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

Monday, February 29, 2016

Sri Lanka: Over 4.500 Disabled in Jaffna Request Help

Sri Lanka Brief29/02/2016
Over 4,500 disabled in the Jaffna district have requested the government to include them in the state beneficiary grant scheme, a senior official at the Jaffna District Secretariat said. According to the data from the Secretariat, there were 8956 disabled in the district and of them only 2010 received the monthly grant of Rs 3000 to support themselves and their families.
Jaffna District Secretary N.Vethanayahan said he had forwarded a letter to the relevant authorities to increase the amount of the grant considering today’s daily expenses and to include other disabled people who would qualify for the programme. ”Every day we can see how these people struggle to lead their lives. I have not received a reply from the relevant ministries yet,” he said.
A Development Officer attached to the Jaffna District Secretariat said they receive many complaints from disabled people daily. “This week also we received two complaints of private bus owners refusing to accommodate disabled people in their buses,” he said.
“Most were disabled during the war, and 2034 of them suffer from depression and other psychological issues,” N. Uthayakumar, a counseling officer at the secretariat said. ”We have been conducting group therapy sessions in selected areas; but the problem we face is that we have to go in search of these people,” he said.
Along with the Central Government’s initiative to issue monthly grants through District Secretariats Islandwide, the provincial bodies too are involved in helping disabled people with limited self employment loans and other facilities, he said. The Social Services Department was set up under the purview of the Health Ministry of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) to look into issues faced by the disabled in the province but the department says they have not received the necessary funding from the government as proposed in their budget.
M. Rajamanoharan, a Social Officer at the department said, because of the limited funding they have had to reduce the number of beneficiaries in the projects they had undertaken. The department’s main role is to distribute equipment and other material disabled people need for their daily life. White canes, earphones, wheelchairs, crutches, and caliber shoes for polio-affected people are issued free of charge.
(Original caption ;The Forgotten People of Jaffna Want to Be included in state grant scheme)
Sunday Times
Statement of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, at the 31st session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, 29 February 2016 

Distinguished Presidents of the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly – and President Lykketoft, we are delighted and honoured to see you with us this morning

Colleagues, Friends,

I would like first of all to welcome His Excellency Choi Kyong-Lim, who is presiding over his first session of the Council, and to thank the former President, Ambassador Rücker, for his sterling work.

I am honoured to address this Council on the eve of its second decade. This is an anniversary that calls for more than rhetoric: it cries out for action, and decisive and cooperative leadership in defence of vital principles.

Human rights violations are like a signal, the sharp zig-zag lines of a seismograph flashing out warnings of a coming earthquake.  Today, these jagged red lines are shuddering faster and higher.  They signal increasing, and severe, violations of fundamental rights and principles. These shocks are being generated by poor decisions, unprincipled and often criminal actions, and narrow, short-term, over-simplified approaches to complex questions. All now crushing the hopes and lives of countless people. So the compression begins, once again.  This resurgent broad-based malice, irresponsibility and sometimes eye-watering stupidity, altogether acting like steam at high pressure being fed into the closed chamber of world events.  And unless it is released gradually and soon, through wiser policy making – where the interests of all humans override this strengthening pursuit of the narrowest, purely national, or ideological, agenda.  Otherwise - as the reading of human history informs us – its release, when it comes, will be as a colossus of violence and death. 

Mr. President,

When the key drafters, representing States, wrote the UN Charter and drew up the protective fortress of treaties and laws making up our international system, they did not do so because they were idealists only. They did it for security, and because they were pragmatists.  They had experienced global warfare, dispossession and the oppression of imperialism. They had lived “balance-of-power” politics, and its consequences – thrown violently into imbalance as it was by the feral nationalisms and ideologies of the extreme left and right. They knew, from bitter experience, human rights, the respect for them, the defence of them, would not menace national security – but build more durable nations, and contribute (in their words) to “a final peace”. And so, after the cataclysm of global war and the development of nuclear weapons, they created the UN, and wrote international laws, to ward off those threats. 

