Peace for the World

Peace for the World
First democratic leader of Justice the Godfather of the Sri Lankan Tamil Struggle: Honourable Samuel James Veluppillai Chelvanayakam

Sunday, April 30, 2017

“காணி­களை உரி­மை­யா­ளர்­க­ளுக்கு வழங்­க­வேண்­டி­யது அவ­சியம் முடி­யா­விடின் ஏற்­றுக்­கொள்­ளத்­தக்க நட்­ட­ஈடு வழங்­கப்­ப­ட­வேண்டும்“

 by Priyatharshan on 2017
பாதிக்­கப்­பட்ட மக்­களின் காணி­களின் உரிமை தொடர்­பான செயற்­பா­டுகள் அடை­யாளம் காணப்­பட வேண்டும். அதன் பின்னர் அந்தக்  காணிகள் உரி­மை­யா­ளர்­க­ளுக்கு வழங்­கப்­பட வேண்­டி­யது அவ­சியம். அவ்­வாறு காணி­களை மீள வழங்க முடி­யா­விடின்  காணி உரி­மை­யா­ளர்­க­ளுக்கு நட்­ட­ஈடு வழங்­கப்­பட வேண்டும். இதுவே ஐக்­கிய நாடுகள் சபையின் நிலைப்­பா­டாகும்  என்று   ஐக்­கிய நாடுகள் சபையின் இலங்­கைக்­கான வதி­விடப் பிர­தி­நிதி உனா­மெக்­குலே தெரி­வித்தார். 
நல்­லி­ணக்க செயற்­பா­டு­களை அடை­யாளம் காணும் விட­யத்தில் இலங்கை அர­சாங்­கத்­துடன் ஐக்­கிய நாடுகள் சபை செயற்­பட்டு வரு­கி­றது. அந்­த­வ­கையில் நல்­லி­ணக்க செயற்­பா­டு­களில் காணி­களை விடு­விக்கும் கார­ணி­யா­னது மிகவும் முக்­கி­ய­மான ஒன்­றாகும். அதா­வது சமூ­கங்­க­ளுக்கு மத்­தியில் நம்­பிக்­கையை கட்­டி­யெ­ழுப்­பு­வதில் இந்தக் காரணி  முக்­கிய பங்­காற்றும்   என்றும்  ஐ.நா. வின்  இலங்­கைக்­கான வதி­விடப் பிர­தி­நிதி உனா­மெக்­குலே சுட்­டிக்­காட்­டினார்.  
வடக்கு மாகா­ணத்தில் காணி­களை இழந்த மக்கள் அவற்றை மீள பெற்றுக் கொடுக்­கு­மாறு வலி­யு­றுத்தி தொடர் போராட்­டங்­களை நடத்தி வரு­கின்­றமை தொடர்பில் ஐக்­கிய நாடு­களின் இலங்­கைக்­கான வதி­விடப் பிர­தி­நிதி உனா­மெக்­கு­லே­யிடம் பிரத்­தி­யே­க­மாக கேசரி வின­வி­ய­போதே அவர் மேற்­கண்­ட­வாறு குறிப்­பிட்டார்.
ஐ.நா.வின் வதி­விடப் பிர­தி­நிதி உனா­மெக்­குலே இந்த விடயம் தொடர்பில் மேலும் குறிப்­பி­டு­கையில், 
எந்­த­வொரு சமூ­கத்­திலும் ஆர்ப்­பாட்டம் நடத்­து­வ­தற்­கான உரிமை உறு­திப்­ப­டுத்­தப்­பட வேண்டும் என்­பதே எனது கருத்­தாகும். இலங்­கையைப் பொறுத்­த­வ­ரையில் காணிப் பிரச்­சி­னை­யா­னது ஒரு பாரிய விவ­கா­ர­மாக காணப்­ப­டு­கி­றது. இது நீண்­ட­காலப் பிரச்­சி­னை­யாக இருக்­கின்­றது. காணி­களின் உண்­மை­யான உரி­மை­யா­ளர்கள் அவை எப்­போது தமக்கு கிடைக்கும் என்­பதை தெரிந்து கொள்­வ­தற்­கான உரி­மையை கொண்­டுள்­ளனர். 
