channel 4 scooped the trophy for best international coverage for the documentary Sri Lanka's Killing Fields at the prestigious Royal Television Society (RTS) awards in UK, BBC reported. Sri Lanka's Killing Fields, a special one-hour investigation which features devastating video evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Sri Lankan government forces and the Tamil Tigers,

No justice for Tamils in Sri Lanka: HRW

The Sri Lankan government has failed to advance justice and accountability for victims of the country's 25-year-old armed conflict, Human Rights Watch said Monday. While Sri Lanka's war-ravaged north and east became more open after the Tamil Tigers were crushed, the government had deepened repression of basic freedoms throughout the country, it said in its World Report.

Defence ministry tapping phones of 687 persons - Mangala; Govt admits

UNP’s Mangala Samaraweera alleged in parliament yesterday (Feb. 23) that the defence ministry was tapping the phones of 687 persons. They included 124 cabinet ministers and government MPs as well as religious leaders, newspaper editors and several journalists, he said, adding that two Chinese phone companies are being paid huge sums for carrying this out.

Non–academics paralyse universities

Universities throughout the country were paralysed yesterday due to a token strike by the non-academic staff, 
including administrative officers against the government’s delay in rectifying anomalies in their salaries. 
All examinations had to be postponed.

National Hospital docs strike on Monday

Over thousand doctors of the Colombo National Hospital will stage a 24-hour strike on Monday (27) demanding the Rs. 29,000 Disturbance, Availability and Transport (DAT) allowance as promised by the Treasury in 2007.  Vice President of the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) Branch Union, Dr. S. Senaratne said yesterday

SL writes to UNHRC member states to counter US claims

The Sri Lankan government yesterday accused a section of the international community of trying to distort the situation in Sri Lanka to undermine the post-war reconciliation and recovery process.  A senior spokesperson for the Sri Lankan delegation, headed by External Affairs Minister, Prof. G. L. Peiris, yesterday told The Island that the US-led moves were unethical.

Ganeshan wants LLRC report presented to UNHRC

The government has failed to take other political parties into its confidence through its decision not to present the LLRC report at the UNHRC sessions, scheduled to begin on February 27 at Geneva, leader of the Democratic People’s Front Mano Ganeshan said.

Shavendra axed from UN panel

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Sri Lanka’s deputy U.N. ambassador, who was a top commander during the final stages of the country’s civil war, has been dropped from a group advising Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on payment to troops participating in U.N. peacekeeping operations.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

EU regrets LLRC not taking up UNSG panel report

Issuing a statement on Sri Lanka's LLRC recommendations, the European Union high representative regrets that questions raised in the report of the expert panel of the UN Secretary General have, to a large extent, not been reflected in the final report.

Norway backs UN resolution against Sri Lanka

Norway has joined other nations in calling for an investigation into civilian deaths in the country’s long and bloody civil war. The UN resolution wants answers to questions about, among other things, what happened to the thousands killed in the last months of the war.

Protest against 'Western conspiracy'

The Sri Lanka government has urged the general public to come to streets against what it called a “Western conspiracy” to topple Mahinda Rajapaksa government. Addressing a cabinet press briefing, a group of cabinet ministers described the recent protests against the fuel price increase as an “NGO funded conspiracy” which was supported by the West.

LLRC report inadequate in some areas but still essential - Burt

The UK government expressed its ‘abhorrence’at some of the events that concluded the war in Sri Lanka while adding that it however recognized the government’s ability to make progress through implementing measures set out by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

UNHRC: Sri Lanka resolution gathers momentum

Draft resolution made available to council members
As the Americans draft resolution made available to all members of the HRC the debate on the implementation of Sri Lanka's LRRC commission recommendations is gathering momentum in Geneve. The resolution calls on the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the constructive recommendations in the LLRC report and additionally to take immediate steps to fulfill its relevant legal obligations and stated commitment to address serious allegations of violations of international law. On the top of it the resolution calls for a comprehensive action plan before the 20th session of the Human Rights Council detailing the steps the Government has taken and will take to implement the LLRC recommendations and also to address alleged violations of international law.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Report on Roshen’s killing cached

It is revealed that the human rights report regarding Roshen Chanaka who was killed when police opened fire at a peaceful agitation carried out by employees of the Katunayake Free Trade Zone has been cached. The employees carried out the agitation opposing an attempt by the government to arbitrarily introduce a pension scheme for private sector employees.

Ranil faults govt for by-passing Parliament - National Action Plan sent directly to Geneva

UNP and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday in Parliament found fault with the government for by-passing the House to circulate a Sri Lanka National Action Plan, for Protection and Promotion of Human Rights, among the members of the international community in Geneva.

GoSL won’t negotiate with US on HR Resolution – GL

External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris yesterday stressed that the government wouldn’t negotiate with the US on the proposed resolution, which the Obama administration intended to move against Sri Lanka during the 19th sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) scheduled to begin on Feb. 27.

New laws for the Public Performances Board

The Cabinet of Ministers is to be presented a Cabinet memorandum today seeking permission to introduce new legislation on the Public Performances Board. The memorandum has been drafted by the Mass Media and Information Ministry and the Cultural Affairs Ministry.

Penal Code is being used fraudulently: JVP .

The Penal Code has been fraudulently used to arrest those who criticise the government though there are no such provisions for it, the JVP charged in Parliament today.

