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April 30, 2011

Why did the the Rajapaksas lie to the people of Sri Lanka?

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

The state has a right under international law to ensure its national security and to defend itself against armed attacks…. Those ends do not however justify all means to achieve them; all actions for those legitimate purposes must comply with the requirements of international law…”— The Darusman Report

Ne plus ultra (Not further beyond): the inscription believed to have been carved on the Pillars of Heracles (Straits of Gibraltar), warning seafarers against venturing any further. In politics there is a ‘Ne plus ultra’ line which cannot be crossed with impunity.

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April 29, 2011

NDP Statement on UN Panel Report on Accountability for War Crimes in Sri Lanka

On April 28, 2011, New Democratic Leader Jack Layton issued this statement on the United Nation’s report on Sri Lanka:

“The New Democratic Party fully supports the recommendations made in the recently released independent UN Panel Report on accountability during and after the war in Sri Lanka.

“The UN Report reveals that “there are credible allegations, which if proven, indicate that a wide range of serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law were committed both by the government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE, some of which amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

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'Media's role and responsibility towards building a strong democratic nation'

Seminar in Colombo by FMM

The Free Media Movement will host a seminar titled ‘Media’s Role and Responsibility Towards Building a Strong Democratic Nation’ and launch the book ‘Martyrs of the Freedom of Expression’ in Sinhala, Tamil and English, compiled by Seetha Ranjanee on behalf of the Free Media Movement, to mark World Press Freedom Day.

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Assistant Secretary of State Robert O. Blake, Jr. Travels to Maldives and Sri Lanka

Media Note
Office of the Spokesman, US Dept. of State
Washington, DC

April 29, 2011

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake, Jr. will travel to Maldives and Sri Lanka April 30-May 5, 2011. He will meet with government officials, civil society representatives, and political leaders in both countries.

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Multi-partisan approach to address UN Panel report is desirable

By National Peace Council

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has released to the public the report of the Expert Panel he appointed to advise him on human rights issues in relation to the last phase of Sri Lanka's war. The panel of experts has called on the UN Secretary General to immediately set up an independent international mechanism to investigate credible allegations that both the Sri Lankan government and LTTE committed serious human rights violations, including some that could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, in the months before the decades old civil war ended in 2009.

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April 28, 2011

CPJ urges UN to intervene and investigate the apparent targeting of LankaeNews

Committee to Protect Journalists, NY, NY
cpj.org

A Pugoda magistrate's court ordered the country's Telecommunications Regulatory Commission to suspend Lanka eNews within Sri Lanka while it tries the site's detained journalist Shantha Wijeysooria for contempt of court, according to local and international news reports. Wijeysooria was detained Monday and remanded into custody during a hearing today until May 12, the reports said. The charge, which related to an article about a magistrate of the court, Aravinda Perera, was upheld despite the website's apology for publishing it, according to the reports. The website said it would appeal the decision.

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Nationalistic fury is good for the government, terrible for Sri Lanka

from THE ECONOMIST

IN RECENT years the default mode for Sri Lankan diplomats has been a posture of affronted national dignity beneath a mask of outraged, sanctimonious innocence. This week, after the publication of a report by a panel of experts for the United Nations on the final stages of Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war, some were recalled to Colombo for “consultations”. Maybe they are brushing up their indignant-repudiation skills.

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Minister G.L. Peiris to diplomats: 'Government of Sri Lanka does not consider the Darusman Report as a UN document'

Minister of External Affairs briefs diplomatic community on Darusman Report

via www.mea.gov.lk

The Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris addressed the Colombo-based diplomatic corps at the Ministry of External Affairs in Colombo today to convey the response of the Government of Sri Lanka on the substantive aspects of the Darusman Report. The Minister stated that the Government of Sri Lanka was no longer constrained to comment substantively as the Report is now in the public domain.

Continue reading "Minister G.L. Peiris to diplomats: 'Government of Sri Lanka does not consider the Darusman Report as a UN document'" »

April 27, 2011

UK Foreign Office welcomes UN Panel of Experts report on Sri Lanka

Statement by UK Mission to the UN

The Foreign Office welcomed the UN Panel of Experts report on the alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during the military conflict in Sri Lanka.

The UK has consistently called for an independent and credible investigation to address these allegations which is why we fully supported the decision of the Secretary-General to establish the Panel of Experts.

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"Darusman Report" is fundamentally flawed in many respects

Statement by Ministry of External Affairs, Sri Lanka

The Government of Sri Lanka refers to the release by the UN Secretary-General of the “Darusman Report” on accountability in Sri Lanka. The Government of Sri Lanka reiterates its position that the “Darusman Report” is fundamentally flawed in many respects and that among other deficiencies, the Report is based on biased material, which is presented without any verification.

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United States welcomes public release of the UN Panel of Experts’ report on Sri Lanka

Statement by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on the Release of the UN Panel of Experts' Report on Sri Lanka

Susan E. Rice
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
U.S. Mission to the United Nations

(Apr 25, 2011) The United States welcomes today’s public release of the UN Panel of Experts’ report on Sri Lanka. We appreciate the detailed and extensive work of the panel and believe it makes a valuable contribution to next steps that should be taken in support of justice, accountability, human rights, and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. We commend the Secretary General for his decision to release the report publicly.

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'One country's ability to bury the evidence of war crimes endangers how civilians are treated in all other conflicts' - Guardian UK

No-inquiry zone: Truth and accountability are not divisible, and a single failure of international justice is also a collective one

Guardian UK Editorial, Jun 27, 2011

When Richard Goldstone, the judge who headed a UN fact-finding mission to Gaza, partially recanted last month – an act that was disowned by fellow members of the mission – the saga was used as Exhibit A in the case against the UN. The organisation, it was claimed, was so inherently biased against Israel that it lacked the moral authority to investigate it. Where was the Goldstone report about Sri Lanka, some asked?

Continue reading "'One country's ability to bury the evidence of war crimes endangers how civilians are treated in all other conflicts' - Guardian UK" »

Wall Street Journal calls on 'leaders abroad to tread carefully' on SG's Panel report on Sri Lanka

Focus on fixing the democracy before investigating the past, as "there's a real danger that an international war-crimes investigation would do more harm than good", Wall Street Journal says in an Editorial, April 27, 2011:

Sri Lanka and human rights activists around the world are in an uproar over a report released by a United Nations panel this week on the final months of the island nation's bloody civil war. The survey may prove illuminating, so far as it goes, in terms of understanding what happened during those violent six months in 2009. The greater risk is that the international response will tip Sri Lanka closer to losing the peace.

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April 26, 2011

A lasting political solution through power sharing

by M A Sumanthiran

(text of SJV Chelvanayakam Memorial lecture 2011)

I consider it a great honour to have been asked to deliver the Thanthai Chelva memorial oration this year. Last year too I had the honour of delivering the key-note address at the annual commemoration ceremony held in Jaffna on the 26th of April. Today, I am doubly delighted since Thanthai Chelva’s true disciple Mr Sampanthan presides over this event. I am truly humbled by this singular honour bestowed on me.

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The Sri Lankan sapphire from Pelmadulla in Kate Middleton's engagement ring

By M.S.Shah Jahan

Super slim Kate-Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, 29, the princess-to-be has a worry over her engagement ring with Ratnapura sapphire. Kate has slimmed down so much that she had to shrink her famous engagement ring to fit her finger as the dazzling sapphire and diamond band is too big for her size H finger. Princess Diana too wore it on the same finger.

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Prince William & Kate-Catherine Elizabeth Middleton ~ pic: http://www.officialroyalwedding2011.org/

Continue reading "The Sri Lankan sapphire from Pelmadulla in Kate Middleton's engagement ring" »

Sri Lanka must be concerned how Russia and China let down Sudan at the UN

by Upul Joseph Fernando

UN Organization sources say that there are a number of similarities between the report of the panel appointed by Ban Ki-moon to investigate war crime charges in Sudan where there was a conflict, and that of the panel of experts on war crimes pertaining to Sri Lanka (SL) . The UN report on the war crime charges against Sudan was released in November 2009. Sudans Ambassador to the UN Abdel Mahmoud reacted angrily to the panel’s report saying , ‘ Khartoum will demand that the Security Council terminates the panel’s mandate. They are just representatives of Western Intelligence agencies’. He told Reuters, ‘we are fed up with this Committee .Our position is a total rejection of this report

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An international inquiry, especially into the violations committed by the LTTE, will greatly help process of reconciliation in Sri Lanka - Amnesty

UN must act now on war crimes report

Amnesty.org

26 April 2011

A United Nations report on war crimes committed during the final stages of Sri Lanka’s civil war underscores the need for international accountability for those responsible, Amnesty International said today.

The report, which was made public today, concluded that tens of thousands of civilians were killed in northern Sri Lanka from January to May 2009 and that the Sri Lankan Government knowingly shelled areas where it had encouraged civilians to gather.

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Sri Lanka's military held many of those who escaped the conflict in miserable conditions

Continue reading "An international inquiry, especially into the violations committed by the LTTE, will greatly help process of reconciliation in Sri Lanka - Amnesty" »

UN human rights chief welcomes Sri Lanka report, urges further investigation into conduct of final stages of the war

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

GENEVA (26 April 2011) -- The High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Tuesday welcomed the public release of the report of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on accountability issues related to the final stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka, and supported the report’s call for further international investigation.

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High Commissioner Navi Pillay

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Unlawful attacks on civilians and civilian objects in the Wanni during the Govt-LTTE war

Extracts from the report on Sri Lanka by the advisory panel appointed by the UN secretary -general Ban Ki moon

2. Shelling of hospitals and humanitarian objects

(a) Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions

206. The credible allegations of attacks on hospitals and humanitarian objects discussed above, in spite of their distinctive emblems and locations known by the Government, would give rise to a violation of the duty to "provide care for the sick and the wounded", as enunciated in Common Article 3.