இந்த காணி விவ­காரம் தொடர்பில் கலந்­து­ரை­யா­டல்கள் இடம்­பெ­று­வ­தாக நாங்கள் நினைக்­கின்றோம். இந்த வாரம்­கூட ஒரு கலந்­து­ரை­யாடல் இடம்­பெற்­ற­தாக அறிந்தோம். அந்த கலந்­து­ரை­யா­டல்­களின் முடி­வுகள் அல்­லது விளை­வுகள் என்­ன­வென்­பதை அறிந்து கொள்ள நாங்கள் ஆவ­லாக இருக்­கின்றோம். 
கேள்வி பொது மக்­களின் காணி­களை விடு­விக்­கு­மாறு ஐக்­கிய நாடுகள் சபை அர­சாங்­கத்­திற்கு அழுத்தம் பிர­யோ­கிக்­குமா?
பதில் ஐக்­கிய நாடுகள் சபை இலங்கை  அர­சாங்­கத்­துடன் பணி­யாற்றி வரு­கி­றது. அதா­வது நல்­லி­ணக்க செயற்­பா­டு­களை அடை­யாளம் காணும் விட­யத்தில் இலங்கை அர­சாங்­கத்­துடன் ஐக்­கிய நாடுகள் சபை செயற்­பட்டு வரு­கி­றது. நல்­லி­ணக்க செயற்­பா­டு­களில் காணி­களை விடு­விக்கும் கார­ணி­யா­னது மிகவும் முக்­கி­ய­மான ஒன்­றாகும். அதா­வது சமூ­கங்­க­ளுக்கு மத்­தியில் நம்­பிக்­கையை கட்­டி­யெ­ழுப்­பு­வதில் இது முக்­கிய பங்­காற்றும் கார­ணி­யாகும்.
காணிகள் விடு­விக்­கப்­பட்­டதும் நாங்கள் உள்­ளூ­ராட்சி மன்­றங்­க­ளுடன் இணைந்து செயற்­பட்டு மக்­க­ளுக்­கான தேவை­களை பூர்த்தி செய்ய நட­வ­டிக்கை எடுப்போம். அந்த மக்­களின் வாழ்க்­கையை இயல்பு நிலைக்கு கொண்­டு­வ­ரு­வ­தற்­காக அர­சாங்­கத்­துடன் இணைந்து செயற்­ப­டுவோம். காணி­களின் உரிமை தொடர்­பான செயற்­பா­டுகள் அடை­யாளம் காணப்­பட வேண்டும். அதன் பின்னர் காணிகள் உரி­மை­யா­ளர்­க­ளுக்கு வழங்­கப்­பட வேண்­டி­யது அவ­சியம். அல்­லது காணி உரி­மை­யா­ளர்­க­ளுக்கு நட்­ட­ஈடு வழங்­கப்­பட வேண்டும். 
கேள்வி ஆனால் போராட்டம் நடத்தும் பாதிக்­கப்­பட்ட   மக்கள் தங்­க­ளுக்கு நட்­ட­ஈடு வேண்டாம் என்றும் தமது காணி­களே வழங்­கப்­பட வேண்டும் என்றும் கூறி வருகின்றனர். இதனை ஐக்கிய நாடுகள் சபை எவ்வாறு பார்க்கிறது? 
பதில் மக்களின் பக்கம் இருந்து பார்க்கும்போது அந்த தர்க்கத்தில் நியாயம் இருப்பதை நாங்கள்  ஏற்றுக் கொள்கிறோம். அதில் ஒரு பொருள் உள்ளது. ஆனால் உலகில் எந்த அரசாங்கமாக இருந்தாலும் காணிகள் அரச தேவைக்காக பெறப்பட்டால் அவற்றுக்கு நட்டஈடு வழங்கலாம் என்பதும்  பெறுமதியானதொரு தர்க்கமாகும் என்றார். 

