« January 2012 | | March 2012 »

February 25, 2012

Feb 26 - Mar 3:

US Resolution based on pledge given by President Rajapaksa to the last UNHRC sessions

by Zacki Jabbar

The government was creating a big rumpus about the US resolution calling for the implementation of the LLRC recommendations, to distract the masses from the high cost of living and impending price hikes on essential goods and services during the forthcoming Sinhala and Tamil New Year, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday. [TC]

India against ‘country specific’ resolutions at UNHRC 

by P K Balachandran | Express News Service

In a move that should help Sri Lanka out at the 19th sessi­on of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Gene­va, India has said it is against “country specific” resolutions because they may weaken the constructive dialogue and cooperative approach of the UNHRC.

The United States was expected to move a resolution at the UNHRC session, censuring Sri Lanka over alleged war crimes against Tamils during the civil war. [TC]

Debate on LLRC recommendations undermines the constitutional parameters of UNHRC

Statement made by H.E Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam

We have taken note of the comments made by the High Commissioner on the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and while unreservedly dissenting with the observations of the High Commissioner on its domestic process vis a vis the UN Secretary General’s Panel, we would like to highlight, at the expense of repetition, that the LLRC report reflects the emblematic parameters of rule of law strategies, which have been earnestly taken note of by the Government for speedy implementation. [TC]

Truth and accountability are essential in Sri Lanka rather than simply the peace of the victor 

Revisiting Sri Lanka’s Bloody War

By Marzuki Darusman, Steven Ratner and Yasmin Sooka

Even as attention is riveted on the bloodshed in Syria, another conflict, far more deadly, is belatedly attracting the notice it deserves. [TC]

Action now in UNHRC will sow the seeds of lasting peace in Sri Lanka-Maria Otero, U.S. Under Secretary of State 

Statement by Maria Otero, U.S. Under Secretary of State, Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights

19th Session of the Human Rights Council, Geneva, Switzerland | March 2, 2012

'We know from experience that there can be no lasting peace without reconciliation and accountability, but the United States is concerned that, in Sri Lanka, time is slipping away.' [TC]

Will Sri Lanka Shift more Towards State Capitalism as Economic Crisis Worsens?

By Charitha Ratwatte

A recent article by Charitha Ratwatte in the daily “Financial Times”published by Wijeya newspapers provides interesting reading about Corporatism and State Capitalism. It also focuses on various aspects of the current Chinese Corporatist model [DBSJ]

MSF was not present in Sri Lanka battle zone before May 2009

In this interview published in India on February 6 and reproduced in the Sri Lankan media, Sri Lankan secretary of defense M. Gotabaya Rapjapaksa is purported to have said that MSF-France teams were present in the battle zone during the fighting. [TC]

Yogi Tambiraja - CORD’s Canadian Co-Coordinator speaks about his experience

In early Dec 2011, I had the opportunity to visit Sri Lanka and for see myself the good work being carried out by Cord. [MJ]

US Plan is to get Sri Lanka commit publicly in an international forum – US Envoy Patricia Butenis

Hello Friends,

Moves initiated by the USA to present a resolution on Sri Lanka at the 19th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva has aroused much controversy. [DBSJ]

Jayalalitha and Karunanidhi want India to support Resolution on Sri Lanka at UNHRC in Geneva 

by A Special Correspondent

Shocked by reports that India is set to strongly back Sri Lanka in case a United States-backed resolution is taken up in the ongoing session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva seeking an inquiry into allegations of war crimes in the last stage of the civil war, leaders from Tamil Nadu on Wednesday appealed to the Centre not to bail out the island nation. [TC]

The high stakes in Geneva in 2009 and 2012: Dayan Jayatilleka recalls

Hello Friends

The 19th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) has commenced in Geneva from February 27th. It is very likely that Sri Lanka would figure as item 10 on the agenda during the concluding stages of the conclave in the days between March 21st to 23rd.

With high level officials from the US state department having announced that a resolution on Sri Lanka would be presented in Geneva there is much concern and anxiety in the country about its outcome [Click here to read in full ~ on dbsjeyaraj.com: The high stakes in Geneva in 2009 and 2012: Dayan Jayatilleka recalls]

TNA Leader Sampanthan writes to 47 member states of UNHRC urging support for Resolution on Sri Lanka

(In a letter dated 27th February 2012, Tamil National Alliance leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan has written to all 47 member states of the United Nations Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva urging support for the envisaged resolution on Sri Lanka. The full text of the letter is as follows)

I write to you as the leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the principal elected representative of the Tamil people in the North and East of Sri Lanka, to extend my gratitude for your sustained commitment to peace, justice and substantive democracy in our country. [TC]

Peoples control of land will be more effective through Village Peoples Councils

by Dr.M. A. Mohammed Saleem and Arjuna Hulugalle

Hello Friends

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) national list Parliamentarian M.A.Sumanthiran wrote an opinion piece on the issue of devolving land powers that was carried in my blog on February 25th under the heading”Principal reasons for TNA position on devolution of Land powers”. Mr.Sumanthiran with direct experience in land issues as a lawyer,litigant and land owner outlined the TNA rationale in arguing for land powers to the unit of devolution.

There has been an informed response to Mr.Sumanthiran’s article from Dr.M. A. Mohammed Saleem and Mr.Arjuna Hulugalle representing the Mahatma Gandhi Centre that advocated grass roots power sharing and democracy. [Click here to read in full ~ on dbsjeyaraj.com: Peoples control of land will be more effective through Village Peoples Councils]

Channel 4 to screen ‘Killing Fields’ update on 14th of March

Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished

Last year Channel 4 broadcast Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields, a critically-acclaimed and RTS Award winning forensic investigation into the events of the last few weeks of the decades-long war between the government of Sri Lanka and the rebel forces of the Tamil Tigers (LTTE), presented by Jon Snow. [TC]

Sri Lanka rattled by planned US-backed Resolution at Human Rights Council

By Amantha Perera

COLOMBO, Feb 29, 2012 (IPS) – Strung across the main road leading away from the international airport is a banner that has an intriguing message: ‘USA, Pls Do Not Support Terrorism’. [TC]

Accountability for past crimes must not come at expense of Sri Lanka’s future

The Boston Globe | Editorial

IT’S BEEN nearly three years since the Sri Lankan government ended a long war by crushing the Tamil rebel army, killing thousands of civilians – perhaps tens of thousands. [TC]

Forging a common Sri Lankan identity based on a culture of mutual respect and tolerance

By Kamaya Jayatissa

Hello Friends,

Paradoxical as it may seem, I have in the past often referred to Sri Lanka as both an Island nation and archipelago of communities 

Given the raucous cacophony of strident cries of race and religion it does seem unlikely that these polyphony of voices can ever be blended into a harmonious symphony [DBSJ]

Island wide census of population and housing is currently on in Sri Lanka

by H.R. Gunasekera
Director, Department of Census and Statistics

Population and Housing Census is the largest statistical undertaking of a country. It is vital for providing information about the population in order to present a full and reliable picture of the population in the country in terms of its size and spatial distribution, its demographic, social and economic characteristics, as well as its housing conditions, The Census is the only reliable source for detailed information on the population at the level of small administrative areas. [TC]

Indian Judiciary and anti – corruption crusade of civil society activism

By V. Venkatesan

Hello Friends

There is an on going controversy in India about corruption on a massive scale as manifested in the 2-G Spectrum scandal. Some elements of the political class have displayed very negative attributes by betraying public confidence and allegedly indulging in colossal corruption. [DBSJ]

Sri Lanka’s dead and missing: the need for an accounting

27 February 2012 | by Crisis Group

Nearly three years since the end of the war, there’s a growing need for an accounting of – and for – those killed and missing in the final months of fighting in northern Sri Lanka in 2009. Members of the UN Human Rights Council, opening its 19th session in Geneva today, should be ready to press the Sri Lankan government for real answers. [TC]