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Need For Both External & Internal Champions Of The Reconciliation Process

Colombo Telegraph
By Jehan Perera –February 29, 2016
Jehan Perera
Jehan Perera
AgrAt the next session of the UN Human Rights Council this March the government will need to present an update of its progress with regard to the resolution passed in October 2015. There has been some progress made by the government. More and more land in the North taken over by the military during the war is being returned, although about half of it still remains under military control. There has been a marked improvement in the freedom of movement and freedom of speech experienced in all parts of the country, and particularly in the former conflict zones. However, so far there has been little visible progress on establishing the mechanisms outlined by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera in the run up to the last session of the UN Human Rights Council last year. It was in this context that his visit to the United States and the positive US endorsement of the Sri Lanka’s reconciliation process is important.
TNA and BiswalThe new government earned much international goodwill for Sri Lanka last year in Geneva when it reversed the policy of the previous government. This had been to largely showcase the reports of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and the Missing Persons Commission as adequate to address the problems of the past. With regard to human rights violations alleged to have been committed by the Sri Lankan military the former government appointed military tribunals that did not find anything of substance that called for further action. By way of contrast, speaking in Geneva on behalf of the government, Foreign Minister Samaraweera said that the government planned to deal with the past through a fourfold system that would include a Commission for Truth, Justice, Reconciliation with a Compassionate Council of religious clergy attached to it, an Office of Missing Persons, a judicial mechanism with special counsel to be set up by statute and an Office of Reparations.

Victuals and democracy

February 28, 2016, A senior political scientist has taken a former minister cum Opposition firebrand to task for what the former calls an attempt to trivialize the on-going constitution making process.

MP Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena has rhetorically asked whether the people can eat the Constitution much to the consternation of Prof. Laksiri Fernando, who is in the forefront of a campaign for constitutional reforms. He has apparently sought to stress the fact that the government ought to remain more focussed on bringing down food prices. Prof. Fernando has observed that such derisive remarks are being made at a time Sri Lanka is striving to put behind it a long spell of authoritarianism and anti-constitutionalism. He maintains that though a Constitution cannot be eaten it can guarantee the people’s right to eat (food).

Prof. Fernando asks the Joint Opposition to campaign for the incorporation of economic and social rights of the people into the new Constitution to be framed instead of trying to devalue the on-going constitution making efforts. The need for cast-iron constitutional guarantees to ensure that the rulers do not shirk their responsibilities cannot be overemphasized. But, such mechanisms will be of little use unless the national food production is stepped up to cater to the ever growing demand for comestibles. It is a mistake for the country to depend on imports to meet the huge shortfalls in food production. A top politician argued a few moons ago that it was much cheaper to import rice than to grow it locally! It is hoped that he won’t, in his wisdom, reduce local food production and increase imports.

The discontinuation of the subsidized fertilizer scheme is bound to have an adverse impact on the food and commercial crop production. Farmers are already up in arms in some parts of the country demanding fertilizer at affordable prices. The government does not seem to have realized the gravity of the situation.

Humans are no better than animals when they are left without food and water. One is reminded of Charlie Chaplin’s Gold Rush, a fine mix of pathos and humour, where two fortune hunters trapped in a cabin and starved, during a howling blizzard, cook a boot and succumb to hallucinations. There have been instances where victims of shipwrecks and plane crashes resorted to cannibalism to keep themselves alive.

The world history is replete with numerous food riots which snowballed into or fuelled mass uprisings that dislodged repressive regimes. That bread and salt played a pivotal role in the French Revolution is only too well known to merit elaboration. Writers like Linda Civitello have pointed out that in France bakers were once considered public servants in that bread was thought to be a public service necessary to keep the masses from agitating. The French apparently followed the Romans.

Interestingly, creature comforts, however necessary they may be to keep people happy, do not help prevent mass uprisings. In Libya, the Gaddafi government saw to it that the people wanted for nothing where their basic needs were concerned. But, the public rebelled against that government demanding democracy and toppled it. Today, they are left with neither democracy nor social welfare!

