Mar 25 - Mar 31

tweets of the day: Media battle heats up in Sri Lanka, again

AlJazeera: Listening Post – Media battle heats up in Sri Lanka, again [TC]

India’s Headlines Today Journalist wins award for Sri Lanka Report 

Headlines Today correspondent Priyamvatha has won the award ‘best Investigative report’ for ‘Inside Lanka’s Killing Fields’ at the ’5th News Television (NT) Awards 2012′ on March 28th in New Delhi. ‘Headlines Today’ is a member of ‘India Today’, media group [TC]

Belligerence shows Colombo’s mutinous response to international ‘meddling’ will remain constant 

by Namini Wijedasa

A stubby man in an open-necked shirt stands against the backdrop of a Buddhist temple in Kelaniya, on the outskirts of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, waving a thick forefinger threateningly in the air. Mervyn Silva, the minister of public relations, growls that traitors should be executed as in the times of ancient kings. [TC]

Geneva fiasco due to our failure to maintain pragmatic International Relations 


A cartoon this week in one of our newspapers said it all. A tall gaunt man with his head held erect walks into a room in Geneva saying, ‘I think we can, I think we can.’ The same man is then seen coming out of the door in Geneva, head bent down with a distraught face and almost bent in two, saying, ’I thought we could, I thought we could.’ [TC]

‘Benign conspiracy’ in Geneva by India and USA to make Sri Lanka move towards a political solution 

By Izeth Hussain

We have to face up to the fact that the Sri Lankan Government suffered a serious set-back at Geneva. We can of course argue that adding the abstentions to the votes against the US Resolution shows that we lost only by one vote. [TC]

Tamara Kunanayakam: Fighting for Lanka in Geneva 

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Many Sri Lankans watching live proceedings of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on the fateful Thursday of March 22nd 2012 were puzzled by the composition of our representatives when the spotlight was on Sri Lanka in Geneva. [DBSJ]

Video ~ Backing Sri Lanka Resolution: Does this mark a shift in India’s regional foreign policy?

Sadanand Dhume of the American Enterprise Institute discusses pressures on New Delhi to support democracy abroad. [TC]

‘We Opposed the Resolution Because of Our Respect for the UN HRC’-Rajiva Wijesinha 

by Ayesha Zuhair

In an interview with Ayesha Zuhair for the Daily Mirror, Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, MP, Presidential Advisor on Reconciliation, discusses the resolution against Sri Lanka adopted at the 19th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). [DBSJ]

People’s SAARC concerned about safety of human rights defenders, journalists and political activists in Sri Lanka

We, the representatives of civil society, from all the South Asian countries are seriously concerned about the personal safety and political freedom of human rights defenders, journalists and political activists in Sri Lanka in the back drop of increasing international concern on the situation in Sri Lanka especially vis-àvis the resolution on accountability for war crimes adopted by the recent 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. [TC]

Minister Maithripala Sirisena’s allegations against ‘CARITAS-SEDEC’ are baseless and untrue 

by Rev. Dr. Harold Anthony Perera

In a news item telecast over ITN at 9.30 pm on 23rd March 2012, Hon Maithripala Sirisena, Minister of Health accused Caritas SEDEC Sri Lanka as an NGO of being responsible for instigating farmers to protest. He also claimed that Caritas SEDEC Sri Lanka had a presence in Geneva where the UN Human Rights Council had its 19th Sessions recently. [TC]

USA and India have ingeniously divided their task regarding Sri Lanka 

by Gunadasa Amarasekera

On 2nd March 1815, we ceded our sovereignty to the – greatest empire at the time-The British Empire- of which it was said ‘the sun never set’.

On 22nd March 2012 we were intimidated into taking the first step to cede our sovereignty to the most powerful empire of today—the US. [TC]

‘American Exceptionalism’ means USA should be regarded above international law norms 

By Harith de Mel

Thursday the 22nd of March was a day Sri Lanka was given a lesson in International Law.

This is not to suggest we are inadequate in our understanding of this fascinating subject but events preceding suggest that we have either not comprehended the reality of ‘International Law’ or have been ignorant of it in the wake of International relations. [TC]

Ensure the security of Fishers Union Leaders Herman Kumara and Anura Roshantha 

We, the undersigned civil society organisations and activists, are deeply disturbed by the threats faced by Mr. Herman Kumara of the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO) and Mr. Aruna Roshantha Fernando of All Ceylon Fisher Folk Federation (ACFFF) and condemn these attempts to stifle democratic rights and silence these leaders. [TC]

Sri Lanka should take UNHRC Resolution seriously and improve human rights record like Myanmar says Dayan Jayatilleka

