Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Impeachment of CJ: The regime obsessed with control and not giving a damn as to the fall-out

 Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu
 Accounts, claiming varying degrees of authenticity abound of the impending impeachment of the Chief Justice. This is not the first time this has been attempted. Denizens of Hulftsdorf within its ranks stopped the UNF government in its tracks from attempting to do this. A third of the members of parliament are required to sign a motion to this effect, which once entertained by the speaker will go to a select committee. The findings of that committee are reported back to parliament, which votes after a debate on whether to impeach the Chief Justice. All that is required is a simple majority.

Bill to repeal 13 A could be UPFA government’s first defeat in Parliament

 Sumanasiri Liyanage 
Following the virtual repeal of the 17th Amendment as a necessary corollary of the enactment of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka, chauvinist forces in the South began to mull over further amending the Constitution by using the government’s two-third majority in Parliament. Their target has been the 13th Amendment introduced in 1987, when for the first time in independent Sri Lanka the devolution of power was introduced to make the government structure more democratic and decentralised, many flaws of the newly introduced system notwithstanding. With the decision of the Supreme Court on the Divineguma Bill, and the new issue as to whether the decision of the Provincial Governor could be considered that of the Provincial Council, we witness today a re-emergence of the debate on the place and future of the 13th Amendment on the constitutional landscape of Sri Lanka.

The UN panel report, “The Cage” and “Still Counting the Death,” do not accept genocide - Tamil Net

ICE orchestrates once again to deviate from crux of the matter
Following deliberations by Norway’s Erik Solheim, ICG’s Alan Keenan and the UNSG panel member Yasmin Sooka at Frances Harrison’s book launch in London earlier this month, the Emeritus President of the ICG and former foreign minister of Australia, Gareth Evans on Friday was harping on war crimes of both sides, accountability of the remaining side and post-mortem on the UN, but omitting the ultimate culprits and deviating from the crux of the matter– the genocide and the national question in the island. He is now advisor to International Crimes Evidence Project, a recently established outfit in Australia. While Dr. Radha D’Souza exposes the deviatory tactics of such orchestrations, Tamils have to think of alternative international mobilisation of opinion.

Lawyers urge Govt. to cease attack on Judiciary

 ■ Public called to stand by Chief Justice, the Judicial Service Commission

The Lawyers for Democracy (LfD) said in a statement that it is concerned about the ongoing unprecedented mudslinging campaign and all forms of attacks against the Judiciary. 
 “This has far reaching and repercussions on the rule of law. We are shocked to hear of the contents of the parliamentary debate where there were baseless attacks on the JSC and we are further disturbed at the fact that the Parliament has been misled on the appointment of the Secretary of the JSC.

UPFA collects 118 signatures to impeach CJ .

The constituent parties of the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) decided yesterday, at a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, to bring an impeachment motion against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, Daily Mirror learns.

It is learnt that the leaders of the constitution parties had discussed the charges to be leveled against the CJ in such an exercise.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Govt is Playing Dr.Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on Political Solution-TNA Leader R. Sampanthan

Fredric March as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ( Yam Magazine)
TNA leader R. Sampanthan says that the government is playing Jekyll and Hyde on the political solution to the Tamil grievances. He spoke to Afreeha Jawad on a gamut of issues.
There is widespread belief of an unwillingness on your part to take part in the parliamentary select committee for a negotiated settlement to end the ethnic crisis. How would you respond to this?

IBAHRI calls on Sri Lanka Government to promote rule of law and prevent harassment and intimidation of judges and magistrates

In a confidential letter to the President of Sri Lanka, His Excellency Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa, and to the Sri Lankan authorities, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) expressed grave concern about recent threats to the independence of the judiciary and called for the rule of law to be adhered to, and promoted, in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka's garment industry feels GSP+ loss

Sri Lankas apparel exports are suffering from the loss of the EUs GSP+ scheme
Sri Lanka's apparel exports are suffering from the loss of the EU's GSP+ scheme
Two years after it was formally removed from the GSP+ scheme that allowed duty-free exports to the EU, Sri Lanka's apparel industry says it is feeling the loss of the preferential tariff system.

Sri Lanka's removal from the EU's GSP+ scheme in August 2010 came six months after the country was withdrawn from the preferential tariff initiative following allegations of non-compliance with the qualification criteria.

Now, two years later, Sri Lanka's apparel industry, the biggest user of the GSP+ when it was available, says exports are feeling the loss of GSP+ and wants it back. But the dilemma facing the sector is how to achieve this.

Travesty of Justice: The Final Medal For A Major’s Service

Chanaka Roshan
The Military Intelligence Corps (MIC) is like the heart of a country’s defence force. In the Eelam war, this particular unit in the Sri Lanka Armed Forces made a painstaking effort to gather and retrieve information about the activities in Tiger controlled areas and about their leaders. It was because of the unique talents of these men, hard core LTTE leaders like “Newton” got disappeared in the streets of Colombo. It was the MIC which terrorized the terrorists.

World Bank pulls out due to lack of transparency

The World Bank has withdrawn its assistance for capacity development of the parliamentary oversight committees – the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the basis that the government has not agreed to bring about necessary changes in the legal structure, informed sources said yesterday.
The World Bank had agreed to provide a financial assistance package of US$494,000 to strengthen these two committees and to develop the capacity of the parliamentary secretariat dealing with them.

Buddhist Mahanayakes say ‘out with the 13th A’

Sri Lanka: Buddhist monks wield immense political power 
The Mahanayakes of the Asgiriya and Malwatte Chapters have called for the repeal of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. The Mahanayakes said all should join hands by putting aside all party differences to scrap the Provincial Council system, which is causing divisions and is detrimental to the well being of the country.
Asgiriya Mahanayake Thera Most Ven. Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha and Malwatte Mahanayake Thera Most Ven. Thibbottuwe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala expressed these views when Construction, Engineering Services,Housing and Common Amenities Minister Wimal Weerawansa called on them to seek their blessings for his intended action to campaign to abolish the 13th Amendment to the Constitution .

Monday, October 29, 2012

War crimes in Sri Lanka have been ignored too long

Vanni May 2009
GARETH EVANS / The Australian
ONE of the worst atrocity crime stories of recent decades has barely registered in the world's collective conscience. We remember and acknowledge the shame of Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. We agonise about the failure to halt the atrocities in Syria. But, at least until now, the world has paid almost no attention to war crimes and crimes against humanity comparable in their savagery to any of these: the killing fields of Sri Lanka in 2009.

