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Prez urged to examine Geneva process afresh to avert catastrophe
Published Date: 15/03/2017 (Wednesday)
The Federation of National Organizations (FNO) wants the government to commission an ‘official assessment’ on OISL (OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka) in the wake of both President Maithripala Sirisena and Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe ruling out foreign judges in the proposed judicial mechanism in line with Geneva Resolution 30/1. Attorney-at-law Dharshan Weerasekera on behalf of the FNO has produced a comprehensive report titled ‘A factual appraisal of the OISL report: A rebuttal to the allegations against the armed forces’ in the absence of such an official initiative.
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Govt speaks with fork tongues on Geneva resolution - GL
Published Date: 15/03/2017 (Wednesday)
Former External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said yesterday that statements by President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera on bringing foreign judges to conduct international war crimes probe here were contradictory to each other. Addressing the media at Vajirashrama temple in Punchi Borella, Prof. Peiris said President Maithripala Sirisena had declared on several occasions that his government would not allow foreign judges for the war crimes probe and vowed to protect war heroes.
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Security Forces in Sri Lanka Continue to Operate With Impunity’ - Yasmin Sooka
Published Date: 15/03/2017 (Wednesday)
Yasmin Louise Sooka, the Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights in South Africa and the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) spoke to ‘The Wire’ about Sri Lanka’s transitional justice process, the sequencing of judicial mechanisms for the same and the role other countries can play. Yasmin Sooka is regarded as a leading human rights lawyer, activist and an international expert in the fields of transitional justice, gender and international war crimes. She previously served on the UN Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka.
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EU asks for ‘concrete’ HR progress ahead of GSP+
Published Date: 15/03/2017 (Wednesday)
The European Union has underscored the importance of the Sri Lankan Government achieving “prompt and concrete” progress on human rights ahead of the decision on GSP+ expected in May, the EU said in a statement yesterday. Both sides released a joint press statement following the meeting of the Working Group on Governance, Rule of Law and Human Rights under the European Union-Sri Lanka Joint Commission, which kicked off on Monday.
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TGTE’s Response to Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s Address to the 34th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, Geneva
Published Date: 15/03/2017 (Wednesday)
The TGTE’s response to the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister’s address to the 34th Session of the HRC states that the reason for the failure of the nation building acknowledged by the Foreign Minister was the rigid ethnocratic nature of the Sri Lanka state. The Response cites the failure of previous accords between the Tamils and successive Sri Lankan Governments and the opposition to or non-implementation of various commissions to inhibit impunity of the Sri Lankan armed forces as examples of this truism.
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Actions by armed forces during periods of armed conflict, within the meaning of international humanitarian law, may constitute ‘terrorist acts’
Published Date: 14/03/2017 (Tuesday)
According to the Netherlands authorities, A, B, C and D were involved in collecting funds for the ‘Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam’ (‘the LTTE’), an entity which fought a civil war against the Sri Lankan Government with a view to creating an independent State for the Tamil people in the north and east of Sri Lanka and which has been categorised as a ‘terrorist’ organisation by the EU for approximately 10 years. Pursuant to a piece of Netherlands legislation implementing Resolution 1373 (2001) of the United Nations Security Council, the Netherlands authorities placed A, B, C and D among the persons subject to restrictive measures with a view to combating terrorism. As a result of that designation, their financial resources were frozen. In that context, the Netherlands authorities concluded that the LTTE was a terrorist group. That conclusion took into account an implementing regulation of the Council of the European Union of 2010, which maintained the LTTE on a list of groups involved in terrorist activities and subject to restrictive measures.1
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Govt. won't rush into political reforms: PM
Published Date: 14/03/2017 (Tuesday)
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said that he and President Maithripala Sirisena will have to go slow when bringing about political reforms and should achieve it through an ongoing dialogue. The Prime Minister made this remark at a programme held to mark the centenary of the Russian revolution in Colombo last evening.
