Thursday, May 31, 2012

Human Rights defender, a job not without risk in Sri Lanka: Herman Kumara’s story.

Herman Kumara is a well-respected Sri Lankan human rights defender. Convenor of the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement, founder member of People to People Dialogue on Peace and Sustainable Development [PPD], an active member of Platform for Freedom [PfF], and a board member for the Women for Development Alternatives of Sri Lanka.

Mervyn Silva cleared at disciplinary inquiry

The SLFP central committee, at a disciplinary inquiry, has cleared minister Mervyn Silva of a charge that he had threatened the media.  The committee has taken the decision to clear him after the minister disowned the related remarks published in the media.

New Delhi cold-shouldering Colombo for over two years

Sri Lanka and India haven’t had a bilateral engagement at the top-most levels in governance, reflecting the changing priorities in New Delhi towards its immediate neighbourhood. A series of issues between Sri Lanka and India since the close of the Eelam war IV in May 2009, which saw the demise of the Tamil Tigers, has seen New Delhi cold-shoulder Colombo for over two years.

Sinhala Buddhist Nationalism Generally Perceives Muslims to be a Grave Threat

By Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri
The recent attack led by Buddhist monks on the Khairya Jumma mosque located in the so-called “sacred zone” of the Dambulla rock temple in the central province is important even though it did not develop into a larger scale clash between the Buddhist and Muslim communities of Sri Lanka.

US wants quick action on ex-LTTErs

The United States yesterday reiterated that it looks forward to a 'speedy and transparent judicial process' regarding ex LTTE combatants and all other detainees held in various prisons.  The US Embassy in Colombo made this remark in the wake of a campaign by some political activists to secure the release of LTTE suspects

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sharmini Boyle is FMM’s new convener

The Free Media Movement has appointed Sharmini Boyle of YA TV as its convener.The FMM appointed new office bearers at its general meeting at the SLPI yesterday (May 29).
Its secretary is Sunil Jayasekara of Iruresa, and Sampath Samarakoon of Vikalpa the deputy secretary.

No more changes occurred since the UN resolution: TNA informed Australian High Commissioner

Mawai Senathiraja making a point
Tamil National Alliance informed Australian High Commissioner that there was no more implemented in the country since the resolution pass against the SriLanka at the United Nation. They also noted number of military activities and interference increased in the Northern Province by day today basis.

HRW press for implementation of HRC Resolution

The US based rights organization, Human Rights Watch (HRW) in a confidential letter has urged Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to continue pressing Sri Lanka for a meaningful and expeditious implementation of the Human Rights Council resolution.

Unique temple of Tamil folk heritage found destroyed, desecrated in HSZ in Jaffna

A unique temple of Eezham Tamil folk heritage, dedicated to Kooddaththaar, a deity historically worshipped by a soldier guild that got absorbed into the toddy-tapping community, was found destroyed in bombing and its rare bronze idol sawed off and stolen at the Vasanthapuram locality of I’lavaalai in Jaffna.

EPF deals of 4 B.: ICEU complains to Bribery Comm.

The Inter-company Employees Union (ICEU) will lodge a complaint with the Bribery Commission today on the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) investments in the stock market. The ICEU said the EPF had incurred a massive loss of four billion rupees in this questionable deal.

Minister Douglas Devananda contemplating legal action against US State Department’s Country Report 2011

Douglas Devananda, Minister of Traditional Industries & Small Enterprise Development and also the leader of the Eelam People’s Democratic Party has taken exception to The Country Report For Human Rights Practices 2011 released by US State Department on 25 May 2012, where it has been alleged EPDP as one of the pro-government paramilitary groups which committed killings and assaulted civilians.

Gota wants to change demography: TNA .

Suresh Premachandran
TNA MP Suresh Premachandran refuting recent remarks made by Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that the statement was a prelude to changing the demographic patterns of the North.  In an interview with BBC, Defence secretary Rajapaksa has said it is not appropriate to view the north of the country, over which a separatist war was fought, as a predominantly Tamil area.

