Friday, February 28, 2014

When a dynasty read the future and It takes a Kumaratunga to pack up and quit

Nirupama Subramanian
Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, the former President of Sri Lanka, has among her photographs a collector’s item taken when she was an 11-year-old girl. Crowded into the frame are no less than five South Asian Prime Ministers who served at different times over five decades in the 20th Century: her father S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, mother Sirimavo Bandaranaike, herself (she was Prime Minister before she went on to win the presidential election in 1994), Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. There might have been six Prime Ministers in that photograph had Mrs. Gandhi taken her son Rajiv along on that visit to Colombo in 1956.

Sri Lanka’s northern house-funding gap: only 32 % has permanent house survey shows

Photo: Contributor/IRIN
Thousands remain without housing
(IRIN) - More than US$300 million is needed for the construction of over 60,000 new homes in Sri Lanka’s conflict-affected north, say aid officials. “There is very little, almost nothing that is coming by way of new funding for housing construction,” Jagath Abeysinghe, president of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRC) which is overseeing the construction of 20,000 new homes in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, told IRIN, attributing the shortfall to donor fatigue. “We should have sought funding for housing more aggressively almost immediately after the war ended. Since then other emergencies have dominated the limited global funding pool,” Abeysinghe said, calling for a government-led public appeal with the participation of the non-governmental and private sectors.

The government still has not answered basic demands for accountability and reconciliation - USA

Suppression continues ( file photo)
“We will do it in Sri Lanka, where the government still has not answered basic demands for accountability and reconciliation, where attacks on civil society activists, journalists, and religious minorities, sadly, still continue. Our concern about this ongoing situation has led the United States to support another UN Human Rights Council resolution at the March session. We will do so because we know countries that deny human rights and human dignity challenge our interests as well as human interests. But we also know countries that advance those values, those countries that embrace these rights are countries that actually create opportunities.” -
 - US Secretary of State John Kerry releasing the annual human rights report for 2013, by the US State Department,

Sri Lanka: IBAHRI backs Navi Pillay’s call for United Nations inquiry into alleged war crimes and human rights violations

Helena Kennedy: Investigate war crimes
The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) urges the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to establish an independent and international inquiry into alleged war crimes and past violations of human rights law in Sri Lanka as called for by the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, in a recently published report.  IBAHRI Co-Chair Baroness Helena Kennedy QC said, ‘Since the end of the conflict between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, there has been a systematic dismantling of checks and balances on executive power. In the absence of an independent judiciary, the IBAHRI has noted on multiple occasions the inability of the Sri Lankan legal system to provide redress for alleged human rights violations and war crimes.’

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sri Lanka:Consider Joint Inquiry instead of International Inquiry

Unlawful Impeachment of the Chief Justice
was a blow to Rule of law in Sri Lanka
National Peace Council release
The Sri Lankan government has rejected the report submitted by the UN Human Rights Commissioner that recommends an international inquiry into alleged war crimes and human rights violations in the last phase of the country’s war.  The government continues to deny the allegations and asserts that it only carried out a humanitarian rescue operation during the last stages of the war due to the forcible holding of the civilian population by the LTTE and also asserts that the alleged number of persons who had died or disappeared as a gross exaggeration.

Britain does not believe Sri Lanka's domestic mechanism to address accountability is adequate

UK strongly support Pillay's position
Feb 26, London: Britain is regularly discussing Sri Lanka with a range of international partners ahead of the UN Human Rights Council session and will continue to press the Sri Lankan Government for credible, transparent and independent investigations into alleged war crimes during the last stages of the conflict, a British minister said. Speaking at the debate in the UK parliament on Monday, the British Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Hugo Swire said Britain does not believe that the domestic processes set up by the Sri Lankan government are adequate to address the humanitarian law violations and accountability issues.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sri Lanka: Briefing exposes how activists brave retaliation before UN human rights session

Journalist's protest In CMB
Repression usually intensifies whenever Sri Lanka’s human rights situation is in focus internationally.
“ The pattern of harassment, surveillance and attacks against those opposing the Sri Lankan authorities is deeply disturbing and shows no sign of letting up ” Polly Truscott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia- Pacific Director
The Sri Lankan government’s targeting of critics persists at alarming levels, with more surveillance and harassment reported ahead of next month’s UN Human Rights Council (HRC) session, Amnesty International said in a new briefing today.

