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The United States' top intelligence agency, Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) says that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is the most dangerous and deadly extremist organization in the world. The official website of FBI in its tops story said that LTTE is far more dangerous terrorists outfit than al Queda, Hezbullah or even HAMAS. Read more...

 

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13th Amendment was the contingency plan (Plan - B) of Prabhakaran, in case the armed struggle (Plan - A) fails. The Plan - B is now launched ! Please act immediately to repeal 13th Amendment to save Sri Lanka from LTTE Tamil Tiger Terrorists.

Sri Lanka Online Net wishes happy Sinhala and Hindu New year


LTTE raises its ugly head again in Jaffna.

First confrontation since May 19, 2009 Air Tiger among the dead.

Three top Tigers killed in clash with army.

LTTE ‘resurrection’ nipped in the bud - forces dealt a decisive blow to groups seeking to resurrect the LTTE in Sri Lanka when three of its key members, K.P. Selvanayagam alias Gopi, Sundaralingam Kajeepan alias Thevihan and Navarathnam Navaneethan alias Appan, were killed during a shootout at Nedunkerni Thursday night.  The Army on Friday (11) confirmed that three LTTE suspects were killed in a shootout between the suspects and the Army. Military Spokesperson, Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya in media statement said the Army had received information of the whereabouts of the LTTE suspects and had surrounded the jungle area off Padaviya early morning on April 11. “All three were killed and two of the dead were later identified as Sundaralingam Kajeepan alias Thevihan, and Selvanayagam Kajeepan alias Gobi. The third is yet to be identified, but is believed to be that of Navaratnam Navaneethan alias Appan,” the statement said.  ‘Gobi’ came into prominence when he took refuge in the house of ‘Disappearance Activist’ Jeyakumari, a pin-up girl for NGOs dealing in ‘human rights’. On that occasion, Gopi shot at security personnel pursuing him and escaped. The statement by Wanigasooriya further said the group functioned under the instructions of Nediyavan and Vinayagam, functioning abroad. “They were preparing the ground for another armed struggle. Immediate objectives of the local group included the recovery or war like material dumped by the L TTE during retreat, re-establishment of LTTE intelligence network, regrouping of the potential cadre including those rehabilitated, collecting information on potential targets including in other provinces,” the statement further said.  The Security Forces and Police launched an extensive search operation for Gopi, who was suspected to be the leader of the LTTE and spearheading the organization’s revival in the country after it was militarily defeated five years ago. Brigadier Wanigasooriya said they were funded from Europe and the money was transferred using Hawala system, which is an illegal system for money transfer widely used in the subcontinent. “It was also revealed that many safe houses, vehicles and other resources required for resurgence of the LTTE had been procured by them using this money,” Brigadier Wanigasooriya further said. The security force intelligence have recently detected and dismantled several key LTTE operative networks.  Twelve persons were arrested from a bakery premises in Dehiwala recently and were detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. According to prominent columnist and political analyst, D.B.S. Jeyaraj, the bakery premises was used to mastermind attacks on key personalities including the President and the Defense Secretary.  Gopi, a resident of Tharmapuram Kilinochchi was a heavy vehicle driver for the LTTE and was under its Intelligence Wing head, Pottu Amman. According to Jeyaraj, Gobi who had surrendered himself to the military during the end of the war, was rehabilitated at Protective Accommodation and Rehabilitation Centre (PARC) at Poonthottam in Vavuniya.  He had left to Europe after he was released and had met with several LTTE leaders functioning abroad, including Nediyavan. He had returned to Sri Lanka with the aim of reviving the organization and had functioned as a lorry driver, which allowed him to travel to Colombo and other parts of the country (The Nation : 13 April 2014).

LTTE Resurrection, Hawala money transfer & how many more Gobi’s are out there? - by Shenali D Waduge - There was a sigh of relief throughout Sri Lanka when the announcement that fugitive Gobi and accomplices were shot dead in the jungles of Padaviya on Friday 11th April 2014. The incident coming 5 years after the end of the elimination of ground force of the LTTE draws attention to some key factors (LankaWeb ; 12 April 2014).

Arrest of Nanthagopan: Turning point in battle against LTTE remnants - By Manjula Fernando- Courtesy The Daily News - The recent arrest of key LTTEer Nanthagopan while attempting to flee to UK and his repatriation by Malaysian authorities for questioning in Colombo, is claimed to be a turning point in Sri Lanka’s second war with the LTTE on the diplomatic front.  International Terrorism Expert Prof. Rohan Gunaratna based in Singapore said that Subramanium Kapilan (45) alias Nanthagopan was the senior most leader of the LTTE international secretariat and is even senior to Perinpanayagam Sivaparan alias Nediyawan who heads one of the major LTTE international factions today.  At the time of his arrest the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees had been processing his application for refugee status not knowing his background as a key member of the LTTE (LankaWeb : 12 April 2014).

A Response to “Is Dr Sudharshan Seneviratne a suitable envoy to India under Narendra Modi”? - by Bandu de Silva - With reference to Shenali Waduge’s article, I find that my article (two parts) published in 2007 s not accessible on the Internet though the title is present. Therefore, I am repeating it below.  A look at an Insider’s Challenge to History – Brown Sahibs and Cultural definitions ; Reading the last part of Prof. Sudharshan Seneviratne’s article published in The Island of 8th and 15th August 2007, sub-titled ‘Towards an alternative dialogue -Re-reading Heritage for Conflict Resolution”, (an abridged version of his Vesak Commemoration Lecture delivered in Katmandu, on 28th May 2007), which came to my attention a little late, my immediate reaction as a student of history of the old school, was one of astonishment. I asked myself first of all whether it was possible to subvert, in the guise of ‘demystifying all forms of parochialism in a scientific manner, and placing alternative histories before the next generation,’ the tenets which guided the study of the two disciplines of archaeology and history, two disciplines which try to interpret ‘heritage.’ Our scholar was seeking a different paradigm away from what he called ‘Orientalist –Antiquarianism’ to introduce ‘alternate concept of shared cultures representing the actual but somewhat less known Heritage sites situated in multi-cultural societies.’ It seemed to me that the very idea of interpreting these disciplines to meet certain objectives like conflict resolution claimed as a ‘totally novel concept, and state-of-the –art techniques’ [in the presentation of heritage sites], is external to the methods of scientific investigation relating to these disciplines, then or now, and therefore, the proposition opened up with a contradiction. Apart from the use of ‘scrap’ of evidence to give an equal footing to some [ethnic] groups, which had contributed to the ‘heritage pot,’ in a comparatively lesser proportions, thereby placing the greater contributions of other groups in a lesser light, as the learned scholar’s thesis seems to suggest, such deviation could also let lose forces which are quite opposed to the very objective which one seeks to achieve, namely, heritage as a tool for conflict resolution. My fear that the established basic tenets of historiography and archaeological interpretations were being discredited was vindicated, when I found, on careful reading of the article, that the very purpose of it was what they call in ‘postmodernist’ language, the ‘deconstruction ’ of the existing order, which has received various nomenclatures, ranging from ‘exclusionist nationalism’ (Romila Thapar) and others (LankaWeb ; 12 April 2014).

Govt justifies troops presence in North - A day after three key operatives of the banned LTTE were killed in a major military operation in Sri Lanka's north, the government today justified maintaining troops in the former war zones. President Mahinda Rajapaksa's special envoy on human rights and Government Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said yesterday's incident has underlined the need to keep the military on alert. "We were asked and criticised about the presence of the military in the north and the need to scale down its presence by the international governments at the Geneva UN Human Rights Council...We explained to them the need to keep the military going as it was a decision for a sovereign government to take in view of the national security needs," he said.  "Yesterday's incident was clear evidence of that," Samarasinghe said after briefing the outcome in Geneva to the Buddhist high priests in the central town of Kandy today.  The Army said three armed suspects who attempted to escape the troops were killed in a cordon and search operation in the area of Padaviya in North Central Province on April 11.  Samarasinghe reiterated the call made by Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister G L Peiris.  He said Sri Lanka would not cooperate with the UNHRC in implementing the resolution adopted late March which was aimed at setting up an international investigation on the country's alleged human rights abuses during the final phase of the war with the LTTE.  "We will not participate as we have no confidence in such a process. We are a government which is committed to achieving reconciliation through credible local mechanisms," Samarasinghe said.  He said Sri Lanka would not give into attempts by the pro-LTTE diaspora to destabilise the country.  The Sri Lankan government claimed that pro-LTTE diaspora is moving the Western governments to act against it (Daily Mirror : 12 April 2014).

Bodies of slain LTTE leaders identified by relatives - Relatives of three suspected LTTE operatives, who were shot dead by the military yesterday in Nedunkerni in Vavuniya,, today identified the deceased at the Anuradhapura hospital, police said.They said that after conducting the post mortem the bodies were buried in Anuradhapura today (Daily Mirror : 12 April 2014).

Three top Tigers killed in clash with army - First confrontation since May 19, 2009 Air Tiger among the dead - by Shamindra Ferdinando - The largest man hunt launched in the Northern Province since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009 ended in the early hours of yesterday with three persons, Sundaralingam Kajeepan alias Thevihan and Selvanayagam Kajeepan alias Gopi, being killed.  The military said that the remaining body was believed to be of Navaratnam Navaneethan alias Appan. There was no official confirmation at the time this edition went to press.  The Defence Ministry confirmed the death of three LTTE cadres and the recovery of their bodies following a confrontation at Vedivachchikallu, south of Nedunkerni.  Thevihan had been involved in the LTTE air attacks on the Anuradhapura air base in October 2007 and the Kolonnawa Petroleum Storage facility also in the same year. Yesterday’s confrontation was the first between the army and the LTTE since the LTTE’s military muscle collapsed on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon on May 19, 2009.  The previous day, troops recovered four back-packs containing rations, medicine and clothes.  The government launched a major hunt for LTTE cadres in the wake of Gopi shooting at a police officer on Match 13 at Dharmapuram, a one-time LTTE stronghold east of Kandy-Jaffna A9 road.  Troops recovered one 9 mm weapon, four hand grenades, several documents as well as some dry rations, along with the bodies.  A senior military official told The Island that a Tamil National Alliance (TNA) activist, Mrs Balendran Jayakumari, had harboured Gopi at her Dharmapuram residence though she knew of his involvement in terrorism. When the police arrested Jayakumari and took her 13-year-old daughter, Vipooshika into protective custody, the TNA raised the matter at the 25th session of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).  The LTTE activists in London launched a protest campaign outside the British Premier’s office, demanding the British intervention to secure their release. Addressing the UNHRC, under General Debate on Agenda Item 2 on the Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary General, Northern Provincial Councillor, Ananthi Sasitharan alleged that Vipooshika had been arrested for participating in protests demanding the release of her detained brother. Sasitharan said that Vipooshika’s arrest was a threat to every child protesting injustice caused to Tamil speaking people.  Police headquarters said that following investigations into ongoing attempts to revive the LTTE, authorities detained 60 persons, including 10 women in connection with their alleged involvement in the new terrorism project.  Authoritative sources said that as both Gopi and Thevian had lived abroad, investigators were in the process of checking their relationship with Diaspora activists. Intelligence services believe that Appan had been staying at Jayakumari’s home for some time and was involved in clandestine operations. Sources said that they had been funded by the Europe-based LTTE groups (Island ; 11 April 2014).

Audio: Army says Gobi shot dead - Ponniah Selvanayagam Kajeeban alias Gobi, a former LTTE intelligence cadre, was among the three LTTE leaders who were shot dead by the Army during a clash at Vedivachchikallu in Nedunkerni, Welioya, the Army said.  The shootout occurred when a group of soldiers encircled a house in Nadunkerni on a tip off that the suspects were staying there.  “The three suspects were identified as Gobi,Appan, and Thevian. Judicial inquiry is being held at the scene of the shooting,” Army spokesman Ruwan Wanigasooriya said.  “The detectives recovered arms, ammunition, explosives and other material from the hideout,” he said (Daily Mirror : 11 April 2014).

Britain to continue its push for international probe against SL - Alleging human rights violations - By Sujeeva Nivunhella in London - In the backdrop of Sri Lanka opting not to cooperate with the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution, the British government warned that it will use its position in the Geneva-based key human rights body to actively press for an international investigation.  British Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hugo Swire said that "the international community now has a duty to act, and we will be using our position on the UN Human Rights Council to actively press for an international investigation given the lack of a credible domestic accountability process to date."  He said that the international community has spoken through the United Nations Human Rights Council, and it is imperative that the government in Colombo listens to what has been said and what is asked of them.  "We can conduct an investigation through the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights", he said.  "We were completely vindicated in our decision to go to the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, because had we not gone there, we would not be in the position that we are today." Swire noted.  British Foreign Secretary William Hague expressed hope that the Sri Lankan government will attend the summit on preventing sexual violence in London in June 2014."I have invited the 143 nations that so far have endorsed the declaration that I launched on ending sexual violence to attend the summit, but I cannot force any of them to do so. However, given the events in Sri Lanka in recent decades, it would be highly appropriate for the Sri Lankan government to be there and to present their plans. I have encouraged them to do so," Hague said.  In another development, the 2013 Human Rights and Democracy Report, released by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office has criticized Sri Lanka’s human rights record.  The report observed that there was "no improvement in the situation for freedom of expression during the last three months. Sri Lanka dropped three places to 165 out of a total 180 in the 2014 World Press Freedom Index" (Island : 11 April 2014).

HR probe: Govt. won’t cooperate, but wants secret UN report released - by Shamindra Ferdinando- Now that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has received a mandate to inquire into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka, it would be imperative that a confidential war time dossier prepared by the UN mission in Colombo was made public, an authoritative security official told ‘The Island’. The official emphasized that there couldn’t be a better ‘source’ than the UN report that dealt with fighting on multiple fronts in the Vanni region, both west and east of the Kandy-Jaffna road from August 2008 to May 13, 2009.The then head of the UN mission in Sri Lanka, Neil Bhune (July 2007-February 2011), supervised the project. Bhune was succeeded by Subinay Nandi, a Bangladeshi national.  The Ministry of Defence and Urban Development stressed the need to reveal the dossier in a document titled Facts and Figures: Addressing Accountability. Referring to a recent UN statement that the issue of confidentiality of sources/eyewitness needed to be considered at a later stage, the official said that instead of depending on unsubstantiated allegations propagated by interested parties the UN investigators could review the dossier prepared by the UN Country Team. The official pointed out that UNSG Ban Ki-moon’s three member Panel of Experts (PoE) in its March 2011 report rejected the UN findings on the basis the deaths and injuries reported were likely too be too low.  According to the dossier approved by the UN mission in Colombo, it estimated the number of deaths at 7,721 killed and 18,479 wounding during the period from August 2008 to May 13, 2009. However, it didn’t specify losses suffered by the LTTE fighting cadre, a failure even discussed in classified diplomatic cables originating from its mission in Colombo, at the height of the war.  UN spokesperson said told ‘The Island’: "The High Commissioner for Human Rights will now be making arrangements for a comprehensive investigation requested by the United Nations Human Rights Council and these are issues which will need to be considered at a later stage. In any case, the protection of witnesses and their consent to sharing their identities remain the overriding considerations when dealing with these matters." The military alleged that the PoE dismissed the report as it clearly contradicted the lies propagated by the UK media outfit, Channel 4 News as well as its own assessment. Both estimated the number of deaths at over 40,000 killed.  The military pointed out that the UN report was based on information provided by local staff of the UN and other NGOs in the LTTE-held area, the ICRC, religious authorities and other sources. The official said that the UN mission in Colombo could still get in touch with those who had contributed to the report to enable UN investigators to verify facts (Island : 08 April 2014).

GOSL must initiate Website & Hotline to report LTTE supporters & funding details - by Shenali D Waduge - In what has sent shockwaves across the world, LTTE Diaspora & supporters both local and international are now a worried lot. Legally, they are cornered. Their propaganda machinery has now been checkmated with a UN Security Council Resolution that is both mandatory and binding. With the declaration of LTTE and 16 LTTE front banned and blacklisting of 424 individuals the momentum to rope in the rest of the beneficiaries of LTTE terror over 3 decades should be the next course of action the GOSL must take. Sri Lanka’s diplomacy must go an extra mile to demand that the very nations bellowing about ‘accountability’ need to now clean up their own yards and bring to book all the linchpins that have stockpiled LTTE exhorted monies and other illegally acquired funding. Moreover, all those in the cocktail circuits and who have been recipients of LTTE funds over the years for their ‘academic expert opinions’ must also be exposed. It also affords a long awaited opportunity for Tamils who had been coerced and manhandled into making ‘voluntary’ donations to the LTTE kitty over 3 decades to come out and name those to whom payments had been made. The following are the listed LTTE & LTTE fronts: (LankaWeb : 08 April 2014).

Prof. Peiris declines to speculate on speculation - External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris has said that India’s abstention at the vote on US-led resolution targeting Sri Lanka at the recently concluded UNHRC session in Geneva had strengthened avenues for dialogue.  "If you go on supporting resolutions against Sri Lanka then a dialogue becomes more difficult because of the coercive nature of the means that are required… it [India’s abstention] is certainly helpful and we appreciate it," The Hindu quoted Prof. Peiris as having told the Foreign Correspondents’ Association in Colombo on Monday.  Asked to respond to how Sri Lanka sees its ties with India should a BJP government led by Narendra Modi come to power in New Delhi, he said: "I don’t wish to speculate on a speculation."  External Affairs Minister met the FCA to explain Sri Lanka’s decision to shun the UNHRC probe.  "Nobody can come here without the cooperation of the Sri Lankan government," The Hindu quoted Peiris as having said.  Following the U.S.-backed resolution — adopted on March 27 by the Human Rights Council in Geneva — that calls for an international probe in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan government immediately rejected it. Explaining the decision, Mr. Peiris said Sri Lanka decided not to participate on account of reasons pertaining to the legality of such a probe, issues of fairness and equity and questions over the budget required for the process (Island : 08 April 2014).

HR probe: Govt. won’t cooperate, but wants secret UN report released

Sri Lankans must invite and felicitate Zamir Akram, head of Pakistan delegation to UNHRC - by Shenali D Waduge - When a country not just votes for Sri Lanka against the tides but goes the extra mile to eloquently deliver a speech giving reasons why they are voting against the US sponsored Resolution, that country and in particular the head of that delegation needs to be thanked and felicitated far before thanking nations that abstained for their own self-serving compulsions. Sri Lankans listened with admiration while Mr. Zamir Akram showed how Pakistan had done its homework to highlight reasons that the Resolution depicted duplicity, bias and double standards and Pakistan gave the punch that should have come from Sri Lanka’s delegation in reminding the Sponsors of the Resolution their own track record of human rights violations that remain without acknowledgement or accountability running over centuries. It is therefore, suggested that Sri Lankan organizations invite Mr. Zamir Akram to deliver a speech in Sri Lanka and to felicitate him for the magnanimous manner Pakistan showed solidarity with Sri Lanka. In our eyes, Pakistan has been a true friend (LankaWeb : 08 April 2014).

Sri Lanka war crimes probe: EU too, won’t call for review of 20-year UN confidentiality clause - By Shamindra Ferdinando- The European Union sees no reason to call for an immediate review of UN confidentiality clause pertaining to sources/eyewitnesses to facilitate a war crimes investigation undertaken by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.  A senior European Union spokesperson said: "The European Union encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to cooperate with and to consider technical support from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the international community. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights will determine the details of its investigation."  The official was responding to The Island query whether the EU would request UNSG’s Panel of Experts’ (PoE)/UN to review their position on the controversial recommendation pertaining to confidentiality of sources/eyewitness now that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights had received authorisation to conduct an investigation.  The UN has refused to disclose the identity of the accusers for 20 years thereby ruling out any chance of Lanka rebutting their accusations face to face. Therefore they will remain phantom accusers.  Responding to The Island queries, both the US and UK asserted that the UN would have to decide on the confidentiality clause. They ruled out the possibility of them calling for a review.  The UN told The Island that the issue of confidentiality of sources/eyewitness needed to be considered at a later stage.  Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields produced by UK media outfit, Channel 4 News as well as PoE while estimating the number of deaths at over 40,000, asserted that the actual number of civilian deaths could be much more.  The PoE recommended that the identities of those who had made war crimes allegations against Sri Lanka shouldn’t be released until March 31, 2031 (Twenty years from the day it was released).  (PoE report: Page 6-Point 23): "In some instances, the Panel received written and oral material on the condition of an assurance of absolute confidentiality in the subsequent use of the information. The Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) confirmed through formal legal advice that the provisions set out in the Secretary General’s Bulletin on "Information sensitivity, classification and handling" (ST/SGB/2007/6) could be applied to its records. This Bulletin provides for classification of a document as ‘strictly confidential’ with correspondingly strict limits on any access for a period of 20 years, following which a declassification review may be undertaken that weighs the equities involved in retention or release. Moreover, OLA confirmed that, where necessary and appropriate for the Panel’s work, the panel could give an undertaking of absolute confidentiality in the subsequent use. As a result, nearly all of the Panel’s substantive records will be classified as ‘strictly confidential’ with, in some cases, additional protections regarding future use."  Twenty two countries on March 27 voted for a US-led resolution meant to empower the High Commissioner for Human Rights to investigate war crimes allegations as well as other violations from February 2002 to May 2009. Being a member of the UNHRC comprised of 47 countries, the US too, voted for its own resolution (Island : 08 April 2014).

Prof. Peiris explains why Sri Lanka won’t cooperate with UN probe - By Shamindra Ferdinando - Sri Lanka will not cooperate with the proposed war crimes investigation undertaken by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, though the government remains committed to work with the United Nations as well as other international agencies, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).  External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris emphasized that the government of Sri Lanka wouldn’t accept the jurisdiction of the UNHRC to undertake an inquiry, therefore the question of the government cooperating with the proposed mechanism didn’t arise. Prof. Peiris was responding to a query by The Island yesterday in the wake of UN Chief Ban Ki-moon urging Sri Lanka to extend its support to UNHRC.  A resolution moved by the US calling for an external investigation received 22 votes at the recently concluded UNHRC session. Being a member of the UNHRC, the US voted for its own resolution.  Minister Peiris said that the government decided against cooperating with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights primarily due to three reasons.  The proposed investigation was beyond the scope of Ms Pillay’s office, the Minister said, adding that the second reason was her hostility towards Sri Lanka. The minister pointed out whatever those calling for UN intervention in Sri Lanka say; Ms Pillay would not approach the inquiry with an open mind. The UN rights chief’s claim that the Sri Lankan government was perpetrating atrocities against the Tamil people under the guise of fighting terrorism, which implied that there was no threat of terrorism in Sri Lanka and it was simply a creation of the Government. Not more than a week after the war ended in 2009, she called for an international inquiry against the Sri Lankan Government. "Under what basis did she call for such a move? These statements make it more than obvious that she is biased," Prof Peiris said. The government was also seriously concerned about the funding of the proposed investigative mechanism, the minister said. Sri Lanka could be at a great disadvantage due to the UNHRC being the recipient of large scale funding from several countries now calling for UN intervention, the minister said. Responding to another query, Prof. Peiris said that many member states of the UN were concerned about the way the UNHRC received its funding.  South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation Minister Nkoana-Mashabane during the high level segment of the recently concluded UNHRC session expressed concern over politicization of the UN body. She said: "South Africa stands ready to work with all countries in the Council. For the Council to deliver on this vast mandate, it is important that the work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is funded through assessed contributions, commensurate with the challenges we face is predictable. We must resist the bilateralisation of the mandate of the Council through earmarked donor funding to this office."  Prof Peiris said that those pushing for external investigation here were silent on the progress made by a Presidential Commission investigating cases of alleged disappearances of persons in the Northern and Eastern Provinces.  Referring to an ongoing project titled Joint Needs Assessment; the minister said that the government was working closely with the UN to tackle problems faced by the displaced.  The minister said that since the conclusion of the war in May 2009, the government with the support of the international community had taken tangible measures to improve the living conditions of people living in war-torn areas. The ground situation was better though various interested parties continued to paint a bleak picture, the minister said (Island : 07 April 2014).