Is shooting at peaceful demonstrators a government policy? AHRC

Mr. Rajitha Seneratne, the Cabinet Minister for Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development, when answering a question to a BBC Sinhala Service correspondent regarding the shooting of a fisherman at a peaceful demonstration in Chilaw stated that the shooting of demonstrators is a usual practice of the Sri Lankan police.

Asks Asian group to review Shavendra’s appointment

The Asian group, representing countries from Asia at the UN had come under pressure to withdraw their nominee to the Special Advisory Group on UN Peace Keeping.  Sri Lanka's Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Major General Shavendra Silva has been nominated to the Special Advisory Group on UN Peace Keeping by the Asian group as their nominee.

Military worksho for Ministers and govt MPs

Concerns and questions about objectives
A two-day workshop organised by the Defence Ministry to be held at the Diyatalawa Military Academy (DMA) for ministers and UPFA parliamentarians on March 3 and 4.

Concerns have been raised and questions asked about a two-day workshop organised by the Defence Ministry to be held at the Diyatalawa Military Academy (DMA) for ministers and UPFA parliamentarians, a senior SLFP minister said yesterday.

Schoolchildren cannot mimic the president

Central province chief minister Sarath Ekanayake has ordered that schoolchildren be not allowed to mimic president Mahinda Rajapaksa at public functions.

Direct discussions between President Rajapaksa and TNA leader Sampanthan to revive talks end in failure

D.B.S. Jeyaraj
Direct discussions beween Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Tamil National Alliance(TNA) leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan to revive stalled talks between the ruling regime and the TNA ended in failure.

Sri Lanka: Crimes against humanity - Editorial, DAWN

RELATIVE peace may have been established in Sri Lanka, but questions are being raised about the costs involved. A resolution is to be tabled at the forthcoming session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva following a preliminary investigation by the UN which found that Sri Lanka’s “conduct of the war represented a grave assault on the entire regime of international law”.

SL, Cuba and Pakistan seek resolution on transparency at UNHRC .

Sri Lanka, along with Cuba and Pakistan, will co-sponsor a resolution seeking transparency in funding and staffing the United Nationals Human Rights Council (UNHRC) here in Geneva, during its 19th session starting this week, diplomatic sources said.

UNHRC sessions: This is a US- LTTE move - GOSL

UNHRC sessions: US, LTTE target GoSL on HR front
The Sri Lankan government is facing a multi-pronged attack at the United Nations Human Rights Commission sessions, scheduled to begin on Feb. 27, with the US spearheading a diplomatic offensive much to the delight of the LTTE rump. The 19th sessions will continue till March 23.

India: The choice of “no” against Sri Lanka will not be automatic

Sri Lanka braces itself for a battle at Geneva
An unusually strong contingent of Sri Lankan diplomats and officials has begun descending on Geneva to defend the country against likely onslaught when the session opens on February 27.

SRI LANKA: Calls mount for government action on war inquiry

As the government of Sri Lanka comes under increasing international pressure to implement recommendations submitted by a presidentially appointed war commission, IRIN asked national analysts which recommendations were most easily achievable.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Call for broader, stronger protests against govt.

A group of academics, journalists, social activists and trade union has called for broader and stronger protests against the government's undemocratic and inhuman policies and behaviour.

Sri Lanka should cut ego boosting state expenses: legislator

Sri Lanka should cut ego boosting wasteful expenses and close down a loss-making state airline, instead of simply asking people to tighten their belts to battle a balance of payments crisis, a legislator has said. "We call upon the government to close down Mihin Lanka immediately," Harsha de Silva, an economist and legislator representing Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party said.

Lunch time demos from today, tougher action later: JVP .

Protests are expected to intensify with opposition political parties, trade unions and civil society organisations warning they would take to the streets over the massive increase in fuel prices and resultant increase in prices of essential items.

Sri Lanka’s Opposition Leader rebuffed by the US

“Who? Opposition leader’s office – what opposition in Sri Lanka?”
Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe was snubbed by the visiting US delegates. It is common practice for visiting senior overseas delegates to meet the Opposition Leader of any country as courtesy. However this time, Marie Otero, Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights and Assistant Secretary Robert O’Blake Jr. have not requested for a meeting with Sri Lanka’s Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe.

Blake feels not necessary to meet Ranil

US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake, at the end of his recently concluded visit to Colombo, asserted that it wasn’t necessary to meet UNP and Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to discuss what was going on in Sri Lanka.

Friendly countries will support Lanka at UNHRC – Foreign Secretary

The international community must support Sri Lanka’s domestic mechanism of reconciliation and efforts to help rebuild battered lives of the conflict affected, instead of talking about adverse resolutions at the UNHRC, External Affairs Secretary K. Amunugama said at an interview with the Sunday Observer .

Washington has intelligence excerpts of Gotabaya Rajapaksa allegedly ordering the gunning down of surrendered LTTE cadres

Hamish McDonald
In May 2009, hell was a strip of sand on the north-east coast of Sri Lanka where a surrounding government army was raining shells, bullets and bombs on a cut-off rebel army, the Tamil Tigers, and thousands of trapped civilians.  As the end came near, three Tiger leaders tried to save themselves and their families, arranging a surrender in mobile phone calls and text messages involving the government’s foreign secretary in the capital Colombo, Norwegian diplomats, a British journalist and others.

International pressure and mass agitations are two major concerns for President Rajapaksa

Jehan Perera
 President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s speech to the nation on Independence Day provided an indication of his two major concerns for the future.  One concern was the persistent international pressure on his government on human rights issues during and after the end of the war.

