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

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

EU calls for ‘immediate adoption of essential confidence building measures’ for victims in Sri Lanka

 30 September 2015
The European Union called on the Sri Lankan government to implement the “immediate adoption of essential confidence building measures” for the victims of Sri Lanka’s armed conflict.

In a statement delivered to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, the EU said it expresses its “deepest solidarity with the victims and their relatives” and had “sincere admiration for the manner in which victims have contributed to the work of the OISL and have placed their confidence in the Human Rights Council”.

Stating the tabled resolution on Sri Lanka “marks a crucial step towards a credible transitional justice process... with the active support and participation of the international community”, the EU said:

“The full implementation of these commitments is now needed, starting with prompt action on a fully participatory national consultation, especially with the victims, for the design of a comprehensive justice process and the immediate adoption of essential confidence building measures”.

See the full text of the statement here

The Sri Lankan Prime Minister began consultations of the UN resolution and planned justice mechanism, by holding discussions with members of the Buddhist clergy and Sri Lankan security forces.

See our earlier post:  Ranil consults with military and monks over UN resolution (29 Sep 2015)
The long road from Geneva

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Thursday, 1 October 2015
Untitled-1logoFor two weeks, Sri Lanka has been a hot topic at the 30th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, after a report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Investigation (OHCHR) found evidence of probable war crimes committed in the island during the last years of the conflict. The report implicates both the LTTE and Government troops in what investigators called “systematic” killings, extra-judicial executions, the recruitment of children as soldiers and enforced disappearances.
The report contained few surprises, after Britain’s Channel 4 television systematically released evidence of alleged war crimes committed during the last phase of the war in Sri Lanka in films released over the past three years. With the exception of evidence gathered about a few more ‘emblematic’ cases that point to atrocities committed during the conflict and extensive information about LTTE crimes of war, the report’s findings differ little from the UN Panel of Experts (PoE) report commissioned by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in 2010. But the OHCHR investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) report has more significance for several reasons. 

Wigneswaran expresses concerns over UN resolution

Wigneswaran expresses concerns over UN resolution
logoOctober 1, 2015
Chief Minister of the Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran, on Wednesday expressed concerns over “some of the serious weaknesses” in a draft resolution on Sri Lanka, which is likely to be adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council on Thursday.
In a statement, Mr. Wigneswaran, a former judge of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, said any attempt to entrust the responsibility of prosecution with any local prosecutor “can never bring justice to victims”.
In this context, he referred to reservations of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights about a domestic judicial mechanism going into allegations of human rights violations. The draft resolution’s “failure” to propose a mechanism that could gain the support and confidence of the victims “is a matter of grave concern”.
However, he called the resolution an “important step forward.” The document has set a number of markers and “key recommendations.”
He called for “the most rigorous monitoring [of implementation of the resolution] and proactive involvement of international community” to ensure “the kind of progress which all the communities of Sri Lanka deserve”.
Meanwhile, an appeal by a host of civil society organisations based in Northern and Eastern Provinces and four political parties said they were receptive to the idea of a credible hybrid mechanism if it’s being led by its international component under the aegis of the UN.

Sri Lanka’s Credibility Questioned by the U.N. Rights Boss

Statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein via videolink to the Human Rights Council
The Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints regarding Missing Persons that was appointed by the previous Government has continued its work, despite widespread concerns raised about its credibility and effectiveness. We believe this Commission should be disbanded and its pending cases transferred to a credible and independent institution established in consultation with families of the disappeared.

( September 30, 2015, Geneva, Sri Lanka Guardian) I am pleased to present the report of OHCHR on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka, including the findings of the comprehensive investigation mandated by Human Rights Council resolution 25/1. As you know, following signals of engagement by the newly elected Government of Sri Lanka in January 2015, the Human Rights Council decided to defer consideration of the report until this thirtieth session.

