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

Friday, September 30, 2011

Sri Lanka Tamil Issue Raised Again in Canadian Parliament!


[ TamilCanadian ] - [ Sep 30, 2011 16:46 GMT ]
Liberal Party member of Parliament for Scarborough—Agincourt, Hon. Jim Karygiannis and New Democratic Party member of parliament Ms. Rathika Sitsabaiesan representing Scarborough—Rouge River and requested the prime minister to urge the Commonwealth to revoke Sri Lanka's membership until it holds the war crime perpetrators to account and to urge the international community to take action against Sri Lanka.
Here is the transcript of the debate which was taken place on September 29th, Thursday – 2011 and answered by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. John Baird .

Ms. Rathika Sitsabaiesan (Scarborough—Rouge River, NDP): 
Mr. Speaker, last night, I joined MPs from all parties in hosting a screening of the documentary, Sri Lanka's Killing Fields . It moved me, as it did everyone else there.
Sadly, Canada and the rest of the world has stood idly by for far too long. Human rights organizations around the world are calling upon the United Nations to launch an independent inquiry into the possibility of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka.
A Conservative MP helped sponsor the event last night. Will his government now stand in the House today and finally commit to fighting for justice for Sri Lankans and call for a United Nations inquiry?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): 
Mr. Speaker, we did not sit idly by at the United Nations on Monday where I brought the plight of human rights violations to the floor of the General Assembly. The Prime Minister did not sit idly by when he expressed grave concern about attending a future summit of the Commonwealth in Colombo. We did not sit idly by when we spoke with the high commissioner to Sri Lanka and raised our concerns. I did not sit idly by last week when I met with the foreign minister of Sri Lanka to express our significant concerns.
We have not sat idly by. We will continue to stand up, do the right thing and fight for human rights around the world, especially in Sri Lanka.
Screening of "Sri Lanka's Killing Fields":

Anger in Dompe over 'police murder'

Protest against alleged police abuse in Sri Lanka (file photo)
The victim's father has passed away after the death in police custody
Nearly thousand people in Dompe, Gampaha have thrown stones and set fire to a police station and police vehicles after a young man arrested by the police was found dead on Friday morning.
Six policemen have sustained injuries in the attack.
GA Gayan, 27, a father-of-one, was arrested by Dompe police on suspicion of a robbery on Thursday.
Parents and relatives of the victim accuse the police of beating him to death in custody.
Rejecting the accusation, the police say the suspect fell off the jeep while he was taken to a place where he has hidden stolen goods. He died as a result of the injuries sustained as a result of jumping off the moving vehicle, they say.

Father dies
Having heard the death of his young son, the father of the victim has suffered a heart attack and died in Gampaha hospital on Friday.
 This is not unusual. This is only another such incident
Police spokesman, SSP Maxi Proctor

Police spokesman, SSP Maxi Proctor told BBC Sandeshaya that it is a normal occurance during a routine police investigation, "this type of incident can happen anywhere in the world."
Police Special Task Force, together with the army, have been deployed to establish law and order in the area, he added.
"This is not unusual. This is only another such incident".
Police Criminal Investigation Division is continuing investigations under the instructions of the Inspector General of Police (IGP).
In recent months, there have been many similar incidents in which suspects have died in police custody.
The previous IGP, Mahinda Balasuriya, resigned after a worker at Katunayake Free Trade Zone died as a result of police shooting on protesting workers.

Sri Lanka 'defeated conspiracy at UN'

BBCSinhala.com30 September, 2011

Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe at a previous UNHRC session (file photo)
Minister warns of further attempts against Sri Lanka at the next UNHRC session
There has been a major international conspiracy against Sri Lanka at the recently concluded UNHRC session in Geneva, the country's delegation claims.
Plantation Development Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe told journalists in Colombo that the delegation managed to thwart the conspiracy.
The UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Navi Pillai, he said, tried to bring in the report of the UN expert panel to the UNHRC "through the back door."
Maj Gen Shavendra SilvaThe government delegation also expressed regret over the conduct of the Canadian government representative who attempted to propose to the session that the expert panel report should be discussed by the UN rights body.
Shavendra Silva
Expressing serious concerns over Sri Lanka's human rights record, Canadian prime minister has said he would boycott 2013 
Former AG says the Govt must protect Gen Shavendra Silva
Full story>>>