Will Geneva Vote mean a paradigm shift in India’s neighbourhood policy? - By Bandu de Silva - There has been no overall response in Sri Lanka to India’s stand this time over the voting on the US sponsored Draft Resolution (D/R) at UNHRC session in Geneva despite President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s spontaneous response to release the Indian fishermen in custody and a thank you letter since despatched to the Indian Prime Minister. There have been much discussion on what brought about India’s change of mind at the last moment to abstain from voting after making a powerful explanation of reasons why the Draft was not acceptable to India because of its intrusive nature. The Island newspaper editorially asked why India stopped at that if she was so convinced. Others raised similar question.  In my last article published in the Asian Tribune on March 21 2014, commenting on Sathya Moorthy’s article ““Why India should not vote against Sri Lanka at UNHCR ”, (Ceylon Today, March,13 2014), I argued the reasons why India could not cast a vote against Sri Lanka at the UNCHR sessions in Geneva if a rational foreign policy was followed but concluded that Sathya Moorthy’s and my expectations might not come through. That was considering the negative record of history of Indo-Sri Lanka bi-lateral relations during the whole period since independence except for the duration of the time of Prime Minister Sirima Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka and that of Prime Ministers Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi of India with both of whom the Sri Lankan Prime Minister maintained very cordial personal and official relations.  The way India responded negatively this time to the US sponsored D/R, my final assertion proved wrong but the reasons I used to argue why India cannot take a negative position towards Sri Lanka if there was rational thinking remain valid. This is now substantiated by the explanation offered by India’s representative at UNCHR in Geneva, Ambassador Dilip Singh, just prior to the vote taking. That explanation, in my view, points to the final triumph of the people behind the scene in Indian policy making in the South Blok. It is not that there had been no rational thinking on the part of India when it came to relations with the close neighbor Sri Lanka, but during the last few years, the South Block’s views on how the neighbourhood policy should be guided had been side-tracked by forces different from those which guided Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to treat Sri Lanka like plantation colony . What dominated Indian thinking in recent times was not even self-interest but short term electoral -political compulsions like remaining in power. The vote bank in Tamil Nadu and Pudihchery in the south for the Congress party was very much in view (LankaWeb : 07 April 2014).

What the UNHRC Resolution Tells Me:We have to be a self reliant economy to withstand our enemies - By Garvin Karunaratne, Former Government Agent, Matara District - When the dust of the storm created by the Superpowers at Geneva settles down it is necessary to take stock of our strengths and weaknesses and to decide what we should do. Let us not forget that we are a sovereign country.  We have to go it alone and be strong to withstand problems created by our enemies. This time the enemies are the USA and the UK. They will be up to their googly tricks to win us over by the offer of some minuscule Aid, and eventually, in a very clandestein manner, try to trip us unawares, make us fall and then decapitate us. This they have done again and in our life time; we have seen what was done to Vietnam, to Somalia, to Iraq,to Afghanistan and is being now done to Libiya, Syria, Egypt and Pakistan. We have to be doubly careful of the Libraries working with US Aid and the US teachers in our schools.  We have no alternative but to marshall our resources in a manner that will enable us to regain our economy that has been totally battered by following their dictates and many of us fail to understand that the Superpowers have decimated our economy by forcing the Structural Adjustment Programme through the IMF on our countries.  On the IMF policies that we yet follow, let me only quote Professor Jeffery Sachs. In The End of Poverty(2005) he lamented that the African Third World countries were totally ruined by the World Bank and the IMF. “ Western Governments enforced draconian budget policies in Africa during the 1980s and 1990s. They virtually ran the economic policies of the debt ridden continent recommending regimens of budgetary belt tightening known technically as Structural Adjustment Programmes…. By the Start of the Twenty First Century Africa was ;poorer than in the late 1960s when the IMF and the WB had first arrived on the scene.” ;  Now from his latest book:: “The Price of Civilization”(2011) he devotes a full chapter criticizing the IMF. “Free Markets by themselves are not able to ensure the efficiency of the economy.. Free Markets also needs the Governments to help regulate the market…. Freemarkets do not guarantee fairness to the citizens of a generation; they do not guarantee sustainability for future generations… the Free Market System must be complemented with government institutions that accomplish three things: provide public goods such as infrastructure, scientific research and ensure the basic fairness of income distribution and long term help for the poor to escape from poverty.” (LankaWeb : 07 April 2014).

Weekly Defence Column - by Keerthi Warnakulasuriya (Divaina : 06 April 2014).

LTTE rump wants travel ban on Lankan MPs - By Sujeeva Nivunhella in London - After securing a resolution against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva last month, pro-LTTE Tamil organizations in the UK are vigorously campaigning for the imposition of a ‘travel ban’ on Sri Lankan parliamentarians.  The Sunday Island reliably learns that the ultimate goal of these pro-LTTE Tamils is to push for a ‘travel ban’, ‘trade ban’ and freeze assets of Sri Lankan parliamentarians. However, their short term target is to stop President Mahinda Rajapaksa attending the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. The opening ceremony is due to be held at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014.  "LTTE activists living in the UK are furious that they were banned by the Sri Lankan government. They have now started lobbying British parliamentarians of all political parties. These MPs have indicated that if they work hard, they will be able to impose a ‘travel ban’ before the Commonwealth Games, sources knowledgeable of the developments in London said.  "If they fail to impose a ‘travel ban’ in time, they are planning to gather in their thousands to protest against the President’s proposed visit", they said.  In the meantime, Sri Lankans domiciled in the UK are under the impression that the Sri Lanka government has not done enough to counter the UNHRC resolution. They are of the view that the government failed to win over the new British parliamentarians for their cause.  "We have only a few Conservative MPs supporting us for years now. They were also won over at the time Acting High Commissioner P. M. Amza was in London", they opined, pointing out that Sri Lanka had failed to woo new MPs, especially from the Labour Party.  Can you imagine what will happen to Sri Lanka if the Labour Party wins next year’s General Election? Unlike the Sri Lankan government, pro-LTTE groups had many British MPs on their side, Janaka Alahapperuma, president of the British Sri Lankan Forum said.  "Some high-profile people assured President Rajapaksa that their personal contacts would be used to stop British Prime Minister David Cameron taking any drastic actions against Sri Lanka, but it never materialized", he noted.  He said that Cameron is acting aggressively and wanted to set up a Sierra Leone type war crime tribunal against Sri Lanka. For the first time in the history, both ruling Conservative Party and the opposition Labour Party are jointly acting against Sri Lanka due to lack of aggressive lobbying by the government.  President of Sinhala Association UK, Douglas Wickramaratne said that the voting in Geneva once again exposed the limitations of our diplomatic mission in London. The laid back approach is a complete failure.  "We have a good story, but are unable to tell it to the world. Organizing a demonstration outside number 10, Downing Street or in front of the UN building in Geneva wasting millions of tax payers’ money just before the voting in Geneva is too little and too late", he said.  Face-to-face meetings with parliamentarians of all political parties, regular briefings to the press, correcting the biased reports of the media like Channel 4 by demanding the right to reply are some of the ways our mission can justify its existence, he suggested.  British Prime Minster David Cameron has been reported saying that Britain will work closely with its international partners to support the implementation of the resolution on Sri Lanka to establish an international investigation.  In response to a question, Cameron told British Parliament on Thursday, "We believe that progress on accountability, human rights and reconciliation is important in establishing an enduring peace in Sri Lanka. Such progress will ensure Sri Lanka can reach its full potential as a strong and prosperous nation".  He also said ahead of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution vote on Sri Lanka on March 27,"…I personally engaged with a wide range of UNHRC member states including those from the Commonwealth." (Island : 05 April 2014).

SPANISH INQUISITION: in the name of Rights - by Senaka Weeraratna Attorney – at – Law The term ‘bias’ is defined as an inclination of temperament or outlook to present or hold a partial perspective and a refusal to even consider the possible merits of alternative points of view. An individual may be biased towards or against another individual, a race, a religion, a social class, or a political party. Being biased connotes being one-sided, lacking a neutral viewpoint, and not having an open mind. Bias arises in many forms and shapes and is generally treated as synonymous with prejudice or bigotry (Daily News : 05 April 2014).

LTTE rump wants travel ban on Lankan parliamentarians.

Government’s goodwill not reciprocated: LTTE fronts ban comes after years of tolerance – Dr. Kohona - By Manjula Fernando, Courtesy The Daily News - Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dr. Palitha Kohona said the proscription of 16 organisations under the UN resolution 1373 which called for international cooperation for suppressing terrorism financing, was what required now after years of patient tolerance of the actions of these fronts.  He however opined that the Sri Lankan ban, to be fully effective, it must be mirrored in the countries where these organisations operate freely.  Q. Sri Lankan Government, early this week, took action to proscribe 16 organizations which it identified as fronts of the LTTE involved in terrorism financing overseas, under the UN resolution 1373 which came into being after the US’s 9/11 attack. Why is the resolution 1373 important? A. Security Council Resolution 1373, adopted under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter required UN Member States to adopt a range of measures to criminalise terrorist fund raising, fund transfers and money laundering, providing support for any terrorist enterprise and take appropriate follow-up legal action. Charter VII resolutions impose mandatory obligations on UN Member States.  This action by the Security Council was, in large measure, a response to the 9/11 attacks on the US. Although terrorism had plagued many countries of the world for decades, including Sri Lanka, it was only after 9/11 that the US really began to marshal its resources and world opinion to counter the global threat posed by terrorism.  Since then countries have, consistent with Security Council Resolution 1373, increasingly used their domestic legal regimes and military/intelligence capabilities to undertake counter terrorism measures (LankaWeb ; 05 April 2014).

Britain will work closely with int’l partners on SL -Cameron - British Prime Minster David Cameron said that Britain will work closely with its international partners to support the implementation of the resolution on Sri Lanka establishing an international investigation.  In response to a question, Cameron told British Parliament on Thursday, “We believe that progress on accountability, human rights and reconciliation is important in establishing an enduring peace in Sri Lanka. Such progress will ensure Sri Lanka can reach its full potential as a strong and prosperous nation.”  He also said ahead of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution vote on Sri Lanka on 27 March,”…I personally engaged with a wide range of UNHRC member states including those from the Commonwealth.” (Daily Mirror; 15 April 2014).

Accuser as judge and jury - US Ambassador in Colombo Michele J. Sison is doing everything in her power to justify her country’s resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC. She cannot be faulted for doing her job. But, some of the arguments she has put forth in support of the US action are not convincing, to say the least.  Ambassador Sison has told foreign correspondents in Colombo that the US should not be blamed for long-standing divisions in Sri Lanka. Here, one sees the so-called straw man fallacy. No one in his or her proper senses will make such an allegation. Sri Lanka’s divisions, especially those along ethno-religious line, are as old as the hills and some of them even predate the discovery of America!  But, the recently adopted US-sponsored UNHRC resolution has caused reconciliation to elude this country further. For, it has made LTTE groups active overseas intransigent and cocky so much so that they are now all out to use the UNHRC to avenge the decimation of their military muscle and pursue their separatist goal politically with the help of some western governments.  The US envoy has urged the Sri Lankan government to fulfil its obligations to its people and take meaningful, concrete steps on reconciliation and accountability. The latter, no doubt, must do so, but it takes two to tango, doesn’t it?  What about the proponents of the UNHRC resolution, who recognised Prabhakaran as the sole representative of Tamils? Reconciliation is anathema to them because they need ethnic tensions to fuel their Eelam project and secure block votes. It is not reconciliation that they seek but revenge and an opportunity to create conditions for re-launching their Eelam project. They are doing their damnedest to have the incumbent government responsible for defeating the LTTE dislodged because they see it as an insurmountable obstacle in their path. They are striving to pave the way for a malleable government like the one which allowed itself to be railroaded into signing a blatantly lopsided CFA with the LTTE and compromising national security at the behest of external forces. Their not-so-surreptitious plan and the agenda of the West desirous of engineering a regime change here to further their geo-strategic interests dovetail.  The US policy towards the LTTE has been consistent and it has repeatedly declared its commitment to helping preserve Sri Lanka’s territorial integrity. But, sadly, there is little that it could do to avoid being seen to be promoting the interests of pro-LTTE groups because of its diplomatic badger hunt against Sri Lanka in Geneva (Island Editorial : 04 April 2014).

Banning LTTE front organisations - by Nalin de Silva - The government has decided to ban sixteen front organisations of the LTTE. This is something that the government should have done long time ago but it is a welcome move even if it is somewhat late. It is hoped that the relevant gazette notification is published without undue delay and the government does not change its mind after receiving advice from pundits on human rights to the contrary. Perhaps the government did not take this step earlier as there was no evidence of the LTTE reviving its activities then. However, with the Gopi incident and the implications it had on Ruki Fernando and the priest Praveen and of course Vijeyakumari, the government would have thought enough is enough. The banning of these organisations as "foreign terrorist" organisations is ironically under the UN resolution 1373, which was passed by the UN soon after the so called September attack in the USA. In Sri Lanka there was no one such attack as we were under continuous attacks from the LTTE almost on a daily basis, and hence we do not have a specific September eleven. All days are September elevens as far as we are concerned but the West always ignored this basic fact (Daily News : 04 April 2014).

Is the Catholic Church spearheading war crimes inquiry against Sri Lanka? - by Shenali D Waduge - An article titled ‘Church’s Perseverance in Sri Lanka pays off’ written by Anto Akkara claims that the UN has decided to investigate possible war crimes because of a request made by the Sri Lankan Catholic Church. The writer perhaps is unaware of the ties between the LTTE and the Church over the years. Now that LTTE and 16 LTTE fronts have been officially banned it would be a good time to investigate these ties over the years. More so now that the ban imposed by the Sri Lankan Government include the Global Tamil Forum headed by a Catholic Father (Fr. Emmanuel) and the Church has done nothing against his nefarious activities.  The article itself is filled with numerous errors. First is the need to correct that the UN never officially placed civilian deaths at 40,000 and the statement by Gordon Weiss former UN spokesman upon retiring from the UN was disassociated by the UN itself http://un.lk/for-the-record/un-statement-on-former-spokesman-views/  In so far as rule of law is concerned, for advocates that demand the Governments apply rule of law and due procedure without bias why would they in turn wish to demand the release of 2 Catholic human rights activists who had been arrested without ascertaining what they had done wrong? Is it not a slap on justice to demand their release simply because one wore robes and belonged to the Catholic Church while the other carried a label called ‘human rights’?  Is this why the nod of silence has prevailed throughout centuries of pedophilia taking place inside the Church environs and traumatized children are now coming forward with their tales of woe? Returning to the 2 arrests why should Ruki Fernando or Father Praveen be released ? Is it because Ruki is supposedly a ‘prominent journalist’ or because Praveen is a Catholic Father? That does not look too good for law enforcement to be told that journalists, lawyers and Catholic clergy cannot be arrested! Not a single entity asked what they had even committed except to go on an international tirade asking their release!  The article makes reference to Bishop Rayyappu Joseph and Bishop Saundaranayagam. The article claims that ‘‘There has been always [adverse] reactions when we speak about unpleasant things’ – what if these reactions were as a result of Rayappu Joseph opening the ‘Embassy of Tamil Eelam’ in London, or because he allowed LTTE to operate an office inside Madhu Church and the office was officially opened by him upon invitation by the LTTE? Would the US watch Catholic Bishops open Al Qaeda House or allow Al Qaeda to operate from any of its Churches? (LanakWeb ; 04 April 2014).

Sri Lanka bans LTTE fronts

... This should have been done long time ago.

Hope this one not for the name sake.

LTTE Fronts Banned – Sri Lankan envoys abroad must now deliver - by Shenali D Waduge - LTTE and 15 other LTTE fronts have been banned by the GOSL under UN Security Council Resolution 1373 w.e.f 1st April 2014. The order signed by External Affairs Minister Prof. GL Pieris based on recommendations by the Secretary Ministry of Defence and Urban Development as the Competent Authority will hereafter regard persons, groups and entities as committing, attempting to commit, facilitate or participate in the acts of terrorism. The order enables funds, assets, economic resources belonging to or owned by the designated persons and entities to remain frozen until the removal of their names from the designated list. These persons and entities are prohibited from moving, transferring or dealing with frozen assets without the permission of the Competent Authority. The seriousness of the Order needs to now be conveyed to nations where these foreign terrorist organizations and persons are now domiciled. It is now the turn for the diplomatic war to begin and Sri Lanka needs to appraise its envoys on how to take on the next battle (LankaWeb : 03 April 2014).

UNHRC resolutions and the politics of discomfiture - By Malinda Seneviratne - For Sri Lanka, the only relevant resolution at this year’s UNHRC sessions is the one tabled by the United States of America. It is relevant because it was on (read ‘against’) Sri Lanka. If, however, the world is serious about the UNHRC and therefore whatever resolutions are tabled, voted on, adopted or rejected, then we would see decent coverage in the international media.  Something seems to have happened in the world of media, or rather the big name media houses in the West as well as those that are located in that political bloc for reasons of ownership or ideological bent. There were many UNHRC resolutions. The most telling had nothing to do with Sri Lanka, namely the Pakistan-sponsored resolution on the use of drones (read, ‘Pakistan’s Resolution against the USA’) and the five resolutions on Israel. Check the web. BBC says nothing. Al Jazeera is silent.  You will have to sweat a bit to find any news report on these resolutions. And yet, Al Jazeera and others in what might be called the Washington Media Bloc were all over Sri Lanka in the run up to the vote and thereafter.  A quick glance at voting patterns might explain this state of affairs. It might also tell us that nothing that happens in the UNHRC is about human rights.  The Drone Resolution, if you will, was passed with 27 voting for it, 14 abstaining and just 6 voting against it. The wording tells a story.  “The Council urges all states to ensure that any measures employed to counter terrorism, including the use of remotely piloted aircraft or armed drones, comply with their obligations under international law in particular the principles of precaution, distinction and proportionality,” the resolution stated.”  The unnamed target of this resolution is obviously the USA for you can’t talk ‘drones’ without mentioning that country. Now if the US voted in favor of this resolution or abides by the majority will of the UNHRC it would be a huge setback to Washington’s current strategy of domination (orchestrating internal instability and drone attacks). It is pertinent to recall that two years ago in a side-event in Geneva the elder statesman of US politics Rev Jesse Jackson said ‘Those who own the drones violate human rights’ (LankaWeb : 03 April 2014).

British Foreign Secy. wants Lanka to fully cooperate with UN resolution - By Sujeeva Nivunhella in London - British Foreign Secretary William Hague requested Sri Lankan Government to fully co-operate with the UNHRC resolution, and to work alongside the international community for the benefit of its people.  Sending a written statement to the British parliament on Monday, 31st March on United Nations Human Rights Council resolution calling for an international investigation into Sri Lanka, Hague said that the passing of the resolution had sent an important and strong message to the Sri Lankan government – that they must address the grievances of the recent past in order to help secure lasting peace and reconciliation, and a prosperous future for all the people of Sri Lanka. The resolution represents a significant step forward in ensuring the truth is established for the Sri Lankan people.  Hague said that the British Government was pleased with the outcome and strongly believed that it was the right decision.  "My right Honourable friend the Prime Minister committed the UK to calling for an international investigation following his visit to Sri Lanka last year where he witnessed the situation on the ground first hand. The UK was an important co-sponsor of the resolution, alongside the US, Montenegro, Macedonia and Mauritius.  "By voting in favour of this resolution, the international community has shown that it has listened to the many independent voices, including the High Commissioner for Human Rights herself and domestic support in Sri Lanka, calling for an international investigation and helped the UN HRC to establish a strong and unambiguous resolution. The United Kingdom will continue to work with the UNHRC and our international partners to ensure proper implementation of this resolution. We encourage the Sri Lankan government fully to co-operate with the resolution, and to work alongside the international community for the benefit of its people.  "It is important also to recognise that Sri Lanka is an extraordinary country with enormous potential and the end of the conflict presents an opportunity for it to become a strong and prosperous nation. This resolution will help to address the legitimate concerns of all communities. It presents an opportunity to tackle the root causes of conflict, continued human rights concerns and set Sri Lanka on the right path for reconciliation. We hope that the Sri Lankan government will embrace that opportunity" (Island : 02 April 2014).

REVERSE DISCRIMINATION FOR SINHALESE : RECIPROCATION BY TAMILS - by Shenali D Waduge - At this important juncture of Sri Lanka’s post-independent history there are some factors that need to be reminded to all citizens of Sri Lanka. Some of these hometruths may not be palatable to people but these need to be said and recorded (LankaWeb : 02 April 2014).

Ban on LTTE fronts: several years’ effort - by Madura Ranwala - Military spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya yesterday said banning of 16 pro-LTTE fronts by the External Affairs Ministry wasn’t an overnight affair but an outcome of a three to four years work.  He stressed that it had been done according to the United Nations Security Council resolution 1373 adopted at its 4385th meeting on September 28, 2001 following the terrorist attacks which took place in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania on September 11 the same year.  He rejected the allegation that it was a reaction to the Geneva resolution adopted against Sri Lanka at the 25th Session of HRC in Geneva.  Meanwhile, he said Secretary Defence and Urban Development, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa would visit Mullaitivu today (03 April) and inaugurate several projects.  Among them are handing over 100 houses to the resettled families in Keppapilavu under the second stage of the three stage project of providing houses to those resettled in that area, the handing over of close to 100 acres of paddy land from the air force camp premises for farming, and handing over several houses renovated by the Army to the owners.  He also said that the Secretary, on his way back in the evening would declare open a solar power pilot project to generate 20KW, at the 2nd Engineer Services Regiment Army camp at Anuradhapura.  "There are two other sites of the same project with similar capacities at Medawachchiya Navy base, Punewa and Palavi Air Force base that will be inaugurated simultaneously," he said (Island : 02 April 2014).

GoSL bans 16 LTTE front organizations - In the wake of intelligence reports pertaining to possible attempts by the LTTE rump to stage a come back, the government is taking measures to counter the threat. The following is the full text of a statement issued by the External Affairs Ministry: An order, designating persons and entities in terms of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 which sets out strategies to combat terrorism and to control terrorist financing has been signed by Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs, and will be published in the Government Gazette shortly. This order is based on the recommendation by the Secretary, Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, as the Competent Authority regarding the identification of persons, groups and entities, believed on reasonable grounds to be committing, attempting to commit, facilitating or participating, in the commission of acts of terrorism.  The substantial effect of an order under this Regulation is that all funds, assets and economic resources belonging to or owned by the designated persons or entities remain frozen until they are removed from the designated list.  Moving, transferring or dealing with frozen assets without the permission of the Competent Authority is prohibited. In terms of the Regulation, any person who fails to comply with an order to freeze assets is liable to heavy penalties.  Meanwhile, Defence Ministry and military spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said that the ban was enforced under a UN Security Council resolution 1373 which was implemented following the September 2001 terrorist attack in the United States.  He said that apart from the Tamil Tiger rebels, the government has listed 15 other groups operating overseas who are keen on having a separate in Sri Lanka.  Among those listed are the Global Tamil Forum, the British Tamils Forum and the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam, two influential Tamil Diaspora groups operating in Britain and the United States. "Under the ban legal action will be taken against anyone having links with those groups," he said.  The ban also lists four influential Tamil Diaspora activists, Perinbanayagam Sivaparan alias Nediyavan, Reverend Father S.J Emmanuel, Visuvanathan Ruthirakumaran and Sekarampillai Vinayakamoorthy (Island : 01 April 2014).