Sri Lanka war crimes resolution softened before U.N. debate

An air force officer holds Sri Lanka's national flag as the sun sets at Galle Face Green in Colombo February 2, 2013.  REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte
Reuters Tue Sep 29, 2015
A U.S.-backed resolution at the United Nations that seeks justice for victims of Sri Lanka's 26-year civil war has been softened to keep its government on board and allay the concerns of powerful neighbor India, sources say.
The latest draft, expected to be adopted in Geneva on Thursday, fails to specify the powers and role of foreign prosecutors and judges in trying war crimes suspects – a major shortcoming, in the eyes of human rights groups.
They and some diplomats say that reflects the balancing act needed to keep Sri Lanka's new reformist leadership on board while making a credible attempt to end a culture of impunity over what the U.N. calls the mass killings of tens of thousands of people by both sides in the final stages of the conflict.
"Everything now depends on implementation - the text was worded in a very ambiguous way," said Alan Keenan, Sri Lanka analyst at the International Crisis Group.
A judicial process with teeth would hold out a realistic prospect of punishment for senior figures in ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa's government and military, as well as Tamil Tiger rebels, who waged a bitter final battle in 2009.
The U.N. has estimated that 40,000 people died, many of them civilians, as government forces tightened the noose around a patch of land on the Jaffna Peninsula where Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels were penned in.
But the U.S.-led draft agreed with the Sri Lankan government falls short of explicitly meeting a call by the U.N.'s human rights chief for a special court staffed with international judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators.
Such "hybrid" courts have emerged in recent years as a way to deliver justice in places such as East Timor, Kosovo and Sierra Leone against powerful individuals capable of threatening judges or witnesses.
The text instead vaguely affirms the importance of participation in a Sri Lankan judicial mechanism of "Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defense lawyers, and authorized prosecutors and investigators".
John Fisher, Geneva director at Human Rights Watch, said the Sri Lankan government had resisted appointing an independent international prosecutor and a majority of foreign judges.
"Meaningful foreign participation and international monitoring will be needed to prevent local pressure and intimidation from interfering with a fair judicial process," he said.

"SUBSTANCE STILL THERE"
Sri Lanka argues that President Maithripala Sirisena's constructive engagement with the U.N. marks a break with the recalcitrance of Rajapaksa, whom he defeated in a presidential election in January.
Sirisena won backing on Monday from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who endorsed a "credible domestic process" with international support when the two met on the fringes of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
How this would work in practice still needs to be hammered out. "In order to ensure credibility, we of course need some kind of international involvement. But it will be decided after the consultation process," one Sri Lankan official said.
A source familiar with the drafting discussions said the Sri Lankan government wanted to create the impression the resolution had been watered down to placate the majority Sinhala community that formed Rajapaksa's power base.
"The substance is still all there," said the source, who requested anonymity. The U.S. draft is widely expected to be adopted by consensus at the U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva.
A Western diplomat in Colombo and a source at the Tamil National Alliance, an opposition political party, said India had been at the forefront of efforts to ensure there was no full international war crimes probe in Sri Lanka.
This included lobbying by India to change the description of judges from "international" to "foreign" in the draft resolution, reflecting concerns that India could one day face a similar judicial reckoning in its disputed territory of Kashmir.
Sources familiar with New Delhi's thinking flatly reject those suggestions, saying the resolution was worded to reflect Sri Lanka's concerns about protecting its sovereignty.

(Additional reporting by Ranga SirilalStephanie Nebehay and Douglas Busvine; editing byAndrew Roche)
Estonia and Switzerland invite Sri Lanka to ratify Rome Statute of ICC
https://www.icc-cpi.int/en_menus/icc/press%20and%20media/press%20releases/PublishingImages/02/pr1155-web.jpg
30 September 2015
Addressing the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) discussion the report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL), Estonia and Switzerland invited Sri Lanka to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) as a guarantee against non-recurrence.

While calling on Sri Lanka to reform its criminal code, Switzerland said "[encouraged] the Government of Sri Lanka to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and to accept the jurisdiction of the Court from 1 July 2002 according to Article 12 paragraph 3 of this instrument."

Endorsing the recommendations of the OISL report, Estonia said, "as an additional guarantee against impunity and non-recurrence, Estonia invites the government of Sri Lanka to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court". See full statementhere.

Sri Lanka: President Maithri Addresses the UNGA ( Full Speech)

Address by His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka ( UN Photo/Cia Pak )
Address by His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka ( UN Photo/Cia Pak )
( September 30, 2015, New York City, Sri Lanka Guardian) Watch the speech delivered by the President Maithripala Sirisena at the UN General Assembly short while ago.
In English
Original video
read it here

A Potential Sri Lankan War Crime Suspect Speaking at UN General Assembly?

