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Amb. Stephen Rapp on Sri Lanka’s War Crimes Investigation
Published Date: 10/09/2015 (Thursday)
At the end of August, the United States announced that it would support Sri Lanka’s plan for investigating alleged war crimes that occurred during the final years of the country’s long-running civil war, which ended in 2009. This announcement signaled a shift in position for the State Department, which had long insisted on an international investigation. But, in the coming weeks at the UN Human Rights Council’s next session, the US will offer a resolution supporting Colombo’s proposed process for investigating and prosecuting potential war crimes.
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Sri Lanka’s ‘Accountability’ Dilemma
Published Date: 10/09/2015 (Thursday)
With the opening of the U.N. Human Rights Council’s 30th session just days away, many Sri Lanka watchers are waiting to see how Colombo deals with the release of a major U.N. report focused on wartime abuses in Sri Lanka and its plans for handling “accountability” issues domestically. What will Colombo’s accountability mechanism actually look like? And is it actually possible for such a mechanism to work properly? What role, if any, will international actors play in such a process?
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PM calls for progress reports on major crimes during Rajapakse time
Published Date: 08/09/2015 (Tuesday)
Sri Lanka's Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has called on officials to provide progress reports on the investigations on several high profile murders and disappearances that were committed during the previous president Mahinda Rajapaksa's tenure. The Prime Minister has asked for reports on the progress of cases including the murders of former Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunga, former Tamil MP Nadarajah Raviraj, the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda and the death of national rugby player Wasim Thajudeen.
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TNA will not attend Geneva UNHRC session
Published Date: 08/09/2015 (Tuesday)
Tamil National Alliance (TNA) spokesperson and MP M.A. Sumanthiran said today that TNA had not decided to send a party delegation to attend the forth coming United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions. However, he said some members might go in their individual capacities. Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP, was in Geneva lobbying at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for release of the UN’s investigative report on allegations of war crimes committed in the last phase of the 2006-2009 Eelam War IV in North Sri Lanka.
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Vanni 2002 – 2006; What I Owe the People of the Vanni
Published Date: 08/09/2015 (Tuesday)
It was February 2002 when I returned to Sri Lanka from the US, scarcely a month after the announcement of the Ceasefire Agreement that ended hostilities, following the 20 year old civil war. Now, for the first time the marvel of peace among our people was a real possibility. Like many other Tamils of my generation who were nurtured on the premise of achieving our rights via peaceful and non-violent means, I was able to leave the country at the onset of the civil war when it became evident that violent means had hijacked all peaceful methods of non-violent agitation and activism for our rights.
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Prabhakaran's reluctance to embrace federalism and lack of bipartisan spirit of SLFP and UNP: Two difficulties encountered by Norway - Erik Solheim
Published Date: 07/09/2015 (Monday)
From 2000 to 2005, Mr. Erik Solheim was the Chief Negotiator for the peace process between the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and now-defunct militant organisation, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). This peace process led to the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) in February 2002 which continued with six rounds of direct peace talks during 2002 to 2003, and what is known as the Oslo Declaration on a Federal State in Sri Lanka.
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The Left takes a back seat in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 05/09/2015 (Saturday)
The first sitting of Sri Lanka’s new parliament took place this week amidst some uncertainty. Following the United National Party (UNP) election victory, negotiations continue on the formation of a national government, with a number of MPs from the opposition Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) expected to be given ministerial portfolios. The new cabinet is yet to be announced. One thing that’s clear is that the Left will no longer wield much clout. Earlier, though few in number the leftist MPs held important positions.
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Why small states matter in international politics: The case of Sri Lanka
Published Date: 04/09/2015 (Friday)
Sri Lanka occupied little thought throughout the West for much of the period since independence in 1948. In the last few years, however, Sri Lanka began to feature as a country of strategic relevance to great powers, particularly China and the United States. Sitting at the center of the Indian Ocean, halfway between China and the key energy resources in the Middle East, Beijing has sought to influence politics on the island. But it has suffered blows this year, with Mahinda Rajapaksa (friendly to Chinese interests) losing the presidency in January and his party losing in recent parliamentary elections to the center-right United National Party. Now, pro-Western Ranil Wickramasinghe holds the position of prime minister.
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TNA agrees to give post of Chief Opposition Whip to JVP
Published Date: 04/09/2015 (Friday)
It was reported that the TNA has agreed to give the post of Chief Opposition Whip in Parliament to JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake. When the post of the Opposition Leader was obtained by a party usually the post of Chief Opposition Whip, too, went to the same party. Yet, the TNA had decided to hand that opportunity over to the JVP, TNA parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran said.