Accountability issues: UNHRC members can’t make independent decisions – Prof. Peiris

Alleging that the issue of accountability was being used as a political tool to undermine post-war Sri Lanka, External Affairs Minister, Prof. G.L. Peiris on Tuesday revealed how some member states of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) were being blackmailed into voting against Sri Lanka at the forthcoming session or face the consequences. Prof. Peiris quoted senior representatives of member states as having told him that they didn’t have any appetite for the Geneva move.

Sri Lanka: Only a very limited progress related to a few LLRC recommendations in 2013 - TSA

Tamils in North: Still waiting for the justice
''TSA’s survey findings suggest that – while some very limited progress related to a few LLRC recommendations has been made over the past twelve months – there are still concerns about matters such as political rights, language rights, inclusive development and compensation, among other areas. The country’s continued militarization, the concomitant culture of fear which pervades the North and East, and the asymmetrical implementation of the LLRC recommendations are also concerns. TSA will delve more deeply into all of these topics in its next report.''

Reevaluating Sri Lanka’s LLRC Progress: Part One

Map of Survey Implementation
Area by GN Division
The Social Architects
Last March, The Social Architects (TSA) released its third report, “The Numbers Never Lie.”
The report provided extensive information about the Government of Sri Lanka’s (GoSL) progress in implementing the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) recommendations. Again, TSA’s partners undertook a similar survey this year. Using the data obtained last year as a baseline, TSA will be releasing two companion reports reevaluating Sri Lanka’s LLRC progress. This is the first.

TRC initiative: Doubts over Sri Lanka's reconciliation efforts

A Sri Lankan mother holds her child in a
village Jaffna peninsula, 22 June 2006.
Amid rising pressure on Sri Lanka to address allegations of war crimes, Colombo has announced it's considering a truth and reconciliation commission but experts are skeptical.  The Sri Lankan government has repeatedly come under fire from critics for failing adequately to investigate war crimes and promote reconciliation with the country's Tamil minority following a decades-long civil war. Last week, it said it was considering a process similar to South-Africa's post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Colombo sent a high-level delegation to South Africa to see, according to a spokesman for Nimal Siripala de Silva, Sri Lankan minister for water, who led the five-member team, "what lessons it could learn."

Sri Lanka: Gotabhaya over rule reduction of military presence in the Northern Province

Military in Jaffna ( file photo)
Shamindra Ferdinando
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday said that the government wouldn’t demobilize the Army or reduce military presence in the Northern Province under any circumstances, though a section of the international community was pushing the government on the diplomatic front ahead of the 25th session of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The war veteran was responding to Western calls for a smaller army in the wake of the LTTE’s battlefield defeat in May, 2009. British High Commissioner John Rankin was in New Delhi during the second week of February to urge heads of missions of member states of the UNHRC accredited to Colombo.

Sri Lanka: Jayalalitha proporses a UN Referendum for formation of a separate Eelam

An over kill?
The ruling AIADMK party in Tamil Nadu led by J Jayalalithaa has, in its election manifesto for the 2014 elections, promised to move the UN for holding a Referendum amongst Tamils in Sri Lanka and displaced ones across the world for formation of a separate Eelam (homeland) State. The AIADMK, which wants to see the four-time Tamil Nadu Chief Minister as the country’s next Prime Minister, released its election manifesto a day after party candidates for all 39 Lok Sabha Seats in Tamil Nadu besides the lone Puducherry constituency were announced by Jayalalithaa, Indian media reports said.

More bodies found in Sri Lanka's mass grave; It is 80 now

80 skeletons; No investigation
 Forensic experts have found more bodies in an unmarked mass grave in Sri Lanka's northern former war zone, taking the total number to 80, an official said on Tuesday. Judicial medical officer Dhananjaya Waidyaratne said excavations resumed on Monday after a short break at the grave site discovered by construction workers in December. The grave is the first uncovered in the former war zone since  troops defeated Tamil rebels nearly five years ago following a decades-long conflict for a separate homeland for ethnic minority Tamils.

Sri Lanka: UNP slams Police Spokesman; demands resignation

SSP AJith Rohana: A UPFA policeman
The UNP today demanded the immediate resignation of the Police Media Spokesman, accusing him of issuing statements favoring the ruling UPFA regarding the arrest of a UNP candidate, ahead of Provincial polls.  UNP Western Provincial Council candidate Royce Fernando was arrested last week in connection with an armed robbery which had taken place in Negombo recently. The United National Party says that Police Spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana had strongly criticized the party for giving nominations for Fernando to contest the forthcoming election and the illegal activities of public representatives.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sri Lanka: TNA welcomes HC Navi Pillay report; emphasis impermissibility of amnesty for gross violations of HR

War victim in Sri Lanka
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) welcomes the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka to the 25th session of the Human Rights Council. The High Commissioner’s report contains a comprehensive and accurate depiction of the serious human rights issues facing Sri Lanka. The Report has benefited from the High Commissioner’s visit to Sri Lanka, where she was able to observe first-hand the issues of concern to victims and survivors in the Northern and Eastern Provinces.