Lankanewsweb.netA Potential Sri Lankan War Crime Suspect Speaking at UN General Assembly? Sep 30, 2015
Tamils For Obama wishes to bring to the attention to the world body about a potential Sri Lankan war crimes suspect, who has publicly admitted to his involvement in mass killings of Tamils, is scheduled to speak at the United National General Assembly on September 30th.

Sri Lankan President Sirisena admitted to the fact that he was the acting defense minister during the final weeks of the war, when large number of Tamils were killed, including those surrendered.
 
It was during his time that Sri Lanka rejected appeals by world leaders, including from President Obama, to stop shelling and bombing an area called "No Fire Zone", which was created by the Sri Lankan Government, where thousands of Tamil civilians assembled for safety.
 
This is what Sri Lankan President Sirisena said in the interview:
 
"I was the Minister in Charge of Defence during the last two weeks of the war in which most of the leaders of the LTTE were killed with General Fonseka at the helm of the Army. Prior to that I have acted as the Minister of Defence five times during the height of the war." Maithripala Sirisena's Interview to Daily Mirror (Published: January 2, 2015). Here is what Economist wrote:
 
"Sirisena is hardly a beacon of hope for the Tamils: he was acting as defence minister in the nightmarish final fortnight of the war"
 
Recently, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report about these killings and recommended a hybrid judicial mechanism for accountability. UN Human Rights Council in Geneva is following up on his report.
 
After the report was published President Sirisena said: "We managed to stop UN publishing names of perpetrators". Here are the basic facts:
 
Around 70,000 Tamils were killed in six months and women were sexually assaulted and raped by Sri Lankan Security Forces in 2009. (UN InternalReview Report).
 
Several were killed due to deliberate and intense shelling and bombing of areas designated by the government as "no-fire zones", where Tamil civilians had assembled for safety.
 
Sri Lankan Government also restricted food and medicine for Tamils, resulting in large numbers dying from starvation and many of the injured bleeding to death.
 
There are 90,000 Tamil war widows. (May 2012 report by British Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Human Rights and Democracy).
 
Due to the ethnic nature of the conflict, no one was held accountable for the repeated mass killings of Tamils since 1958.
 
Members of the Sri Lankan Security forces are almost exclusively from the Sinhalese community and the victims are all from the Tamil community.

Another Resolution: Will The Lives Of Tamils Be Better After This? – Dr. Paul Newman


