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, November 30, 2013

A Call for Accountability: Death of a Young Woman in Kilinochchi

GroundviewsOn November 28, 2013 a pregnant mother from Malaiyalapuram North[1](Malaiyalapuram) in Kilinochchi District died at Jaffna Teaching Hospital. She was 17 and 2/7 weeks pregnant at the time of her death.
She had been injected with Jadelle,[2] a Progestogen-only subdermal implant (PODSI), [3] on September 07, 2013.[4]
The deceased – Ms. Manjula Satheeshkumar – was twenty-six-years-old.[5]She was married and had one child, a boy.
At the time the implant was inserted, Ms. Satheeshkumar was two months pregnant. However, she was not aware of her pregnancy. Additionally, Ministry of Health (MoH) officials failed to administer a pregnancy test which should have been part of pre-implant screening especially for women who are not sure of if they are pregnant.[6]
After receiving the implant, Ms. Satheeshkumar was suffering from severe abdominal pain. Her husband, Mr. R. Satheeshkumar, decided to take her to a private hospital in Kilinochchi.  Hospital staff ran some tests and informed her that she was pregnant (Report attached).[7]
Thereafter, Ms. Satheeshkumar visited the Primary Health Centre in Malaiyalapuram and informed a Public Health Midwife (PHM) that she was pregnant. At that time, the PHM advised her to visit the MOH office in Kilinochchi and remove the Jadelle implant. By the time this conversation took place, the implant had been actively releasing progesterone for three and a half weeks.
During the first week of October, she visited MOH office in Kilinochchi to have the implant removed. Her implant was surgically removed at Kilinochchi hospital by a doctor.[8]
After the removal of the implant, she was continuously ill. She developed a rash, which was an allergic reaction on her skin and was feeling very itchy. Her neck was swollen and she regularly complained of having a lot of headaches and was consistently running a high fever.
On November 22, 2013 she was taken to Kilinochchi District Hospital by her husband due to her high fever.[9] After having been admitted to Kilinochchi District Hospital, she was transferred to Jaffna Teaching Hospital the following day – on November 23. She was running a fever and was subsequently placed in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Jaffna Teaching Hospital.
She passed away on November 28 at approximately 4am.
On the 28th of Novemenber,Mr. R. Satheeshkumar told TSA that “this was the worst my wife had felt in six years. Before she was injected with that implant, which the midwife coerced her into doing, she was totally fine. She had only been admitted to the hospital twice before…for the births of our two children.”
The day she was transferred to Jaffna Teaching Hospital, she told her husband, “I am afraid. My neck is swollen and I can barely speak.”[10] Her pregnancy record indicates she did not have any prenatal or postnatal complications in the past.( report attached)
TSA, in its previous report stated: “Failure to adequately conduct all pre-insertion tests jeopardized the health of these women. Moreover, failure to provide the women with after-surgery instructions – including directions for severe adverse reactions – represents a violation of the Jadelle protocol and endangers women’s well-being.”
The pregnancy record (shown below) failed to mention that the implant was the last form of contraceptive used, instead it says she was using pills; we do not know if this is an intentional entry or a mistake. Accurately recording medical history is very important in patient care and diagnosis. Considering the fact that, a patient’s medical records contain false information, the appropriateness of the care given to them can be questionable. A patient’s history is not only a medical record, but in cases of death, also a legal document.
TSA notes here that there has been a clear breach in duty of care owed by the doctors and MoH due to the substandard pre-medical screening. This report is not conclusive that the cause of death was the implant itself, but it is very important to rule out the possibility that the implant could have materially increased or aggravated any pre-existing medical conditions. The obvious negligence in pre-screening and failure to obtain proper medical history from a patient prior to a minor surgical procedure is a legitimate cause for investigation.
Record 1
Record 2

[1] Malaiyalapuram North is located in Karaichchi Divisional Secretariat Division.
[2] She gave consent and the procedure was administered at the Primary Health Centre in Malaiyalapuram.
[3] TSA’s initial article about this incident can be read here:
[5] She was born on August 26, 1987.
[6] During a telephone interview with TSA, Ms. Satheeshkumar’s husband mentioned that his wife frequently had irregular periods.
[7] This happened approximately two weeks after Ms. Satheeshkumar was administered with the Jadelle implant.
[8] TSA was unable to confirm the name of this doctor.
[9] Ms. Satheeshkumar was admitted to Kilinochchi District Hospital at around 10am.
[10] Ms. Satheeshkumar was actually at Kilinochchi District Hospital when she said this.