Sri Lanka’s Crumbling Credibility


Colombo Telegraph
By Kumarathasan Rasingam –April 29, 2017
Kumarathasan Rasingam
The credibility of Sri Lanka in relation to the settlement of the 60 year old ethnic problem of Tamils can be judged from the fate of several pacts, agreements and undertakings which were made from 1956 to 2009 and the Sri Lankan Governments unwillingness to comply with the implementation of its own undertakings:- LLRC [Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission] recommendations: The August 1 2015 UNHRC Resolution 30/1 and its delaying tactics in implementing the recent similar Resolution in March 2017.
This article tries to detail the failing credibility of Sri Lanka since then particularly after the Human Rights Resolution on October 1st 2015. This was a resolution adopted with the blessings of United Nations Human Rights Council and sponsored by USA with Sri Lanka being a co-sponsor. By co-sponsoring the resolution Sri Lanka unequivocally and fully committed itself to implement all the recommendations mentioned in the Resolution. Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe defended the Resolution and even vigorously justified the “establishment of a Sri Lankan Judicial Mechanism including the Special Counsel’s Office of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers and authorised prosecutors and investigators.”
These recommendations can be described as the corner stone of this resolution aimed to fulfill the targeted commitments of “accountability, justice and reconciliation”. Earlier Sri Lanka successfully killed the proposal mooted by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights who recommended a “Hybrid court integrating foreign judges etc” and get the international mechanism with foreign jurist’s participation.
Having fully committed to implement this Resolution Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and President Sirisena defended all the recommendations and PM Ranil even stated that there have been instances where foreign lawyers have participated and contributed their skills and knowledge in the legal proceedings in Sri Lanka like the appearance of Mr. Quass, QC in the former Prime Minister Bandaranaike assassination case in 1960. There were instances when eminent Sri Lankan lawyers have served as judges in foreign countries particularly in Africa. It is to be stated that the Sri Lankan constitution does not in any of its section prohibit the participation of any foreign judges. What is not prohibited can be allowed provided the modalities of appointments are followed involving the President and/or Judicial Service Commission as required.
It is relevant to quote the confusing and conflicting statements made by Government Ministers including the Prime Minister and the President in relation to the judicial mechanism and investigation.
On January 11th 2015: Rajitha Senevaratne – The Government Spokesperson stated: “That Sri Lanka’s new Government will not hand over anyone to an international inquiry investigating allegation of war crimes”.
On February rd3, 2015: Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera- In an interview to ‘Swarajya’ said “We hope to have technical assistance from United Nations even perhaps judges from Commonwealth”.
On June 7th 2015: Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe – Vowed to set up a credible domestic mechanism.
On August 24th 2015: Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe – In an interview with Hindu stated that “There is no legal basis for international investigation within Sri Lanka adding that any accountability mechanism has to be domestic in nature.”
On January 29th 2016: President Sirisena – In an interview with Al-Jazeera stated that “We definitely do not need outsiders. He also insisted that Sri Lanka was not being investigated for war crimes, but rather allegations of human rights”.
On January 31st: Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said: If we are to permit foreign judges to sit in judgement then our constitution has to be amended with the consent of the people at a referendum” [News Radio US]
On February 20th 2016: Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe – While in India at Guruvayur stated that “We may not have the full expertise to identify the exact factors that led to the casualties, so international participation is welcome for determining such cases”.
On February 2016: foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera – In an event at US Institute of Peace in Washington said that “The previous statements of the Prime Minister Ranil and the President Sirisena was their opinion and the final decision would be taken after wide consultation with all stake holders”
On July 8th 2016: President Sirisena – Stated that “As long as I am the President; I will not allow foreigners or organizations to interfere in the internal affairs”. [Ceylon News]
On July 15th 2016: General Sarath Fonseka – said that “Government had agreed to allow foreign monitors and obtain international technical assistance and the government was not in favour of including foreign judges”. [Daily Mirror]
On January 6th 2017: Minister of Justice – said that “He had no confidence in the Consultation Task Force [CTF] which called for a judicial mechanism with foreign involvement”. [Daily Mirror]
On January 7th 2017: State Minister Laxman Yapa – said “Only logistical and technical assistance would be obtained.” [Daily Mirror]
President Sirisena commenting on Consultation Task Force [CTF] expressed his disapproval of most of its recommendations including hybrid court and independent investigations into war Crimes.

Sri Lanka makes a mockery of the UN Human Rights Council

The session was important for Sri Lanka's coalition government, led by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. (AP Photo/Tran Van Minh)
The session was important for Sri Lanka's coalition government, led by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. (AP Photo/Tran Van Minh)
by  | 

The UN Human Rights Council's 34th session ended on March 24. Ostensibly, the session was an important moment for Sri Lanka's coalition government, which is led by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Sri Lanka's compliance with a previously passed Council resolution (designed to promote human rights and transitional justice) came under review.

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera addressed the body on Feb. 28 and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, provided a critical assessment of the government's performance during the session. On March 23, as expected, another cosponsored resolution was passed on Sri Lanka.

But here's the bottom line: The passage of another resolution on Sri Lanka, the fifth since 2012, should be viewed as a stark reminder – of both the limits of international influence via the Council and that now would be an opportune time for international actors to consider other methods of engagement with the Sri Lankan government.

Colombo's wide-ranging reform agenda has been stagnating for some time. Nowhere is this truer than when it comes to transitional justice, and building a lasting peace in a country that went through a brutal civil war – fought between Sri Lankan military forces and the separatist Tamil Tigers – from 1983 to 2009.