Restrictions and intimidation on journalists covering resettlement process in the Vanni

“The Government should ensure the freedom of movement of media personnel in the North and East, as it would help in the exchange of information contributing to reconciliation” (Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, recommendation 9.115-d)
After more than 11 months of the LLRC report being handed over to the President, the above recommendation remains far from reality, despite the National Action Plan to Implement Recommendations of the LLRC reaffirming it by committing to identify and remove impediments to free movement of media personnel in the North and East.

UPR sessions: Over 90 countries speak positively on SL - EAM

Out of a total of 99 countries that will speak on Sri Lanka's progress on human rights development at the United Nations Human Rights Commission's Universal Periodic Review(UPR) sessions, more than 90 countries will speak positively on the county's HR performance and achievements, External Affairs Ministry Secretary Karunathilaka Amunugama said yesterday.

He said Sri Lanka will not announce any voluntary pledges to the UNHRC at the forthcoming UPR session that it cannot fulfill later and it will answer questions raised by other countries during the process as a sovereign nation.

Reply to presidential media advicer Lucien Rajakarunanayake Why not a referendum on Kashmir-Eelam?

Policy and Information Director,Presidential
Secretariat, Lucien Rajakarunanayake.
By S. V. Kirubaharan, France
I read Lucien Rajakarunanayake’s article, “Why not a referendum on Kashmir-Eelam?” published in the Sri Lankan government media, the ‘Daily News’ of 28 April 2012. Even though it is late, I would like to write some brief comments about this article.

In the past I have sent a few comments, replies and queries regarding some articles appearing in the ‘Daily News’. But they were neither published nor did I receive a reply. Therefore, I don’t want to waste time anymore in sending comments to the ‘Daily News’.

Open appeal to Human Rights Council: At UPR – Sri Lanka prevail upon Sri Lanka not to dismantle the 13 amendment and provide speedy political solution

An open appeal to the UN HRC in connection with the Universal Periodic Review in November, 2012  on Sri Lanka urging  it  to  prevail  upon Sri Lanka to stop the dismantling  the devolution of powers that have been conferred on the Provincial Councils by the provisions of the  13th Amendment to the Constitution.
NfR Sri Lanka, a net work of journalists and human rights defenders,  makes this urgent and open appeal to the members of UN Human Rights Council in the context of the up coming second session  of the Universal Periodic Review. The human rights situation of Sri Lanka is to be reviewed during this session commencing on  1st November 2012. 

Impeachment against present CJ next month

A group of government MPs is preparing to move an impeachment motion against Chief Justice (CJ), Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, in Parliament in the near future. This situation has arisen subsequent to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) filing charges against Pradeep Kariyawasam, for purchasing shares of a loss-making company at a high rate, while serving as the Chairman of the National Savings Bank (NSB).

The disgraceful confessions of a former Chief Justice

Sri Lankan tsunami survivors pay tribute to a grave ( AP photo)
The triumphal confession of a former chief justice Sarath Silva reported in the Daily Mirror of 16 October 2012 while making a speech at an opposition meeting in support of Sarath Fonseka of the opposition to President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka is indeed a severe indictment on the manner in which the rule of law is being administered and obtaining in Sri Lanka. This confession was made not in remorse or contrition but in a spectacle of wimpish exposition of his disgraceful verdicts originally intended to gain favour with Rajapaksa now transformed into pleasing the opposition which should be ashamed of their newly found ally and fight shy of him lest he causes more embarrassment unless this is the intended norm.

CMB should not fear intl. pressure over 13A

Former Foreign Minister, Rohitha Bogollagama yesterday said the Government should not fear international criticism over the issue of the 13th Amendment but should have an alternative if it wanted to scrap it.
Bogollagama pointed out that whatever solution the government had the 13th Amendment should be placed before the people for approval.

He said if the government was of the view that the 13th Amendment did not qualify as a solution to the problem it was time to look beyond such a procedure through consensus among all parties concerned.

Church vandalized in Trincomalee, mosque burnt in Anuradapura

Unidentified gangs, believed to be Sinhala extremists, have destroyed a statue at a Catholic church located at Paazhaiyoottu in the Trincomalee Divisional Secretariat division Friday night. In the meantime, Thakka Mosque has been put on fire Saturday early morning around 2:30 a.m. on Hajji festival day at Sinha Hanuwa in Malwathu Oya at Anuradhapura district, news sources in Trincomalee said.  
Two hands of the statue at the church were destroyed and electric lights used to decorate the statue have been removed.

The ugliest attack in Sri Lanka’s history on the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

The Mahinda Rajapaksa regime has resorted to the ugliest attack in Sri Lankan judicial history on the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice this week by using the state media as a slander machine and through employing the state media to introduce deliberately manufactured slanderous letters to the parliament solely with the purpose of abusing parliamentary privilege for biased purposes. The government has within its ranks, schemers of the lowest quality who have little scruple in manufacturing any lie to suit their purpose and thereafter using others to introduce and propagate such lies in the highest legislative assembly of the country, namely Sri Lanka’s parliament.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

UPR Sri Lanka 2012: Questions submitted to Sri Lanka in advance

Number of countries have submitted dozens of questions in advance for the Government of Sri Lanka to respond at the up coming UPR - Sri Lanka session. The Sri Lanka human rights situation will be taken up at the UPR on  Thursday 1 November 2012  from 2:30 pm - 6:00 pm.  93 countries have registered to speak at the UPR - Sri Lanka. Each country will be allocated only 1 minute and 12 seconds to speak. GoSL gets 70 minute to make its oral submission. The questions submitted in advance and  posted on the OHCHR web site are follows:

Single-Issue challenge gains momentum; Many are striving but only one will be chosen

Kumar David
About two months ago I mooted the concept of a Single-Issue (SI) challenge and the need for a SI candidate committed to abolishing the Executive Presidency (EP) forthwith upon winning the next presidential elections. The idea has gained momentum, won the attention of a diversity of political formations and stirred some individual ambitions. Every opposition party, even the UNP, has been smoked out into the open and been compelled to pronounce opposition to EP. Even within the UPFA some make no secret of their aversion to the Executive Presidency. Socialist Alliance leader DEW, though a Cabinet Minister, does not conceal that he detests the EP. Senior SLFP Ministers agree that EP is a curse but are silenced by the dangling carrot of a Prime Ministerial appointment when DM takes his trip to the land from which no traveller returns.