Populist as Minister Abeyewardena’s slogan at issue may be it is highly marketable. One may recall that in this country, too, unbearable food prices and scarcities have brought down governments. The SLFP-led administration fell in 1977 not so much because of its anti-constitutional acts but because of the suffering the people had to go undergo owing to chronic scarcities and restrictions placed on the consumption and transport of rice etc. Its fall marked the beginning of an era when food was freely available albeit at high prices but the people were burdened with a very bad Constitution.

The present government, before the last two elections, promised food at affordable prices besides a good Constitution and went so far as to offer a basket of selected food items at subsidized rates. The problem with people’s expectations is that they are always unreasonably and irrationally high. Therefore, the daunting task before the new administration is to ensure that the people have creature comforts plus a brand new Constitution guaranteeing their democratic rights if it is to avert trouble.

Tracking incremental progress on the Transitional Justice agenda

Last week, SACLS released a report titled “From Words to Action: A Road Map for Implementing Sri Lanka’s Transitional Justice Commitments”. This report unpacks the TJ package contained in UNHRC Resolution 30/1, classifies the commitments made by the government of Sri Lanka through the co-sponsoring of Resolution 30/1, and breaks them down into tangible, operational, and objectively verifiable steps.
After investigative missions—such as the OISL—report to the UNHRC, the latter often mandates mechanisms to monitor the implementation of the recommendations issued by investigative bodies, or of the recommendations contained in UNHRC follow-up resolutions. This was done for example with respect to the situation in Darfur and as a follow-up to the Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Operation Cast Lead carried out by the Israeli military in the Gaza strip in December 2008-January 2009. As an alternative, or in addition, the UNHRC often mandates OHCHR to monitor and publicly report on progress. It is in this context that Resolution 30/1 tasks OHCHR with “assessing progress on the implementation of its recommendations and other relevant processes related to reconciliation, accountability and human rights” in Sri Lanka.
Though not always undertaken systematically, mechanisms tasked with monitoring progress in the realm of Transitional Justice (TJ) sometimes devise roadmaps of the kind prepared by SACLS. Such roadmaps serve as a tool for constructive engagement with the government concerned. It is therefore unfortunate that no roadmap of the kind issued by the experts group on Darfur was issued and released publicly by OHCHR. Unlike the government of Sudan, the government of Sri Lanka committed itself (though its decision to co-sponsor Resolution 30/1) to implement the recommendations contained in this resolution in full. Therefore, a roadmap proposed by OHCHR would have stood a reasonable chance of being agreed upon by Sri Lanka, at least partially. This would also have reassured the public as to the level of OHCHR’s engagement in the process.

Joint Statement From the U.S. Department of State and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka on the Inaugural U.S. - Sri Lanka Partnership Dialogue

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
February 29, 2016

The following statement was released by the Governments of Sri Lanka and the United States of America after the first annual U.S. – Sri Lanka Partnership Dialogue held on February 26, 2016 in Washington, D.C.
Begin Text:

Sharing a commitment to democracy, rule of law, and shared prosperity, the United States and Sri Lanka convened the inaugural Partnership Dialogue on February 26, 2016 in Washington, DC. Both nations highlighted the growing bilateral cooperation between Sri Lanka and the United States and reaffirmed that the relationship is based on shared values and common goals of the two countries and their peoples.

The Partnership Dialogue demonstrates the consolidation of cooperation between the United States and Sri Lanka and serves to further strengthen and enhance bilateral relations in the widest sense, through regular and structured engagement. As fellow democracies, our governments agree that we have a shared interest in working together to foster greater stability, security, prosperity, and a rules-based order for the Indo-Pacific region and around the world.