Land – A Raw Nerve

By Rajan Hoole -November 30, 2013 
Rajan Hoole
Rajan Hoole
Colombo TelegraphThe Rise and Fall of the Tamil Militancy and the International Legal Implications of the Government’s Counter-Insurgency – Part 5
Weli Oya was conceived as a northward expansion of the Padaviya Scheme with quasi-military motivation. The spirit in which the Padaviya settlement was done in 1957 and the secretive methods employed had some similarity to Weli Oya in 1984 (see T. Sabaratnam, The Murder of a Moderate, pp.52-60, 85-86). A part of Trincomalee District bordering the North Central Province came at the tail-end of the scheme where 400 allotments were to be given to Tamils who were losing their jobs at the Trincomalee Dockyard which was being ceded by the British Admiralty. A group of Sinhalese labourers at Padaviya led by a monk forcibly occupied this land and the Government did nothing. The ideological significance of the scheme was not lost on C.P. de Silva, then Minister of Lands, and his officials. At its very inception Padaviya, in 1958, had become a hot bed of communal violence. It was the first major scheme in which there were no Tamil beneficiaries.
The following testimonies of people in Padaviya are taken from Bulletin No.4 (1995):
“H.N. Somadasa of Walapane, Udapusselawa, came to Padaviya at the age of 21 in 1956 as an irrigation employee. Following the communal violence which sparked off [in 1958], he was remanded. Asked what led him to join in attacks on Tamils, he replied, “There were many Tamils employed on the scheme. A rumour was spread that Tamils were going to take-over the entire scheme. We became angry and attacked them. I later discovered that the rumour was false and felt ashamed.” Asked who spread the rumours, he replied “Why, the papers had them!” He, like the other employees of the scheme received land in Padaviya in lieu of gratuity.
“Asked about the impact of the war, Somadasa said that every year about two or three dead bodies of soldiers are brought for interment to his village of Siyawa, Padaviya. The village has about 200 families. Considering the ten years of war, the impact is quantitatively of the order of what an average Tamil village in the East would have suffered.
“Piyadasa (50), originally from Madawachiya, explained: “Many young boys from here have joined the forces because rains have failed for the last seven years and the reservoir does not store enough water. Consequently, the people are unable to make ends meet through cultivation. During the rainy season (Yala, October-December) our fields tend to flood. Cultivation at this time (rain-fed cultivation) thus tends to be unreliable. Our main crop is therefore during the summer (Maha, May-September) season. This depends on water from the reservoir.” Farmers questioned said they have cultivated about four times in the last three years. For families without an income apart from cultivation, life is hard.
“Gunawathie (40) originally from Madawachiya is unmarried. Her family derive their main income from helping two brothers who cultivate the family plot of 3 acres. They manage because of support from the state (e.g. dry rations) in the event of crop failure. That also means state patronage.
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 read earlier parts click here

Raping and Murdering Your Way Into War Crime Court'Indisputable' - the Only Word for Sri Lanka's Guilt Lanka's army messed up bigtime in deciding to rape and murder a famous TV reporter named Isaipriya. (WARNING: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC IMAGES)
(SACRAMENTO) - If a government remains indifferent and defiant long enough, even the west can lose its patience. Sri Lanka's President Majinda Rajapakse oversaw the elimination of approximately 160,000 Tamil people during the closing months of the country's civil war.

Isiapriya was an LTTE officer
Touted as a hero at first for eliminating the Tamil Tigers or LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), Sri Lanka's President Majinda Rajapakse has since been exposed as a war crime president. He runs this country with his three brothers, all of whom hold high political positions and a large portion of the nation's wealth.
The country has sailed into political turmoil because of the unrepentant attitude of its national leaders. There are thousands and thousands of photos and videos of the minority Tamil Hindu and Christian people being slaughtered by the Sri Lankan government, and after a while their squawk, "fake fake" starts sounding irresponsible and ridiculous, even to those who at first could not believe the charges.
Tamil Tigers were militants, but most of the people killed by Sri Lanka in the early months of 2009 were just families. Civilians were specifically targeted by the Sri Lankan Army. People were terrorized, chased, children were given no quarter. The Tamils of Sri Lanka endured a bloodfest and those who lived are forever scarred.