SRI LANKA: Why GOSL fails internationally

Roshan, a Free trade Zone worker shot dead by  Police
on  30th May 2011. GoSL has not make public
the report of the commission investigated his death
'' In my view, the only way to meet the global human rights challenges to be genuine in the commitment to protect and promote human rights.  If Sri Lanka addresses human rights issues genuinely, no other country can point fingers at us. Why we fail internationally is because we do not do it genuinely. Look at Ratupaswela attack, 'grease yaka' attacks in Jaffna, Katunayaka FTZ attack, killing of journalists and ongoing attacks on media institutions, attacks on churches and mosques and so on. Sri Lanka does not address human rights issues genuinely. Quite contrary, the government has nasty reactions on those who raise the issues and undesirable denials on each of those instances. ''
J.C. Weliamuna

Monday, February 24, 2014

Conclusions and recommendations of the HC Navi Pillay report to UNHRC on Sri Lanka

Promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka  
Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights*
    In the present report, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights acknowledges the progress made in reconstruction and the implementation of some of the recommendations made by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. The Government of Sri Lanka has, however, failed to ensure independent and credible investigations into past violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. The report also contains updates on the ongoing attacks on religious minorities, and the harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists.

Democratisation and Accountability have to go hand in hand in Sri Lanka

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY - Sri Lanka briefing Note no 08
Addressing the issues of Accountability, Reconciliation and Rule of Law are of pivotal importance to any post-war society. War leaves behind the matters of justice, equality and de-militarisation to be grappled with. Sri Lanka is no exception. This is more so when conflict remains, even after the war comes to an end, as in Sri Lanka today.
Almost five years after the end of a three-decade war, Sri Lanka still has not been able to address these issues. Local and international calls for a credible and independent investigation into allegations of serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law that took place during the last phase of the war has not seen any positive response.

Festering wounds of Sri Lanka's war

Al Jazeera
"The shells fell like rain," Ajanthan tells me. He laughs now talking about it, but it's not a laughter that I recognise. It's a laughter of sheer astonishment that he even survived to tell the tale. Ajanthan joined the Tamil Tigers in 2006 after the rebels instituted a one-person-per-family draft. "My younger brothers were all in school," he tells me. "My older brother had already been with the Tigers in the 1990s, and was now married. So, I joined."
He stayed with the Tigers until the end, and reflects with sadness on the number of combatants who died in the final battles. In April 2009, he discarded his guerrilla uniform, threw on some civilian clothes, and walked with his family to the government lines. A few weeks later, the war was over.

SRI LANKA: The appointment and dismissal of judges is the sole privilege of the executive president

The judgement of the Supreme Court which was given last week held that the judgement of the Court of Appeal allowing the writ of Certiorari on the parliament of Sri Lanka was wrong. The simple argument of the five judges is that the parliament of Sri Lanka, like the parliament of Great Britain enjoys supremacy of parliament which excludes the possibility of any jurisdiction being exercised by the courts over anything that it does. The issue before the court was about the legality of the dismissal of the former Supreme Court judge, Shirani Bandaranayke who claimed that her rights had been violated as the due process of law was not observed in her dismissal.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sri Lanka; Official Language Policy implementation at snail’s pace; not a single prosecution so far

No Tamil in this military sign board
The pace of implementing the Government’s Official Language Policy has been far from satisfactory, Minister of National Languages and Social Integration Vasudewa Nanayakkara told The Nation. Minister Nanayakkara admitted the Government had not gone speedily enough when it came to ensuring language equality in the country. He also acknowledged that not a single prosecution had so far been conducted with regard to language violations. “This is a matter for the Attorney-General’s Department and they have to advise us. However, nothing has been done for the last two years,” he further stressed.

