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Published Date: 19/09/2016 (Monday)
Government leaders have been saying that the draft constitution will be placed before the Parliament prior to the budget debate that takes place in November. A new constitution which would require a referendum could prove to be the government’s Waterloo if the people reject it. Last week Chairman of the Public Representations Committee Lal Wijenayake, made an announcement that five of the six sub-committees of Parliament that had been delegated the task of submitting reports on various aspects of the new constitution had completed their work. The Public Representations Committee (PRC), appointed by the Prime Minister with 19 other members, made a special effort in consultations with the general public on the matters connected with the drafting of the new constitution. Chairman Wijenayake assured those who had made submissions to the PRC that their views would be taken into account in the drafting of the new constitution.
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UNHRC kudos for GoSL
Published Date: 17/09/2016 (Saturday)
United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) website said that among the several issues being taken at its current sessions which opened in Geneva Tuesday is the issue on Sri Lanka. That subject will revolve round the report of the 'Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances on its mission to Sri Lanka-Note by the Secretariat' and 'comments by the State (Sri Lanka)' on this report.
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Zeid lets Sri Lanka off the hook in his address to the 33rd session of the UNHRC
Published Date: 17/09/2016 (Saturday)
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid, did not mention Sri Lanka in his opening address at the 33 rd. session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva on Tuesday. This was because the theme of his speech was the problem of countries not giving access to UN rights investigative teams and the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government in Sri Lanka, which came to power in January 2015, has been giving access to UN rights teams. The new government has also been making some progress in implementing the October 2015 UNHRC resolution on war time rights violations.
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Transitional Justice process & Voice of the Affected
Published Date: 16/09/2016 (Friday)
A number of positive measures have been taken by the current Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) to further reconciliation and to facilitate transitional justice in Sri Lanka. The most far reaching democratic achievement under the new Government was the establishment of a number of institutions1 which exercise checks and balances on the State power. The most recent but also the most important such institution in terms of transitional justice is the Office of Missing Persons (OMP). The consultation process conducted by the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms (CTF) is another welcomed development. On the top of all this, the democratic space created by the current regime remains the most beneficial factor in campaigning for and achieving rights.
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Sri Lanka: Is Transitional Justice in Trouble?
Published Date: 16/09/2016 (Friday)
The UN Human Rights Council’s (HRC) 33rd session began on Tuesday and Sri Lanka is on the agenda. The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) is set to officially release a report on the island nation. The report is already in the public domain, although this is the first time the document will be presented to the Geneva-based HRC. Disappearances in Sri Lanka have been a longstanding problem. Appropriately, an Office of Missing Persons (OMP) is one of the four main pillars of the government’s transitional justice process.
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Tamil Political Prisoners in Sri Lanka: A Road to Nowhere?
Published Date: 15/09/2016 (Thursday)
Sri Lanka’s Tamil political prisoners have been back in the spotlight recently. Tamil political prisoners are ethnic Tamils who were allegedly members of or connected to the Tamil Tigers, a separatist group. Some have been convicted on charges of terrorism, though most have not. Many of the charges are believed to be fabricated and based upon coerced confessions, which were recorded in a language foreign to the accused. The new government has repeatedly promised to deal with the issue, but it has done little. While Obama may be keen to champion Sri Lanka’s peaceful transfer of power to bolster his foreign policy record, Colombo’s failure to act more decisively on political prisoners is unjust, calls into question its commitment to transitional justice, and illustrates that Sri Lanka is far from a clear-cut success story.
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Denmark apologises, promises to remove offending section Recognition of ‘Tamil Eelam’
Published Date: 15/09/2016 (Thursday)
Denmark has apologised to Sri Lanka for recognising ‘Tamil Eelam’ as one of the countries from which foreigners could apply for visas. A top Foreign Ministry official told The Island last night that Denmark had promised to remove the offending section. The Danish Immigration website shows ‘Tamil Eelam’ as one of the options to be selected under the category ‘nationality’ when filling out its visa application.
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The UN Has Done Little to Help Those Awaiting Justice in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 15/09/2016 (Thursday)
Ban Ki-Moon acknowledged the “big mistakes” the UN made in relation to Sri Lanka under his leadership, but is yet to lay out a concrete rights-based strategy for the country. Madushka De Silva disappeared on September 2, 2013 in Anuradhapura – Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese-Buddhist heartland in the North Central Province. The third anniversary of his disappearance coincided with Ban Ki-Moon’s visit to the country. On that day, the UN secretary general was so close, and yet so far from De Silva’s wife, Mauri Inoka.