‘Attempt to haul president before The Hague tribunal’

Foreign elements are attempting to haul president Mahinda Rajapaksa before the war crimes tribunal in The Hague by levelling war crimes accusations against him, alleges minister Wimal Weerawansa. All patriots should join together to prevent the attempt, the minister has told ‘Lakbima.’

Western diplomatic missions in conspiracy

Several western diplomatic missions in Colombo are plotting to create anarchy in the country, alleges minister Wimal Weerawansa. These diplomatic missions are working to show to the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva that there is lawlessness in Sri Lanka, he told the opening of a housing scheme for soldiers at Hettimulla in Kegalle today (Feb. 20).

Rajapaksas plunder the largest gem mine in the island

The largest gem mine that has been found at Thammannawa area on Katharagama – Lunugamvhera Road is being plundered by henchmen of Rajapaksas at present say reports. The plunder is being carried out by the henchmen of the Chief Minister of Uva and Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa negating the legal process of the National Gem and Jewellery Authority and making the area a ‘High Security Zone’ of the Army.

A Criminal Monk To The Police Commission

Colombo Telegraph 
Highlighting concerns raised when the Eighteenth Amendment was passed, the recent appointment of the Police Commission shows just how unacceptable the new framework for independent bodies is. The appointments to the new Police Commission includes the Buddhist monk Elle Gunawanse.  It is difficult to imagine someone more unsuitable to serve in the Police Commission, of all things. Truth, sometimes, is really stranger than fiction.

Monday, February 20, 2012

UNP wants CB, EPF officials summoned before Parliament

ICEU to complain to Bribery Commission
UNP National List MP and Chief Economist Dr Harsha de Silva said that he had wanted Central Bank Governor and EPF officials summoned before the Public Accounts Committee in Parliament.

Sri Lanka Reconciliation report implemented - Dr. Kohona

Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Dr. Palitha Kohona has outlined the key features and recommendations of the final report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission.

TNA ready to accept solution put forth by Tamil civil society

The Tamil National Alliance on Saturday said it would never betray the aspirations of Tamil people and would continuously fight till the Tamils got their basic rights. TNA leader R Sampanthan gave this assurance to Tamil civil society at a meeting held in Vavuniya on Saturday. The TNA would abide by a political solution put forward by the Tamil civil society to ensure the protection of rights of the Tamils.

28 Buddha statues erected along A-9 Highway since war ended in May 2009

Imaad Majeed
Since the end of the conflict in 2009, a new phenomena has emerged. That of Buddha statues being erected along the A9 route that leads to Jaffna. Keerimalai, a few kilometres to Dambakola Patuna, Kanagarayan kulam Buddhist stupa, Buddhist Statue built on a site, supposedly, visited by the Buddha, Buddha Statue IN Killinochchi and Buddhist Temple in Kanakarayan Kulam area on the site of a destroyed Hindu temple.

DIG should be held responsible for fisherman killing - AHRC

The Asian Human Rights Commission says DIG of North Western Province, Ravi Wijegunawardena, should be held responsible for the killing of fisherman Anthony Fernando in the police shooting on the fishermen’s protest in Chilaw.

NGOs welcome U.S. stand to take Sri Lanka to task at UNHRC meet

Washington, D.C., United States (AHN) – The global human rights community on Friday welcomed the U.S. call for action to bring to book those responsible for crimes against humanity committed in the final months of the war in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka Commences Diplomatic Offensive

GL, Mahinda to head two teams;    EU passes Resolution on Sri Lanka
The government has commenced its diplomatic offensive following the motion passed in the EU parliament on pushing for a resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions and the announcement by the US government of supporting the resolution.

AG, Army probe alleged war wrongdoings

Lanka to circulate HR protection plan at UNHRC sessions
With just a week to go for the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions in Geneva, the Government will review charges of wrongdoing levelled by witnesses before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

Cost of living on fire

Price hike of 36% in diesel alone triggers price increase across the board in transport and essential food items
The unprecedented hike in diesel and kerosene prices has had a whole gamut of adverse effects on the public, with more to follow in the coming few weeks. The increases have seen a spate of protests by Opposition parties as well as various sectors including the private bus operators, plantation workers and the fishermen. The private bus operators managed to obtain a 20% increase in fares.

Abducted businessman sought Rs. 90 m in FR case; wife threatened with Rs. 100 m ransom

No breakthrough in police probe; family seeks divine help to trace Prabhakaran
Police investigating the abduction of a Tamil businessman in Wellawatte last Saturday are yet to make any significant breakthrough, while his family keeps silent vigil for his safe return home. Ramasamay Prabhakaran, 42, was bundled into a white van by a group of seven persons armed with assault rifles and handguns, from his residence at Canal Bank Road in Wellawatte and sped away towards Bambalapitiya.

A body blow, but who lives it up?

Namini Wijedasa
President Mahinda Rajapaksa urged people to tighten their belts during the war and they did. When three years after the Tigers were defeated Sri Lankans are still expected to scrimp, they want to know why.  Since fighting ended in 2009, the Central Bank and other government agencies have used thrilling statistics and grand rhetoric to describe the economic situation.

‘What happened to dozens of LTTE members who surrendered to the Army at Vadduvaakal on May 18th 2009′?