Cameron’s ‘Bloody Sunday’ example misleading – GoSL - by Shamindra Ferdinando - British Premier David Cameron was making an attempt to portray the UK’s response to the Bloody Sunday massacre in Northern Ireland as the perfect example of how accountability issues should be addressed, a senior Sri Lankan official told The Island yesterday.  The official was responding to a statement the Conservative leader made in Parliament on March 26 in response to an oral question asked by Ian Paisley (North Antrim).  MP Paisley: The charge levelled at President Rajapaksa that he has failed to address the issues of the past properly is frequently levelled, in slightly different circumstances about politicians in Northern Ireland. That being the case , why is the Prime Minister being inconsistent? He steadfastly opposes the internationalization of our internal affairs. Surely he should also opposes the internationalization of the internal affairs of a trading partner such as Sri Lanka and urge it to sort out its own problems.  Prime Minister Cameron: I would give two answers to that very incisive question.  First, here in the UK, including in Northern Ireland, we have taken major steps to disinter the past and to discuss it and deal with it. The Bloody Sunday inquiry is one such example.  That has not happened in Sri Lanka. Its lessons learnt exercise is not going into the detail that is needed about the appalling events that happened, particularly at the end of the war. Secondly, though we guard our independence and sovereignty jealously, we did call upon friendly nations, including the United States to help us with our peace processes. Frankly, in confronting one’s own past and one’s own problems, other countries can sometimes help. I think Sri Lanka should take the same approach. Premier Cameron’s statement was meant to justify UK throwing its weight behind the US-led resolution on Sri Lanka taken up at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on March 27, the official said.  External Affairs Ministry official said that nothing could be as inappropriate as the Bloody Sunday inquiry as an example. The official said: "What Premier Cameron conveniently didn’t say was that he on behalf of the British government apologized for the Bloody massacre in January 2010 nearly four decades after the British paratroopers killed13 unarmed civilians, seven of them teenagers, in Londonderry. Another died some time later from injuries suffered on January 30, 1972.  The official pointed out that Premier Cameron apologized following the publication of an inquiry report at the end of a 12-year investigation. Responding to a query, the official pointed out that the British media had reported that those facing prosecution would be represented by lawyers hired by the Defence Ministry. The evidence gathered by Lord Saville who spearheaded the Bloody Sunday inquiry too, could not be used for any prosecution as soldiers, who spoke to the judge anonymously, were assured their evidence would not be made available to the police, the official said.  Commenting on UK demanding Sri Lanka to address accountability issues immediately or face the consequences, the official said that the British were yet to publicize their much talked about investigation report on the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. The British set up an internal inquiry in July 2009 to probe invasion of a country on the false pretext of searching for Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs), while demanding an international inquiry into Sri Lanka’s war against terrorism, the official said (Island ; 01 April 2014).

Attacks on Buddhist Temples in South Korea ignored by UNHRC/ Navi Pillai and Ban Ki Moon - by Shenali D Waduge - South Korea is an Asian country. South Korea is also the home of Ban Ki Moon, the present UN Secretary General who is a devout Christian. South Korea’s population is 50million. Though South Korea is predominately Buddhist that a Church started with 5 members 50 years ago is today having over 750,000 people shows the extent that Christianity has prevailed in South Korea. Its strange that with the UN and the UNHRC head Navi Pillai in particular drawing references to religious intolerance why they have been stoic silent on the unprecedented violent attacks upon Buddhist places of worship. South Korea was the ONLY Asian nation to have aligned with the Christian West bloc of nations alongside nations scared of the West to vote against Sri Lanka backing the US Resolution at the UN Human Rights Council.  The Resolution against Sri Lanka drawn from the report by Navi Pillai expresses alarm at the rapid rise in violence and discrimination on the basis of religion or belief, particularly against members of religious minority groups. The Resolution urges the government to investigate all attacks, by individuals and groups on all religious places of worship, hold the perpetrators responsible and prevent future such attacks.  The below examples of religious intolerance in South Korea happened and is happening for decades. South Korea is the home of the UN Secretary General himself, yet the emphasis against Sri Lanka with hardly 20 cases of violence in 5 years which themselves are questionable against Buddhist temples scorched and destroyed completely in South Korea only serves to raise the question of double standards at play. This is reiterated further in Navi Pillai’s silence over 700 mosque attacks in the UK.  In 2008, when 200,000 Buddhist monks and laypeople rallied in Seoul, South Korea protesting against religious bias and constitutional infringement by the Lee Myung-bak administration not a hum came from Navi Pillai or the entities lining up to accuse Sri Lanka of religious intolerance (LankaWeb : 01 April 2014).

Indian SC upholds verdict commuting Rajiv killers’ death sentence to life imprisonment - BY S VENKAT NARAYAN - Our Special Correspondent - NEW DELHI, April 1: The Indian Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to review its February 18 judgment commuting the death sentence of three convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case—-Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan—-into life imprisonment.  A three-judge bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Shiva Kirti Singh in a brief order passed in the CJI’s chamber said: "We have carefully gone through the review petition and the connected papers. We find no merit in the review petition and the same is accordingly dismissed."  The Bench had already rejected the review petition filed by the Centre against the January 21 verdict commuting the death sentence of 15 convicts, including some of the associates of forest brigand Veerappan. The convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assasination case were granted reprieve applying the principles enunciated in the January 21 verdict.  In its review petition, the Centre contended that the court did not consider the merits of the case and also ventured into the domain of the government by commuting the death sentence in the case. It further contended that the February 18 judgment was passed without jurisdiction by the three-judge bench instead of by a larger bench of five judges as the case involved substantial interpretation of law and provisions of the Constitution.  The Centre said, "the impugned judgment is patently illegal, suffers from errors apparent on the face of the record and flies in the face of well-established principles of law laid down by this Court and contained in the constitution and other statutes. In the present case, the issue raised was that of the commutation of the death sentence to life imprisonment on the ground of delay, which allegedly attracted Article 21 of the Constitution in favour of the convicts. Therefore, it involved a substantial issue of interpretation of the Constitution and ought to have been heard by a bench of five judges, as mandated by the Constitution."  The Centre contended that the apex court interfered with the order of the President rejecting the plea for mercy without its jurisdiction.  "Furthermore, the interference of this Court with the merits of the order of the rejection issued by the President, in exercise of the power conferred by Article 72, is without jurisdiction. Once the President had, in exercise of his power under Article 72 of the Constitution, rejected the mercy petition, this Court only has a limited power, under judicial review, to disturb the order of the President."  The Centre said: "If the Supreme Court was of the opinion that there has not been a proper consideration of the mercy petition, the same ought to have been remitted back to the President for fresh reconsideration. Alternatively, if the issue raised was with respect to delay, as in the present case, the court ought to have referred the matter to the President requesting an expeditious disposal of the petition. Further the judgment commuting the sentence in this case goes contrary to the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which leaves this to the jurisdiction of the appropriate government—-the central government in this case—-as per Sections 432, 433 and 435 of the Criminal Procedure Code." (Island : 01 April 2014).

UK says it led charge against Sri Lanka - Hugo Swire  - By Sujeeva Nivunhella in London  - British State Minister of Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hugo Swire said that the UK had taken a forward-leaning position and provided leadership to bring a UN resolution on Sri Lanka for an international investigation. Addressing the Westminster Hall debate last Tuesday (25/03/14) at the British parliament Swire said that such a resolution would help break new ground if the council was successful in establishing an international mechanism.  "The Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary, my ministerial colleagues at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and I have personally engaged with the majority of Human Rights Council countries. On 21 March, my right hon.  Friend the Prime Minister led a call for European Council conclusions that put the EU’s full support behind the resolution.  "We have been encouraged by the responses, but will continue to press hard for support right up until the vote takes place. We are taking nothing for granted. We have been working extremely closely with non-governmental organisations and other interested groups and listening to their views and aspirations," he said.  Speaking at the same debate Conservative MP for Ilford North Lee Scott said a comprehensive international investigation was needed as the Sri Lankan Government was not dealing with the matters themselves.  "I would like to see put forward as tough a resolution as is humanly possible. I have seen that the current draft resolution says that crimes up to 2009 would be investigated, but many crimes have been committed since then that must be looked into as well. The demilitarisation zone should be expanded to include the east of the country, where crimes have been perpetuated, as well as the north.  It is also important for there to be a free political stage—people should not be persecuted for trying to speak up and stand as opposition parties in Sri Lanka, as they are currently", Scott said.  "The Sri Lankan Government has never given any signal that they intend to carry out their duties as a Government representing all people in their country, so nothing should be taken off the table when considering what we must do to ensure that the resolution is adhered to and justice is done. Without question, before there can be even a chance of reconciliation, there must be justice.  I call for peace for all in Sri Lanka. The accusation has been levelled at me that I am speaking on behalf of only one people. I am talking on behalf of everyone—I do not want anyone in Sri Lanka to suffer, whatever their religion or background might be. It is not for me to say who is guilty or not; the whole point of a comprehensive international investigation is to find that out. Someone was responsible for the death of women and children, for the rape of women and for the persecution that has gone on, and they must be held to account", he further said (Island : 01 April 2014).

Mandates of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights - By Neville Ladduwahetty - Paragraph 10 and 10 (b) of the US-proposed UN Resolution A/HRC /25/L.I/Rev.1 that was passed in Geneva on March 27, 2014, "requests the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR): (b) To undertake a comprehensive investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka during the period covered by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and to establish the facts and circumstances of such alleged violations and of the crimes perpetuated with a view to avoiding impunity and ensuring accountability, with assistance from relevant experts and special procedure mandate holders". During a meeting on Monday between the OHCHR with NGOs, in the sidelines of the 25th session of the Council, Ms. Pillay stressed that the OHCHR "has the power to establish an international mechanism" to investigate crimes, as it falls under the human rights protection mandate of her office. Ms. Pillay is reported to have stated: "Now apart from calling for an international investigation, we have interpreted our mandate to say that the High Commissioner herself has power to investigate a situation". Furthermore, that "This did come out when we needed legal advice to see whether the Secretary General can himself set up a panel on Sri Lanka when as you know not a single inter-governmental forum had addressed the issue of the serious crimes committed. Obviously the fact that the Secretary General went again means that we are very clear that the UN does have these powers, because it falls under the overall mandate of protecting human rights." (Tamil Guardian, March 17, 2014). By Ms. Pillay’s own admission, the High Commissioner has "interpreted" the mandate of the OHCHR as having the right to investigate alleged violations of human rights. However, her "interpretation" is not good enough for sovereign member states to comply. Member states need more than "interpretations". Member states need unequivocal statements that have legitimacy of the sort of a General Assembly resolution. Until then, Sri Lanka has no alternative but to appeal to the General Assembly that conducting inquiries into the internal affairs of sovereign states cannot be permitted based on "interpretations" by temporarily-appointed individuals with no accountability (Island ; 31 March 2014).

SL bans LTTE fronts - The Sri Lankan government has in a decisive move with far reaching implications proscribed as foreign terrorist entities, several overseas organizations suspected of being fronts of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The government banned the organizations as “foreign terrorists” utilising the UN Security Council Resolution 1373 which was brought about by the USA on September 28, 2001 after the attack on World Trader Center in New York on September 11, 2001.  It is expected that External Affairs Minister Prof. Gamini Lakshman Peiris will announce details of the proscription imposed on such foreign terrorist entities later this week.  The report said: “It is learnt that the Sri Lankan ministry of External Affairs has gazetted legislation outlawing several organizations reportedly functioning in several countries including the USA, Canada Britain, Norway, Italy, Switzerland, France and Australia.  “Among organizations proscribed are the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) headed by New York lawyer Visuvanathan Ruthirakumaran,Global Tamil Forum headed by Catholic Priest Fr.SJ Emmanuel,the LTTE group led by Perinbanayagam Sivaparan alias Nediyavan and the tiger group led by Sekarampillai Vinayagamoorthy alias Vinayagam.  It is expected that External Affairs minister Prof.Gamini Lakshman Peiris will announce details of the proscription imposed on such foreign terrorist entities later this week.  The proscribed entities listed in the Gazette consist of the main LTTE and 15 other alleged front organizations of the tigers.The proscribed organizations are as follows (Daily Mirror : 31 March 2014).

Vindictive Navi Pillay too biased to conduct impartial inquiry - by H. L. D. Mahindapala - The final count in the UNHRC which did not give US-UK-EU-OHCHRC resolution a clear cut majority in a body of 47 members has become controversial with one side claiming that it is half full and the other side saying that it is half empty. Whatever the political arguments may be, it is useful to scrutinize how the numbers finally came down to assess the overall meaning and consequences of the vote. Even as a speculative exercise the numbers are important because it was a game played with US throwing all its might behind the anti-Sri Lankan Resolution. So it is fair to assess how the bare minimum was used to extract the maximum gain by the Big Powers to push their political agenda.  One question that can be raised is as follows : if in the United Nations Human Rights Council of 47 members a resolution is passed with the votes of 23 members does it constitute a victory or a defeat? In pure mathematics the majority consists of 24 plus. But US sponsors of the anti-Sri Lankan resolution failed to get the decisive figure of 24 which defines unequivocally the majority in the Council. Technically, the US and its sponsors can claim to have won not because in the final count those who voted for the US resolution added up to more than those who did not vote for it. That, however, is a technical issue that can be argued till the American Ambassadress, Michele Sisson and Ms. Navi Pillay go home. And Sri Lanka either has to live with its consequences or resist any intrusions into the internal affairs of a sovereign nation which is the legal position, as argued both by Prof. G. L. Peiris and Ravinath Aryasinha, the Permanent Representative in Geneva.  The irony, however, is in the so-called victory. It was a foregone conclusion given that the entire weight of the mighty West was thrown in to beat little Sri Lanka. But it is America’s failure to score a more convincing total by crossing the defining line of 24 that makes it a hollow victory. It is the 12 abstentions that split the votes three ways which gave the US and its Western camp their show of victory. There is, of course, no one way of interpreting the 12 abstentions. But if India’s declared stance in refusing to vote for its “strategic partner” is any guide then it is a definite slap in the face of America (LankaWeb ; 31 March 2014).

India is an ENEMY and not a FRIEND - by Malin Abeyatunge, Melbourne, Australia - For the second time in succession, India has voted against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC for the resolution brought by USA and its allies against Sri Lanka. Let our President at least now realize that India is not a friend and for that matter Pakistan is a sincere friend. Of course, she has never been a friend who trained LTTE, the most notorious and brutal terrorists outfit in the world LTTE to set against Sri Lanka. We reminisce the true courage President Mahinda Rajapaksa had at the last stages of the war against LTTE terrorist without bowing down America, UK, France and other western allies to stop the war but continued until LTTE was completely annihilated. Of course, our Defence Secretary Gotabaya ‘s unstinted and unvarying support facilitated Presidents task to go ahead with the war. But unfortunately, since of late we see the gigantic courage President had gradually diminishing over the years specially in relation with India. Too much of appeasement on India is very visible. President Rajapaksa has become naïve (though still locally popular) and unable to stop Indianising Sri Lanka. Over the years, the GoSL has been tying diplomatically to be a friend but Indian Government has prostituted our friendliness into timidity and acting as an arch enemy and playing a double game. It’s high time Sri Lanka understood that India is not a friend and took constructive steps to show our strength. For the second time, India showed that they have no faith the way Sri Lanka is heading. If so then why the hell are they trying to bring more and more investments to Sri Lanka if the condition is not conducive to good governance. Sri Lanka is already Indianised.What moral right that India has to blame Sri Lanka for human rights violation when half a billion Indians are deprived of basic human needs like shelter, water and sanitation. It was reported that half a billion people don’t have toilet facilities. (reminds me of the reality film “Slum Dog Millionaire). When few of the richest in India live in luxury, the poorest of the poor live together with cows, water buffaloes, goats pigs and dogs in way side shanties. This is common scene in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar state. I suppose other states are no different other than Haryana State. Should we remind India of the human rights violations in Jammu-Kashmir borders? It’s time we treated India as a foe and not a friend. We need to take some bold decisions mentioned herein to make India realize that we are no more a scapegoat for their internal Tamil Nadu politics. Close the Indian consular office in Jaffna immediately; Stop accepting dangling carrots from India for our development. Surely Sri Lanka can survive without their self motivated help; Stop any future Indian investments flow into Sri Lanka and ask the current investors like IOC, Palali airport construction etc to pack up and leave the country; Boycott all Indian imports including food items and import from other countries even at a price. Stop importing Tamil Nadu films; Stop visa over the counter to Indians who travel to Sri Lanka (many of them are not genuine tourists but who cross the borders from Tamil Nadu (TN) to seek Kallathoni work( working illegally). Make obtaining visa difficult and hard and follow the Indian immigration agonizing practice in granting Visa to Sri Lankan even to the pilgrims who go on pilgrimage); (adding insult to injury, India has allowed visa over the counter to majority countries excepting a few countries including Sri Lanka since this letter was written) Stop import of Maruti cars and instead encourage Japanese small cars by reducing import duty; Ask the Centre Government to take action against Tamil Nadu who harass and assault Buddhist pilgrims including Buddhist priests and Catholic pilgrims who visit Chenai; Lastly all steps should be taken by the GoSL to stop India taking over our economy gradually. The above letter which was published in Lankaweb on 23 March 2013 stands currency even today. For the third time, India has proved to us that she is not a friend of Sri Lanka as we think but a born enemy by agreeing to support the US sponsored Resolution against Sri Lanka at the forthcoming UNHRC Sessions. It’s high time the present Government treated her as our number one enemy in the neighbourhood (Sri Lanka News Online : 31 March 2014).

PRESIDENT TELLS AFP ON UNHRC RESOLUTION:'REJECTED' - Will press ahead with Sri Lanka's own reconciliation plan - Resolution only hurts our reconciliation efforts - President Mahinda Rajapaksa rejected Thursday's UN Human Rights Council resolution calling for a probe into alleged human rights violations, telling AFP that he would instead press ahead with Sri Lanka's own reconciliation plan. "We reject this," President Rajapaksa said. "This resolution only hurts our reconciliation efforts. It does not help. "But, I am not discouraged. We will continue with the reconciliation process I have started," he added in a phone call. The President said he had drawn comfort from India's abstention in Geneva. "I think it is encouraging that India did not vote against us," he said. President Rajapaksa said Sri Lanka's home-grown process had made sweeping recommendations to ensure ethnic unity and the government was implementing them. "We need time to implement the recommendations of the LLRC," the President said. "I want to repeat again that we are going ahead with this process." He said the US had mounted a major campaign to drum up support for the censure motion and he was at a disadvantage from the start. The EU votes as a block and the US had more than a dozen votes already in the bag while we started with none," he said. The resolution was passed with 23 voting in favour. The majority of the UNHRC members either voted against or abstained. Of the 47 member states, 12 voted against the resolution and another 12 countries abstained. Commenting on the voting pattern, External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris said the outcome of the US sponsored resolution reflects that more countries are against the U S at the UNHRC. In 2013, as many as 25 member states voted in favour of the resolution, thus obtaining an absolute majority. However, this time the US and other sponsors could not muster 50 % support (Daily News : 30 March 2014).

A bigger plan by the LTTE nipped in the bud - Courtesy The Daily Mirror (Saturday, 29 March 2014 00:49) - Hectic events over the past few weeks in Sri Lanka have driven home three salient truths on the security front relating to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) organisation. The first is that Tiger or pro-Tiger elements in the Tamil Diaspora will persist with efforts to resurrect the LTTE and disrupt life in Sri Lanka. The second is that the Sri Lankan state will effectively respond to such a challenge regardless of international implications. The third is that the strongly entrenched security apparatus in the country is capable of cracking down hard on any such perceived LTTE revival attempt and crushing it.  Last week saw this column focusing on the shooting incident in the Tharmapuram area of Kilinochchi district and subsequent events including the manhunt for an LTTE operative known as “Gobi” and the security crackdown on suspected attempts to revive the LTTE. What the country at large seems to have failed to comprehend is the seriousness of “what might have been” had not the security authorities countered the challenge posed.  “The defence establishment has been lulled into a sense of false complacency due to the past years of LTTE inactivity in Colombo and the suburbs after the military debacle at Mullivaaikkaal in May 2009. Security measures in Colombo have been progressively relaxed. This has created a situation where it may be possible to mount an “operation” in Colombo utilising the element of surprise.” (LankaWeb ; 30 March 2014).

US sponsored Resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC - by Asoka Weerasinghe,. Canada - Hon. John Baird, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs Deepak Obhrai, MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Lynne Yelich, MP, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hon. Jason Kenney, MP, former Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, and Multiculture - Dear John, Deepak, Lynne & Jason: Re: US sponsored Resolution againt Sri Lanka at the UNHRC; So with the US sponsored UNHCR vote against Sri Lanka, 23 countries in favour, 12 against and 12 abstentions, Canada’s intentions to have it go through with more countries voting for it, pooouf! It went up in smoke. There seem to be saner people in other countries, who are not vindictive and not depended on separatist Tamil-refugee votes and who really believe in human rights, not like those in the West, and that includes Canada. If Canada had believed in human rights in Sri Lanka, Canada would have acknowledged the classic text book example of the Sri Lankan Government and her armed forces giving back the most treasured human right of any civilized country, the right-to-life, to its 21 million peoples which had been hijacked for 27 bloody years by the Tamil Tigers. We haven’t as yet acknowledged this fundamental and honourable human rights act. And why not Canada? Are we to believe that Canada couldn’t care two front teeth of a dead beaver about Sri Lanka’s peoples and their human rights? If Canada understands and believes in human rights, then Canada would have acknowledged the classic text book example performed by the Sri Lankan government of liberating 295,873 Tamils on 19 May 2009, from the clutches of the Tamil Tigers who used them as a human shield for 30 months. My Canadian government up to now has not acknowledged this amazing humanitarian act of human rights by the Sri Lankan government. And why not Canada? (LankaWeb ; 30 March 2014).

This resolution only hurts our reconciliation efforts. It does not help, says President of Sri Lanka

UNHRC resolution against SL does not shut the door on domestic inquiry - US - ….. but justice and accountability cannot wait - By Zacki Jabbar - The US says that the UNHRC resolution calling for an international war crimes probe into the last stages of the war in Sri Lanka which was adopted in Geneva last week did not shut the door on the Rajapaksa government conducting a credible and independent domestic inquiry.  Michele J Sison, the US Ambassdor in Colombo, told a round table with a group of journalists at the American Center on Friday, that they had to move a third successive UNHRC resolution against the Sri Lankan government since it had failed ,despite repeated requests by the global community, to probe the allegations of serious human rights violations against its security forces as well as the LTTE during the last stages of the war which ended in May 2009 or in the alternative to extend it to the period covered by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).  However that did not mean the resolution which was adopted by a margin of 23 to 12 with 12 abstensions had shut the door on a Sri Lankan inquiry being conducted according to universally established legal procedures which all UN members were signatories to, she noted.  "In this regard the Rule of Law needs to be strengthened, impunity ended and basic legislation such as the Victim and Witness Protection and Right to Information bills, both called for by the LLRC, be enacted. We hope the offer of technical assistance made by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights would also be made use of."  Asked,if the third US sponsored UNHRC resolution was not too harsh considering the number that voted against and also abstained, Sison replied that the international community had sent out a clear message that "the time to pursue lasting peace and prosperity in Sri Lanka is now and justice and accountability cannot wait."  The Ambassador said that contrary to criticism leveled against her country, the UNHRC resolution was for the benefit of Sri Lanka. "It was undertaken in support of the Sri Lankan people in recognition of the resilience they have shown after years of war and their yearning for democracy and prosperity. The text was discussed at length with UNHRC member and observer states as well as with other stakeholders." For generations Sri Lankans have known too much violence. They deserve better and should be able to live in dignity in a prosperous, united and peaceful country. That was the aim of this latest resolution and will be the goal of U.S. policy moving forward, she emphasized. The US was ready to assist and looked forward to continuing its engagement with the Rajapaksa government and also strengthening the bonds of friendship with its people (Island : 29 March 2014).