Options for Procrastinating on the 13th Amendment

Gomin Dayasri
Hark, hark, dogs do bark; sleeping dogs – the procrastinators, warm stools in high places without attending to the imperatives after securing a 2/3 majority. Awake before it’s too late- this could be the last call on the 13th Amendment.
The impact of the 13th amendment can be diminished or demolished, satisfactorily, if the legitimate grievances of Tamils, as identified in the LLRC report and accepted by the government in its Action Plan presented to Hillary Clinton, is implemented/ This is a preferred alternative. It means directly addressing the problems of Tamil people in the North/East, satisfying their prime necessities. Political power the TNA seeks through the 13th amendment to reach a circumscribed federal status is ancillary and could be averted.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The First ( Rajapaksha) Family (FF) stands to receive in commission of US$1.2 to US$ 1.8 billion during 2005-15

Rajeev Sharma
The Dragon’s shadow is lengthening over Sri Lanka with every passing day. China has committed since 2005 contracts and investments worth US$ 6.4 billion, as per treasury records. So far, $ 3.6 billion has been disbursed. Projects worth $ 2.8 billion are waiting to be signed. In another three years, the Chinese investment in Sri Lanka will nearly double and touch $ 12 billion.
Is Mahinda Rajapaksa, the sixth president of Sri Lanka, lily white like the shining white dress he wears in public? The answer is a resounding no for a wide variety of things and facts that are surfacing as he entered the seventh year of his presidency.

Is there any hope in COPE?

By Kelum Bandara
Minutes after day’s business started in Parliament on Thursday, Senior Minister D.E.W. Gunasekara rushed to his seat in the chamber of the House, as he was to present the interim report of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE).
The COPE, the parliamentary watchdog committee on financial performances at state bodies namely boards, bureaus, commissions and authorities, has furnished its interim report spotlighting financial malpractices and irregularities at 32 institutions which came under scrutiny so far this year.

The executive is exposing Sri Lankans to a dangerous situation by ruthlessly attacking the judiciary

Mahinda Rajapaksa's government is now engaged in a ruthless attack on the Chief Justice, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and the independence of the judiciary in general. The immediate reason for the attacks is the Supreme Court decision against the Divineguma Bill and the JSC decision to take disciplinary action against a judicial officer alleged to have been engaged in corruption who is supposed to be close to the government.
At the moment the attack is being led by Minister G.L. Peiris whose unscrupulous commitment to defend the executive for his own personal reasons has been demonstrated time and time again. The law and the independence of the judiciary seem to be far removed from the comprehension of this one-time professor of law.

Friday, October 26, 2012

India: 50,000+ Activists Demand Justice for Sri Lanka

Locked Away: Demand Justice for Sri Lanka. Give a Missed Call to 080 6700 6666.
Sri Lanka appears before the UN Human Rights Council in October to report on its progress in the human rights arena.
Just 24 hours ago, Amnesty India launched its first major campaign from within India. In just a day, more than 50,000 people from all over India have called or sent an SMS to us to show their support and solidarity for the victims of injustice in Sri Lanka. Our first campaign: "Demand Justice in Sri Lanka," has raised more activism than we could have anticipated, showing that human rights is indeed a boiling issue in India. And it's just Day One of an five-day campaign. Keep the calls coming.

The call by Mr. Gotabhaya to annul the 13th A , echoed by his blood hounds, is not a slip of the tongue, some idle, conjectural suggestion

Right of self-determination of the oppressed Tamil nation must be defended
On the Politics  of the 13th Amendment. By: Surendra Ajit Rupasinghe
 The Secretary to the Ministry of Defense, a non-elected bureaucrat appointed by his  brother, has declared that the 13th Amendment should be annulled since it constitutes a breeding ground for separatism. The not so-Hon. Wimal Weerawansa of the ex-JVP neo-fascist brigade declares his vow to join forces to abolish it. The JHU champions this cause publicly. Mahinda remains silent, and so does mummified Vasu. So, battle lines are being drawn on the 13th Amendment, as opposed to, say, the issue of war crimes, impunity  and human rights violations and the cost of living. Clever.

Sri Lanka must remain committed to devolution and the 13th Amendment

The post-war reconciliation process with the island nation's Tamil groups is in a shambles ( File Photo of Tamil refugees: The New York Times)
In a troubling development that can sour ties between New Delhi and Colombo, calls for repealing the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution have been growing louder. Disturbingly, the move against the 13th Amendment - a product of the 1987 Rajiv Gandhi-Jayewardene Accord that provides for devolution of powers to provincial councils - is being championed from within the ruling dispensation in Colombo. While Sri Lankan defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has openly called for abolishing the 13th Amendment, minister Wimal Weerawansa has written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa requesting a referendum to repeal the constitutional provision.

Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions Heyns on 40,000 Dead and Video Half-Shown in UN, UPR

Christof Heyns
Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS,- The UN system's Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions has inevitably dealt with Sri Lanka for some years, given the mandate.
Inner City Press on October 25 asked Christof Heyns what he has done, to follow up on his predecessor Philip Alston's work on video footage of executions, and otherwise. Video here, from Minute 32:25.
Alston deemed the executions video authentic, in a session in the UN's Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium. Heyns on Thursday told Inner City Press that he followed up on new video which came out after he took up the mandate in 2010, and subsequently appeared "in the Channel 4 documentary."

India’s interests in Lanka; Neighbourhood can’t be ignored

Indo- Lanka Agreement singed in 1987
Raj Chengappa
The decision to increase engagements with Sri Lanka in the area of defence shows the realisation has ultimately dawned on the UPA government at the Centre that relations with India’s neighbours cannot be allowed to be dictated by state-level parties. If there is a clash between the interests of the nation and those of a state, the former should get precedence. It is, therefore, in the fitness of things that Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma had wide-ranging talks with his Sri Lankan counterpart Gotabaya Rajapaksa in New Delhi on different issues related to defence. Sri Lanka is a very important neighbour of India and had been eagerly looking for different kinds of help from New Delhi.

Gotabhaya’s Talk about Abolishing the 13th Amendment!

Laksiri Fernando
Anyone of course has a right to advocate ‘abolishing the 13th Amendment’ or anything else for that matter. Sri Lanka should be a free country for peaceful political expression. But what is worrying is the almost ‘fanatical’ advocacy of the ‘abolition of devolution’with the 13th Amendment by the Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. What is apparent is his ‘anti-Tamil’ crusade.