Sri Lanka: Pillay report next week: Western powers likely to base resolution on it

Even the help of deities is being sought to defeat the latest United States backed resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva next month. President Mahinda Rajapaksa flew from Colombo to Nuwara Eliya in his Air Force helicopter on Friday to take part in a special Pooja according to Hindu rites.
The religious event came as the US and a core group supporting it including Britain and Canada (though not a member of the UNHRC) were locked in consultation on the text of the draft resolution. It is being based largely on the recommendations of the report to be presented to the Council next week by UN Human Rights High Commissioner Navi Pillay. The Sunday Times (Political Commentary) last week revealed exclusively the recommendations made by Pillay.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sri Lanka: Bribery Commission In Question!

Bribery Commissioner Balapatabendi
and Sunil Handunnetti, JVP MP
Nirmala Kannangara
Eyebrows have been raised as to how the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption is covering up suppressing bribery and corruption charges against those who hold high posts in the government including the ruling party politicians.
The Bribery Commission has to be an independent body that is filtered by justification which cannot be messed up by any visible or invisible force and has to work against corruption and fraud. However, Bribery Commission appears to be falling to pieces as it is plagued with corruption and fraud.

Sri Lanka: NPC member presents data exposing extent of genocidal land grab in Vanni

Mullaiththeevu district
Colombo has seized at least 30,000 acres of residential and agricultural lands for Sinhala colonization in Mullaiththeevu district alone after 2010, according to the data presented by Northern Provincial Council (NPC) member Thurairasa Raviharan, who moved a resolution condemning the demographic changes at the NPC.   The land grab in Sinhalicised Gajabapura in Oddu-chuddaan is also being expanded to the ancient village of Othiya-malai, Mr Raviharan said adding that the Colombo government was using the Mahaweli ‘Development’ Porgramme’s L Scheme to occupy the lands in Mullaiththeevu district. Othiyamalai is situated 25 km beyond the reach of Mahaweli waters, he said.

Sri Lanka: Defending non-implementation of the LLRC in Geneva

The Rajapakse Administration has deployed a key architect of its post war policy towards minorities and war affected communities in Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga, through his position as Chair of the Action plan to implement the LLRC, to be the chief defender of the Government’s case to the international community in general and the UNHRC stakeholders in Geneva in particular. Government ministers have also been given their briefs and are traversing the globe to lobby member nations of the UNHRC against a third US sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka. There is little doubt, that like in 2012 and 2013, another resolution on Sri Lanka would be carried by the UNHRC, decrying Sri Lanka’s post war policy trajectory.

Sri Lanka: President extends mandate of Disappearances Commission

Commission sittings in  Jaffna
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has extended the mandate issued to the Presidential Commission to investigate cases of alleged disappearances of persons in the Northern and Eastern Provinces by six months to August 12, 2014, as increased numbers of submissions are received by it. The Commission has, to date, received approximately 16,000 complaints from all parts of the country. The first rounds of public hearings in the Jaffna District concluded Feb. 17, 2014, where it heard submissions from 984 persons in the towns of Chavakachcheri, Kopay and Jaffna. Earlier, hearings were held in Kilinochchi from Jan. 18-21, 2014, where submissions from 440 persons were received.

Sri Lanka: Supreme Court overrules Appeals Court writ against CJ impeachment

Dharisha Bastians
 ◾5-Judge bench overturns Appeals Court writ against PSC findings in Shirani B impeachment
◾SC says Court of Appeal has no writ jurisdiction over Parliament
◾Overturns former Supreme Court ruling that PSC had no basis in law
◾Ruling does not validate impeachment: Weliamuna
The Government got one step closer to legalising the sacking of Chief Justice 43 Shirani Bandaranayake when the Supreme Court yesterday overturned a Court of Appeal writ that quashed the findings of a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) that probed impeachment charges brought against her.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination ( CERD): Switzerland in the Dock

Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination considers report of Switzerland

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination today completed its consideration of the combined seventh to ninth periodic reports of Switzerland on its implementation of the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

Here are the very probing questions raised by the experts which shows their concerns: 

SRI LANKA: The neglect of mass graves

152 skeletons recovered from the Matale Mass Grave
A mass grave has been found at Thiruketiswaram, Mannar in January 2014. In 2013 a mass grave was also found at Matale and the investigations are still at early stages regarding the body parts found in this grave. The general condition prevailing, relating to both of these mass graves is that the investigations are not being conducted in terms of modern forensic methodologies which are essential for the proper preservation of the findings as well as the prevention of the destruction of the materials found in the mass graves in the course of excavation. Both at Mannar and Matale the mass graves were dug with bulldozers and naturally such manner of excavation is not conducive to proper handling of the human material remains that are found in such graves.