Continue reading "Unlawful attacks on civilians and civilian objects in the Wanni during the Govt-LTTE war" »

Asking the UN not publish the report was as silly as asking Ban-Ki-moon not to wear any underwear

By Gomin Dayasri

Sri Lanka can crush the Ban Kin moon-ies (includes Tamil Diaspora, International NGO community, remnants of the UN system, ‘white’ western nations and Sri Lanka’s elite civil society) comfortably but not by living in isolation like a Robinson Crusoe on an island. We need a helping hand from friendly countries, as on the last occasion when an effort to stricture was made before the Human Rights Council during the war.

Continue reading "Asking the UN not publish the report was as silly as asking Ban-Ki-moon not to wear any underwear" »

April 25, 2011

The impunity afforded to those making allegations of rape in Sri Lanka

By Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha

The last extract from the Report of the Darusman Panel that I read referred to rape. The panel begins its discussion of this factor by stating that ‘Rape and sexual violence against Tamil women during the final stages of the armed conflict and, in its aftermath, are greatly under-reported’.

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Is the report of the UNSG’s panel of experts a conspiracy and obstacle to reconciliation?

Group of concerned Christians

25th April 2011

In the past weeks, we as Christians have been reflecting on the torture, killing of Jesus by the rulers of that time, with complicity of high priests of the time, due to Jesus’s efforts to stand by the poor and oppressed and bring them good news of liberation. Our reflections had been taking into account the situation in our country today and we had noted the controversy surrounding the report of the panel of experts of the UN Secretary General related to the war in Sri Lanka.

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UN Chief Should Establish International Inquiry - HRW

Russia and China Should Stop Blocking Justice for Victims

HRW.org

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon should act on a UN Panel of Experts' recommendations to establish an international independent investigation into abuses during Sri Lanka's armed conflict that ended in May 2009, Human Rights Watch said today. Ban's statement on April 25, 2011, indicating the need for Sri Lankan government consent or action by an intergovernmental body should not place an unnecessary obstacle to establishing a justice mechanism, Human Rights Watch said.

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Report of the Secretary General's Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka

via UN News Centre

The United Nations has today made public the advisory report of the Secretary-General's Panel of Experts on accountability with respect to the final stages of the decades-long armed conflict in Sri Lanka, which was submitted to him on 12 April 2011. The decision to release the report was made as a matter of transparency and in the broader public interest.

The report was shared in its entirety with the Government of Sri Lanka on 12 April. The Secretary-General has indicated his willingness to publicize the Government's response alongside the report. This invitation was extended to the Sri Lanka Government throughout the week, including again on Saturday by the Secretary-General to the External Affairs Minister of Sri Lanka. The Government has not responded to this offer which nonetheless still stands.

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Why the Ban Ki moon Advisory panel Report should not be Published - Prof.G.L.Peiris

by Ravi Ladduwahetty

The question of publishing the panel report authorized by the United Nations Secretary General does not arise since the UNSG, in appointing the panel, 'was motivated exclusively by a desire to gather information, and insights for his own views', External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris told the Daily News in an exclusive interview.

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April 24, 2011

Credible allegations against Sri Lankan Armed Forces in conducting war against LTTE in Wanni

(Extracts from the report on Sri Lanka by the advisory panel appointed by UN secretary -General Ban Ki moon)

D. Alleged violations by the Government of Sri Lanka

192. Chapter III identified five categories of credible allegations concerning conduct by the Sri Lankan Government. This section lays out the Panel’s assessment of each category of allegation for the underlying legal violation.

1. Killing of civilians through widespread shelling

(a) Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions

193. In terms of paragraph (1)(a) of Common Article 3, i.e. violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture, credible allegations point to the murder of civilians in widespread shelling of an indiscriminate nature by the SLA.

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As Sri Lankan citizens we must resolve the Tamil National question amicably

By Sumanasiri Liyanage

So many things have been written on the Report of the Expert Panel appointed by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon. Should I litter the already crowded discourse space with another piece?

I thought I should not do so unless I had a peculiar dream in which a small vendor friend of mine on the Kandy pavement who passed away about six months ago posed me an apt question. His question read like this: "Had the war against the LTTE reached its last phase in May 2011 rather than in May 2009, what kind of response would Sri Lanka have expected from the US, UK and France?"

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UNSG Panel-Report on Sri Lanka: Revisiting 'Accountability'

By Kalana Senaratne

Ensuring ‘accountability’ is important, but doing so is a complex task. Who is to ensure accountability, when, where, how? - are questions which have always aroused serious debate, and will do, in the future. While there may be no ‘independent/internal’ investigations, one need not be starry-eyed about ‘independent/international’ investigations

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The Dramatic Return of Duleep Mendis

by Nirgunan Tiruchelvam

When Duleep Mendis was a boy in Moratuwa, his family employed a servant boy. The servant boy’s duties were not restricted to serving the drinks. He used to bowl to the podi mahathaya (little master) Duleep Mendis.

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Duleep Mendis ~ pic: sundaytimes.lk

The servant boy was a fearsome fast bowler. He was known as the Andy Roberts of Moratuwa. Mendis’s reflexes were sharpened at a young age.

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April 23, 2011

Darusman panel report criticizes Sri Lankan administration for the way in which the war against the LTTE was conducted

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

"….too many people desire to suppress criticism simply because they think that it will give some comfort to the enemy to know that there is such criticism. If that comfort makes the enemy feel better for a few moments, they are welcome to it as far as I am concerned because the maintenance of the right of criticism in the long run will do the country maintaining it a great deal more good than it will do the enemy, and will prevent mistakes which might otherwise occur.” US Senator Robert A Taft (The Papers of Robert A Taft: 1939-1944)

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Rajihar Manoharan

On a dark January night in 2006, five students were killed in the town of Trincomalee. The authorities initially claimed that the victims were Tiger cadres who died when the explosives they were carrying went off prematurely.

Continue reading "Darusman panel report criticizes Sri Lankan administration for the way in which the war against the LTTE was conducted" »

Tamil National Alliance on old path of confrontation again

by Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha

I was deeply saddened to see the statement issued earlier this week in the name of Mr Sambandan following the leaking of some of the report of the UN panel. The statement seems to hark back to the confrontational approach the TNA had repeatedly adopted when opportunities for reconciliation were available.

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Ban-Ki-moon is against us but the UN is with us – Vasudeva Nanayakkara

by Steve A. Morrell

The United Nations (UN) is being used by Western imperialist powers which have been acting in an acrimonious manner against Sri Lanka, National Languages and Social Integration Minister, Vasudeva Nanayakkara charged last week. "They are scheming to put Sri Lanka and the Government into difficulty by making baseless war crimes allegations", he said.

These Western imperialist powers want the Sri Lankan Government to be submissive so that they could unduly influence a country so strategically situated in the Indian Ocean, the Minister said in an interview with The Sunday Island.

The following are excerpts of the interview:

Continue reading "Ban-Ki-moon is against us but the UN is with us – Vasudeva Nanayakkara" »

Instead of releasing officially Ban-Ki-moon got the help of Mahinda to leak the report

by Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne

Mahinda regime claims that the economy is expanding at a rate of 8%. In the context of economies world over struggling to keep even 1 % expansion, Lankan performance is considered to be a miracle. Recent IMF reports claim that they are highly impressed by the performance of Mahinda regime. They have pledged to support the regime continuously

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President Rajapaksa is an authoritarian leader but not a dictatorial ruler

by Victor Ivan

The dispute that has arisen between the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and the UNO over the alleged human rights violations presumed to have been committed during the military operations launched by the GoSL against the LTTE appears to be growing out of proportion. Even personal factors seem to have influenced to an extent which is highly unnecessary in exacerbating the problem. As a member country, the manner in which the Government of Sri Lanka responded to the UN when it sought clarifications on alleged violations cannot be deemed correct or reasonable.

Continue reading "President Rajapaksa is an authoritarian leader but not a dictatorial ruler" »

Will our diplomatic guerillas like Weerawansa and Ranawaka stage death fasts opposite the UN?

by Gamini Weerakoon

World Cup hysteria is over and now the Moon hysteria is in full swing in our resplendent isle. The mass media is letting go its full throated cry against the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon who handed over to our government the report of the three member panel appointed by him on alleged war crimes committed by Sri Lanka’s armed forces on civilians during the final phases of the war against LTTE terrorism.

Continue reading "Will our diplomatic guerillas like Weerawansa and Ranawaka stage death fasts opposite the UN?" »

'Allegations against LTTE Must also be investigated' - Fr.Emmanuel

(The Sunday Leader’s Faraz Shauketaly spoke to Head of the Global Tamil Forum, Father Emmanuel, asking him to comment on the UN Advisory Panel Report. Excerpts:)

Q: What is your reaction to the UN Advisory Panel’s report to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon?

A: We have seen a leaked report. We are at the first stage. It is an opportunity to find out the truth and to start a process of true reconciliation. The Report advises that an enquiry be held to hold both the Sri Lankan Government and the Tigers accountable. There has been a lot of emotional reaction from both sides – the Sri Lanka government and the Tamils. We Tamils of course welcome the report as being an objective one. It is an attempt to find out and bring out the truth so that justice can be done and a true reconciliation process can begin.

