The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) is deeply concerned by the Government of Sri Lanka’s (GOSL) dilution of the primary mandate of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons (COI). These concerns arise from the Gazette No.187/18, issued on 15th July 2014 expanding the mandate of the COI, of which the sole purpose was to investigate and inquire into disappearances in the Northern and Eastern Provinces during the period 1st January 1983 to 19th May 2009. CPA has from the inception of the present COI, attended and monitored its public sittings, engaged to ensure grievances of affected communities are given due attention and advocated for structural, administrative and policy changes to advance the long term goals of truth, justice and accountability. CPA fears for the integrity of the COI, in particular, that its primary task of investigating and inquiring into the thousands of missing persons in Sri Lanka will be severely curtailed by the present gazette. CPA therefore urges the authorities to take immediate steps to protect the integrity of the COI by revising the present gazette and introducing much needed structural and policy reform.
The Advisory Council of three to the Commission on Disappearances, in international political terms, takes on the role of the only show in town for the regime in response to its international critics. It could go the IIGEP way and the arguments over war crimes will continue; the issue of disappearances though, “disappeared” in the resulting doubt and din, sound and fury.
In August 2010 a ship called the MV Sun Sea reached Canada carrying nearly 500 Sri Lankan Tamils – a journey organised by people smugglers. After having spent 52 days out on sea, hidden deep in the belly of the cargo vessel, the Tamils had finally reached their destination.
It wasn’t the first ship with Tamil asylum seekers to have arrived into Canadian waters. Ten months earlier, the MV Ocean Lady, had brought 76 Tamil passengers. All of them said they were fleeing their homeland at the end of Sri Lanka’s brutal civil war after the defeat of the Tamil Tigers (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or LTTE) by government forces.”
On People & Power we follow the arrival of two boats with Tamil refugees in Canada and asks whether the tough application of Canada’s immigration laws, resulting in many potential deportations, is justified.”
Cousin of President Rajapaksa – Jaliya Wickramasuriya, Sri Lanka’s former Ambassador to USA has been gravely cautioned over the financial misconduct allegations against him and has been ordered to pay back over Rs. 45 million that he had swindled through financial misappropriations.
“Chandra Dharma Sena Gooneratne, a graduate student at the University of Chicago in the 1920s, is a fascinating if also mysterious figure in SAADA’s archive. As a student in Hyde Park, he served as the captain of the Varsity Polo Club and was a member of the ROTC, all the while completing an M.A. and Ph.D.1 One source described him as an Indian from an “old high-caste family with several landed estates,”2 while another describes his time serving with British Forces in World War I in Mesopotamia, Persia, and Flanders.3 While in the U.S., he lectured on the Chautauqua circuit, which took him across different towns around the Midwest in the late 1920s and the early 1930s. The topics of his lectures ranged from figures like Tagore and Gandhi to the cause for Indian independence and the need to abolish the caste system. Reporters covered not only the content of his lectures, but spent a great deal of print on the exotic impression he left on his audience.”
A Sri Lankan ruling party politician and three accomplices have been sentenced to 20 years in jail for murdering a British holidaymaker on Christmas Eve and raping his Russian partner in the southern resort of Tangalle in 2011.
Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, executive director of Sri Lanka’s Centre for Policy Alternatives, believed the group, which he described as a purveyor of “classic hate speech,” had become emboldened by the lack of censure over the events at Aluthgama.
“Their more violent or aggressive demonstrations of power, involving even criminal acts, have gone unpunished,” he told CNN. “They seem to have a lot of support, if not protection, from within the regime itself.”
Sri Lanka is urging the U.S. to avoid letting human rights concerns dominate the relationship between the countries five years after the end of a civil war that killed as many as 40,000 civilians.
Five years after Sri Lanka’s war with the Tamil Tigers ended, the group’s former members say that cultural insensitivity from the government is still an issue.
The head of Sri Lanka’s bar association said on Wednesday he feared he might be killed after he described President Mahinda Rajapakse’s government as becoming more autocratic.
Sri Lanka’s Muslim minority could become radicalised and turn to foreign Islamic groups for support because of violent attacks on them by Buddhist hardliners, the island nation’s main Muslim leader and justice minister said on Friday.
The U.S. Congressional Caucus on Ethnic and Religious Freedom in Sri Lanka held a hearing on July 9 in Washington, D.C. The caucus, created in 2013, is co-chaired by Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) and Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio). It remains to be seen how effective this newly created group will be but — given the recent developments in Sri Lanka — there is no question that there was plenty to discuss at the gathering.
“More than 150 asylum seekers are being held behind locked doors on a customs ship, in rooms without windows and with no idea where they are or where the Abbott government plans to take them.”
“VALIPUNAM, Sri Lanka, Jul 7 2014 (IPS) – The village of Valipunam, 322 km north of Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo, occupies one of the remotest corners of the country’s former war zone. The dirt roads are impossible to navigate, there are no street lights, telephone connections are patchy and the nearest police post is miles away, closer to the centre of the battle-scarred Mullaitivu district.”
After decades of protests, hundreds of Sri Lankan Tamil repatriates, a majority of whom live in colonies in Puttur and Sullia taluks, will be given caste certificates