In a major upset, Sirisena defeated Mahinda Rajapaksa in a January 2015 election. Rajapaksa is still venerated by many ethnic Sinhalese, the majority community, for winning the war. Nonetheless, he put the country on an increasingly authoritarian, corrupt and nepotistic course, which led to his electoral demise.

With the resolution it cosponsored in October 2015, Colombo committed to an expansive transitional justice agenda, including four important mechanisms: a truth commission, a judicial mechanism to deal with alleged wartime abuses and offices to handle both disappearances and reparations. Yet none of those mechanisms are operational. Besides, there are plenty of other moves the government could have already made to prove its sincerity about transitional justice.

Sustained militarization – the military is almost exclusively Sinhalese – throughout the Tamil-dominated northern and eastern provinces remains a major issue. Relatedly, the military's continued occupation of civilian land is a big problem too. Security sector reform is an important matter that's being ignored. Based on my recent exchange with a Colombo-based human rights lawyer, fifty to seventy Tamil political prisoners are still being held in various detention centers throughout the country.

 The government should immediately release all of these individuals or at least bring them to trial.
More generally, Colombo has taken an intransigent approach towards international involvement in the transitional justice process, although a degree of international participation is essential to ensure that the process is credible. Furthermore, the country's political leadership, including the president and the prime minister, are still not making an articulate case for these reforms.

Transitional justice is in deep trouble and additional scrutiny via the Geneva-based body is unlikely to change that very much. From 2012 to 2014, Rajapaksa categorically rejected three resolutions on Sri Lanka. The Sirisena administration has spent nearly two years basically ignoring a resolution it had cosponsored. For better or worse, the U.S. played an important role in the passage of all five resolutions.

Sri Lanka is making a mockery of the Council. If international actors actually want to keep the pressure on the island nation, they should consider moving beyond nonbinding human-rights resolutions – perhaps by reexamining engagement (diplomatic, military, even economic) at the bilateral level – an admittedly unlikely scenario at present.

For the victims of Sri Lanka's war, particularly those residing in the country's war-torn north and east, Sirisena's ascendance has not resulted in dramatic changes to daily life. And, for the duration of his tenure, that's probably not going to change. These are inconvenient realities for many, not least because foreign money for transitional justice projects keeps pouring into the country.

Taylor Dibbert, a writer based in the Washington, D.C. area, is affiliated with the Pacific Forum at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The views expressed here are his own. Follow him on Twitter: @taylordibbert.

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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Sri Lankan Tamil, Muslim political parties protest against the military

Sri Lanka’s Tamil and Muslim political parties are demanding release of land occupied by the military, justice to the missing and jobs for those affected by the civil war
Sri Lanka’s civil war (1983-2009), between the state and the LTTE, created thousands of refugees and led to some 65,000 disappearances. Photo: David Gray/AFP
Sri Lanka’s civil war (1983-2009), between the state and the LTTE, created thousands of refugees and led to some 65,000 disappearances. Photo: David Gray/AFP

Thu, Apr 27 2017.

Colombo: All the major towns in Sri Lanka’s war-ravaged northern and eastern provinces on Thursday observed a shutdown after the Tamil and Muslim political parties held a protest demanding the release of military-occupied land. Offices, businesses, schools and public transport came to a halt after the two provinces observed a shutdown.

“We hope the government would respond after looking at this protest action. All Tamil and Muslim political parties in these areas are observing the protest,” M.K. Shivajilingam, a hardline Tamil provincial councillor from the Tamil-dominated northern province, said. In some Muslim-dominated areas in the eastern province, life remained normal with all services operating. The Tamil and Muslim people in the northeast are demanding the government to release the lands that are still occupied by the military, justice to the disappeared persons and provide employment to the war-battered.

“People have been protesting now for over two months yet the government has failed to address the issue,” Shivajilingam said. Some of the lands held over three decades have been released since 2015. But Tamils complain of slow progress. Commenting on the protest, government spokesman and minister of health Rajitha Senaratne said the relatives of the disappeared people in some cases had provided photographic evidence that they had been seen under government care since the end of the conflict in 2009. “We will investigate such cases but we are unable to issue death certificates in respect of the disappeared as we have no proof,” Senaratne said.


In August last year, Sri Lanka’s parliament has unanimously approved a bill to set up an office to help find some 65,000 people reported missing during the country’s civil war with the LTTE (1983-2009), and clarify the circumstances under which they disappeared. Relatives of the missing people had alleged that the Lankan state—particularly its army, navy and police—were behind most of the disappearances. Many Lankan soldiers and LTTE cadres who had surrendered before the government troops were also among the missing.