Continue reading "'Allegations against LTTE Must also be investigated' - Fr.Emmanuel" »

The Darusman (UN) Report was inevitable due to colossal failure by the Rajapaksas

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“The illusion of destiny extracts a remarkably heavy price”. — Amartya Sen (Identity and Violence)

The mysterious leaking in Colombo of the Darusman (UN) Report was accompanied by a carefully choreographed outbreak of patriotic-hysteria. The President, in a hyperbolic-excess, declared his willingness to brave the electric chair (unaware that capital punishment is rejected by the International Criminal Court!). He also indicated his desire to turn the UPFA May Day demonstration into an anti-UN melee (does this explain the timing of the leak?).

His brother, in a warning to India and the West, announced Sri Lanka’s willingness to seek protection by entering Chinese and Russian orbits. The various Rajapaksas acolytes are competing with each other in fear-mongering, as if the UN is amassing a mammoth-force to invade Sri Lanka, tomorrow.

Continue reading "The Darusman (UN) Report was inevitable due to colossal failure by the Rajapaksas" »

UN SG appointed panel call for a reversal if the 2009 Geneva resolution is in bad faith

By Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha

Perhaps the most startling revelation of bad faith in the report of the Panel appointed by the UN Secretary General is its repeated call for a reversal of the motion regarding Sri Lanka carried at the Human Rights Council in May 2009.

At one point the Report criticises the UN team in Colombo, in saying that ‘the public use of casualty figures would have strengthened the call for the protection of civilians while those events in the Wanni were unfolding’. The rationale for this claim follows immediately, when the panelists declare that following the end of war, the Human Rights Council may have been ‘acting on incomplete information when it passed its May 2009 resolution on Sri Lanka’.

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April 22, 2011

Human rights violations in IDP camps after conflict ended

Extracts from report on Sri Lanka by advisory panel appointed by Ban Ki moon

2. Violations in the IDP Camps

(a) Arbitrary detention of IDPs in closed camps

154. Civilians emerging from the conflicts zone were initially housed in a network of 21 IDP sites spread across Jaffna, Mannar, Trincomalee and Vavuniya districts. Most were eventually sent to Menik Farm near Vavuniya, which at its peak, housed around 250,000 IDPs, making it one of the largest IDP sites in the world and one of the largest population centres in Sri Lanka.

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The “See-Saw” battle between the UN SG and the SL Govt

Report on Sri Lanka by the Ban-Ki-moon advisory Panel – 2

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Continued from last week

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A diplomatic tussle is going on at present between the United Nations Secretary –General (UNSG) and the Government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa over the release of the report compiled by the three-member advisory panel appointed by Ban Ki moon. This is not a fresh development but only an extension of the “cold war” that has been continuing ever since Ban Ki moon visited Sri Lanka in May 2009 after the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was concluded. [click to read in full ~ on dbsjeyaraj.com]

Report release put on hold pending discussion between Ban-Ki-moon and G.L. Peiris scheduled for April 23rd

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

A one to one discussion has been scheduled for Saturday April 23rd between United Nations Secretary – General(UN SG) Ban KI moon and Sri Lankan External affairs minister Prof.Gamini Lakshman Peiris.

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It is learnt that the release of the report on Sri Lanka by the three member advisory panel appointed by Ban Ki moon has been put on hold pending the outcome of the pow –wow between the UNSG and Prof.Peiris.

Earlier the report was to be formally released on Thursday April 21st. It has now been delayed.

Informed sources in Colombo said that Ban Ki moon had agreed to put the report release on hold due to a specific request made by Prof.GL Peiris. The external affairs minister had urged the UNSG not to release the report until the issue is discussed in depth with him. [click here to read in full ~ dbsjeyaraj.com]

April 21, 2011

Sri Lankan Govt had no hand in leaking UN advisory panel report to media says GL Peiris

By Dianne Silva

The government yesterday said that the publishing of the report by the United Nations Panel of Experts would seriously harm the UN system. "The consequences to the UN by publishing the report are far from fortunate. The publishing of the report will inflict even greater damage on the UN system than for Sri Lanka. The UN is based on principles and this action compromises on these core values," External Affairs Minister G.L Peries said.

Speaking to the media the Minister said the publishing of the report was fundamentally wrong. "It is wrong to publish this report or take any steps based on the findings or recommendations of this report," he said.

Continue reading "Sri Lankan Govt had no hand in leaking UN advisory panel report to media says GL Peiris" »

Act with restraint in responding to UN SG advisory panel report - Friday Forum

Former Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala on behalf of 'Friday Forum', a collective of concerned citizens calls upon all parties to act with restraint in responding to the Secretary General of the United Nations over the UN advisory committee report.

Full text of the statement:

The Friday Forum is deeply concerned over the initial reactions to the leaked sections of the report of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon's Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka both within Sri Lanka and abroad.

Continue reading "Act with restraint in responding to UN SG advisory panel report - Friday Forum" »

Let us challenge reactionary Mahinda regime on May Day

By Dr.Vickramabahu Karunaratne

We are happy to see that this May Day has become a day to challenge the Oppression of Mahinda state. Many strong trade unions have come together to challenge the chauvinist pro global capitalist government.

Government is implementing IMF dictates. Salaries are cut while taxes have increased. Under the pretext of giving a pension to the private sector, the government is planning to rob from EPF and ETF accumulations.

Continue reading "Let us challenge reactionary Mahinda regime on May Day" »

Rape, execution, detention and disappearances in the Wanni during the Govt - LTTE war

Extracts from the report on Sri Lanka by the advisory panel appointed by Ban Ki moon

F. Credible allegations relating to events outside the conflict zone and in the aftermath

138. The plight of civilians who had survived the conflict in the Vanni did not end when they entered Government-controlled areas.

Continue reading "Rape, execution, detention and disappearances in the Wanni during the Govt - LTTE war" »

The three stooges of Ban-Ki-moon and character certificate by the Tamil National Alliance

By S.L. Gunasekara

IF Mahinda Rajapaksa had heeded the ‘demands’ (couched as requests) made by Moon, Clinton, Miliband and Kouchner etc and declared a ceasefire while we were on the point of victory, the terrorist Prabhakaran would still have been alive and terrorism would have thrived in the country.


IF Mahinda Rajapaksa had heeded those demands:-

Continue reading "The three stooges of Ban-Ki-moon and character certificate by the Tamil National Alliance" »

Sri Lankan Government requests UN not to release the panel of experts report

Department of Government Information, Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan Government has requested the UN not to make its panel of experts report public as it is wrong and unacceptable, External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris told the media in Colombo today.

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Schoolchildren in Sri Lanka have been signing petitions against the public release of the UN's report [Reuters] via ALJazeera

Continue reading "Sri Lankan Government requests UN not to release the panel of experts report" »

AlJazeera Video ~ People & Power: 'Both the government and Tamil Tigers are to blame'

A UN panel has found that the allegations against both sides - the Govt of Sri Lanka & LTTE are credible saying they may have committed serious violations of humanitarian law.

As Juliana Ruhfus and Dom Rotheroe have been finding out, unless and until the truth is established, a final reconciliation in Sri Lanka may prove impossible.

Some of the images in their film are deeply disturbing.

Continue reading "AlJazeera Video ~ People & Power: 'Both the government and Tamil Tigers are to blame'" »

The charge against the Govt of reducing number of Wanni civilians in estimates

Extracts from report on Sri Lanka by advisory panel appointed by Ban Ki moon

D. Disputing IDP figures as a basis to deny humanitarian assistance

124. Throughout the final stages of the armed conflict, particularly from January to May 2009, the Government downplayed the number of civilians present in the LTTE controlled area, using the low estimates to restrict the amount of humanitarian assistance that could be provided, especially food and medicine.

Continue reading "The charge against the Govt of reducing number of Wanni civilians in estimates" »

April 20, 2011

India must take position on Lanka's war crimes: HRW

United Nations, Apr 20, (PTI):

"India will have to take a public position," Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director of Human Rights Watch, told PTI. Ganguly added that if India wanted to emerge as a leader on the global stage then the country's leadership would have to show its intention of "protecting the rights of people over government."

An independent panel of experts, which submitted its report to the UN, has found "credible allegations" of crimes against humanity and war crimes against the Sri Lankan government and the rebel Tamil Tigers.

Continue reading "India must take position on Lanka's war crimes: HRW" »

April 19, 2011

Easter and its traditions

By Saba-Thambi

An egg painted red given at the end of a Sunday school session was my first ever memory of Easter Sunday. I was highly excited and vividly remember taking extreme care of this possession on the half -hour walk back home. I don’t remember how I cooked the egg, but I remember to this day when my mother told me that the egg represents new life and hope for Christians indicating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. My mother also mentioned the western custom of exchanging chocolate Easter eggs on Easter Sundays. At the age of nine and living in Jaffna, I was amazed by the thought of a chocolate egg being the size of a chicken egg!

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UN "Expert" report is an illegal one based on fudged assumptions

by Dr.Susantha Goonatilake

The UN expert team report on alleged "war crimes" castigates Sri Lanka, lightly raps the knuckles of the LTTE, ignores vital history, intrudes into contemporary issues outside its mandate, castigates the very UN that appointed it, off-handishly interprets Sri Lankan social reality which even professional social scientists would shun from, uses terminology straight from NGOs like "triumphalism" and "ethno nationalism", and praises Sri Lankan "civil society" (read foreign funded NGOs and not real civil society like political parties, trade unions and professional organisations).

Continue reading "UN "Expert" report is an illegal one based on fudged assumptions" »

How Ban-Ki-moon trapped Mahendra Percival Rajapaksa

by Upul Joseph Fernando

Some foreign media were of the view that the Sri Lanka (SL) Government had trapped Ban Ki moon in relation to the UN war crime panel. They presumed, like how the SL Govt. which is very adept at manipulating International politics, it had won over moon too via the RR Company. It was their belief that, as there existed a cordial and close relationship between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and moon, these ties may have been availed of to soft pedal anything obnoxious against the Govt. contained in the Panel report. Ban Ki moon was of course pursuing a very flexible policy towards the SL Govt. as regards the panel appointed by him.

