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

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Journalists protest against media repression in North
31 July 2014

Photograph Tamil Guardian
Journalists protested today in Jaffna, against the ongoing media repression of press in the island's North. 
Carrying placards calling for an end on the war against the media, Tamil journalists together with locals and Tamil politicians, staged a protest by the main bus stand in Jaffna at 12pm local time.

Alienated At Home: Jewish And Tamil Experience

Colombo Telegraph
By Charles Sarvan -July 31, 2014 
Prof. Charles Sarvan
Prof. Charles Sarvan
What follows is consequent of a remark made by (Sinhalese) Mr Bradman Weerakoon on 20 June 2014 in the course of a eulogy on his close friend of many years, (Tamil) Mr Duleepkumar. It was, I felt, both eulogy and elegy: “His last years were painful, mentally more than physically, as he took on himself the sad plight of what was happening to his people […] in the North and East.” As Literature teaches us, collective misfortune is finally experienced by individual, sentient, human beings; in turn, an individual life can give us insight into a wider, and therefore impersonal, anonymous, tragedy: as it has been noted, the noun ‘Literature’ can also be seen as a verb.
In an email communication to me Mr Weerakoon added: “He cut himself from his former friends because he could not understand their indifference to what was happening to fellow citizens.” The last phrase, “fellow citizens” is significant. Writing on Adrian Wijemanne, I observed that if the Sinhalese had been oppressed, Adrian Wijemanne would have fought as courageously, clearly and eloquently as he had fought for the Tamils. Fundamentally, the struggle is not on behalf of a group but for fellow citizens; going further, for the human-rights of all, irrespective of skin-colour, religion, language, class or sex. Words from Keats’ ‘Fall of Hyperion’ come to mind: “those to whom the miseries of the world / Are misery, and will not let them rest”. (For “rest” one could substitute words such as be “indifferent”, “uncaring” or “inactive”.)
A friend now settled in Perth, Australia, observed that injustice, when it is prolonged, comes to be seen and accepted as normal. Time transforms the abnormal into what comes to be seen as normal: for example, the Chinese occupation of Tibet. New roads and buildings; social and cultural activities camouflage fundamental injustice and present the appearance of normality, indeed of progress. Mr Duleepkumar declined to be deceived.
My friend, like Mr Duleepkumar, lamented the large number of “Sinhalese friends from our past who so enriched our lives but, when it came to the crunch, disappointed us”. The disappointment was because (1) they had succumbed to prevailing hegemonic ideas, abandoning earlier principles and ideals. They had become ‘racists’, though still claiming to be of the Left: a socialist does not countenance hierarchy (be it of class, ‘race’, sex, or religion), oppression and exploitation. (2) Or they were indifferent.  (3) Or, if they were concerned, they were silent and inactive. With reference to the last, Martin Luther King sadly said that the silence of friends causes more pain than the words of enemies.                                  Read More 

Our Gaza

“Israel is no longer able to think about a solution to a political conflict except in terms of physical might; no wonder it is prone to never ending cycles of mortal violence. And when the cannons fire no criticism may be heard.”

| by Tisaranee Gunasekara

Petition by 50 Israeli army reservists on refusing to join the Gaza offensive
( July 31, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Israel calls it the Operation Protective Edge.
How many Palestinians must die for Israel to feel protected?

by Thavam

ACMF challenges the govt. to hamper the workshop

ACMF 410px 14 07 31
ACMF 600px 14 07 31
As a measure against the 'cowardly and shameful conduct of the state sponsored thugs' over media workshops, the Action Committee for Media Freedom (ACMF) says that they will soon hold a media workshop for jounalists of the North and South regions.