The Unknown Killing Fields: Looking into the Sri Lankan Civil War


header imageSummary executions, bodies of raped women, and families hiding from bombs in hastily dug trenches. The images shown in a recent Channel Four documentary bring back memories of tragedies such as the killing fields in Cambodia and the genocide in former Yugoslavia. But these massacres occurred just two years ago in Sri Lanka, at the bloody end of a conflict that had been going on for more than twenty-five years. Despite suggestions from the United Nations, the Red Cross and Amnesty International that war crimes and crimes against humanity had possibly been committed, there has not been an international inquiry. Why is it that Sri Lanka does not seem to be able to keep the international community’s attention?       Full story>>>

SRI LANKA: Community rebirth in war-torn Mullaitivu

AlertNet30 Sep 2011

30 Sep 2011 13:33
Source: Member // MAG (Mines Advisory Group)
Suresh is looking forward to helping his grandmother rebuild her home in Suthanthipuram village. [Photo: MAG Sri Lanka]
Suresh lost his right arm during the civil war. Both his parents and his sister were killed. But, despite his tragic misfortunes, the 12-year-old has an incredibly positive outlook.
Suresh was one of 2,140 internally displaced people (IDPs) who returned to Suthanthipuram village in June, after MAG released previously inaccessible land that had been contaminated with 69 anti-personnel landmines and 15 items ofunexploded ordnance (UXO). He told us he now hopes to study hard and get a good job to support his grandmother when he gets older.
“I am very happy to leave the IDP camp and go back home with my grandmother,” he said. “I can’t wait to go back to school and help my grandmother to rebuild our house.”
Suthanthipuram is located in the north-eastern corner of Mullaitivu District, in Puthukudiyiruppu Division – the final stronghold of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), and where the last stages of the conflict took place in May 2009.
Many of the 638 families who fled the fighting had been living in camps for two years and were coming back home for the first time.
As well as enabling a safe return to their houses, our work also meant that 600 wells, two schools, a hospital, five water tanks for irrigation purposes, five square kilometres of agricultural land and 20 small business premises were all available for the community.
One shop that is fully stocked and operational is the local co-operative. Run by the Government, these co-operatives play a crucial role in the immediate stages after resettlement, with community members given stamps to collect essential food items.
“We have now opened up our co-operative after MAG cleared the area,” said Sales Manager Jusuthas Jude. “And 170 families will benefit from this shop, so we are very thankful to MAG.”
A further 3,693 IDPs were able to resettle in Thevipuram and Vallipunam – two other towns in Puthukudiyiruppu – during the month of June.
Our Community Liaison staff provided safety briefings to all three returning communities, informing returnees of the location of hazardous areas, and what steps to take if they uncover landmines or UXO.
MAG thanks the following donors to its Sri Lanka programme: AusAID; Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA); The Kirby Laing Foundation; NVESD; Stichting Vluchteling; US Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement.

Canada, UK target SL on C’wealth front Prof. Peiris fumes over proposals targeting govt.

September 29, 2011

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Sri Lankan government yesterday (29) alleged that a small but influential section of the Commonwealth was carrying out an anti-Sri Lankan campaign ahead of the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth, Western Australia.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa is scheduled to attend CHOGM 2011 in late October 2011.
External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris, while expressing serious concern over the move, stated that a disgraceful attempt was being made to manipulate the Commonwealth to undermine a member state. Prof. Peiris criticised two sets of proposals prepared by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) and the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on the revamping of the association. Prof. Peiris was flanked by MP Sajin Vass Gunawardena and Foreign Secretary Karunathilake Amunugama.
Read More ...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Canada lashes Sri Lanka, summit showdown looms

Reuters CanadaThu Sep 29, 2011

<p>Canada's Foreign Minister John Baird speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa September 29, 2011. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada publicly criticized Sri Lanka over its human rights record for the first time on Thursday, setting the scene for a confrontation at a major international summit next month.
Sri Lanka is under increasing Western pressure to probe allegations of war crimes and humanitarian law violations at the end of its war with Tamil Tiger separatists in 2009.
Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said he had told his Sri Lankan counterpart of Ottawa's "concerns on the lack of accountability for the serious allegations of war crimes, the lack of reconciliation with the Tamil community and with events that have taken place since the end of the civil war".
A diplomatic clash looks likely when Canada and Sri Lanka come face to face in late October at a summit of the 54-member Commonwealth of former British colonies in the Australian city of Perth. Sri Lanka is due to host the summit in 2013.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, speaking to ethnic media earlier this month, said he would boycott the 2013 event unless Sri Lanka improved its human rights record and would encourage other Commonwealth leaders to do the same.
"Canada will continue to speak loudly and clearly on behalf of human rights around the world, especially in Sri Lanka," Baird told the House of Commons.
Opposition legislator Jim Karygiannis went even further, asking Harper "to urge the Commonwealth to revoke Sri Lanka's membership until it holds the perpetrators to account and they are judged in international courts".
Sri Lanka's government says it is working hard on reconciliation and is waiting for a report by a national commission of inquiry on the war, due on November 15.
Amnesty International, which dismisses the commission as "fatally flawed", says between 10,000 and 20,000 civilians died in the final months of the 25-year civil war.
Sri Lanka says its troops used only necessary and lawful force and complains that the allegations of war crimes are biased and exaggerated.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Peter Galloway)