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India’s Stand on Death Penalty and Torture is a Self-goal in Fighting Terror
Published Date: 04/09/2015 (Friday)
The Law Commission’s recent report recommending the abolition of the death penalty except for cases related to terror and ‘waging war’ ignores a critical fact – that to fight terror, it might be more practical to do away with the death penalty. The Law Commission was responding to a Supreme Court suggestion in the case of Santosh Kumar Satishbhushan Bariyar vs Maharashtra and Shankar Kisanrao Khade vs Maharashtra, that it revisit the issue of death penalty in India to “allow for an up-to-date and informed discussion and debate on the subject.”
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Syrian Children … The Drowned Dream Syrian Children’s Death Toll during 2015
Published Date: 04/09/2015 (Friday)
Syrian Network for Human Rights has documented the killing of 2236 children by the main conflict parties in Syria since 1 January 2015 and up till 31 August 2015.
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Vantharumoolai Refugee Camp Disappearances: 20 years of waiting
Published Date: 03/09/2015 (Thursday)
Many may not know that, when 5th September 2015 dawns, it will be 25 years of waiting for 158 families, who ‘lost’ a member or two on that day of 5th September 1990 from the VANTHARUMOOLAI REFUGEE CAMP at EASTERN UNIVERSITY. They did not go missing as usual, where no one knew where they went. In this case these 158 were ‘handed over’/ ‘taken over’ by the Sri Lankan Military in front of a population of nearly 40,000 people. They were forced into buses and were driven away in the direction of Valaichenai. This was the last time anyone saw any of them, to date.
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Culture of excessive number of ministers must end - TNA Leader Sampanthan
Published Date: 03/09/2015 (Thursday)
Sri Lanka’s new Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan today said that while a national government in the present context in the country may be a national need, it would have been better if the two parties would have been able to come together without an increase in the number of ministries. The Speaker Karu Jayasuriya today recognized the TNA Parliamentary Group Leader as the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament.
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Experience of Dr Nagalingam Ethirveerasingam from North of Sri Lanka
Published Date: 03/09/2015 (Thursday)
I just returned from the North after 8 months. The miitarization of the North is pervasive. The Navy occupies the Islands' coastal areas appropriating many water front areas and controlling the sea. Poonakary is filled with army and Navy. From Poonakary to Mannar road, which I have traveled back and fourth five times, every three or four miles are fortified entrance to the inside in to the forest and in some places to the coast. The A9 and the side roads to east and west and the Jaffna coastal areas and Mannar coastal areas are filled with all three armed forces.
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The inevitability of the banana republic
Published Date: 01/09/2015 (Tuesday)
Sri Lanka has been a ‘banana republic,’ for quite some time, and clearly so throughout the oligarchy of the Rajapaksas. Formally, a banana republic is “a small country that is economically dependent on a single export commodity, such as bananas, and is typically governed by a dictator or the armed forces.”). But in our case, the fate of the citizenry is far worse than in most other banana republics. In Sri Lanka, all wisdom, action, dreams, hallucinations and the making of unmitigated profit came from the first family and then from its acolytes. They were essentially the centre of our universe as well as the structure that kept this universe in place in a very specific way
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TNA Appoints Postholders
Published Date: 01/09/2015 (Tuesday)
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentary Group convened its first meeting after the general elections and elected Hon. R. Sampanthan as the TNA’s Parliamentary Group Leader. It was also decided that Hon. Sampanthan should be appointed as the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament. On this basis, TNA MP Hon. Selvam Adaikalanathan accepted appointment to the post of Deputy Chairman of Committee. The following appointments were also made at the meeting:
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Sri Lankan ex-president's vanity airport may end up as paddy store!
Published Date: 31/08/2015 (Monday)
Sri Lanka's second international airport, a pet project of former President Mahinda Rajapakse in his hometown built at a cost of USD 210 million with Chinese funds, could be used as a temporary paddy storage facility, according to government sources. The Mattala Mahinda Rajapakse International Airport, built at the southern port district of Hambantota was commissioned in 2013.Ex-president Rajapakse envisioned a commerce and tourism hub with a strategically located port, a 35,000-seat cricket stadium, a 300-acre botanical garden, a state-of-the-art convention center, five-star hotels and smooth four-lane highways connecting them all. The port, stadium and airport bear his name.