This article is partly excerpted from the report Sri Lanka Can't Deny This... Disturbing Video Proves Sri Lanka Army Committed War Crimes, filed in June 2012.
War proponents and propagandists often make excuses for criminal acts that take place in combat. People who have never heard a shot fired in anger can be the first to stupidly say, "Well that happens in war." Yet most of the crimes we criticize governments for are not committed in the heat of battle, they generally happen after the smoke clears. War crimes take place during bad wars. Politics are behind this most grim expression of criminal militant brutality.
The story of Isaipriya or Shoba, who was a reporter from TamilNet and a member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam - The Tamil Tigers, gives a clear idea of what motivates these crimes. Prime motivating factors are lust, greed, indifference, and the knowledge that there will be no repercussions for acts committed against enemy prisoners and civilians.

While this report concentrates on the video showing Isaipriya's body as an obvious rape/murder victim, and alternately posed as a dead militant, a new video clip has emerged as well, thanks to Channel 4 in London. This unforgettable footage shows Isaipriya's actual capture.
Sitting half naked in shallow water on what appears to be a mud flat, she is taken by soldiers who initially cover the top half of her unclothed body. There is no explanation as to why she is only partly clothed.
In the video we see her brought closer to the camera. Soldiers initially mistakenly identify her as the daughter of LTTE Chief Velupillai Prabhakaran. She tells them that she is not Prabhakaran's daughter, and then the video ends.
In death, Isaipriya is still wearing the white cloth that the Sri Lankan Army covered her with in death photos, though it was alternately moved to expose her breasts.

Excuses, reasons, explanations...
Recent reports about Isaipriya divided her name in half, referring to her as Isai Priya. She was a mother, a dancer, an actor and journalist with TamilNet. Isaipriya had health issues and she didn't carry a rifle, she carried a microphone.
But even if she had been a full bore LTTE fighter, there are international laws that protect combatants after they are prisoners of war.
Sri Lanka did not follow these rules of war. In the first photos of Isaipriya, she is dead, her clothes are stripped away from her body, her hands are tied behind her back and her pants are pulled down, her legs are spread. Dead women with their legs open and their clothing stripped away, who are bound, are generally rape victims.

The photo we all first saw; the fact that her
hands are tied proves she was murdered.
She is photographed and videotaped initially it appears, where the murder likely occurred. These are the images that show her with her hands bound behind her back. They are backed up with video that Channel 4 used in 'Sri Lanka's Killing Fields'.
It shows very clearly, that the girls who are recently killed, are actually covered up to some degree when the video begins, and then the clothes come off again to reveal their damaged, nude, dead bodies.

Isaipriya's hands are untied in the new clip
No human being deserves such a fate. Isaipriya led a dignified life, it is a tragedy that her life ended so violently, in a story packed with lies from the Sri Lankan government, which has categorically denied every element of indisputable truth.
These are hard images to look at, but they tell more of a story now, than they did at first. A London attorney named Vasuki Muruhathas, who represents an unnamed Tamil war crime victim, recently acquired and released 32 new video clips of captured and dead LTTE fighters.
It is clip #28, at 2:56, that heavily indicts Sri Lanka in the death of Isaipriya.
This video shows her body in a row of dead fighters, presumably photographed for identification by the Sri Lankan Army. The still frame to the right is recorded after the clip on the left, according to metadata.
Smoking Gun

At 5:50 in this clip, we see the body of Isaipriya with her hands tied behind her back. It is clear that she has been bound, violated and murdered. Most bodies are buried, but hers served another purpose...

In this more recently emerged tape, Isaipriya's body is shown at 2:56 with her hands untied in a lineup with dead Tamil Tigers. In previous images, her were hands tied behind her back, this proved her body was staged.
The thing that sets this video apart, is that the young woman is not bound in these shots. Her hands have been untied to make her appear as one more dead resistance fighter, but we know that shortly before this, she was laying in a pool of blood with her hands tied.
This is where the deception of Sri Lanka's government clearly enters the picture. They really must have assumed their critics wouldn't eventually see through their constant denials. Sri Lanka portrays all media who report this information as groups with personal beefs against their country.
Several things are clear:
  • Isaipriya was captured alive or surrendered, or else she would not have been restrained. Nobody ties the hands of a dead person, so she was alive at first.
  • The positioning of her body; the nudity and seemingly depraved references to her naked form recorded on video, indicate a state of sexual interest and assault.
  • The fact that her hands are untied and that she is laid in a row of corpses, proves that the SLA tried to cause the viewer and consequently the world public, to believe that her death was a legal act of war when it could not possibly have been.
We have the proof and there is no need to ask about whether war crimes took place, it is painfully obvious that they did. I hate using the photos of Isaipriya nude but believe the full impact of what happened is necessary. These clips are all one needs to see to know Sri Lanka's forces acted with great depravity and that no captives, even non-combatant journalists. off limits to their abuse and destruction.