Sri Lanka governor demolishes British heritage in Jaffna

Old Park destruction by occupying SL Governor in Jaffna
[TamilNet, Thursday, 29 September 2011, 21:14 GMT]
Old Park destruction by occupying SL Governor in Jaffna Part of a landmark heritage complex at the Old Park in Jaffna, the residency buildings of the British Government Agents, dating back to the beginnings of British rule, was demolished overnight on Wednesday at the orders of the occupying Sri Lanka governor in Jaffna, Maj. Gen. G.A. Chandrasri, despite the SL Archaeology Department declaring it a heritage site, preventing any demolitions. The SL governor is already building a mansion for the occupying governors in that location at a cost of 100 million Rs, news sources in Jaffna said. Both SL President Rajapaksa and his governor give utmost importance to the symbolism in showing who are colonial masters now, by building a mansion for the SL president at the ‘King’s House’ inside the Dutch Fort and by building a governor’s mansion at the complex of the former British Residence.
On 2 September the SL Archaeology Department through a Gazette Notification has declared the location a heritage site and has ordered against any demolitions.

Old Park destruction by occupying SL Governor in JaffnaWhen demolition workers came to the site, the Sri Lanka Government Agent of Jaffna Ms. Imelda Sugumar informed relevant ministries and stopped the demolition for a while.

But during the night, the demolition squad of the Jaffna Municipality came again and razed down the structures to the foundation, leaving only a bathing tank called ‘Queen’s Bath’ that was part of the British residency.

The demolition work continued for the second day on Thursday and the tractors of the Municipality were engaged in removing the old building stones, Imelda Sugumar said.         
Full story >>

Returned asylum seekers detained by police

29 September, 2011

Police at Colombo airport had detained fifty deportees flown back to the country on Thursday after being expelled from Britain.
Amnesty International

Colombo AirportUnited Kingdom Border Agency chartered a flight to repatriate eight women and forty two men to Sri Lanka.
Most of them are ethnic Tamil asylum seekers.
Fear of detention
Colombo airport officials say the returnees were held by police for questioning.
In June, a group of twenty Sri Lankans were sent back from Britain in an earlier chartered flight.    Full Story>>>

Is Sri Lanka fatigue setting in? Geneva HRC meeting ends on a flat note


By Kumar David

There was anticipation, and on the side of the government trepidation, that the Human Rights Council gathering in Geneva in mid-September would produce some fireworks. The outcome so far has been tame (writing on 20 September) though not without moments of theatre – for example HRC Commissioner Navi Pillay’s opening remarks that, "For three decades, not only has that country (Sri Lanka) suffered the brutal effects of terrorist acts, but the response of successive governments over the years has undermined independent institutions, human rights and the rule of law". However, the event that will have longer term significance is UNSG Ban Ki Moon forwarding the Darusman Report to the HR Commission, which means that every country on the Council is now formally in possession of the report. Of course the report is widely available on the Web and probably sits on the desk of the foreign service of every country, but Ban’s action has formalised the matter. This could facilitate the intentions of those interested in bringing it to the Security Council, the General Assembly, or a war crimes investigation, at a later date.         
  Full Story>>>

War crime case against Lanka envoy

India Today
Headlines Today | September 25, 2011Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa says Colombo would use the case to highlight the LTTE "atrocities".
Read more >>>

Sri Lanka – Media smear campaign and death threats against human rights defender Sunanda Deshapriya following his participation in the UN Human Rights Council

Posted on 2011/09/29

Human rights defender Mr Sunanda Deshapriya was the target of a media smear campaign and death threats, following his participation in an event held at the UN headquarters in Geneva on 12 September 2011. State controlled media reportedly published an inaccurate account of the event following which calls were made to have Sunanda Deshapriya killed for betraying the Sri Lankan State.
                                               Read More

The death penalty in India

The EconomistOct 1st 2011 | CHENNAI         Cruel and unusual

Fatally flawed

The death penalty looks broken, but India dares not scrap it

ARPUTHAM AMMAL, a pensioner with curly silver hair and a wheezing cough, is an abolitionist. Perched in a gloomy warehouse in Chennai, capital of Tamil Nadu, as young men bustle over an 
exhibition against the death penalty, she explains why. “It is not needed. The ultimate victims of the death sentence are the backward, the minorities and the weak.”