‘We have evolved a mechanism to look into accountability issues raised in the LLRC Report’

By Mahinda Samarasinghe at UNHRC, Geneva

I am honoured and privileged to be able to once again share with this august body, Sri Lanka ’s experience in promoting and protecting the human rights of its people, in accordance with universally accepted standards. [TC]

Govt must Respond Constructively towards Sampanthan’s gesture

By Mano Ganesan

TNA leader Sampanthan has shown the political gesture towards the govt by deciding against the proposal of going to Geneva. Now, the Tamils and all peace loving people of this country look forward to reciprocative action by the government based on certain LLRC recommendations says DPF leader Mano Ganesan. [TC]

In Pictures: Protests against US, western nations over UNHRC Resolution begin in Sri Lanka 

Protest campaigns against US and western nations are being held across several locations over the anticipated resolution over Sri Lanka, in the 19th Sessions of UNHRC currently underway in Geneva. [TC]

‘Chair has no right to usurp authority to exclude Maj. General Silva’

Press Release issued by Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in New York [TC]

In Pictures: Week long awareness rally commences near US State Dept. 

A week long awareness rally in support of “Independent International Investigation into the Vanni massacre and to enlist the support of the US Government for a such a move in the upcoming UNHRC” commenced near US State Department, Washington, DC on Feb 24th, 2012. [TC]

It is not just Sri Lanka’s people that the UNHRC must serve this week, but the cause of international law 

by Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson

This week the UN Human Rights Council has an opportunity and a duty to help Sri Lanka advance its own efforts on accountability and reconciliation. Both are essential if a lasting peace is to be achieved. In doing so, the council will not only be serving Sri Lanka, but those worldwide who believe there are universal rights and international legal obligations we all share. [TC]

Lankan Tamil issue can’t be held hostage to just one assassination: Rudrakumaran Viswanathan speaks to India’s Economic Times 

The voices of the Sri Lankan Tamils, demoralised by a brutal military crackdown following LTTE’s defeat, still remain unheard, especially in Sinhalese-majority Sri Lanka.

But away from home, they are making efforts to regroup. Elections were held among Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora in 12 countries in 2010 to create the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) and elect Rudrakumaran Viswanathan its prime minister. [TC]

‘Art, Politics and the “Becoming”‘: The State of Art and Art Practices in Sri Lanka Today

by G.R.Constantine

The present active art scene in Sri Lanka is a result of perpetual growth of art practices that started in the 90’s with the watershed exhibition “Anxiety” by Jagath Weerasinghe. Now 12 years on from my last article on this subject – ‘ Breaking the limits’ – I wish to make some cursory remarks about the state of art and art practices of this day.

If Jagath’s exhibition was the start of what has come to be known as the 90’s trend, the Theertha International Artists Collective’s ‘Lunuganga Performace Workshop’ of year 2001 could be regarded as the start of the early 2000 trend. [TC]

Will India Support, Oppose or Abstain if and when UNHRC Resolution against Sri Lanka comes up in Geneva?

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Geneva is the name of the game as Sri Lanka prepares to face and possibly overcome the threat posed in the form of a resolution initated by the USA at the 19th sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) scheduled to commence on Monday February 27th 2012.

The important question on the minds of those concerned is whether Sri Lanka would be able to muster enough votes to defeat such a resolution if put to the vote in the 47 member UN Human Rights Council. [DBSJ]

TNA leader R. Sampanthan interviewed by Namini Wijedasa

Hello Friends,

I wrote last week in these columns about how the meeting between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Tamil National Alliance(TNA) leader and Trincomalee district MP Rajavarothayam Sampanthan at “Temple Trees” aimed at breaking the deadlock in Govt-TNA talks ended inconclusively and abruptly. [DBSJ]

When a prophet speaks: Stephane Hessel on Sri Lanka 

by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

A prophet spoke at the UNESCO in Paris this week, though he joked that having lived for 90 years, he had written thirty pages and found he had been turned into ‘a rock star’.

Stephane Hessel, born in Germany in the year of the Russian revolution, is 95 years old. [TC]

Why there was intertia by Sri Lankan policy makers to growing economic imbalances 

by Dr. Arjuna Sivananthan

With recent hikes in the price of distillates and resultant protests, a pertinent question to ask is who is affected most by them. Athula Naranpanawa and Jayathileka S Bandara of the University of Griffith in Australia, in a recently published discussion paper, suggest that low income households followed by low income rural households are most affected. And, those energy intensive sectors such as manufacturing also suffer. [TC]

Army Helps to Construct New Buildings for Mahajana College,Thellippalai 

by Shanika Sriyananda

If not for their knowledge and hard work, the modern three-storied building complex would still be under construction. Thanking the soldiers for constructing the building within eight-months, the Principal of Mahajana College, Kunaratnam Velsivanandan said people in Jaffna co-exist with soldiers. [TC]

Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya addresses ‘Serendipity Group’ of US Diplomats in Washington 

Sri Lanka has progressively already adopted a broad range of measures to facilitate reconciliation after the May 2009 end of its conflict against terrorism, Sri Lankan Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya told a gathering of the Serendipity Group of retired U.S. diplomats, and international pressure might make it difficult to enact the LLRC’s recent recommendations. [TC]

Democratic Record of the Rajapaksa Administration is Deeply Flawed

By Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

The argument is put forward by some that if the current administration had taken steps to put its democratic record to right, post war, perhaps the scrutiny that we see now in regard to what is loosely defined as accountability, would not have been evidenced in all its intensity. [TC]

Sri Lanka Confident of Majority Support in 47 Member UN Human Rights Council 

By Manjula Fernando

Minister of Plantation Industries and President’s Special Envoy on Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe, in an exclusive interview with the Sunday Observer before he led the Sri Lankan delegation to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) Sessions in Geneva, said Sri Lanka has progressed far better than many other countries which were battered by prolonged, brutal terrorism and the international community should recognise this positive fact. [TC]

Rajapaksas seem seriously worried about latest challenges emanating from Geneva

The familiar patriotic rhetoric was in abeyance in previous weeks, as the regime busied itself with unleashing a price-hike tsunami on the Lankan masses. Having got itself into a financial bind (through a combination of profligacy and idiocy), the regime tried to escape by heaping economic burdens on the people. [TC]

People must form Parliament of the Streets and Constituent Assembly

By Surendra Ajit Rupasinghe

In the mid nineteen eighties, the Philippines was rocked by a sustained people’s resistance movement that finally deposed of the hated and corrupt dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, who had to flee the country in a US Air Force helicopter. The Catholic Church, representing the majority of the people, played a critical role in this dramatic change.

The people’s uprising was catalysed by the defection of two key military officers- Enrile and Ramos, who occupied the office of the Defense Secretary [TC]

People can deal with price increase without becoming completely incapacitated – Central Bank Governor

By Namini Wijedasa

Sri Lankans are not undergoing economic hardship and are spending more than ever, says Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal.

Excerpts from the interview.

How would you respond to public anger against fuel and electricity price hikes?

In the last 36 months, inflation has been in single digits. We have never (in history) had a period where inflation was in single digits for as long as 36 months. [TC]

Mahinda is going through toughest time since coming to power in November 2005

by Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne

Agitation against fuel price hikes, the falling rupee against the dollar,
and the removal of subsidies and welfare has created a new situation. We predicted that the policies of the government dictated by the global powers will create this situation.

Genocidal wars designed and promoted by them, was very costly and it devastated the Vanni area. [TC]

Galloping Militarisation unleashed by Ruling Siblings exacting a heavy toll politically

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

Stratospheric defence costs constitute Lankan economy’s deadliest ticking time-bomb.