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Sixth Amendment to Sri Lanka’s Constitution: Contradictory, Incoherent and Unconstitutional – Dr. Barbara Jackman
Published Date: 14/03/2017 (Tuesday)
At the International Conference held on Thursday March 9th at the Delta Hotel in Toronto Dr. Barbara Louise Jackman a highly respected authority in immigration and refugee law, with particular emphasis on cases involving national security, domestic and international human rights issues, torture, and the rights and protections afforded by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and Canada’s responsibilities under international treaties, described the 6th Amendment to Sri Lanka’s constitution as a “schizophrenic clause with internal contradictions and an open violation of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights. She pointed out that the amendment is not limited to Sri Lankan citizens but to “anyone” meaning that even a Canadian or British citizen will have his/her properties in Canada or Britain confiscated by Sri Lanka if he/she espouses separation! Nothing can be more ludicrous in terms of the application of what is spelt out in this Amendment. She further commented that Sri Lanka’s constitution refers to “people” indicating probably one (Sinhala?) ethnic group whereas it is a country with different “peoples” in respect to its ethnic diversity who are discounted according to the 1978 constitution
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Northern displaced families get new houses at 'Nallinakkapuram' Housing Project
Published Date: 13/03/2017 (Monday)
Another batch of 33 displaced families living in welfare centres in Jaffna was provided with new houses at the newly completed 'Nallinakkapuram' Housing Project in the Jaffna Peninsula. According to Army media sources the 33 beneficiary families were provided with ownership documents during a simple ceremony held on Friday (10th March) at the Nallinakkapuram' Community Hall. The housing project is an extension of the Keeramalai Housing Project and is completed under the second phase of the project. Construction work was carried out as a collective effort of the Joint Project Management Team (JPMT), comprising of Army, Navy, Air Force personnel and members of the beneficiary community.
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Ex-war criminals try to protect human rights now - Gotabaya
Published Date: 13/03/2017 (Monday)
Those who committed war crimes have now become the ‘champions’ who attempt to act as guardians of human rights, former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa says. He also pointed out those who endorsed to the LTTE are now with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA). “These are the kind of people who raise their voice to safeguard human rights now,” he said while addressing a gathering held in Colombo on Monday
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New constitutional and legal reforms to destroy the nation - Mahinda
Published Date: 13/03/2017 (Monday)
The reason why the government is pursuing some of the agenda with great enthusiasm while completely ignoring the constitutional pledges they gave to the people is obviously because they have other, more important masters to please than the people of this country, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. “I invite all SLFP members in the government, and parliamentarians of the UNP as well, to read the five documents mentioned here and to decide for themselves whether they want to betray the country and the nation by supporting this traitorous agenda,” he said in a statement on Monday.
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Colombo Press Conference: Tamil Victim's Appeal to UN Human Rights Council
Published Date: 13/03/2017 (Monday)
TAMIL VICTIMS APPEAL to UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL We, whose daughters, sons and husbands were killed, disappeared, sexually assaulted or raped by Sri Lankan Security Forces are appealing to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) not to give any extension of time to the Sri Lankan Government on the Resolution 30/1. Already time and space was given, but Sri Lankan Government ignored the previous Resolution. We strongly feel that any extension of time will result in no accountability and will endanger us and Tamils. We fear some of our disappeared daughters are being held in these “Rape Camps.”
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New constitutional and legal reforms to destroy the nation - Mahinda
Published Date: 13/03/2017 (Monday)
The reason why the government is pursuing some of the agenda with great enthusiasm while completely ignoring the constitutional pledges they gave to the people is obviously because they have other, more important masters to please than the people of this country, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. “I invite all SLFP members in the government, and parliamentarians of the UNP as well, to read the five documents mentioned here and to decide for themselves whether they want to betray the country and the nation by supporting this traitorous agenda,” he said in a statement on Monday.
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Gota’s war heroes off to Geneva
Published Date: 12/03/2017 (Sunday)
Rtd. Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara will leave for Geneva tomorrow leading a three-man delegation to meet UN Human Rights Chief Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein to mount an offensive against the case, now argued before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), that Sri Lankan forces committed war crimes, especially during the closing stages of the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. This allegation is the centrepiece of the UNHRC resolution that is widely accepted by the international community including the Tamil Diaspora.
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Yahapalana brain-fade in Geneva
Published Date: 11/03/2017 (Saturday)
Way back when Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government was getting slammed left, right and centre by the ‘international (sic) community’, especially at the UNHRC, his detractors were thrilled. Little did they care that the accusers were tainted in ways that made Sri Lanka look pretty innocent in terms of (alleged) ‘war crimes’. Rajapaksa was accused of being moronic in his foreign policy. Dark stories were spread about impending sanctions. The removal of the GSP Plus facility was thrown in as evidence and a sign of worse things to come.
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At UNHRC, states call for timetable from Lanka on establishing reconciliation mechanisms
Published Date: 09/03/2017 (Thursday)
The Sri Lanka resolution at the 34th Session of the UN Human Rights Council should contain a timeframe for implementation of transitional justice commitments the country had made in 2015, several member states said, when the first informal session on the draft resolution to promote reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka got underway in Geneva yesterday. During the informal session on the ‘zero draft’ of the resolution, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravintha Aryasinha officially announced that the Government would co-sponsor the resolution led by the US at the current session of the Human Rights Council.