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UN SG Ban-Ki-moon (file pic)

Continue reading "How Ban-Ki-moon trapped Mahendra Percival Rajapaksa" »

Instances of hospitals in the Wanni being shelled during the Govt – LTTE war

Extracts from the report on Sri Lanka of the advisory panel appointed by Ban Ki Moon

Shelling hospitals

The following are extracts from the Ban Ki Moon report pertaining to instances where hospitals were allegedly shelled:

On or around 19 to 21 January, SLA shells hit Vallipuram hospital, located in the first NFZ killing patients. Throughout the final stages of the war, virtually every hospital in the Vanni, whether permanent or makeshift, was hit by artillery. Particularly those which contained wounded LTTE were hit repeatedly.

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Tamils: What Price the Moral High Ground?

by Dravidan

“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” - John 8: 7

Christians all over the world are observing holy week of the lent season. The holy season will end with the Good Friday and Easter Celebrations. One of the more famous stories in the Holy Bible relates to the woman who had been caught in adultery. The Scribes and the Pharisees brought the woman and made her stand before Jesus Christ. They said to him, 'Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery.

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GTF President Fr. Emmanuel wants peace, truth and justice in Sri Lanka

by Paul Dobbyn

EMINENT Tamil theologian and academic Father S.J. Emmanuel can count five bishops among those he has educated in his distinguished career - but he is much prouder of five special priests who attended his lectures in Kandy, Sri Lanka.

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Father S.J. Emmanuel

President of the Global Tamil Forum, Fr Emmanuel once told the State Department in Washington that he was "father" to these priests.

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April 18, 2011

Video ~ Syracuse University Event: Removing Barriers to Peace and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka

By Dr. Karunyan Arulanantham
Director Tamil American Peace Initiative
Member USTPAC

Peace and Reconciliation

• Understanding multiethnic challenges with empathy

• Truth telling and honest confrontation of the ugly past

• Identification of the root causes of the conflict

• Willingness to change

Continue reading "Video ~ Syracuse University Event: Removing Barriers to Peace and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka" »

The Chinese movie “Detective Dee” and the Ban-Ki-moon advisory panel report

by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

The most ubiquitous and striking poster along the boulevards of Paris these Spring days is of a movie called ‘Detective Dee’, the full title of which is ‘Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame’. It was made in China, directed by Tsui Hark and starring Andy Lau, with fight sequences by Sammo Hung. I saw and loved it as it came out in Singapore last year. Between then and its appearance in Paris cinemas it has picked up critical acclaim and awards at Western film festivals.

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Theatre of the absurd that passes for governance in Sri Lanka

By Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

The Secretary General’s Advisory Panel Report on Allegations of War Crimes by the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE in the last phase of the war has been handed over to the Government of Sri Lanka. The Ministry of External Affairs has declared that the Report is fundamentally flawed and that it contains baseless accusations. A leaked version of the executive summary has appeared in the local media and the UN is on record regretting the leak. The UN has also announced that it will make public the full report along with the full response of the Government of Sri Lanka. There is speculation that in any event the UN will make the full report public in the course of this week.

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Shelling of civilian targets and hindering humanitarian assistance of ICRC

Extracts from the Ban Ki Moon advisory panel report on Sri Lanka

6. SLA shelling in the second No Fire Zone

100. From as early as 6 February 2009, the SLA continuously shelled within the area that become the second NFZ, from all directions, including land, air and sea. It is estimated that there were between 300,000 and 330,000 civilians in that small area. The SLA assault employed aerial bombardment, long-range artillery, howitzers and MBRLs as well as small mortars, RPGs and small arms fire, some of it fired from a close range. MBRLs are unguided missile systems designed to shell large areas, but if used in densely populated areas, are indiscriminate in their effect and likely to cause large number of casualties.

Continue reading "Shelling of civilian targets and hindering humanitarian assistance of ICRC" »

Civilian deaths and injuries in the Govt-LTTE conflict in the Wanni

Extracts from the report on Sri Lanka by the advisory panel appointed by Ban Ki Moon

E.The Number of Civilian Deaths

132. There is no authoritative figure for civilian deaths or injuries in the Vanni in the final phases of the war. Several actors make it very difficult to calculate a reliable casualty figure: (a) the number of persons in the conflict area remains uncertain, although it was likely to have been as many as 330,000; (b) the lack of an accurate count of the number of persons who emerged from the Vanni, due to the lack of transparency in the screening process; (c) lack of certainty on the numbers of LTTE combatants, complicated further by the increase in forced recruitment in the final phase; and (d) the fact that many civilians were buried where they fell, without their deaths being registered, in some cases, unobserved.

Continue reading "Civilian deaths and injuries in the Govt-LTTE conflict in the Wanni" »

US Gov urged to influence the implementation of UN panel recommendations

TAPI Welcomes the Recommendations of the UN Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka

The Tamil American Peace Initiative (TAPI) welcomes the recommendations laid out in the executive summary of the panel of experts report commissioned by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

"I am extremely relieved to learn the report calls into question the integrity of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, along with that of the Sri Lankan government,” said TAPI spokesman Dr. Karunyan Arulanantham.

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Govt must face UN and international community by having Tamil people on its side - Mano Ganesan

Government should face UN and international community taking the Tamil people on its side. Choosing the line of triumphalism based on the victory against LTTE to counter UN censure on accountability will be a political error. It is time to leave the war victory to history and start addressing the political aspirations of the Tamil speaking people. It is the only way to win Tamils to the government side says DPF leader Mano Ganesan. Ganesan said further in the brief statement issued by DPF media office,

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TNA statement on UNSG Advisory Panel Report

(This is the full text of a statement by the Tamil National Alliance)

We have read the disclosure made by the media, said to be the Executive Summary of the Report submitted by the Advisory Panel to the United Nations Secretary General (UNSG).

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), as the democratically elected representatives of the Tamil People of the North East, who have been the worst affected victims of the recently concluded war, we consider it our duty to respond to same, while reserving a fuller response to the full Report after it becomes available to us.

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Political objective of UN Secretary – General to interfere in internal affairs of Sri Lanka should be rejected - JVP

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) has issued a statement on the report on Sri Lanka by the advisory panel appointed by UN Secretary - General Ban Ki Moon. The text of JVP statement is as follows -

The report of the ‘Panel of Experts’ appointed by Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki-moon to advise him on the alleged human rights violations committed during the final phase of the war in Sri Lanka has been released. The political objective of the UN Secretary General to interfere in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka, on the pretext of any issue that crops up, should be rejected.

Continue reading "Political objective of UN Secretary – General to interfere in internal affairs of Sri Lanka should be rejected - JVP" »

CH 4: 'It will be very difficult for any of the great powers to ignore now what went on in Sri Lanka'

The former UN spokesman in Sri Lanka Gordon Weiss tells Channel 4 News that a leaked UN report into "credible allegations" of war crimes represent Sri Lanka's "Srebrenica moment".

Weiss told Channel 4 News they were at the "hard edge of humanitarian work" and were prevented from reaching the area by the Sri Lankan government. There "no foreign observers there to observe what was happening", Weiss said.

Continue reading "CH 4: 'It will be very difficult for any of the great powers to ignore now what went on in Sri Lanka'" »

April 17, 2011

Malicious muckraking is killing Sri Lankan cricket by rumour

by Prof Michael Roberts

Many Sri Lankan fans expected the cricket team to win the World Cup and even stocked up with firecrackers to mark the celebratory moment. The disappointment has been commensurate with this high expectation. It has generated immense disappointment in many minds.

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Sanga and DS de Silva– Pic by AFP

Continue reading "Malicious muckraking is killing Sri Lankan cricket by rumour" »

Ch 4: Despite the UN Panel's tough words, will anyone be held to account?

Version of the long-awaited report by the United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) panel reveals "credible allegations" of war crimes which - if proven - suggest a "grave assault on the entire regime of international law".

Despite the UN Panel's tough words, will anyone be held to account?

The report estimates that tens of thousands of civilians were killed in the final four months of Sri Lanka's civil war in 2009.

It indicates that actions by both the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity:

Continue reading "Ch 4: Despite the UN Panel's tough words, will anyone be held to account?" »

April 16, 2011

"If UN wont protect us then we will have to seek protection from countries like Russia and China" - Gotabhaya Rajapaksa

Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday lashed out at the UN experts panel report on the conduct of the Sri Lanka government and armed forces during the last stages of the war against the LTTE in 2009, saying there was an agenda behind the report and if the United Nations cannot protect one of its member states, Sri Lanka will be forced to look for protection from Russia and China.

He said the UN seemed to have been "hi-jacked by some countries" and that Sri Lanka as a member-state of the UN needs its protection. "This will push us to other countries to protect us. The UN should not be a pawn of some countries,” he added.

Continue reading ""If UN wont protect us then we will have to seek protection from countries like Russia and China" - Gotabhaya Rajapaksa" »

Sri Lanka’s relations with United Nations still remain warm despite Ban Ki moon report

By Nihal Rodrigo

On June 22 2010, the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon appointed a three-member Panel of Experts to examine, and advise him of “the modalities, applicable international standards, and comparative experiences with regard to accountability processes” that related to any alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, during “the final stages” of the conflict in Sri Lanka. Last Tuesday (April 12), Ban Ki-moon received the so-called “Report of the Secretary General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka”.