US disappointed over India’s decision

US disappointed over India’s decision - The United States on Friday expressed disappointment over India abstaining from US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.   "It is disappointing to us that India abstained from voting on this resolution when they voted yes for the last two years," State Department spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters.  "We have made our disappointment known to Indian officials. Beyond that, I'd refer you to them in terms of how they voted," Harf said (Daily Mirror : 29 March 2014).

Cooperate with resolution-US to SL - US Ambassador Michele J. Sison on Friday urged Sri Lanka to cooperate with the resolution and the plan laid out for a comprehensive international investigation adopted at the UNHRC on Thursday.  She told a group of media personnel at the American Center that the US encourages Sri Lanka to continue to cooperate with the resolution and to welcome the special-procedures-mandate-holders, who have requested to visit the island.  “The two pending requests by the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and Special Procedures Mandate Holders for the right of minorities should be prioritized,” she added. Ambassador Sison also dismissed allegations that the US-backed resolution was ‘against’ Sri Lanka and assured it was undertaken in recognition of the resilience shown by Sri Lankans following years of conflict and their yearning for democracy and prosperity. She said the adoption of the US-backed resolution titled, “Promoting Reconciliation, accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka”, at the UNHRC on Thursday sends out a clear message to the Sri Lankan Government to take meaningful and concrete steps on reconciliation and accountability.  “It calls upon the SL Government to fulfill its stated obligations to its own people. There are two baskets of issues covered in the resolution; one is the request for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to undertake a comprehensive and independent investigation into the alleged human rights violations committed by both parties during the conflict. The other portion is with regard to the concerns on the situation in Sri Lanka here and now,” the Ambassador said.  She noted specific allegations with reference to the ongoing situation in Sri Lanka and added that the US is deeply concerned about continued attacks, intimidations and detentions of human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists, attacks on religious minorities and religious places of worship as well as the weakening of the rule of law and increasing impunity for illegal actions.  “Violent rhetoric and the encouragement of violent actions only serve to create further disharmony, and hinder reconciliation. We continue to call for an end to such acts of intimidation and for all those detained to be provided due process and granted immediate access to legal counsel,” the Ambassador said. “We have been vocal in our support of the LLRC report and its recommendations. Moreover, all three resolutions have acknowledged progress made by Sri Lanka since 2009 in rebuilding infrastructure, demining, and resettling the majority of internally displaced persons,” she added. She highlighted the HRC25/L1/Rev.1 resolution referring to the time period covered by the LLRC for the proposed independent, international investigation on alleged human rights and humanitarian violations in Sri Lanka by both parties.  “The resolution text encourages and does not close the door in any way on domestic mechanism since it even calls for the implementation of LLRC recommendations that have not yet been completed including the need to credibly investigate widespread allegations of extra judicial killings, demilitarisation of Northern Sri Lanka, evaluation of detention policies, devolution of power in the north of Sri Lanka, evaluating detention policies and the devolution of power. But it should be noted that not enough has been done to move forward on these recommendations,” she said.  Ambassador Sision also stressed on the importance of enacting the Victim and Witness Protection and Right to Information bills, both called for by the LLRC (Daily Mirror ; 28 March 2014).

Mexico reneges on promise; three Asian countries switch sides - US-sponsored UNHRC against Sri Lanka - By Shamindra Ferdinando - Much to the surprise of the Sri Lankan delegation at the ongoing session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Mexico, voted for Thursday’s US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka in spite of its promise to skip the vote in return for Sri Lanka’s support to get elected to the rights body.  Mexico was among the 14 countries elected through secret ballot on November 12, 2013 to serve on the UNHRC for a period of three years beginning on 01 January 2014. Others were Algeria, China, Cuba, France, the Maldives, Morocco, Namibia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Vietnam, Russia, and the United Kingdom. Geneva based diplomatic sources told The Island that Mexico had promised Sri Lanka that it would dissuade the US from moving a resolution at the UNHRC and in case the Obama administration went ahead with its move, it would abstain.  Asked whether the Sri Lankan government had raised the issue with Mexico, authoritative sources revealed that Mexico justified its action on the basis its representatives tried to soften the language of the resolution titled ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka.’ Sources said that the Mexican claim was nothing but laughable when the resolution meant to empower the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to investigate alleged wartime atrocities during the last phase of the war.  The resolution received the backing of 22 countries. Being a member of the UNHRC comprising 47 countries, the US was also able to vote for its own resolution. Twelve countries voted against while 12 abstained.The first US resolution was endorsed in 2012 with 24 countries voting for and 15 against while eight countries abstained. In the following year, 25 countries backed the second US resolution while 13 countries opposed, eight abstained and one didn’t even turn up (Gabon).  Sources said that the situation in Geneva would have been much better this year if Kuwait, the Philippines and Indonesia remained on Sri Lanka’s side. All three had abstained due to heavy US pressure, sources said, adding that the Philippines couldn’t have disappointed the US particularly in view of President Barack Obama’s impending visit to Manila. Obama is scheduled to visit Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines in April this year (Island ; 28 March 2014).

Tamil Nadu parties slam Manmohan govt for not backing anti-Lanka resolution in Geneva

Tamil Nadu parties slam Manmohan govt for not backing anti-Lanka resolution in Geneva - Tamil Nadu parties across the political spectrum today slammed India’s abstention from voting on the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva on Thursday.  While most of them including DMK have welcomed a majority of countries adopting the resolution, they have been critical of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s stand in not voting in its favour.  On Thursday, India had abstained from voting in the US-sponsored resolution at UNHRC, saying it imposes an "intrusive approach" of international investigative mechanism which was counter-productive, apart from being "inconsistent and impractical".  The country had, however, voted against Sri Lanka, charged with alleged war crimes during the peak of hostilities in 2009, in the previous years amid clamour for its support by Tamil Nadu political parties, including former UPA constituent DMK and ruling AIADMK.  Even Congress veteran and Union Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram felt that India should have supported it. Expressing his ‘personal opinion’, Chidambaram said India should have voted in favour of the resolution, irrespective of whether it was strong or not, since 23 countries had supported the US-backed initiative.  However, the Congress Party downplayed Chidambaram’s remarks. "He is certainly entitled to that view and we understand that he is from Tamil Nadu. Equally, the Congress, on a national perspective, is entitled to agree to disagree with it", party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said.  DMK chief Muthuvel Karunanidhi flayed India’s stand, saying its ‘inhumane’ decision has left the Tamils, both at home and abroad, disappointed. Referring to India’s explanation that the resolution at the UNHRC imposed an "intrusive approach" besides undermining Sri Lanka’s sovereignty, he said this was "strongly condemnable" and that even Congressmen in Tamil Nadu will not accept this. If national sovereignty was an issue, Karunanidhi asked: How could first Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru ‘intervene’ in the racism issue in South Africa, or how could his daughter Indira Gandhi help Bangladeshi leader Mujibur Rehman in that country’s liberation?  He recalled he had demanded that India move a separate resolution seeking credible international probe into alleged human rights violations during the peak of conflict in 2009. The DMK Chief claimed credit for India’s support to a similar resolution in 2012, when his party was part of the ruling UPA dispensation, but it had walked out of the government last year after "India in association with Sri Lanka watered down" the resolution last year, besides engaging in ‘anti-Tamil’ activities.  With 23 countries, including US, which had no "direct relation" with Tamils in the island nation, passing the resolution, India’s abstention was a "matter of shame" and it amounted to killing one’s own child, Karunanidhi charged.  Veteran CPI (M) leader and party’s Rajya Sabha MP, TK Rangarajan, questioned the very authority of the Manmohan Singh government to take such a policy decision since it was a ‘minority’ one and elections were on.  "My opinion is that the government cannot take any decision on international matters. It should have convened an all-party meeting since any new government may come to power after elections. What the Congress (government) did is against people," he said.  MDMK founder Vaiko also slammed the government, saying it had committed an "unpardonable crime" by not voting in favour of the US-backed resolution.  CPI leader D Raja had described New Delhi’s action as "another betrayal" by the Congress-led UPA government.  Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), an ally of DMK, welcomed UNHRC adopting the resolution and demanded dismissal of Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.  India’s abstention showed it did not respect people’s sentiments, VCK founder Thol Thirumavalavan said.  Dravidar Kazhagam (DK) leader K Veeramani also criticised India for not voting in support of the resolution.  Pro-Tamil ‘May 17 Movement’ claimed India’s abstention "clearly shows that it is in favour of Sri lankan government." Its founder Tirumurugan Gandhi said India does not want any pressure on Colombo and claimed New Delhi’s south Asia policy "is failing." (Island ; 28 March 2014).

We were never against SL: India - Indian envoy Dilip Sinha said India does not support the operative para 10 OF the resolution which asks for an international inquiry but encourages Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations of an internal inquiry's report and findings.  India yesterday abstained from the vote at the United Nations session in Geneva which calls for an international investigation into alleged war crimes in the final stage of the island's civil war which ended in 2009.  Mr Sinha speaks to NDTV after the vote in Geneva (Daily Mirror : 28 March 2014).

A dangerous precedent - India has, at long last, seen through the wiles of its newfound western friends. In what has been described as a surprise move, it refrained from backing the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC on Thursday. The reason it has given for its decision is of interest: "An external investigative mechanism with an open-ended mandate to monitor national processes is not a constructive approach. In our view, adopting an intrusive approach that undermines national sovereignty and institutions is counterproductive. Hence we have in this instance abstained on the resolution." If so, India should have voted against that resolution.  This kind of intrusive approach poses a threat not only to Sri Lanka but also to all other nations which refuse to be puppets of the West. India is not free from ethno-religious conflicts and it also runs the risk of being forced to subjugate its national sovereignty to the diktats of the West issued through the UNHRC. It may be powerful and influential internationally to resist such interference, but the fact remains that US and its allies have been able to create a dangerous precedent to advance their agenda because India compromised its principles and voted for country specific resolutions against Sri Lanka twice in 2012 and 2013.  There’s none so blind as the UNHRC which refuses to see. But for Sri Lanka’s successful war against terror, the people of the North would not have been able to elect a provincial administration with a retired Supreme Court judge at the helm to look after their interests; they would still have been under the jackboot of a trigger-happy school dropout thirsting for human blood; child abductions and the violent suppression of dissent would have continued and only those vociferous supporters of the UNHRC resolution here would have benefited because they were in the LTTE’s good books.  The situation in Sri Lanka needs to be assessed realistically. The defeat of terrorism has benefited all communities. Tamils can move about freely with their children attending school without fear of being abducted and turned into cannon fodder; they can exercise their franchise and have themselves heard at all levels of government so much so that even those political leaders who grovelled before Prabhakaran and recognized him as the sole representative of Tamils are today campaigning for democracy. Muslims can pray at mosques without being massacred in their hundreds and cultivate their lands. Ethnic cleansing is a thing of the past. The Sinhalese can travel in buses and trains without being blown to bits and live in far-flung villages as the LTTE is not there to butcher them at night. The North and the East have seen an unprecedented development drive (Island Editorial : 28 March 2014).

UNHRC resolution: US musters 23 votes, Sri Lanka 12: India abstains

Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination cannot be brushed aside - The Centre on Thursday asserted in the Supreme Court that the assassination of the former Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, in 1991 was a very serious and heinous crime which could not be forgotten so easily or brushed aside.  A Bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justices Ranjan Gogoi and N.V. Ramana reserved its verdict on a writ petition filed by the Centre, challenging the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to release the seven convicts in the case.  On Wednesday, senior counsel Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for Tamil Nadu, defended the State’s decision taken on February 19 and said the situation had now changed as there was no LTTE presence and no threat to the law and order if the seven accused were released.  Refuting this stand, Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati, citing the 1999 judgment in the case, said Murugan and two others were Sri Lankan nationals, who had carried out this heinous crime. “People may forget what happened in 1991 but we can’t. What will happen to the families of the victims if they are to be released?” (Daily Mirror : 28 March 2014).

UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka: Open letter to UNSG Ban Ki-moon - by Dr Surath Wickramasinghe,President, CHAMBER OF CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY, SRI LANKA - The Chamber of Construction Industry (CCI), Sri Lanka, is the apex body of the Construction Industry comprising of Allied Institutes / Associations, National Contractors Association, Sri Lanka, Allied State Agencies, and the Manufacturers and Suppliers of Building Materials. At it’s Council Meeting held recently, it noted that the Report prepared by Sri Lanka’s LLRC was undertaken to serve as the beacon for reconciliation between communities in an inclusive manner. It’s multitude of recommendations have already been examined for implementation, while in parallel, development is being undertaken to retrieve 30 years of lost opportunity. Consequently, the Council unanimously resolved to support the Sri Lanka Government in its efforts to bring peace and prosperity to the entire Country and its people of all ages, income groups, races and religions.  Sri Lanka has gone through a brutal civil conflict for almost 30 years, resulting in several thousands of innocent Sri Lankan lives being lost. We in Sri Lanka and the Construction Industry are in many ways supporting the Government to accelerate the development of the Country’s post conflict programmes to enable all Sri Lankans to lead a quality life in a peaceful society. Against this backdrop, it is a fact that Sri Lanka is transiting from the war ravaged nation. We are now on the threshold, of a prosperous future for all Sri Lankan’s with Social Infrastructure taking place, together with progress in many sectors such as Urban Development, Tourism, Agriculture and Industry to name a few, happening rapidly with Local and Foreign Investment. In these circumstances, the Council of the CCI firmly believes that all issues encompassed within a genuine process of reconciliation require time and space. The key is to affirm the intent to undertake the process and not to derail its overall mission of nation building. Accordingly, external interventions through UN resolutions can undermine rather than complement Government’s thrust to lock into a timeframe of change for the betterment of all peoples of Sri Lanka.The Council of CCI is of the view that those nations sponsoring the Resolution at the UNHRC will take cognition of the ground reality and endeavour to make Sri Lanka a better and safer place for its citizens (Island ; 28 March 2014).

Geneva shouts: ‘Human Rights – We are Right’ -  It was jolly time in Geneva, The voting at the UNHRC went the way Navi Pillay and the "international community" had wanted, though not exactly how they planned it. There was a problem with the numbers, as those who abstained – were far too much for the movers to feel very happy. Yet it was time to enjoy beating Sri Lanka.  Navi Pillay was the toast of the evening. Diplomats, State officials from the West, and Civil Society swarms who were planning the moves against Sri Lanka were dancing to a fast American beat. It was the Obama/Cameron mood at play. The beat of the western drums was often drowned by shouts of "Navi, Navi – Boom Boom". In the midst of the Navi Boom echoes, there were shouts of "Human Rights – We Are Right", "We are Right – Always Right".  After some time the western beat gave way to that of dholak drums from North India, as Indian diplomats took to the floor with shouts of "Navi Pillay - Jai, Manmohan – Jai" from some and "Sri Lanka – Hai, Hai" from others. Some of the diplomats and civil society catchers who had gone beyond the tippling stage with the free flow of liquor, came out with their inner political feelings in the current election mood in India, with some shouting "Modi ki Jai" and others replying louder with "Rahul ki Jai".  As the mood of celebration caught on, with no abstentions at the bar, there were some signs of the role that Sri Lankan Tamils were playing in the Indian polls campaign getting hotter as the days go by. It did not take long for the rhythms of the Navi Pillay Night celebrations to give way from the dholak to the Nagasalam Beat from Tamil Nadu. Nagasalam percussionists with Mridangans and Ghatams, and flutists too, were providing the new rhythms as some raised shouts of "Human Rights Nehi – Tamil Nadu Yehi". As the beat got faster others began shouting "Tamil Eelam Vendam - Jayalalitha Vendum" (No to Tamil Eelam – Yes to Jayalalitha"). (Island ; 28 March 2014).

UNHRC resolution: US musters 23 votes, Sri Lanka 12: India abstains - India says ‘intrusive approach’ counterproductive apart from being ‘inconsistent and impractical’ -  by Shamindra Ferdinando  - The government of India withdrew its support for US-led resolution which was adopted yesterday at the 25th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session, with 23 countries voting for and 12 against. Twelve countries abstained.  Earlier a voting was taken whether the voting should go ahead as scheduled. Sixteen voted in favour of and 25 voted against a postponement. Six countries abstained. The move to put off the vote was made by countries backing Sri Lanka.  India’s Permanent Representative in Geneva Dilip Sinha announced India’s decision to abstain from voting on the basis that an external investigation mechanism would hinder the efforts of Sri Lanka to promote reconciliation rather than contributing constructively. Sinha asserted that such a move would complicate the prevalent situation in Sri Lanka.  Dilip Sinha said this resolution titled promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’ at the UNHRC imposes an "intrusive approach" of international investigative mechanism which was counterproductive apart from being "inconsistent and impractical".  Sinha noted that unlike the resolutions in 2009, 2012 and 2013, this resolution asked the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to "investigate, assess and monitor" the human rights situation in Sri Lanka which was an "intrusive" approach that undermines national sovereignty.  "It has been India’s firm belief that adopting an intrusive approach that undermines national sovereignty and institutions is counterproductive. Any significant departure from the core principle of constructive international dialogue and cooperation has the potential to undermine efforts of Human Rights Council for promoting universal respect for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms," he said.  Moreover, any external investigative mechanism with an open-ended mandate to monitor national processes for protection of human rights in a country, was not reflective of the constructive approach of dialogue and cooperation envisaged by earlier U.N. General Assembly resolutions, he added.  Japan, Indonesia and South Africa too, abstained.  A senior government spokesman told The Island that the government really appreciated India’s decision as India was under tremendous pressure to vote for the resolution. India backed two previous US resolutions in 2012 and 2013.  Geneva based GoSL sources told The Island that the Indian move had caught the LTTE rump and the pro-Eelam Diaspora groups unawares though the US and the EU had been aware of its decision. Sources said that those Indian political parties wanting to push for an international war crimes tribunal too would have been surprised by the Indian move. Sources said that India had in fact agreed to throw its weight behind the US project aimed at launching an international war crimes investigation.  The LTTE brought pressure to bear on South Africa to vote for the resolution. Diplomatic sources said that South Africa asserted that such a move would be detrimental to its efforts to bring the government of Sri Lankan and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) back to the negotiating table (Island : 27 March 2014).

GoSL Statement in Geneva - The following is the statatement made by Ravinatha P. Aryasinha - Ambassador / Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka on behalf of Sri Lanka at the UNHRC: Anyone unaware of the ground situation in Sri Lanka walking into the Human Rights Council today could not be blamed for thinking that Sri Lanka is the most troubled place on this planet. However, as you are aware, Sri Lanka is clearly not an urgent situation that warrants the Council’s continued attention. Draft resolution HRC/25/L.1/Rev.1 is the third consecutive resolution presented by the US against Sri Lanka in this Council in the past three years. It is presented without the consent of Sri Lanka as the country concerned. It is presented in spite of Sri Lanka’s continuous engagement with the UN and the Council as acknowledged by countries across regions. It is presented in spite of continued and tangible progress demonstrated by Sri Lanka on the ground in addressing issues related to the reconciliation process including accountability, within the framework of Sri Lanka’s domestic reconciliation process.  Five years since the end of terrorism and the conclusion of the conflict however, unprecedented attention is being paid to Sri Lanka within this Council and on its sidelines. Many countries have questioned and continue to question the real motives and imperatives behind what is clearly politicised action against Sri Lanka in the Council.  It is an established principle of International Law that parties seeking remedy for a perceived grievance must exhaust all possible avenues within the domestic jurisdiction, prior to seeking redress in the international arena. Therefore, the State where the alleged violation occurred should have an opportunity to redress it by its own means, and exhaust the framework of its domestic system, before recourse to an international mechanism. It is ironic that with extensive domestic mechanisms in place, a resolution has been brought before the Council. This amounts to an infringement of state sovereignty and pre-judgment of the outcome of domestic processes (Island : 27 March 2014).

India had cheated SL Tamils: TNA

India had cheated SL Tamils: TNA - The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) opposed India for its decision to abstain from the US sponsored resolution in UNHRC which was passed today.  TNA MP Suresh Premachandran told foreign media that India had cheated the Sri Lankan Tamils by the stance it had taken with regard to the resolution.  However TNA Parliamentary group leader R. Sampanthan commenting on the matter told Daily Mirror that India must have had some reasons to abstain from voting for the resolution.  “We will come to know the reasons behind India’s stance in due course and we don’t want to comment on these now,” he added.  However Mr. Sampanthan welcomed the resolution and said his party hopes that the Sri Lankan Government would cooperate with the UNHRC in implementing the resolution. He added that TNA is ready to play a role in this process together with the Sri Lankan Government.  “This resolution is a victory for all Sri Lankans who struggle for truth, justice and reconciliation,” he further said (Daily Mirror : 27 March 2014).

Geneva vote paves way for int’l probe -US Secy of State - Soon after a US led resolution calling for the Office of the Human Rights Commissioner to initiate an investigation into the allegations of serious human rights abuses and related crimes as well as monitoring of post-war situation in Sri Lanka was adopted at the 25th session of the UNHRC, US Secretary of State, John Kerry said the Obama administration was committed to help Sri Lankans realize a future in which all could share the country’s success.  The following is the full text of the statement: "Today’s vote in the UN Human Rights Council sends a clear message: the time to pursue lasting peace and prosperity is now; justice and accountability cannot wait.  This resolution reaffirms the commitment of the international community to support the Government of Sri Lanka as it pursues reconciliation and respect for human rights and democratic governance. That’s why the resolution requests that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights continues monitoring the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. That’s why it calls on the Office to conduct an investigation into allegations of serious human rights abuses and related crimes during Sri Lanka’s civil war. And that’s why the United States will continue speak out in defense of the fundamental freedoms that all Sri Lankans should enjoy.  We are deeply concerned by recent actions against some of Sri Lanka’s citizens, including detentions and harassment of civil society activists. Further reprisals against these brave defenders of human rights and the dignity of all Sri Lankan citizens would elicit grave concern from the international community.  The Sri Lankan people are resilient. They have demonstrated grit and determination through years of war. Now, they are demanding democracy and prosperity in years of peace. They deserve that chance.  The United States stands with all the people of Sri Lanka. We are committed to helping them realize a future in which all Sri Lankans can share in their country’s success. " (Island ; 27 March 2014).

OHCHR under the thumb of Western powers-GoSL - by Shamindra Ferdinando - The Office of the High Commissioner of Human Right (OHCHR) was under the thumb of Western powers due to the UN body receiving heavy funding from US and its allies and, therefore, they had exerted undue influence on the organisation, a senior GoSL official alleged yesterday.  Quoting latest available statistics, the official pointed out that the OHCHR received only one third of its funding requirement from the UN regular budget approved by the UNGA every two years.  Responding to a query, the official explained that as the donors had a right to allocate funds for specific projects, the OHCHR would be in dire straits in case major donors withheld funding. In spite of the OHCHR urging major donors to desist from earmarking funds for specific projects, hence give the organisation the opportunity to make allocations on its own.  UK based sources pointed out that of the USD 111 mn in voluntary contributions made to OHCHR in 2012 by 75 donors, about 66 per cent was made by eight donors, namely US (11.9%), Netherlands (11%), Sweden (10.7%), Norway (11.1%), EU (6.4%), Germany (6%), UK (5.6%) and Canada (4.4%). France, Ireland and Spain too, make substantial contributions.  An External Affairs Ministry official told The Island that the OHCHR had been overwhelmed by the US-EU combine which was pursuing a politically motivated campaign meant to undermine the government. The official alleged that undue pressure had been brought to bear on the OHCHR by those wanting to haul Sri Lanka up before an international war crimes tribunal. The official pointed out the circumstances under which the US cut off funds to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) in October 2011 after the Palestinian Authority was accepted into the UN agency as a full member in defiance of American, Israeli as well as European pressure to keep the Palestinians out.  The overwhelming backing for the Palestinians’ bid to join the UNESCO was a huge boost for their campaign to gain international recognition as an independent state, and a blow to Israel and the US, who opposed the move.  Members voted by 107 votes to 14 to accept Palestine as a full member state to loud cheers from delegates in Paris. Fifty-two countries, including the UK, abstained (Island : 27 March 2014).