Frederica Jansz
What happened to dozens of LTTE members who surrendered to the army together with Rev. Francis Joseph, a Catholic priest, south of the Vadduvaakal bridge on May 18 2009?  “Aananthi” (not her real name), the wife of one of the disappeared, told Human Rights Watch that she saw the army load the priest and the LTTE members on to a bus and drive them away.

LLRC Report Recommendations: Arangetram started; now you dance

Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne
 According to government media, President Mahinda said on the Independence Day “This is not a task confined to one individual or a party. Remember, the country would not benefit by trying to please selfish groups who receive foreign funds.

A government not bound by the law

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene 
Does the Government of Sri Lanka need a 'roadmap' to implement the existing law in Sri Lanka? From where does this curious logic arise?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Govt. braces for attack at UNHRC


The Sri Lanka delegation to the UNHRC, now expanded, has also been briefed on this aspect which will be the official position. They have also been told to explain that a period of two month's since the release of the LLRC report was not sufficient time to implement the recommendations. 
President shocked by UNP's response to LLRC report ahead of crucial Geneva sessions 
Top officials confirm US will support resolution though GL thought it was only pressure tactic 

More price hikes, officials warn economic crisis may explode


Increased taxes on essentials and non essential goods are on the cards as urgent revenue measures while other cost-cutting measures are also planned to reduce the Government’s rising debt, a Finance Ministry official said yesterday.

PSC talks will conclude in six months


Senior Minister of Scientific Affairs Prof. Tissa Vitharana who refuted TNA claims that the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on power devolution was a delaying tactic of the Government said that the PSC has been mandated to conclude its deliberations within six months.

52 member UNHRC delegation will leave next week


A 52 member strong delegation led by External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Pieris and Plantations Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe will leave for Geneva next week for the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) sessions that commences on 27 February.

Reactivation of Police Commission hailed


The reactivation of the National Police Commission under the 18th Amendment to the Constitution has been hailed by political parties and independent organisations as a step in the right direction as it has been appointed at a time when the relations between the police and the public were getting strained.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Resolute advocacy of 13th Amendment appears to be both practical and useless


Kalana Senaratne
With the recent visit of India’s External Affairs Minister, Mr. SM Krishna, the debate concerning the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka has been revived.

Statement on Reconciliation by Muslim Civil Society Individuals


"However, on the ground specific problems that hamper the transition from war to a sustainable and meaningful peace are left unaddressed. In particular, the challenge of reconciliation remains. Our failure to act now will result in all communities losing a historic opportunity to address the conflict and its impact."

Does Govt Have The Political Will to Implement the LLRC Recommendations?


Fr. Sarath Iddamalgoda
The report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on ‘Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation’ when taken as a whole is rather weak because of its inherent limitations, but some of the recommendations made in the report by the commission are quite positive and therefore can be used as a constructive tool to move in the right direction.

Unions say estates paralysed by token strike .


Saturday, 18 February 2012 05:04   .A token strike was launched yesterday by plantation sector workers to protest the unprecedented increase in fuel prices and the resultant rise in the cost of living.

JVP unions calling for 40% salary increase .


Friday, 17 February 2012 22:15   .A Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) affiliated trade union today urged the government to grant a 40 per cent salary increase so as to cushion the burden on an already suffering people from the fall out of the unprecedented increase in fuel prices.

WikiLealks: Major General Chandrasiri Confided MOD instruction to US


A leaked “secret “ US diplomatic cable, dated May 18, 2007, updated the Secretary of State on Sri Lanka’s issue of paramilitary operations shows then military commander in Jaffna and present Governor ,Northern Province Major General  G.A. Chandrasiri, confided Ministry of Defence instruction to US Ambassador Robert O. Blake.

Chilaw victim's funeral underway - Police impose resrictions


A tight security cordon was placed around Chilaw town yesterday as the funeral of slain fisherman Anthony Fernando of the Egodawatte coastal village took place in the area with full Catholic burial rites.
A crowd of about 10,000 mourners drawn largely from the fishing community in the area and adjoining villages attended Fernando’s funeral service that was held at the St. Sebastian’s Church in Chilaw.

Opposition Protest: Army called in to Fort

The army was called in a short while ago as the stand-off between the police and demonstrators from the joint opposition led by the United National Party (UNP) continued outside the Colombo Fort railway Station.  Several persons including Gampaha District UNP Parliamenterian Dr. Jayalath Jayewardene also sustained injuries during the running battles, as the police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd over nearly 5,000, eyewitnesses said.

Teenager complains to SC of brutal police assault

A 17-year-old youth, from Girimallegoda, Galle, has complained to the Supreme Court that on August 23, 2011, he was arrested without a reason and beaten brutally, by some officers of the Thelikala Police station.

LSSP blasts Govt. over fuel hike and deployment of troops

UPFA constituent, the Lanka Sama Samaja Party yesterday strongly condemned the SLFP-led government’s decision to increase the price of diesel and kerosene in spite of protests.  The LSSP’s condemnation came in the wake of the government increasing petrol by Rs. 12, diesel by Rs. 31 and kerosene by Rs. 35 a litre with effect from Saturday. It was the biggest hike in diesel and kerosene prices.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sri Lanka’s National Reconciliation Efforts Must Address Journalists’ Concerns - IFJ

Journalists in Sri Lanka began a campaign on January 25 in memory of colleagues who fell in the quarter-century long civil war in the island nation. This day of protest united all Sri Lanka’s principal professional journalism bodies  and was planned as a reminder to those in power that the vital task of national reconciliation requires more than token gestures.