Devolution and the 13th Amendment are the ‘trophies’ that the government has been showing the international community and the UN as indications of Sri Lanka’s commitment to resolve the ethnic question in the country. Backtracking on them would undoubtedly spell disaster for the country in the international sphere.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

“Get rid of the 13th Amendment” – Elle Gunawansa Thera, a member of the Police Commission

Gunawansa Thero with the President
President of the Deshaya Surakeeme Jathika Viyaparaya (DSJV) Ven. Elle Gunawansa Thera urges the government to abolish the 13th Amendment as it has created so many problems in Sri Lanka.

He says that he had vehemently opposed  the introduction of the controversial 13th Amendment to the Constitution when it was done by the rulers and to date he has not changed his view or stance.

In an interview with LAKBIMAnEWS the thera, known for his vociferous take on national issues said that he and several Buddhist monks had staged a satyagraha in front of the Bo tree in Pettah alongwith the former Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaika.

IDP Expert Likens Sri Lanka to Cote d'Ivoire, Stayed Away from UN Probe

Dr. Chaloka Beyani, UN Special Rapporteur
on Internally Displaced Persons

By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS,  The strange treatment of Sri Lanka at and by the UN was on display on Wednesday in New York.
 The UN's Special Rapporteur on Internally Displaced Persons Mr. Chaloka Beyani gave a press conference. He was immediately asked by a fellow selected to come four months to the UN if he'd praise the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa for relocation of IDPs from the camps set up after the 2009 conflict -- called the "Bloodbath on the Beach" by another UN official -- to land in northern Sri Lanka. 

COPE spotlights six bad transactions .

The investment of Rs.1,137 million by the People’s Bank in the purchase of shares of Sri Lankan Airlines had impaired by Rs. 848.8 million in 2010, according to the interim report of the parliamentary Committee on Public  Enterprises (COPE) presented in the House today.

 In its interim report presented ahead of the annual budget, the COPE has identified six such transactions of poor accountability at various state institutions. The People’s Bank made this investment in the purchase of 4,236,135 shares of Sri Lankan Airlines when the Emirates Company sold them.

Centralising Power and Money – Devolving Poverty and Misery

Kusal Perera
 Short note on above with emphasis on how gradual “centralisation” of power in the hands of the Colombo governments, left poverty alleviation along with accrued wealth in and around Colombo a continuing debate and opens a dialogue on why power has to be devolved for provinces to address their own issues related to poverty and development, with democracy enhanced and enriched.

Those against 13A can leave UPFA and oppose it - Arundika. Fernando, MP. UPFA

The Government has no problem with the implementation of the 13th Amendment to Constitution and if any allied parties are against it they could break away from cohabitation and continue to oppose it after leaving the government, Puttalam District UPFA MP Arundika Fernando told Parliament yesterday.
Participating in the debate on new regulations on the Insurance Industry, the MP said that there were some within the government ranks providing anti-government slogans to the Opposition and thereby strengthening the hands of Opposition.

Repealing 13 A violates Mahinda Chinthanya

Harim Peiris
The Mahinda Chinthanya Way Forward, the 2010 election manifesto and indeed political vision and action plan of President Mahinda Rajapaksa has an importance and seriousness which exceeds the average election manifesto in a democratic society.
Now, an election manifesto itself is an important document, because from it flows, the concept of a mandate to rule, the consent of the governed that forms the core value of a democratic system of government amongst a sovereign people. A free and sovereign people, including Sri Lankans do not give their leaders including President Mahinda Rajapaksa, a blank check to govern according to various whims and fancies but support at periodic elections a stated set of policies and principles, which then forms the mandate by the people to their government.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

DIVINAGUMA DEVELOPMENT BILL Can it be made applicable to the Northern Province?

The fact that the president and the cabinet presenting a Bill to Parliament and
the President himself acting on behalf of PC to agree to Bill under Article 154 G(3).
By Lal Wijenayaka-Attorney-at-law
The Bill bearing the title ‘Divineguma’ which was published in the Government Gazette on 27th July 2012 and placed in the Order Paper of Parliament was challenged in the Supreme Court in terms of Article 121(1) of the Constitution. The Bill intends to repeal the Samurdhi Authority of Sri Lanka Act No. 30 of 1995, Southern Development Authority Act, No. 18 of 1996 and the Udarata Development Authority Act, No. 26 of 2005, in order to form one Department known as the Divineguma Development Department.

13-A: SLMC flays call for referendum

The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) will oppose any attempt by the government to hold a national referendum with a view to repealing the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, SLMC General Secretary M. T. Hassen Ali, MP, said
 Ali said: "Just because the government could not pass one Bill, it should not try to do away with the whole amendment. We will defend the 13th Amendment. It is unethical to hold a referendum at national level as the majority community would vote en-bloc in support of the move to repeal the 13th Amendment introduced as a panacea for the longstanding grievances of the minorities following the signing of the Indo–Lanka Accord in 1987."

Change 13th Amendment through a referendum - Basil Rajapaksha

Economic Affairs Minister Basil Rajapaksa says the government will not hesitate to introduce a 19th Amendment to the constitution (19 A) if it feels the 13th Amendment has some shortcomings.
Speaking to heads from the Tamil media, the Minister said that the laws should be made to fulfill the expectations of the public and if those laws have shortcomings then they need to be amended.

Why 13A should be repealed - I

Nalin de Silva
The thirteenth amendment is in the limelight again. Soon after the Supreme Court decided that the Divineguma Bill should be approved by the Provincial Councils the writer in his column in The Island of Sept called for the abolition of the thirteenth amendment. A campaign for repealing it has gathered momentum after the Defence Secretary Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa demanded that 13A be abolished. The thirteenth amendment serves no purpose for the people; it is only a source of income for the Chief Ministers, Ministers and the other council members. It is said that the 13th amendment would allow the Tamils living in the Northern and Eastern provinces to solve their problems as they are being discriminated against by the so-called Sinhala government.

Disciplinary action against 7 SLMC EPC members

The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) has initiated disciplinary action against seven of its members elected to the Eastern Provincial Council for not carrying out a party decision on the ‘Divi Neguma’ Bill, party sources said yesterday.
The sources said that the letters summoning them for a disciplinary inquiry had been sent to the seven SLMC EPC members.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sri Lankan military forcibly “resettles” Tamil detainees

 Class room under a tree
The Sri Lankan government last month announced a “remarkable achievement”—the resettlement of the last of nearly 300,000 Tamil war detainees. This was an outright lie. The government ordered the military to remove the remaining 1,200 refugees from detention camps erected after the end of the country’s civil war in May 2009, only to dump them in a roughly cleared area in thick jungle without basic facilities.