Speaking at a media briefing held at the Sri Lanka Press institute (SLPI) yesterday (July 30), the ACMF challenged the government to hamper the workshop.
The movement also said that they would take measures to brief all diplomatic missions in the country over the plight of the media freedom under the prevailing regime.
Speaking, convener of the ACMF and former Editor of the 'Lakbima' newspaper - Saman Wagaarachchi said that this situation could deteriorate further during the forthcoming elections.
However, regardless of the situation, the ACMF would line up to pose a challenge, he added.
Meanwhile, Dharmasiri Lankapeli, General Secretary of Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions said that representatives of media rights organisations are even faced with death threats.
Also, chairman of the Professional Web Journalists Association - Freddy Gamage said that though the PWJA has requested an audience with the Minister of Media to discuss problems that are faced by web journalists, the minister is yet to respond

Legal Action Viable Against ISPs That Block News Sites: Verité Research

July 31, 2014
Colombo TelegraphLegal action can be taken against Sri Lankan Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that have imposed blockades on certain news websites, think-tank Verité Research has highlighted.
TRC head Anusha Palpita
TRC head Anusha Palpita
In a piece published in today’s Daily Mirror Business section, it has been pointed out that although the government has been blamed for influencing the ISPs to block certain news sites such as Colombo Telegraph, due to the lack of evidence of the blockage being legally instituted by the government the ISPs are vulnerable to legal action in the future.
Presently there are two ISPs listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange and the piece points out that the ISPs can be sued in the future by any of their subscribers or even a virtual class action/ representative action for past damages on behalf of millions of subscribers.
“The larger the subscribers base of the ISP, the greater the vulnerability,” it notes.
The piece further notes although the TRC is legally entitled to license and exercise oversight to ISPs under the Sri Lanka Telecommunications Act – it does not grant any legal right for the TRC to express right to the ISPs to issue any arbitrary directive to block or restrict access to some websites at its own discretion.
It points out the laws have been carefully drafted in fact to be on the contrary – among the general objectives of the Act being to ‘to ensure that operators are able to carry out their obligations for providing a reliable and efficient service free of undue delay, hindrance or impediment’.
Hence, Verité points out that:
1. No other authority, not even the president, is empowered to give a directive to the ISPs, apart from the TRC –directives to the ISPs can be lawful only when they come through the TRC.
2. Directives from the TRC should have been received in writing by the ISPs and available for examination by a court of law. Principles of administrative law wouldn’t ascribe credibility to claims of receiving directives only orally.
3. The TRC has no power to issue directives at its whim and fancy. The directives of the TRC are lawful only when they conform to the Legality-Test.
Therefore, it notes that if an ISP is unable to establish that the blocking of a website has been done with proper due diligence in respect of the above, then it can be accused of having acted illegally. In order to establish its actions have been legal, it would need to be able to provide evidence of a request from the TRC which cites the relevant published decisions of the government or asserts itself to be based on written directives of the minister.
The piece has also stressed on the importance the basic right of any customer of an ISP to know the limits imposed on the service for which she is paying.
“It is curious that despite the significant public concerns no Sri Lankan ISP has so far made the list of sites that they block public. The failure to share this information can be seen as increasing their culpability, in the event that the blockades themselves are one day found to be illegal,” it notes drawing examples from the Internet giant Google, with the manner in which it deals with situations if it is pressured governments of politicians to act in way inimical to public interest, it either.
“It is curious that despite the significant public concerns no Sri Lankan ISP has so far made the list of sites that they block public. The failure to share this information can be seen as increasing their culpability, in the event that the blockades themselves are one day found to be illegal,” it notes drawing examples from the Internet giant Google – with the manner in which it deals with situations if it is pressured by governments or politicians to act in a way that is inimical to public interest, by either refusing or resisting requests that are not lawful or not in the public interest or publishing requests made and how they were handled.
Gota -BBS jointly to resume violence Island wide after 10 th August- leaks out at secret discussion on Monday
(Lanka-e-News- 30.July.2014, 11.30PM) The Criminal Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse sponsored paramilitary monk squad alias the Bodhu Bala Sena (BBS) organization (internationally condemned as a terrorist organization) which was used by Gotabaya to cause murder and mayhem via racial violence in Alutgama recently ,temporarily halted its murderous violence. However they are planning to hold meetings Island wide after 10 th August and wreak havoc , according to reports reaching Lanka e news inside information division.