Sri Lanka Brief
30/09/2015
Sri Lanka has committed some of the most heinous crimes against its own people, be it the Tamils or the Sinhalese in the post World War II period. The climax of it was the massacre of Tamil civilians in May 2009. There are 146,679 people unaccounted, 90,000 war widows, a minimum of 25,000 war orphans, 160,000 houses destroyed according to UN estimates, 7,000 square kilometers of land belonging to the Tamils in a total of 18,000 sq kms inhabited by them under the control of the army.
The UN appointed three member panel of experts put the number of dead as 40,000. The UN review panel of Charles Petrie put the number of dead as 70,000 on a conservative estimate. The north of Sri Lanka counts as one of the most militarized zones in the world, despite the civil war ending more than six years ago.
Thousands of displaced are yet to be resettled. Many innocent Tamils are still languishing in unknown detention centers. Yet these verified facts and figures do not matter to the world as these Tamils are not of any political significance to any country.
The only recourse and solace, the Tamils and its Diaspora found post May 2009 was in the United Nations (UN) which had taken up their case after moral pressure asserted on it by many Human Rights groups. The UN was formed to protect the innocent civilians but today the UN hardly intervenes when people are suffering, be it in Sri Lanka or Syria. They do not want to interfere with the sovereignty of the member nations!
Do human rights and sufferings of the people inflicted by states come under the purview of state sovereignty? In the name of state security, state sponsored terrorism was operated in Sri Lanka by its armed forces exclusively comprising of 99% Sinhalese against the exclusive Tamil population living in the northern parts of Sri Lanka.
Four resolutions have been passed since 2009. In June 2009, the first resolution in fact complimented Sri Lanka as the first country in the history of the world to eliminate terrorism from its soil. The massive presence of the Chinese in the island nation was a cause of concern to both India and the USA prompting the USA to press for a regime change using the issue of war crimes and crimes against humanity as an excuse to intervene in Sri Lanka.
In 2012 and 2013, the soft resolutions urged Sri Lanka to implement its own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission report published in 2011. When Sri Lanka failed to comply with it, in 2014 a stronger resolution authorizing the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Investigation in Sri Lanka (OISL) to be set up. The report of the OISL which was supposed to be published in March 2015 was delayed by six months to give space to the new President to bring about reforms. On the ground nothing seems to be changed.
On the 16th of September 2015 the OISL report was published and it acknowledged that they were not permitted to enter Sri Lanka even after the regime change. The International Crisis Group which has produced some good ground level reports on Sri Lanka had the following in its statement.
Sri Lanka has seen decades of failed investigations and prosecutions, with fewer than half a dozen successful prosecutions of (low- and mid-level) military personnel for hundreds of serious human rights cases. No senior commander has ever even been charged with a war-related crime, and the military retains significant autonomy from civilian oversight. Witnesses and rights activists in the Tamil areas of the north and east continue to be threatened. Police investigations into a few high-profile cases from the Rajapaksa era reportedly face resistance from military leadership. Legislation parliament approved for a witness- and victim-protection system in February has yet to be implemented and lacks provision for protection units independent of the police and testimony of the many witnesses outside the countryi.
The UN investigation in Sri Lanka was on War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity, Sri Lanka had very seriously violated International Laws and as a state party to many UN International instruments, should be tried in an International mechanism as domestic laws in Sri Lanka are inadequate to deal with International crimes committed by them. The draft resolution does not use the words War Crimes or Crimes against humanity anywhere.
The language used in the draft resolution is very much evident that USA does not want to hurt the sentiments of Sri Lanka as it coaxes and cajoles them. In the preamble they use the word WELCOME 7 times. In the Operational para they use it 10 times and use ENCOURAGES 6 times.
In operational para 5, the resolution is sure of the abuses committed by the LTTE, on the other hand in operational para 6, it welcomes and appreciates the Government of Sri Lanka’s proposal to establish a Judicial Mechanism with a special counsel to investigate allegations of violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law.
The resolution has no specific time frame for implementation. As President Sirisena stands accused of war crimes as the then defense minister, who will prosecute him as he enjoys immunity?
LTTE was a non state actor and you can’t  treat them on par with Sri Lanka, though they have a moral obligation to respect International laws, they have not signed any International treaties and can be tried only according to domestic laws. More importantly, more than 18,000 LTTE cadres have already undergone punishment and rehabilitation.
There’s no mention of International guarantee of witness protection given the great history of impunity, mass graves, disappearances, torture, rape, murder and white van abductions. The government has categorically stated that they will not demilitarize, still that has been included in the resolution.
Out of a total of 67,000 acres of land taken over by the armed forces only 1,000 acres have been returned over the past 8 months and there is no guarantee of returning all land belonging to civilians and dismantling the high security zones. The period of investigation is only from 2002 to 2012. What happens to the other victims from 1983 to 2002? Will they get any reparations or be counted?
This resolution will be a consensual one without voting. There is already euphoria in Sri Lanka over the next resolution as it gives Sri Lanka another 18 months of leverage and an easy exit strategy from this mess. States and governments can wait as it is a very short period of time for them. Can the victims wait?
Notes:
i. http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/publication-type/media-releases/2015/asia/statement-on-the-un-sri-lanka-investigation-report.aspx, September 18, Brussels Published by Dr. Paul Newman
Dr. Paul Newman holds a Doctorate of Philosophy on ‘Internal Displacement and Human Rights situation in Northern Sri Lanka’ from Bangalore University. He was one of the four public speakers at the Permanent People’s Tribunal on War Crimes against Sri Lanka. He also the Coauthor of ‘Unfettered Genocide in Tamil Eelam’, published by Karnataka State Open University, Mysore, India in November 2014. He is also a Member of the Forum Against Death Penalty, Chennai View all posts by Dr. Paul Newman
UAR
Strong calls for Sri Lanka to implement said commitments on delivering justice as OISL discussed at UNHRC


30 September 2015
There were strong calls from member states at the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday for the new Sri Lankan government to deliver concrete steps on its said commitments towards justice and accountability, as the report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights' Investigation into Sri Lanka (OISL) was discussed at the Council.

Find our live coverage of the discussion on our Twitter feed 
here.Introducing the debate High Commissioner, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, reiterated the report's recommendation that a hybrid special court be established in order to give confidence to the victims and their families in the process of justice and accountability.