Militarization is menacing Southern (and Lankan) economic wellbeing as much as it is impeding Northern democracy. The fundamentally weak Lankan economy can ill afford the huge amounts of money spent annually on maintaining a mammoth military, purchasing/upgrading military hardware and setting up new military camps/cantonments. [TC]

Ban Ki moon Must Enforce UN’s Own Recommendations for Accountability Over War Crimes in Sri Lanka–USTPAC

The United States Tamil Political Action Council (USTPAC) and 10 other Tamil groups from around the world call on the UN Secretary-General to continue his principled stand on accountability for war crimes in Sri Lanka at the upcoming UN Human Rights Council meetings in a letter released today.

“The United Nations Secretary-General must stand by his own Panel of Experts’ Report and continue his principled stand in support for accountability for both sides for the events in Sri Lanka during the final stages of the war,” said Dr. Elias Jeyarajah, the President of USTPAC. [TC]

TNA wont exacerbate tensions by attending UNHRC 19th sessions in Geneva 

Statement issued by the Tamil National Alliance

The Sri Lankan Question will figure prominently at the above sessions.

Two Reports – the report of the Experts Panel appointed by the Secretary General of the United Nations and the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission appointed by the Government of Sri Lanka – have addressed issues of grave violations of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Laws, the causes of the conflict, the need to evolve an acceptable Political Solution as the means to achieving genuine reconciliation, demilitarisation, the need to curb paramilitary groups, the need to strengthen civilian administration, access to information, media freedom, transparency in regard to detention and access to detainees and other issues. [TC]

February 19, 2012

Feb 19 - 25:

Principal Reasons for TNA Position on Devolution of Land Powers 

by M.A. Sumanthiran MP

The devolving of Land Powers to the Provincial Councils is an issue like that of devolving Police powers which is causing a political furore in Sri Lanka. [DBSJ]

Marie Colvin: The uncrowned Queen of Intrepid Journalists

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

It was with a deep sense of sadness that I read about the death of Marie Catherine Colvin the respected war correspondent of Britain ’s “Sunday Times” 22nd along with a French photojournalist Remi Ochlik in Syria on February. [DBSJ]

Batticaloa: men of a village missing for three years

by Melani Manel Perera

Twelve women, Catholic and Hindu from Thumpalachcholai have not see their husbands, sons and brothers since the end of ethnic conflict. [TC]

Tamil Diaspora and the LLRC 

by Chanakyan

The Tamil diaspora is strong in numbers, formidable in finances and monolithic in political fundamentals. To an impecunious nation saddled with a debt burden exceeding 5.0 trillion rupees and riven with political skirmishes, the situation is irksome.

Attracting the diaspora’s investible surplus would benefit the Tamils as well as the country. But that is not to be. The LLRC in tandem with the government adopts an unhealthy approach for debilitating the diaspora. [TC]

In Asia Group, Sri Lanka Says Stands Behind Shavendra Silva

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive
UNITED NATIONS, February 24 — Two days after Sri Lankan General Shavendra Silva was ruled “inappropriate” to participate as the Asia-Pacific Group’s representative on the UN Senior Advisory Group on Peacekeeping Operations, the Asia Group met Friday behind closed doors about the controversy. [TC]

Bringing justice to Sri Lanka’s victims

by Colum Lynch

During the past year, the U.N. has launched independent investigations into possible war crimes in Ivory Coast, Libya and Syria. But in Sri Lanka, where as many as 40,000 civilians were killed in the final phases of the country’s civil war, the U.N. has been unable to muster support for an independent investigation into atrocities. [TC]

Attacks on dissent in Sri Lanka – Incidents in 2012 

Part 1 –Incidents in 2012
By Watchdog

2012 has seen a sustained campaign Sri Lankan against human rights defenders with a special focus on any engagement with UN processes, including the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council beginning in February in Geneva [TC]

Attacks against Dissent Sri Lanka – Incidents in 2011 

Part 2 – incidents in 2011
By Watchdog

Human Rights Defenders in Sri Lanka continue to suffer attacks and intimidation through 2011 and 2012. This submission focuses on incidents in 2011.[1] Impunity for attacks and threats against HRDs, labeling HRDs as ‘terrorists’ or traitors, the campaign against HRDs in the State media and linking these to their participation/involvement in of the UN Human Rights Council have significantly increased the risks involved in defending human rights in Sri Lanka. [TC]

Attacks against Dissent Sri Lanka – Northern situation 

Part 3 – Northern situation
By Watchdog

Since 2009, many HRDs, including journalists and political activists have been threatened, attacked, intimidated, detained on false charges, disappeared or killed. In each case, they were selectively targeted because they dared to express dissenting opinions or because they encouraged others to do so. Political groups and opposition activists have also faced severe reprisals since 2010. [TC]

Is the TNA response to LLRC Report been politically correct? 

by Asanga Welikala

Hello Friends,

The Tamil National Alliance(TNA)is today the premier political party of the Sri Lankan Tamils. When the long delayed report by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) was released the response of the TNA was eagerly awaited. [DBSJ]

Draft USA Resolution on Sri Lanka to be presented at UNHRC session 

Draft of USA Resolution to be presented at 20th UNHRC session highlights demerits in Sri Lanka LLRC report and recommends implementation of other acceptable proposals: [TC]

Sri Lanka has not worked with the USA on any ‘Resolution’ 

By Tamara Kunanayakam

Given below is the text of a communication issued today, by the Sri Lankan Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam, which rejects a misleading and unethical communication sent out to Missions in Geneva by the Permanent Mission of the United States, and exposes manoeuvres to deceive the Human Rights Council. [TC]

If Rajapaksas show proper reconciliation and beef up democracy outsiders may talk less of horrors at the end of war 

Unslayable ghosts

by THE ECONOMIST | Print Edition

BURY the past. Those killed nearly three years ago in the last, savage days of Sri Lanka’s civil war will never return. [TC]

Shavendra Silva 'Debarred' from UN Special Advisory Panel Meetings 

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Sri Lanka was rapped sharply on the knuckles at the UN in New York on Wednesday February 22nd 2012 when its controversial deputy permanent representative Major –General Shavendra Silva was debarred from participating in meetings of the Special advisory group of which he is a member representing the Asian group of countries. [DBSJ]

Burgeoning Defense Expenditure and Escalating Social Antagonism

by Chanakyan

The defense personnel in Sri Lanka are paid on average, half a million rupees per head per annum. Stranger than fiction, but none the less true.

If this is the average, how much is it for the higher echelons? Best left to one’s speculative capability.
[TC]

Marie Colvin, wounded while working in Sri Lanka in 2001 dies in Syria

Marie Colvin, a Sunday Times journalist, and a French photographer have reportedly been killed in the besieged Syrian city of Homs after the house where they were staying was shelled, today, Feb 22, 2012. [TC]

Direct discussions between President Rajapaksa and TNA leader Sampanthan to revive talks end in failure 

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Direct discussions beween Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Tamil National Alliance(TNA) leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan to revive stalled talks between the ruling regime and the TNA ended in failure. [DBSJ]

In Pictures: 'Becoming' ~ Second edition of the Colombo Art Biennale

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Becoming” is the theme for the second edition of the Colombo Art Biennale is held from 15th February 2012 to 19th February 2012 at Park Street Mews, J.D.A. Perera Gallery and National Art Gallery. [TC]

Sri Lanka might get more time at UNHRC with series of riders 

by R. K. Radhakrishnan

An unusually strong contingent of Sri Lankan diplomats and officials has begun descending on Geneva to defend the country against likely onslaught when the session opens on February 27. [TC]

'So far' Sri Lanka is not on the agenda at UNHRC 19th sessions in Geneva 

By Ron Ridenour

Hello Friends

The forthcoming 19th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council(UNHCR) from February 23rd to Marh 23rd 2012 is of vital importance to the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Government. [DBSJ]