A secret meeting was held at the defense Ministry last Monday evening (28) in this connection. Galagoda Aththe Gnanassara , Dilantha Vithanage the BBS Secretary, and other monks of the BBS, as well as Gotabaya along with chief of the army staff, Jagath Jayasuriya , IGP Ilangakoon, senior DIG Gamini Navaratne , and State intelligence service cum Terrorist investigation chief DIG Chandra Wakishta participated in this meeting.

At this meeting it was discussed and proposed that BBS should speak against the government with a view to rescuing the country. It was pointed out through the Geneva international investigation into war crimes attempts are being made to bring the country’s military officers under the ‘guillotine’, and the UN is supporting this via America. It was decided by highlighting this the people are to be aroused, and at the rallies of the BBS the government shall be criticized. Gotabaya explained , otherwise , people will come to know that this is orchestrated by the government .

When the IGP questioned whether this is practically possible while the Uva provincial council election is in the offing ,and soon after the Alutgama violence , Gotabaya replied , ‘that is no issue’ , and instructed the IGP to provide full security to execute these plans.

Gotabaya insisted that it should be 100 % and not 99.9 % security . At this juncture , when Gnanassara said , some police officers don’t care two hoots for his orders, Gotabaya told the army security council chief to provide a security contingent of 20 army officers at every meeting.

Jagath Jayasuriya requested Gnanassara to furnish him ahead with full details of what he is going to speak at the meetings . Gnanassara agreed to comply with this request. Jayasuriya who was pleased with the answer, told Gotabaya , ’in that case we can deploy that team.’ Nevertheless the team was not identified at the discussion. Gota also ordered Wakishta to give him a comprehensive report on the meeting.

The army commander , the IGP and other commanders of he forces had to make a record when entering the defense Ministry to attend the discussion that lasted about two hours . Gnanassara and his clan however were allowed to enter and exit without any record.

It is significant to note that after the gory violence and mayhem at Alutgama , Gotabaya Rajapakse when interviewed by the Daily mirror newspaper said , there is no connection whatsoever between him and the BBS. He challenged any body to prove that there is , if any body can. 
Amending Executive Powers Former CJ takes reins 

 July 31, 2014
A Committee headed by former Chief Justice, Sarath Nanda Silva has been appointed to draft an amendment to the Constitution in the form of limiting the powers of the Executive Presidency, implementing the 17th Amendment with further amendments, and to completely do away with the preferential vote system.

The new draft will strengthen the positions of the Prime Minister, ministers and powers afforded to the Parliament, while also strengthening the powers of the independent Public Service Commission, Elections Commission, Judicial Service Commission and the National Police Commission as included in the 17th Amendment.
"Jathika Hela Urumaya Parliamentarian, Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera has handed over the responsibility of this task to me. I am working independently using my experience. After I have completed the draft, it will go to another group of intellectuals to get some feedback. This is really an effort to lessen the unlimited powers afforded to the President. After the Uva Provincial Council election is done we will hand this over to the President as we want him to implement our amendments to the Constitution," Silva added.

However, Sri Lanka Freedom Party internal sources confirmed President Mahinda Rajapaksa had just last week invited Silva and Attorney General, Palitha Fernando to discuss the matter. However, the latter had not attended the discussion.
இராணுவ பிடியில் இருக்கும் காணியில் சிங்கள குடியேற்றம்? 

