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

Saturday, August 31, 2013

July 1983: Planned By The State Or Spontaneous Mob Action?

By Rajan Hoole -August 31, 2013
Rajan Hoole
Sri Lanka’s Black July – Part 18
Colombo Telegraph“Nero’s excesses were overtaken by disaster. Whether it was accidental or caused by the emperor’s criminal act is uncertain – both versions have their supporters. Now started [during the night of 19th July A.D. 64] the most terrible and destructive fire which Rome had ever experienced…The flames could not be prevented from overwhelming the whole of the Palatine, including [Nero’s] palace. Nevertheless, for the relief of the homeless, fugitive masses he threw open the Field of Mars… [He] also constructed emergency accommodation…and the price of corn was cut. Yet these measures for all their popular character, earned no gratitude. For a rumour had spread that, while the city was burning, Nero had gone on his private stage and, comparing modern calamities with ancient, had sung of the destruction of Troy.” - Publius Gaius Tacitus, from Histories page1image8912
Official Claims                                                      Read More
To be continued..
*From Rajan Hoole‘s “Sri Lanka: Arrogance of Power  - Myth, Decadence and Murder”. Thanks to Rajan for giving us permission to republish. To be continued..

Need for implementing MR-Moon post-war agreement stressed-TNA-Pillay meeting

By Shamindra Ferdinando-

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) yesterday told visiting United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner Navanethem Pillay that the post-war agreement, between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and UNSG Ban Ki-moon, should be implemented in full.

The TNA asserted that it was the responsibility on the part of the UN to ensure that the government adhered to the agreement. Having led the TNA delegation for talks with Pillay, at the Cinnamon Lakeside, Trincomalee district MP Sampanthan told The Island that they focused on the agreement finalised in Colombo following the UNSG’s visit on May 23, 2009.

The final battle was fought on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon on May 19, 2009.

Responding to a query, the veteran politician said that a joint statement, dated May 26, which addressed three critical matters, was meant for implementation, though the government was yet to fulfil its obligations four years after the conclusion of the conflict.

The TNA Leader said that President Rajapaksa and the UNSG agreed that addressing the aspirations and grievances of all communities and working towards a lasting political solution was fundamental to ensuring long-term socio-economic development.

The second agreement dealt with the resettlement and rehabilitation of those affected by the conflict.

MP Sampanthan said that finally Sri Lanka reiterated its strongest commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, in keeping with international human rights standards and Sri Lanka’s international obligations. 

"The UNSG underlined the importance of an accountability process for addressing violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. The government assured the UNSG that it would take measures to address those grievances," the TNA chief said.  

The TNA’s chief ministerial candidate for the Northern Provincial Council polls, former Supreme Court judge C. V. Vigneswaran and MPs M. A. Sumanthiran, Mavai Senathiraja and Suresh Premachandran participated in the discussion.

Sumanthiran told The Island that the government hadn’t fulfilled any of the commitments it made to the UNSG. Referring to the killing of five students in Trincomalee and the massacre of 17 aid workers at Mutturm at the onset of Eelam War IV, Sumanthiran said that there was no likelihood of a credible investigation.

He said: "We also raised several other issues, including heavy military presence in the Northern Province, restrictions placed on the community, gang rape of women in Pooneryn and Vishvamadu, attacks, long-term detainees as well as the failure on the part of the government to implement the recommendations made by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission."

MP Sumanthiran alleged that the problem was the government was not ready to share power. Instead of implementing the 13th Amendment to the Constitution an attempt was being made to do away with even the existing powers.