Sri Lanka Mulls SAfrican-Model Truth Commission

KRISHAN FRANCIS/ Associated Press
Sri Lanka's government said Wednesday that it was considering a process similar to South Africa's post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission to heal the wounds of the island nation's decades-long civil war.
Two senior ministers will lead a team to South Africa on Thursday for discussions with the country's government and the ruling African National Congress, Sri Lanka's Foreign Ministry said in a statement. South African President Jacob Zuma has appointed ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramphosa his special envoy to Sri Lanka, the statement said.

Move separate resolution against Sri Lanka in UN body: DMK

 Press Trust of India  DMK today urged the Centre to move a separate resolution against Sri Lanka in a UN body, seeking an independent and credible probe for war crimes in that nation, saying it was only 'logical' that New Delhi adopt such a stand.
 DMK MPs led by its Parliamentary Party Leader T R Baalu submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi in this regard, asking him to "support and facilitate a UN-led independent and international investigation into the war crimes committed during the 2008-09 war in Sri Lanka."

Report: Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Disappearances: Public hearing in Jaffna, 14-17 Feb 2014

A mother at the hearing

Brito Fernando
The Presidential Commission investigating disappearances of persons in the Northern and Eastern Provinces during the period 1990-2009 held the first public hearing in Kilinochchi district in January 2014. Following the completion of the first phase of the public hearing in Kilinochchi with approximately 150 cases, the second public hearing session was held in the Jaffna district from 14th to the 17th February 2014. Similar to the case of Kilinochchi, this was regarded as the first phase of the public hearing for the Jaffna district and more phases of such public hearings will be held in near future for the district which is comprised of 4 geographical zones[1]. During this first phase of the public hearing held in Jaffna district, total of 244 complainants from 3 DS divisions were invited to provide testimonies. During the 4 days hearing, while majority of the complaints were against the Sri Lanka Military, complaints against EPDP, LTTE and Karuna group were also heard by the Commission.

Sri Lanka: Journalist covering protest ends up in court

A journalist of the 'Lanka' newspaper who had gone to cover a protest demonstration has been produced before courts by the Morawaka police.
The journalist, Daya Neththisinghe, has been produced before court under the charges of obstructing the path of VIPs.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sri Lanka: Trade union leader complains of rights violation to HRC

President of two trade unions, Health Services Trade Union Alliance and the Government Nursing Officers Association, Saman Ratnapriya yesterday complained to the Human Rights Commission that he had been denied a basic right granted to every trade union leader and thereby the government had violated the Constitution of the country and the International Labour Law which guaranteed trade union rights.  

When the Govt.refuses rights to the Provincial Council, how on earth can we live in peace ?- Tamil Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran

C. V. Wigneswaran
Interviewd by Nilantha Ilangamuawa
Firstly politics is done by our Parliamentary Members. They are the real politicians. I have come more or less as an Administrator. So Parliamentarians are due to attend. We have simply endorsed Ananthy as the most suitable person to attend if she could make it.
Secondly, the Countries that attend Geneva are interested in adequate proofs for them to take a stand one way or the other. Ananthy gave evidence quite boldly before LLRC, Navi Pillay and recently before the Paranagama Commission.

Sri Lanka: Busting capital expenditure myth

Consider this simple question: “Does the present government have a strong commitment to high levels of capital expenditure?” Today in Sri Lanka most analysts tend to answer this question with a confident “yes”.
That perception derives significantly from the official rhetoric. For instance, the present government’s development policy promises that “investment [will] be increased to 33-35 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) with sustained commitment [to] public investment of 6 to 7 percent of GDP” (Mahinda Chinthana Vision for the Future, Page 3).

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

India set to back UN investigation into Sri Lanka war 'crimes'

India's Congress-led government will support an international investigation into Sri Lanka's alleged war crimes to win Tamil votes in April's general election

Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Sri Lankan president
Mahinda Rajapaksa,: GETTY IMAGES
Its decision to add its weight to a campaign led by Britain and the United States will be a serious blow to Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Sri Lankan president, whose government has traditionally had strong ties with India.

Tamil Nadu government decides to release 7 victims in Rajiv assassination case

The Tamil Nadu Government, in a suo motu statement to the State Assembly on Wednesday said it has decided to release the 7 prisoners, now imprisoned to lifetime in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. The decision comes as the Indian Supreme Court on Tuesday decided to commute the death sentence on Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan to life imprisonment. In the meantime, the family of Thilliampalam Suthenthiraraja (Santhan), one of the three victims, thanked the people of Tamil Nadu and the global Tamil community for their struggle for the release of the innocent victims and said their only hope now was the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Ms Jayalalithaa.