21st Century UN Human Rights Mechanisms and the Tamils in Sri Lanka/Ceylon 

by Deirdre McConnell

Hello Friends

On 18th February 2012, a conference organised by the Centre for War Victims and Human Rights (CWVHR) took place in Toronto, Canada. It was attended by 400 participants. The conference title was: ”International Protection of Human Rights in the 21st Century and its challenges – Case Study on Sri Lanka”. [DBSJ]

Creeping Western Imperialism is not confined to Sri Lanka alone 

By S. L. Gunasekara

The country was agog with the news that after the visit of two American bureaucrats named Otero and Blake, [both from the State Department], they had announced that the United States would support the anti-Sri Lanka resolution bought by some western countries in the Human Rights Council. [TC]

Persistent international pressure over human rights and de-stabilisation efforts through mass agitation are two major concerns for President Rajapaksa 

by Jehan Perera

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s speech to the nation on Independence Day provided an indication of his two major concerns for the future. [TC]

Why not reduce the military by half and go in for a duty free economy benefiting entire population?

by Chanakyan

For successive inept governments of Sri Lanka, no opportunity was more welcome than the two insurgencies and the ethnic war.

They produced the occasion, the justification and the means of engagement when avenues of productive employment could not be adequately created. [TC]

Washington has intelligence excerpts of Gotabaya Rajapaksa allegedly ordering the gunning down of surrendered LTTE cadres 

By Hamish McDonald

In May 2009, hell was a strip of sand on the north-east coast of Sri Lanka where a surrounding government army was raining shells, bullets and bombs on a cut-off rebel army, the Tamil Tigers, and thousands of trapped civilians.

As the end came near, three Tiger leaders tried to save themselves and their families, arranging a surrender in mobile phone calls and text messages involving the government’s foreign secretary in the capital Colombo, Norwegian diplomats, a British journalist and others. [TC] 

Govt must stop this ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ policy adopted towards peaceful protests against it

BY Karu Jayasuriya, M.P.

The government has stated that they do not suppress peaceful demonstrations.

However this statement was made after suppressing the demonstration held during last week by unarmed masses and political parties demanding the government to reduce the price of fuel and the cost of living. This repression was made by using water cannons, tear gas and anti riot squads and live ammunition. [TC]

AlJazeera Video: Sri Lanka faces double whammy from tougher sanctions against Iran

“Smaller counties are being penalized by imposing the sanctions, big countries, should realize this”, said Susil Premjayanth, Sri Lanka’s Minister of Petroleum Industries in an AlJazeera Newscast on February 19th.

Sri Lanka, which relies heavily on imports of Iranian oil, is feeling the impact of US-led sanctions on Tehran. [TC]

28 Buddha statues erected along A-9 Highway since war ended in May 2009

By Imaad Majeed

Since the end of the conflict in 2009, a new phenomena has emerged. That of Buddha statues being erected along the A9 route that leads to Jaffna.

Over 28 Buddha statues have been counted along this route since the war concluded in May 2009. The comedy of this charade (what else can one call it?) is that these statues are placed in areas where little or no Buddhists reside. [TC]

‘I had tried to be as balanced and as representative as I possibly could when editing the Reader’ – Prof. Holt

Response by Prof. John Clifford Holt to the review of The Sri Lanka Reader by Prof. Gananath Obeyesekere

In responding to Gananath Obeyesekere’s review of the Sri Lanka Reader, let me state out front that I have great respect for his studies of Sri Lankan culture and society.

I’ve learned a tremendous amount from reading his many works over the years, works that provided many leads for research that went into a number of my own books. [TC]

Should not the world find a new source for energy needs? 

By M. S. Shah Jahan

The crude oil has reigned supreme for most of the last century. But the grim reality is that peak oil is already here. The term “peak oil” doesn’t mean that there isn’t any more oil in the world

It simply means that we have reached the point at which global oil production tops out, then starts to decline. And thus, the basic law of supply and demand virtually guarantees that oil prices will continue to climb higher and higher. [TC]

Wife of Tamil Businessman abducted in Colombo by white van goons describes ordeal

By Ranee Mohamed

Ramasamy Prahaharan was abducted by a Tamil-speaking group on Saturday, February 11, as he got off the vehicle to open the gate of his Canal Road residence in Wellawatte. [TC]

A body blow, but who lives it up 

By Namini Wijedasa

President Mahinda Rajapaksa urged people to tighten their belts during the war and they did. When three years after the Tigers were defeated Sri Lankans are still expected to scrimp, they want to know why. [TC]

Downgrade and Foreign Exchange Controls in Sri Lanka : A Probability or an Inevitable Certainty? 

By Dr.Arujuna Sivananthan

Hello Friends

As I have stated earlier ,there are many who feel that Sri Lanka is undergoing a severe economic crisis although Government propagandists do not seem to agree.Despite harsh economic realities there prevails an optimistic outlook in the Colombo corridors of power.

In recent times I have been posting in both my blog as well as website some analytical articles on the economy written by Dr.Arujuna Sivananthan who lives in Britain and is of Sri Lankan origin [click here to read in full ~ on dbsjeyaraj.com: Downgrade and Foreign Exchange Controls in Sri Lanka : A Probability or an Inevitable Certainty?]

Tamil Nadu claim of Kachchativu ownership is not valid 

by Austin Fernado

The Times of India (TOI) reported that the Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu Government (TNG) had reiterated the state’s stand on the retrieval of Kachchativu from Sri Lanka, and restoring traditional fishing rights of Indian fishermen, arguing that if not retrieved Tamil Nadu fishermen will have to stop fishing and starve. [TC]

Another documentary on Sri Lanka like “The Killing Fields” to be released in first week of March

by Shamindra Ferdinando

Those responsible for ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ will telecast another documentary in the first week of March to coincide with United Nations Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva.

UK based Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow, who had presented ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ is also involved in the second project. [TC]

Sri Lanka to Distribute Copies National Action Plan for Human Rights Protection at UN in Geneva

by Chandani Kirinde

With just a week to go for the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions in Geneva, the Government will review charges of wrongdoing levelled by witnesses before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

Attorney General Eva Wanasundera told the Sunday Times that Police had begun recording statements from persons who gave evidence. This is to gather information which could be examined by officials in the AG’s Department, she said. [TC] 

Govt studied world market for years before increasing fuel prices – Petroleum Resources Deputy Minister

Sarana Gunawardena interviewed by Arthur Wamanan
Deputy Minister of Petroleum Resources Sarana Gunawardena says a 20% bus fare increase is too much on general public and adds that an increase of around 10% is reasonable. In an interview with The Nation, Deputy Minister Gunawardena said the government had been studying the price of oil in the world market for several years before increasing the prices. He denied any corruption inside the CPC and said even after the increase, CPC was not getting any profit [TC]

Is “Shoot to Kill” at demonstrations an Official Directive from Defence Ministry?

By Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Does the Government of Sri Lanka need a ‘roadmap’ to implement the existing law in Sri Lanka?

From where does this curious logic arise?

These are two fundamental questions that should be directed towards the Presidency downwards. [TC]

Chilaw After a Demonstrating Fisherman was Shot to Death 

by Sriyan Obeyesekere

A pall of gloom hung over Chilaw since last Wednesday with the shooting of a 27-year-old fisherman as the protest of some 30,000 fisher folk over the price hike of petrol exacerbated in the loss of human life.

The death of the fisherman from alleged Police STF gunfire around 11 a.m. last Wednesday following a confrontation left an entire local community in mourning as this sleepy town erupted leading to a curfew being slapped down. [TC]

‘What happened to dozens of LTTE members who surrendered to the Army at Vadduvaakal on May 18th 2009′? 

by Frederica Jansz

What happened to dozens of LTTE members who surrendered to the army together with Rev. Francis Joseph, a Catholic priest, south of the Vadduvaakal bridge on May 18 2009?