Jaffna protests Sri Lanka’s oppression of Tamil civic bodies

Protest in front of Nallor Piratheasa Chapai (PS)
13 elected civic bodies in the Jaffna Peninsula organized parallel agitations in their respective areas on Monday, protesting against occupying Sri Lanka’s violent intimidation and machinations blocking the mandated functions of the elected bodies. The protestors condemned the recent brutal attack on the Nalloor divisional council (Predeasa Sapai) chairperson Vasanthakumar, allegedly by SL military intelligence operatives, while he was attending legal procedures for recovering a civic body land occupied by the SL military.

Gotabaya gets Delhi invite ahead of UNHRC session

The Indian government has invited Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa to New Delhi for talks, ahead of next month’s session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, according to informed sources. The visit is expected to take place in the next few days because Sri Lanka’s case is to be taken by the UNHRC on November 1, under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) scheme. India is in the three-nation panel which will oversee the review.

No need to abolish 13th amendment - Fonseka

Former Army chief Sarath Fonseka says there is no need to abolish the 13th amendment, as wanted by government ministers and officials.
He has made the remark to BBC Sandeshaya following a public meeting at Padavi-Sripura.
Mr. Fonseka has said this particular piece of legislation cannot be done away with at the whims of certain persons.

'13th amendment call, an imperialist ploy’ - LSSP

Calls for the abolition of the 13th amendment to the constitution are part of an imperialist ploy against Sri Lanka, alleges senior minister Prof. Tissa Vitarana.

Abolition of the 13th amendment will effectively nullify the provincial council system, which will have an adverse impact on the country, he says.

Govt. allies want 13-A scrapped .

Several allies of the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) have decided to continue their campaign to pressure President Mahinda Rajapaksa to abrogate the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, by using the two-thirds majority in Parliament, Daily Mirror learns.  The Jathika Nidahas Peramuna (JNP) led by Minister Wimal Weerawansa and the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) have started a public campaign against the 13th Amendment.  The Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) led by Minister Dinesh Gunawardane has also decided to prevail upon the government in this regard.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Dangerous conspiracy to repeal the 13th amendment?

TNA leader Sampanthan:GoSL afraid of TNA leed North PC
 Seran Senguttuvan
 The 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution came by largely as a result of the Indo Lanka Agreement (1987) after substantial and careful study by legal and other experts of both countries.  The Agreement came at a time when the JR Jayawardena Government was under extreme pressure simultaneously from the JVP in the South and the LTTE in the North  - both having launched island-wide attacks on State utilities as well as the Police and the armed forces. It is reported in a crucial meeting called by President Jayawardena – in the presence of most of the senior Cabinet Ministers the President asked the 4 chiefs of the forces individually if they can hold the government’s writ in the event of attacks both by the JVP and the LTTE.

Near site of LTTE’s last stand, a victory memorial that Tamils don’t visit

Of the 19 divisions in the Sri Army, 14 are based in the Northern Province.(Photo:Yanuuk Willing)
Nirupama Subramanian R. K. Radhakrishnan
Letters from Lanka In the heart of northern Sri Lanka, near the place where thousands of Tamil civilians are believed to have been killed during the military’s last successful push against the LTTE, stands a powerful assertion of that victory.
 In the heart of northern Sri Lanka, near the place where thousands of Tamil civilians are believed to have been killed during the military’s last successful push against the LTTE, stands a powerful assertion of that victory.

Devolved Executive Powers Should be Exercised by Relevant Provincial Ministers and not Central Govt Ministers Argues Counsel for Petitioner MP

Wasantha Ramanayake
When the Divineguma Bill was taken up by the Supreme Court on Thursday to determine its constitutionality, counsel for a petitioner said that for the very reason the Supreme Court had decided that the Divineguma Bill should not have been placed on the Order Paper of Parliament on August 10, it should not have been placed on the Order Paper for the second time on October 9.

M.A. Sumanthiran appearing for Jaffna Parliamentarian M. Senathirajah told Court that the Court on its first determination of the Bill conveyed to the Speaker on September 18 held that the Bill should not be placed on the Order Paper of Parliament until every Provincial Council was consulted.

Landmark Supreme Court Judgment Recognizes ‘Economic Rights’ of Journalists in Sri Lanka

A stripped naked Tamil youth sits on a
concrete step at the Borella bus stand
as a laughing Sinhalese mob dance around him.
Dr.Wickrema Weerasooriya
In a ground breaking judgment – the first of its kind in Sri Lanka – which will especially interest proprietors and editors of newspapers, photographers and the media – a three judge bench of our Supreme Court recognized the “Economic Rights” of a newspaper journalist to nine exclusive photographs taken by him.

Several years later these photographs had been published in a newspaper without his consent, without his knowledge and without any acknowledgment. The journalist was awarded one million rupees in damages although the claim was for Rs.2.5 million.

The landmark judgment was delivered a few days ago on October 5, 2012, by Supreme Court Justice ShiraneeTillakawardane (with whom Justice Saleem Marsoof and Justice Hettige, both President’s Counsel, agreed).

Wimal calls for referendum to abolish 13-A

Close on the heels of Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa reiterating his call for abolition of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, the National Freedom Front (NFF) leader, Housing Minister Wimal Weerawansa, MP, has urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to hold a referendum to decide on the controversial amendment.
MP Weerawansa has sought an urgent meeting with President Rajapaksa to make a detailed presentation to the president in the wake of many nationalist groups, including the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) pushing for the abolition of the Amendment, which was forced on Sri Lanka under the Indo-Lanka Accord.

Defence Secretary repeats call for abolition of 13-A

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday reiterated that post-war political strategy of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) left him with no alternative but to strongly recommend the abolition of the 13th Amendment. He urged the government, the Opposition as well as the international community to examine the conduct of the one-time mouthpiece of the LTTE.
It was up to Parliament to decide on the 13th Amendment, the Defence Secretary said, adding that the eradication of the LTTE conventional military capability shouldn’t be a reason for the government to be complacent.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Executive Presidency the root of all evil; Are they preparing to lynch the CJ?