Sri Lanka could learn from Myanmar which has radically changed bringing democratic reforms in the country says Sri Lanka Ambassador to France, Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka. [DBSJ]

'Shape karala ganna puluwan' (Can fix it) plan of Govt failed in Geneva 

By Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

The reaction of the Rajapaksa regime to the successful US resolution at the Human Rights Council makes out the resolution to be, in effect, the first defeat suffered by the regime, its feeble efforts at damage limitation notwithstanding. Needless to say it should not have come to this. [DBSJ]

Govt must present road map for implementing recommendations in LLRC Report 

by Jayantha Dhanapala and Prof. Savitri Goonesekere

The Friday Forum welcomed the setting up of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and co-operated constructively by making representations before it. [DBSJ]

Post – conflict Sri Lanka needs Canadian R2P 

by Kubes Navaratnam

In the wake of the world’s inaction to intervene and stop the grave human rights abuses in Rwanda and Srebrenica, and following the controversial intervention in Kosovo, the Responsibility to Protect doctrine emerged [TC]

USA adopts carrot and stick policy towards Sri Lanka to curtail Chinese influence

By K. Ratnayake

On March 22 the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) meeting in Geneva passed a US-sponsored resolution on human rights violations in Sri Lanka. The toothless, non-binding resolution has nothing to do with addressing abuses in Sri Lanka but is aimed at advancing US interests in the South Asian region. [TC]

This is a struggle between powerful pro-mega development folks and powerless pro-sustainable development masses 

by S.P. Udayakumar

Dear Friends:

Greetings! Pushparayan, the other 12 friends and I have become weaker and tired; but we are still able to sit up and talk to people. Today is the seventh day of the indefinite hunger strike. [DBSJ]

The rise of populism: A comparative perspective from South Asia 

by Prof.Rajiva Wijesinha M.P.

I must begin by thanking the Secretariat of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats for putting together an excellent concept paper, which presents us with a very balanced view of the topic of our general assembly this year. [DBSJ]

Koodankulam protestors call off indefinite hunger strike but continue with relay fasts 

The anti-Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) protesters called off their nine-day-long indefinite fast on Tuesday evening, following talks with the district administration, led by Collector R. Selvaraj [TC]

Liberals present Ontario Budget with strong action plan 

by Dwight Duncan

Today, I presented our plan to balance the budget by 2017-18, while protecting the results we’ve achieved in health care and education. It’s all about making the right choices for Ontario families. [TC]

Post-war Northern Province: Some facts and fallacies 

By Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

I have been concerned by the claims of some politicians, journalists, NGOs and INGOs about post-war developments of an adverse nature relating to purported settlement of Sinhalese in the Northern Province, contrary to what I could see and gather from the people living within the province. [DBSJ]

‘We speak two noble languages (Sinhala and Tamil) but with one voice (Sri Lankan)’ 

By Dr.Devanesan Nesiah

Some countries are predominantly monolingual. Perhaps England, Japan, France, Germany and Thailand could, subject to some qualifications, be placed in this category. [DBSJ]

Dr. Indra De Soysa takes over as 18th Warden of St. Thomas College, Mt. Lavinia 

By Ishara Jayawardane 

Established in 1851, S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia is one of the oldest and one of the most prestigious educational institutions in the country. Now the reins of control of this great institution have passed into the hands of its 18th Warden, Dr. Indra de Soysa [DBSJ]

Plight of journalists in Sri Lanka worsens after Geneva UNHRC Resolution-CPJ 

By Bob Dietz

The sorry situation faced by Journalists in Sri Lanka has seemingly worsened after the US sponsored resolution was passed by 24 to 15 at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 22nd. [DBSJ]

Accountability is paramount for any sustainable political solution in Sri Lanka-APPGT 

APPGT welcome the United Nations Human Rights Council on successfully adopting a resolution on Sri Lanka. We see this as a first step towards an international effort to bring sustainable peace in the Island. [TC]

Sinhala Language Graffiti in Colombo Says Hillary Clinton and Obama are ‘Naked’-Economist

HILLARY CLINTON is naked! Obama is naked!” shriek the Sinhala-language graffiti across a wall in Colombo.[TC]

Memories of Yesteryears: Kristhava Keethankal

By Saba-Thambi

I cherish my childhood memories of listening to the “kristhava keethangal” (Christian songs) segment, broadcast on Sunday mornings in the nineteen sixties and seventies. [TC]

Tamil Nadu peoples protest against the Koodankulam nuclear power project 

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Fifteen persons comprising eight men and seven women have been on an indefinite hunger strike for eight days now at a place called Idinthakarai adjacent to Koodankulam in Tirunelvely district of the Southern state of Tamil Nadu in India. [DBSJ]

India not supporting us did considerable damage to the Sri Lankan position at UNHRC 

Prof. G.L. Peiris Interviewed by Dianne Silva

Question: Why was Sri Lanka unable to obtain enough support to defeat the United States sponsored resolution?