UN And Commonwealth Must Now Act To Fix Problems Highlighted By Pillay – AI

Colombo TelegraphAugust 31, 2013 
Sri Lankan leaders must address the persistent climate of fear in the country, Amnesty International said as the UN human rights chief Navi Pillay concluded her visit to the island.
Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, made her first official visit to Sri Lanka from 25-31 August. It comes just before the UN and Commonwealth review the country’s human rights situation in September
Polly Truscott
At her concluding press conference today, Pillay stressed that many who met or wanted to meet her during the visit had been threatened by security forces, and that critical voices in Sri Lanka are “quite often attacked or even permanently silenced”.
“Navi Pillay’s take on the human rights situation during her visit very much echoes our own findings. Being critical of government policy in Sri Lanka is highly risky, and the extent to which people are being harassed into silence is shocking”, said Polly Truscott Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.
“We’re glad that Navi Pillay got a chance to meet some victims and families of the disappeared. But the reprisals against those she met, doesn’t bode well for the Commonwealth Summit set for November in Colombo. The government must stop its attacks on Sri Lankan society”.
“The Sri Lankan conflict may have ended in 2009, but the level of human rights violations in the country remains critically high. The Sri Lankan government still shows no real will to account for past crimes, combined with new attacks on those calling for accountability.”
Pillay today insisted that “unless there is a credible national process, calls for an international inquiry are likely to continue” into the events of the armed conflict
“There is still every need for the UN to set up an independent international investigation into crimes under international law in Sri Lanka, as Pillay has called for in the past.”
“The UN and Commonwealth must respond effectively to these latest concerns raised by Pillay” said Truscott

Navaneetham Pillay Is The Most Famous South African Tamil Of Our Times

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj-30 August 2013, 
Navi Pillai is a name which has become very familiar to most Sri Lankans in recent times.The past week has seen the Sri Lankan media flooded by references to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Emotions are on the rise and expectations are high as the week long visit to Sri Lanka by the 72 year old UN Human Rights chief continues to receive extensive media focus.
High Commissoner Ms. Navaneetham  Pillay-Painting by Shan Sundaram, PA, USA
High Commissoner Ms. Navaneetham Pillay-Painting by Shan Sundaram, Pennsylvania, USA
Navi is a shortened form of the name Navaneetham. It is derived from the Hindu religion and means freshly churned butter. Lord Vishnu in his avatar as Krishna was very fond of freshly churned butter known as Navaneetham. Among the many names by which Krishna is known are Navneethakrishnan and Navaneethan. Just as butter pervades milk the Lord is pervasive in the universe.Though the usual spelling is Navaneetham or Navaneedham in English, Navi Pillay’s name is spelled as Navanethem in official documents at present.

Government Unmoved »

By Easwaran Rutnam- Saturday, August 31, 2013
The Sunday LeaderThe government last week refused to budge on its stand over various issues during several meetings held with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.
Pillay had called for the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) to be abolished, disappearances to be investigated, and for accountability on some of the allegations over the final stages of the war.

Pillay pessimistic after visit

By Easwaran Rutnam
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay – who concluded her seven-day visit yesterday – said she was happy about post-war developments, particularly in the North but sounded rather pessimistic about the government’s progress in issues related to accountability.

The government’s parading of new law is a mockery

The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka
Sunday, September 01, 2013
It is undoubtedly a great irony that at the lowest point of the Sri Lankan Government’s adherence to the Rule of Law, we hear its carefully choreographed announcement during the visit of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, that enforced disappearances will be criminalised.
Law reform means little 