Int’l community shouldn’t be part of the problem-Pakistan UNHRC 2014: - The international community should act as a facilitator for peace and stability and be part of the solution rather than part of the problem, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Zamir Akram said on Wednesday (March 26). Ambassador Akram said: "There is a dire need to comprehend and cooperatively address the enormous challenges being faced by Sri Lanka rather than penalising the country for rooting out terrorism from its soil."  The Pakistani envoy was commenting on OHCHR (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights) report on Sri Lanka. The following is the Pakistani envoy’s statement to the UNHRC: "My delegation believes in a culture of engagement for ensuring the promotion and protection of human rights. We believe that country-specific initiatives are confrontational and counter-productive and seriously undermine the spirit of cooperation and coordination on important human rights issues.  We believe that the High Commissioner’s Report contained in document A/HRC/25/23 is not balanced and some of the elements including recommendation to establish an international inquiry mechanism exceed the mandate granted by HRC resolution 22/1. We are also disappointed over the discriminatory approach followed by the OHCHR with regard to placement of Sri Lanka’s comments in response to the report on the extranet.  Sri Lanka is a country with excellent democratic credentials. It has successfully overcome 30 years of brutal terrorism by the LTTE with external support. Now is the time for international community to help the people of Sri Lanka to heal their wounds and not penalize them for defeating the LTTE at the behest of people who still continue to align themselves with these terrorist forces.  There is also a need to acknowledge the commitment and cooperation, extended by the government of Sri Lanka to the entire human rights machinery (Island : 27 March 2014).

Aryasinha alleges resolution inimical to Sri Lanka’s interests - Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative in Geneva Ravinatha P. Aryasinha alleged that a key imperative driving the US resolution was not genuine concern for the welfare of the Sri Lankan people but electoral compulsions of some States at the behest of certain extreme elements with links to the LTTE. Aryasinha said: "Such biases and extreme ideologies ignore the ground realities, the legitimate aspirations of the Sri Lankan people, and trivialize the price paid by all Sri Lankans to defeat a 30-year brutal terrorist conflict and consolidate peace.  "Before this Council takes a decision on the draft resolution, I wish to appeal to the conscience of the member States. Sri Lanka has embarked upon a painstaking process of reconciliation and nation building, five years since the end of the brutal conflict lasting almost three decades, waged by the LTTE.  "Irrespective of the outcome of today’s decision , I wish to categorically state that the democratically elected Government of Sri Lanka, and indeed all peace loving people in my country will never countenance any return of armed conflict or terrorism." (Island ; 27 March 2014).

SL rejects Pillay’s report as erroneous and biased - The government yesterday rejected the conclusions and recommendations of the UNHRC High Commissioner’s Report on Sri Lanka, pointing out that they were not placed within the ambit of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), reflected bias and were tantamount to an unwarranted interference in the internal affairs of a soverign state.  Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinath Ariyasinha addressing the 25th Regular Session of the UNHRC said: "It is in the light of this misplaced attitude, that we are neither able to comprehend nor agree to action in this Council, which fails to acknowledge, let alone appreciate, the consolidation of peace and the very tangible progress Sri Lanka has made in reconciliation. Regrettably, instead, the Council continues to pay disproportionate attention to Sri Lanka, spearheaded by political motivations."  Ariyasinha pointed out that in addition to the clear lack of mandate and pre-conceived nature of its recommendations, he was surprised by the numerous errors and misperceptions contained in the draft report on Sri Lanka, despite the High Commissioner and her team having undertaken a comprehensive and week-long visit to Sri Lanka where they were provided with unfettered access to study first hand the situation on the ground. Many such instances of errors and misperceptions are referred to in detail in Sri Lanka’s "Comments" on the Report. "We have drawn attention to the fact that the High Commissioner has raised concerns regarding a range of issues based on information of questionable veracity and conclusions arrived at in a selective and arbitrary manner.We have addressed some of the errors and misperceptions contained in the Report, and we have requested the OHCHR to correct such distortion of facts."  Similarly, the misplaced attention paid to the Secretary General’s Internal Review Panel (IRP) report on Sri Lanka in the High Commissioner’s Annual Report to the Council in the current session, whose conclusions are also drawn from the discredited PoE report, and therefore not based on credible sources of information, can be construed as yet another attempt to legitimise the IRP and PoE reports despite clear lack of mandate to do so, he noted. "We pointed to this attempt at politicisation of the situation of Sri Lanka through the IRP report in our statement at the Interactive Debate with the High Commissioner under Agenda Item 2 of this session." (Island ; 26 March 2014).

Canadian convicted in US for abetting LTTE - A Canadian Tamil Tiger operative extradited to the United States to face charges of supporting the banned LTTE has been sentenced to two years in prison by a federal court in Brooklyn, New York, the National Post reported.  Piratheepan Nadarajah, 37, from Brampton, Ontario has pleaded guilty in October 2013 at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn in New York after admitting to a conspiracy to acquire anti-aircraft missiles and attempting to provide material support including sophisticated military technology to a foreign terrorist organization.  Nadarajah and another suspect Suresh Sriskandarajah, alleged operatives of the LTTE, were extradited from Canada and arraigned on December 27, 2012 in the United State federal court in Brooklyn, New York.  He has asked the judge to sentence him for 16 months, the time he already served behind bars in Canada and the U.S., but the judge has sentenced him to 2 years.  He is likely to be deported to Canada after he served the sentence, the National Post said.  Nadarajah was charged with conspiring and attempting to acquire US$1 million worth of anti-aircraft missiles, missile launchers, and other military equipment and conspiring and attempting to provide material support to the LTTE.  According to a FBI statement Nadarajah and several co-conspirators have negotiated with an undercover FBI agent to purchase and export US$1 million worth of high-powered weapons and military equipment for the LTTE, including 20 SA-18 heat-seeking, surface-to-air, anti-aircraft missiles; 10 missile launchers; and 500 AK-47s.  Nadarajah and his associates have attempted to acquire the weapons at the direction of senior LTTE leadership in Sri Lanka, including Pottu Amman, and LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. The anti-aircraft weapons were to be used by the LTTE to shoot down Kfir aircraft used by the Sri Lankan military.  He was arrested in Toronto following a joint RCMP-FBI investigation called Project O-Needle in 2006. He fought extradition in Canada, in December 2012 lost the battle when the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed the orders to extradite Nadarajah to the U.S. to face charges against him.  Nadarajah is the sixth Canadian to be imprisoned as a result of the joint RCMP-FBI investigation into the North American support network that financed and supplied the Tamil Tigers (Island : 26 March 2014).

It’s better to get rid of this two headed serpent than keep him inside the Government

Sri Lanka’s pitiable failure on Geneva front War Crimes charge: Urgent need for reappraisal of GoSL's response - By Shamindra Ferdinando - US Statement Department spokesman, P.J. Crowley on March 10, 2011 declared that the Defence Department treatment of former intelligence analyst, Bradley Manning was ‘ridiculous, counter-productive and stupid.’  Crowley was speaking in the wake of the international media quoting Manning’s lawyer, Lt. Colonel David Coombs as having said that his client had been forced to sit naked in his cell for seven hours and then forced to stand naked at attention at the front of his cell for about ten minutes.  Manning, accused of releasing classified information to Wiki Leaks was held in detention at Quantico military base outside Washington DC.  The US military, while confirming the claim made by Lt. Colonel Coombs, emphasized that the practice was in line with military policy.  The US State Department swiftly forced Crowley to quit. At the behest of his former superiors, Crowley issued a brief statement taking full responsibility for his controversial statement. "Given the impact of my remarks, for which I take full responsibility, I have submitted my resignation as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and the spokesman for the Department of State."  No country dared to issue a statement condemning the US action. Those who preach of the importance of freedom of speech remained silent.  It wasn’t an isolated case.  In June, 2010, Gen. Stanley McCrystal, the then Commander of all US and NATO forces deployed in Afghanistan was compelled to end his 34-year-military career following his criticism of the Obama administration. The US regime reacted angrily to comments the war veteran and some of his aides had made to Rolling Stone magazine.  With the vote on the third US resolution moved against Sri Lanka taking place tomorrow (March 27) at the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), it would be pertinent to examine the US position vis a vis post-war Sri Lanka. The US resolution was meant to humiliate Sri Lanka over accountability issues and a range of other issues, including the suppression of free speech (Island ; 25 March 2014).

‘War crimes’ in Sri Lanka: - UK silent on India’s accountability- GoSL likely to refer to India’s ‘terrorism project’ during Geneva session - by Shamindra Ferdinando- The British government has side-stepped the contentious issue of India creating terrorism in Sri Lanka in the early 1980s as Western powers and India are finalising an anti-Sri Lankan resolution.  The Island raised the issue with the British High Commission in Colombo as well as the Foreign Office in London.In an opinion column published in The Hindu on March 17, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said: "Seeking the truth and justice helps to put countries on the right track toward reconciliation. Sierra Leone is a good example. Special Court convictions drew a definitive line under a tumultuous period of Sierra Leone’s history and addressed impunity in response to victims’ needs to promote healing."  Asked what would be Hague’s position with regard to India’s culpability in causing terrorism in Sri Lanka in the 1980s, a spokesperson for the Foreign Office said yesterday that the text of the resolution was still under discussion in Geneva. The resolution focused on violations by both sides of Sri Lanka’s conflict, namely the government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE, according to the Foreign Office.  The British Foreign Office didn’t make any reference to the government of India. Responding to a query regarding British position on an international mechanism to investigate atrocities, including those committed by the Indian Army during its deployment here (July 1987 to March 1990), the Foreign Office said: "Our Prime Minister, David Cameron said during his visit to Sri Lanka in November last year, we would support a call for an independent international investigation into allegations of violations and abuses of international humanitarian and human rights law by both sides of Sri Lanka’s war (the LTTE and Government of Sri Lanka), in the absence of a credible, transparent and independent domestic process. The draft resolution is still under discussion."   Geneva based sources told The Island that the US and its allies had agreed that the proposed investigation should inquire into alleged serious violations and abuses if human rights and related crimes by the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE covered by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). The LLRC investigated the conflict from February 2002 to May 2009.  Asked whether the UK had taken up Sri Lanka issues at the UNHRC before the end of the conflict in May 2009, the Foreign Office said: "Before 2009 the UK was heavily involved in supporting Sri Lanka’s efforts to find a peaceful solution. Sri Lanka is subject to UNHRC discussion due to the lack of progress on human rights concerns and no credible domestic process to investigation violations of international law by both sides (LTTE and Government of Sri Lanka) during the war. This is despite Sri Lanka promising, in a joint statement with the UN Secretary-General in 2009, to address accountability for alleged violations during the war." A senior GoSL official currently involved in Geneva deliberations told The Island that the latest resolution was meant to cause instability. Responding to a query, the official explained that in the wake of India throwing its full weight behind the anti-Sri Lanka move, the government would have to review its position in Geneva. The official acknowledged that Sri Lanka, too, remained silent on India’s culpability, though New Delhi voted twice in 2012 and 2013 for US resolutions. However, the government was seriously contemplating referring to India’s terror campaign in Sri Lanka during the current Geneva session (Island : 25 March 2014).

Northern CM’s circular curtails officials’ freedom of movement - Many an eyebrow has been raised over an attempt by Northern Chief Minister, C. V. Wigneswaran to restrict public servants’ freedom of movement through a special circular which, he has said, is in keeping with practices adopted in other provinces, various existing procedures and guidelines as well as expert advice received at a two-day seminar in late January this year.  Northern Chief Minister has introduced the new regulations with effect from February 15, 2014.  The circular prevents high ranking civil servants from leaving the Northern Province without his permission.  Chief Secretary of the Northern province, Mrs. Vijayalakshmi Ramesh has moved the Supreme Court against the CM’s circular (Island : 25 March 2014).

Australian govt. tight-lipped on whether it will support international inquiry into SL - The Coalition government is continuing to sidestep whether it will support an international investigation into war crimes in Sri Lanka, despite Labor and the Greens now both backing it.  The US-backed resolution, to be debated by the United Nation's Human Rights Council this week, aims to enforce an international independent investigation into alleged war crimes, which could lead to the prosecution of current members of the Sri Lankan government.  Despite Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop attending the debate it is unknown whether the Australian government will back the resolution.  While Australia is not one of the 47 members of the council who vote, it is able to co-sponsor the resolution if it backs the inquiry.  Opposition spokeswoman for foreign affairs Tanya Plibersek called for Australia to support the investigation on Monday, saying we should support our ''usual allies'' and that the national mechanisms by the Sri Lankan government had been so far unsuccessful.  ''Our call for the Australian government is to support the draft resolution before the Human Rights Council is to reduce violations and abuses and puts us in company with all of our usual allies when it comes to foreign affairs decision making,'' Ms Plibersek said.  Under a Labor government in 2012 and 2013 the Australian government supported the Sri Lankan government to conduct their own internal investigations.  But Liberal Senator Michael Sukkar hinted that the Australian government may not support the external investigation, saying the government would rather work closely with the Sri Lankan government to improve accountability and progress on human rights.  ''It is this approach rather than one that seeks to isolate the Sri Lanka government that we consider will ultimately achieve human rights,'' he said.  Mr Sukkar said the government was yet to receive the final text on the resolution and would ''not be pushed into making a decision by the Labor or the Greens''. But time is running out. The council is set to meet on Thursday in Geneva.  In a letter to Minister Bishop, six eminent citizens including Chancellor of Southern Cross University, John Dowd, former foreign minister Gareth Evans, and former prime minister Malcolm Fraser have urged the government to support the investigation, saying the human rights situation on the island continues to deteriorate. ''A culture of impunity encourages commonplace torture, enforced disappearances and sexual violence,'' the letter wrote.  ''This resolution is of real relevance to all citizens of Sri Lanka. Any credible investigation into violations committed by both sides would provide all Sri Lankan communities the space and environment to come to terms with crimes committed in their respective names.  ''The Australian government must support this resolution, as without meaningful truth, justice and accountability for the alleged crimes committed during the war, there will be no genuine opportunity to set Sri Lanka on the path to reconciliation and lasting peace,'' the report said.  Ms Plibersek strongly supported the contents of the letter, saying it was impartial and focused on the facts, acknowledging there were ''wrongs on both sides of the Sri Lankan conflict'' (Daily Mirror : 24 March 2014).

India for int’l probe into SL’s accountability issues - … but won’t allow its crimes here to be investigated - By Shamindra Ferdinando - The US and its allies have been able to secure India’s support for an anti-Sri Lankan resolution scheduled to be taken up at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) this week, following an understanding that the proposed investigation would cover the eelam conflict only from Feb. 21, 2002 and May 19, 2009.   Geneva based sources told The Island that those pushing for an international war crimes probe had been compelled to give in to India’s demand that its crimes here should not be probed, to obtain its support.  The UNHRC comprising 47-members will take up the resolution on Thursday (March 27).  Sources said that throughout informal consultations in Geneva, India had emphasised that the proposed investigation shouldn’t go beyond the period covered by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). Sources pointed out that India’s position was contrary to the stand taken up by Sri Lanka that in case the global community agreed on an inquiry it should cover the entirety of the war.  President Mahinda Rajapaksa has repeatedly stressed that it will be grossly unfair to investigate only a part of the conflict.  Government sources alleged that India’s move to block a comprehensive investigation was meant to prevent an investigation into India launching a terrorist war in Sri Lanka. India was desperate to thwart any investigation which would cause embarrassment to the government of India at a time it was seeking a bigger role in the UN, sources said, denying claims in some quarters that India had made an attempt to soften the language of paragraph 8 of the draft resolution, which referred to the need for an "independent and credible international investigation" and "investigate alleged violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes."  The US-UK-India combine has backed UN rights Chief Navi Pillay’s recommendations and conclusions regarding human rights violations and the need for an international inquiry mechanism in the absence of a credible local process.  India has endorsed the US call for monitoring human rights situation in Sri Lanka and assessing progress on relevant national processes, to undertake a comprehensive independent investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka during the period covered by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and and establish the facts and circumstances of such alleged violations and of the crimes perpetrated with a view to avoiding impunity and ensuring accountability, with assistance from relevant experts and special procedures. They also agreed to present an oral update to the UNHRC at its 27th session and a comprehensive report followed by a discussion on the current resolution at its 28th session.  India voted for two previous US led resolutions in 2012 and 2013 (Island : 24 March 2014).

Tamil-wing of Catholics aid and abet Tamil extremism – Part I - by H. L. D. Mahindapala - Of the many contradictions, misinterpretations, distortions and perversions in the political culture of the north the role of religion, in all its dimensions, is the least explored and understood. In contrast, Buddhism has been explored almost exhaustively in the south, mainly to demonize it as the force that exacerbated inter-ethnic relations..  One of the remarkable contradictions of Jaffna society, missed by sociologists and other social scientists, is that it is primarily a Hindu society dominated by the Christian – mainly Catholic – hierarchy. From S. J. V. Chelvanayakam, the Christian leader of Tamil separatism, to Bishop Rayappu Joseph, the Bishop of Mannar, the English-educated Christian elite has dominated its political class.  Of the all the Western institutions it is the Catholic Church that loom large over the northern political landscape. To paraphrase Bishop S. Jebanesan, Catholicism that came with the Portuguese remained deep-rooted unlike the subsequent denominations which had a tenuous hold on Jaffna. (p.42 – The Bible Trembled, R.F. Young and S. Jebanesan). The Catholic Church became a stronghold of the Karaiyar caste (fisher caste) in the coastal belt. They also joined the Tigers in large numbers and were in the forefront of this movement.  The diocese of Mannar under Bishop Joseph stands out as a typical example where Catholicism and Tamil extremism intertwined to make mono-ethnic Tamil extremism an inextricable and indistinguishable part of the Catholic Church. After Biahop Deogupillai he became leading local symbol of the Tamil crusade to politicize the Catholic Church and turn it into a tool for the extremist separatist ideology of Velupillai Prabhakaran. For instance, his act of allowing one of his priests to hijack the Statue of Holy Mary at Madhu and run with it, nearly 20 km north of Mannar into Vellankulam, a territory held by Prabhakaran, was a political act designed to bless the cadres of Prabhakaran fighting with his back to the wall. It had nothing to do with saving the image of Holy Mary because the advancing forces were under strict orders not damage the Madhu Church. And they didn’t despite the LTTE forces using the Madhu grounds to fire at the Sri Lankan forces inching their way up the north-western shoreline (LankaWeb ; 24 March 2014).

Chief Secy.’s rights case:Leave to proceed granted - Alleged interference by NP CM - By Chitra Weerarathne - The Supreme Court yesterday said that the impugned document by Northern Province Chief Minister C.V.?Wigneswaran, pertaining to standing administrative orders issued to the Chief secretary of the Province appeared to encroach on the rights of the appointing authority of the Chief Secretary, the President, the National Public Services commission and the Provincial Public Service Commission.  The Fundamental rights violation application filed by the Chief Secretary of the Northern province, Mrs. Vijayalakshmi Ramesh, alleging administrative interference by Chief Minister Wigneswaran was supported before the Court yesterday.  The Chief?Minister is a retired Supreme Court judge.  The Supreme Court said that it was a basic principle of the rule of law that the exercise of powers, must not only be conditioned by provisions of the Constitution, but also be in accordance with the laws of the land.  The court said its duty was to ensure that the first respondent Wigneswaran complied with without violating the basics of the constitution. It was pertinent to know that Article 154 (B) (11) prescribed the duties of the Chief Minister of the Province. Anything outside was unconstitutional. Any abuse or misuse of power by fanciful methods must be controlled by judicial order of the Court.  The Court suspended the operation of the Administrative standing orders by the Chief Minister until final determination of the petition. The interim order is subject to conditions that the petitioner being an officer appointed by the President, under section 31 of the Provincial Councils Act of 1987, as amended, continues to be, under his directions, on transfers, leave and disciplinary control. Transfer, dismissal in national public service come under the purview of the National Public Services Commission, and subject to the control of the National PSC. In Provinces it belongs to the Provincial PSC.  The Supreme Court granted leave to proceed with the fundamental rights violation application filed by the Chief Secretary suspended the operation of Administrative standing orders by the Chief Minister.  Hearing was fixed for July 17.  The registrar was directed to communicate the order to the Chief Minister Northern Province first respondent, forthwith.  Gomin Dayasiri appeared for the petitioner.  Palitha Gamage appeared with S.L.A. Rasheed for the second respondent the governor of the NP, Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle appeared for the Attorney General.  The Bench comprised the Chief Justie, Mohan Pieris, Justice K. Sripavan and Justice Sathya Hettige (Island : 24 March 2014).

The UNCHR has been hijacked by the Superpowers ! - By Garvin Karunaratne-Formerly of the Administrative Service of Sri lanka - It is sad that the UNHCR, an international institute which should look after Human Rights has today been hijacked by certain Imperialist Countries and is being used to punish sovereign countries that do not follow their dictates.  The UNHCR of today was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2006 charged with the task of upholding “the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights”.  One year after its institution the UNHCR adopted its “Institution Building Package”, where the UNHCR held as its aim, “to assess the human rights situation in all 193 UN member states” In addition there is a Complaints Procedure where individuals and organizations are entitled to bring complaints about human rights violations.  What we are seeing today is a situation where the UNHCR has failed miserably in its task of assessing the human rights situation in all UN countries and has allowed itself to be hijacked by mighty members like the USA to do their imperialist bidding of bringing charges against particular members, who fail to carry out their dictates.  It is up to the members of the UNHCR to stand up to be reasonable and to judge the complaint resolution moved by the USA ,the UK and certain EU countries, assess whether the accusations leveled against Sri Lanka are true and factful giving the country full chance to explain the circumstances. Today we hear of a twenty minute slot of time granted for the leader of the Sri Lankan delegation to speak (LanakWeb ; 24 March 2014).