Answer: I think the public should know that one matter that the international community and the delegation were distressed about was the manner in which the UNHRC is functioning today. [DBSJ]

Can the UNHRC effectively monitor Sri Lankan progress in implementing LLRC Report recommendation? 

By J.S. Tissainayagam

A resolution on Sri Lanka was passed in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Thursday. Human rights activists hailed the resolution as a hopeful first step by the international community in holding Sri Lanka accountable to war crimes. [TC]

Resentment in Sri Lanka over Indian failure to stand by this neighbor and friend 

by Salman Haidar

A sense of outrage pervades Sri Lanka after the passing of a resolution in the UN Human Rights Council critical of that country. The chief mover of the resolution was the USA, which has become the main target of public indignation. Street demonstrations have taken place and calls made for the boycott of US goods. [TC]

Crucial difference between Geneva 2009 and Geneva 2012 is erosion of moral high ground 

by Dayan Jayatilleka

After Geneva, do we Sri Lankans understand? Do we know how to understand?

Do we understand that understanding does not come easily or automatically; that one has to ‘learn how to understand’, as Fidel clearly indicates in his latest article entitled ‘Roads to Disaster’? [TC]

No conflict between myself and Minister Samarasinghe–G.L. Peiris 

By Dianne Silva

Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L Peries yesterday stated that he could not condone the statements made by a government Minister that who claimed that he would clamp down on journalists and human rights activities, who had travelled to Geneva. [TC]

UNHRC Resolution is good for the whole country and will help all our people regardless of ethnicity 

by B. Kolappan

Rejecting the notion that the Sinhalese community as a whole would harden its stand as a result of the resolution against Sri Lanka in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the country’s Tamil Nationalist Alliance MP M.A. Sumanthiran on Sunday said that on the contrary, there was realisation that the resolution had come about because of the Sri Lankan Government’s failure to do the right things at the right time. [TC]

Jayalalithaa announces slew of welfare measures for Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu camps 

by B.Kolappan

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Saturday announced a slew of welfare measures for Sri Lankan Tamil refugees, including financial assistance for self-help groups (SHGs) in camps, and extension of Chief Minister’s comprehensive insurance scheme to the refugees. [TC]

Impact of UNHRC Resolution on India-Sri Lanka relations 

By Col R Hariharan

India was among the 24 countries that voted for the U.S. draft resolution on Sri Lanka’s accountability in respect of human rights violations which was passed at the 19th meeting of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) at Geneva. Fifteen member countries opposed it while eight abstained. [DBSJ]

After Geneva vote New Delhi finds itself in a precarious position in Colombo vis a vis Beijing 

by N.Sathiya Moorthy

History will remember two dates this week as the defining moment in the India-Sri Lanka relationship. Rather, by extension, they were landmarks in re-defining India’s evolving the 21st century equations in the South Asian neighbourhood — and by extension, in the larger geo-strategic milieu. [DBSJ]

We talk about victory and defeat but who really won or lost in Geneva? 

by Kalana Senaratne

The US-sponsored resolution at the UNHRC had to be defeated. It was not. 24 in favour, 15 against, 8 abstained. Hearts are broken, glasses are shattered, the ‘gods’ have ignored our prayers, there is madness surrounding us; 2012, we are now sure, is when the world comes to an end. [DBSJ]

Full text of Indian Prime Minister’s letter to the Sri Lankan President 

Press Information Bureau, Government of India

The Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka on the resolution in the UN Human Rights Council. [DBSJ]

US may have extended its footprint to Sri Lanka and expanded it to cover all of South Asia 

By N Sathiya Moorthy

It was not victory at Geneva for Sri Lanka, yes. Thankfully, it is not thumbing of the chest either, in Colombo. Instead, it should be shake-up time for the Government and polity. [TC]

UN and INGO personnel who served in Sri Lanka during war can help counter allegations in Channel 4 TV film-Gotabhaya Rajapaksa 

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The UN and INGOs deployed in Sri Lanka during Eelam war IV could help the international community to verify the validity of allegations contained in Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said. [TC]

Now that the Geneva deed is done, India should begin the damage control process 

by M. L. Wickremasinghe

India lost the moral high ground in Geneva on March 22. Exactly a week after the ides of March, thousands of years after the back-stabbing in Rome, India became the only country in Asia to have voted against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC, prompting Sri Lankans to ask “You too India?” [TC]