Kumar David
A fortnight ago several senior ministers were told to hold a press conference and con the public that the government was not after the blood of the CJ. In Lanka, in these times, people know this means they are planning to do exactly the opposite of what they say! They told us they would abolish the Executive Presidency, but they enacted the 18th Amendment which aims to impose it in perpetuity; they told us they would not privatise state assets, but they alienated every inch of prime property in Colombo and the best along the seafront to foreign capital; they promised reconciliation, but they won’t let the Tamils have the Northern Provincial Council. For these reasons I think an e-mail that is doing the rounds saying the President has decided to impeach the CJ and install Mohan Peries in her place is very believable.

Divi Neguma Bill Shows Govt Insensitivity To Power Devolution – Sampanthan

TNA Leader and parliamentarian R. Sampanthan says the proposed Divi Neguma Bill is a clear instance of the government’s insensitivity to the concept of devolving power to the provinces and fully implementing the 13th Amendment and build upon it to bring a meaningful devolution. He said the TNA delegation that was recently in India had pointed out the Bill as an example to the government’s failure to bring about a meaningful devolution of power. According to Sampanthan, the TNA will carry on the campaign against the insensitive conduct of the central government to centralize all powers in the center.
Following are excerpts of the interview:

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Indo-Lanka ties near breaking point; Moves to repeal 13th Amendment

Gota, JHU push for abolition of provincial councils; TNA-Govt. dispute back to square one
China wants to know what TNA discussed with India; KP issue comes up again

A deal brokered by India for the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to engage in a dual track dialogue with the government, revealed exclusively in the Sunday Times of October 7, has run into serious problems.
One such track was to be the resumption of the bilateral talks between the Government and the TNA. The other was TNA’s participation in the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC). In a dramatic turn of events, the TNA will not make any statement declaring its willingness.

SLFP MP lashes out at buyable politicos and names the price :Rs 40 million and Provincial Councillor or Local Government member for about Rs 5 to Rs.7.5 mn.Rs 40 million and Provincial Councillor or Rs 5 to Rs.7.5 mn. for Local Government member !

 Jayarathne Herath writes to president and party secretary
Kurunegala District UPFA MP Jayarathne Herath yesterday said that the SLFP should take tangible action to cleanse the party of corrupt elements or face the consequences.
The Kurunegla District organizer alleged that the new rich were making every effort to expand their influence in the party at the expense of those who had served the SLFP faithfully over the years. Asked by the Sunday Island whether he was accusing the UNP of causing trouble in the SLFP, MP Herath emphasized that the issue was essentially internal.

Change in India’s trans-shipment policy hits Colombo

Cochin Port
The Cabinet’s recent decision to relax India’s policy on granting ships the right to operate in its waters ~ its “cabotage policy” ~ has Sri Lankan media crying itself hoarse over how this is India’s latest attempt to punish Sri Lanka for seeking closer ties with China.
Government sources suggest that these Sri Lankan critics are correct.
On 6 September this year, the Cabinet decided to relax the cabotage policy under the Merchant Shipping Act of 1958 for trans-shipment of export-import (EXIM) containers to and from the International Container Trans-shipment Terminal (ICTT) at Vallarpadam, Cochin.

Executive Presidency must go: Venerable Sobitha thera

Venerable Sobitha thera n
Q: What role will you play in today’s common opposition rally at Hyde park?

The National Movement for Social Justice (Sadarana Samajayak Sadaha Wu Jathika Wiyaparaya) does not support any political party. We started this movement as citizens of this country who have a right to protest, while demanding a justifiable society, a law abiding rule and a country to live in, without bribery and corruption, where good governance is practised. We invite all political parties including the government and the opposition, nationalities and religions to join us, as no one should be against a justifiable society.

Internal divisions in Govt. over 13th Amendment, PC system JHU, NFF want it abolished, leftists want it retained

Senior ministers in the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government are apparently divided into two groups over the continuation of the Provincial Council system established in accordance with the 13th Amendment. Highly placed government sources said that while one group is in favour of the Provincial Council system, several others, including government partners, the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) and the National Freedom Front (NFF) are adamant that the 13th Amendment be abolished immediately. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa recently went on record, stating that the time has come to end the Provincial Council system.

However, other parties in the coalition, like the Sri Lanka Communist Party, Lanka Sama Samaja Party and Democratic Left Front have maintained that the government should not abolish the 13th Amendment.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Annual Tax on drinking wells ranging form Rs. 7,500 0 15,000

Sri Lankans who dig traditional or tube wells to obtain water for drinking, agriculture, commercial or industrial purposes will have to obtain an annual permit from the Water Resources Board (WRB) at fees ranging from Rs.7,500 to Rs.15,000.

JVP too wants 13 A repealed

Gotabhaya shouts as if he has seen a bad dream, we knew about 13th amendment in 1987 – Vijitha
The Defense Secretary, as if he has woken up suddenly from a bad dream, is making a big noise saying the 13th amendment should be amended but the JVP has been saying this since the Indo-Sri Lanka pact in 1987 as we saw the bad consequences of it even before it was adopted says the Information Secretary of the JVP Vijitha Herath.

From Divineguma to the Judiciary: the government faces a challenge

Harim Peiris
For the Rajapaksa Administration which pushed through the 18th Amendment to the constitution with barely a squeak of protest from society, the furor over the Divineguma bill must be hard to comprehend. The Bill is challenged in Court, the ruling is a defeat for the government and there is now a serious public debate over the issues concerned, with trade unions joining with protests and opposition to the Bill.
The timing of the furore over the Divineguma Bill comes at a fairly bad time for the government, faced as it is with serious confrontations with the judiciary, protests by FUTA and university students and a general increase in discontent in society. Such discontent is not easily quelled, especially from an administration, loath to make any real policy concessions or governance changes to accommodate dissent or diversity of opinion. The cosmetic time buying exercises merely postpone relatively briefly the day of reckoning.

Govt. needs to shift economic policy, says citizen group

article_image * Too much attention on infrastructure development, urbanisation, tourism
* Much more can be done for rural economy, poor

A network of citizen groups has sent in its proposals for the 2013 budget to the President, asking the government to give more weight to developing a macroeconomic and political strategy which would uplift the rural economy, marginalised communities and urban poor, instead of pursuing a course favouring infrastructure development, urbanisation, tourism and financialisation.