Tasks Ahead In The Northern Province

By S.Sivathasan -August 31, 2013 |
Colombo TelegraphTo move away from the visible marks of war, there have been options. Bland restitution was one. But veering from it and embarking on reconstruction to meet heavier needs of the future became the preferred choice. Such policy is manifest in the North for highways. Quite conspicuous in visibility is the redevelopment of some of the important highways. But were the corollaries thought of and planned for or are they being met? If the Provincial and Central government move in tandem, they can yet be realized giving a new dimension to the programme of economic and social regeneration.
By all accounts, visual reports have it that A class highways in the North are executed well and without discrimination. They certainly impress foreign personnel and casual visitors while they serve the purpose of easy transport and comfortable travel. But prying eyes which peer beyond see an unspectacular interior. Staid statistics of trade, transport, industry and construction which account for nearly half the GDP of the nation, depict a picture more telling than photos or a video. When these four sectors are grouped together for the nation, the total in 2011 was Rs.3,051 billion and in contrast the North had Rs. 66 billion for the same four sectors. A stark picture of 1 of 9 Provinces, having 1 of 46 of GDP share emerges. By comparison, the Western Province had 23 of 46.
Today the North has highways it deserves, but not an economy to match. Is it correct policy to have roads first? Definitely yes. But no programme is yet in place to expand the economy even though a road network is at hand. More pertinently, people’s wellbeing demands it and with expedition. Quite a substantial component in the nation’s GDP is transport. Prior to 1983, under normal order of things, the North pulsated with life with a thriving economy. It reflected in the transport sector. As at end of 2011, when the country’s transport was Rs.754 billion of GDP, the share of the North was Rs. 28 billion or 1/27th. One may say that transport is now at a low profile, since there is precious little to move to and fro. That is precisely the point being made here.
Regeneration                    Read More

Crackpots and crackers


A minister has taken umbrage at police dogs being made to ‘tie the nuptial knot’ like humans at ‘weddings’. He has faulted the Police Department for having made a mockery of the traditional poruwa. But, neither he nor any other government worthy seems to be worried about the fact that the ruling party politicians in the election fray are behaving like feral dogs. The country is now free from ferocious Tigers but, sadly, it is troubled by mad dogs in politicians’ clothing.

UPFA candidates continue to unleash violence against one another in what has come to be dubbed the manape poray (the battle for preferential votes). The situation is expected to take a turn for the worse within the next two weeks or so as the campaign hots up further.

Election violence has spread as far as the northern peninsula. Jaffna had remained relatively trouble free until on Tuesday when a bloody clash erupted leaving several government supporters injured.

The ruling party bigwigs, instead of keeping the violent elements among them on a tight leash and adopting remedial measures to curb the internecine violence, are boasting that the UPFA’s intraparty clashes are due to the absence of competition from the Opposition which is too weak to challenge the government. They have apparently begun to believe in their own lies. They are only fooling themselves.

One would not make an issue of UPFA’s internal battles where the perpetrators and victims are all thugs, if they did not disturb the peace and pose a threat to the ordinary people. But, the problem is that they are clashing in public places. Unless they are made to fall in line, the forthcoming polls are likely to be marred by violence.

Meanwhile, politicians belonging to all parties, mainly the UPFA, contesting elections make a nuisance of themselves much to the consternation of the public. They do not consider any propaganda rally complete unless it causes mayhem on roads. They make a point of putting up huge stages to block traffic and lighting all the firecrackers in the world to boost their egos. They love to see huge traffic jams and apparently derive some perverse pleasure from commuters’ suffering. This is the price people have to pay for tolerating such elements.

Two women suffered burn injuries on Thursday when some firecrackers set off by a group of UPFA supporters in Nawalapitiya got thrown into the bus they were travelling in. They have been hospitalised. The police are said to have launched an investigation. Exposing people to danger and causing injuries to them are punishable offences and the culprits need to be severely dealt with. The organisers of that event must be held responsible for the incident. Certainly, crackers couldn’t have been lit without their knowledge. Why they have not already been taken in is the question.

The situation is equally bad or even worse in other areas. During elections, thousands of firecrackers are set off on pavements and median strips of urban roads posing a grave danger to pedestrians and motorists alike. Explosions they produce must be loud and scary enough to cause a heart patient to die of shock. The police just look on. This nuisance must be stopped forthwith.

The police must ensure that those responsible for the Nawalapitiya incident are traced and hauled up before courts. After all, this is a country where even schoolchildren are arrested and produced in court in record time for minor offences such as stealing coconuts or small coins.

It is time the government stopped worrying about canine weddings and reined in the feral dogs in the election fray.

Will Commonwealth find UN Human Rights chief credible enough?

Visiting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navaneetham Pillay on Saturday has openly slammed the incumbent regime of President Mahinda Rajapaksa as one that is “heading in an increasingly authoritarian direction”.