logonbanner-130 ஜுலை 2014, புதன்
வடபகுதியில் இராணுவ முகாம்களுக்கு என்று சுவீகரிக்கப்படும் காணிகளில் சிங்களக்குடி யேற்றங்களை நிறுவுவதற்கே அரசு முயற்சித்து வருகிறது. இதனால் பரம்பரையாக தமது சொந்த இடங்களில் வாழ்ந்த மக்கள் அகதி முகாம்களில் அவல வாழ்வை எதிர்கொள்ளும் நிலை ஏற்பட்டுள்ளது. 
இவ்வாறு தெரிவித்தார் தமிழரசுக் கட்சியின் பொதுச் செயலாளரும் நாடாளுமன்ற உறுப்பினருமான மாவை சேனாதிராசா. தமிழரசுக் கட்சியின் காங்கேசன் துறைக்கிளை தெல்லிப் பழையில் நேற்று திறந்து வைக்கப்பட்டது. 
இந்த நிகழ்வில் கலந்துகொண்டு உரையாற் றும்போதே அவர் இவ்வாறு தெரிவித்தார்.
அங்கு அவர் மேலும் தெரிவித்தவை வருமாறு:
பரம்பரை பரம்பரையாக விவசாயம், மீன்பிடி போன்ற தொழில்களைச் செய்து வந்த மக்கள் இன்று வீடற்றவர்களாக அகதிகளாக அவல வாழ்வை எதிர்கொண்டு வருகின்றனர். அவர்களது பூர்வீக நிலங்களை இராணுவத்தினர் தம்வசம் வைத்துள்ளனர். 
இவ்வாறு வைத்திருக்கும் காணிகளை கையகப்படுத்தும் அவர்கள் சிங்களக் குடியேற்றங்களையே தமிழர் பகுதியில் ஏற்படுத்தத் திட்டமிட்டுள்ளனர்.
இன்று தமிழ் இன விகிதாசாரத்தைக் குறைக்கும் வகையில் அரசு செயற்பட்டு வருகிறது. வடக்குக் கிழக்கில் அமைதியின்மையைப் பேணி மக்களை வெளியேற்றுவதில் அரசு குறியாக உள்ளது. 
இன்று சுமார் 2 லட்சத்துக்கும் மேற்பட்டவர்கள் இந்தியாவில் அகதி முகாம்களில் வசிக்கின்றனர். இவர்களுக்கு இந்தியாவில் குடியுரிமை வழங்க வேண்டும் என்று தமிழக முதல்வர் வலியுறுத்தி வருகிறார். கடந்த 60 ஆண்டு காலமாக தொடரும் தமிழ் மக்கள் மீதான கெடுபிடிகள் தற்போது மேலும் வலுப்பெற்றிருக்கின்றன. 
அதாவது பண்பாட்டு விழுமியங்களை சிதைப்பது ஊடாக ஒரு இனத்தை அழித்து விடலாம் என்பதே அவர்களின் நீண்ட கால திட்டமாக உள்ளது.
மயிலிட்டியில் தந்தை செல்வா காலத்தில் துறைமுகம் அமைக்கப்பட்டு இங்குள்ள உற்பத்திப் பொருள்கள் ஏற்றுமதி செய்யப்பட்டுள்ளன. ஒரு காலத்தில் எமது பகுதிகளில் இருந்து 300 க்கு மேற்பட்ட லொறிகளில் கடலுணவு கொண்டு செல்லப்பட்டது. 
தென்னிலங்கையில் இருந்து வரும் வியாபாரிகள் பெருமளவான பொருள்களை கொள்வனவு செய்து சென்றனர். இந்தக் காலத்தில் செல்வச் செழிப்புடன் எமது கிராமங்கள் விளங்கின. ஆனால் இன்று நாம் தென்னிலங்கையை நம்பி வாழ வேண்டிய சூழல் ஏற்படுத்தப் பட்டிருக்கிறது.
மத்திய அரசு மாகாண சபைகளுக்கான அதிகாரங்களை தம்வசப்படுத்தி வைத்திருக்கிறது. இதனால் தமிழ் மக்கள் தொடர்ச்சியாக துன்பங்களையே எதிர்நோக்க வேண்டியுள்ளது என்றார்.
- See more at:

by Dasun Edirisinghe-July 28, 2014,

JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake had a narrow escape when the double cab he was travelling in collided head-on with an on-coming tipper truck at Holipitiya on the Horana–Ratnapura road yesterday around 11.30 a.m. Following preliminary treatment at the Ratnapura General Hospital he was transferred to the National Hospital, Colombo.

Police Media spokesman’s office said the accident had occurred when MP Dissanayake’s vehicle driven by another person tried to overtake a tipper truck transporting sand.

Hospital sources said the JVP Leader’s condition was not serious.

The police said that another person who travelled with MP Dissanayake was still being treated at the Ratnapura General Hospital.