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Speaking Frankly About Sri Lanka and Accountability
Published Date: 09/03/2017 (Thursday)
Sri Lanka’s compliance with an October 2015 UN Human Rights Council resolution is being hotly debated at the Council’s 34th session, which began in late February and will run through March 24. At this point, it looks as though another resolution on Sri Lanka will be passed later this month and that the Sri Lankan government will support such an initiative. While some people appear to be in favor of another resolution on Sri Lanka, others (for various reasons) are not. For example, some have argued that what’s really needed now is for the UN Security Council to refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
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Vaiko writes to PM on Sri Lanka issue
Published Date: 08/03/2017 (Wednesday)
MDMK general secretary Vaiko on Monday urged the Indian government to change its position in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in favour of an independent international investigation into the alleged genocide of Tamils by the Sri Lankan armed forces in 2009. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said that in the ongoing session of the UNHRC in Geneva, the Indian government should not continue the wrong stance taken by the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. “India should not support Sri Lanka on any account. A stand in favour of Sri Lanka would cause unbearable agony to the
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Restoring GSP+ trade concession to Sri Lanka indirectly confirmed.
Published Date: 07/03/2017 (Tuesday)
Nikos Zaimis, Adviser to the European Commission, Directorate General for Trade in Brussels, Belgium has indirectly confirmed that the GSP + trade concessions will be reinstated to Sri Lanka in few months time. He has said that “The restoration of the GSP+ trade concession by the European Union will increase Sri Lanka’s competitiveness in export markets and send a signal to international investors that the country is worth investing in but requires support from the business community to ensure promised reforms are implemented”.
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“Rolling Over” of UNHRC resolution is not a good option for Sri Lanka
Published Date: 07/03/2017 (Tuesday)
The 47-member Human Rights Council (HRC) has a mandate to hold no fewer than three regular sessions a year, for a total of at least ten weeks. These sessions take place in March (four weeks), June (three weeks) and September (three weeks). Further, if one third of the Member States requests, HRC could decide to hold a special session at any time, to address human rights violations and emergencies. That was how the 11th Special Session of the HRC was convened to consider the situation in Sri Lanka in 2009, a week after the conflict came to an end.
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Sri Lanka torture victims call for international war inquiry
Published Date: 07/03/2017 (Tuesday)
Two Sri Lankan Tamils tell DW how they were rounded up after the civil war ended, and tortured. They hope to pressure the government to bring in foreign judges to investigate war crimes allegations. 34-year-old Mayairan, from Sri Lanka's north-eastern district of Mullaitivu was studying in Malaysia when his country's 26-year-long civil war ended in May 2009.
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Our ‘reconciliation’ score-card in Geneva
Published Date: 05/03/2017 (Sunday)
Even as Sri Lanka’s human rights condition is being assessed at the annual United Nations Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva, Switzerland, the President and the Prime Minister have made public statements rejecting the formal role of foreign judges on the benches of Sri Lankan courts. Both, the timing of the statements vis-à-vis Geneva and, the fact that both top national leaders have simultaneously made such a pronouncement is of great significance. The President’s statement has a nationalist element that, perhaps, befits the role of the head of state and first citizen of the country. The Prime Minister, as head of government, naturally presents a technical rationale that addresses the institutional mechanics of the issue.
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Sri Lanka Offers The First Battle Ground For A Neo-Cold War?
Published Date: 05/03/2017 (Sunday)
In diplomatic terms, if not militarily, the incumbent Government seems to have developed a knack for running with the hare and hunting with the hound. Rather, it wants to please every nation and seek to benefit from all of them, purportedly without hurting itself. But the history of the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM), which is what the nation seems, wanting to restate in a new geo-strategic environment, has only hurt those that used to be on the wall all the time, not helped them in anyway.
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Zeid chides Lanka on ‘slow progress’and lack of commitment on war crimes court
Published Date: 04/03/2017 (Saturday)
Sri Lanka has shown little commitment to setting up a special judicial mechanism to prosecute alleged war crimes, the United Nations said in a new report released in Geneva yesterday that criticises the Government for its “slow pace of progress” on post-war reconciliation and justice. In a hard-hitting report to the 34th Session of the UN Human Rights Council currently meeting in Geneva, UN Human Rights Chief ZeidRa’ad Al Hussein said the Government had prioritised only truth and reparations aspects of the transitional justice process it committed to in the 2015 resolution.
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TNA Statement on UNKRC report
Published Date: 04/03/2017 (Saturday)
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) welcomes the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the implementation of the 2015 Human Rights Council resolution, and its recommendations. While the report acknowledges some areas of progress, such as discussions on constitutional reform, it is critical of the government’s failure to deliver with respect to a number of critical issues. The TNA shares the concerns of the Report that confidence building measures such as land releases, release of prisoners, repeal of the PTA, reform of the Victim and Witness Protection Authority and ending military involvement in commercial and civilian activities have not been pursued satisfactorily. In fact, the failure of the government on these issues are steadily eroding the trust of our people.
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