“Aananthi” (not her real name), the wife of one of the disappeared, told Human Rights Watch that she saw the army load the priest and the LTTE members on to a bus and drive them away. [TC]

Deployment of war heroes against Sinhala demonstrators and strikers will intensify

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

Braggarts end, with egg on their faces and blood on their hands.

Last week, at a press conference in Colombo, US Under-Secretary of State Maria Otero announced Washington’s decision to support a resolution on Sri Lanka, at the February-March UN Human Rights Council sessions. [TC]

LLRC Report Recommendations: Arangetram started; now you dance

by Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne

According to government media, President Mahinda said on the Independence Day “This is not a task confined to one individual or a party. Remember, the country would not benefit by trying to please selfish groups who receive foreign funds.

Similarly, solutions cannot be obtained by implementing the proposals of extremist groups of whatever persuasion. [TC]

February 11, 2012

Feb 12 - 18:

Police use tear gas and water cannons to disperse UNP led protest in Colombo

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The Fort and Pettah areas of Colombo city became a battlefield of sorts on Friday February 17th when Police cracked down on a mass demonstration of opposition parties led by the United National Party(UNP) protesting over issues like the recent steep rise in fuel prices, increasing cost of living and mismanagement of the country. [DBSJ]

LLRC Recommendations: Practical steps to meaningful reconciliation 

Several valuable recommendations are contained in the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission’s (LLRC) Report and they are all the more compelling because they have issued from a Presidential Commission.

In pursuance of this, we the undersigned call upon the government of Sri Lanka, in consultation with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the leadership of the Muslims, to take steps to implement the recommendations. [TC]

Govt must stop shooting down the people’s right to live 

by Karu Jayasuriya MP

The present government came into power promising to dawn a glorious future to the country and its people.

Instead of fulfilling the promise, the government has started to repress using iron bars and bullets, those people who agitate for the right to live and rise as humans. [TC] 

Statement on Reconciliation by Muslim Civil Society Individuals

Sri Lanka today faces a range of challenges in ensuring a return to normality and a lasting peace, following the end of the twenty five year old war.

Significant progress has been made on a number of fronts, including the partial return of displaced persons, the provision of basic rehabilitation assistance for war-affected communities, the progressive restoration and upgrading of essential services, the holding of elections and the implementation of macro-­development projects. [TC]

Sri Lanka and Maldives are mere pawns in the great game to dominate Southern sea routes 

by Charitha Ratwatte

Hello Friends,

The “mutiny” in the Maldives and its aftermath is of vital concern and interest to Sri Lanka.The sequence of events in the “necklace of Islands” has serious implications for the “pearl of the Indian ocean”.

It may not be an exaggeration to state that the Maldivian thespians currently hogging the limelight in the unfolding drama on the Archipelago stage are all mere pawns in the great geo-political chess game that is being played out on another level. [DBSJ]

Cultural Nationalism to Society: Unlikely boon and unavoidable bane

By W.A. Wijewardena

Hello Friends

W.A. Wijewardena is a former deputy governor of Sri Lanka’s Central Bank. He now writes a regular column on economic matters for the “Financial Times”(daily) published in Colombo by Wijeya newspapers.

In a welcome deviation from his usual writings ,Wijewardena wrote an article recently on the rise of Cultural nationalism and about whether it was a boon or bane to society. He drew on the works of Amartya Sen and David Mclelland to substantiate his point of view in the article. [DBSJ]

‘President Rajapaksa has achieved more for the Tamil community than any other community’ -Faiszer Musthapha

Chamitha Kuruppu Interviews the Deputy minister of Technology and Research [TC]

One killed and eight critically injured in Chilaw in crackdown on fisherfolk protesting fuel price increase

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

One person identified as Warnakulasooriya Anthony Fernando was killed and eight others critically injured in Chilaw on February 15th when Security personnel opened fire on fisher folk stridently protesting the sharp rise in fuel prices announced by the Government of President Rajapaksa. [DBSJ]

Women in Mannar perturbed over setting up of new Army camp in Tharavankottai 

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj 

Women from nine villages and housing schemes in Mannar are perturbed over plans to set up a new Army camp in Tharavankottai.

Representatives of Women’s rural development societies from the nine concerned villages met recently and drafted a petition in Tamil protesting the allocation of land along Tharavanlottai road for the purpose of constructiong a new Army camp. [click here to read in full ~ on dbsjeyaraj.com: Women in Mannar perturbed over setting up of new Army camp in Tharavankottai]

Wijeyadasa Rajapakse vs Tirantha Walaliyadde: Bar Association Presidency Elections 

Ayesha Zuhair Interviews Both Contenders

Approximately 11,000 members of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), the country’s premier organisation of lawyers, will vote to elect its President and Secretary on Wednesday 22 February 2012. Ayesha Zuhair of the Daily Mirror spoke to the main contenders for the BASL Presidency to discuss their reasons for contesting and some of the key issues that have surfaced in the run-up to the hotly contested election. Excerpts of the interviews: [TC]

Video: ‘How the UN fails when Gov’ts kill their own’

“When Syria equals Sri Lanka: How the UN fails when Gov’ts kill their own: My interview with UN Human Rights’ Navi Pillai”, tweeted Jon Snow of Channel 4, UK on his twitter feed yesterday, highlighting a live interview that he had with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Dr. Navi Pillay on Feb 13th regarding the continuation of violence in Syria despite the calls to stop violence. [TC]

Amnesty International Urgent Action: Man abducted days before court hearing

MAN ABDUCTED DAYS BEFORE COURT HEARING Ramasamy Prabaharan, a Tamil businessman who brought a case against Sri Lankan police for torture, unlawful arrest and detention was abducted on 11 February at his home in Colombo, Sri Lanka, by armed men. He was due to appear in court on 13 February. There are fears for his safety. [TC]

Sri Lanka Army inquiry a delaying tactic intended to ward off international pressure – HRW

Human Rights Watch Press Release

The Sri Lankan army’s announcement that it had appointed a five-member court of inquiry to investigate allegations that its forces committed serious violations of the laws of war appears to be another government delaying tactic in the face of mounting international pressure, Human Rights Watch said today. [TC]

‘UNHRC resolution focussing on Sri Lanka would not help the cause of rebuilding a united Sri Lanka’

Sri Lanka appeals for more time

by R. K. RADHAKRISHNAN

Even as the United Nations Human Rights Commission session nears, Sri Lanka has appealed that it needs more time for the process of reconciliation to showcase the progress that it has made towards lasting peace.

At the end of a 30-year long bloody civil war, Sri Lankan forces trumped the Tamil Tigers, who have claimed Sri Lanka’s east and north as homelands. As Sri Lankan forces overran those of the Tigers, particularly between January and May 2009, it has been accused of colossal human rights violations. [TC]

Sri Lankan rupee in free fall after apex bank stops market intervention

By R. K. Radhakrishnan

As the Sri Lankan rupee breached the 120 mark against the dollar with most dealers, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) sought to reassure people that this was nothing but a “temporary overshooting of realistic level.” [TC]

Video: Sunila Abeyesekera speaks about Sri Lankan situation

Hello Friends, 

Sunila Abeyesekera is a well-known Sri Lankan human and womens rights activist. She is currently the Executive –Director of INFORM which is a Sri Lanka based Human rights documentation centre.