Organised in to the Active Citizenship for Development Network (ACDN) their recommendations cover four sectors of particular concern to their larger communities; agriculture, fisheries, estates, and state education.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tamil politicians, activists protest against SL military attacks on civic leaders in Jaffna

Tamil politicians and civil activists on Wednesday protested condemning the brutal attack Sunday on Paramsothy Vasanthakumar, the elected chairman of Nalloor Piratheasa Chapai (PS). Vasanthakumar was on his way to prepare a legal suit after lodging a formal complaint against the illegal SL military occupation of 5 acres of land belonging to the civic body when he was attacked. The attackers, alleged to be the operatives of the SL military intelligence, had followed Mr Vasanthakumar in motorbikes, assaulted him using sharp iron rods at Kokkuvil and forcibly removed the legal documents on the SL military occupied land together with a sum of money.

Sri Lanka frees Tiger leader wanted by India

KP seated in the front ( file photo: Hindu)
 The last leader of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers, who is wanted by India over the assassination of former premier Rajiv Gandhi, has been freed from military custody, the defence ministry said Wednesday.

Selvarasa Pathmanathan, who was arrested in August 2009, was no longer in detention and was free to carry out work for a charity he had formed, said Lakshman Hulugalle, the head of the defence ministry's media centre.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The TNA cannot be coaxed into the PSC with the ulterior motive of making a ‘majority decision’ at the PSC

UP country Tamils:a section of the citizens who voted in the 1947 elections were deprived of their citizenship itself and
their franchise soon after that by a democratic majority vote in the first Parliament!(Photo:secure. flickr)
The TNA Position on the Prevailing Stalemate regarding the Parliamentary Select Committee
M.A. Sumanthiran M.P.Today the most important question that is being asked of the TNA is “Why are you not joining the PSC?” This seems Iike a very reasonable question since the Government has quite successfully carried on a campaign to convince everyone that the only reason why a political settlement cannot be reached is because the TNA is being obstinate and is refusing to join this very democratic process of the PSC that has been initiated by the Government.

Sri Lankan ambassador to Geneva is “intentionally misleading” the UNHCR's 63rd Executive Committee - BTF

Ambassador Ariyasinghe
Addressing the 63rd Session of the Executive Committee of the UNHCR on Tuesday (2nd October 2012) Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha has said,

"Those who downplay the significance of Sri Lanka's post-conflict achievements and constantly keep shifting goal posts, show disrespect not only to Sri Lanka and its international partners whose steadfast commitment to this task has made these achievements possible“.

The deafening silence on electoral reform

Kath Noble
The Local Government Elections Act was amended last week, with no debate either inside or outside Parliament. But was the change genuinely uncontroversial? I don’t think so.
Given that the process was initiated in the immediate aftermath of the passage of the 18th Amendment, we should have been more suspicious. The 18th Amendment was part of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s post-war strategy to tighten his grip on power. He was thinking about how to make use of a moment at which he enjoyed unprecedented popularity to achieve what is best for him. Are we really to believe that reforms to the voting system announced just a few weeks later were about what is best for the country?

Military visited CPA on 15th, hate posters against CPA appeared on16th: Is there a connection ,ask CPA


16 October 2012, Colombo, Sri Lanka: The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) views with very serious concern the appearance of posters in Sinhala on Monday, 15th October 2012 in the environs of Colombo, the English translation of the text of which states: “Let us save the pro-people Divineguma Act that builds the lives of fifteen lakhs of low income families from the Paikiasothy gang that aids and abets the separation of the country.” Photographs of the poster are attached. The chilling import of the reference to CPA Executive Director, Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, requires no emphasis in the current political climate of violence against critics of the government and the culture of impunity for perpetrators. This is the most recent attack against CPA and its Executive Director. It must be unreservedly condemned.

Ban calls for speedy political solution to factors behind Sri Lanka’s civil war

                                                                              In a meeting with a senior Sri Lanka Government official, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today emphasized the need for to find a speedy political solution to the underlying factors behind the country’s civil war that ended three years ago with a Government victory over Tamil separatist rebels, according to his spokesperson.

In a meeting at UN Headquarters in New York with the Sri Lankan Minister of Plantation Industries and Special Presidential Envoy on Human Rights, Mahinda Samarasinghe, Mr. Ban noted the Government’s latest efforts on accountability as well as the steady progress on resettlement issues, his spokesperson added in a note to the news media.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Govt ready for NGO lobby at UPR ; Some NGOs have no loyalty towards the country

Sri Lanka is ready to answer any question that will be raised at the forthcoming Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United Nations Human Rights Council by any local or foreign non-governmental organisation, External Affairs Ministry Secretary Karunathilaka Amumugama said.

Asked about the secret submissions to the UPR against the government by the UK headquartered Tamil Global Forum (TGF) and several Tamil NGOs and international Human Rights organisations, Amunugama said: “These organisations including some INGOs have their individual agendas. “There are some NGOs that have no loyalty towards the country. They criticise the government as a practice or as a rule to secure their institutional frame in the UN system.”

Monday, October 15, 2012

India fully committed to the full implementation of the 13th Amendment and keeping tab on Divi Neguma Bill: TNA .

India is observing the developments with regard to the Divi Neguma Bill dubbed by many as an attempt by the government to take over powers devolved to the provincial councils under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) said yesterday.

 The TNA delegation returned to Sri Lanka on Sunday night after talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna.

Opposition cannot abdicate its role to judiciary

article_imageJehan Perera
The crisis that is brewing between the executive and judiciary is a sign that the system of checks and balances continues to be functional. In the past eight years since President Mahinda Rajapaksa became the Chief Executive the accumulation of power in the executive branch of government has grown apace and appears to be an unstoppable march. It was thought to have reached its apogee with the passage of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution by the present Parliament with a 2/3 majority. One section of this Amendment gave its assent to the President taking over the powers of appointment of heads to all key departments of government.

Intimidatory posters in Colombo against Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu over Divinaguma bill

Posters appeared Colombo  and its suburbs this morning against Dr. P. Saravanamuttu, the executive director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), a civil society think tank. The poster says: Lets us save the Divinaguma bill, which will build 1.5 million law income families form the Paikiasothy gang who are encouraging the division of the country. 

At least 75,000 of the 300,000 IDPs are still living in transit camps in North and East: Sampanthan

Recent photo of a resettled IDP family
Tamil National Alliance Chief Rajavarothiam Sampanthan today debunked the Sri Lankan government's claim that all of the nearly 300,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) who vacated the Menik Farms have returned to their homes in the civil war-ravaged Northern and Eastern Provinces.