The Secretary General, “as a matter of courtesy”, made a copy available to the Sri Lanka Government through its Permanent Mission to the UN in New York, in advance of it being made public “in the coming days”.

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Ruling family's determination to have a "Rajapaksa security state" is costing Sri Lanka dear

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

To take the wrong road is to arrive at snow” — Federico Garcia Lorca (Little Infinite Poem)

They had to stand in a sweltering-queue, in the baking-hot April sun, for hours, they who, ensconced in their public-funded air-conditioned offices and mansions, rarely experience the gruelling tropical heat. They were body-searched, they who zoom through traffic and life, pausing not for laws or norms. And they had no choice but to submit to these humiliations, they who humiliate their fellow citizens as a matter of course.

Continue reading "Ruling family's determination to have a "Rajapaksa security state" is costing Sri Lanka dear" »

April 15, 2011

Govt must show more sincerity and purpose in t alks - Sumanthiran

By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema

The issues faced by the Tamil community and finding a political settlement will have to be done through discussions, says TNA Parliamentarian and Attorney at Law, M.A. Sumanthiran.

In an e-mail interview with The Sunday Leader, Sumanthiran observed that the TNA was engaged in discussions honestly and sincerely with a view to resolving all issues. “There is no other way. We wish that the government too would show more sincerity and purpose in this matter,” he said. Speaking of looking for a political settlement beyond the 13th Amendment, Sumanthiran observed there was no need to discuss anything further than the 13th Amendment if it is the solution to the issue.

Excerpts:

Q: What has been the outcome of the four rounds of discussions the TNA has had with the government?

Continue reading "Govt must show more sincerity and purpose in t alks - Sumanthiran" »

Harper brushes off questions over Tamil candidate Paranchothy who praised terrorist group LTTE

by Anthony Reinhart and John Ibbitson

Stephen Harper insists the Conservatives maintain “a strong position against the Tamil Tigers” despite a party candidate’s role in hosting a televised tribute to the banned terrorist group in November.

“Our position on the Tamil Tigers has been strong and unequivocal,” Mr. Harper told reporters Thursday in Beaupré, Que. “This is the party that listed the Tamil Tigers [as a terrorist group]; previous governments have refused to do so, and our position on that is not going to change.”

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Muralitharan slams SLC for calling back players from IPL

via PTI

Delhi: Retired spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan on Friday slammed Sri Lankan Cricket Board for asking its players to return home midway through the Indian Premier League for a tour to England, saying the No Objection Certificate had permitted them to play till May 20.

"I think the board (SLC) has given them permission till May 20. I don't know what happened suddenly. The players were told to come on May 5. It is the fault of SLC because they signed the NOC till May 20 so if they change it to May 5 it is something wrong," Muralitharan, who quit international cricket after Sri Lanka's defeat to India in the World Cup final early this month, said.

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Executive Summary: Report of the Advisory panel of experts on accountability in Sri Lanka

Allegations found credible by the Panel

The Panel’s determination of credible allegations reveals a very different version of the final stages of the war than that maintained to this day by the Government of Sri Lanka. The Government says it pursued a "humanitarian rescue operation" with a policy of "zero civilian casualties". In stark contrast, the Panel found credible allegations, which if proven, indicate that a wide range of serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law were committed both by the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE, some of which would amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. Indeed, the conduct of the war represented a grave assault on the entire regime of international law designed to protect individual dignity during both war and peace.

Continue reading "Executive Summary: Report of the Advisory panel of experts on accountability in Sri Lanka" »

Report on Sri Lanka by the Ban-Ki-moon Advisory panel

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The three-member panel appointed by UN secretary –general Ban Ki moon to advise him on alleged human rights violations and accountability issues in Sri Lanka during the last phase of the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam organization handed over its report on April 12th. It is expected that the UN Secy –Gen will publicise the contents in due course. At the time of this article being written the report was yet to be made public.

Sections of the media notably some wire services have gone to town describing the report as the "UN Report" and as the "UN War crimes report". Wittingly or unwittingly this media "spin" has bestowed upon the report a degree of importance which it may not deserve in the final analysis. It has to be pointed out in this respect that the report in question is neither a UN report nor a war crimes report.

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[ Click here to read in full ~ dbsjeyaraj.com ]

April 14, 2011

In Pictures: “Kara” New Year dawns with Chariot Festival in Thaavady, Jaffna

Pictures from the festival:
By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai:

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[Click to read & See more]

"Sri Lanka’s progress on demining activities should be welcomed" – British High Commissioner

via British High Commission, Sri Lanka

The British High Commissioner made this remarks on the occasion of the International Day for Mine Awareness. The United Nations observes the International Day for Mine Awareness every year.

This year theme was “A landmine-free world within reach”.

The British High Commission (BHC) in Colombo invited The Halo Trust (a leading UK-based demining agency working in Sri Lanka) to make a presentation on demining activities in Sri Lanka and demining work internationally to mark this significant day. The talk was held on Friday, 8 April and attended by the staff from the BHC and several other foreign missions.

Continue reading ""Sri Lanka’s progress on demining activities should be welcomed" – British High Commissioner" »

April 13, 2011

SL bracing for showdown with cricket powerhouse India

Sri Lankan sports ministry's decision to call back its cricketers from the IPL could lead to "a potentially explosive situation" as far as the board's ties with the BCCI - world cricket's financial powerhouse - is concerned, a leading newspaper said.

The ministry had on Tuesday asked the Sri Lankan cricketers participating in the hugely popular Twenty20 league to return home early to prepare for the national team's tour of England that gets underway on May 14.

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Sri Lanka gov finds UNSG Panel report 'fundamentally flawed in many respects'

Full Text of Statement by Ministry of External Affairs, Sri Lanka

The Government of Sri Lanka has received a copy of the report of the Secretary General’s Panel of Experts on accountability in Sri Lanka.

The Government finds this report fundamentally flawed in many respects.

Among other deficiencies, the report is based on patently biased material which is presented without any verification.

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April 12, 2011

Appeal to media on critiques about NGOs

by National Peace Council

In recent months there has been a systematic campaign in sections of the media to bring a few NGOs that work in the areas of human rights, governance, peace and reconciliation into public disrepute. At the core of these charges is the allegation that NGOs are accountable to no one but to themselves, do not have independent audits of their accounts and are not registered with the government. The National Peace Council (NPC) is one of the NGOs that have been singled out for this unfavourable commentary.

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'Ban-Ki-moon must stick to his word' - Amnesty Int'l

'Ban-Ki-moon must stick to his word - accounting for violations committed in the recent conflict is first step to future reconciliation' - Amnesty Int'l

Amnesty International Media Release

United Nations Report on Sri Lanka Conflict Must be Made Public, Says Amnesty International

(Washington, D.C.) -- A United Nations (U.N.) report on accountability for war crimes committed in the Sri Lankan armed conflict must be made public, Amnesty International said today as a panel of experts submits their findings to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Continue reading "'Ban-Ki-moon must stick to his word' - Amnesty Int'l" »

Secretary-General Should Use Findings to Press for Justice - HRW

HRW Media Release

(New York) - The report by a panel of experts to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on April 12, 2011, about laws-of-war violations in Sri Lanka should be used to pave the way for justice, Human Rights Watch said today. Ban commissioned the report in May 2010 after the Sri Lankan government failed to investigate violations committed in the final months of its decades-long conflict with the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

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UN Sec Gen Ban-Ki-moon shares panel report with Sri Lanka govt 'prior to making it public'

UN chief receives report of panel of experts on Sri Lanka human rights issues

Via UN News Centre

The panel of experts set up to advise Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on accountability issues with respect to the conflict in Sri Lanka today delivered its report to the United Nations chief, who is sharing a copy with the Government prior to making it public.

Continue reading "UN Sec Gen Ban-Ki-moon shares panel report with Sri Lanka govt 'prior to making it public'" »

April 11, 2011

Without accountability there cannot be reconciliation: Is the argument correct?

by Dayan Jayatilleka

One must re-scrutinise the emphatic assertion that post-war accountability, democracy, good governance and post-conflict reconciliation are integral parts of a single package or located on a continuum. It is argued that greater democratisation and fuller accountability regarding the war are indispensable complementarities.

The argument is put forward that without accountability there will be no reconciliation, and the question is therefore raised as to what the international standards and best practices of accountability are. Opinion divides between those who advocate or support an ‘independent international inquiry’ and an independent domestic inquiry.

Continue reading "Without accountability there cannot be reconciliation: Is the argument correct?" »

Improprieties in the Sri Lanka section of US State Dept report

By Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha

The 2010 Human Rights Report on Sri Lanka issued by the BUREAU OF DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS, AND LABOR of the US Department of State is potentially a useful document for Sri Lanka, since it brings together several cases which need to be pursued. Seven cases are cited of deaths in police custody, one involving four persons in Trincomalee, and another two in Moratuwa. These are disgraceful, and they should not only be investigated thoroughly, but action should be taken against the perpetrators if unnecesssry violence was used. In only three of the instances are there even allegations of provocation, and those too do not seem entirely plausible.

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"Attacked for Words", Journalist Poddala Jayantha at Iowa State University

First Amendment Day 2011 of The Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State University was held on April 7, 2011 featuring a presentation by journalist Poddala Jayantha: "Attacked for Words: A Terror Campaign Against Sri Lankan Journalists."

The following is a report of the event, appearing on the student run the Iowa State Daily. The newspaper was first established in 1890.

By Kaleb Warnock

"They threw my unconscious body in a ditch and left me to die."