Implementation Status of the LLRC Recommendations - February 2014

Verite Reserach
Sri Lanka:LLRC!Implementation Monitor- Statistical and Analytical Review No.2

The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) published its final report on 16 December 2011. On 26 July 2012, the government released a National Plan of Action to Implement the Recommendations of the LLRC (NPA).  The LLRC originally contained 167 recommendations that required tangible action by the government. Subsequently, 12 further recommendations have become actionable, making the total number of actionable recommendations 179.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Govt has not fulfilled any of its promises - Vigneswaran

Chief Minister C. V. Vigneswaran says that the government has not fulfilled any of its promises to the Northern Provincial Council and that even calls to scale down troops in the war-torn province have gone unheard. “We were promised many things but in the end we have received nothing,” he said in an interview with the BBC Sinhala Service.

Initiate action against Secretary to MoD and UD for participating in election campaigns

''The Secretary to the MoD and UD not being a permanent employee from public service, we are aware his case can not be dealt with, as in the case of any other such public officer. Yet your responsibility demands you to raise the issue and request the appointing authority to take appropriate action according to the Establishment Code and relevant Public Administration Circulars. As far as our interpretation of the said rules and regulations are concerned, he has to be removed from service if proven guilty and his pension, eligible after 05 years of continuous service, has to be withdrawn.  ''

Sri Lanka: Police continue to block Trinco grave site

The grave site
Tamil Guardian
 Sri Lankan police have continued to block access to a site in Trincomalee where skeletal remains were found last week, sources have told the Tamil Guardian.
Workers, who were digging a well, uncovered skeletons at the playground in Trincomalee last Thursday and police have since blocked all access to the site.

SL-friendly proposal likely at UNHRC: Minister .

Several member-countries supportive of Sri Lanka are hoping to submit a counter-proposal against the US-led resolution on Sri Lanka which is expected to be presented at next month’s UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions in Geneva, the Daily Mirror learns.  Government spokesman and Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told Daily Mirror he was aware of such a move but it was not initiated by the Sri Lankan Government.

A new phase in Lankan electoral politics has opened up

Sobitha thero
Sri Lanka: Sobitha thero’s Advances and Retreats Dr. Kumar David
Venerable Maduluwave Sobitha thero is a highly respected Buddhist monk and chief incumbent of the Kotte Naga Vihare. He is particularly well known for a campaign on good governance and a group under his leadership also produced a set of proposals to amend the constitution.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

High Commissioner Navi Pillay report on Sri Lanka leaked: international inquiry mechanism recommended

Pillay’s bombshell report corners Rajapaksa regime

A damning 20-page report from United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner Navi Pillay became the subject of close scrutiny by the UPFA Government this week.  Pillay’s office urged the Government, as is the practice, to respond to the contents of this 74-point report — the precursor to the United States backed latest resolution on Sri Lanka next month — within a week. The External Affairs Ministry (EAM), which co-ordinated the point by point answers converting it to a formal document kept to the deadline which was last Wednesday (February 12).

Defence secratary Rajapaksha violate election laws

Despite the senior administrative officials of the state being banned from participating in political events in public , the Secretary of Urban Development and Defence Ministry , Gotabaya Rajapaksa has violated the particular law by participating in the inaugural ceremony  of  United People’s Freedom Allaince Colombo district leader Udaya Gammanpila's re-election campaign.

Sri Lanka: Jeevan’s secretary threatened journalist

The person who had issued death threats over the phone to ‘Randiva’ sports editor and political columnist K.A.C.S.K. Irugalbandara (Chaminda Samankumara) has been revealed. The culprit is Mahinda Senarath Bandara, a secretary of minister Jeevan Kumaratunga. He had threatened the journalist after he had exposed, through an interview he had conducted with former sprinter Susanthika Jayasinghe, an attempt by minister Dilan Perera to become the National Olympic Committee chairman.

What has happened to the Weliweriya inquiry?