Sunila is also the recipient of two prestigious awards for her work as a Human rights campaigner from the United Nations as well as Human Rights Watch. [DBSJ]

Bangladesh, India and Pakistan want Sri Lanka to ‘fix’ the Shavendra Silva ‘problem’

By Matthew Russell Lee,
Exclusive ~ Inner City Press

UNITED NATIONS, February 13 — The Sri Lankan government’s first response to the more than two weeks of questions by Inner City Press about the appointment as a UN “Senior Adviser on Peacekeeping Operations” of General Shavendra Silva, whose Division 58 is repeatedly named in connection with war crimes in Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Panel of Experts report, was to sent a letter of complaint to Inner City Press. [TC]

Concerns raised by Navi Pillay about appointment of Shavendra Silva to peacekeeping panel ‘unethical’ – U.N. Mission, Sri Lanka

By Louis Charbonneau Reuters – trust.org/alertnet

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 14 Sri Lanka’s U.N. mission on Tuesday dismissed as “unfair and unethical” concerns raised by U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay about the appointment of a Sri Lankan army general to an advisory panel on peacekeeping. [TC]

US supported Resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN and implementing recommendations in LLRC Report

by Jehan Perera

There are indications that the US Government will support a resolution at the forthcoming March session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that, among other things, will call on the Sri Lankan government to implement the recommendations of its Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. [TC]

Temerity of EPDP leader before LLRC was due to armour of immunity given by years of impunity 

by Chanakyan

Hello Friends,

The role and conduct of the Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP) described once as “half democrats” by its leader Douglas Devananda came in for intense scrutiny by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission.

The LLRC report strongly recommended action by the Government against the EPDP and other groups of a similiar nature operating in Sri Lanka [DBSJ]

Set up an interim administration for North comprising non-anti LTTE moderate Tamils under a distinguished Tamil Governor

by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

If there is any point on which broad social and national consensus is obtainable it is precisely the flawed character of the CFA and its results. This criticism is not limited to Sinhala and Tamil hardliners.

A serious scholarly study by the Norwegians has produced a Western liberal critique. [TC]

It is our sincere hope that the Government and people of Sri Lanka will seize this opportunity to build a lasting peace and prosperity-Under Secretary Otero

Press Conference Statement by Under Secretary Otero
Colombo, Sri Lanka | February 13, 2012

I am pleased to be here in Colombo for the first time. I’ve had a series of productive meetings with the government of Sri Lanka, as well as civil society, political leaders, and journalists.

President Rajapaksa was kind enough to meet with me and explain his government’s vision to advance reconciliation among Sri Lanka’s ethnic communities since the end of the conflict. I also had fruitful meetings with the Minister of External Affairs and the Secretary of Defense, among others. [TC]

Important to correct setbacks to hold free and fair elections and ensure the support of the Maldivian people-Assistant Secretary Blake

Transcript of Press Conference by Assistant Secretary Robert O. Blake, Jr. at the American Center in Malé

February 11, 2012

Assistant Secretary Blake: Thank you very much, Val. I have a short statement that I’ll read and then I’ll be glad to take questions.

First of all, let me just say how pleased I am to be back here in the Maldives. I’ve been a frequent visitor here since I’ve been Ambassador and I’ve had a very productive range of meetings today.

I had a chance to meet with President Waheed and with all of the key leaders of the main political parties. I also had a very constructive meeting with members of civil society. [TC]

Judicial Intervention to Control Lawful Rallies?

An Analysis on recent court orders obtained by Police to restrain meetings & rallies

By JC Weliamuna

Basic Liberties cannot be taken away by any State Organ

Let me begin this article with the following often quoted words, worth reading and digesting.

“The law is not the private property of lawyers, nor is justice the exclusive province of judges and juries. In the final analysis, true justice is not a matter of courts and law books, but of a commitment in each of us to liberty and mutual respect.” – (Jimmy Carter, Dallas-Times Herald, April 26, 1978). [TC]

Australia urges Sri Lanka to set clear, firm timeframes for implementation of LLRC recommendations

The Australian Government has studied closely Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) Report, and welcomes its recommendations for addressing the post-conflict situation.

It has also expressed concern however that the report fails to fully address alleged violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. [TC]

12 Members of US Congress write to President Obama urging strong USA-Sri Lanka partnership

A Congressional letter signed by 12 US Congressmen has been sent to President Barak Obama calling for building of strong bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and the US.

It was initiated by Republican Congressman Jack Kingston from Georgia, who visited Sri Lanka last October with two other Congressmen. The letter was signed by six Republicans and six Democrats who are all senior Members of Congress. [TC]

Whitney Houston, A ‘Perfect Instrument,’ Dies

by Karen Grigsby Bates NPR

On the eve of the 54th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles Saturday, the conversation was all about Whitney Houston. The 48-year-old pop diva was discovered dead in her room at the Beverly Hilton Saturday afternoon. The cause of her death was under investigation. [TC]

Sri Lanka Engaged in High Stakes Game of “heads -up”Poker with Their Largest Trading Partners

by Dr.Arujuna Sivananthan

Sri Lanka is defined as a small open economy; it does not have the ability to alter world prices, interest rates or incomes. It is a price taker. [TC]

Maldivian President Nasheed’s MDM Party Chairman Relates What Happened in Male Melee From a Colombo Hospital Bed 

by Chandani Kirinde

Ousted Maldivian President, Mohamed Nasheed and two of his Party‘s senior members had to hide inside a hardware shop in Male to escape a teargas and baton attack by policemen, before being detected and dragged out like common criminals along the streets of the city, an official who was injured in the incident and now receiving treatment at a private hospital in Colombo, said. [TC]

Tamil businessman who filed FR case against police abducted at Wellawatte by armed group in white van 

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

State Terror in the form of the dreaded “white van goon squad” struck again in Colombo on Saturday February 11th 2012 when a Tamil businessman of Indian origin was abducted near his residence on Canal Bank Row, Wellawatte in the presence of his Sinhala wife and daughter. [DBSJ]

Will Basil and Gotabaya Rajapaksa hang themselves for the treacherous crime of criticizing war heroes to US envoys?

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“It is so depressing to think we suffer because we are fools”
Bertrand Russell – (Sceptical Essays)

The February-March session of the UN Human Rights Council will be a trying time for the Rajapaksas. A US sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka is expected to come up in Geneva, if the regime fails to honour its own, repeated promises of justice and accountability. [TC]

Mahinda has to decide whether he wants to be a prisoner of Sinhala chauvinism or not

by Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne

Pro government trade union leaders claim that a certain group of people backed by International Non Government Organizations is conspiring against the country, when it is on the right track for development after 30 years of protracted war. [TC]

250 Sri Lankans who paid Rs 5 Lakh each to reach Canada Stranded in Togo

By Leon Berenger with addl reporting from Deva Athiran

This is a sad lot of men, women and children, holed up inside a detention centre in the West African state of Togo, with no money and nowhere to go after they were duped and dumped with the familiar false promise of a passage to Canada. [TC]

LLRC Report positives and negatives pinpointed by UNP in critique tabled by party in parliament

The number of deaths, those injured and requiring assistance in the government’s war with Tiger guerrillas remains yet to be properly counted, the United National Party (UNP) said on Friday. [TC]

Have the Legal Professionals in Sri Lanka failed the people and the country?

by Javid Yusuf

It is a given that one of the most important segments in any democratic society are the professionals. A professional, by virtue of his training, is able to shed his or her biases and dispassionately examine and come to a conclusion on any matter that he is required to give an opinion. Politicians by contrast are not trained in this manner and often respond to situations from their own political standpoint rather than from an objective or a national interest driven position. [TC]

When the Executive President is Placed Effectively Above the Law it is Academic to talk of Devolution or Accountability

by Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

In the morass of confusion worse compounded that Sri Lanka currently finds itself in regarding the implementation of the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), it is important to reiterate and underscore certain valid truths. [TC]

The full implementation of the Thirteenth Amendment: What can be done?

by Asanga Welikala

There has been in recent weeks a revival of interest in the full implementation of the Thirteenth Amendment, as part of a broader on-going debate triggered by the publication of the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) about future constitutional reforms addressing the need for devolution and democratisation.