A Tribute To Prof A Jeyaratnam Wilson

By Laksiri Fernando -August 31, 2013 
Dr. Laksiri Fernando
Professor Alfred Jeyaratnam Wilson
Colombo Telegraph
This tribute is not only from me but also from a friend of mine who had associated Professor Alfred Jeyaratnam Wilson, even more than me, for over two and a half decades very closely even living in his home in Fredericton, Canada, for few years. I am writing this not only as a tribute to this great man and an undisputed silent humanist, Wilson, but also to show how some of the hidden stories of Sinhala Tamil relations could bring certain sanity to the otherwise poisoned atmosphere in Sri Lanka and promote reconciliation and harmony among different communities.
When Kumar Samarasinghe came to Sydney to visit his sister, Mallika Gunewardena, with his family I invited them for a simple dinner with some other friends. Kumar and Shamali came with two daughters we have never seen before. I never realised, however, that we were in the midst of a celebrity, a reputed teenage novelist from New Jersey, USA, who had completed three popular novels by the age of just fifteen according to NBC News. Kumar didn’t speak about it except a brief mention and neither did she show-off and I only came to know after Googling her name Sara Samarasinghe and came across   She is still a college student and has published few other novels all of them have become extremely popular. This is another story which would also show the merit of bringing up our children broadminded beyond ethnic divide and taking up the opportunities open to them beyond our restricted horizons.
I was the first Sri Lankan Master’s student in Political Science, or for that matter any other field, at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) in 1974 when Prof Wilson was the Chair of that Department. He recommended me for a Canadian Teaching/Research Assistantship and I was fortunate to get it. After me was late Ambalavanar Sivarajah who also became a Professor of Political Science at the University of Peradeniya. I met Kumar somewhere in 1975 when he was sponsored by his brother-in-law, Dhanapala Gunewardena, an Engineer from CEB who came on a Canadian fellowship to Frederickton Electricity Board with two others. Even for Kumar’s initial arrival in Canada, I believe Prof Wilson helped him.Read More

Hundreds of Sri Lankans march with candles demanding information on missing family members

(Eranga Jayawardena/ Associated Press ) - A Sri Lankan ethnic Tamil woman supporting the Dead and Missing Person’s Parents Front holds a placard as police officers stand guard during a protest in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Hundreds of Sri Lankans protested Friday outside the country’s United Nations office, urging the visiting human rights chief Navi Pillay to probe atrocities allegedly committed by the Tamil Tiger rebels during the nation’s quarter century-long civil war.COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Hundreds of people held candles and photographs of loved ones as they marched in Sri Lanka’s capital on Friday demanding that authorities provide information about relatives who were reported missing during the country’s civil war.
The vigil, marking International Day of the Disappeared, coincided with a visit by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay to assess the government’s progress in investigating wartime abuses.
During the quarter-century civil war, which ended in 2009, an undetermined number of suspected rebels, journalists and activists were abducted by “white van squads” allegedly operated by pro-government paramilitaries. Many were never seen again.
Relatives say they also don’t know the whereabouts of family members who surrendered to the army at the end of the war.
Pillay, who ends her weeklong visit on Saturday, is to report to the U.N. Human Rights Council next month on the status of the investigation into abuses allegedly committed by government troops and separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, including abductions and forced disappearances.
Separately Friday, hundreds of people protested outside the country’s U.N. office, urging Pillay to probe alleged atrocities by the rebels.
About 500 people from the Dead and Missing Person’s Parents Front shouted slogans and held placards reading, “Ms. Pillay we are waiting 30 years for justice.”
The European Union, meanwhile, said it hopes that the government-appointed committee investigating disappearances “will approach its important and challenging task with determination and independence” and observe international standards.
The EU delegation in the country said in a statement that it “encourages Sri Lanka to draw on the support of international partners who may be able to assist with this challenging task.”
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

EU calls on Rajapaksa government for investigation into disappeared persons

EU-logoThe European Union (EU) Delegation in Sri Lanka has urged the government for credible and transparent investigations into disappearances consistent with international standards.

