May 27- Jun 2:

Priests from any religion to be debarred from contesting parliament?

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

United National Party(UNP) Parliamentarian& & Bar Association (BASL) president Wijedasa Rajapakshe wants priests debarred from becoming MP’s.

He has with the consent of Opposition & UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe submitted a private members bill seeking a Constitutional amendment. [DBSJ]

Gota’s BBC Interview: ‘Absolute Truth’ about Tamils and the Northern Province

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The recent interview given by Defence and Urban development secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to Charles Haviland of the BBC in Colombo has resulted in the “Archaeological expert” of the Jathika Hela Urumaya(JHU) showering praises on the presidential sibling.

image courtesy of BBC ~ Gotabhaya Rajapaksa: Sri Lanka north 'not just for Tamils'

JHU parliamentarian Ven.Ellawela Medhananda Thero in a statement to the “Dasa Desin”programme has described the utterances of the Defence secretary as “the most honest truth expressed in this century”. [DBSJ]

Sinhala Buddhist Nationalism Generally Perceives Muslims to be a Grave Threat

By Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri

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

The Dambulla Khairya Jummah mosque had been in existence for over 60 years and the mosque trustees have legal documents regarding its construction. [DBSJ]

Connections Video: 18th May commemorative events in North

Connections is a TV series from Young Asia Television; featuring on the Connections Programme of May 28, 2012 are:

I. TNA Commemorates War Victims: [TW]

HRW Urges UK to Suspend Deportations of Tamils to Sri Lanka due to Reports of Returnees being Tortured

The United Kingdom should immediately suspend deportations of ethnic Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lanka and review its policies in assessing these claims, Human Rights Watch said today. The next scheduled deportation of Tamils from the United Kingdom to Sri Lanka is due to take place on May 31, 2012. [DBSJ]

Revival of community courts in Rwanda to strengthen reconciliation

By Moara Crivelente

The ethnic aspect which is usually defined as a cause of conflict between Hutus and Tutsis – either historically fundamented or discursively constructed, and instrumentalized by political leaders – has deep roots with which society has to deal. [DBSJ]

Why and How People in Tamil Nadu are Protesting Nuclear Energy

By S.P. Udayakumar

We have been fighting against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) since the late 1980s. This Russian project was shelved right after the Soviet Union’s collapse and taken up again in 1997. [DBSJ]

Regional Advisor of UNESCO writes to Secretary General on plight of Tamils

Hasan Mohammed Jinnah with Superstar Rajinikanth

Hasan Mohammed Jinnah, Regional Advisor (Asia-Pacific Region) for Human Rights and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has written to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Secretary General, Dr. Tae Sul Kim towards emphasizing the United Nations taking measures in establishing the Independent State of Tamil Eelam, a report in Viduthalai newspaper said. [TW]

Text of Presidential Address by Rajavarothayam Sampanthan at 14th National Convention of ITAK in Batticaloa

My greetings to all respected delegates of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi

pic courtesy of: virakesari.lk

I sincerely welcome you all – the life and vitality of our party – to our National Convention here in Batticaloa.

As those in service to the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi, which has become the political symbol of the Tamil Nation, with its own political culture and ideals, we are proud to gather here for its 14th National Convention in the year 2012. [DBSJ]

Sri Lanka army may never come a truly national one

Why military matters in the North?

by Col R Hariharan

pic: news.lk

With the army already bloated beyond national requirements it may never come through in any sizeable numbers to make Sri Lanka army truly a national one. And that is all the more reason for the government and defence establishment to scale down the numbers and reduce presence of army in the North. [TW]

How do the Liberals respond to the global war on ‘terror’?

by Prof Rajiva Wijesinha MP | Leader – Liberal Party of Sri Lanka

Let me first express my thanks to our hosts, the Civic Will Green Party of Mongolia, for having invited the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats to their country, and arranging this very timely seminar.

The Friedrich Naumann Stiftung, which has supported CALD so graciously over the years, was established to promote freedom, and it is this core value of Liberalism that we must see as the bedrock, not only of our own philosophy, but also of equitable and sustainable development all over the world. [DBSJ]

Sampanthan and Senathirajah re-elected in B’Caloa as President and Gen Secy of ITAK

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi(ITAK)formed in 1949 is currently holding its 3-day long 14th national convention in Batticaloa town.

In Batticaloa, May 26, 2012-pic: Tamilwin

The ITAK is presently the chief constituent party of the Tamil National Alliance(TNA) which contests polls under the ITAK symbol of House.

Other constituents of the TNA like EPRLF&TELO have been clamouring for registration of the loose alliance as a separate political party. [DBSJ]

Sarath is only one of the political prisoners

by Dr Vickramabahu Karunaratne

The parties of the opposition who joined in the campaign of Virodhaya, the VV, were jubilant that general Fonseka was given freedom. If there are restrictions, obviously we should continue our campaign for release of political prisoners.

In any case Sarath is only one of them. There are more than 800 such political prisoners, who are variously dubbed as Tigers, Sinhala Tigers, etc. [TW]

Fasts limelight plight of Tamil political prisoners and the missing

A day long fast was observed in Vavuniya on Thursday May 24th calling for release of Tamil political prisoners and seeking information on missing kin.

Several Tamil parliamentarians, members of municipal bodies in North and East and officials of Tamil political parties attended the fast along with families of missing and in detention without charges. [TW]

The State of Human Rights in Sri Lanka – 2012: Amnesty International Annual Report

The government continued to arbitrarily detain, torture or ill-treat people and subject people to enforced disappearance. It failed to address most instances of impunity for violations of human rights and humanitarian law.

The government rejected repeated allegations of war crimes committed by both sides of the conflict that ended in 2009, prompting Amnesty International to reiterate calls for an independent international investigation. [DBSJ]