M.A. Sumanthiran has raised the middle finger at 13th amendment and power sharing like M.I.A flipping the bird in the US

by Dayan Jayatilleka

As world class singers of Sri Lankan Tamil parentage go, MIA isn’t half as good as a new voice, Bhi Bhiman, an American singer of blues-tinged folk music with a voice as clear and mournful as the whistle of a lonesome train coming ’round the bend [TC]

However adept the govt is in buying time
issues of war crimes and accountability will not go away

By Namini Wijedasa

For months, Sri Lanka fought off calls for an international probe into war crimes allegations by marching its Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission down the catwalk. [TC]

Slain Bharatha Lakshman’s daughter Hirunika Premachandra Speaks Out

An Interview with Namini Wijedasa

From the moment she spoke out at her father’s funeral, it was evident that Hirunika, the 24-year-old daughter of assassinated SLFP stalwart Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra, would take to politics. Last week Hirunika joined the Mahajana Party. In an interview with LAKBIMAnEWS, she said she would rather die telling the truth than lie to get privileges. [TC]

Trilingualism will help promote better communication and understanding among our people

by Prof.Rajiva Wijesinha M.P.

It was good to hear the message of the President read out in all three languages, and the stress there, as well as in other messages read out, on reconciliation is most welcome [TC]

Sri Lankan refugee claimant acceptance rate by Canada drops from 91% in 2009 to 57% in 2011 

by Stewart Bell

TORONTO • The refugee claims from the nearly 600 Sri Lankans who paid smugglers to ferry them to Canada are moving slowly and face dwindling odds of success, new statistics show. [TC]

February 05, 2012

Feb 5 - 11:

BBC Pictorial & Audio: The life of Sri Lanka’s indigenous Vedda community

Outlook, BBC World Service

Sri Lanka’s indigenous inhabitants, known as Veddas are direct descendents of the country’s Neolithic community. Which they’ve been around since 18,000 BC. [TC]

"Operation Holdfast": Contours of a Coup Conspiracy 

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

50th Anniversary of Attempted 1962 Coup D’etat – 2

“Operation Holdfast” was the codename given by a group of conspirators to a plot devised to overthrow the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Government headed by the world’s first woman Prime Minister Sirima Bandaranaike through a bloodless coup d’etat in January 1962. [DBSJ]

Gotabaya Rajapaksa: Widely Feared Vegetarian Strongman

THE ECONOMIST | from the print edition

THE president of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa, may well feel pleased with himself. On the face of it, more than six years after his first election, his prospects are still remarkably rosy. [TC]

Sri Lanka, Britain and USA Must be Held Open For International Scrutiny into Alleged War Crimes 

by Emanuel Stoakes

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) are expected to consider a motion tabled by the United States over Sri Lankan accountability for war crimes later this month, nearly three years after the end of the island nation’s bloody civil war between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a rebelsecessionist militia. [TC]

International community gearing up for action to hold Sri Lanka accountable for alleged war crimes

By Frances Harrison

THERE are signs that the international community is gearing up for action to hold Sri Lanka accountable for alleged war crimes committed by its forces at the end of the brutal civil war against the Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009. [TC]

Radhika Coomaraswamy Asks Syria to immediately halt all violations against children

New York, 9 February 2012 – Following another violent day in Syria, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy reiterated her call to the Syria authorities to stop the killing and maiming of children. [TC]

Fifth Tamil-Brahmi Inscription Discovered in Edakal Caves of Wayanad District in Kerala

by T. S. Subramanian

A short inscription engraved in the Brahmi characters has been discovered in the Edakal cave on the Ambukuthi hill in Kerala’s Wayanad district.

This is the fifth Tamil-Brahmi inscription discovered in the caves. [TC]

India refused to intervene militarily in Maldives when requested by Nasheed’s ministers

by Sandeep Dikshit

Fearing for the personal liberty of the deposed Maldives President, Mohamed Nasheed, close aides said some of his Ministers had sought Indian military assistance when the “coup” was under way on Tuesday but none came.

“Some Cabinet Ministers told us that India had gunboats in the vicinity and would intervene,” Mr. Nasheed’s aides told The Hindu from an undisclosed location as they feared arrest. [TC]

Mahinda asks Waheed to safeguard Nasheed while ex-Maldivian president’s family seeks refuge in Sri Lanka

The family of former Maldivian President Mohammad Nasheed have sought refuge in Sri Lanka following the unrest in the Maldives. [TC]

Constitution stipulates devolution of police powers to provincial councils

by M.A. Sumanthiran MP

Hello Friends

The devolving of some Police Powers to the Provincial Councils is a Constitutional requirement that is yet to be implemented in practice. In recent times this important issue has been muddied further by President Rajapaksa’s pronouncements that Police powers will not be given to the Provincial councils. [DBSJ]

NY District Court Dismisses Law Suit Against Maj-Gen Shavendra Silva citing “Diplomatic Immunity”

Yesterday, the District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed a lawsuit filed by Tamil victims of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka against Shavendra Silva, a former Sri Lanka Army general, who is now Sri Lanka’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York. [TC]

Indo-Chinese tensions and the ‘mutiny’ causing regime change in Maldives 

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Hello Friends

There has been a regime change in the Paradisian archipelago of Maldives. Recent events leading to such a change in the Maldives Islands have evoked great interest and concern in the corridors of power in Colombo. [DBSJ]

National Anthem not sung in Tamil on Independence Day celebrations despite LLRC recommendation

by National Peace Council

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s pronouncement at the recent Independence Day celebration with reference to the LLRC report is an encouraging sign of commitment to addressing the issues arising out of the past decades of conflict and war. [TC]

President Rajapaksa failed to utilise opportunity presented at Independence Day celebrations

by Jehan Perera

Addressing the nation and the international community on Independence Day President Mahinda Rajapaksa made many inspirational statements.

These could be regarded as statements of government policy that will charter the future course of the country. The President’s speech was also finely tuned to appeal to the nationalism of the masses of people and their sense of patriotism. [TC]

Arab Spring Drastically Affects Mango Cultivators of Tamil Nadu

by Sivaramakrishnan Parameswaran -BBC News

The year ahead seems gloomy for almost half a million people in a small district in the southern part of India, as a result of last year’s Arab Spring.

Mango cultivators in the district of Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu, are worried after last year’s political uprising in the Middle East and Northern Africa resulted in the $100m (£63m) mango pulp industry grinding to a halt. [TC]

TNA Discusses Accountability in Sri Lanka with US Ambassador-at-Large Stephen Rapp

The Leader of the TNA, Mr. R. Sampanthan together with TNA MP Mr. M.A. Sumanthiran, met with Mr. Stephen Rapp in an afternoon meeting in Colombo today, 7 December 2012.

Mr Rapp is the Ambassador at Large, Office of Global Criminal Justice at the US State Department, and is currently on a short visit to Sri Lanka. The TNA MPs discussed a number of matters relating to accountability in Sri Lanka with Mr. Rapp. [TC]

Madonna, M.I.A and the middle finger malfunction!

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Superbowl XLVI is over and the National Football League champions for 2011 are the New York Giants who beat New England Patriots 21 -17. The game played on Sunday February 5th 2012 at Lucas Oil stadium in Indianapolis,Indiana was televised live by NBC.I was one of the estimated 110 million who watched it on TV. [DBSJ]

Bird Food, Nandikadal

by Indran Amirthanayagam

At this hour only the fool bird flies,
the rest ensconced in the shade
of branches and leaves, nestlings

pampered by females while
males guard against snakes
and monkeys, some stealthy cat. [[TC]

My name is Sunanda Deshapriya and I am not a terrorist, Mr. Minister

An Open Letter to Minister Keheliya Rambukwella

by Sunanda Deshapriya

Mr. Minister, I don’t know whether you have seen the film called ‘My name is Khan’. In it, the main character played by popular actor Shah Rukh Khan repeats the lines ‘My name is Khan.