Muslim journalist assaulted for expressing solidarity with Mannaar Bishop

An official employed by the Sri Lankan Minister of Industries and Trade, Rishard Badurdeen, on Monday assaulted a 72-year-old Muslim journalist, MA Cader, for having taken part in a prayer expressing solidarity with Mannaar Bishop on Sunday with thousands of civilians of all walks of life in Mannaar.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Amnesty or Rehabilitation to Tamil prisoners; We reject special courts - mano

Government maintains a policy of selective justice. You have pardoned Vinayakamoorthy Muralitharan aka Karuna Amman, Chandrakanthan aka Pillaiyan, K. Pathmanathan aka KP and Daya master who were the most popular commanders in the LTTE. But you are keeping the small timers who executed the commands of these current government ministers while the both the commanders and executors were in the LTTE. It is the irony here.

ITAK's plan of attack : the break out strategy

by Dayan Jayatilleke
The keynote speech by Mr. R Sampanthan, the leader of the main Tamil parliamentary party at the recent congress of that organization is in many respects a landmark event. It sheds light on a number of key strategic issues and should make clear to the international community that the matter of political dialogue leading to ethnic reconciliation is, has become or is becoming rather more complex and fraught than is customarily thought.

A draft left programme: Somebody had better make a start drafting something

Part I,  by Kumar David
The dominant factor in Lankan politics is no longer the Tamil question. Three years after the war ended the national question has slipped from its position as the over-determining factor in Lanka’s political conjuncture and been replaced by the State as the principal location of the crisis.

Govt.-TNA multi-track engagement essential for national progress

By Jehan Perera
When assessing the government’s post-war performance it is the issues of accountability on human rights issues and a political solution to the ethnic conflict that take the international centre stage. On both of these counts the Government of Sri Lanka would fare poorly in international estimation.

A staggering sum of Rs. 3450 million in the EPF disappears

The Auditor general in the annual report on the employees provident Fund (EPF) had disclosed that a staggering sum of approximately Rs. Three thousand and forty five million had not been credited to the accounts of the members of this fund .Following the filing of action by the Commissioner general of labor  against private establishments these monies had been recovered for the fund.

Child abductions on rise in Jaffna

Local human rights watchdogs in Jaffna have blamed media for failing to cover the abductions that are on the rise in Jaffna peninsula this weekend as a father from Valveddith-thu'rai (VVT) managed to chase a vehicle that abducted his son, securing his release in Ki'linochchi and a media worker at the Indian Deputy High Commission in Jaffna found his abducted son returning from Ki'linochchi

Five thousand Catholics, Muslims and Hindus defend Mannar bishop against "vile" accusations

''Sri Lanka's Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, a Muslim, accuses Mgr Rayappu Joseph of stirring the Tamil community against Muslims in his region. People from across the country come together to demand an official apology. "No one defends our rights like the bishops," Muslims and Hindus say.''

Former Tiger fighters battle for a normal life

Formerfighters receive  training
Three years after Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war ended, thousands of former fighters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) face an uphill battle in re-establishing themselves, despite government efforts to rehabilitate them.

Monday, May 28, 2012

This is the final opportunity to bring lasting peace to this country - Sambanthan

LTTE leader's body

''The rise and fall of the LTTE taught us that regardless of how strong such a movement may be, or how just its demands may be, it is not realistic for the Tamil people to resort to violent political struggle. Further, a struggle that runs counter to the values of the international community, built only on military might, will not prevail.''

Who attacked Dharsanandh of Jaffna Uni?

Paramalingam Dharasandh
‘'The attackers came behind me from the side of the Natchimarr temple. Four people come on two motor cycles. The motor cycles were not new models. One of them I think was a red one. I did not see the numbers. I was riding a bicycle. Those who came after me in motor cycles suddenly pushed me down and started to assault me.''

'Tamils against military withdrawal':Dismantling camps will give rise to terrorism - Expert

Prof. Rohan Gunaratna
''Responding to comments by Sarath Fonseka on military camps in the North and the East should be reduced, Prof. Gunaratna said the threat of terrorism being revived is very real because supportive political elements and LTTE proxies are still active in Sri Lanka, India and in a few other countries.''

Fonny dances to Western tunes again

SO cortoon
Sarath Fonseka has again attempted to undermine the supreme sacrifices made by soldiers of the same Army he once commanded. Exploiting the special Presidential pardon that enabled him to leave prison with more than three years of his full five-and-a-half-year jail term left, Fonseka is now attempting to play the role of a traitor, political analysts said yesterday.