2,200-year-old Tamil-Brahmi inscription found on Samanamalai near Madurai in Tamil Nadu

by T.S. Subramanian

A Tamil-Brahmi inscription that pushes back the association of Samanamalai (“Jaina Hill”), 15 km from Madurai, with Jainism to 2,200 years, has been discovered on the hill. [TC]

Storifying: ‘Militarisation of North Sri Lanka’ 

Alan Keenan, Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst and Sri Lanka Project Director, examines how de facto military rule and various forms of government-sponsored “Sinhalisation” of the Tamil-majority region are impeding international humanitarian efforts, reigniting a sense of grievance among Tamils, and weakening chances for a real political settlement to devolve power in Sri Lanka: [TC]

New Delhi must step up pressure on Mahinda Rajapaksa to evolve a new political system 

by Prof. V. Suryanarayan

Human Rights organizations and Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora have valid reasons to be jubilant about the outcome of the 19th Session of Human Rights Council held in Geneva on March 22, 2012. [DBSJ]

Manmohan Singh writes letter to Mahinda Rajapaksa clarifying Indian position 

Moving quickly to pre-empt any diplomatic damage that India’s vote against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council on Thursday may cause, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, highlighting the “element of balance” that was introduced in the resolution because of Indian efforts. [TC]

Sinhala unhappiness is unlikely to turn into bitterness and hatred against India 

by B. Raman 

The unhappiness in Sri Lanka over the Indian vote in favour of the resolution in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on the question of the human rights of the Sri Lankan Tamils-action in respect of past violations during the counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations against the LTTE and to safeguard their human rights in future in the form of a political solution to the grievances and aspirations of the Tamils is understandable. [TC]

Al Jazeera Video: Sri Lanka’s first census in 30 years 

Sri Lanka is in the final process of completing its first nationwide census in more than 30 years. [TC]

Storifying: Sri Lanka visit of Rick Dykstra MP, Member of Parliament for the City of St. Catharines


Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is sending three representatives, MPs Rick Dykstra and Chris Alexander – a former ambassador to Afghanistan – and new senator Vern White: [TC]

Huge credibility issue of Rajapaksa presidency is that no one believes them anymore 

by Dushy Ranetunge

Since 1983, the Sri Lankan state struggled to defeat the Tamil insurrection, because India and most of the Western democracies were sympathetic to the Tamil cause, and the Sinhalese were always perceived as the oppressors from the days of Sinhala only. [DBSJ]

We can defuse UNHRC Resolution simply by taking steps to implement our own LLRC Report recommendations – Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

By Dinouk Colombage

Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanmuttu, political analyst and head of the Centre for Policy Alternatives, spoke to The Sunday Leader about the recently passed US backed Resolution and what it will mean to the country. He expressed his hope that this will see Sri Lanka move forward from ‘post-war to post-conflict’ [DBSJ]

‘In the Face of such Overwhelming Pressures it is still Impressive that we Secured 15 votes’

By Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha

I was first asked by the External Affairs Ministry to go to Geneva , after a lapse of a couple of years, the night the US tabled its Resolution. [DBSJ]

Samarasinghe’s statement broke the normally Phlegmatic Indian Camel’s back

By Tisaranee Gunasekara 

The Geneva Resolution was not inimical to Sri Lanka or Sri Lankans. Its adoption is not a defeat for Sri Lanka or Sri Lankans.

But for the Rajapaksas, the Geneva vote is a defeat; a defeat as needless as the battle itself. [TC]

India supported Sri Lanka by voting for US Resolution in the UNHRC says New Delhi envoy to UN in Geneva

In the wake of India voting against Sri Lanka and supporting the US resolution, India’s envoy to the United Nations Dilip Sinha says that India sees itself as amongst those who supported Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva, as the resolution is “supportive of Sri Lanka rather than against it. [TC]

India has mutually beneficial partnership with USA built on ‘Principles and Pragmatism’

by Nirupama Rao

Thank you for asking me to speak to you on the challenges and opportunities that face India’s foreign policy today. It is an honour to speak to such a distinguished group [DBSJ]

Wimal wants ban on American goods but does not want US Defence Pact revoked

by Dr.Vickramabahu Karunaratne

The third VV – Vipaksaye Virodhaya – the protest of the opposition took place in Hatton town on 14 March. Thousands turned up, shouting slogans and braving the rain. [TC]

Determined effort to make Prof. G.L. Peiris the scapegoat for foreign policy failures

by Gamini Weerakoon

Now is the time to come to the aid of the country is the rallying call today in this internationally besieged island. We too are all for it but being cynics we do so with reservations. [TC]

Vigorous U.S. Engagement Helped Spur Series of Important Actions at 19th Session of HRC

The United Nations Human Rights Council’s 19th Regular Session helped spur action on a series of important human rights situations around the world, in part due to vigorous U.S. engagement. [TC]