Sack Minister Hakeem - by Malin Abeyatunge, Melbourne, Australia It was reported in the print media that Mr. Rauff Hakeem of SLMC, currently the Minister of Justice has sent a dossier to UNHRC consisting 50 pages titled “Religious Violence in Sri Lanka” blaming that under the present Government there are religious intolerance and hate campaigns citing around 241 anti-Muslim attacks and 52 Christian churches between the 12 month period from January to December 2013 . Majority of these are not religious attacks but rightful protests against illegal religious activities by the Muslims and the Evangelist sects. These protests cannot be labelled as attacks as cited by Hakeem in his dossier to UNHRC. Also how do we know that some of these committed by another Muslim Sect in the country as it’s happening in Iraq. It appears that the people using democratic rights of protests for abusing the religious freedom by opening Takrang shed prayers room and calling them mosques, and unauthorised constructions in Buddhist temple lands have also been listed as attacks in the given list to UNHRC. Protests of forcing Halal Meat on the non-Muslim majority community also have been cited in the list as Religious intolerance and hate campaigns by Hakeem and his SLMC. Forcing non-muslims to consume Halal products is like forcing non-muslim women to wear hijab. His report to UNHRC also cited attack on Christian churches. We see opening prayer centres by fundamental Evangelists in every nook and corner of the country which are not really churches but purely religious conversion centres and can such protests be labelled as religious intolerance? Protests of any nature be it political or otherwise is a fundamental democratic right of expression of freedom. There are anti-Government protests seen very frequently on the streets of Sri Lanka these days by political parties, student organisations , women organisations and politically motivated NGOs with an ulterior motive to add more fuel to the UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka. Hence any protest against the abusing the Religious tolerance and freedom by the fundamental Muslims and Evangelist Christians cannot be merely labelled as religious intolerance. Recently Minister Hakeem addressing a Government political rally lambasted Bodu Bala Sena a patriotic Buddhist front as an extreme Buddhist front. Hakeem has forgotten that having MUSLIM ethnicity added on to his party Sri Lanka Muslim Congress itself is a symbol of extremism. If he can publicly lambast BBS, BBS has the same right to lambast fundamental muslims or SLMC for inciting religious hatred (Sri Lanka News Online ; 23 March 2014).

House-to-house search in north for two LTTE suspects - By Chris Kamalendran View(s): - A Police-Army joint operation has been launched in the Northern Province to track down two former LTTE cadres wanted for criminal activities and a two-million-rupee reward has been offered for any information, a senior police officer said.  The operation has been launched in the Vavuniya, Mannar, Kilinochchi and Jaffna districts for the suspects identified as Kajeeban Ponniah Selvanayagam alias ‘Gopi’ a.k.a. Kasiyan, and Navaratnam Navaneethan. The Police yesterday released the photographs of the suspects with descriptions.  House-to-house search operations and rounding up of residents and ordering them to assemble on playgrounds were part of the search.In some areas, residents were told to remain in their villages until the search operations were over. In Vavuniya, former LTTE cadres were summoned to the 561 Brigade headquarters and advised not to provide shelter to the two suspects.  In Mannar, the residents were told to inform the police in the event outsiders were accommodated.Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said the suspect Selvanayagam was wanted for a shooting incident in Dharmapuram in Kilinochchi last week while the other was wanted for a series of criminal activities including robberies (Sunday Times ; 23 March 2014).

Reject US Resolution against Sri Lanka  - By Charles.S.Perera; 53, rue du Petit Pont, 93220, Gagny, France, 4 March,2014. Honourable Delegate to the 25 Session of the UNHR Council, Geneva, Your Excellency, Please reject the USA Resolution Against Sri Lanka and Let Sri Lanka live in Peace.  Sovereignty of a nation should be respected under all circumstances. But the USA and its Allies do not recognise that time honoured democratic principle. For USA , sovereignty of a developing country ends when USA decides to intervene into its internal affairs.  USA known for its torture camps, killing of innocent men, women and children in drone attacks, for destruction of countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, through bombardment, has no moral right to present a resolutions at UNHRC against Sri Lanka, which carried out a responsible military operations to eliminate terrorism that caused immense suffering to its people for three decades ?  For that matter USA has no right to include into its resolution against Sri Lanka an International Independent Investigation into Sri Lanka as suggested by Ms.Navi Pillai, which suggestion had been made by her through her own partiality towards the Tamil Terrorists of Sri Lanka- her distant cousins.  No war is clean, war against terrorism is the worst, as terrorists have no legal norms in inflicting terror.   For USA the terrorists are only those who take up arms against USA and its Western Allies. All those groups taking up arms to terrorise the people of the developing countries, devastating the countryside are for USA and its Western allies, freedom fighters who are in disagreement with the elected governments of the Country. That offers USA the motivation to step into change regime.  This was how USA viewed the terrorists of Sri Lanka. The terrorists were kind, friendly ,and respectful towards their Ambassadors, and representatives visiting the areas under their control. Thus all their assassinations, massacring of innocent people by explosion of bombs, or by using the terrorist suicide cadre, were for USA and its allies normal activities of freedom fighters.  In Syria, USA armed and supported the rebels against the Government of Syria, which developed into a situation of utter chaos. This could have been avoided if there was a timely intervention to bring the warring parties for a dialogue.  In accepting the terrorists of Sri Lanka as freedom fighters USA and its allies were assenting their activities of terrorism. Thereby, USA and its allies became supporters of terrorism in Sri Lanka. They aided and abetted terrorists giving them moral support.  A USA Ambassador to Sri Lanka during terrorism – Robert O’Blake, had a close relationship with the terrorists and insisted that the Government of Sri Lanka should find a political solution to end terrorism and not resort to a military solution. Foreign Secretaries of France and UK met the President during the last phase of military operations against terrorism, to demand a cease fire (LankaWeb : 23 March 2014).

LLRC Report: Principled stand aimed at assisting SL’s post-war reconciliation - Russia - by Zacki Jabbar-Russia says that its principled position on Sri Lanka and the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) Report, was aimed at assisting the post war recovery process."We support Sri Lanka’s efforts towards post-conflict recovery, development and complete reconciliation on the basis that there cannot be external interference and pressure. This is my government’s principled position with regard to the LLRC report," said the Military, Air and Naval Attache to the Embassy of the Russian Federation, Captain (Navy) Igor Pavlov, addressing a ceremony to celebrate the "Defender of the Motherland Day" in Colombo recently. Pointing out that the two countries had an excellent understanding on a range of multilateral issues, he pledged continuous Russian support to Sri Lanka internationally and at global forums. "There is ample scope for developing the extensive exchanges, including military-technical cooperation. Our bilateral relations are based on mutual respect and understanding," he said.  Pavlov observed that the "Defender of the Motherland Day" was a significant date personifying the great services of the Russian armed forces to their country and people. He noted that it was a day for the brave, strong and real patriots. "It’s an occasion dedicated to all those who have served their motherland in both civil and military capacities or even those preparing to join the armed forces. They have contributed to achieving stability in our State and strengthening pride in the power of Russia. It’s rightly considered a national holiday which embodies historical and military traditions. Pride in Russia’s glorious achievements, a deep understanding of the high value of military service and a duty to protect your motherland are passed from generation to generation. Such patriotic emotions live in our people’s blood and in their national character," he declared (Island ; 22 March 2014).

An Appeal to the Delegates to the 25 Session of the UN Human Rights Council Geneva - By Charles.S.Perera - Sovereignty of a nation should be respected under all circumstances. But the USA and its Allies do not recognise that time honoured democratic principle. For USA the sovereignty of a developing country ends when USA decides to intervene into its internal affairs.  USA known for its torture camps, killing of innocent men, women and children in drone attacks, for destruction of countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, through bombardment, has no moral right to present a resolutions at UNHRC against Sri Lanka, which carried out a responsible military operations to eliminate terrorism that caused immense suffering to its people for three decades ?  No war is clean, war against terrorism is the worst as terrorists have no legal norms in inflicting terror.  For USA the terrorists are only those who take up arms against USA and its Western Allies. All those groups taking up arms to terrorise the people of the developing countries, devastating the countryside are for USA and its Western allies, freedom fighters who are in disagreement with the elected governments of the Country.  This is how USA viewed the terrorists of Sri Lanka. The terrorists were kind, friendly ,and respectful towards their Ambassadors, and representatives visiting the areas under their control. Thus all their assassinations, massacring of innocent people by explosion of bombs, or by using the terrorist suicide cadre, were for USA and its allies normal activities of freedom fighters.  In accepting the terrorists of Sri Lanka as freedom fighters USA and its allies were assenting to the activities of the terrorists. USA and its allies thereby became responsible for the terrorism in Sri Lanka. They become a party to terrorism aiding and abetting the terrorists giving them moral support.  A USA Ambassador to Sri Lanka during terrorism – Robert O’Blake, became friendly with the terrorists and insisted that Sri Lanka should find a political solution to settle terrorism and not resort to a military solution. Foreign Secretaries of France and UK met the President during the last phase of military operations against terrorism to demand a cease fire (LankaWeb : 22 March 2014).

Campaign against SL takes new turn

UK calls for UN-backed Sierra Leone type war crimes tribunal

MDMK manifesto proposes to lift the ban on LTTE in India - India’s MDMK party, led by Vaiko has promised in its manifesto released on Saturday that it would lift the ban on LTTE in India and would work for holding of a referendum on creation of Eelam in Sri Lanka for Lankan Tamils, if it takes part in government formation after the Lok Sabha polls.  The party said it would work for holding of a referendum on creation of Eelam in Sri Lanka for Lankan Tamils. According to MDMK, the referendum should be held in places where Lankan Tamils live, PTI reported.  The MDMK also promised to work to force India to take severe action against Sri Lanka if it continues to attack Indian fishermen and also retrieve Katchatheevu - an islet in Palk Strait - from Sri Lanka.  The Party in its manifesto also said it would rename the country as the United States of India.  According to the MDMK, the Indian Constitution when it was formed promised a federal governance structure.   In order to strengthen the country's unity, the Indian Constitution should be revisited and the country be renamed as United States of India, and the party said it would strive for that (Daily Mirror ; 22 March 2014).

‘Distorted agenda with political interests behind UNHRC resolution’ - European Parliament member backs Sri Lanka - By Sujeeva Nivunhella in London - Member of European Parliament, Geoffrey Van Orden said that the proposed resolution against Sri Lanka at the ongoing United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) meeting in Geneva has been tabled with a "political interests with a very distorted agenda".  Orden made this observation during the debate on Resolution on EU Priorities for the 25th Session of UNHRC in the European Parliament last week.  He said the spotlight has shifted off Zimbabwe, the Ukrainian people of the Crimea - not least the Tatar population, are again subject to bullying oppression.  "Thematically, what about victims of terrorism around the world? What about the Christian communities subject to brutal attack in so many countries? What about the continuing African slave trade? Why do we keep picking on Sri Lanka?" he questioned.  Orden went on to say, "There is a country that had the courage to deal with the terrorists after 30 years of conflict, which cost thousands of lives and almost brought the country to ruin.  The government, it seems, hasn’t been forgiven for its success for ending the terrorist occupation of the North of Sri Lanka, for resettling nearly 300,000 IDPs, for the rehabilitation of nearly 12,000 former LTTE cadres, a massive programme of demining, enabling thousands of acres of land to be brought back into use, the construction of bridges, roads, and schools, re-establishment of the rule of law (with new police stations and over 1,400 Tamil-speaking police officers), and its own process of Accountability and Reconciliation through the wide-ranging LLRC process, he noted.  He said that it was a pity that the Tamil Diaspora in European countries do not see for themselves the progress that has been made and join positively in reconstruction and investment in Sri Lanka.  "I do not think for a moment that the Government of Sri Lanka has got everything right – why not invite a distinguished outside judge to join the oversight of human rights investigation?, he asked.  But this Parliament should not continue to be a spokesman of political interests with a very distorted agenda, Orden pointed out (Island : 22 March 2014).

Regarding the article “No Indian vote against against Sri Lanka” – but “a strong bi-lateral neighborhood policy” - by Bernard Wijeyasingha, USA - The inclusion of the 13th amendment in the latest round of human rights resolution against Sri Lanka should be a wakeup call to Colombo that this issue of singularly giving the Northern and Eastern provinces land and police acts when it goes against Sri Lanka’s laws of equal treatment to all provinces should demonstrate the political motives of India. At the end of March India will join the UNHRC in condemning Sri Lanka on human rights issues, including supposed ongoing human rights violations on minorities. That translates to stopping Christian missionaries converting Buddhists or the Muslims doing the same. Considering that India has all these elements in her society including the human rights violations committed during Operation Blue Star, or her massive military presence in Kashmir where Kashmiri people routinely suffer acts of human rights violations to India’s military history with the United Liberation front of Assam.  This also includes India’s military atrocities on similar movements against the tribal people of Nagaland, the states of Mizoram, and Manipur. This also includes the atrocities committed against the Muslims in the Indian state of Gujarat. Yet the UNHRC continues to ignore them and only focus on Sri Lanka while India continues to harbor NGO pro Eelam groups such as TESO and TELO. What is even more demeaning to Sri Lanka is that India will not do the same with human rights violations that occur on a regular basis in Pakistan or Bangladesh, let alone China.  In all the human rights violations mentioned above that have been committed in India there are expat Indians of these communities who are still waiting for the UN to address these issues. From the Sikh community to the Indian Muslims to those from the North eastern states have formed groups across the world and petitioned the UNHRC to address their grievances which go unaddressed. To add gasoline to the fire, Great Britain has demanded that the UNHRC take on a “Sierra Leone type war crimes tribunal on Sri Lanka!!!” This is the very height of arrogance. London does not even make it a secret that this demand is due to requests made to her politicians by pro LTTE groups in the UK. Sri Lanka is being singled out, falsely accused and the depth and scope of those trumped up accusations are getting worse by the passing year (LankaWeb ; 22 March 2014).

“No Indian vote against Sri Lanka” but “a strong bi-lateral neighbourhood policy - By Bandu de Silva - The above Caption summarises what Satya Moorthy wrote in Ceylon Today newspaper dated 13th March 2014. The article had been originally featured in the Observer Research Foundation, Chennai Chapter.  Satya Moorthy’s article which was entitled “Why India should not vote against Sri Lanka at UNHCR ” would have warmed the hearts of many Sri Lankans. The issue where the article was published, however, matters little provided it was well communicated. It is the communicator and the contents issuing, as it is in this case, from a person who is a Senior Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, Chennai Chapter, that would call for attention by both the political and bureaucratic establishment in New Delhi as well as other opinion-makers.  If one followed my recent long article which was published in the printed version of Ceylon Today from March 10to March 15 2014, unfortunately missed in the Online version except the first installment because of its length, (one could read, it in full in Asian Tribune website) one would have seen that I have argued that India, commencing from the inception of independence, did not follow a positive neighbourly relationship with any of her neighbours barring Burma. Sri Lanka was no exception. The need for India to develop strong bi-lateral relations –based neighbourhood which idea Satya Moorthy seems to be advancing is not proved by India’s record of conduct of bilateral relations with any of her neighbours.  In contrast, in respect of Sri Lanka, I argued that from the time of independence, India treated Sri Lanka as a country not deserving to be considered a neighbourhood Frontline State, but first, as a colonial plantation, and later, as a country where a hegemonic relationship close to gun-boat diplomacy would do. The transgression of Sri Lanka’s airspace by missile carrying Mirage jets with orders to shoot if there was any opposition, which accompanied the transport planes which came on the ostensible “Mercy Mission’ reminded one of the time Western Gun boats sailed up and down the China Sea from Shanghai to Tien-sing and the march of foreign troops from Tien-sing to Beijing. That is not to mention the cross-border terrorism In Sri Lanka which Prime Minister Indira Gandhi promoted earlier (LankaWeb ; 22 March 2014).

UK calls for UN-backed Sierra Leone type war crimes tribunal - Campaign against SL takes new turn - by Shamindra Ferdinando - An unprecedented British push for a Special Court for Sri Lanka on the lines of UN backed Special Court for Sierra Leone has surprised even those who have been calling for an international investigation into atrocities allegedly committed by the Sri Lankan military and the LTTE during Eelam War IV (August 2006-May 2009).  Authoritative government sources told The Island that the UK would have made its last move at the behest of influential LTTE activists in the UK. British Foreign Secretary, William Hague has unveiled the British plan in India amidst ongoing Western efforts to persuade Premier Manmohan Singh to announce his backing for US-led resolution scheduled to be voted next Thursday (March 27).  India voted for US-led resolutions against Sri Lanka in 2012 and 2013.  In an opinion column published in The Hindu on March 17, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said: "Seeking the truth and justice helps to put countries on the right track toward reconciliation. Sierra Leone is a good example. Special Court convictions drew a definitive line under a tumultuous period of Sierra Leone’s history and addressed impunity in response to victims’ needs to promote healing."  Asked whether what UK’s position would be on an international mechanism to investigate atrocities, including those committed by the Indian Army during its deployment here (July 1987 to March 1990), a spokesperson for the British High Commission in Colombo said: "As we have previously said and as our Prime Minister said during his visit to Sri Lanka in November last year, we are supporting a call for an independent international investigation into allegations of war crimes in Sri Lanka, in the absence of a credible, transparent and independent domestic process. The UK takes allegations of war crimes seriously including those allegations of wrongdoing by our own Armed Forces. For example, allegations relating to Iraq that have been brought to our attention are subjected to thorough examination – including through the Iraq Historic Allegations Team, independent Public Inquiries, and in the UK and European courts."  The official directed The Island to submit two others queries to British Foreign Office. One question was about Mr. Hague’s position as regards India’s culpability in causing terrorism in Sri Lanka in the 1980s against the backdrop of former Liberian President Charles Taylor being moved to a high security British jail after his sentence for aiding and abetting war crimes in the neighbouing Sierra Leone was upheld by a UN-backed tribunal. We also asked the British High Commission whether the UK had taken up the Sri Lanka issue at the UNHRC before the end of the conflict in May 2009.  Although our questions were sent to London Press Office on March 18, the Foreign Office has not answered them despite reminders. The same queries were subsequently forwarded through the British High in Colombo but there was no response.  The Special Court for Sierra Leone established jointly by the government of Sierra Leone and the UN had been mandated to try not only human rights violators in Sierra Leone but those external elements which had caused terrorism. The Appeals Chamber judges of the court on September 26, 2013 upheld Taylor’s conviction that was made by the Trial Chamber in April 2012.  Secretary to the President, Lalith Weeratunga during a recent official visit to Washington pointed out that an international investigation could upset Sri Lanka’s relationship with India. Reuters quoted Weeratunga as having said: "If there is an international investigation, the whole period has to be investigated - from the 1980s onward - which includes the two-year tenure of the Indian Peacekeeping Force, which will upset India and our relationship with India." (Island : 21 March 2014).

Now, Pillay equates SL with North Korea - by Shamindra Ferdinando - The United Nations Human Rights Commissioner, Navi Pillai, has equated the government of Sri Lanka with that of North Korea during a meeting with South Korean Foreign Minister, Yun Byung-se at the onset of the ongoing 25th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).  Well informed sources told The Island that Pillay had demonstrated her hostility towards Sri Lanka when the top level South Korean delegation met her during the high level segment. Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister, Prof. G. L. Peiris, too, had been in Geneva during the high level segment of the session. Sources alleged that it was a calculated move to influence South Korean government to throw its weight behind the US-led resolution against Sri Lanka scheduled to be taken up next Thursday (March 27).  South Korea is a member of the UNHRC comprising 47 countries divided into five regional groups.  Alleging that Pillay had been campaigning openly in support of the US resolution, government sources said the former South African official was pursuing an agenda of her own.  Responding to a query, sources recalled the circumstances under which Pillay compared the human rights situation in Sri Lanka with that of Russia. She declared spending more time on Sri Lanka than Russia due to deteriorating situation here.  Ms. Pillay's offensive meant that she was prejudiced and therefore Sri Lanka couldn't accept her office playing any role in an external investigation into atrocities allegedly committed during the conflict here, a high ranking Sri Lankan government official said.  External Affairs Ministry official said that Sri Lanka had never faced an attempt to compare Sri Lanka with North Korea even at the height of the northern war (Island ; 21March 2014).

NPC Chief Secretary takes Chief Minister to court

NPC Chief Secretary takes Chief Minister to court - by Chitra Weerarathne - Vijayalakshmi Ramesh the chief secretary of the Northern Provincial Council, has filed a fundamental rights violation application in the Supreme Court complaining that the Chief Minister of the Province C.V. Wigneswaran, from the day he became the Chief Minister had been attempting to interfere with her employment.  The Chief Secretary has submitted that aforesaid attempt to remove her from office, without a valid reason, is wrongful, arbitrary, illegal and malicious. The appointment of the chief secretary came under the purview of the President. The powers vested in her are by legislative, executive and constitutional processes. But she is not given powers to transfer, employ appoint, or remove employees of the provincial council. There is an apparent infringement of fundamental rights.  She has been subjected to arbitrary, discriminatory treatment and her right to engage in her lawful occupation is being denied. She wanted the court to declare the same, the petitioner has complained.   Among the respondents are Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Governor of the Northern Province G.A. Chandrasiri, Chairman of the Public Services Commission Dr. Dayasiri Fernando, the Secretary to the Minister of Public Administration and the Attorney General (Island : 21 March 2014).

USA & UK SPONSERED RESOLUTION AGAINST SRI LANKA IS MERE VENGEANCE - by Malin Abeyatunge, Melbourne, Australia - Sri Lanka is just a tiny dot in the world map. Yet two powerful countries USA and UK are very much concerned about this tiny island which is also called the pearl of the Indian Ocean. Why are these two countries are so concerned about Sri Lanka, started bullying for almost three years and bringing Resolutions at the UNHRC session against Sri Lanka for war crimes? Is it because of our strategic position in the Indian sub-continent? It’s true during the WW II Trinco harbour was a strategic point so the enemies could hide their naval ships in the harbour to attack the enemies. But nowadays, powerful countries like USA, UK, Russia and China bring their war ships openly to any international waters and anchor them to meet any contingencies to attack the countries they want to attack. Currently US has naval war ships anchored at the door steps of some middle Eastern countries, then in South Korea, Diego Garcia, Japan to name a few countries. So I doubt the strategic position of Sri Lanka is so important to countries like USA in this modern world.  The only reasons I can think (may be wrong) of why America & UK are hell bent to destroy Sri Lanka’s political and economic stability are (1) Vengeance- since the President and his armed forces never listened to USA & UKs requests for ceasefire against LTTE during the last stages of the war and carried out the war until LTTE was conclusively annihilated, they wanted to take revenge. Defeating LTTE despite their pleas to stop it is an egg on the faces of USA,UK & Canada and ‘perhaps UN. They couldn’t digest the moral defeat they faced and not being able to save LTTE terrorist outfit (2) USA, UK and Canada are jealous because Sri Lanka being just a dot in the world map defeated the world most brutal terrorist organisation aka LTTE whereas America & its allies of NATO still couldn’t defeat the Al Quaida terrorist outfit albeit USA killed it’s leader Osama bin Laden. (3) showing gratitude- It is also alleged and suspected that the politicians of USA, UK, Canada and a few of the EU Countries are in LTTE Diaspora’s payroll for various party and personal funds, perks and other fringe benefits. (4) Sri Lanka’s close relationship with China and Russia would bring a threat to their domination in the Asia-Pacific Region. It is for these above reasons that USA & UK wants to humiliate, bully and destroy Sri Lanka by bringing the Resolution against Sri Lanka for war crimes at the forthcoming UNHRC session in Geneva. May be to destabilise our country and work for a regime change and place an American puppet as in Afghanistan, Iraq ,Libya to name a few. I see their actions as mere vengeance for not listening to them to save the LTTE hierarchy.  However, the irony of this resolution is that being two powerful countries USA & UK, they have failed find some powerful sponsors to support the resolution but instead got two insignificant powerless countries to back the giants i.e Mauritius and Montenegro two American puppets. Montenegro is one of the newly formed countries by USA, UK & NATO in 2007 with a population around 620,000 when balkanising former Yugoslavia. In other words Mauritius and Montenegro are two American puppet countries who had joined USA as co-sponsors mainly to get more and more American financial support to run their countries. I wonder whether these two countries know where Sri Lanka in the world map like some USA congressmen who is supporting the Resolution didn’t know where Sri Lanka in the world map.