See: Hybrid special court essential to give victims confidence in process reiterates UN Human Rights chief (30 Sep 2015)

Sri Lanka responded to the OISL report, stating that the recommendations of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights' Investigation into Sri Lanka (OISL) will “receive due attention”.
Member states and non-governmental organisations added to the debate with responses on the findings of the OISL report in statements to the council. 
Calls for strong international involvement
Several statements called on the necessity of international involvement in Sri Lanka to see true justice and reconciliation on the island. 
Highlighting that victims confidence in the process would need a strong international component, Canada's envoy said, 
"We underline the importance of meaningful international involvement in such a mechanism to enhance its credibility particularly for victims."
Stressing the need for on-going international involvement the Estonian UN envoy said, 
"We agree with the High Commissioner's views that there is a need to tackle deep-seated and institutionalized impunity which risks violations being repeated. In this regard in our view, the suggested international component of the investigation into human rights violations together with systematic reporting would assist in guaranteeing an effective and credible accountability mechanism."
Calls for credible justice and prosecutions 
Member states and NGOs stressed the importance of seeing prosecution and credible justice to see a lasting peace on the island. 
Concern with on-going violations in Sri Lanka
Concerns of ongoing violations in Sri Lanka were also highlighted by several statements during the debate.
Calls for commitment to non-recurrence and ratification of Rome Statute
Sri Lanka was urged to ratify the Rome Statute as an immediate tangible measure to show commitment to non-recurrence on the island during the course of the debate.
Calls for devolution and ethnic political settlement 
Calling for the root cause of the ethnic conflict and violations in Sri Lanka to be addressed, statements called for a devolution of power to the Tamil community as a measure towards non-recurrence of crimes. 
Calling on the Sri Lankan government to implement the “immediate adoption of essential confidence building measures” for the victims of Sri Lanka’s armed conflict, the European Union said the tabled resolution on Sri Lanka “marks a crucial step towards a credible transitional justice process... with the active support and participation of the international community”.

Do fish drink water? Does nepotism matter?