Sri Lanka: Gov place military on alert; Protester killed, peaceful demos attacked, 3 abducted - NfR

The NfR is appalled by the recent attacks on demonstrators, including those protesting against the rise in prices of petrol, diesel and kerosene oil in Sri Lanka, following a February 1O decision by the government to place the army on alert, allegedly to prevent acts of sabotage by terrorists.

Practical steps to meaningful reconciliation

17th February 2012, Colombo, Sri Lanka: Several valuable recommendations are contained in the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission’s (LLRC) Report and they are all the more compelling because they have issued from a Presidential Commission. In pursuance of this, we the undersigned call upon the government of Sri Lanka, in consultation with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the leadership of the Muslims, to take steps to implement the recommendations.

LIVE AMMUNITION AND CITIZEN ENEMIES

If the time ever does come for a comprehensive evaluation of security policies and legislation adopted during the privation and emergencies of war and the peacetime ‘stability’ of a post-war context, it would only be fair to conclude that the unpleasantness of the former far exceeds the unpleasantness of the latter, but it is still just that – unpleasant.

SRI LANKA, Terrorists Out, Army In – Part 1

Natasha Pieris
With the Feb. 27 session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) looming on the horizon, human rights watchdogs are making yet another push to get Sri Lanka onto the agenda – and once and for all settle the issue of alleged wartime abuses that the government continues to deny.

Satisfied with displaced Sri Lankan Tamils' rehabilitation : EU

 The European Union (EU) has expressed satisfaction with the resettlement process in Sri Lanka three years after the war between the Sri Lankan military and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ended.  The Sri Lankan government should be commended for the efforts it took to resettle most of the war displaced people, Xinhua quoted the EU ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Bernard Savage, as saying Thursday.

National Reconciliation Policy to be presented shortly .

A draft towards a National Reconciliation Policy is currently being prepared and will be presented shortly for public discussion by Presidential Advisor on Reconciliation and MP Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha.  “I hope that this is looked at seriously, adjusted as necessary, and then adopted and implemented expeditiously,” Prof. Wijesinha told the Daily Mirror yesterday.

CMC protests against takeover of its property by UDA/ Ministry of Defense

Colombo Mayor A. J. M. Muzammil said that certain state institutions owed the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) over Rs. 1.5 billion in assessment tax arrears, while the Urban Development Authority (UDA) was continuing to acquire CMC administered property in the guise of development creating a big financial loss to the Council.

CEB’s powerful engineers’ union declares war

The Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers’ Union (CEBEU) has passed a resolution demanding the immediate implementation of the salary revision already approved by its Board.  This decision was taken at the Special General Meeting of CEBEU held at Rajagiriya on Wednesday. All engineers belonging to CEBEU had taken leave from work to attend this meeting as a mark of protest.

Murder in Chilaw: High ranking police officer exposes the truth

A high ranking police officer with patriotic traits whose name cannot be disclosed told Lanka e news that Gotabaya Rajapakse is directly responsible for the murder of Warnakulasooriya Arachchige Anthony Fernando who was shot at and killed at Wella district, Chilaw yesterday, by the combined operation of army and the STF.

One Killed and eight critically injured in crackdown on fisherfolk protesting fuel price increase in Chilaw

protesting fisherflok
D.B.S. Jeyaraj
38 year old Warnakulasooriya Anthony Fernand, a father of two children, was killed and eight others critically injured in Chilaw on February 15th when Security personnel opened fire on fisherfolk stridently protesting the sharp rise in fuel prices announced by the Government of President Rajapaksa.

Women in Mannar perturbed over setting up of new Army camp in Tharavankottai

D.B.S. Jeyaraj
Women from nine villages and housing schemes in Mannar are perturbed over plans to set up a new Army camp in Tharavankottai.  Representatives of Women’s rural development societies from the nine concerned villages met recently and drafted a petition in Tamil protesting the allocation of land along Tharavanlottai road for the purpose of constructiong a new Army camp.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Are Chinese Telecoms acting as the ears for the Sri Lankan government?

The title is inspired by the article Are Chinese Telecoms Acting as the Ears for Central Asian Authoritarians? published in Eurasianet.org, examining the probable role of Chinese telecoms firms, notably Huawei and ZTE, in espionage and surveillance. The article notes that both ZTE and Huawei have signed contracts worth tens of millions of US dollars with governments in Central Asia, not known for their democratic credentials.

Decision to constitute Natl. Police Commission

The government says it has decided to constitute the National Police commission under the 18th amendment to the constitution. The Parliamentary Council has recommended the names proposed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the NPC.

Emerging Scenarios, Possible Outcomes and the Tasks of the People:

 Surendra Ajit Rupasinghe
As you know, the Geneva sessions will open on the 27th February. A possible, and most probable outcome would be a resolution calling for an independent international mechanism to investigate war crimes. (Appointing a Court of Inquiry under the Army Commander will provide more ammunition for the foreign powers to denounce the credibility of the Regime. It is a joke anyway! It will not hold!).

MAN ABDUCTED DAYS BEFORE COURT HEARING

URGENT ACTION - AI

Ramasamy Prabaharan, a Tamil businessman who brought a case against Sri Lankan police for torture, unlawful arrest and detention was abducted on 11 February at his home in Colombo, Sri Lanka, by armed men.  He was due to appear in court on 13 February. There are fears for his safety.