Building on a long legacy of support for the Sri Lankan people since 1956, the United States plans to launch several programs to encourage investment in Sri Lanka's economy, assist the government in its efforts to institutionalize good governance best practices across key ministries, and support the process of reconciliation and development to which the government and people of Sri Lanka are committed. These efforts are to be undertaken with a view to achieving durable peace and socio-economic progress for all. U.S. assistance and cooperation should help forge new partnerships, dialogues, and exchanges, and be based on mutual respect and inclusive consultations.

International and Regional Affairs

The delegations discussed Sri Lanka’s pivotal geo-strategic location within the Indian Ocean Region and how to strengthen cooperation on issues of regional importance bilaterally and through multilateral organizations like the Indian Ocean Rim Association. The United States encouraged Sri Lankan participation in its Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor initiative to increase economic connectivity among South Asian countries and with Southeast Asia, which is congruent with Sri Lanka’s participation in BIMSTEC and other forums. Both governments affirmed a shared desire to continue to collaborate on issues before the United Nations, including peacekeeping operations. Foreign Minister Samaraweera looks forward to participating in the 2016 Our Ocean Conference in Washington, D.C., hosted by Secretary Kerry, which is to focus on robust commitments to protect our oceans under the four focus areas of marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, and climate-related impacts on the ocean.   

President outraged at Mangala

The Head of the State and his Foreign Minister seem to stand poles apart when it comes to getting foreign expertise in the process of investigating war crime allegations.
This was evident when Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera clearly stated Sri Lanka is open to international actors in the war crimes probe and zeroed President Maithripala Sirisena's remarks on the matter as mere personal opinion.
Samaraweera made these remarks while participating a Q & A session following his address on "Advancing Reconciliation and Democracy" at a leading think-tank, the US Institute of Peace in Washington DC, on 25 February 2016.

Interestingly, Samaraweera was introduced to the audience by Nisha Biswal, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, who dubbed the Foreign Minister as a key player in the remarkable transformation in the US-Sri Lanka relationship.
"His multiple visits to the United States and other capitals, his relationship with Secretary Kerry, Ambassador Samantha Power, and his principled advocacy for restoring Sri Lanka's standing in the global community – through engagement rather than avoidance; and through cooperation rather than conflict – has won the respect of his peers and resulted in a resolution last September at the Human Rights Council in Geneva which was co-sponsored and co-introduced by Sri Lanka and the United States, along with our other international partners," she said.

Samaraweera in his address recalling his visit to Washington DC, last February, soon after the election of President Maithripala Sirisena, said much has happened and much has been achieved over the past year and described the relationship between USA and Sri Lanka has blossomed into a very special kind of friendship.