Poddala Jayantha is a Sri Lankan journalist who was nearly killed because of his investigative reporting with regard to alleged human rights violations executed by the Sri Lankan government. He spoke of his experience last Thursday as part of the First Amendment Day celebration in the Cardinal Room of the Memorial Union.

Continue reading ""Attacked for Words", Journalist Poddala Jayantha at Iowa State University" »

Our old enemies the secessionists seek to resume the struggle by other means and win

by Dayan Jayatilleka

Behind its splendid stone facade, the Acadamie Diplomatique Internationale has been in existence from the early decades of the last century, and according to its head, was discussing Western military intervention in the Middle East then as it was that very day last week when a team from the National University of Singapore’s Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), on a Paris-London visit, presented on ‘Developments in the Arab World and the Impact on Asia: an Asian Perspective’. I attended eagerly, not only because of the subject’s salience but because these were my recent colleagues and friends.

Continue reading "Our old enemies the secessionists seek to resume the struggle by other means and win" »

April 10, 2011

LankaeNews editor freed on bail, authorities still have him in their sights

by rsf.org

Bennet Rupesinghe, one of the editors of the Colombo-based online newspaper LankaeNews, was released on bail today after a week in pre-trial detention for allegedly making threats.

Arrested when he reported to police in the Colombo suburb of Wellampitiya on 31 March, Rupesinghe was freed on payment of 310,000 rupees (2,000 euros) in bail at Colombo’s Kaduwela court. A peaceful demonstration in support of Rupesinghe was held outside the court this morning.

Another hearing has been set for 7 July. In an open letter to Sri Lanka’s justice minister, Reporters Without Borders has urged the judicial authorities to give Rupesinghe a fair trial and to stop hounding LankaeNews and its staff.

Continue reading "LankaeNews editor freed on bail, authorities still have him in their sights" »

April 09, 2011

Rajapaksas are adept at using an amalgam of sticks and carrots

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“You follow a halter, being enthralled by a picture of authority” — Adelard of Bath (Quoted in The House Of Wisdom: How The Arabs Transformed Western Civilization’ — Jonathan Lyons)

A new volume is to be added to the Mahavamsa covering the period of 1978-2010. According to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs three of its chapters will be dedicated to the four years of Rajapaksa-rule (his predecessors will get two chapters or less) because the President’s “achievement in ending the island’s 30-year separatist war has no parallels in the chronicle” (PTI – 6.4.2011).

Continue reading "Rajapaksas are adept at using an amalgam of sticks and carrots" »

International hypocrisy and double standards over Sri Lanka in 2009 and Libya in 2011

By S. V. Kirubaharan
France

Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of American President Franklin Roosevelt once said, “Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both.” The majority of today’s international media speaks about Libya – some talk about coalition air raids and civilian casualities; some talk about rebels recapturing cities and the subsequent celebrations; others say NATO forces in Libya intend to enforce a UN resolution to protect civilians.

Continue reading "International hypocrisy and double standards over Sri Lanka in 2009 and Libya in 2011" »

Every grandiose noun and flowery adjective in Sinhala will be used to describe the Rajapaksas and their exploits in the “new” Mahavamsa

by Tisaranee Gunasekara

"Though everyone bowed down before you,
Saying virtue and wisdom lit your way,
Striking gold medals in your honour,
Glad to have survived another day,
Do not feel safe…” Czeslaw Milosz (You who Wronged)

Another emergency debate brought forth another apocryphal tale, to justify the unjustifiable. During the previous Emergency debate, the Prime Minister perorated portentously about Tiger training camps in Tamil Nadu, only to retract his words ignominiously, 24 hours later, in the face of strong Indian protests and denials. His colleagues, with barely concealed sniggers, indicated that the Prime Minister’s pronouncements need not be taken all that seriously!

Continue reading "Every grandiose noun and flowery adjective in Sinhala will be used to describe the Rajapaksas and their exploits in the “new” Mahavamsa" »

April 08, 2011

Ban Ki-moon supports regine change in Libya and Ivory Coast

By Colum Lynch

At U.N. headquarters, regime change has long been viewed as a toxic phrase.

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Under former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, the U.N. brass cringed when American politicians and diplomats, both Republican and Democratic, revealed that their true aim in pursuing U.N. arms inspections and sanctions in Iraq was the downfall of Saddam Hussein.

Continue reading "Ban Ki-moon supports regine change in Libya and Ivory Coast" »

Mavilaru Today: The shadows of war

By Amantha Perera

It was a name-board that caught my eye. Hanging at the entrance, it read ‘Mavilaru Cafe’. The cafe was clean and the food was all right, but not really anything to write home about. Having lunch at the Mavilaru Cafe however, was quite something… for reasons other than the food.

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Continue reading "Mavilaru Today: The shadows of war" »

Sri Lanka Government and agents continued to be serious human rights violators in 2010 - US State Dept Report

2010 Human Rights Report: Sri Lanka
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

April 8, 2011

Sri Lanka is a constitutional, multiparty republic with a population estimated at 21 million. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was reelected to a second six-year term in January, and the parliament, which was elected in April, share constitutional power. The government is dominated by the president's family; two of the president's brothers hold key executive branch posts as defense secretary and minister of economic development, while a third brother is the speaker of parliament. Independent observers generally characterized the presidential and parliamentary elections as problematic. Both elections were fraught with violations of the election law by all major parties and were influenced by the governing coalition's massive use of state resources. There were instances in which elements of the security forces acted independently of civilian control.

Continue reading "Sri Lanka Government and agents continued to be serious human rights violators in 2010 - US State Dept Report" »

Sri Lanka has not violated international law - Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa

www.news.lk
Department of Government Information, Sri Lanka

The government has already relaxed several Emergency Regulations and certain regulations are still required to ensure peace and harmony in the country.

However, the International Groups and the local politicians who demand for relaxation of emergency regulations were silent about violation of human rights by the terrorist outfit LTTE, when they terrorized the innocent people of the country, when they denied human rights to people living in areas which were under their control, and when they denied human rights to the academics living in that area. He said that the behavior of International groups in the activities of certain countries were totally different from what they did in the case of Sri Lanka when the terrorist outfit LTTE was making blatant and gross violation of human rights in this country.

Continue reading "Sri Lanka has not violated international law - Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa" »

The Businesses Boosted by Cricket World Cup

By M.S.Shah Jahan

Betting

No doubt the 10th Cricket World Cup gave financial gains not only to the cricketers and those associated with it, but also to various in business sectors. Look how the CWC craze benefited everybody. Nowadays in any sports competition what comes running first is the betting business. That way one can imagine the bookies would have had a good time throughout the Cricket World Cup, and the best time in the final game between India and Sri Lanka.

According to the media, with everything looked good for the Indian team in the in the home soil, punters favoured the hosts. Major betting sites like Ladbrokes, Betfair and Bet365 offered average odds of around 60 cents per rupee for an Indian victory while Sri Lanka was available at an average odds of rupees 1.50 for every one rupee. The bookies offered lucrative odds against Sri Lanka when doubts prevailed over the participation of Muthiah Muralitharan.

Continue reading "The Businesses Boosted by Cricket World Cup" »

April 07, 2011

Sri Lankan government should account for everyone taken into custody at the end of conflict in May 2009 - HRW

Account for War time Disappearances
More than 20 people last seen in Army custody remain missing

By Human Rights Watch

The Sri Lankan government should account for everyone who was taken into custody at the end of Sri Lanka's 26-year-long armed conflict in May 2009 and are feared to have been "disappeared," Human Rights Watch said today. Despite numerous requests from families for information about their relatives, the authorities do not appear to have conducted any serious investigations, Human Rights Watch said.

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Screengrab of a video obtained by Human Rights Watch shows LTTE leader Colonel Ramesh in Sri Lankan army custody

Continue reading "Sri Lankan government should account for everyone taken into custody at the end of conflict in May 2009 - HRW" »

Journalist Bennett Rupasinghe released on bail

BBC News

A court in Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka has granted bail to the editor of a news website critical of the government who was arrested last month.

Police said that Bennett Rupasinghe, editor of LankaeNews.com, was arrested for allegedly threatening another man.

But independent journalists and rights groups said that the move was intended to intimidate the free media.

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Bennett Rupasinghe ~ (file pic)

Continue reading "Journalist Bennett Rupasinghe released on bail" »

Cricket in Sri Lanka is increasingly a political affair

Cricket and politics in Sri Lanka

By Namini Wijedasa

The Sri Lankan team lost the 2011 Cricket World Cup to India but were welcomed home like winners. Was this politics or the true Sri Lankan spirit of embracing losers as equally as they would victors?

Cricket in Sri Lanka is increasingly a political affair. While sports ministers are known to dabble freely in the affairs of Sri Lanka Cricket, it is the country’s president who recommends members to the interim board of this administrative body.

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Sri Lankan cricketers speak with President Mahinda Rajapaksa during a tea party at the Presidential residency in Colombo ~ pic: HindustanTimes

Continue reading "Cricket in Sri Lanka is increasingly a political affair" »

April 06, 2011

Motley group of toxic hacks destroying journalism in Sri Lanka

by Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

Over the last so many weeks and still continuing, there have been a number of critical reports on the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA)- the election monitoring body of which CPA serves as the Secretariat, the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (MEV), in particular - the National Peace Council (NPC), and Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL). There have also been personal attacks on me. Consequently, I am taking the liberty to clarify and comment on a number of aspects of this reportage and personal attacks.

Continue reading "Motley group of toxic hacks destroying journalism in Sri Lanka" »

April 05, 2011

Sri Lanka 'capable partner to ensure maritime security of the region' but rights concern strain ties with US - Asst. Sec. Robert O. Blake, Jr

'Sri Lanka govt conduct during final months of conflict hamper US ability to fully engage'

Testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia

Excerpts from Testimony ~ by Robert O. Blake, Jr.
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs
Washington, DC, April 5, 2011

Off the coast of southern India sits Sri Lanka, still recovering from the 26-year conflict with the LTTE.