In the Weliweriya incident where innocent bystanders died as a result of the army firing into the crowds asking for clean water, a military court of inquiry found that the soldiers had ‘exceeded the scope’ of their duties.
 No consequential punishments imposed
This by itself is a remarkably understated conclusion given the level of aggravation which occurred, with soldiers chasing and assaulting journalists who were legitimately reporting on the fracas and abusing men and women of the cloth when panic stricken villagers sought shelter in a nearby church. Even so, what has happened in due course?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sri Lanka: White van abduction in Wanathamulla after threat by Army

Protest against abduction met with force
A white van abduction has taken place this morning in the Wanathamulla area in Colombo. A resident from the Wanathamulla housing scheme, Sunil Aiya, was abducted this morning in a white van, a day after Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and a senior Army officer had paid visit to him demanding that he vacates his residence.

Friday, February 14, 2014

UNP charge- sheets Rajapaksha for not undertaning an internal investigation

The UNP yesterday issued the following statement:

Sri Lanka is at a precipice and the Rajapaksa administration bears full responsibility for our country’s current plight.
After years of insisting that the Sri Lankan Government carryout a credible internal investigation into the alleged human rights violations, especially in the final phase of the war, the international community seems poised to demand an international investigation.

The truth about the Presidential Commission on missing persons Sri Lanka

''In conclusion, we would like to express our concern also for the fact that so far the Commission has not provided any information concerning the follow up of the hearings to verify and document the disappearances cases. We would like to know which means have been allocated to the Commission for this purpose and the timeline of the process. Based on our observation, during the hearings in Kilinochchi only a minimum percentage of the disappearances cases – less than 150 – submitted to the Commission could be heard.''

Australian Senate backs war crimes probe in Sri Lanka

A Motion backed by Australian Green Party calling on the Australian Government to support an Independent war crimes investigation on Sri Lanka in United Nations Human Rights Council, has been passed in the Australian Senate.

Sri Lanka: Mosque in Dehiwala ordered to close down NSC dismayed

The National Shoora Council (NSC) comprising prominent Muslims and religious organizations, has expressed dismay at the Ministry of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs, directing the Divisional Secretary, Dehiwala, and the police, to close down a mosque in Dehiwala, despite the Divisional Secretary having no authority to do so.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sri Lanka: Report released by TAG on rehabilitation camps

Add caption
   A programme of physical and psychological torture in Sri Lanka’s “rehabilitation” camps for former members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, has been revealed in a report by an NGO, Tamils Against Genocide (TAG)who  gathered evidence from former detainees.
The author of the report, Henrietta Briscoe, said that the government restricted access to the camps in order to continue with its rehabilitation programme. Of the initial 22 camps, the Rehabilitation Programme  is still in operation in three camps, after five years from the end of the conflict.
Courtesy Eye SriLanka

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

TNA calls for international probe into Mannar Mass grave as toll soars to 59

Sri Lanka’s major Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) on Wednesday called for an independent international probe into the Mannar mass grave as the skeletal remains of people dug out from the grave site has risen to 59 by Tuesday, amid fears that it could well contain the remains of thousands of Tamil people who were made to disappear during the decades long war.

Progress Achieved in Implementing the National Plan of Action to Implement the Recommendations of the LLLRC

Centre for Policy Alternatives
The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) was established in May 2010 and the report of the Commission (LLRC Report) was presented to the President in November 2011, with its subsequent tabling in the Parliament in December 2011. At the outset there were concerns, amongst others, about its limited mandate to investigate violations of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and to address the root causes of Sri Lanka’s conflict[1].

Sri Lanka:Tamil man arrested at age 14, sentenced to death after 22 years in Trincomalee

The Sri Lankan Police in 1992 arrested a 14-year-old boy from Aalangkea’ni in Ki’n’n’iyaa, as second accused in a case indicting him for a bomb blast that had claimed the lives of 6 Muslims from Moothoor in August 1990. The young accused, Thangarajah Sivakantharajah, was detained by the Sri Lankan Police under Emergency Regulations (ER) for 12 years and was released in July 2003 on surety bail. 24 years after the alleged crime, Sivakantharajah, now aged 36 and a married man, has been sentenced to death by Trincomalee High Court on Friday February 7.

Pattani Razeek: Fourth Anniversary of Abduction and Murder

Kingsley Karunaratne
Appeal for Justice for Pattani Razeek after four years of Abduction and Murder.
 Thailand based Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (Forum-Asia), and Asian Human Rights Commission based in Hong Kong overlooking the human Rights in the Asian Region, from year to year from 2010,expressed their shock and deep frustration over the long delay of investigation and seeking justice into the Abduction and Murder of Human Rights Defender, Pattani Razeek.