JVP Propaganda Secretary Vijitha Herath said that his leader’s condition was not serious, but he had been transferred to the national hospital for more tests.

MP Dissanayake had the seatbelt on at the time of the mishap, but his chest hit the dashboard due to the impact, according to the police.

Director of the National Hospital Dr. Anil Jasinghe said that the JVP Leader had been admitted to Ward No. 15 to undergo further investigation. He confirmed that the MP’s condition was not serious but some tests had to be conducted.

Sri Lankan president will stay away from war commemoration service

Herald ScotlandThe controversial president of Sri Lanka, whose government faces ­allegations of war crimes, will not attend the Commonwealth's official First World War commemoration service in Glasgow next week.

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Mahinda Rajapaksa's regime is accused of committing atrocities against its own people in the final weeks of his country's 26-year civil war. There had been concern his presence could overshadow Monday's event.
But while Mr Rajapaksa, who holds the position of Chair in Office of the Commonwealth until next year, will stay away, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), which is ­helping to organise the event, said Sri Lanka would be represented by the country's UK High Commissioner.
David Cameron has described the allegations against the Sri Lankan government as "appalling" and "chilling" and warned the regime to investigate the accusations or face an international inquiry. The rejection of that ultimatum triggered a United Nations inquiry, which the Rajapaksa government is refusing to recognise.
Campaigners welcomed the news that the leader of a regime accused of war crimes would not attend an event to remember those killed in conflict.
Fred Carver, campaign director for the Sri Lanka Campaign For Peace And Justice, said: "The President of Sri Lanka, the chair of the Commonwealth, is clearly an international embarrassment, and that in turn is an embarrassment for the Commonwealth."
He added: "It is not enough for those responsible for war crimes to merely be shunned on the international stage. The British Government needs to work to bring them and their henchmen to justice."
Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander said he also welcomed the confirmation, adding: "I have expressed deep reservations about President ­Rajapaksa's suitability to represent the Commonwealth, especially as Sri Lanka remains a designated 'country of concern' in the UK's annual Human Rights report."
A spokesman for the DCMS, which is co-ordinating the service alongside Glasgow City Council, said Mr Rajapaksa had been invited but would not attend. He added: "Sri Lanka will be represented by the High Commissioner in London".
The President has reportedly been reluctant to travel to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games due to ­security fears.
Last week several hundred people gathered outside the opening ceremony at Celtic Park calling for the country to be suspended from the Games. Police warned there could be other protests if Mr Rajapaksa did attend the service.
Monday is recognised by the UK Government as a day of national commemoration for the First World War.
The service, to be led by Dr Laurence Whitley, will be followed by a procession to the Cenotaph in George Square for a wreath-laying service and march-past. The Cathedral service will also be shown live in George Square.
There will also be a commemoration at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's St Symphorien cemetery in Mons, Belgium, where the first and last British soldiers who died on the Western Front are now buried.
Many political leaders are expected to remain in the city after watching their countries compete in the Commonwealth Games.
See Monday's Herald for a 28-page First World War supplement.