Sri Lanka police fire on fuel-cost protest; 1 dead

Sri Lankan police fired on fishermen protesting fuel price increases Wednesday, killing one person and wounding three, a witness and a doctor said. Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said police used tear gas to disperse an "unlawful mob" but refused to comment on whether police fired guns at the protesters.

Geneva resolution: Sri Lanka appeals for more time

Even as the United Nations Human Rights Commission session nears, Sri Lanka has appealed that it needs more time for the process of reconciliation to showcase the progress that it has made towards lasting peace. At the end of a 30-year long bloody civil war, Sri Lankan forces trumped the Tamil Tigers, who have claimed Sri Lanka's east and north as homelands.

C 4 video : Sri Lanka Army inquiry a delaying tactic – HRW

The Sri Lankan army’s announcement that it had appointed a five-member court of inquiry to investigate allegations that its forces committed serious violations of the laws of war appears to be another government delaying tactic in the face of mounting international pressure, Human Rights Watch said today.

Court of Appeal issues notice on Jaffna Commander, Army Commander

The Court of Appeal yesterday re-issued notice on the Jaffna Commander of the Sri Lanka Army, the Sri Lanka Army Commander and the Office-in-Charge of the Achchuveli Police Station, to be present in Court on February 29, 2012.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

JVP protest in Colombo too, comes under teargas fire

Police fired teargas at a march organized by the JVP at Maradana in Colombo this afternoon (Feb. 15) against the fuel price increase and against the death of a fisherman in Chilaw due to shooting at a similar agitation earlier in the day.

Sri Lanka tries to trick the international community before the next UNHRC session in Geneva .

The Sri Lanka President has repeatedly said that his soldiers under his command went to war with gun in one hand and human rights law book in the other. He also claimed that the operation was a humanitarian operation and there had not been even a single civilian casualty.

LLRC observations, C-4 video to be probed by Army

Commander of the Army Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya has appointed a court of inquiry to probe the observations made by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission on alleged civilian casualties during the final stage of the war against the LTTE and the content of the Channel-4 video.

Prices of essential commodities to rise further: Importers

With the rupee hitting 120 against the US dollar yesterday, importers of essential commodities cautioned that prices of sugar, dhal, canned fish and milk powder would rise sharply.  A spokesman for the Essential Commodities Importers and Traders Association told the Daily Mirror that prices of all imported essential commodities rose by at least 10 per cent due to the devaluation of the rupee by three per cent in the 2012 budget.

Businessman abducted from Dehiwala

A forty two year old businessman from Nawinna was abducted at the Dehiwala railway station last night (14).
 The incident had occurred at around 8:30 p.m when a group of armed men had abducted the man in a van. The person reportedly belongs to an underworld gang.

Sri Lanka divided after the war, says cabinet minister

Post war Sri Lanka is divided in to two countries say, Vasudeva Nanayakkara. Cabinet Minister of National Languages and Social Integration. Addressing a seminar to demand implementation of the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) the minister said that democratic institutions in the North and the East of the country have become ineffective.

Enough of democracy - Mervyn

Minister Mervyn Silva says the government has observed enough of democracy, and asks the president and the defence secretary to be strict on conspirators.  If no firm measures are taken against the plotters, the minister told journalists yesterday (Feb. 14) that he could no longer remain a partner of the government.

Period of youths disappearing before country again - Ajith Kumara

The country is again experiencing a period in which parents lose their children, women their husbands and children their fathers, alleges the Movement for People’s Struggle. MFPS national organizer Ajith Kumara said all should rally against this situation.

Wicked approach of the US exposed - JHU

The JHU says a remark by US assistant secretary of state Robert O’ Blake clearly shows his country’s wicked approach towards Sri Lanka.  In a statement, JHU deputy secretary Udaya Gammanpila urges the international community to rally against misdeeds of this so-called world policeman.

SL Govt. disappointed over US stance

The government is disappointed with the US stance that it will support a resolution at the forthcoming UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR) session in Geneva against Sri Lanka, External Affairs Ministry Secretary K. Amunugama has said yesterday. “We are disappointed with the US position. We have explained that the Sri Lankan government cannot rush to implement the LLRC recommendations.

The litmus test in Sri Lanka

Ahilan Kadirgamar
If President Rajapaksa is serious about a political solution to the Tamil question, he should outline his vision and a timetable for constitutional change.
Soon after meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa last month, Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna disclosed to the media, “The President assured me that he stands by his commitment to pursuing the 13th Amendment plus approach.”

One killed, three injured as STF fires at protestors in Chilaw .

One person was killed and three others were injured when the STF opened fire at a group of fishermen protesting in Chilaw a shortwhille back, residents claimed.  The fishermen were protesting over the increased fuel prices in the town. They were marching from the fish market to the town.

Erase the Illegal Armed Groups

Chanakyan
 In the expression of its intentions as in the profession of its earnestness, the credibility of the Sri Lankan Government is now at its lowest. The world knows it well and the Tamils know it best. The President is unaware of it and the government is oblivious to it. A sensitized, vocal and articulate international community has an obligation of great moral dimension.

Govt. mismanaged balance of payments crisis, now remedies more painful

*Central Bank needs to be modest enough to accept criticism *How Cabraal debunked concerns raised last year
Reiterating what has been said in these pages over the past few days, Dr. Harsha De Silva MP, economic spokesman for the UNP, said mismanagement of the balance of payments crisis has resulted in the prescribed remedies being more costlier to the economy.