'Where else should I die but here?'

Today marks the twelfth anniversary since the abduction and murder of Tamil journalist Dharmeratnam Sivaram.
.Home29Apr 2017
Sivaram, popularly known under his nom-de-plume Taraki, was abducted in front of Bambalipitiya police station in Colombo on April 28 and was found dead several hours later in a high security zone in Sri Lanka's capital, which at the time had a heavy police and military presence due to the ongoing conflict. His killers, highly suspected to be linked to the government of then-president Chandrika Kumaratunga, were never caught.
Tamil journalists terrorised
2005 not only saw the murder of Sivaram, but also of two other Tamil media workers, Mr S Suhirtharajan, Trincomalee correspondent for Sudar Oli, a Tamil daily and Ms Relanki Selvarajah, Tamil broadcaster.
The anniversary of his death became a macabre display of impunity, with government-linked hit men using the day to terrorise Tamil journalists, murdering more media personnel around the same day over the next two years.
Two Uthayan staffers were killed a few days after the paper marked Sivaram's death anniversary in 2006. On 29 April 2007, the Uthayan's Selvarajah Rajivarman, 25, was shot and killed by a lone gunman riding a motorbike in Jaffna.
None of the killers were ever caught.
'Shameful crime'
Sivaram was the editor of TamilNet and contributed to a number of other publications throughout his career, including the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Times, the Island and the Virakesari, and was also closely involved with the Tamil Guardian and the development of its staff.
His views and analysis on the Tamil national struggle and military strategy were in regular demand from the diplomatic community and NGOs, and his death was widely condemned, including by the LTTE, Reporters Sans Frontiers and the Committee to Protect Journalists. Several Sinhala journalists, many of whom had worked with Sivaram also paid tribute to his work. UNESCO's director general called the murder a "shameful crime", in a statement marking World Press Freedom Day.
Fearless
Sivaram faced threats to his life throughout his career, but when urged by friends to leave the island, he often said "Where else should I die but here?".
The Uthayan in an editorial marking his death said he "lived in the Sinhala chauvinists’ den and fearlessly exposed to the world the Sri Lankan state’s false propaganda and repression of the Tamil people."
“Sivaram didn’t raise his voice for Tamil nationalism while living in the safety of a foreign country or away from government controlled areas of this island. His pen started to undermine the Sinhala chauvinists’ ambitions just as the armed fighters did on the battlefield. That is why government terror was unleashed upon him," the Uthayan said.
The LTTE conferred the "Maamanithar" title upon the journalist, the highest civilian honour of the movement.
"Tamil people have lost today a highly principled man who deeply loved them and the Tamil Nation. A voice that echoed the freedom of the Tamil people and their homeland, Tamil Eelam had been silenced today. An eminent Tamil journalist had fallen victim to the enemy’s act of cowardice," LTTE leader V Prabhakaran said in a statement at the time.
Below is an excerpt from a speech delivered by former Tamil Guardian editor Vino Kanapathipillai in London in 2010, at an event marking the fifth anniversary of the death of Sivaram.
"The Tamil Guardian has had a relation with Sivaram almost since it began. He was instructor and mentor to the longer-serving volunteers on the paper. He taught us not only how to write, but how to think through the complexities of politics; to go beyond a surface analysis of a problem and explore the underlying structural movements. For this we are grateful.
"As long as the oppression of Tamils continues, so too must the struggle for Tamil rights. Most of us knew Sivaram through our engagement in this struggle. I think it behoves us all to continue to remain committed, in whatever field we are in, to continue his resistance."
Dharmeratnam 'Taraki' Sivaram
11 August 1959 - 28 April 2005

10 years on the situation for Tamil journalists in the North-East is yet to see much change.
See also:

Skullduggery, secrecy and the counter-terror draft act

PTA CTA Cartoon

The Sunday Times Sri LankaSunday, April 30, 2017

In the chaotic merry-go-round characterizing the drafting of Sri Lanka's proposed Counter-Terror Act (CTA), the periodic surfacing of one version followed by another has given rise to unexpected horrors. Every time that a new draft emerges or must I say, is 'extracted' with great pain out of a process gripped by skullduggery and secrecy, its devious drafters conceive new and ingenious ways to confound scrutiny.

Legal clauses to mask and deceive

Even as one objection is taken to categorically dangerous definitions of proposed offenses, these are whipped away, soothing the unwary. Yet later, they emerge, clothed in chameleon colors to mask and deceive. Nothing proves this point better than the CTA draft that went before the Cabinet of Ministers this week. This includes hasty revisions made on the cusp of a suddenly suspenseful vote in the European Parliament seeking a rejection of the EU GSP Plus facility which was defeated.