Rajiv Ruled Out Asking Lanka to go Federal, Says Varatharajaperumal

File Photo of Varatharajaperumal | EPS
The New Indian Express

By P.K.Balachandran- 28th February 2016
COLOMBO: As India’s Prime Minister between 1984 and 1989, Rajiv Gandhi neither asked Sri Lanka to adopt a federal constitution nor did he get involved in the drafting and implementation of the 13 th. Constitutional Amendment (13A), says A.Varatharajaperumal, former Chief Minister of the now defunct North-Eastern Province.
“When we met Rajiv in 1986,  the Indian PM categorically said that India would not ask Lanka to adopt a federal constitution. But Rajiv was quick to add that the Lankan Tamils were free to put to their government any constitutional proposal they liked,” Perumal told Express here on Sunday.
Asked why the Indian PM shied away from federalism, Perumal said that it was probably because Rajiv had battled a strong pro-autonomy militant movement in Punjab.
Perumal, who was CM for 14 months between 1988 and 1990, recalled that neither Rajiv nor his successors pressed Colombo to implement the 13A in letter and spirit though it stemmed from the 1987 Indo-Lanka Accord.
“India had failed to honor the commitments it had made when it entered into an Accord with  Sri Lanka in 1987. India had no role in the drafting of the 13A, nor did it oversee or monitor its implementation. It remained passive as Lankan governments kept violating the 13A by not devolving power over land and police. North and East were separated in 2006 with no protests from anywhere,” he recalled.     
Asked to explain India’s stand, Perumal said: “One of the reasons was opposition to the India-Lanka Accord in India itself, with DMK leader Karunanidhi and the Prime Minister-to-be, V.P.Singh, using it to beat Rajiv with in the run up to the 1989 Indian parliamentary elections,  which Rajiv lost.”  
With Rajiv’s assassination by the LTTE in 1991, India adopted a “hands off” policy vis-à-vis Lanka, which continues to this day with New Delhi only paying lip service to the Tamil cause.
“New Delhi’s focus is now on improving India-Lanka relations. The West too has its agenda. Once that agenda is fulfilled, it will drop the human rights issue. In this scenario, it is  better for the Tamils and Sinhalese to talk to each other directly and arrive at a settlement,” Perumal said.
What Should Be Done
Still active as the head of a faction of the Eelam Peoples’ Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF-Varathar), Perumal feels that the Northern Provincial Council (NPC), now dominated by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), should concentrate on securing its rights under 13A of the constitution.
“The Tamils’ long standing and legitimate demand for federalism cannot be attained in one go, as they expect.  Their history shows it is not possible to take a huge leap to reach the cherished goal. But the goal can be attained by a series of short hops.”  
“The NPC should stop passing resolutions on political issues and work towards securing its rights under 13A and also correct many of the shortcomings in the 13A,”  Perumal said. 

Urgent Need For A National Policy On Bilateral & Multilateral Agreements

By Sarath Wijesinghe –February 29, 2016
Sarath Wijesinghe
Sarath Wijesinghe
Colombo Telegraph
Agreements entered into with States, International Organizations including UN subsidiary bodies (such as WTO IMF), and multinational companies (such as Google) are binding and tested by the World Court or by way of arbitrations or goodwill of the parties as there is no Executive body for the United Nations for the implementation of agreements by member states other than indirect methods such as Sanctions. Being a small Nation depending on Major powers and world and economic powers, Sri Lanka will have to be extremely cautious in this dangerous maize with traps and bombs laid down under the floor of the international arena. Equal parties will settle disputes by flexing muscles, but the small Nations will be subjected to the law of the jungle- survival of the fittest! States consist of human beings. Human beings are full of selfishness and jealousy. Every nation will promote and protest themselves at the expense of the other!
Nicaraguan Government in 1986 filed a case in the International Court of Justice which ruled against USA in breach of customary international law. USA refused to participate and blocked enforcement forcing Nicaragua to withdraw the complaint in 1992.This is a classic example on complications in the implementation and enforceability of agreements between unequal parties under international law. India is a regional power closely aligned with USA expecting to look after their interests in the Indian Ocean against China and other competitors/regional/world powers. Now that we are forced to enter into the skeleton of the proposed unseen draft called ECTA the danger deepens on Sri Lanka being a weaker less knowledgeable and less organized party of the agreement. Indians are veterans in International Affairs, UN and the system of the world court jurisdiction having got involved in litigation. Honestly we are not- It is the reality! If we are knowledgeable this is the time to seek the jurisdiction of the World Court for raping, poaching and destroying our most valuable sea bed day in and out possibly, leaving us a valueless dead sea in few years. Sri Lankan Government looks the other way, out of fear respect or unconcerned despite frequent visits of Indian politicians of all levels and diplomatic statements on all the areas other than the main threat to Sri Lanka – dispute on encroachment and illegal and forceful perching an invading our sea-. There is a clear and a strong case against India on this continuous and forcible destruction of our valuable historical natural resources of great scientific and business significance and value. With 1987 India Sri Lanka Accord which is still in force, and the political involvements on the success of the current government to come into power, whether we have a will and competency is a matter only unseen powers and proctors of our nation can help the citizen entrusted the Nation to the current trustees expected to rule the country on trust, because world is not going to help us against mighty and powerful India. There is lot of unfinished contentious issues with India including CEPA, SAFTA, 1987 Indu Sri Lanka Accord and the international law implementations, to be discussed and sorted out before entering into ECTA which few privileged have seen or read. According to an interview by the President Sirisena with the GMOA President Even President of Sri Lanka has not seen the drift scheduled to be signed in mid-year despite any protests or resistance from any corner. It is reported Indian delegation is due with the Indian proposals. We have a long history of hurriedly signed and ill drafted international Agreements from 1815 onwards including the Indu Sri Lanka Accord that has introduced provincial councils the white elephants eating into a major share of the national income and the income of the sweat of the Sri Lankans employed abroad. India invaded Goa then a part of Portugal after afraid and ground offensive and capture the area forcefully. There was a protest by the UN and the member states the mighty India managed it suing their skills and enormity. When India forced Army to Sri Lanka she managed the international arena well suing their craft and experiences. In the event there is a situation on ECTA it will possible be another fishing issue.Read More