UK envoy summoned

The External Affairs Ministry summoned British High Commissioner John Rankin today and expressed displeasure over comments he had made in a video recently.

Rankin’s outrageous rant

John Rankin
by  The Nation
British High Commissioner, John Rankin, has openly challenged a statement made by President Mahinda Rajapaksa regarding scaling down of military presence in the North and East.  Rankin has stated that the LTTE is no longer engaging in military activities and as such questioned the logic of a military presence in these areas that is of a magnitude not seen in other parts of the country.

Cabinet-level mechanism to monitor progress

The government’s action plan on implementing the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission’s (LLRC) recommendations, that was presented to the United States includes a Cabinet-level Committee to monitor its progress, sources said.

Why military matters in the North?

 by Col. R. Hariharan
President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Victory Day speech this year on May 19 was largely a defensive discourse justifying the continued presence large army formations in the North. The sense of triumphalism that had become hallmark of Victory Day speeches was missing this year.

No More Diplomatic Appointments - Tamara Kunanayakam

Ambassador Tamara Manimehalai Kunanayakam, presently the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka Mission in Geneva had categorically stated that she is no more interested in holding any diplomatic position.  She said that she is not going to accept the position of Ambassador either to Cuba or Brazil and also not interested in continuing as the Head of the Permanent Mission in Geneva.

Sri Lankan Tamil party retains ‘separate state' constitution

The Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK), the main constituent of the Tamil National Alliance — the lone credible representative of Tamil people in the Northern Province — has refused to revisit its constitution, which seeks the establishment of a separate state, at its 14th national convention in the Eastern headquarter town of Batticaloa.

AG query exposes bad governance in Tourism Promotion MD appointment

 ■Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau MD post is a permanent position and comes under scheme of recruitment approved by Treasury
 ■Rumy Jauffer hired on one-year contract sans an application or a CV
 ■Not marking attendance, unlimited use of fuel among flags-off in Auditor General’s Department query

Gotabaya Rajapaksa -Three Years Later

FJ: Three years after the end of the war, the country is still facing international criticism. Do you personally believe that the LLRC recommendations should have been implemented without waiting for the international community to force the government to do so?

LLRC implementation: Now the Government tells NGOs, COME WITH US!

By Namini Wijedasa
The government will involve NGO critics in the drafting of its action plan on implementing the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, a key presidential adviser said last week.      Mohan Pieris, the former attorney general, revealed details of what he called the ‘preliminaries to the main action plan’ in an interview with LAKBIMAnEWS last week.

Participants of the impending protests fiercely threatened and intimidated by Govt.

The police and the army had been used to avert the protests that were scheduled to be staged at Vavuniya . The villagers who were to participate had been threatened and intimidated against taking part in the demonstrations. An injunction order had also been taken by the police to stop this protest demonstrations yesterday (23).

Jaffna girl abducted in white van

A 23-year-old girl was abducted by a group in a white van in Jaffna today (May 27).  According to eyewitnesses, there had been five occupants in the van.

Lanka dismisses US human rights report

Sri Lanka on Sunday dismissed a US report that questioned the human rights record of its police and security forces, saying that the situation in the island nation is "better than most of the countries with five star democracies".

Public trustee paid Rs. 144,000 for PM’s suit

The Public Trustee’s Department has paid Rs. 144,000 to ‘Sitha Stores’ for a suit for prime minister D.M. Jayaratne to be worn during a visit to Vavuniya.  JVP’s Sunil Handunetti made the revelation during the parliamentary debate on COPE.

Venue set on fire - Sampanthan re-elected leader of ITAK

The Tamil National Alliance leader R. Sampanthan was re-elected leader of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi at its 14th National Convention in the Eastern headquarter town of Batticaloa on Saturday.   Maavai Senathirajah was elected party general secretary.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

No Action Plan was taken to Clinton

Weerathunga and Peiris
Neither an Action Plan nor a formal document was handed over to US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton when a Sri Lanka delegation headed by External Affairs Minister, G.L. Peiris, held bi-lateral talks in Washington on May 18.