Ostensibly, its contents were supposed to have improved. Yet what we see is not reassuring. The draft reeks of bad faith and is an extraordinarily contradictory. Indeed and outrageously so, it contradicts explanations for drafting positions taken by the drafters themselves.  

Two glaring examples will suffice for the moment. The initial CTA version leaked to this newspaper last year had included the offense of espionage. Following public concern, this was removed in a later version. As formally recorded, the reason given for this removal was because this offense would more properly belong to a separate National Intelligence Act.

But now, in the face of that very explanation, various offenses under espionage were sneakily restored to the latest draft while omitting the sub-heading 'espionage.' Thus, the offensive of 'abetment' is defined to include 'gathering confidential information' if linked to 'terrorist' or terrorist related offenses. Treacherous consequences which may ensue are tied into the very broad definitions of terrorism related offenses. In addition, confidential information has been vaguely defined inter alia as information that may adversely affect public safety.

Scant protections in a dysfunctional system

Risks inherent in which they are not mitigated by 'good faith' with 'due diligence' and 'for the benefit of the public in the print and electronic media or in any academic publication.' It is interesting that this protection is only for 'registered' media. Meanwhile a notable omission in those given protection is online media which should sound warning signals for cyber advocates.

In any event, the terms such as 'good faith' and 'due diligence' provide scant protection in a dysfunctional judicial and prosecutorial process. Provisions that are perfectly reasonable in the functional Rule of Law systems assume sinister meaning connotations here because of that reality. This is not an abstract point as far less hazardous Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) was wielded against journalists and critics for decades.
Bitter animosity against the Rajapaksa regime was manifest in that regard. Why are we beckoning to laws that may provide greater opportunities for political repression? This is a baffling question.

Reinventing previous 'vague' terms

In another equally furtive move, the term 'unity' in relation to the definition of 'terrorist' and terrorism related offense 'has been brought back. Earlier, this was removed after persistent criticism. As the drafters themselves admitted, the term was vague. Classifying a terrorist related offence If one writes or talks in a manner that may offend 'unity' (subjective in its very essence) is the perilous to say the least.

But wondrously, this week's CTA restores 'unity' as a component of 'Offenses of Terrorism' and other related offenses. Culpability arises when acts are known or reasonably believed to adversely affect the 'unity, territorial integrity, sovereignty, national security or defense of Sri Lanka.' The related offenses are repetitive and vaguely defined. They include 'specified terrorist offenses', 'aggravated criminal offenses associated with terrorism', 'offenses associated with terrorism' as well as 'terrorism related offenses' and 'abetting terrorism and terrorist organizations.'

Thus, speaking or writing that 'causes harm to the' unity, territorial integrity or sovereignty of Sri Lanka, 'amounts to abetting terrorism and terrorists. That this proposed offense is not to affect the exercise of a 'fundamental right' in 'good faith' is a sop thrown to the needy. Its efficacy depends on a vigorous Supreme Court conscious of its constitutional role and a vigilant civil society. With some exceptions, one can not profess a great deal of confidence in either.

Where is this famed 'accountability'?

Meanwhile police powers in compelling bank statements, calling for information from service providers and senior public officials etc without applying for a magisterial warrant can now be met with with rejection to comply. Further action is only through activation of the legal process which is some relief at least. However, a suspect's right to immediate access continue to be held by qualifications rendering it meaningless. Here too, the revised amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure Act appears to be right after but then craftily denies it later.

In sum, the contents of that amendment and the revised CTA draft appear to be an uncomfortable exercise in 'lies and deception.' Indeed, it is an insult to assume that masking language and offenses will not result in the pretence being exposed. As repeated ad nauseam in these column spaces, both these amendments must have been publicized by the Government of Sri Lanka and extensively subjected to detailed independent scrutiny. But the converse takes place.

In the minimum, the CTA draft has not yet been sent to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL). This is despite the fact that the mandate of the HRCSL (Section 10 (c) and (d) of Act, No 21 of 1996), is to advise and assist the government in 'formulating legislation ... in furtherance of the promotion and protection Of fundamental rights' and to recommend on compliance with international human rights norms and standards. The contempt thus shown for a prescribed statutory process is nothing short of scandalous.

Menacing eventualities before us  

Once the document is in the Bill of Parliament, there is only limited time for challenge if needs be in Court. This absurd and counterproductive scramble in forcing through laws is deplorable. Whatever revisions that may take place at the committee stage to this bill is also out of our hands.