Exclusive Interview with Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran
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“Please do not pre-judge and criticise my strategies and level unjust allegations”

Exclusive Interview with Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran

Exclusive Interview by Thambu Kanagasabai (Attorney at Law), a resident of Toronto, Ontario with Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister Justice C.V. Wigneswaran

The interview was conducted at the Chief Minister’s residence in Jaffna on Oct 10th, 2013 in Tamil and translations of the excerpts from it are as follows:

TNA under the leadership of Sampanthan along with your participation has recorded an overwhelming

Decoding The Inscrutable Chinese CP

By Kumar David -December 1, 2013 
Prof Kumar David
Prof Kumar David
Colombo TelegraphUpshot of the Third Plenum: Decoding the inscrutable Chinese CP
The Third Plenary session of Central Committee elected at the 11-th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party’s met in December 1978, chose Deng Xiaoping as paramount leader, adopted an agenda of economic reforms and the rest is history you might think. No, it was two years before the world awoke to its colossal impact. The plenum communiqué, crafted in Mao-speak, was as opaque as a slab of lead. The Third Plenum of the 18-th CC met in November 2013. Xi Jinping has been waffling about monumental change for months, but the post-plenum communiqué matched its predecessor in foggy opacity. However, a more lucid plenum resolution containing 60 initiatives was released last week. I have not been able to lay hands on a full English version.
However, a few things have happened already; small but crucial experiments in Anhui to allow peasants to sell land, and second, asking Sri Lanka, after CHOGM, to pay attention to human rights. The latter may not be a one-off thing but signal a turn bringing Beijing back from where it is now, way out on a limb, closer to the prevailing international consensus on human rights. Don’t expect a reversed vote at the next UN-HRC or anything dramatic. China moves by deliberate infinitesimal steps, but like a glacier once it begins to shift, change is inexorable. This however is not my topic today, Rajapakse buffoonery bores me. Instead, I turn to the infinitely and globally more important issue of the reforms that have kick-started the Xi Jinping decade.
There is one trait to grasp if you wish to figure out the post-Mao chess board; slow, gradual moves in small steps, watch then move again. Never precipitate big-bangs. Chinese political thinkers are unanimous: The Soviet Union collapsed because of big-shot, big-noise folly; perestroika, glasnost and such like desperate throws of the dice. Confucius like fixation with social stability, consolidation at every stage, safeguarding Party authority, that’s the pace. ‘On the darkest of nights a monkey does not loose its grip’. The Politburo has learnt a Tamil proverb!
The leaders turned a blind eye in 1979 when peasants in one area dismantled Communes, let it spread, and then enacted a universal household responsibility system (in effect, private farming). First a few experimental  joint ventures with state enterprises in the early 1980s, then a welcome mat for overseas Chinese capitalists, now some of the largest foreign investments in history – Foxconn is not a factory, it’s a whole blithering district! Reform came from the countryside and mutated into glittering seaboard cities, then gradually took over the global consumer goods market. All gingerly done with bandaged feet; China’s women may be liberated, but the Party prefers measured steps.
The debate in China                        Read More  

Fri, Nov 29, 2013,

Lankapage LogoNov 29, Colombo: The major Tamil political party in Sri Lanka, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) says the government has not yet presented a political solution to the national problem as recommended by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).
TNA Leader, parliamentarian R. Sampanthan said that although the LLRC had recommended that the government present a political solution to the national question, such a solution was not presented by the government despite holding several rounds of talks with the TNA.
Explaining that the government and his party had held several rounds of discussions on finding a political solution in 2011, the TNA Leader said that both parties had agreed to a solution based on a united, undivided country.
However, Sampanthan noted that the government had not responded to the proposals presented by the TNA based on this principal and had even avoided participating in several discussions on finding a political solution in 2012.