Positioned directly on the shipping routes that carry petroleum products and other trade from the Gulf to East Asia, Sri Lanka remains of strategic interest to the U.S. An important contributor to global peacekeeping operations, Sri Lanka stands poised to be a capable and willing partner to effectively combat violent extremism, trafficking and piracy, and thereby help to ensure the maritime security of the region.

Continue reading "Sri Lanka 'capable partner to ensure maritime security of the region' but rights concern strain ties with US - Asst. Sec. Robert O. Blake, Jr" »

Sport has historically offered a profound avenue to rally and serve as the arena for reconciliation

Nationalism, Cricket and the Religio-Politics of Sport

On social networking sites, such as Facebook, debates about the usefulness of the boycott were pervasive. Some members of the diaspora argued that supporting the Sri Lankan cricket team against India in the finals could foster a sense of unity in the country following a highly divisive ethnic conflict.

by Amarnath Amarasingam

In 1968, Avery Brundage, President of the International Olympic Committee, declared that sports, "like music and the other fine arts, transcends politics." The statement came out of a sentiment of hope rather than fact, and was, of course, incredibly naive. If Claude von Clausewitz is correct that war is merely "politics by other means," then the same can be said about sports.

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(President Mahinda Rajapaksa hosted a reception to Sri Lankan cricketers at Temple Trees on April 4 (pic: president.gov.lk/)

Continue reading "Sport has historically offered a profound avenue to rally and serve as the arena for reconciliation" »

India wants equal rights and equl status for Sri Lankan Tamils says Sonia Gandhi in Chennai

by G.Sathyamoorthi

Chennai: India is pressing Sri Lanka to amend the Constitution to “guarantee and ensure equal rights and equal status” to Sri Lankan Tamils, Congress president and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi said here on Tuesday.

Significant progress

“In our neighbourhood, there is no issue closer to our heart than the rights of the Sri Lankan Tamil people. There has been significant progress last year and India had committed and provided large sums of money for the relief and rehabilitation of the affected people. We will do everything in our power to rehabilitate them,” she said, addressing an election rally on Island Ground along with Dravida Munetra Kazhagam president and Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi.

Continue reading "India wants equal rights and equl status for Sri Lankan Tamils says Sonia Gandhi in Chennai" »

'Why I'm glad we didn't win the World Cup'

(This piece, posted on facbook by a Sri Lankan youth is reproduced here)

First: It was a great game and India were the better team at the final, and during the tournament. I mean to take nothing away from such an epic victory, which I believe is something the entire subcontinent can be proud of. My gladness for Sri Lanka’s loss stems not from anything to do with India or their win.

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Continue reading "'Why I'm glad we didn't win the World Cup'" »

April 04, 2011

AI Urgent action: Law student D.M. Thushara Jayaratne fears for safety after death threats

Urgent Amnesty International Action

Student fears for safety after deaths threats

A Sri Lankan student who complained that his law school's final exams were being managed unfairly was abducted, interrogated and threatened with death before being released.

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On the morning of 4 March law student D.M. Thushara Jayaratne was waiting at a bus stop in the Colombo suburb of Kohuwala when two men approached him, saying they wanted to record a statement. Thushara was afraid and tried to escape by boarding a bus leaving town. The two men followed him onto the bus and left it with him in the suburb of Pillawa. The men forced him into a waiting van and took him to an unknown location where he was held for nearly 12 hours; he was released in another suburb, Nugegoda. He was questioned about complaints he had made against the Law College Registrar and his statements to international organisations.

Continue reading "AI Urgent action: Law student D.M. Thushara Jayaratne fears for safety after death threats" »

Defence Secretary reveals details of Colombo City development plan

About 70,000 families identified as shanty or slum dwellers in the city of Colombo would be relocated within the next two years in high-rise community housing units that are to be developed for them within the city, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said.

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Continue reading "Defence Secretary reveals details of Colombo City development plan" »

72 Hour feast of music, song and dance at Jaffna festival

by Marisa de Silva

Three days and three nights of flamboyant colour, exhilarating music and pulsating dance, showcased by an array of multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, national and international folk artistes and performers made the Jaffna Music Festival (JMF) last weekend everything it was billed to be.

No two groups were similar in sound or performance, but all were entertaining to varied degrees

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(L) to (R) A member of Sibikwa playing the djun-djuns and Barta Gandharva from the Nepal Music Centre, playing the Sarangi. Prof. Durga Prasad on Bansuri in the background ~ pix by: Supun Weerasinghe

Continue reading "72 Hour feast of music, song and dance at Jaffna festival" »

April 03, 2011

Democratic verdicts of Tamil people should be recognised in a country which claims to function on democratic governance - R. Sampanthan MP

Statement made by R. Sampanthan MP, parliamentary group leader Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and President Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) on the results of the local authorities elections held in the North East

The Tamil National Alliance (T.N.A) –The Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (I.T.A.K) has been elected to power in every one of the predominantly Tamil populated Local Authority areas to which elections were held recently in the North East. In the predominantly Tamil speaking Local Authority areas in the North East, with a sizeable Tamil population, the T.N.A – I.T.A.K has performed creditably.

Continue reading "Democratic verdicts of Tamil people should be recognised in a country which claims to function on democratic governance - R. Sampanthan MP" »

'Mob attacked Tamils of Indian origin in Hatton after India beat Sri Lanka to the cricket world cup' - Minister Thondaman

BBC Sandeshaya

Police in Sri Lanka say that they have arrested four people suspected on an attack following a the protest threat by a cabinet minister.

Superintendent of Police Prishantha Jayakody told BBC Sandeshaya that the suspects were remanded until the 15th of March.

"This was a clash between two groups and the situation is under control," he said.

Continue reading "'Mob attacked Tamils of Indian origin in Hatton after India beat Sri Lanka to the cricket world cup' - Minister Thondaman" »

'Sangakkara was right when he said, "Both Sri Lanka and India can be very proud."'

Cricket may be, as the sociologist Ashis Nandy wrote in 1983, “an Indian game accidentally discovered by the English,” but India took a long time to take control of it.

by Huw Richards

For Sachin Tendulkar, it was “the proudest moment of my life.” For his India teammates, it was a chance to pay back the sport’s living legend for all the other times he has had to carry his team.

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India's Yuvraj Singh hugs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni after they beat Sri Lanka in the ICC Cricket World Cup final match in Mumbai on Staurday ~ pic courtesy: Vivek Prakash/Reuters ~ via NYTimes.com ~

Continue reading "'Sangakkara was right when he said, "Both Sri Lanka and India can be very proud."'" »

April 02, 2011

Colombo Metropolitan Corporation is an archetypal Rajapaksa-solution to the problem that is the Colombo Municipal Council

The Rajapaksas have a grand developmental plan for Colombo — selling innumerable acres of prime real estate to foreign companies for uncountable dollars. Unfortunately, much of this land is occupied by Lankan citizens, who must be forcibly evicted from their homes, before their land can be occupied, ‘developed’ and sold. This mass-eviction would become easier, if the Rajapaksas (not the UNP) control the CMC.

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“….doing violence to the spirit of thousands of laws without actually running afoul of so much as a city ordinance.” — Kurt Vonnegut (The Sirens Of Titan)

The campaign to replace popular sovereignty with Rajapaksa sovereignty swung into top-gear last week. The regime announced that the Colombo Municipal Council and four other local authorities will be placed under the control of a new, unelected, entity: the Colombo Metropolitan Corporation.

Continue reading "Colombo Metropolitan Corporation is an archetypal Rajapaksa-solution to the problem that is the Colombo Municipal Council" »

Mannar Bishop donates land to families displaced after Sri Lankan navy takes possession of village "for security reasons"

by Melani Manel Perera

Mullikkulam village has been transformed into a Navy outpost. In exchange families have been offered the Kayakuli area in the middle of the jungle. But for its deforestation, all borne by the population, no help has come from government and non-profit organizations.

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Mgr Rayappu Joseph, bishop of Mannar, has donated a piece of land to 52 Tamil Catholic families who were displaced from their village of Mullikkulam (Mannar district), so that they can build homes and start a new life there . The Sri Lankan navy has in fact taken possession of the village "for security reasons", without providing further explanation to the expelled inhabitants.

Continue reading "Mannar Bishop donates land to families displaced after Sri Lankan navy takes possession of village "for security reasons"" »

Cricket diplomacy of inviting New Zealand PM and not Pak leaders, David Cameron and flying to Mumbai to watch Lanka’s heroes

by Gamini Weerkoon

Bumpy sprinted up the gangway and just made it to his seat in the special charter flight carrying the Colombo Fifty to Mumbai. He was by no means pleased to recognise his classmate of 50 years ago, Stinko seated next to him.

Bumpy greeted him with a ‘Hello, Hello Stinko’ though not too pleased at his discovery.

Why was Stinko on his way to Mumbai to watch Lanka’s conquering heroes playing the mighty Injuns when Stinko did not play any cricket in the days gone by — not even marbles, Bumpy queried.

Stinko too was not too pleased to meet his old friend.