‘Code of Criminal Procedure (Special Provision) Bill: Extended detention of persons, arrested without a warrant, could not be justified in a democracy - PSP

Bill gives police a free hand
The Frontline Socialist Party yesterday called upon the people to rise up against the government’s plan to bring in new laws in order to extend the period of detention of persons arrested without a warrant.

The FSP politburo, in a statement, said that a draft bill had been presented to the Parliament by the government on October 11, under the title ‘Code of Criminal Procedure (Special Provision) Bill’ to extend the detention period from 24 hours to 48 hours, after arrest to facilitate the investigation process.

Brevet colonels: Militarization of our schools? Editorial, Lakbima News

Principals as Colonels ( Photo: MOD)
Twenty three Grade 1 principals of the Sri Lankan Education Administrative Service were commissioned as Brevet Colonels of the National Cadet Corp last week, after a training programme conducted at the National Cadet

Training Academy in Rantambe. Plans are also afoot to commission another batch of Grade 2 principals as Majors of the National Cadet Corp. The rationale of this new endeavour is that military training would inculcate discipline, as stated by Secretary of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

What Sri Lanka sliding towards is neither military dictatorship nor fascist state but a totalitarianism of the corporatist variety

SL military has no alternative power base ( Photo credit: world military forum)
Kumar Davit
The Wimps have collapsed like a house of cards; and worse if the Divineguma Bill is enacted and Basil’s empire expands by Rs80 billion the sharing out of the 2013 budget allocations between ministries will be as shown in the accompanying diagram. It may be argued that 80 billion is a worst case scenario and 60 billion is a more realistic estimate of the increase in Basil’s muscle; in that case his prospective empire shrinks to 14% and the crumbs left over for the Wimps increase marginally to 34%. I have also shown the allocation for Education and Higher Education (Rs65.8 billion in total) as a separate slice on the pie chart since this is the burning topic of the day thanks to the FUTA strike action.

Disrespect for the courts and the law is out in the open;targeted attack on judicial staff and officers quite inevitable if the slightest dissent is shown

18th amendment:  the end of checks and balances for democratic governance ( photo credit : Asia Society)
Kishali Pinto Jayawardenae
The attack on the Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) last Sunday, which some have read justifiably as an attempted abduction, is certainly quite unprecedented in the history of this country.
We may have had tensions between the judiciary and the executive before. But the level of impunity with which this attack was carried out is both shocking and shameless in its audacity. Public confidence that due and proper investigations into the attack and the punishing of the perpetrators is abysmally low.

Repeal 13A without delay says Gotabhaya

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday called for the abolition of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution without further delay.

The ongoing efforts by a political grouping led by one-time LTTE mouthpiece, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to hinder the passage of the Divineguma Bill in parliament meant that in spite of Sri Lanka’s battlefield victory over terrorism separatist sentiments were strong, Rajapaksa told The Sunday Island yesterday.

Elections to Municipal Councils, Urban Councils and Pradeshiya Sabhas: How the new system will work

The Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Bill was finally passed by parliament last week. This is undoubtedly one of the most positive legislative steps taken by the government in recent times. This heralds a partial return to the first past the post electoral system that we had in this country more than three decades ago. There was a groundswell of opinion in the country that the electoral system should be changed to eliminate preference vote wars between candidates of the same political party. With the new laws what we will now have is a hybrid system with 70% of the representatives being elected on the first past the post system and 30% on the proportional representation system. This will be a completely new system for this country and the way it will work is this:

"I cannot go to the PSC with a clear conscience unless I have a commitment from Mahinda’’

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader Rajavarothiam Sampanthan declared here today that Sri Lanka’s Tamils are prepared for a give-and-take with the Sinhalese to evolve a pragmatic solution to the festering ethnic problem.
In an exclusive two-hour interview to the Sunday Island here today, Sampanthan made it clear that his party is committed to finding "a reasonable, workable and durable solution within the framework of a united Sri Lanka."
"The TNA is prepared to join the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) process to find such a solution. But, unless I have a commitment from President Mahinda Rajapaksa, I cannot go the PSC with a clear conscience. I am not prepared to betray my people," the 80-year-old veteran leader proclaimed.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sri Lanka: Rift between president and judiciary - A Socialist perspective

The anti-democratic nature of this course of action was highlighted by the fact that in the war-ravaged north,
where there is no provincial council,the government will seek the “approval” of the governor, a military commander
Sanjaya Jayasekera
Lower court judges and lawyers in Sri Lanka boycotted judicial work on Monday and Tuesday, to protest an attack on Judicial Service Commission (JSC) secretary Manjula Tilakaratne by pistol-wielding thugs on Sunday.

The JSC is a constitutionally independent body, headed by the chief justice and two Supreme Court judges, and responsible for the recruitment and transfers of lower court judges, and any disciplinary action against them.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Threats and Violence undermine democratic governance in Sri Lanka


"Anicca vata sankhara uppada vaya dhammino
 uppajjitva nirujjhanti tesam vupasamo sukho."

 "Transient alas are all component things
 subject are they to birth and then decay,
 having gained birth to death the life-flux swings
 bliss truly dawns when unrest dies away.

- Pali stanza recited at funerals, from J B Disanayaka’s The Monk and the Peasant (1993)

Uncovering the Truth About Sri Lanka's Civil War: a Painful But Urgent Task

Victims of war in Sri Lanka - IDPs
In May 2009 within a region of Sri Lanka known as the Vanni, government forces finally routed the rebel secessionist militia known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), drawing to a close the island nation's long civil war, an internecine struggle that had claimed 100,000 lives over 26 years.

Krishna urges Lankan Tamil delegates to resume talks

Krishna urges Lankan Tamil delegates to resume talks
Foreign minister S M Krishna again called for early resumption of talks for political reconciliation in Sri Lanka in a meeting with a seven-member delegation of the Tamil National Alliance led by R Sampanthan.
NEW DELHI: Foreign minister S M Krishna again called for early resumption of talks for political reconciliation in Sri Lanka in a meeting with a seven-member delegation of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) led by R Sampanthan. The TNA had pulled out of talks in January after the Lankan government came up with the proposal that further negotiations be carried out through a Parliament Select Committee (PSC).

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has himself declared that the talks - of which 18 rounds had taken place before January — will remain suspended until TNA joins PSC. India took up the issue with the Lankans during Rajapaksa's recent visit here insisting that talks must resume while describing TNA as a credible alliance.