Certainly these are menacing and high risk for a law that can be used to crucify Sri Lankan citizens by present or potential as may be.
SOC refuses to recommend regulations on tax concessions
2017-04-29
The Sectoral Oversight Committee (SOC) on Finance has refused to recommend the proposed regulations, under the Excise Special Provisions Act, granting tax concessions because they have been formulated with the intention of giving concessions to selected companies.
Chairman of the SOC on Finance, MP M.A. Sumanthiran who presented the committee report in Parliament yesterday highlighted the fact that concessions have been recommended to only 23 companies though there are hundreds of others who are eligible for tax concessions.
“Concessions have been recommended for companies owned by fathers and sons,” MP Sumanthiran said and added that the criteria applied on selecting the 23 companies were not clear. (Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana)

SRI LANKAN PRESIDENT CALLS ON FORMER ARMY COMMANDER TO “DISCIPLINE THE COUNTRY”

Sri Lanka BriefBy K. Ratnayake .-29/04/2017

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has called upon Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka to resign from the government’s ministry and return to the position of army commander. In a bid to “discipline the country,” Fonseka would be head of the country’s three armed forces for two years.

The Story Of Doing It In Our Own Language


Colombo Telegraph
By Mahesan Niranjan –April 29, 2017
Prof. Mahesan Niranjan
Yesterday, in the pub, my partner – the Sri Lankan Tamil fellow Sivapuranam Thevaram – and I discussed education. It is topical in Sri Lanka, because we hear a lot about senior appointments, killing dogs, private medical education, admissions and the cruel treatment of freshers. My friend has observed some of the good and bad in the system, and the comparisons he makes with institutions elsewhere make interesting topics of conversation. Today we drifted into the medium of instruction, educating in Sinhala and Tamil, known as Swabasha. Thevaram described to me his early encounters with this policy, from his childhood memories.
One evening, the Sivapuranam family were seated at their dining table for a candle-lit supper. “Candle-lit?” you ask. You are annoyed that the family suffered from a colonial subject mind-set, trying to keep up appearances. Pause, I beg you, electricity had not reached the northern village of Karainagar, so candles and kerosene lamps were the sources of light.
Yet the villagers – who had neither electricity nor running water – had a thirst for knowledge. Just the previous month, several had gathered round a radio, listened to the running commentary on short wave of the Apollo 11 Mission and cheered loudly when the moon-landing was announced. Sivapuranam, Thevaram’s father, had enlisted two guys to climb up coconut trees in the backyard and construct an antenna for the valve operated radio, powered by a car battery.
Their dinner conversation started with the classic middle-class Tamil mother’s daily question to the son: “Putha (son), what did you study at school today?”
“We studied about carbon-di-oxide, mummy,” Thevaram replied.
Now, Sivakami did not know any Chemistry. But, having attended the village posh school, she knew English. This was enough for her to grasp that there was something called carbon which is the stuff she burnt in the stove, something called oxygen, which was essential to keep the fuel burning and somehow you needed one of the former and two of the latter to make the substance of which her offspring had become knowledgeable. She was pleased, yet a little humbled because she herself had spent three years in Hilltop, studying Sanskrit.
“Of what use is that?” Thevaram often teased her of her Sanskrit education.
“That is what scholarship was all about,” she would reply. “The suddha went to the posh schools of Eaton and Winchester, followed by Oxford or Cambridge to read Latin. So we did the same. And why do we need the suddha’s dead language, when we have our own dead language?”
Suddha did, we did, and we did it in ours. But we were proud when we did it in ours!
Joining the conversation, Penelope, Thevaram’s grandmother, also wanted to know what it was the boy had studied. “Enna raasa (what darling)?” she inquired. Penelope loved her grandson dearly and was very proud of the little brat. She insisted the grandson was fair skinned, though no sensitive optical instrument could detect this. He was just the same as the village farmers who spent the whole day in the scorching sun.
She had in her mind a hierarchy that was black and white — a ranking maintained to this day the world over, including in the marriage advertisements of the Ceylon Daily Noise and the Virkesari.