Inmates of other prisons join the Magazine protesters

Inmates of other prisons join the Magazine protesters

Feb 29, 2016
Inmates of other prisons assisting the inmates of the Magazine prison, who started a hunger strike on the 23rd has jointly started an island wide token hunger strike today 29th.

13 Political prisoners including a female who has taken into custody in 2013,2014 and 2015 period and still not filed charges has been indulged in this hunger strike at the Magazine prisons.

Female inmate Ravindran Madani, Nadesh Kuganadan, Dewasahayam Udayakumar, Joseph Sebastian, Nadesan Dharmarasa, Sivasubramaniam Thillairaj, Augustian Gnanaseelan, Muththusiwam Seelanadhan, Subramaniam Kapilan, Rasathurai Thiruwaran, Makan Nimnadhan, Dayabaran, Kuruwalthambi Dewanayagam and Balasingham Manoharan has been indulged in a hunger strike for about a week.

Assisting them, inmates of other prisons too have started a token hunger strike urging the authorities to resolve the problem of these political prisoners through a political solution.
Media and politics: The terrible twins!

In 1938, during a heated argument with Churchill, his cousin Lord Londonderry, a pacifist, tried to drive home a point by asking, “Have you read my latest book?” “No” replied Churchill, “I only read for pleasure or profit”

logoTuesday, 1 March 2016
The ironies inherent in the regular lambasting of the so-called free media by the political establishment, particularly when ensconced in power, and the media’s inevitable self-righteous responses, will not be lost on any independent observer. Criticisms levelled at one could just as easily be thrown back at the accuser. After all, in the way they have evolved here, the two institutions are very similar; they could well be a mirror reflection of the other, twins; discredited, self-promoting, mediocre, yet with an iron grip on our collective consciousness.
Armand de Souza took on the might of the British Empire on behalf of a people who had been grievously wronged. He was followed by a series of brilliant journalists, who in various ways uplifted the standards of public discourse
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The ironies inherent in the regular lambasting of the so-called free media by the political establishment, particularly when ensconced in power, and the media’s inevitable self-righteous responses, will not be lost on any independent observer
DFT-15-RaviPolitician is top dog

There is no question that in the power hierarchy of our country the politician is top dog. Without his patronage, nothing has value. Even very private functions, a wedding, a funeral, a felicitation, has ‘cultural’ meaning only with the participation of the politician. Only he can bring legitimacy or social recognition.

The laws, systems, and traditions – they are secondary. What matters is what the politician wills. When the politician wants his friend to be awarded a government tender, the friend’s tender will be the best qualified bid. If he wants a road to go over his opponent’s land, that route will become the most efficient direction for that road to take. Only he knows best where to locate an airport or a sea port. 

When the politician decides to call this country the “little miracle”, so it will be a “miracle”. A few months later he may consider “little miracle” too modest a description of the land on which he bestrides, and that the country ought to be promoted instead as the “wonder of Asia”. Now, the “little miracle” will quietly transform into the “wonder of Asia”, almost unnoticed, seamlessly. Such power is not to be taken lightly in the context of the society where it thrives.