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The Second edition of “Tamils of Sri Lanka: The Quest for Human Dignity”, is now available
Published Date: 31/08/2015 (Monday)
The second edition of the research monograph “Tamils of Sri Lanka: The Quest for Human Dignity” , is now available at the Tamil Information Centre. The monograph was first published in September 2001 and the revised edition was released in March 2006. The Tamil Information Centre (TIC) has recorded events in Sri Lanka, particularly relating to human rights violations by the Sri Lankan State against the Tamil speaking peoples since the early 1980s.
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Parties reach consensus that only an international investigation mechanism can deliver justice
Published Date: 31/08/2015 (Monday)
Leaders representing three constituents of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) on Sunday rejected the stand of the U.S., which favoured a domestic investigation mechanism on alleged crimes during the final stages of the Eelam War. The leaders of Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO), Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) and the People’s Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE), who met for four hours in Colombo, felt that justice would be possible only through an international probe.
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Sri Lanka Parliamentary Elections: NPC Chief Minister’s Saga
Published Date: 30/08/2015 (Sunday)
Assistant Secretary Nisha Biswal had apparently ticked him (CM) off for trying to be a hero to the disgruntle splinter and ineffective groups in the Diaspora and to the hard-line leftovers in his own Province. Hardly having delivered anything tangible to the people of North, in one meeting in the US, his foreign Diary Secretary was politely asked to shut up to let the CM speak. Diary Secretary was in for even worse treatment at the most important meeting of all, in New York, where he was refused entry to a meeting which resulted in a tantrum being thrown by him in front of those senior UN hosts. They said nothing doing, which the CM had to accept.
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TNA urges the government to honour their commitment
Published Date: 29/08/2015 (Saturday)
In a press statement released by TNA today reads as follow: At the General Election held on the 17th of August 2015, the United National Party (UNP) emerged as the party with the largest number of seats in Parliament. The United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) obtained the second largest number of seats. It has been announced that a National Government has been formed and that Members of Parliament who contested and were elected under both the UNP and the UPFA have accepted cabinet portfolios. Accordingly, both the UNP and the UPFA bear collective cabinet responsibility. As political parties in Parliament, they thus must publicly support all Governmental decisions made in Cabinet.
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Omantahi check point removed
Published Date: 29/08/2015 (Saturday)
Military Spokesperson Bridger Ruwan Wannigasooriya announced that security forces have taken steps to remove the security check point located at Omanthai in Vavuniya with effect from today, Saturday, August 29. He said, “check point is now fully operational and vehicles entering via A9 highway to the Jaffna Peninsula and the vehicles leaving the Peninsula are now being subjected to checking at the Omanthai checkpoint. The public has now been given the opportunity to travel on the said route without any intervention”.
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Opposing the Rule of Law
Published Date: 28/08/2015 (Friday)
How Myanmar’s Courts make law and order written by Nick Cheesman has been release today. The rule of law is a political ideal today endorsed and promoted worldwide. Or is it? In a major contribution to the field, Nick Cheesman argues that Myanmar is a country in which the rule of law is 'lexically present but semantically absent'. Charting ideas and practices from British colonial rule through military dictatorship to the present day, Cheesman calls upon political and legal theory to explain how and why institutions animated bya concern for law and order oppose the rule of law. Empirically grounded in both Burmese and English sources, including criminal trial records and wide ranging official documents, Opposing the Rule of Law offer the first significant study of courts in contemporary Myanmar sheds new light on the politics of courts during dark times and sharply illuminates the tension between the demand for law and the imperatives of order.
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“TNA will Accept Domestic Investigation if it has International Participation”- M. A. Sumanthiran
Published Date: 28/08/2015 (Friday)
The US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Nisha Biswal, has said that the US will be moving a resolution on human rights and war crimes in Sri Lanka at the September session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). But the resolution will be drafted in collaboration with the Lankan government, key stakeholders within and outside Lanka, and the international “core group” on Lanka, she added. Briefing select media here on Wednesday at the end of a two day visit, Biswal said that the US-led “collaborative” resolution will “reflect” on the way forward for Lanka in its bid to address human rights and governance issues.
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THE LAST KING OF LANKA - A stunning story by a 22 year old Sri Lankan Girl
Published Date: 28/08/2015 (Friday)
I first met President Rajapaksa when I was 11 years old. I had won a national short story competition and the Ministry of Cultural Affairs had taken me and several other winners to Temple Trees to see the President. He was a rare and skilled politician. He knew the game and he played it very well. He had a clever way of making people feel comfortable around him. He patted our heads spoke to us for a long time; asked us about school and home. We were infatuated. He had us hooked. The other kids and I would go home and tell our friends and family what a great man he was.
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