Canadian Tamils weigh in on this year's Ontario General Election

Toronto - Canadian Tamils in the province of Ontario have been quite involved in the political process both at home and abroad. Tamils in Ontario have taken their voice to Queen's Park on many occasions. Now they weigh in on the provincial election.
Tamils have had their voices heard on the federal level and on the international stage. With one week to go until voters select the next government of Ontario, Tamils want to be listened to in the Ontario Legislature at Queen’s Park.
                                                                       Full Story>>>

Channel 4 Documentary "Sri Lanka's Killing Fields" screened at Canadian Parliament

LogoEmotions were high at the conclusion of the screening of Channel 4 documentary "Sri Lanka's Killing Fields" in Canadian Parliament today. Approximately 20 MP's along with their staff were present for the screening. The attendees who watched the Channel 4 documentary were all shocked at what they had just witnessed and had never imagined such horrendous events would take place on the tiny island of Sri Lanka. From the many conversations that were taking place afterwards, it was clear that perpetrators had to be held accountable and Canada indeed has to take a leadership role.
NDP MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan (Scarborough-Rouge River), Conservative Party MP Patrick Brown (Barrie) and Liberal Party MP John McKay (Scarborough-Guildwood) co-hosted the screening.
Elaine Pearson, Deputy Director (Asia Division) of Human Rights Watch who presented the event said "only an independent investigation from the international community, not one held by LLRC will bring justice and accountability of the Sri Lankan government. Canada must lobby other like minded nations, like India, Indonesia in the upcoming UN Human Rights Council in March 2012."
“I’m very pleased that all parties came together to host this event. This issue runs deeper than political ties, and it is very important we all work together to raise awareness of this issue and to engage in an open dialogue concerning the atrocities that took place in Sri Lanka.” said Rathika Sitsabaiesan MP for Scarborough-Rouge River.
Conservative Party MP for Barrie, Patrick Brown said he has been aware of the situation in Sri Lanka through his constituents and will continue to advocate for accountability and justice.
"I have watched the documentary several times, and it has always been difficult to watch. Canada is a nation that values human rights and Canada bears responsibility to the 300,000 Tamil Canadians here." said John McKay, Liberal Party MP for Scarborough-Guildwood.

Some photos from the event

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Last-minute court order halts Sri Lankan deportation

Jonathan Miller Wednesday 28 September 2011
Jonathan Miller

Foreign Affairs Correspondent
A forced removal of failed asylum-seekers to Sri Lanka has been put on hold by a judge after a day of frantic legal appeals. Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jonathan Miller reports.

Frantic efforts by lawyers in London to prevent an aircraft, chartered by the British government, from forcibly returning failed asylum-seekers to Sri Lanka have succeeded in delaying the plane’s scheduled departure.     Full story>>>

Buddhist temple being erected in the place where there was Pillayar Hindu Kovil

(September 28, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) In Kokilai district, Mulaitivu where there was a Hindu Kovil (temple) which was damaged during the war is being demolished and a Buddhist Temple is being erected in that place, according to reports reaching Lanka e news. Buddhist monks have arrived there and the construction has begun. Part of the land of the Hospital in Kokilai and part of the land of a post office are being used to construct this Buddhist Temple . Earlier, it was the Arasadi Pillayar Kovil that was there in that place , our correspondent reports.
Prior to the war , Tamils and Sinhalese lived there , but due to the war the Sinhalese were displaced. By now those Sinhalese who were displaced have returned and are engaged in fishing activities.

Sources say , if it is the objective after the conclusion of the war to build harmony and peace between the two communities , what the officials ought to have done was built a Hindu Temple in the place where there was a Hindu temple and not a Buddhist Temple. No matter what religion the Govt. belongs to , if it gives in to extremists ,racialists and destructive forces , the end result will not be peace but eternal strife , disharmony and tension in the country.