Religious police hunting a film maker

pointing_M_140505[Natioanlist Buddhist militancy on the rise in Sri Lanka]
Sri Lanka in Brief31/07/2014
The sa called Relegious police ,set up some monts ago by the regime, has requested Mr.Sirimal Wijesinghe, writer and a film director  to give a statement regardig a complaint lodged against him by a Buddhist  religious organization. The police station related religious conflicts funtioned under the Ministry of Buddhist Affairs. Mr. Wijesinghe has planned to produse a documentary film called Cult Monk.
In a letter to ASP, Bandula C. Perera, deputy director of the religious police Mr. Wijesinghe has explained his motives and refused to come to the police station. Insted he has requested the police to get a court order for anysuch  investigation.
Text of his letter:
Mr. Bandula C. Perera, ASP,
Deputy Director,
Police Station Related Religious Conflicts,
Ministry of Buddhist Affairs,
Colombo 07
Dear Sir,
Rejecting to give a statement
You have asked me in writing to come to your police station to record a statement from me pertaining to a complaint lodged by certain religious organization.
I have understood that it is a complaint against my documentary film Cult Monk which I am planning to create with a view of safeguarding the untainted Buddhist heritage of the country.
1. I think this attempt is a blatant violation of the right of the citizen to express views as guaranteed by the constitution of Sri Lanka.
2. Sri Lanka has established a number of organizations which are legally empowered to authorize the produced films. In this context, I thoroughly believe that giving a statement to police is clearly against the freedom I have as an artist. I am not bound to do so.
3. Although you accuse me of producing a film, such production has not taken place yet. I have only published a press statement regarding it. The press statement was followed by a series of threats from religious extremists and I have been compelled to go hiding for my safety.
4. The complaint I have lodged in regard of threats is annexed herewith. I understand that you are not in a position you can investigate my complaint since you are afraid of the political elements that are behind these extremists.
5. I kindly request you to bring a court order if you want to record a statement from me. In such situation, I can come to the courts with media coverage. I am sure I will be acquitted and I would like to say that your actions may create a situation I may file a human rights petition against you.
Sirimal Wijesinghe.
"UN an important forum for sharing burdens ..." – Sison 

July 31, 2014 
Urges all countries to abide by UN Security Council

US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Michele J. Sison, who has been nominated for the post of Deputy Representative of the United States in the Security Council of the United Nations, addressing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said she looks forward to advancing America's interest at the United Nations at a time of unprecedented challenges.
"While I believe no country can lead as effectively as the United States, it is not our nation's job to solve every crisis around the world; the UN is an important forum for sharing the burden internationally."
Sison, who has a close affiliation with the UN throughout her career, has been working on various issues with international partners regarding non-proliferation, counterterrorism, climate change and post-conflict transition.
Despite the shortcomings of the UN, Sison credited the work of the organization, and its attempts to complement and amplify US efforts to achieve a number of foreign affairs policy goals, including the prevention of armed conflicts, ensuring accountability and building conditions for lasting peace.

Sison has worked alongside UN officials to deliver life-saving humanitarian assistance to communities wrecked by conflict and natural disaster, coordinated closely with UN personnel on efforts to aid refugees and internally displaced persons.
She has urged all countries to abide by UN Security Council which has been designed to avoid similar situations, as in Iran and North-Korea, Al Qaida linked terrorism and other grave threats to peace.

The current Ambassador to Lanka has served in countries such as United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, and Maldives the US Ambassador.

Black July in Sri Lanka, Yesterday and Today

ustpac logoUSTPAC marks 31st anniversary of anti-Tamil violence in Sri Lanka, highlights the denial of justice to the victims of Black July and urges international action.

 July 2014 marks the 31st anniversary of "Black July 1983," the pogrom against the Tamils living in Sri Lanka, carried out with total impunity by Sinhala Buddhist mobs with the encouragement and support of the Government of Sri Lanka. Unites States Tamil Political Action Council (USTPAC) joins Tamils in the United States and the rest of the world, and somberly remember and commemorate these dark days with religious observances and reflection.
Approximately 3000 Tamils were murdered in the pogrom -- some burnt alive --, tens of thousands of Tamil homes and businesses destroyed, hundreds of thousands of Tamils displaced, made refugees and forced to live in makeshift camps. July 1983 was preceded by many acts of violence against the Tamils, their culture and their heritage, including the destruction of the Jaffna Library and its valuable collection of ancient Tamil documents.
"Black July was a watershed event that signaled to the Tamils that they would have only a subservient place in a Sri Lanka ruled by the majority Sinhala Buddhists, for their exclusive benefit," stated Dr. Karunyan Arulanantham, President of USTPAC. "The message of exclusion and subservience was reinforced by the then President J.R. Jayawardene, who made a televised speech even while the violence was going on, not to speak a word of sympathy to the Tamil victims, but to justify it as something the Tamils deserved," observed Dr. Arulanantham.
Tamils this year will also sadly remember that the attitude and mindset of the Sinhala Buddhist majority in that country that made Black July possible still prevails, and now targets not only the Tamils, but also the Muslim, Christian and Hindu communities in the island. Sinhala Buddhist mobs, led by Buddhist monks and with the tacit support of the police and armed forces, destroyed Muslim property and killed four Muslims with impunity in the violence in June in Aluthgama.
The violence against the Tamils has now become mainstream government policy to be carried out by the Sinhala Buddhist army of occupation in the North East. "Tamil lands are expropriated, Tamils are denied the right to mourn their dead, Tamil children and women are raped with impunity, all while an ex-military governor appointed by the president holds executive authority and the largest military per capita in Asia is stationed in the traditional Tamil homelands," charged Dr. Arulanantham.
The bloodletting that began in July 1983 continued till May 2009 with the killing of over 75,000 Tamil civilians in the final months. In March this year, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution calling for an international investigation of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka.
"Tamils and non-Sinhala Buddhist communities in the island cannot hope for justice from the Government of Sri Lanka. Their hope lies in the International community and its desire to see decency prevail in all countries of the world," concluded Dr. Arulanantham. 