President Maithripala Sirisena and his son Daham Sirisena at the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York
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Maithripala-Daham-sirisena-@-UN-Thursday, 1 October 2015
Initially this writer could not comprehend the furore over young Daham Sirisena accompanying his father to New York. It was possible that his official role was that of a ‘private secretary’ who also happened to be the son of the President. To all appearances it was much ado about nothing.
Daham Sirisena expressed his anguish at what he felt to be unjust or unwarranted criticism with the plaintive words: “My dear friends, what is nepotism?” This query in cyberspace opened up a new debate and a Pandora’s Box.
Untitled-2The occasional opening of a Pandora’s Box is not without its merits. The mythical Pandora’s Box when opened released misery and sadness but left hope behind. We too can find some hope in this public discourse on nepotism. It is very unlikely that his response was purely his own. Image engineers can be quite counterproductive. The debate is far more serious. It is a feud between sovereignty of hypocrisy and universalism of modernity.
What is nepotism? 
What is nepotism? The word nepotism derives from the Italian word ‘nepote’ which means nephew. In days past, the illegitimate progeny of Popes were explained away as “nephews”. They often received paternal patronage. This practice of papal preferential treatment added the term ‘nepotism’ to the lexicon.
Ours is not a rule-based culture. Ours is a relationship-based culture. How else can you explain the hierarchical succession of our Mahanayakes who through generations happen to belong to a tiny cluster of villages in the Matale District? The sacerdotal succession in the Siyamnikaya is testimony to institutionalised nepotism in the Sinhala Buddhist ethos. The accepted tradition of well-endowed temples was to ordain a nephew to perpetuate succession. Today the ceremony is covered on live television.
The Angarika Dharmapala Trust consisting mostly of grandnephews of the revered Angarika – the ‘homeless ascetic’ – is currently engaged with the Mahabodhi Society in the District Court of Colombo over the title to its temple property in the proposed Megapolis! That is nepotism of the ‘Buddhist Hamu’ class.
Yet we live in interesting times. There is great disorder under the heavens and the purebred resist the hybrid with much muscle.
Good governance
This is the time for us to resolve the dichotomies of our public morals by situating the conversation on good governance, nepotism, corruption, cronyism and human rights in the universalist frame.
To begin with, good governance is not home grown in the Mahavamsa land. This is our problem in Geneva as well. The imperialist and decadent West presumes that society should function in a universalist manner. Political behaviour according to these neo colonial regime manipulators and Western theorists should be regulated by laws that apply to everyone. Now that is precisely the grievance of Gunadasa Amarasekera and Wimal Weerawansa against poor Rajavarothiam Sampanthan.
The calibration of the capacity of the State to ensure good governance measured against universal benchmarks is a very late 20th and early 21st century phenomenon. The sobriquet ‘Uncle Nephew Party’ was not resented by the then UNP. Even today Punchi Premadasa is in reluctant cohabitation with JR’s nephew. Comrade Tissa Vitarana’s nephew of a Trotsky adherent claims titular succession in the LSSP. Had Feroza Muzzamil succeeded in her bid, UNP General Secretary Kabir Hashim woud have had his sister-in-law in Parliament.
The father and son combinations, husband and wife teams and sons and daughter trekking the paths of glory in family tradition makes our Parliament a hybrid of representative democracy and incestuous feudal archaism.
We condemn nepotism but are reconciled to its practice. The reason for our collective tolerance of nepotism, corruption and human rights abuse is because we are not ready for corrective action. Instead we rationalise our ambiguity on grounds that it makes little sense to be “the only one” who has read or heard of Immanuel Kant.
Corruption, nepotism, irrational chauvinism are all forms of behaviour. These patterns of behaviour cannot be singled out and defined unless we contextualise how the particular society functions. The advanced democracies are mainly to be found in the West. The Western cultures evolved through the ages of renaissance, enlightenment and discovery are rule based. The people in those cultures trust the system.
Politics based on personal relationships
We in our system trust our family first, friends next and others perhaps. Our politics are based on personal relationships. That was demonstrated when seven election rejects were appointed to Parliament and rewarded with ministerial office. It was a classic demonstration of organising governance based on personal relationships and mutual obligation. How can loyalty to cronies be sanctioned and filial or familial loyalty be condemned?
Universal ethical norms are based on the behavioural expectations of the rational individual from which individual responsibility, dignity and individual human rights are derived. The Sinhala Buddhist world view refuses to acknowledge human beings as individuals but as a single overarching consciousness and a connectedness that is tribal.
The classical Buddhist doctrinal position on free inquiry is contained in the ‘Kalama Sutta’. It is where the Buddha exhorts the Brahamin Kalama: “Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumour; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another’s seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, ‘the monk is our teacher’. When you yourself know: These things are bad; these things are blamable; these things are censured by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill, abandon them.” Free inquiry is the one Buddhist ideal that has been utterly distorted in Sri Lanka.
Difficult to detect when fish drinks water
Daham Sirisena accompanying his father is no big deal. That he was allowed to speak for the younger generation of his country at an international event too should not be held against him. Obviously the President would have been advised that his son could play a constructive role in New York. President Sirisena should heed Kautilya who warned his King how difficult it was to detect when exactly the fish drank water. Or do the fish drink water?
Nepotism is considered wrong in some cultures. It is perhaps virtuous in ours. The lyrics of this hauntingly melodious Sinhala song by Victor Rathnayake encapsulates the distance we need to trek. Poignantly tender sentiments. Yet they turn Prince Siddhartha’s purpose of renunciation upside down. ‍
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- See more at: http://www.ft.lk/article/477345/Do-fish-drink-water?-Does-nepotism-matter?#sthash.snhLzB0k.dpuf

Lobby payments: How the Central Bank goldmine was plundered

The Sunday Times Sri LankaAmerican influence peddler registers his deals only after exposures in the Sunday Times and Foreign Policy Magazine

By Namini Wijedasa-Sunday, September 27, 2015

For three consecutive years, the Auditor General’s Department queried the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) about the millions paid in fees to foreign lobbyists, consultants and public relations agencies.

Imaad Zuberi
The reports for 2013 and 2014 will be published within weeks, when they are tabled in Parliament. The Auditor General first raised concern in 2012 after noticing that the CBSL had advanced money to these firms when it should have been routed through other channels. But this observation was omitted in that year’s final report.
The Central Bank’s income statement for 2014 places accumulated costs for advertising, consultancy, communication, advisory and professional fees at Rs. 2,050,619,000 or more than Rs. 2 billion.