The EU has said that in Sri Lanka, thousands of people disappeared during the war and while many cases date back to the unrest in the south in the 1970s and 1980s, others are much more recent, affecting people across the country, both during and after the war.

“Against this backdrop, the EU Delegation notes the recent appointment of a Presidential Commission to investigate disappearances during the war period. The Delegation hopes the Commission will approach its important and challenging task with determination and independence, helping to ensure credible and transparent investigations consistent with international standards,” the EU delegation has noted.

The EU delegation has encouraged Sri Lanka to draw on the support of international partners who may be able to assist with this challenging task.

 It has also encouraged the government to respond to pending individual cases and to facilitate the request of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances to visit the country.

China’s Ethnic Minorities: Wonder Whether Gota And Basil Went To Night School In Beijing?

Marching with the Han army in 100BC to conquer ethnic lands
By Kumar David -
Prof Kumar David
Identity, a hard to understand mystery: Status quo of China’s ethnic minorities
Colombo TelegraphChina has been successful in smoothing over potential conflicts with all its 55 ethnic minorities but two – Tibetans and Uighurs. Interestingly these are two large, but not the largest, but they differ from the nation’s 92% Han Chinese in religion, race and language. The 18 million Zhuang are the largest of the 55 officially recognised minorities, but account for only 1.3% of the population. They are the ancient indigenous people of the southern Guangxi Province, but well integrated. Hui (mainly in north-western Ningxia), Manchu of Manchuria and Uighurs of westernmost Xinjiang, numbering 10 million each, come next. Seven million Tibetans, the tenth biggest minority in China account for only half a per-cent of the nation’s population.
Apart from 23 provinces and four giant municipalities, China has five autonomous regions (AR) endowed with more powers than provinces to shelter ethnic identities. Interestingly only one, Tibet, is majority ethnic (90% Tibetan). Two, Ningxia and Guangxi, are one-third ethnic (Hui and Zhuang, respectively) but the two-thirds Han Chinese do not support AR status. In Xinjiang the ratio of Uighurs to Hans is about equal, while Mongols in the fifth AR, Inner Mongolia, are less than 20%. Anxious to forestall charges of unfairness to minorities the Communist Party pushed through AR status for these five; a reverse attitude to the Sinhala majority and government of Lanka.Read More

In Memory Of My Grandfather Sir Claude Corea

Colombo Telegraph
 By Harindrini Corea -     September 1, 2013 
Harindrini Corea
My paternal grandfather Sir George Claude Stanley Corea devoted his life in service to Sri Lanka. His inspiring career in diplomacy is remembered and respected.  He was a humble and charismatic Christian gentleman who chose his words wisely and was a patient listener.
Sir Claude Corea at the United Nations Security Council meeting 1960
Sir Claude was born on the 29th of January 1894 in Chilaw, a seaside town situated on the North Western coast of Ceylon (Sri Lanka). An old boy of Wesley College, he entered politics as a representative from Chilaw and was elected to the State Council in 1931. He served as Minister of Labour, Industry and Commerce from 1936 until 1946. He was elected to the presidency of the Ceylon National Congress in 1932, 1939 and 1941. During the Second World War, Sir Claude Corea insisted that the Ceylon National Congress should not be lobbying for “mere constitutional reforms”, but should seek transfer of sovereignty to the people of Ceylon. After 1945, Sir Claude served as Chairman of the Board of Ministers Sub Committee with the mandate of resolving post-war problems.  He was viewed as a potential first prime minister of Ceylon but chose a diplomatic career instead and accepted the post of Ceylonese Representative in the United Kingdom in 1946. He was appointed as the first Ceylonese Ambassador to the United States in 1948. He attended the 5th session of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Washington DC from 21st November to 6th December 1949. On the 8th of September 1951, J. R Jayewardene (later President Jayewardene), Sir Claude Corea and R. G. Senanayake signed the Treaty of Peace with Japan, on behalf of Ceylon, in San Francisco.Read More