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Continue reading "Cricket diplomacy of inviting New Zealand PM and not Pak leaders, David Cameron and flying to Mumbai to watch Lanka’s heroes" »

In Pictures: Sri Lanka Vs India, World Cup 2011 Final

April 2, 2011

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The mounting pressure begins to affect Sangakkara, whose second-string bowlers cannot provide adequate support for Lasith Malinga and Muttiah Muralitharan against the fourth-wicket duo

Continue reading "In Pictures: Sri Lanka Vs India, World Cup 2011 Final" »

'Government officials unable to recall President Rajapaksa advising the country's cricket team on strategy or other aspects of the game'

Ranatunga's comments not in game's spirit

by R. K. RADHAKRISHNAN

Cricket lovers, ranging from senior bureaucrats to local ‘tuk-tuk' drivers, are not amused over former Sri Lankan cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga's off-the-cuff remark that he does not advise the cricket team any longer because President Mahinda Rajapaksa has taken up that job.

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Arjuna Ranatunga after winning 1996 World Cup

Sri Lanka takes on India in the final of the 10th edition of the ICC World Cup in Mumbai on Saturday. People to whom The Hindu spoke to in Colombo disapproved of the remarks.

Continue reading "'Government officials unable to recall President Rajapaksa advising the country's cricket team on strategy or other aspects of the game'" »

Rajapaksas free rein acceptable, so long as family prosperity is shared

by Eric Ellis

The country seems like a construction zone, with ports, highways and airports sprouting and former rebel strongholds blossoming, writes Eric Ellis in Colombo.

SO TINY Sri Lanka has made it to today's Cricket World Cup final, to face mighty India in Mumbai in the first all-south Asian final.

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What to call the emerging Sri Lanka?

Continue reading "Rajapaksas free rein acceptable, so long as family prosperity is shared" »

Mr Harper should be 'ashamed' of MV Sun Sea ad and Tamil refugees - Bob Rae

by Bob Rae

The Conservative Ad on “human smuggling” and refugees crosses an important line.

It is based on fear, and is directly prejudicial to a fair determination of refugee claims that are currently being considered. The use of the picture of the MV Sun Sea – twice – amid statements about “crimes,” “smugglers,” and attacks on the Liberal Party – clearly leads to no other interpretation than that those individuals aboard this boat are criminals and illegitimate refugees.

Conservative Party Ad

Continue reading "Mr Harper should be 'ashamed' of MV Sun Sea ad and Tamil refugees - Bob Rae" »

April 01, 2011

Sri Lanka 'concerned' over US Assistant Secretary State Robert Blake meeting with GTF in spite of the diaspora group's 'separatist agenda'

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Sri Lankan government is concerned over a recent meeting involving senior representatives of US State Department, Global Tamil Forum (GTF) and British Tamil Forum (BTF) at the State Department, where they are believed to have discussed a strategy to compel Sri Lanka to accept an international 'war crimes' probe.

Authoritative sources say that in spite of both GTF and BTF pursuing the LTTE’s separatist agenda, Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake met the head of the GTF Fr. Emmanuel, Suren Surendiran of the BTF and the US-based head of the GTF Dr. Jeyarajah on March 28.

Continue reading "Sri Lanka 'concerned' over US Assistant Secretary State Robert Blake meeting with GTF in spite of the diaspora group's 'separatist agenda'" »

President Rajapaksa offers prayers at Tirumala

by G.P. Shukla

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday offered prayers at the Lord Venkateswara temple here. Talking to journalists, he said he prayed for better ties with India and also for ‘peace and prosperity' in his country. “I had put in my best efforts in fostering relations with India.”

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Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Venkateswara temple at Tirumala on Friday. He said he prayed for better ties with India and also for his country's success in Saturday's World Cup final. Photo: PTI

Continue reading "President Rajapaksa offers prayers at Tirumala" »

'Why can't India indulge in cricket diplomacy with Lanka for the sake of Tamil brethren'

Attacking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for inviting his Pakistani counterpart to the Cricket World Cup semi-final match between India and Pakistan, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray today asked if the 'special offer of cricket diplomacy' was also applicable to Sri Lanka.

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Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray asked if the 'special offer of cricket diplomacy' was also applicable to Sri Lanka.

Continue reading "'Why can't India indulge in cricket diplomacy with Lanka for the sake of Tamil brethren'" »

'Heaps of World Cup semi-final tickets distributed at leading Colombo 7 International School while not available for others'

Several employees of Sri Lanka Cricket have brought to the notice of the hierarchy of the cricket administration the alleged malpractices in selling and distributing World Cup tickets with the name of one individual featuring prominently in these allegations.

Incidentally, the individual accused of wrongdoing is the nephew of Cricket Interim Committee Chairman D.S. de Silva. The cricket chief, in the lead up to the ICC Cricket World Cup, appointed two of his nephews Suraj and Kapila Dandeniya for lucrative salaries (US$ 5000 a month and US$ 2500 a month) to function at the World Cup Secretariat. Now the employees of the cricket board seem to be rising against one of them.

Continue reading "'Heaps of World Cup semi-final tickets distributed at leading Colombo 7 International School while not available for others'" »

Sri Lanka at World Cup bringing together two communities long divided along ethnic lines

by Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times

A world cup win for Sri Lanka on April 2 and even the interest generated here by the home team’s steady performance in the lead-up to the final could carry the sport beyond the boundaries of cricket. Many are looking at this cricketing opportunity as a part of the process to reconcile the Sinhala a nd Tamil communities in country emerging from a bloody ethnic war.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s call to win the cup for Murali, an ethnic Tamil, is being seen as an endorsement of that.

Continue reading "Sri Lanka at World Cup bringing together two communities long divided along ethnic lines" »

Backing of Libyan rebels aims to clean up West's image across the Arab world

by Ahmed Moor

There is a lot about the Western intervention in Libya that could go wrong – and it remains to be seen whether bombing Gaddafi and his mercenaries is a good decision.

However, large numbers of people around the world appear to support the objectives of the anti-regime forces. Also, the indigenous resistance movement – which requested help – would have been annihilated in the absence of those air strikes.

George Bush’s legacy of destruction extends beyond the piles of brick, flesh and mortar that we have been tallying for a decade now in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Bombing Gaddafi is not a humanitarian gesture, but an attempt to spread goodwill across the Arab world directed at the West, Moor says [GALLO/GETTY ~ via AlJazeera]

Continue reading "Backing of Libyan rebels aims to clean up West's image across the Arab world" »

NATO forces act beyond UN mandate, which was to protect the civilians in Libya - Keheliya Rambukwella

By Sandun A. Jayasekera

The government yesterday expressed its displeasure over NATO air-strikes on Libya and said the indiscriminate killing of people was not acceptable to any government.

Cabinet spokesman and Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told a news briefing that NATO forces had acted beyond the United Nations mandate, which was to protect the civilians in Libya.

“The UN sanctions were meant only to protect civilians from the attack of pro government forces in Libya. Sri Lanka is concerned about the killing of innocent people.

Continue reading "NATO forces act beyond UN mandate, which was to protect the civilians in Libya - Keheliya Rambukwella" »

March 31, 2011

Diplomatic corps must act to free ailing journalist Bennet Rupasinghe

by Committee to Protect Journalists

Mar 31, 2011 The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the international diplomatic community in Colombo to help secure the release of Lanka eNews website News Editor Bennet Rupasinghe. According to colleagues in Colombo and international news reports, Rupasinghe was arrested by police after responding to a summons. He was called to give a statement about allegedly threatening a brother of a suspect who is in custody over the arson attack on the site's office on January 31.

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News Editor Bennet Rupasinghe in Police vehicle ~ pic: via LankaeNews

Continue reading "Diplomatic corps must act to free ailing journalist Bennet Rupasinghe" »

Canada Gov't to Tamil refugee claimants: pay smugglers or stay in jail - CTV News investigation

By: Jon Woodward
ctvbc.ca

The federal government has been telling Tamil refugee claimants to pay tens of thousands of dollars to the smugglers who brought them here -- or Canada won't let them out of jail.

Government lawyers argue that it's a way to ensure the migrants won't be influenced by smugglers when they're let go. But critics say the tactic funnels money to smugglers the government is trying to hurt.

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Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney says forcing Tamil refugee claimants to pay the smugglers who brought them here is legitimate. March 30, 2011. (CTV)

Continue reading "Canada Gov't to Tamil refugee claimants: pay smugglers or stay in jail - CTV News investigation" »

On the smugglers' trail: RCMP 'making a difference' - U.K. man 'Peg Leg Shankar' wanted by Interpol

by Stewart Bell

[Part IV] RCMP ‘making a difference’

A tall, sturdy cop with short-cropped hair, Lieutenant-General Pongpat Chayapan is Commander of Thailand’s Central Investigation Bureau.

He may also be Canada’s best ally in the fight against human smuggling.

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Police Lieutenant General Pongpat Chayapan, head of the Central Investigation Bureau speaks during an interview at The Central Investigation Bureau at the Royal Thai Police headquarters in Bangkok on Tuesday March 1, 2011

Continue reading "On the smugglers' trail: RCMP 'making a difference' - U.K. man 'Peg Leg Shankar' wanted by Interpol" »

On the smugglers' trail: Sun Sea’s Canadian link and the unlucky ones

[Part II & Part III]

by Stewart Bell

Sun Sea’s Canadian link

[Parti II:] BANGKOK — In the office of Thailand’s Anti Human Trafficking Division, Colonel Panya Pinsook flips through photos of engine parts, sacks of food, plastic oil drums -and the Canadians caught with the cache of supplies.

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A cellphone photo taken inside the Bangkok Immigration Detention Centre, where Sri Lankans arrested while awaiting ships to Canada are being held.

Police found the provisions during a raid on a Bangkok apartment building last June. They suspect it was being stockpiled for the ship MV Sun Sea, which was then being readied for a human smuggling run to Canada.

Continue reading "On the smugglers' trail: Sun Sea’s Canadian link and the unlucky ones" »

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