“LLRC Plus” Is Only Viable Option To Overcome Mounting International Pressure


Jehan Perera
The government has been trying to convince itself and the general population that its position will prevail at the forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.  Some of this requires a stretch of the imagination and is meant to give temporary comfort.  The state media gave wide publicity to a purported decision of the Australian government not to back an independent international investigation into alleged war crimes during the Sri Lankan civil war. However Australia is not a member of the UNHRC this year, and is therefore not entitled to vote.  A reading of the text of the Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s statement conveys a different message.  She chose her words carefully to say that “Any future formal investigation would need to be agreed by the international community and would be a matter for relevant bodies at the time.”

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

EU to back war crimes probe in Sri Lanka at UNHRC

The European Union (EU) has decided to back moves at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to actively support efforts to enhance accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, including a credible and independent investigation into the alleged severe crimes during the civil war, as well as to address the current human rights situation in the country.

Tele drmma artists say that they are consored for political reasons

Govt. ‘killed’ my role - Benaragama; Yasas's ‘And Company’ banned 
Actor Jagath Benaragama says a popular channel has ‘killed’ the role he was playing in a tele drama, as he is contesting the upcoming provincial council polls from an opposition party.
He says the role he had been playing in the tele drama was a key one, but that it had been ‘killed’ in a clear example of how the government treats its political opponents. Also, the telecasting of two more tele dramas in which he was involved has been postponed indefinitely. Benaragama is contesting from Colombo on Sarath Fonseka’s Democratic Party ticket

The popular political satire telecast on Swarnavahini ' And Company' in which the veteran actor, Ravindra Yasas plays a main role has been suddenly banned from telecast without providing any explanation, reports say. The popular actor is to stand in for the provincial council election from Kautara district under Democratic Party ticket.

Commenting on the banning of 'And Company' Ravindra Yasas has told ' Lanka E News' website that it is a severe violence inflicted upon aesthetic values of the public by the rulers in order to take revenge from him. He has further expressed his grief towards the government for engaging in such shameful activites.

Meanwhile, the role of Jagath Benaragama in the drama ‘Pabasara’, who is also standing in for the election from Colombo district under Democratic Party ticket, has been suddenly killed and dumped into a lake. The drama was telecast in every weekday in ITN.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Sri Lankan justice system cannot ensure accountability for human rights violations and war crimes - ICJ

The Sri Lankan justice system cannot ensure accountability for human rights violations and war crimes because the judiciary has been deprived of its independence and impartiality, and lawyers suffer intimidation, hindrance, harassment and improper interference.

Sri Lanka: US to call for an independent international accountability mechanism to evaluate reports of war crimes, and other human rights violations committed by both sides

Congress may pass resolution

US congress may pass resolution
A resolution on Sri Lanka submitted last week to the US Congress and now being considered by the Committee on Foreign Relations, is likely to get to the next stage.
According to an agency tracking the resolution, there is a 73 percent chance it will go to the next stage and be taken for a vote to decide if it should be adopted.
Submitted by Senator Richard Burr, the resolution has five co-sponsors in Congress and looks to express support for the internal rebuilding, resettlement, and reconciliation within Sri Lanka that are necessary to ensure a lasting peace.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

International Pressure as part of Democratization: Possibilities and Limitations

Laksiri Fernando
‘International pressure’ is something much talked about these days particularly in the context of the impending 3rd resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC next month. If one is not totally blind or prejudiced, it is clear that as a result of the previous two resolutions (2012 and 2013) and concurrent international pressure, that the Rajapaksa regime was kept under scrutiny and the slide towards gross violations of human rights and authoritarianism was to a great extent arrested. If not for that international pressure, much worst things could have happened. The holding of the NPC elections was one good thing, among others, of this international pressure.

Journalist's death a sign of Sri Lanka's brutalisation?

One of Sri Lanka's most prominent journalists, Mel Gunasekera, was stabbed to death in her home, on Sunday. Although this death does not appear to have been politically motivated, Sri Lankans have reacted by lamenting what they say is the "brutalised" nature of their country.
To wake up to the news that a friend has been murdered is shocking.

Lalith Weerathunga says appointing a Special Rapporteur on Sri Lanka by UNHRC is a possiblity

Just days after his return to Colombo from the Washington visit, Weeratunga figured in ITN’s talk show Doramadalawa (Gateway). Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa was among those who took part. Here are translated highlights of what he said:
“What I felt during my visit to Washington and Geneva was that they tend to pressurise us more, because we achieved peace without any assistance or permission from them. But there is a controversy within the international community in the process over resolutions against Sri Lanka.