Sri Lanka Campaign announces new Advisory Councillors


Sril Lanka Campaign for Peace and JusticeWe are pleased to announce a number of changes to our advisory council. Prof Sharry Aiken becomes our first Canadian advisor since Craig Scott left the campaign to devote himself to politics. Nirmanusan BalasundaramNatalie Samarasinghe, and J. S. Tissainayagam also join our advisory council while Allan Marson joins our board. Aitzaz Ahsan has also left the advisory council to devote himself to Pakistani politics.

From the very early days of the campaign many of the Sri Lanka Campaign’s closest advisors have been of Sri Lankan Tamil, Sinhalese, or Sri Lankan Muslim origin. This includes several of the people whose appointment we announce today, but who have been closely involved in the Campaign’s strategic decision making for many years. However, that involvement was not reflected in the make up of our advisory council since a fear of reprisal meant that many of our closest supporters could not (and many still cannot) make themselves publicly known. For Nirma, Natalie, and Tissa to stand up and be counted in this way is therefore no small feat, and a testament to their courage and commitment.

Here, in their own words, is why they joined the campaign:
"As a Canadian and the parent of two children with mixed Tamil/Jewish heritage, I feel a special responsibility to document the ongoing human rights catastrophe in Sri Lanka and contribute to efforts aimed at accountability and ending impunity." 

Sharry Aiken is an associate professor in the faculty of law at Queen’s University where she teaches international refugee law, international human rights law and other public law courses. A past president of the Canadian Council for Refugees, Prof Aiken currently serves as co-chair of the CCR’s Legal Affairs Committee and vice-chair of the board of directors of the Canadian Centre for International Justice.

"Since ‘Independence’ consecutive governments have targeted the Tamil nation in the island of Sri Lanka to eliminate their identity. In the peak of this process destructive mechanisms had been intensified by the present regime, which has already been accused of mass atrocities including genocide against the Tamil nation. In Sri Lanka, today exists a war by other means rather than a post-conflict situation." 

Nirmanusan Balasundaram is an independent journalist and human rights defender. Growing up in the war torn region of Sri Lanka, Nirmanusan has been witness to the horrendous consequences of war, with these experiences and direct knowledge providing him the ability to accurately express to the world the ground reality.

  "What is – and isn’t – happening in Sri Lanka matters to us all. The bloodshed in 2009 and worrying developments since continue to challenge global rallying cry of ‘never again’. The failure to investigate past and current abuses is preventing the country from moving forward; tempting others to adopt the ruthless ‘Sri Lanka model’; and undermining hard-won global standards. Sri Lanka is a test case for the international community. We failed in 2009. We must not fail again." 

Natalie Samarasinghe is Executive Director of the United Nations Association – UK (UNA-UK), a UK-based charity that provides independent analysis on UN issues. She is the first woman to hold this position.

"I am a Tamil from Sri Lanka who is a victim of State terror. For sustainable peace, all peoples in Sri Lanka should have the freedom to exercise their right to self-determination, nationhood and a homeland. I would like to contribute to realising that peace."