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Yes, the Sinhalese have their origins in Bengal, Odisha
Published Date: 14/09/2016 (Wednesday)
The “Mahavamsa”, arguably the greatest chronicle of Sri Lanka, narrates that the founder of the Sinhalese community had his roots among ancestors from East India. Sinhalese, who make up about 75 per cent of the Sri Lankan population have descended from inhabitants of ancient East India.
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SRI LANKA: Gayashan is still missing
Published Date: 14/09/2016 (Wednesday)
Gayashan still remains missing following police detention at the Hambanthota Police Station The Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundera is reported to have spoken with the father of Gayashan, promising that he would do everything in his power to find the young man, or take serious action if something has happened to him. Despite this, there is still not even a clue about what happened to Gayashan.
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Road to Nandikadal or Road to grab power
Published Date: 14/09/2016 (Wednesday)
Last week a function was held at Ananda College, Colombo, to launch the book Road to Nandikadal by Major General Kamal Gunaratne. Neither the President, nor the Prime Minister or any Member of Parliament or Minister of this government had been invited for this function. Only former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa had received invitations. The Major General presented the book to Mahinda Rajapaksa. During Mahinda's Government, if a Major General invited only the Opposition and presented a book he had written, only to the Leader of the Opposition, the Major General would have been branded a Tiger and the stars of the Major General would have been removed and there was a chance he would even have been deprived of his pension.
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Tamil lawyers forum asks UN to set up scientists' team to examine allegedly poisoned ex-LTTE cadres
Published Date: 12/09/2016 (Monday)
The Tamil Lawyers’ Forum (TLF) has petitioned the Office of the UN Human Rights Commissioner to set up a committee of scientists and medical professionals “of international repute” to examine former cadres of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) who have been complaining of illnesses and debilities of various kinds which they allege are the result of the injection of some poisonous substances while they were held in captivity by the Sri Lankan army after the end of Eelam War IV.
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Paranagama Com. recommends Int’l technical assistance and observers
Published Date: 12/09/2016 (Monday)
The Maxwell Paranagama Presidential Commission on Missing Persons has strongly recommended in its final report that in the event of Sri Lanka were to set up a purely domestic tribunal without the participation of any foreign judges, there must be an international technical assistance and observers to ensure the acceptance of the mechanism, the Daily Mirror learns. The Commission has wound up its activities after the enactment of the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) and handed over its final report to the President last month.
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Security forces: No more releasing of lands from Palaly cantonment
Published Date: 12/09/2016 (Monday)
The army would not return even an inch of the 4,419 acre land belonging to the Jaffna camp and Palaly Military cantonment, Jaffna Security Forces Commander Maj Gen Mahesh Senanayake said. He said that the Palaly High Security Zone had encompassed around 11,269 acres until 2010 and 7,210 acres had been given back to their original owners on government instructions and now the army was not in a position to return any more lands owing to security requirements in the former war-zone area.
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SRI LANKA: A New Book on negativity and Nihilism in Sri Lankan Consciousness – by Basil Fernando
Published Date: 08/09/2016 (Thursday)
There is something deeply negative and nihilist imbedded into the Sri Lanka consciousness. By ‘Sri Lankan consciousness’ I mean the consciousness of all Sri Lankans, whether they are from the majority Sinhala community or the Tamil or other minority communities. What is common to all is a deep negativity inherited from the far distant past. In my recent book on Asoka’s policy of Dhamma and democratic values, I trace this negativity to the influence of an Indian philosopher named Adi Shankara, who lived around the 8th Century AD and whose influence on India, pulling it in the same direction of nihilism and negativity, is enormous. Following several others, I have tried to show how this philosophy was brought into Sri Lanka by several Indian invasions in the 8th Century and thereafter, and how it became the predominant philosophical mold in the country, and how it has molded generations upon generations of Sri Lankans.
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UN ‘made big mistakes’ in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 03/09/2016 (Saturday)
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday acknowledged that the UN could have saved many lives during the last seven months of the war, and the UN 'made big mistakes and learned very hard lessons'. He said he held an internal probe as to what happened during those months. During his speech on 'Sri Lanka on SDG16: Sustaining Peace – Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals' held in Colombo, the SG while blaming Sri Lanka too for causing serious problems to its own people, added that even the UN during the last seven decades, particularly, in the last seven months 'made big mistakes' in Sri Lanka.