The country lives hand to mouth, sustained formerly with Chinese largesse and now with a billion dollars deposited by a benevolent man from Belgium. A little trouble in a major tea buying country sends the economy into crisis mode.
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SLMC’s Basheer Segudawood Clarifies, Says He Called For A Muslim Unit Not A Separate State

Colombo TelegraphFebruary 29, 2016
Chairman of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Basheer Segudawood who sparked a fresh controversy following his call for a separate Muslim state at a meeting held in Kathankudy recently, has said that his statement was misconstrued and he only called for a separate Muslim unit and not for a separate state for the community.
Basheer Segudawood
Basheer Segudawood
Issuing a statement today, Segudawood said, “In the said meeting, what I mentioned was, about a separated Muslim unit (MuslimAlahu in Tamil) as it is still being canvassed by the Tamil political parties for a merged North & East, as well as powers for self-determination for the Tamil community. This probably has been translated to read as a Muslim separate state in other languages. I do not perceive this to be an act of deliberation, but a mistake in translation.
However, the Tamil media has carried the news the way I conveyed,” he said.
Segudawood said that Muslims have always been for a united Sri Lanka and even when Lord Soulbury referred to the separation of Ceylon, based on ethnic identity, Dr. T B Jaya declared that the Muslims are happy to live together with their brothers as one country.
“Until the emergence of the internal war and the subsequent turbulence the Muslim community faced, a need for a separate identification politics did not arise. History has provided ample evidence to prove that the welfare of the Muslim community has been largely depending on the leaders of the country. In the past few years we have faced discrimination and adversities. The country’s leadership has been blowing hot and cold in the past, when issues of Muslim security and welfare were brought to their notice,” Segudawood said.
He also noted that whenever a call is made towards Muslim aspirations, it is referred or inter twined with “Jihad” which has never been an entity in Sri Lanka. “It is said in a fashion to portray the community as a violent race. There is no evidence on record to prove the existence of Jihad or anything similar to that has been a security threat to the state or any community any day.
This has been a ploy by a few with ulterior motives to provide ammunition to rubble rousers to have political mileage,” Segudawood charged.

Sri Lanka: Navy suspends Yoshitha

Lieutenant Yoshitha Rajapaksa

( March 1, 2016, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Sri Lanka Navy suspended Lieutenant Yoshitha Rajapaksa, the second son of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa from exercise of Naval duties as directed by the Defence Ministry.
The Defence Ministry issued the directive on a request made by the Financial Crimes Division (FCID) of the Police.
FCID sources said that they made a request to the Defence Ministry to suspend Lieutenant Rajapaksa from Naval duties with the aim of conducting their investigations in a transparent and independent manner. Sri Lanka Naval authorities yesterday said that the service in the Sri Lanka Navy of Lieutenant Rajapaksa has been suspended with effect from February 28 to keep the ongoing FCID investigations independent, as currently charges are being framed in courts.
Lieutenant Rajapaksa will be deprived of his salary and allowances with immediate effect according to the 1982 Navy Pay Code, which was revised on January 13, 1998 by a Special Gazette Notification numbering 1010/1.
Rajapaksa will not be permitted entry into any Naval premises anymore without prior approval of Navy Headquarters, the authorities added.Rajapaksa and three others including Carlton Sports Network (CSN) Chairman Rohan Weliwita and former CEO Nishantha Ranatunga were arrested on January 30 by the FCID and remanded by the Kaduwela magistrate over the financial irregularities at CSN.

Colombo HC refuses Yoshitha’s bail again

Colombo High Court Judge A. A. Heiyanthuduwa yesterday (29) rejected an interim relief application which sought to cancel the remand order for Navy Lieutenant Yoshitha Rajapaksa and four other suspects by the Kaduwela Magistrate.
He however, fixed the inquiry for bail revision application for four of them on 8 March, when the case would next be heard and ordered the respondents to file any objections on or before that date.