J. S. Tissainayagam worked in English-language national newspapers in Sri Lanka for over 20 years. In 2009 he was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for writing critically about the Sri Lankan government. Released after 675 days in detention following an international campaign, he now lives in the US.

SRI LANKA: Five-year-old child kidnapped

Asian Human Rights CommissionJuly 31, 2014
On Monday, 28 July 2014, an unidentified group kidnapped five-year-old Damindu Yasen Kumara. They arrived on motorcycles, with their faces covered by helmets and masks. They stabbed his parents, who struggled to protect their child. The kidnapping occurred in Katugampalagama, Meegalewa Police Divison.

Several media channels have broadcasted the heartbreaking voices of his father and mother. Speaking through the media, Damindu’s father, Mahinda Kumara, who is a rice miller, has said that he is willing to give up all his wealth in return for the child. He told the kidnappers to let him know that the child is still alive, and asked them to give the child food and water.

Now, on the third day after the kidnapping, there has been no news about the whereabouts of the child or about the identities of the kidnappers. The police claim to have deployed several teams to search for the child. However, these police teams have made no progress. There have been several child abductions in the recent past; on two occasions, the bodies of the children were found several days after the incident.

( File photograph of Damindu Yasen Kumara.  Photo courtesy -:News First)

This incident exposes the failure of the government to carry out its primary duty, which is to provide protection for its citizens. It is ironic that the government has itself dissolved the most important institution supposed to carry out this duty of protecting citizens, i.e. the Sri Lankan police service.

In a recent speech, at a conference organised by Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL), the President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, Mr. Upul Jayasuriya, explained to the audience the manner in which the Inspector General of Police (IGP) has become powerless to lead his own institution. The IGP has to work under the instructions of the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development.

A police force has lost the institutional capacity to work within a basic organizational structure in which the principle of command responsibility can be effectively implemented. This has created a dangerous environment for all the people of Sri Lanka. Paramilitary groups, like the STF, or the military cannot replace a functioning policing system. It is the task of the police force to provide protection to citizens by maintaining an environment in which the law is effectively implemented. If the police are institutionally paralyzed, crime is bound to increase; ineffective policing is what helps criminals most to achieve their ends.

The problem of policing in Sri Lanka arises from a fundamental change in the control of the institution following the 1978 Constitution. The government has no plans or intention to change its course and return the powers that have been taken from the police. This option of changing course does not exist as the government is committed to maintaining the power structure created by the 1978 Constitution, which was further strengthened by the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. The basic idea behind the 1978 Constitution has proven a failure. But, the government does not want to abandon this failed idea.

That it is now possible to kidnap children from the hands of their parents, demonstrates how deep this insecurity has spread across Sri Lanka. Every man, every woman, and every child in the country is facing the consequences of the absence of a protective legal mechanism that can eliminate the possibility of criminals threatening their way of life.

President Mahinda Rajapaksha has proven incapable of understanding that the primary function of a government is to protect the citizens. He seems to think that development, without a basic legal framework for the protection of the people, is the goal. He endlessly talks about development, knowing well that the structure of policing in the country has failed. He is least perturbed by this failure. The building of roads and engagement in similar ventures is propangandised as an indicator of development. The failure of the police to protect the people does not, to him, indicate a failure of development.

The Ministry of Defence is a major agent in causing the failure of policing and, therefore, the failure of any real development. The government’s inability to understand the primary function of governance is a clear indicator that the government does not understand the basic arithmetic of development.

The father of this kidnapped five-year-old child cried out to the nation, and his cry was carried to all homes through the media. It is obvious that the sympathy of every parent and child would be with him and his family. However, the President of the country and the government are unable to respond to this cry that has risen from the depth of suffering of a family that has had their child snatched. This cry is resounds in every corner of the country. However, the government ignores it. Making various boasts about its success, the government has lost the sensitivity to listen to the cry of its own people.

The tragedy of this family, which echoes in the cries of many families, is a stark reminder to the Sri Lankan people: to have a government that bases its strategies on a failed overall idea is the gravest danger to citizens.

External link: Child kidnapped from Galgamuwa remains missing (video)