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Sri Lanka: Steps in Reconciliation and Accountability for Sustainable Peace : An interview with UN’s Reconciliation and Development Adviser in Sri Lanka, Gita Sabharwal
Published Date: 02/09/2016 (Friday)
Where do we stand today in terms of reconciliation and development in Sri Lanka? The political transition is a historic opportunity to achieve sustainable peace in Sri Lanka. The UN has been engaging comprehensively with the government to advance reconciliation and address issues of accountability. The UN strategy brings the three pillars of peace, development and human rights working in close coordination for durable peace.
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Protesters descend on UN as Ban Ki-moon visits Sri Lanka
Published Date: 01/09/2016 (Thursday)
Dozens of Sri Lankan nationalists rallied outside the United Nations compound in Colombo Thursday as Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited the island, protesting against the UN's actions during a prolonged civil war. Police held back the demonstrators led by Buddhist monks as they tried to march on the compound just before Ban arrived on the first full day of his two-day visit to Sri Lanka.
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Families of people missing in Sri Lanka's civil war march in silence
Published Date: 01/09/2016 (Thursday)
Human rights activists and families of missing people rallied in Sri Lanka on Tuesday (August 30) in support of an office recently set up to independently investigate the cases of thousands of people who vanished during the government's long conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels. The march marks International Day Against Forced Disappearances and comes a day ahead of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's three-day visit.
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Tamil Fest Draws Record Crowd with over 150,000 Attendees, Becomes largest event ever hosted in Scarborough
Published Date: 01/09/2016 (Thursday)
Tamil Fest broke records in its second year, drawing over 150,000 visitors from across North America and becoming the largest event to be hosted in Scarborough. Hosted by the Canadian Tamil Congress, the annual festival took place from August 26 to 28 and is now also the largest Tamil event hosted outside of South Asia. “Tamil Fest is about celebrating the spectacular diversity of Canada, and of showcasing the best of Tamil arts, culture, cuisine, and entertainment,” said David Poopalapillai, National Spokesperson for the Canadian Tamil Congress.
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Giving “Accountable Amnesty” to abductors is doing injustice to victims’ families, says HRW
Published Date: 01/09/2016 (Thursday)
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said that the recommendation of the Sri Lankan Commission to Investigate Complaints Regarding Missing Persons that perpetrators of abductions be given “accountable amnesty” is tantamount to rendering injustice to the families of the victims. The concept of “accountable amnesty” is “outdated and falls short of international standards”, says James Ross, HRW’s Legal and Policy Director. He points out that the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, Mangala Samaraweera, has recognized it as being inadequate.
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Latest measures to address disappearances in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 31/08/2016 (Wednesday)
By the time the new Parliament was elected in August 2015, families of the disappeared had emerged as strong civil movements in Sri Lanka. Their courage and persistence have helped bring about significant developments in relation to addressing disappearances.
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UN sponsored Peace-Building-Fund for Sri Lanka
Published Date: 31/08/2016 (Wednesday)
The Government will discuss the setting up of a Multi-Million Dollar ‘Peace Building Fund’ (PBF) for Sri Lanka, sponsored by the UN, during the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s three-day visit to Sri Lanka, a senior Foreign Affairs Ministry source said yesterday. Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha De Silva has said that the objective of the PBF was to ensure fast and flexible funding in support of various peace-building and reconciliation efforts in Sri Lanka
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BrahMos Missile Sale to Vietnam will Boost India’s role in Fight against China
Published Date: 29/08/2016 (Monday)
India is poised to leverage Vietnam's upcoming purchase of its BrahMos supersonic cruise missile -- the fastest in the world -- into a strategic advantage that will make it a major player in the maritime crisis pitting China against practically all of Asia. American sources say Vietnam might soon announce its approval of a deal to purchase an undetermined number of anti-ship BrahMos missile systems to be mounted on warships of the Vietnam People's Navy (VPN). China is strongly opposed to the deal.
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Why has KP not been charged?: Opposition Leader
Published Date: 27/08/2016 (Saturday)
Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan in Parliament on Tuesday questioned why Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP) has not been charged. He raised this question from the government when he was moving an adjournment motion on the prisoners detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
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