State Counsel Thusith Mudalige appearing for the AG's Department submitted an affidavit objecting to the bail revision application.
The bail revision application filed by suspects Yoshitha Rajapaksa, Rohan Welivita, Nishantha Ranatunga, Ashan Ravinath Fernando and Kavishan Dissanayake has cited OIC of the FCID R.A.C.P. Ranasinghe, Additional Police Inspector of FCID P.K. Serasinghe, DIG Ravi Waidyalankara, IGP N.K. Illangakoon and Prisons Commissioner H.M.F.C. Dhanasinghe as respondents.
Meanwhile, the bail revision application for Nishantha Ranatunga, who was also remanded on charges of money laundering, was also fixed for 8 March by Colombo High Court Judge M. C. D. S Morais. Five individuals including Yoshitha Rajapaksa were arrested and remanded for alleged money laundering by the Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID).

UPFA and SLFP Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa was present at the Court premises yesterday to witness the proceedings clad in a black cloak and flanked by PCs Jayantha Weerasinghe and Gamini Marapana.
Others present at the Court complex were UPFA and SLFP Hambantota District MP Namal Rajapaksa, Joint Opposition MPs Bandula Gunawardene, Uditha Lokubandara, Johnston Fernando and Nawzer Fawzi.
Child denied school admission over AIDS rumour

It is not clear as to what extent the heart rending incident, where a boy is being harassed by the education authorities with regard to his admission to a school over a rumour that his father had died from HIV/AIDS, has attracted the interest of the leaders.

Going by the media reports the incident has failed to invite the attention of the President or the Prime Minister or the Education Minister or the health authorities, and the NGOs that have been engaging in creating HIV/AIDS awareness for decades.  

According to reports the principal of a school and later the Zonal education Director had refused to enrol him in the school on the grounds that the parents of other students protested against it for fear of their children being contracted by the deadly virus. It is also said that officials had advised the mother of the boy to send the boy to probationary care instead of enlightening the parents of other children on the matter. Had she followed their advice, it would have been an unending chase for a school by her as there is the danger of authorities of those probation centres too being panicked by the wrong information about the boy.  

Interestingly, the boy as well as his mother has been diagnosed HIV negative during investigations, according to reports. Still the principal or the education authorities who are supposed to be knowledgeable people had failed to dispel fears of the parents of other students.   

 Even if the boy is a positive HIV case, it is ironic and also pathetic that the parents of the other students of the school had this fear towards the HIV/AIDS after a three decades old awareness campaign world-wide, including the methods of spreading of the HIV virus and the inhumane of discrimination and stigmatization of the victims of AIDS patients and their family members. When the first AIDS case was reported in Sri Lanka as far back as in 1980s the now defunct “Sun” newspaper and its Sinhala and Tamil sister papers “Dawasa” and “Dinapathi” had reported a similar situation where the victim’s family members had been unable to buy even a loaf of bread from the nearby boutique as nobody in the area dared to touch money or any other object that had already been touched by them. The health authorities and the NGOs, local as well as international must be ashamed to realize now that their decades old awareness campaigns conducted using foreign funds worth millions of dollars have been down the drain as the fear still exists to date.  

 It is well known by now that the HIV virus does not spread by mosquitoes, ticks or other insects, through saliva, tears, or sweat and by hugging, handshaking and sharing toilets. In late eighties the late Princess Diana spearheaded a campaign to de-stigmatize the victims. In 1989 the Princess of Wales opened a new AIDS centre in South East London and gave the Director of the centre - diagnosed HIV positive five years ago- a firm handshake as a message to the world. That was the first attempt to de-stigmatize the condition by a high profile member of the British Royal family. She was also the first prominent figure in the UK to be pictured holding the hand of a person with AIDS in his hospital bed. This iconic image was seen by millions of people all over the world and had an amazing effect in challenging attitudes towards people living with HIV and breaking down stigma and misconceptions some twenty six years ago. But in Sri Lanka, people have not got the message as yet. That is not their fault; rather it is the indication of the failure of all awareness campaigns.