According to the TNA Leader, the government following pressure from some of its allies has set up a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) claiming to find a political solution to the national problem, with the real intention of delaying the process of finding a permanent solution.
The shadow of war

Asna Ali-Saturday, November 30, 2013 violence in Sri Lanka may have ended but

long-standing grievances on both sides have not vanished

When the conflict between government forces and Tamil separatists effectively came to end in 2009 after more than two decades, Sri Lanka began its journey towards increasing its regional power. 

With the help of loans from both China and India, the country has been rebuilding and putting itself on the map as an important member of the regional and international community. The Commonwealth summit held there earlier this month was supposed to be an important milestone in this journey.

Unfortunately for the Sri Lankan government, everything did not go according to plan. The international community has become ever more emphatic in its demands that the Sri Lankan government initiate investigations into the war, particularly its final few weeks when it is rumoured that many human rights violations occurred. 

Throughout its long period, this conflict claimed many thousands of lives and, according to UN reports, many of these happened near the end. The rebels were hemmed into a small area along with numerous civilians. 

It is reported that these people were used as human shields by the rebels and also that armed forces deliberately fired into known civilian areas and safe zones. Investigations into the matter by the Sri Lankan government have been deemed inadequate by many.

It is for this reason that even as the government was busy issuing defensive statements, the leaders of India, Mauritius and Canada refused to participate in the Commonwealth Summit to register their protest over Sri Lanka’s reluctance to carry out large scale investigations into its civil war. 

During the summit, Tamils lined the streets holding up pictures of their dead or missing loved ones for the world to see. The spotlight was not on the summit’s agenda or Sri Lanka’s triumph over ethnic conflict or the progress it has made ever since. 

Instead, British Prime Minister David Cameron, one of the leaders who did attend the summit, used this opportunity to visit survivors of the conflict and make his own strong opinions known on the subject. Reiterating the views of other world leaders, Cameron called for investigations into war crimes. 

Though the Sri Lankan government has been adamant in the past that claims about war crimes are false and that it has the right to carry out any probe into the matter at its own pace, the events during the Commonwealth Summit have left it wrong-footed. 

Finally caving in to the demands, it has now been announced that a census will be conducted to find out the full extent of loss of life and property during the civil war period – from 1983 to 2009. 

However, this census is being deemed inadequate by human rights groups who have pointed out that several surveys of this nature have been called for in the past but their results are biased. There are no enquiries into war crimes and violations of international law by the armed forces. 

As Sri Lanka continues its march towards normalcy and ‘healing the wounds of war’, many observers look on with concern. It has been suggested that extremist sentiments in the country have not evaporated with the end of the civil war. Rather, they have found new targets in other minority groups like Muslims and Christians. 

A conflict that has lasted a whole generation is sure to have long shadows. The violence may have ended but long-standing grievances on both sides have not vanished. The dead, the disappeared and the displaced call for justice. 

Here’s hoping that Sri Lanka will emerge from this shadow more united and not with another ethnic conflict on its hands.

The writer is a business studies graduate from southern Punjab. Email:

After CHOGM Ecstasy, Preparing For Geneva Agony

By Rajan Philips -December 1, 2013 
Rajan Philips
Rajan Philips
Colombo Telegraph After CHOGM Ecstasy, Preparing for Geneva Agony: The Right Way and the Wrong Way  
CHOGM may not have been unblemished ecstasy, but Geneva will be every bit an agony unless the government gets its act together in time for the UNHRCsessions in March next year.  Three months are not enough to resolve the contradictions of a thirty year war.  The government could possibly make that argument, but it would be a hard sell coming 56 months, after the war ended, of political indifference and inaction towards the Tamils, and inexplicably orchestrated harassment of the Muslims.  Still, the government can make a reasonable case for more time and against another censure by: (a) declaring that its honest and sincere intention is to effectively work with the new Northern Provincial Council; (b) indicating immediate measures to address the humanitarian issues in war affected areas; and (c) producing a reasonable timetable to implement the LLRC recommendations.  Three months are more than enough to prepare along these lines before the Geneva meeting.  In fact the government could work with the NPC Administration and put together a joint plan of action for presentation in Geneva.  That would be the right way to respond to what is now a predictable and periodical interrogation in Geneva.
That would also be the right way to respond to the challenge thrown by British Prime Minister David Cameron that Britain would pursue the matter vigourously at the UNHRC if Sri Lanka does not complete before March its own investigation of what happened during the final stages of the war.  President Rajapaksa offered a plausible rejoinder that these issues that are the fallouts from 30 years of war cannot be resolved in three months, even though the political origins of the war go back another 30 years before the war started.  Further, whether the reply was honest is a different matter given that the government has done nothing for 56 months.  Nor could it be considered sincere without a commitment to a plan of action and a firm timeline.  Significantly, however, the President did not reject out of hand the British Prime Minister’s call for an inquiry, and is reported to have shown some interest in the experience of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in post-apartheid South Africa.
But as we have seen time and again during his presidency, President Rajapaksa gives all the indication that he would be doing the right thing but ends up doing the opposite wrong thing.  It is as if he is under some compulsion to ignore good advice and allow himself to be swayed by bad advice and make wrong decisions.  The incarceration of Sarath Fonseka and the impeachment of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake were instances where President Rajapaksa appears to have gone along with wrong advice after expressing initial reservations.  May be it is more difficult to manage a cabinet of extended family members than a cabinet of political ministers.  Not that the Sri Lankan formal Cabinet is the ideal forum for objective debate and disinterested advice.  The few good ministers in the bloated cabinet are only seenRead More
Arab News — Saudi Arabia News, Middle East News, Opinion, Economy and more.Saturday 30 November 2013
IT’S now over a week since I returned from Jaffna and the images still both haunt and inspire me. The visit I made to the north of Sri Lanka was fascinating — you can get all the briefings you like but nothing can replace seeing the situation for yourself.
There were those who said I should stay away from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka. They said that by going I was giving legitimacy to what has happened in the north of the country. I couldn’t disagree more. By going we were able to shine a light on what more needs to be done.
The end of the civil war in Sri Lanka is a massive opportunity but the issues now need to be grasped. This isn’t about imposing a Westminster view of the world. It’s about standing up for the values that all Commonwealth countries have signed up to. In turn, the rest of the world should recognize political leaders when they get things right.
So what needs to happen? First of all, there should be a transparent, credible investigation into alleged war crimes. No one wants to go back to the days of the Tamil Tigers, a brutal terrorist organization. But equally, the Sri Lankan government cannot look the other way. When I met President Rajapaska I pressed for an investigation to take place — and I made clear that if those investigations were not begun properly by next March, we would call for an international inquiry through the United Nations.
Second, there needs to be greater progress on human rights across the board in Sri Lanka: Genuine freedom of expression and a free media, an end to the intimidation of journalists and human rights defenders and action to stamp out torture.
Finally, there needs to a genuine reconciliation between communities. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country with enormous potential in the years ahead. But for too long it has been blighted by conflict. If Sri Lanka takes the opportunity to heal these old wounds then there is the prospect of a much brighter future for all its people.
I know that for many readers the situation in Sri Lanka is deeply personal. It’s not about faceless diplomacy — it’s about your families, friends and their future. So believe me when I say it that we will do everything in our power to help. I’m determined that we play our part in building a brighter future for the people of Sri Lanka and laying the ghosts of the past to rest.