Exclusive: Sri Lanka — New Instruments from Israel to boost Surveillance!

by Our Defence Correspondent-
( April 29, 2017, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The government of Sri Lanka which claimed for the practice of “Good Governance” has ordered the new shipment of ultra-technological tools produced by companies based in Israel to monitor, restore and analysis the data on any type of communications instruments (devices) used by anyone within the Sri Lankan territory. Most of those tools are well functioning since the beginning of this year.
According to well-informed sources, with these new tools, the authority will have the facility to read, store and share any type of email communication shared or stored by third parties through any Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the country.
“This, I believe, is a new era of surveillance on any person and major development of the deep state in Sri Lanka”, a reliable source told the Sri Lanka Guardian.
There are larger numbers of private as well as semi-government entities in Israeli produced larger scales of tools for the surveillance. Many authorities around the globe including National Security Agency (NSA) frequently used to visit Tel Aviv to buy their products.
Sooner after the Declaration of the State of Israel in 1948, the authority has created the clear-cut path for the innovation of advanced technologies. Most of them later focused on the Surveillance Technology, and the country turned into the hub on that particular technology in recent past.
According to the Privacy International’s Annual Report; “There are 27 surveillance companies with headquarters in Israel in the SII (Surveillance Industry Index). Out of the top five countries represented in SII, Israel is home to by far the largest amount per capita, with 0.33 companies per 100,000 people located in Israel, compared to 0.04 in the United States and 0.16 in the United Kingdom.”
Unconfirmed sources informed the Sri Lanka Guardian that the officials have signed the contracts with the companies such as Mer Group, Ability Inc.
‘Mer Group’, a company which was first established as a metal workshop later turned into the Surveillance Product Company. It is one of the best companies run by retired security persons in Israel.
In an investigative article originally appeared on The Intercept, one of the best US-based independent journals, “The Company’s CEO, Nir Lempert, is a 22-year veteran of Unit 8200, the Israeli intelligence unit often compared to the National Security Agency, and is also the chairman of Unit’s alumni association. The Mer Group’s ties to Unit 8200 are hardly unique in Israel, where the cyber sector has become an integral aspect of the Israeli economy, exporting $6 billion worth of products and services in 2014.”
Meanwhile, “In the age of Social Media and Big Data, the difficulties of intelligence work lie not so much in obtaining information as in making sense of the huge quantities of information that are already available. Identifying the relevant information and piecing together a picture of real world threats is the key to preventing and investigating crime, fraud and terrorism in the 21st century,” Mer Group has noted in its introduction to the Mer Group’s SAIP suite.
“Mer Group’s SAIP suite was created by the intelligence experts who rely on proven experiences and best practices developed in Israel to deliver excellent intelligence and investigations solutions for law enforcement forces, intelligence agencies and corporations. The SAIP suite contains 3 innovative systems based on the cutting edge technology and know-how developed to deal with the critical tasks of analysing and managing data from disparate sources, leveraging the power of social media and countering cyber threats,” the compnay’s memoranda SAIP suite further noted.
“SAIP offers a suite of solutions consisting of:
OSCAR – Open Source Collection, Analysis and Response
ECAROS – Enterprise Collection, Analysis for Real-time Operations System
CIFER – Content Intelligence – Fact Finding, Evolution & Rating
CARTA – Cyber Analytics for Risks and Threats Assessment
Combining these capabilities together, SAIP suite delivers the right information to the right person at the right time.”
“It is unclear that the Government of Sri Lanka has already ordered Mer Group’s SAIP suite but the officials have unanimously expressed the concern of buying,” reliable sources from Mer Group has disclosed.
“Despite all flourished words to restore the rule of law the Government of Sri Lanka is continuing their old path to eliminate the people who fight against injustice”, a key player who fought to bring the new Government, said.
However, according to the Defence establishment, these new tools can be used to identify the threats which could help to prevent crimes as well as acts against the State.
Nonetheless, restoring third party communications without a proper Court order or consent of the subject is illegal and all member states of the United Nations are obliged to respect the rights to privacy of its citizen. Despite the law, the many authorities are practising the surveillance while breaking fundamentals of rights to privacy.
Therefore, the global resistance against the illegal surveillance has erupted. The global resistance has led the United Nations to establish a new mandate holder on this subject. Joseph A. Cannataci, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy (SRP) has appointed last year (2016) and his first report was issued on March 2016.
Seven key thematic areas were identified for his mandate, to be prioritised throughout consultations:
  • Privacy and personality across cultures;
  • Corporate online business models and personal data use;
  • Security, Surveillance, Proportionality and Cyberspace;
  • Open Data and Big Data analysis: impact on Privacy;
  • Genetics and Privacy;
  • Privacy, dignity and reputation;
  • Biometrics and Privacy.
“Sri Lanka as a country claimed to defeat the ‘authoritative regime’ and established true principles of democracy, is now exercising same strategies to eliminate the possible political challenges under the pretext of national security,” a retired defence source told the Sri Lanka Guardian.