TNA welcomes US stance

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) welcomed the announcement by the US Government to support a resolution at next month's UN Human Rights Council.  “The TNA welcomes the US announcement which was jointly made by the two visiting US envoys, Robert O Blake and Maria Otero. The problem with the Lankan Government is that they do not approach the issues with a positive note, ...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Burning body found in Thimbirigasyaya

A person’s body is burning at Boteju Mawatha, a byroad in Thimbirigasyaya, Colombo. There is suspicion that it is the body of Nethias Chandrapala alias ‘Kudu Mervyn’ who was abducted by armed men in a white van near the Hulftsdorp court complex yesterday (Feb. 13).

Lawyers and relatives protest against court abduction

A group of lawyers protested outside the court complex on Tuesday demanding an end to unresolved abductions.
A silent vigil was held after a suspect was abducted on Monday from the gates of the court complex in Colombo. "Someone should take responsibility for these abductions. This is a threat to the independence of the judiciary," leading human rights lawyer, Chrishantha Waliamuna told the BBC.

Police beat up protestors demanding abducted ‘Mervyn’

Police have reportedly beaten up participants of a protest against the abduction of a suspect in a drug case while in prison custody.  This morning (Feb. 14), family members and friends of Nethias Chandrapala alias ‘Kudu Mervyn’ demonstrated in front of the Hulftsdorp court complex.

Is The Military Operating Within Legal Limits?

Questions are being raised about revenue from special projects undertaken by the Sri Lankan Army, Navy and Air Force personnel.  Many personnel from the three armed forces are involved in commercial businesses after the war.
 According to the spokespersons of the three armed forces, all revenue goes to welfare funds which in turn are used for the welfare and rehabilitation of their forces’ personnel.

It is critical to ensure the rule of law to foster lasting reconciliation - Maria Otero

''I confirmed that the United States will support a resolution in the United Nations Human Rights Council in March that provides an opportunity for the government of Sri Lanka to describe what it intends to do to implement the LLRC’s recommendations and advance reconciliation as well as address accountability, human rights, and democracy concerns.'' 

UN rights chief raises concern about Sri Lankan to Ban

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay said on Monday that she has raised concerns in a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon about the appointment of a Sri Lankan army general to Ban's senior advisory panel on peacekeeping.

Rupee in sharp fall, down 3% against dollar - Banks feel the pinch as liquidity tightens

The rupee had a steep fall against the dollar closing at Rs. 117.20/30 on Monday (Feb 14) as the Central Bank stayed clear away from the foreign exchange market.
 Dealers said the rupee to fell to around 117.50 against the greenback during the day, with some trades going at Rs. 118. But the currency gained some ground to close at Rs. 117.20/30.

Meeting challenge of anticipated human right resolution in Geneva

Jehan Perera
There are indications that the US Government will support a resolution at the forthcoming March session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that, among other things, will call on the Sri Lankan government to implement the recommendations of its Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is reported to have sent a letter to the government that acknowledged that the final report of the LLRC had made a number of important and positive recommendations for promoting national reconciliation,

Monday, February 13, 2012

Australia's response to Sri Lanka's LLRC Report

The Australian Government has studied closely Sri Lanka's Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) Report, and welcomes its recommendations for addressing the post-conflict situation. It has also expressed concern however that the report fails to fully address alleged violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.

UNP spotlights positives and negatives in LLRC report

The number of deaths, those injured and requiring assistance in the government's war with Tiger guerrillas remains yet to be properly counted, the United National Party (UNP) said on Friday. It has accused the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) of failing to "adequately inquire" into the reasons why the government failed to properly estimate the number of persons who would be confined to camps and trapped in no fire zones.

The core of power has to change

 Kishali Pinto Jayawardene 
In the morass of confusion worse compounded that Sri Lanka currently finds itself in regarding the implementation of the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), it is important to reiterate and underscore certain valid truths.

US says Lankas has not done enough on LLRC recommendations .

The United States will support a resolution in the UN Human Rights Council in March that Sri Lanka has not done enough to implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), US  Assistant Secretary South and Central Asian Affairs Rober O. Blake said today.

UNHCR: March action planned against Lanka, for a mid-year body blow?

Namini Wijedasa
For months, Sri Lanka fought off calls for an international probe into war crimes allegations by marching its Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission down the catwalk. Look, the government said firmly, let our domestic mechanism complete its work first. It was not something the world could dismiss. International devices gained relevance only if local processes failed.

Abductors threaten the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka

An open letter to the Attorney General
Basil Fernando
We wish to bring to your notice the abduction of Ramasamay Prabhakaran, 42, who was bundled into a white van by seven men armed with assault rifles and hand guns. This was two days before a fundamental rights case filed by him was to be taken up.

Sri Lanka sunk in irredeemable coma

Rajasingham Jayadevan
Propagating the war victory is an easy task for the victor in a historically conflict ridden country that has deep rooted hatred and animosity between the communities. In the fast progressing world order, defending a heartless war is not an easy task. Almost three years since the defeat of the LTTE, the government of Sri Lanka is engaged in a pathetic and negative campaign to muddy the truth of the war, whilst the very truth is slowly and steadily seeping through the repressive mechanisms of the government.