General to be grilled regarding Eknaligoda disappearance

WEDNESDAY, 30 SEPTEMBER 2015
It is reported that an Army General, with strong links with Army intelligence unit is to be questioned by the CID in connection with the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda.
The CID has already questioned Brig. Aruna Wannaiarachchi, who headed the Army intelligence unit and several Army officers including Lt. Col. Shammi Kumara Ratnayake, Lt. Col. Siriwardena, Staff Sergeant Rajapakse, Corporal Jayalath, retired Sergeant Maj. Ranbanda, Sergeant Maj. Upasena, retired Corporal Ranjith Rupasena, Corporal Anurajeewa have been taken into custody by the CID in connection with the journalist's disappearance. Also, ex-LTTE intelligence members Thavendran and Satya Master too have been arrested over the incident.
According to police sources the investigation teams will seek court permission to visit two army camps early next month to gather more information about the Journalist Eknaligoda’s disappearance.
The journalist was abducted in Colombo two days before the Presidential election in 2010, and had been taken to Girithale Army camp where he was questioned by a group of intelligence unit officers.
Meanwhile, Sandhya Eknaligoda, Prageeth Eknaligoda's wife, has accused a senior state official in the Ministry of Defense  of the former regime of issuing orders to abduct Eknaligoda.

Why Daham Sirisena At UN Is A Big Deal

Colombo Telegraph

By Nalaka Gunawardene –September 30, 2015
Nalaka Gunawardene
Nalaka Gunawardene
When the first signs appeared of the new Yahapalana (=well-ruled) government going astray some months ago, I tweeted: “Good governance must not only be done, but also be SEEN as done”.
Optics or appearances do matter. They are especially important in this social media age when every action of the government and its top leadership is closely monitored and commented upon by many citizens.
For reasons of governance and optics, President Maithripala Sirisena taking his son Daham Sirisena to UN General Assembly in New York is wrong. We presume that the young man’s travel and accommodation was paid for with public funds. Yet he has holds no public office; it was completely out of his league to be seated with the president, ministers and diplomats who had official reasons to be there.
It was not good that the officially released photos showed an all-male, mostly Sinhalese delegation seated at the main UN assembly hall.
It did not help matters when the President’s media director tried to explain that the son was a “member of the president’s personal staff”.
And it certainly was not helpful when Daham himself offered a feeble defence on his Facebook page (and giving us definitions of nepotism in the process).
As far as I know – and I have studied how the UN works – the UN Secretariat does not invite individuals to attend the General Assembly. It is the right of member states (which Sri Lanka has been since 1955) to determine who will be on its official delegation. This decision is typically made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in consultation with the President’s office.                Read More

SL currency notes pose a signature issue !


LEN logo(Lanka-e-News -30.Sep.2015, 11.00PM) There is going to be an issue pertaining to whose signature should appear on the currency notes of Sri Lanka in the future . Is the signature of the finance minister or the P.M. that  should officially appear  on  the printed currency notes ? Those who are showing concern in this connection have questioned. Another group is of the view that the signature of either is invalid.
This is a consequence of the central bank of SL which was under the finance ministry being brought under the purview of the prime minister via the new gazette notification. In any  country the currencies (coins and notes) are turned out controlled by the  country’s  main bank which is in charge of it . In Sri Lanka it  is the Central bank which is in charge.
In all other countries in the world , the  main (Central) bank is under the finance minister or governor finance or the financial secretary or another under various names. At any rate , they are all subordinate to the individual in charge of finance who is responsible to the parliament alias government. Accordingly ,those who are signatories to  the currency notes are , the chief of the main Central  bank and the individual who is responsible to the government regarding finance.Only in special places , one signature would suffice.
Hitherto , when the Central bank printed currency notes , since it was under the finance minster , the signatures on the notes were of the Central Bank governor (chief) and finance minister . But now  , as the Central bank is under the prime minister there is an issue.

Hence the issue revolves around the  other signature . The individual who is reponsible to the parliament in regard to finance is the finance minister. But can the finance minister be signatory to the currency notes which are produced by an Institution he is not in charge of ? If he is , is that note valid? Though the Central bank is under the P.M. , it is another individual who is answerable to parliament with regard to the country’s finances. In such circumstances , can the P.M. be signatory to  the notes? On the other hand if he is  ,  is it valid?
It is the view of many , the government of good governance guided and governed by the aim to stamp out corruption has created more issues by trying to divest ministries of essential Institutions belonging to them . 
It is the duty of the government to clear the doubts which have proliferated thereby among the people.
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by     (2015-09-30 06:10:38)