The Dragon Wakes Up To Human Rights Record In Sri Lanka

( November 28, 2013, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) China is waking up. Having been elected to power President Xi Xinpin has so far enjoyed a honeymoon of silence on human rights and corruption for the past one year.
He has now become serious about making his presence effectively felt. To coincide with the election of China to the United Nations Human Rights Council the Chinese leadership is saying enough is enough to the glaring human rights abuses in Sri Lanka which stand out.
Resonating with the calls from India, Britain and other powers, Qin Gang the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, reflecting the views of the general secretary of the Chinese Communist party Xi Xinpin, has told Sri Lanka to “make efforts to protect and promote human rights” and to address allegations of rights abuses against the country’s minority Tamils, further stating “Due to the differences in the economic and social development of different countries, there could be differences on human rights protection.” It is no coincidence that this statement came during the CHOGM, making it opportune for universal consideration. Though not a member of the Commonwealth, China provided most of its infrastructure. China’s current stand is undoubtedly not the work of the LTTE rump or the Tamil Diaspora although the support and the closeness to the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese culture amongst the Tamil people during the fifties to the nineties are worthy of note.
Xi is an outstanding and resolute leader bent on action. His integrity is unquestioned and his family is also reputed for being above corruption. At a time when he is wooing the western powers especially the European Union and the US he cannot be seen flirting with Sri Lanka riddled with corruption and enmeshed in grave human rights abuses. However, unlike Europe, China also refuses to be intimidated by the US.
Unfortunately for China the matter of corruption and to a lesser extent human rights are seen as its Achilles’ heal and they cannot at this juncture be seen to be hamstrung with the horrendous crimes against humanity obtaining in Sri Lanka. Qin apparently echoing the views of Xi has further stated: “I believe that on the human rights issue, dialogue and communication should be enhanced among countries.” Qin has further said: “We always maintained that on the human rights issues, countries around the world should enhance mutual understanding through dialogue and communication and take constructive means to promote the development of the international human rights cause.” This comes at a time when the Rajapaksas have been counting on China and Russia to bail them out from the US resolutions of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the next human rights sessions in March 2014 in Geneva.
From Xi’s firm stand against corruption and his urging the Chinese administrators to respect its Constitution have encouraged the Chinese liberals. In one of his recent speeches Xi has emphasised that “all citizens are equal before the law”, that “freedom should be guaranteed” and that “no one should be allowed to be above the constitution.” This has been interpreted by some observers as his manifesto to usher in a new era of liberalism and the rule of law. The position of China being a secular State is the better for it.
Most recently President Rajapaksa went to the ridiculous extent of rewarding a parliamentarian, promoting him to the rank of a cabinet minister. His only claim to such elevation was that he was responsible for organising protests and blockades, during the CHOGM, against foreign human rights activists moving freely and meeting with victims of human rights abuses.
It was during the time of Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike as prime minister that close relations with China came to be forged much to the mutual advantage of both countries. This relationship was not tainted with even the slightest semblance of corruption for Mrs. Bandaranike for whom enriching herself and the members of her family was the furthest in her thinking. Despite her other failings she was indeed above corruption. Today in Sri Lanka while its human record is in tatters its effective leadership concentrated in just one family has also to account for the enormous corruption also in connection with the Chinese aid and loans. More loans that the Rajapaksas ask for more commissions they are paid finding their way into their pockets.
With Xi Xinpin’s warning and the serious concerns of western powers, it is becoming increasingly evident that the noose is tightening around the necks of Mahinda Rajapaksa, now taking cover under the fact that he is the Chair of the Commonwealth, his brothers and the other war criminals who are getting around with impunity.
( The writer is the editor of the Eelam Nation)

CHOGM Balance Sheet

By Bandu de Silva -November 30, 2013 |
Bandu De Silva
Bandu De Silva
Colombo TelegraphOne might say it is too early to draw up the balance sheet of the CHOGMheld in Colombo between 15th and 17th November 2013 and other events which were associated with it which the Government of Sri Lanka claimed were all part of the CHOGM programmme. This is because the results of some of the extraneous events like Commonwealth Investors’ [Business] Forum might take time to gestate and produce results. Many wheels would have to turn before the Investment Forum could bring results. What would have happened at the Forum is mere exploratory talk as usual with such events. One is familiar with BOI’s past claims and performance. If what was said by it all true this country would now be flooded with foreign investments. For example, how many investors’ forums have we had with the major investor country Japan in Asia but not a single full scale investment is yet to materialize from that country.
It is then just as well that with available information that one tries to draw up at least a tentative balance -sheet to see if the grandiose spectacle for whose success the government placed all its aces in recent times was not what our small time businessman would call “Jaan bera-gattha” or, on the contrary,  “Athatath Paadu-una” affair, but one with rewarding results as the government might wont to present it. As some say, it has been very rewarding to a few. Let’s not talk about that here. For the risk taking business community, big or small ones, such risk-taking experiences are not unusual. They consider the risks are worth taking, “Giyoth Satha pahay: Aavoth JP Pattamay”, as our erudite scholar Late Prof G.P Malalasekera often repeated. In this case, of course, the ‘going” (giyoth) stakes were not “satha-paha” for the postage -stamp but billions of Rupees, enough to build two more sea ports or such big ventures, not forgetting the closed-down over hundreds of schools for lack of funds to maintain them; and “coming” (Avoth) is the far more prestigious Chair of CHOGM for two years. Cannot one see the accolades coming from the provincial politicos with their “maharajaneni” posters and full page newspaper advertisements, of course, done with tongue in cheek, hoping for a betterpattama for them next time, like a promotion to central politics with a deputy Ministerial post at least, to start with. Such is the greed for power and climbing in the country.  Remember the Sinhalese adage “Vaedi Aacharaya Hora”. That helps to understand the poster people today with their own picture (stamp size) down below that of the larger portraiture of the President leaving much climbing space in the means whileboth literary and metopherically speaking.