Petrol, diesel cost govt. only Rs. 75, 71 respectively - Ravi K

 *Complying with IMF diktats – UNP; *Result of waste and not Iran factor – JVP
The Opposition yesterday slammed the government for increasing fuel prices. The price of a litre of Octane 90 petrol was raised by Rs. 12 to Rs. 149, the price of a litre of diesel by Rs. 31 per litre to Rs. 115, a litre of kerosene by Rs. 35 to Rs. 106 and a litre of Octane 95 petrol Petrol by Rs. 12 to Rs. 167.

Pressure mounts on Sri Lanka accountability

The EU motion comes as the US Assistant Secretary of State, Robert Blake, visits Colombo
While a senior US diplomat is in Sri Lanka to discuss accountability issues, the European Parliament has called on the United Nations to establish an inquiry into the alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka.

Wellawatte businessman abducted ahead of FR case

An armed group grabbed a businessman from outside his residence at Wellawatte around 3.30 p.m. yesterday, two days before a fundamental rights case filed by him was to be taken up. Police said Ramasamay Prabhakaran, 42, was bundled into a white van by seven men armed with assault rifles and hand guns before it sped towards Dehiwala.

Lankan minister in drunken brawl made to leave Kovai

Arumugam Thondaman, Sri Lankan minister for livestock, allegedly misbehaved with the women staff of a five star hotel in an inebriated condition here on Friday, police said.  They said a team from the Race Course police station rushed to the hotel following a SOS call from its staff and got him back into his room, using ‘mild force’ when its plea for calm was brushed aside by the abusive guest.

Sri Lanka: SEP open letter to the defence minister

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka)
To the Minister of Defence,
The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) condemns the illegal action of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in banning the party’s scheduled public meeting in Jaffna on January 29. The decision is an attack on the basic democratic right of the SEP, a legally recognised party, to carry out an entirely legitimate and lawful political activity.

Sexual harassment of tourists on the rise


The increasing number of cases of harassment of tourists and of sexual abuse in the south has prompted police to discuss the issue with hoteliers to ensure the safety of tourists. Senior DIG Southern Range Lalith Jayasinghe told the Sunday Times, discussions were held with owners of tourist hotels in the southern province on Thursday and Friday, on ensuring the safety of tourists. The discussions were held in Galle, Weligama and Tangalle.

Vijaya assassination: Politics kills police professionalism

Tassie Seneviratne
In an earlier article I outlined how high-profile interference frustrates police professionalism. In this context the Vijaya Kumaratunga assassination case is another that deserves elaboration. Vijaya Kumaratunga was a film idol who started politics in the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP). He married Chandrika Bandaranaike in 1978 and joined the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) under the leadership of Sirimavo Bandaranaike.

Will Basil and Gotabaya Rajapaksa hang themselves for the treacherous crime of criticizing war heroes to US envoys?

Tisaranee Gunasekara
“It is so depressing to think we suffer because we are fools” -  Bertrand Russell – (Sceptical Essays)
The February-March session of the UN Human Rights Council will be a trying time for the Rajapaksas. A US sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka is expected to come up in Geneva, if the regime fails to honour its own, repeated promises of justice and accountability.

The full implementation of the Thirteenth Amendment: What can be done?

Asanga Welikala
 There has been in recent weeks a revival of interest in the full implementation of the Thirteenth Amendment, as part of a broader on-going debate triggered by the publication of the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) about future constitutional reforms addressing the need for devolution and democratisation.

Increase in fuel prices brings Govt. & IOC big profits while masses are burdened – JVP

The price hike of fuel this time is the highest in the history of Sri Lanka and the government and Indian Oil Company are earning a large profit from the price hike says the Information Secretary of the JVP Parliamentarian Vijithe Herath at a press conference held today (12th) at the party head office to apprise the media regarding the stand of the JVP on the latest increase in fuel prices.

Judicial Intervention to Control Lawful Rallies? An Analysis on recent court orders obtained by Police to restrain meetings & rallies -By JC Weliamuna

Basic Liberties cannot be taken away by any State Organ Let me begin this article with the following often quoted words, worth reading and digesting.
"The law is not the private property of lawyers, nor is justice the exclusive province of judges and juries. In the final analysis, true justice is not a matter of courts and law books, but of a commitment in each of us to liberty and mutual respect." (Jimmy Carter, Dallas-Times Herald, April 26, 1978).

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sri Lankan refugee claimant acceptance rate by Canada drops from 91% in 2009 to 57% in 2011

Stewart Bell
 TORONTO • The refugee claims from the nearly 600 Sri Lankans who paid smugglers to ferry them to Canada are moving slowly and face dwindling odds of success, new statistics show.  More than two years after the Ocean Lady arrived off Vancouver Island carrying 76 Sri Lankan asylum seekers, only one has been accepted as a refugee so far, according to newly released Immigration and Refugee Board figures. Another has been ordered deported and the remaining claims are pending.

Police and political parties most corrupt, survey reveals .

According to a survey by Transparency International (TI) nearly 50% of Sri Lankans believed that the police and political parties in the country were the most corrupt institutions in the country.  In April 2011, 1000 people were interviewed from Sri Lanka and other countries in the South Asian including India, Nepal, Pakistan, Maldives and Bangladesh to determine the level of corruption in each country.

Government expects & fears an upheaval

President Mahinda Rajapaksa informed Parliament yesterday (10th) that personnel of all armed forces were called for active duty. The Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody presented this announcement to Parliament.