Reconciliation talks process at a dead end

The move to kick start a "reconciliation process" is headed for failure after the government ignored pre-conditions set by the United National Party (UNP). As a result, there will neither be a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to formulate a political package to address Tamil grievances nor direct negotiations between the government and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA). At least not for the moment.

Main Tamil party wants NE merger

The Illankai Thamil Arasu Kachchi, the major partner in the Tamil National Alliance yesterday resolved to call for the remerger of the Northern and Eastern provinces. The proposal was approved at the party’s General Council held in Batticaloa ahead of today’s annual convention.

Govt. slams door on UNHRC team

The Government is to reject a move by the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva to send a team to Colombo to discuss the offer of “advice and technical assistance” towards implementing the US-backed resolution on Sri Lanka.

New B’calo office of SLMC gutted in arson attack

A new office of the SLMC in Batticaloa has been destroyed in an arson attack.  The premises at Kathankudy were due to be opened by the Muslim party’s leader, minister Rauff Hakeem later today (May 26).

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Three Years on, Reconciliation is getting too late

by Dr Laksiri Fernando
When the government moved the army decisively against the LTTE in July 2006, it did the right thing, and there was no other viable alternative left. The peace process since February 2002 was not working and the LTTE was making a mockery of the peace effort by amassing arms and ammunition and blatantly violating the ceasefire agreement (CFA).

Stopping The Rot

''This bigotry and intolerance is untenable. It is wholly detrimental to the free thought, free speech and the advancement of society. Why in this day and age is a government afraid of a diversity of views? Why do they feel so threatened by detractors and critics that they feel it necessary to classify them as conspirators or traitors?''

Guided democracy

''These far reaching reforms were not the result of any home-grown proposal. In fact, no group or political association in the country asked for it. Indeed, the largest of them, the Ceylon National Congress, opposed the extension of the franchise.''

Cabinet rejects women’s rights commission

The cabinet has rejected a proposal for the appointment of a fully-fledged commission for safeguarding women’s rights.  Minister Tissa Karaliyadde had proposed the setting up of the 10-member panel, a majority of whom should have been women.

GMOA to sue fake heart patient over strike ban

The Additional District Judge of Colombo yesterday (25) vacated the Enjoining Order issued on Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) preventing their strike demanding transport allowance. Court issued this Enjoining Order on 11 May after considering a plaint filed by a heart patient who claims to be taking treatment at the National Hospital in Colombo.

“The university academics do not want a militarized society

Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) has expressed opposition to the leadership training for the post graduates.  FUTA spokesperson Dr. Mahim Mendis told Ceylon Today that university academics were not supportive of leadership training as the youth have to undergo training in military camps.

Protest against a Madarasa in Dehiwala

Buddhist monks took to the streets yesterday again demanding the demolition of yet another Muslim community building in Colombo, claiming it was illegal. Over 250 protestors led by Buddhist monks staged a demonstration yesterday in front of Galvihara Road, Dehiwala, calling for the demolition of the Madarasa ‘Darul- Qur’an lil Baranil Iman.

North: British HC disputes President’s claims

Many an eyebrow has been raised over contradiction by British High Commissioner John Rankin of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s claim of scaling down of the military presence and the non-involvment of the military in civil administration in the Northern Province since the conclusion of the conflict.

Friday, May 25, 2012

What’s next for General Fonseka?

''Yet, he will have to manage the charisma, admiration and respect he commands across the country and importantly from every part of the society to maneuver through the rough political terrains in bringing together , the young and old, ambitious and reserved, Northern and Southern, rich and poor, friends and old-friends, young people and the intellects, Marxists and the capitalists, and the list goes on''

SL military coerces Jaffna University students to closed-door talks

The commander of the occupying Sinhala military in Jaffna, Maj. Gen. Hathurusinghe, intimidated leaders of the boycotting students of the Jaffna University to come for a closed-door meeting at the occupation headquarters on Wednesday to tell them that the SL military would not provide security to students if they engage in political or social activities.

No police involvement in murder of the Tamil Canadian

By Gandhya Senanayake
 Police yesterday releasing a statement regarding the murder of the Canadian national which occurred on 23 May at 9:30 p.m. in Paranthan, Kilinochchi  stated that there was no basis for the alleging any involvement of the police or armed forces in his death.