I am not a terrorist’ at different points in the film, in order to affirm his innocence. I too am about to tell you a similar story. ‘My name is Sunanda. I am not a terrorist’ This is my theme. [TC]

Can GOSL Implement LLRC Recommendations? 

By J.C. Weliamuna

This is the question of the day. This is raised nationally and internationally and answers contrast for different reasons. In this article, I endeavor to briefly answer this question from a governance perspective, keeping in mind the present socio-political realities in Sri Lanka.

The President appointed the Commission of Inquiry on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliations (LLRC) on 15th May 2010 with a broad mandate to inquire into and report on specific matters, in terms of the Commissions of Inquiry Act. [TC]

The war is over. The peace is yet to be built–Amb Dayan Jayatilleke

On February 4th, 2012, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Paris celebrated the 64th Anniversary of Independence of Sri Lanka at UNESCO. Among the guests were ambassadors, diplomats, heads of institutions, representatives of the corporate sector as well as scholars and members of the clergy. [TC]

Gotabaya asks Tamils to shed Tamil Nationalism and grab post-war opportunities 

by R. Bhagwan Singh

Sri Lankan defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has pleaded for a “fair assessment” of the development work and restoration of normal life in the northern region “within a short time of ending the 30-year war against terror” instead of summary branding of the government as rights-abuser.

“In these two-and-a-half years since winning the war, we have made great progress but, unfortunately, some people do not recognise that and harp on unnecessary issues, talk of sanctions (against Colo-mbo). [TC]

Delegations from the U.S. and India visit Sri Lanka about oil

By R.K.Radhakrishnan

Amid Sri Lanka’s growing anxiety over possible disruption of Iranian oil imports due to United States-led sanctions against Iran, two important delegations from the U.S. and India visited the country this week, lent a sympathetic ear — and nothing more — to address the concerns. [TC]

'Tamils are a distinct people entitled to certain rights like Self-Determination in International law' 

M.A. Sumanthiran MP Interviewed by Namini Wijedasa

Hello Friends,

Talks between the Sri Lankan Government’s main constituent the Sri Lanka Freedom Party(SLFP) and the Tamil National Alliance(TNA)has currently reached an impasse.

The Govt which engaged in bi-lateral talks with the TNA has now suspended it unilaterally and instead convened a Parliamentary Select Committee.It now wants the TNA to participate in the PSC and forge a multi-lateral solution.

The TNA states that a bi-lateral understanding with the Govt has to be reached as a pre-requisite to the party deciding to participate in the PSC. [DBSJ]

‘The Sara Saga’ Memoirs by Manicam Saravanamuttu published again

by Arjuna Hulugalle

Hello Friends,

The Saravanamuttus are a respected Sri Lankan family of Jaffna origin that has rendered and continues to render yeoman service to our Island nation.

From Colombo’s first Mayor and Colombo North State Councillor Sir Ratnajothy Saravanamuttu to Dr.Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu the executive director of Centre for Policy Alternatives(CPA) the “clan”has etched its name indelibly in the affairs of this country. Almost all male members of the family have a Thomian “connection”. [DBSJ]

The abnormal as normal is normalcy in not so normal Sri Lanka 

by Namini Wijedasa

This is not normal

In coffee lounges and around dinner tables in contemporary Sri Lanka, it is not uncommon for people to talk flippantly about who abducted whom or who killed whom in police custody. And despite everything that many Sri Lankans might think or say to the contrary…that isn’t normal, you know. [TC]

The vast gulf between Rajapaksa rhetoric and existential reality of Rajapaksa rule 

by Tisaranee Gunasekara 

The Rajapaksas have quite a few attributes in common with Vellupillai Pirapaharan. A pronounced tendency towards deceitfulness is one such characteristic. Lying is a habit, but the Ruling Family is more likely to lie to fellow Sri Lankans than to foreigners. [TC]

Prison riots a conspiracy to move Magazine and Welikade prisons out and grab valuable lands adjacent to Baseline Road?

by Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne

We were told that four prison officers and ten men on remand over drug related offences have so far been identified by the intelligence units, as having been behind the recent riot in the Borella Magazine prison.

Police officials say that three prison officers had been seen encouraging the rioters. It is claimed that alleged drug traffickers, identified among those who led this revolt inside the prison, are Anthony Raj, Mohamed Shiran, Malik alias Kondaya, Army Thushara, Dematagoda Raja, Cake Saman, Kaduwela Sudda and Kamal Nishantha. [TC]

Moving Courts out of Colombo will become an enormous problem for litigating public and the legal profession

by Ruana Rajepakse

It appears that the Government wants to move the Colombo Courts out of Hulftsdorp where they have been located, and periodically renovated and improved, for more than a century.

The plan is apparently to split up the High Courts, District Courts and Magistrate’s Courts that are presently grouped together and move them to three different locations in Battaramulla, Kadawatha and Kiribathgoda. [TC]

Accountability is a lamentably misused term by some of the pro-LTTE diaspora

By Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Appropriately for Independence Day, I just completed reading the letter of a young student who had gone abroad to pursue her postgraduate studies after benefiting from the country’s free education systems and then returned home in the expectation of making up her mind whether to stay or return overseas.

What prompted my interest was that the letter was written with feeling and with emotion. These were not deep esoteric meanderings. [TC]

‘Govt is trying to divide the TNA but will never succeed’

Suresh Premachandran M.P. Interviewed by Chamitha Kuruppu

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran claims the Government is trying to divide his party in the same manner in which it split other opposition parties in the country. He strongly attacks the Government for its lack of commitment to finding a solid solution to the ethnic issue and points out that the much-discussed 13 Plus will not be a solution to the problem. He also notes that the talks between the two parties have come to a standstill due to the lack of communication by the Government.

Following are excerpts from the interview:

Q: What is happening to the talks between the TNA and the Government? [TC]

Waste and inefficiency cause more losses in Govt Institutions than corruption-Eran Wickramaratne M.P 

Eran Wickramaratne, Member of Parliament, speaking on the ‘Financial impact of the findings of the COPE Report’ at a seminar organized by Women for Good Governance held at the OPA Auditorium last week, stated that the loss from inefficiency and waste far exceeds the losses on corruption in Government institutions.

He called economists to undertake research in estimating the loss of revenue and also the impact on economic growth. [TC]

Like Prabhakaran was objective-enemy of the Tamil people the Rajapaksas are the objective-enemy of the Lankan people

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“A season of brutal hypocrisy…” Anatole Franc – (Monsieur Bergeret in Paris)

The draconian land-grabbing Bill is back.

The resurrected Bill empowers the regime to acquire any piece of land, anywhere, by the simple expedient of declaring it of economic, social, historical or environmental import or as a sacred area. The first attempt at enacting the Bill failed because the Supreme Court refused to rule on it. Land is a devolved subject constitutionally, and the Rajapaksas, in their hurry (and arrogance), had not bothered to refer the Bill to the provincial councils. [TC]

‘National flag flutters pointing to a new country in the making’-President Rajapaksa

Today the national flag flutters pointing to a new country in the making. The way is open for an independent economy. It daily reinforces the nation’s aspiration for a prosperous future, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said.

It has given us freedom to decide upon issues concerning the country and the nation without bowing down before external powers. [TC]

UK and Australian MPs propose Channel 4 ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ documentary team for Nobel Peace Prize nomination

(Press Statement)

I join my Australian colleague, Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, in releasing the joint submission we made to the Norwegian Nobel Committee nominating the team at ITN and Channel 4 that produced the documentary film ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ for the 2012 Nobel peace Prize. [TC]