US boycotts UN human rights conference with drone resolution looming - Pakistani leaders hope to convince the United Nations Human Rights Council to pass a resolution that would force US drone strikes to adhere to international law – a request that inspired the US to boycott the talks altogether, according to a new report.The draft of a Pakistani resolution, first reported by Colum Lynch of Foreign Policy, proposes that nations “ensure transparency” when discussing drone strikes and “conduct prompt, independent and impartial investigations whenever there are indications of any violations to human rights caused by their use.” While official numbers are nonexistent, experts have suggested that anywhere from 200 to nearly 1,000 Pakistani civilians have been killed by US drone strikes, with as many as 200 children possibly among that total. The issue of drone strikes, while remaining largely out of US headlines, has become one of the most polarizing in Pakistan. While previous reports have made it clear that Pakistani leaders have authorized at least some drone strikes, they publicly maintain that that unmanned American aerial vehicles constantly buzzing in the skies undermine Pakistan’s sovereignty. The proposal revealed Wednesday, which also calls for “an interactive panel discussion” on the use of drones, is a clear appeal from Pakistan to the international community. The Human Rights Council, which is based in Geneva, Switzerland, entered its third day of discussing the resolution Wednesday, yet the US delegation was nowhere to be found (RTCom : 20 March 2014).

SLFP Jaffna organiser flays Ananthi over ‘Geneva lies’ - By Shamindra Ferdinando - Northern Provincial Council (NPC) member, Angajan Ramanathan yesterday said that Tamil speaking people wouldn’t be deceived by fellow NPC member, Ananthi Sasitharan’s widely reported allegation that children in the Northern Province were still living under warlike conditions, though fighting ended in May 2009.  Jaffna District SLFP Chief Organizer Ramanathan was responding to Sasitharan’s accusations that the ‘Eelam Tamil children’ were facing war with genocidal intent. Accusing the Sri Lankan Army of controlling every aspect of Tamil life, Sasitharan told the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session that the military was directing systematic sexual violence at Tamil women and children. She further alleged: "The children are also forced to work. Military personnel are being appointed as teachers in schools. In the world of our children, the armed conflict is still there as before."  Ramanathan alleged that Sasitharan was acting at the behest of disruptive elements seeking to undermine peace and stability. Referring to a recent spat between Sasitharan and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) National List MP, M. A. Sumanthiran over her involvement with the LTTE, Ramanathan stressed that even the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) didn’t endorse some of her actions.  Ramanathan said: "She has repeatedly said that she hasn’t heard of her husband, Elilan since he surrendered to the army on the Vanni east front on May 18, 2009. Elilan had been in charge of LTTE operations in the Trincomalee District during Norway arranged Ceasefire Agreement (CFA).  Whatever the likes of Sasitharan propagated at the UNHRC and at various other international and local forums to justify ongoing push for international war crimes probe, the entire world knew of the brazen use of children as cannon fodder by the Tigers. The LTTE indiscriminately threw children into high intensity battles throughout the conflict and Sasitharan’s husband, Elilan too, was actively involved in the LTTE."  The SLFPer recalled the circumstances under which the LTTE and the UN had reached an agreement in May 1998 to stop using children in combat operations. But, the LTTE continued with the despicable practice until the Sri Lankan military eradicated the LTTE on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon in May 2009. Those who had been seeking external intervention on the false claim to save children from the Sri Lankan Army since the conclusion of the conflict never raised their voices against the use of children in combat operations, Ramanathan said (Island : 19 March 2014).

Court issues notice on NP CM - By Chira Weerarathne - The Court of Appeal yesterday issued notice on C. V. Wigneswaran, the Chief Minister of the Northern Province, the Secretary of the Walikamam East Pradeshiya Sabha, the Assistant Commissioner of Local Government, Northern Province and connected respondents. The notice returnable on April 4, is in respect of the Writ Application filed by Udayakumar, the Chairman of the Walikamam East Pradeshiya Sabha, who has challenged his removal from the post of chairman.  The petitioner has said that the council budget was approved unanimously and properly but some members had stayed outside the room, where the meeting was held. Later those persons, who boycotted the meeting, had got the Chief Minister to order an inquiry to find out whether the notice had been given to councillors in the legally prescribed manner. Two days after the ordering of this investigation, another meeting was held and the budget was rejected. The budget was however not defeated twice. Hence the chairman could not be deemed to have vacated his office under Article 169 of the Local Authorities Act. Hence the deemed vacation of post by the petitioner is arbitrary and should be quashed by the court. J. C. Weliamuna appeared with Mevan Bandara Kiriella, instructed by Lilanthi de Silva for the petitioner.  The Bench comprised Justice Sisira de Abrew (The President of the Court of Appeal). (Island : 19 March 2014).

Patriots meet with Australian Parliamentarians - by Chanaka Bandarage - On Tuesday, 18 March 2014, a group of Sri Lankan Australians (16) from the ACT, NSW and Vic met with Australian Parliamentarians in the Canberra Parliament and explained to them in length the adverse effects of the proposed US Resolution on Sri Lanka. Altogether 8 MPs and Senators from different sides of the Australian politics were met with.  The meetings were held in a friendly, cordial and polite atmosphere.  The Sri Lankan Australian delegation made a humble request from the Australian legislatures to support Sri Lanka at the forthcoming Geneva sessions. They explained to them that the proposed US Resolution will not unite the Sinhalese and Tamil communities in Sri Lanka (and overseas), but will polarise them. The significant gains achieved by the government and people of Sri Lanka in the past 4+ years, especially in relation to ethnic reconciliation and communal harmony will be hampered and tarnished as a result of the proposed US Resolution.  The delegation requested from the Parliamentarians to advise their respective political parties that the Australian Government should not co-sponsor the US Resolution in Geneva this year. It was strongly emphasised that such a move will not favour Sri Lanka, and will send Sri Lanka backwards. In general, the Australian legislatures offered a positive feedback to the Sri Lankan Australian delegation (LankaWeb : 19March 2014).

US-UK moving third resolution on the basis of C4 propaganda - By Shamindra Ferdinando -  The Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) had the wherewithal to provide accurate real time intelligence required by ground forces pushing into rapidly shrinking LTTE-held territory on the Vanni east front. In fact, the SLAF had the capacity to conduct such operations during the night thanks to Israeli manufactured Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), including the EMIT Blue Horizon II acquired in 2007. In fact, Sri Lanka had acquired Israeli UAVs in 1996 during the tenure of the then President, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga who authorized the acquisition of a range of expensive weapons to boost the SLAF’s firepower as well as surveillance capacity. By 2008, the SLAF had the means to deploy UAVs to designate LTTE targets with laser beams, thereby paving the way for Israeli built Kfirs to deliver laser-guided ammunition. As the army executed a well coordinated rescue mission to save those held hostage by the LTTE, the government invited the Colombo-based diplomatic community to observe UAV footage.  The SLAF carried out its last UAV mission over the Vanni east front on May 17, 2009 to facilitate ground operations spearheaded by the celebrated 58 Division, commanded by Maj. Gen. Shavendra Silva. The US-UK coalition now pushing for a war crimes investigation as well as India are fully aware of the SLAF’s capacity. Therefore, it would be a travesty of justice if they accepted ridiculous allegation that the Sri Lankan military used information received from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), to target makeshift medical facilities during the last phase of fighting.  But Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields portrayed a different picture. The documentary produced by British media outfit, Channel 4 News and shown on Channel 4 alleged that the military brazenly exploited information provided by the ICRC to direct attacks on makeshift medical facilities. The then UN spokesperson in Sri Lanka, Gordon Weiss declared that Tamil doctors serving on the war front had no option but to request the ICRC not to inform the Sri Lankan military of where makeshift medical facilities were. Weiss said that the ICRC had briefed warring parties regarding medical facilities situated on the opposing parties’ territory to prevent accidental attacks. But the Sri Lankan military used information received from the ICRC to mount operations (Island : 18 March 2014).

Right of Reply by Sri Lanka 25th Session of the Human Rights Council Agenda Item 4 - by Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN, Geneva - Mr. President,Sri Lanka wishes to exercise its right of reply on statements made regarding the arrest and detention of Ms. Balendran Jeyakumari, and the detention of Mr. Ruki Fernando and Father Praveen. (1).Investigations revealed that K.P. Selvanayagam a.k.a. Gobi who had been overseas and returned to Sri Lanka was actively involved in reviving the LTTE through regrouping LTTE cadres and recruiting unemployed local youth with the intention of using them for acts of terrorism. (2) The intention of these LTTE operatives headed by Gobi had been to recover arms cachés hidden by the LTTE prior to their defeat. (3).The key operative directing the operations, Gobi, had been evading arrest. Following further investigations, the Terrorist Investigations Division (TID) had recovered an arms caché including mortar and RPG type live ammunition, 3 hand grenades, 2.5 kg claymore bomb and ammunition for T-56 weapons. (4) Pursuant to this recovery, and a lead obtained on the whereabouts of Gobi, a team of Police Officers proceeded to the residence of Balendran Jeyakumari in Killinochchi. During the search operation Gobi had fired at the Police, injuring a sub-Inspector and escaped. (5) At this residence, the landlady Balendran Jeyakumari and her 13 year old daughter Vibooshika were present. Since suspect Gobi while being armed escaped, a search was carried out on the said residence. A Menelab F-3 type mine detector was recovered. Therefore, Ms. Jeyakumari was placed under arrest on suspicion of aiding and abetting Gobi in his activities. (6) As Balendran Jeyakumari had been unable to provide an appropriate caregiver/relative to keep her 13 year old daughter, she was taken along with the mother and produced before the Killinochchi Magistrate. Based on the Magistrate’s order, Vibooshika has been placed under the care of Probation and Child Care Services. (7) The aforementioned arrest was made under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). The ICRC has access to all detainees being held at Boossa. Therefore, it is regrettable that an elected member of the Northern Provincial Council, Ms. Ananthi Sasitharan, has chosen to misrepresent this case in this august body and depict it as an arrest made of a child who had participated in protests. It is also regrettable that Ms. Sasitharan, despite being a member of a provincial administration, has chosen to make statements in the Council using time allocated to two NGOs. We also note that Ms. Sasitharan, in referring in her statements to the Council to “Tamil Eelam”, has failed to adhere to the agreed language of the United Nations, and is in violation of the Constitution she has pledged to uphold as a Provincial Councilor (LanakWeb : 18March 2014).

What world should know about Dr. Varatharaja before he speaks at UNHRC in Geneva against Sri Lanka - by Shenali D Waduge - Tipped to speak at the UNHRC Sessions in Geneva on 19th March 2014 is Dr. Varatharaja, one of the five doctors who appeared in the Channel 4 clips and who also admitted that he and the other doctors lied and who has now found his way to foreign climes with the help of the Tamil Diaspora and is appearing after several years of silence to come out with another new version. 2014 version by Dr. Varatharaja is likely to spin a new story against Sri Lanka. It would be nicer if he were to praise the post-conflict efforts for having returned to the very areas he served under LTTE he would have seen what a new look the North has now.  Certainly the credibility factor comes into question. However, Dr. Shanmugarajah has addressed this aspect by providing a sworn affidavit and the details he has divulged more or less compliments the media briefing that the 5 doctors requested for in July 2009.  Nevertheless, Dr. Varatharaja’s re-entry after years of silence is likely to add some spice but definitely it should raise some questions against his credibility. For ideally what he should have done once Dr. Shanmugarajah’s affidavit was made public in January 2014 was to immediately counter it if there was any falsehood to what Dr. Shanmugarajah swore in writing. When Dr. Varajatharaja remains silent and then is about to make a grand appearance before the UNHRC to drop what the LTTE Diaspora has coached to be a ‘bomb’ it is something we should simply brush aside as being another staged drama for which the Tamil Diaspora is becoming quite famous for and naturally so given that they are associating themselves with a lot of foreign directors and filmmakers with coaching provided in-hous (LankaWeb : 18 March 2014).

SLMC Joins TNA in Discrediting Sri Lanka at the UNHRC - by Dilrook Kannangara - SLMC is part of the government coalition. However, it always undermines the government and the nation due to its allegiance and association with Middle Eastern extremist cults. It does this while enjoying the perks of being part of the ruling coalition. It is high time the ruling party made a decision to expel the double agents of the SLMC and cut down on the myriad of perks showered on them (LankaWeb : 16 March 2014).

Hello Hakeem; What is this Agreement ?

File Photo

Listen to Ada Derana News on 15 March 2014

This guy should have been arrested a long time ago to investigate the links with LTTE

Stop Big Bullies - By S Akurugoda, Melbourne, Australia - Addressing the 'Janapathi Janahamuwa' program telecast live last week, President Rajapaksa has said that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in connivance with a handful of powerful countries, based on wrong information, demanded an international investigation against Sri Lanka despite the fact that the government had eradicated three decades of terrorism and ensured the most important human right that a person can have, 'the people’s right to live in any part of the country without fear'. In an another piece of news item, the President added that the Government has succeeded in resettling people who were displaced by terrorist atrocities in the North and the East and the responsibility is ahead of the government to resettle thousands of Sinhalese and Muslims, who were chased out of the Jaffna peninsula by the LTTE terrorists decades ago as part of their ethnic cleansing scheme, to ensure their legitimate rights. The President also added that the Government has faced an obstacle in ensuring such rights for the Sinhalese and Muslim communities as some politicians in the North backed by some foreign forces and their NGO bandwagon who are dependent on these forces are against this move. As we are aware, Sri Lanka is enjoying peace and harmony after three decades of brutal war waged by the Tamil Tigers, who believed only on suicide bombing techniques and power of the gun against the democratically elected government and its people irrespective of their ethnicity with an intention of carving out a separate fascist state. During the period of war against terrorism Sri Lankans had hardly a single day of peace having to suffer carnage at the hands of the suicide bombers of the LTTE. We have witnessed how the LTTE used child soldiers, launched suicide attacks, used women in suicide attacks, assassinated politicians including ethnic Tamils, government ministers, Sri Lankan President, taken hostages, and committed all kinds of crimes to finance its operations including human trafficking. We also witnessed how Sri Lankan security forces under the political leadership of the elected government with the overwhelming support from the peace loving citizens of all communities in Sri Lanka defeated  the terrorism , while freeing 21 million Sri Lankans from the yoke of the LTTE who held them to ransom for decades. After providing the most important human right that a person can have, to live without fear of death, the government of the day had said to have spent Rs 4 billion to develop the Northern Province and all basic amenities such as pipe-borne water, electricity and houses to those affected. Although the US, EU, Britain, Canada, India and several other countries have designated the Tigers a foreign terrorist organisation, it is a well known fact that those groups of displaced LTTE members residing in those countries, who called themselves 'Tamis Diaspora', are continued to raise funds and make use of the funds already collected to carryout crimes against humanity are now making use of those funds to exert pressure to the politicians of respective domicile countries under the guise of 'human rights' to achieve their ultimate goal of carving out a separate racial state exclusively for Tamil people (whose total population is around 14%, according to the latest Census) which they failed to get via terrorism. The TNA, a pro- LTTE group who survived unharmed during the war against separatist since most of its leadership lived comfortably among the majority Sinhalese in Colombo while providing the necessary political support to the outfit, has strengthen its separatist campaign by making use of the ill-framed sections in the 13th Amendment, crafted under the Rajiv- JR pact signed under duress, to its fullest advantage.   The government made a big blunder by not taking appropriate steps to ban TNA , knowing it past very well , or to amend the Constitution to get rid of the Provincial Council system as a matter of priority (Sri Lanka News Online ; 15 March 2014).

LTTE shooting of Sri Lankan Policeman in Kilinochchi demands immediate action

LTTE shooting of Sri Lankan Policeman in Kilinochchi demands immediate action - byShenali D Waduge - The incident of a former LTTEr living in an Indian-built home in Kilinochchi shooting a Sri Lankan policemen during a search operation cannot be ignored. In the 1970s Prabakaran had just 26 men and over a handful of decades later that number turned into thousands and led to thousands of corpses and a brutal terrorist conflict that lasted 3 decades. The players that spurred LTTE then are no different to those that are attempting to revive the LTTE again. Read between the lines to understand what the calls to remove the army will next lead to or hoping to lead to. The world falsely accepts LTTE as liberators and freedom fighters taking up arms on behalf of the Tamil people and the Tamil cause. That claim is nullified when LTTE killed its first victim Alfred Duraiappah in 1975 when Prabakaran was just 21. Duraiappah was the Tamil Mayor of Jaffna. LTTE’s next targets were also Tamil – Tamil policemen on duty in Jaffna and scores perished. These are clear evidence that even as far back as 1970s LTTE did not represent Tamils but the ultra egos of a handful that wanted to rule over Tamils using the gun.  The following events raise some pertinent questions while also nullifying some false perceptions.  Top on that list is the need to accept that LTTE or any other Tamil militant group did not take up arms because of the July 1983 riots. Tamil youth were trained and armed well before 1983. These trainings took place in both Tamil Nadu and inside the jungles of Sri Lanka and with the knowledge and clandestine involvement of the Indian Government. This action by India is a crime and India stands guilty of state-sponsored terrorism.  The details of various Tamil youth forming into parties next should ask who were funding these groups? who supplied them their initial arms for what purposes were they set up and the most important question was why did ordinary Tamil people watch and allow these ‘boys’ to commit the crimes they did (LankaWeb : 15 March 2014).

Police - army dragnet to capture LTTE suspect - Following shooting of SI - Police and army teams have been deployed to track down the former LTTE cadre who shot at a Sub Inspector in Kilinochchi last week.  The SI, attached to the Terrorist Investigation Unit, was shot during a search operation to arrest the suspect in his home, police said.  The suspect was a temporary resident in a Killinochchi housing scheme built with the aid of the Indian government. He is believed to have fled the area after the shooting (Island : 15 March 2014).

‘LTTE is like an octopus – we have cut its tentacles, but not hit the eye’ - Australia will not support proposed US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka - BY SURESH PERERA - Every indication is that Australia will not be supporting the proposed US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHCR sessions in Geneva, thanks to the indefatigable efforts of patriotic Sri Lankans based Down Under with the active back up of High Commissioner, Admiral (Retd.) Thisara Samarasinghe, a key member of a dedicated group said last week.  "We have been assured at the highest levels that the Liberal Party government of Prime Minister, Tony Abbot will desist from taking a stand against Sri Lanka at the forthcoming human rights sessions", says Nagesha Wickramasuriya, media spokesman for Australian Sri Lankans in Victoria.  This is a salutary achievement and a major breakthrough as Canberra co-sponsored the motion against Sri Lanka in 2013, he recalled. "As patriotic Sri Lankans, we worked very hard to make a positive impact and change the tide in favor of our motherland".  It was a tough challenge as the pro-LTTE lobby in Australia has been working according to a planned agenda since January this year to win over Senators in a bid to influence the Canberra government to support the proposed resolution against Sri Lanka, he said in an interview with The Sunday Island during a brief visit to Colombo.  "They lobby across Australia, with particular emphasis on Canberra, to influence the political decision-making mechanism and win support for their anti-Sri Lanka campaign, he noted.  The Tamil Diaspora had infiltrated the Green Party in Australia and even funded it to campaign vigorously against Sri Lanka and put the country in the dock over alleged human rights violations, Wickramasuriya explained. "It was a member of this party who was deported from Sri Lanka some time back".  "What the LTTE couldn’t attain with weapons, they are now trying to achieve through a sinister anti-Sri Lanka propaganda campaign. The LTTE is akin to an octopus – we have cut its tentacles, but not hit the eye. So, the ‘war’ is still not over", he stressed (Island : 15 March 2014).

Ananthi Sasasitharan in Geneva : Question her on husband Elilan’s role in LTTE child soldier recruitment - by Shenali D Waduge - Now that Ananthi Sasitharan is in Geneva she needs to be given the podium to explain how her husband on behalf of the LTTE recruited young children denied them every human right a child is entitled to and trained them not only to kill but to commit suicide by biting a cyanide capsule that Adele Balasingham a nurse living exile in UK first taught them. If the UNHRC now in session does not raise these questions from Ananthi whose husband recruited the most number of Tamil children then there is some serious flaw in the ‘HUMAN RIGHTS’ that the Human Rights Council espouses to protect and uphold.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wr8JP5-4lVA  – Adele Balasingham, Head of LTTE child soldier recruitment (LankaWeb : 15 March 2014).

Woman arrested for harbouring LTTE suspect - A woman had been arrested in Kilinochchi on charges of harbouring an LTTE suspect, who was absconding after shooting a police Sub Inspector, the Police said.  “She was arrested on charges of harbouring a criminal. She was produced in Kilinochchi Magistrate’s Court and will be brought in Colombo today for further investigations,” SSP Ajith Rohana said.  Meanwhile, foreign media reported as having said by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) that the woman, Balendran Jayakumari was being punished for repeatedly protesting over the fate of her son, an under-age rebel who disappeared in the conflicts, which was rejected by the police.  Police said that she had been harbouring the LTTE suspect even before he fired at the Police officer last Thursday.  Issuing a statement, Army spokesman said that they have found a F-3 type Metal Detector which is used to detect metal objects/mines buried underground when the house where the LTTE suspect was hiding was searched followed by the arrest of the house owner Balendran Jayakumari.  The young daughter of the house owner was also taken in to protective custody as there was no adult in the neighborhood willing to give shelter to her, he said (Daily Mirror : 15 March 2014).

US, the Global Policeman exposed - by P.A.Samaraweera, Melbourne- The US was exposed on Thursday’s session of the UNHRC in Geneva for its human rights abuses by a Committee of eighteen experts. This committee is charged with upholding the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Committee had expressed their deep concern about the US record on human rights and had suggested that the US had failed to meet human rights obligations. The Report had criticised the US for its tactics such as the use of unmanned drones targeting Al Qaida, but killing innocent civilians, transfer of detainees to countries such as Algeria which practice torture, permitting water-boarding of prisoners, ill-treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo bay prison and so on. The Report had also referred to 144 people on death row who had been exonerated. Some of them had been imprisoned since 1973 and most of them were African-Americans. It had also accused US for handing down longer sentences for black prisoners while the whites had been treated leniently.  Walter Kalin, a member of the Committee had said, “…the world had become a dangerous place because of countries that claim International Law does not prevent them from committing human rights violations…” With all this, the unofficial representative of the LTTE rump Navi Pillai and Ban Ki Moon, torch holder of the West, have swept these allegations under the carpet. The UNHRC had been pointing the finger and accusing Sri Lanka, which routed the world’s number one terrorists, while letting bigger fish off the hook. With the release of this Committee findings, all those countries contemplating in putting their hands up for the US resolution should give serious thought to this Report (LankaWeb : 15 March 2014).

TNA claims French support for US Resolution against Sri Lanka - by Mahinda Gunasekara - The Editor, Daily Island Newspaper, Colombo, Sri Lanka - Dear Editor, TNA claims French support for US Resolution against Sri Lanka - I refer to the news report filed by Shamindra Fernando on the subject published in your edition of March 14, 2014, and wish to comment as follows: TNA Chairman of the Northern Provincial, Mr. C.V.K. Sinagnanam’s claim after meeting with the visiting French ambassador in Jaffna that France was supporting the proposed US resolution against Sri Lanka is probably an attempt to boost the flagging morale of the extremist Tamil lobby. They are apparently losing hope of imposing an external probe on Sri Lanka’s conduct during and after the armed conflict against the internationally designated terrorist movement known as the LTTE, their erstwhile heroes. France being a key member of the EU will not make any announcement of a French position without a firm decision of the regional grouping. Sivagnanam’s complaint about the Sri Lanka Army hindering reconciliation and causing difficulties by occupying civilian owned lands is another red herring. He has failed to recognize the valiant efforts of the Army to de-mine the land of LTTE planted landmines and IEDs to make the area safe for IDP resettlement, and other services in building houses, schools, kovils, medical facilities and vast improvements to essential infrastructure. The army has since returned lands occupied during the time of the conflict except for lands in the vicinity of the Palaly base, where previously the LTTE infiltrated to shoot down aircraft on the downward descent to land at the airstrip. These lands which were taken over for security reasons over 20 years ago cannot be returned for reasons stated. The owners of land have been provided with compensation and given alternate lands for their use. The Minister of Health of NPC, Mr. Sathyalingam’s complaint about the dearth of doctors and Education Minister Gurukularajah’s lament about the shortage of Math and English teachers are not problems restricted to the northern province, but experienced in other regions of the country as well, except perhaps the better developed western province. The issue of malnutrition affecting the schooling of children is not just confined to the north, but seen in several places including Thantirimale, Kumbuk Oya in outlying areas of Matale district. We also have the major problem of Chronic Kidney Disease of multi- factorial causes afflicting about 2.5 million people in the NCP, South, Moneragala area, etc., where an average of 13 males aged between 30 and 60 are dying each day. What is needed is not a confrontational TNA controlled NPC but a cooperative one that will join with the Centre to find workable solutions with the limited resources available to the nation (LankaWeb : 15 March 2014).

MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan with banned LTTE leaders in Tamilnadu - by Mahinda Gunasekera Toronto - How come MP Rathika meets banned LTTE leaders in Tamil Nadu after her so called ordeal in Sri Lanka? - More revelations of MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan’s visit to Sri Lanka and Tamilnadu, South India have now surfaced. She claimed that her private visit to Sri Lanka after some 27 years was to meet with relatives and see her former home in Jaffna and engage in some charitable work just before the March 2014 UNHRC sessions in Geneva. Her cousin I believe was Mrs. Ananthi Sasitharan who was elected as an MP of the Northern Provincial Council, whose husband was a key leader of the Tamil Tiger terrorists holding the position of political head of the eastern region. He was responsible for recruiting children to the LTTE’s military wing to be brainwashed to becoming a storm trooper or suicide bomber. Her cousin Mrs. Ananthi Sasitharan while previously working in the Government Secretariat in Killinochchi drawing a salary from the Sri Lankan government (whose husband was a key member of the LTTE at the time), is said to have abused her authority and misused a government vehicle to transport material to a LTTE military camp. She had also met with Catholic clergy and Tamil National Alliance leaders (proxy party of the LTTE) who are supporters of the LTTE on her private visit to Sri Lanka, when the authorities cautioned her against engaging in activities of a political nature when visiting the country as a tourist. At this stage, she created a political rumpus by falsely claiming that she was being kept under house arrest in Sri Lanka, and that people on motorbikes were following her. Her visit was intended to instigate pro_LTTE groups in Sri Lanka to create a public outcry about lack of freedom and mistreatment by the authorities to draw the attention of the UNHRC and the international community in the 2-3 months preceding the UNHRC sessions scheduled to be held in March 2014.  She leaves Sri Lanka by making bogus allegations and then proceeds to meet with more members of her extended Tamil Tiger family in Tamilnadu, South India. Some of those seen in the enclosed photos are leading members of the pro-Tamil Tiger separatist group in Tamilnadu, who have previously been deported from Canada or banned from entering the country. The second photo number 1926713-1-00 shows a LTTE leader who displays a picture of himself with the infamous TAMIL TIGER leader (LankaWeb : 15 March 2014).

Geneva: Now, US named and shamed for HR violations- ... some abuses as old as America itself - The US spearheading a resolution against Sri Lanka at the ongoing UNHRC session in Geneva drew heavy flak on Thursday for grave human rights abuses. The US was accused of systematic human rights violations both on its soil and abroad.  The Guardian has revealed that the US was censured on March 13, at the beginning of a two-day examination of the US human rights record by the UN?Human Rights Committee consisting of 18 members responsible for the investigation. The investigation has dealt with a long list of human rights abuses including detention of terrorist suspects at Guantanamo, target killings as well as clandestine surveillance operations undertaken by the National Security Agency (NSA).  Expressing its serious concerns over the US rights record, the expert committee asserted that its concerns related to faultlines as old as America itself, such as guns and race, according to The Guardian. The US has moved two successful resolutions against Sri Lanka in 2012 and 2013 at the UNHRC. The Guardian quoted the head of the US delegation, Mary McLeod, Principal Deputy Legal Advisor as having said: "While we are certainly not perfect, our network of federal, state and local institutions provide checks on government...Since the founding of our country, in every generation there have been Americans who sought to realise our constitution’s promise of equal opportunity and justice for all."  McLeod is quoted as having said that Obama is working to reduce the number of detainees in Guantánamo; drone strikes are conducted "in compliance with international law" and the NSA is under "substantial oversight" by other parts of government. The administration was taking measures to reduce disparities in racial sentencing and profiling, and the death penalty was steadily declining in the 32 states that still practiced it.  However, the US failed to respond to specific issues raised by the UN committee, particularly the failure on the part of Obama administration to prosecute any of the officials responsible for permitting waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation" techniques under the previous administration.  Walter Kälin, a Swiss international human rights lawyer, who sits on the committee, lambasted the US for refusing to recognise the convention’s mandate over its actions beyond its own borders. The move, Kalin pointed out was taken after 9/11 as a way of evading international scrutiny over Guantánamo and other "extra-territorial" measures of dubious standing in international law.  The Swiss national was quoted as having said: "This world is an unsafe place," Kälin said. "Will it not become even more dangerous if any state would be willing to claim that international law does not prevent them from committing human rights violations abroad?"  Kälin expressed shock at some of America’s more extreme domestic habits. Referring to the release this week in Louisiana of Glenn Ford, the 144th person on death row in the US to be exonerated since 1973, Kalin said: "One hundred and forty-four cases of people wrongfully convicted to death is a staggering number." (Island : 14 March 2014).

Police, army teams to arrest LTTE suspect who shot SI - Police said the suspect who fled after shooting a Police officer in Kilinochchi was a former LTTE cadre who is suspected to have been involved in terrorist activities and several crimes against the state.  The suspect had shot a police Sub Inspector of the Terrorist Investigation Unit during a search operation to arrest him on Thursday in his house.  Kilinochchi police said the suspect was a temporary resident in a Killinochchi housing scheme built with the aid of Indian Government.  They said he had fled the area after the incident.  Several police and army teams have been deployed to conduct the search operation and apprehend the suspect who is still absconding (Daily Mirror : 14 March 2014).

Sri Lanka’s recent experiences with the UN and UNHRC - by Mahinda GunasekeraToronto, Canada - Sri Lanka’s recent experiences with the United Nations - Sri Lanka has been a member of the United Nations since December 1955 completing 58 years of membership in the world body. Sri Lanka has made a noteworthy contribution towards the goals and ideals of the United Nations, especially in the areas of formulating UN Conventions on terrorism, Law of the Sea, GATT negotiations, disarmament, peacekeeping duties, several other areas of international concern and even presiding over the UN Security Council in 1960 during the U-2 spy plane crisis. Sri Lanka has at all times honored the UN’s aims and principles, and in turn expects the UN body to uphold her rights as an equal member of this international organization (LankaWeb ; 14 March 2014).

An Open Letter to Mr. Sampanthan - By Shelton A. Gunaratne [1) - Dear Mr. Sampanthan: May I suggest that the TNA and the GoSL consider ahimsa and dharma principles of Hinduism and the dependent co-arising (paticca-samuppada) doctrine of Buddhism to bring about amity and harmony between the Sinhala and Tamil ethnic communities in Sri Lanka.  If you try to resolve problems in Asia by applying Oriental wisdom rather than by applying Occidental thought, which brainwashed us to rely on the white man’s wisdom for more than 500 years, we will stand a better chance of peaceful co-existence.  Let me call upon the so-called Buddhist rulers of Sri Lanka to adopt the Buddha’s dasarajadharma as their principles of good governance. Just forget about the jargon on human rights, press freedom, etc., that the West and its paid subsidiary, the UN , are using selectively to destabilize countries run by ‘pariahs’ they dislike.  After committing itself to dasarajadharma rule, the GoSL should re-assess what kind of discrimination against minorities exist in Sri Lanka vis a vis the majority Sinhalese. It should not be afraid to ask the question whether Tamils are restricted from owning land and settling down in any part of the island and whether the country can afford to set apart a vast tract of land specifically for one ethnic group.  The GoSL should declare its belief in the ti-lakkhana of existence: dukkha (suffering), anatta (no self) and anicca (impermanence). It should readily agree to dislodge rulers who behave as if they have everlasting souls and want to entrench themselves in power.  Because all problems are points of various ongoing processes, apply the same ti-lakkhana to assess social conflicts. Existence is suffering. Therefore, social or ethnic problems (included in suffering) cannot be totally eliminated. they can only be alleviated. Both GoSL and TNA should thus strive to approach negotiation with this basic understanding. Both Tamil and Sinhala intransigence is the result of their false belief in self or ego. The Tamils seek to depend on external forces (the West, UN and the Diaspora plus Tamil Nadu) to maintain their false ego while the Sinhalese feel miffed. Both parties forget that no permanent solutions exist in a world where all conditioned things are impermanent.  Sampanthan and the TNA must be more realistic: Don’t expect the GoSL to self-incriminate itself by proving it killed any more than 7,000 “terrorists” in the no-fly zone. Surely, the names of the missing or the dead must be known to the TNA by now. Collect these names and produce them before the general public rather than seeking international intervention. Follow the principles of dharma and ahimsa.  The Sinhala Buddhists should study the mutual causality process embedded in the dependent co-arising doctrine to understand the causal links that lead to the karmic effects of tanha (craving) and upadana (clinging), from which the ethnic problem has arisen.  This is just a brief outline of how Oriental “wisdom” could help us restore our ability to self-govern. Andaya’s sibling seems to rely too heavily on Western political science because he cannot think outside of his allegiance to Occidental “wisdom.” Despite his incorrigible bias, his suggestions also should receive GoSL and TNA’s attention at this late stage (LankaWeb : 14 March 2014).

Muslim, Sinhala IDPs’ right to return to NP should be recognised – President

TNA claim of French support for US resolution against Sri Lanka: Embassy won’t comment - By Shamindra Ferdinando - The French Embassy in Colombo yesterday declined to comment on a recent claim by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) that France would throw its weight behind the US-led resolution against Sri Lanka at the ongoing session of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).  European Union member, France, represents the group categorised as the Western Europe and other states in the 47-member UN body.  External Affairs Ministry sources told The Island that the EU members in the UNHCR would vote as a group as they had done previously.  Chairman of the Northern Provincial Council, C. V. K. Sivagnanam (TNA) quoted the French ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Jean-Paul Monchau as having said France would vote for the resolution. The claim was made following a meeting Tamil National Alliance (TNA) member, Sivagnanam had with ambassador Monchau in Jaffna last week.Responding to a query by The Island, a French embassy spokesperson yesterday said that it wouldn’t say anything in addition to the statement issued by the mission following the ambassador’s visit to the Northern Province.  The French ambassador wasn’t available for comment. Jaffna based sources told The Island that Sivagnanam had told the French envoy that the Sri Lankan Army was a major obstacle to post-war national reconciliation. The army was also accused of taking over land belonging to civilians.  The French Embassy said that during the ambassador’s visit to Jaffna from March 9 to 11, he had the opportunity to meet Northern Province Governor, G. A. Chandrasiri as well as representatives of Jaffna’s civil society including the Centre for Women and Development, the Social Organisation for Networking Development, the Red Cross, Caritas and Sarvodaya North. On the occasion of a visit to the newspaper, Uthayan, the Ambassador congratulated the editor-in-chief, Kanamailnathan, on winning the International Press Freedom award given by the French organisation, Reporters without Borders, and discussed press freedom.  The ambassador also visited Kilinochchi, where he met Government Agent R. Ketheeswaran.  During talks with the province’s elected officials, the Minister of Health of the Northern Provincial Council, Sathiyalingam, complained of a dearth of doctors and other qualified staff in the 100 hospitals of the Northern Province and specifically mentioned the situation of the disabled and special needs category of the population. He also brought up the issue of malnutrition which continued to affect large numbers of children. The issue was also taken up by the Minister of Education Gurukularajah who expressed his concern that malnutrition affected the schooling of children from marginalised households. The Minister informed the Ambassador of a shortage of Mathematics and English teachers in schools.  The Ambassador said reconciliation could, in the end, only be carried out through the will of all Sri Lankans themselves, in the setting of a united country and with the help of cooperating partner countries.  The French envoy completed his programme in Jaffna with a visit to the "Alliance Française de Jaffna", where he met the Director of the committee of the Alliance Française, teachers and students. "The Alliance Française de Jaffna" has over 200 hundred students. The Ambassador also visited the University of Jaffna, where he had the opportunity to hold discussions about France with a group of 40 students. The visit to the Northern Province ended with a guided tour of the Jaffna Public Library (Island : 14 March 2014).

Convergence of Patriots to Canberra - by Chanaka Bandarage - On Friday 7 March 2014 about 50 patriots from different parts of Australia converged to Canberra to meet with representatives of the UNHRC member countries located in Canberra. The delegates met with nearly 30 such Missions located in Canberra. They also met with the Office of Julie Bishop, Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs for Australia, a friend of Sri Lanka.  The delegates had lengthy discussion with representatives of the UNHRC member countries and most representatives offered signs that their countries may not vote in favour of the proposed US Resolution in Geneva this time. It seems many member countries are not happy with the way the US is bringing forward such a Resolution that will not help Sri Lanka, but will damage Sri Lanka. The proposed Resolution will be an impediment to Sri Lanka’s economic progress, unitary status (sovereignty) and ethnic reconciliation.  At the discussions, a Petition was handed to the representatives of the UNHRC member countries and that of Ms Bishop’s Office and representatives of the US/UK , Indian and Canadian Governments. Below, please find a copy of the said Petition: (LankaWeb : 14 March 2014).

Why Rauf didn’t give any reports during Prabhakaran’s time? - Wimal - Now Rauf’s document submitted to UN is used by LTTE diaspora to take it up with UNHCR to say that the Singhalese are beating Muslims & Tamils. A copy of the report is given to Gajan Ponnambalam and he has taken this report to Qatar, Kuwait & Saudi Arabia and he is convincing the respective governments to vote against Sri Lanka based on the Hakeem’s falls report.  Friends, Hakeem has done this filthy job in many previous occasions for Halal package. He himself is like a third grade prostitute. Will sleep with whom ever pays him. His Halal package is consisting of Halal money, Halal women & Halal Scotch whisky. In 2000, newly mandated president CBK planed a massive attack on LTTE. Then LTTE attacked the Katunayake Airport & by which time LTTE has lost 12,000 carders. They badly needed a ceasefire to replenish carders & to gain political recognition. Hakeem received a Halal bribe- wine, women & money from LTTE and crossed over to UNP and Government was defeated in 2001 General election.  Thereafter, in April 2002 Hakeem signed an agreement with Prabahkaran who killed thousands of Muslims & chased away thousands of Muslims from North. This treacherous act was electorally defeated in 2004. Hakeem aligned himself with Ranil Wickramasinghe to defeat MR in 2005 & the formula remained same…. Halal style wine, women & Money to address the “ Muslim concerns” as per the Sharia law. When the eastern province liberation began in 2005, Hakeem openly blamed the Sri Lanka forces for the Muthoor Muslim massacre, which was actually done by LTTE (LankaWeb ; 13 March 2014).

Muslim, Sinhala IDPs’ right to return to NP should be recognised – President - By Shamindra Ferdinando - President Mahinda Rajapaksa early this week declared that since the vast majority of internally displaced Tamil people in the Northern Province had been resettled, it was now the responsibility of the government to resettle the Sinhalese and the Muslims chased away by the LTTE.  President Rajapaksa emphasised that the right of all those evicted by terrorists at gunpoint more than 20 years ago to return should be recognised.  The President was addressing a propaganda rally at Ratmalana Railway grounds on Monday (March 10) in support of those contesting the Colombo district on the UPFA ticket.  In an obvious reference to the ongoing attempt to haul Sri Lanka before an international war crimes tribunal, President Rajapaksa said that the release of child soldiers had been conveniently forgotten. The government hadn’t received the appreciation it deserved for the swift release of child combatants, the President said, explaining the speedy rehabilitation and release of combatants.  The President said that society would provide a conducive environment to those returning to civilian life better than detention facilities.  President Rajapaksa said no one could undermine his administration as long as the people were with it.  Jaffna Security Forces Commander, Major General Udaya Perera recently briefed Agnes Asekenye-Oonyu, Head of the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) on the situation at open welfare centres in Jaffna and the ongoing resettlement project.  Maj. Gen. Perera told The Island that the LTTE had driven people of all three communities out of the Jaffna peninsula during the conflict. The Sinhalese were chased out in the 1980s, the Muslims in 1990 and the Tamils during Operation Riviresa, which regain Jaffna in late 1995. Although the peninsula was brought under government administration in 1996, those the LTTE had driven away had not been able to return, the Major General said.  Major General Perera assured the UN official Sri Lanka’s commitment to resettle the war displaced as soon as possible.  Defence Ministry sources told The Island that the return of about 30 Sinhala families to Navatkuly close to Jaffna had prompted the US Embassy to dispatch its political officer, Michael A. Ervin, to inquire into the circumstances under which they had arrived there. Sources said that the families residing at Navatkuly were among those forced to flee the peninsula at the onset of hostilities in the 1980s. According to the 1981 Census, there had been 19,334 Sinhalese in Northern Province, comprising the administrative districts of Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya and Mannar. The majority of them had lived in the Jaffna peninsula and owned property at the time hostilities erupted.  Ministry sources said that the natural growth of a particular community too, should be taken into consideration before resettlement of those driven out of the Northern Province got underway (Island ; 12 March 2014).

LTTE show in Canada a flop - By Shamindra Ferdinando - An LTTE rally held at Dundas Square, Toronto last Sunday (March 9) in support of an international war crimes investigation targeting Sri Lanka attracted fewer than 300 persons though Toronto is home to over 200,000 Canadians of Sri Lankan origin.  Canada based sources told The Island that the National Council of Canadian Tamils (NCCT) had declared thousands would attend what it called Tamil Genocide Awareness Rally, but participation had been very low.  They said that several participants carried LTTE flags, though Canada proscribed the group in April 2006. Having categorised the World Tamil Movement (WTM) as an LTTE front, Canada banned it in June 2008.  Sources described the NCCT established two years later as the successor to the WTM.  Asked whether the police had tried to prevent the display of LTTE flags, sources answered in the negative. A statement issued by the NCCT accused the Sri Lankan military of killing 70,000 Tamil civilians. The allegation was made on the basis of the findings made by UNSG Ban Ki-moon’s panel of experts.  In spite of the extremely poor show, the NCCT called for an internationally monitored referendum in Sri Lanka, in line with the precedents set in East Timor and South Sudan, to bestow basic political and human rights to enable ‘Eelam Tamils’ to peacefully determine their own future (Island : 12 March 2014).

Tamil Diaspora split over US-led resolution backed by UK

A day to recollect saving Tamil speaking women from Tigers says Arun T - Int’l women’s day: - by Shamindra Ferdinando - Arun Tambimuttu Batticaloa District SLFP organiser, Arun Tambimuttu yesterday said that those who had been condoning the LTTE's use of females as cannon fodder during the conflict in Sri Lanka were now shamelessly using international women's day to accuse Sri Lanka of ill-treating Tamil speaking women.  Sri Lanka celebrated the international women's day on March 8.  Whatever those pushing for an international war crimes probe may say, Tamil speaking women were safer than ever today, Tambimuttu said in a brief interview with The Island, adding that since May 19, 2009 no woman had died due to the conflict.  Unfortunately, the government, too, had squandered a timely opportunity to remind the international community how it had saved Tamil women from the LTTE, which went to the extent of forming exclusive women fighting units for deployment in high intensity battles. None of those who had been shedding crocodile tears for Tamil speaking women since the conclusion of the conflict, had voiced concern when the LTTE used women in military operations, the SLFPer said, challenging them to produce at least a press release issued during the war critical of the use of females in combat and suicide missions.  Sri Lanka could rightfully be proud of having liberated all child soldiers from the clutches of terrorists and released them together with male and female fighters taken into custody during the final phase of the conflict, Tambimuttu said.  A section of the Tamil Diaspora as well as some members of the international community had taken up the cudgels for Northern Provincial Council member, Ananthi Sasitharan though they had looked the other way when the LTTE assassinated Sarojini Yogeswaran, the Mayoress of Jaffna on May 17, 1998, Tambimuttu said.  Responding to a query, Tambimuttu said that those promoting separatist sentiments wouldn't hesitate to exploit international events to step up pressure on Sri Lanka. Statements issued by various interested parties highlighted their strategy, he said, while acknowledging the need to effectively counter anti-Sri Lanka propaganda.  Referring to a statement issued by the UK based Global Tamil Forum (GTF) on the international women's day accusing the Sri Lankan military of raping of women Tamil speaking women during the conflict as well as during the post-conflict period and systematic continuing abuse of women by the military, particularly in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, Tambimuttu pointed out this was all part of its strategy to justify Channel 4 News allegations regarding the same. Had those now representing the GTF genuinely felt the need to protect Tamil speaking women, they should have opposed the use females in combat while Prabhakaran was alive. In fact, they should have urged the LTTE at least not to use women and children as human shields during the final phase of the conflict, Tambimuttu said.  Commenting on British High Commissioner, John Rankin statement also issued to mark the international women's day, Tambimuttu pointed out that Adele Balasingham publicly encouraged the use of women in combat and hung cyanide capsules around their necks was now living freely in the UK. Tambimuttu said that the bottom line was that the UK didn't feel the need to take up the issue of women in war zones until the LTTE had lost the war. Tambimuttu said that thousands of lives could have been saved if the international community had intervened earlier.  Tambimuttu said that it would be important to conduct a survey to establish the number of women killed fighting for the LTTE as well as those women killed by the LTTE. "My mother was one among many victims. She was killed along with my father."  Tambimuttu said that women and children wouldn't have been safe if the LTTE hadn’t been defeated. In fact, the international community had done nothing to prevent the LTTE from using women and children in combat and suicide missions in spite of having signed an agreement with the UN in May 1998 to stop the despicable practice of using children, Thambimuttu said (Island : 09 March 2014).

‘Tiger Bishop’ Rayappah Joseph’s proposals to UNHRC  - by P.A.Samaraweeera, Melbourne- ‘Tiger’ Bishop, Rayappah Joseph of Mannar, along with LTTE backers and NGO’s had submitted some proposals asking the US to include them in the final draft of the US Resolution to the UNHRC. In their memo, they had given 7 requests and some of them had been ‘separatism’ to the North and East, an international investigation on war crimes in Sri Lanka, acceptance of the traditional homeland theory, a remembrance day for the tiger terrorists and so on. Rayappah Joseph and his gang had requested that their proposals be included in the US Resolution. The Tamil diaspora as well had requested that the US resolution include these recommendations. So all these groups are canvassing the UNHRC to impose on Sri Lanka what the LTTE failed to achieve with arms.  Rayappah Joseph’s support to the LTTE is no secret. When the LTTE was driven away from the Madhu church premises, he walked away with the Madhu statue to LTTE held territory. Now he is doing all his preaching to revive the LTTE rump. Another well known supporter is Father S.J.Emmanuel who is now the leader of the UK based Global Tamil Forum. Then we have in this group Jaffna Bishop saundranayagam. When Ambassador-at-large Stephen Rapp was in Sri Lanka they had a meeting with him presenting with their so called ‘Grievances’. There was also a time when the Catholic Church had its sympathies with the LTTE. The Church took the stand that the ethnic crisis is a conflict between the Tamils and the Sinhala Buddhists and not an issue between the terrorists and the State. The church preferred a divided Sri Lanka.  During the hey days of the LTTE the Bishop of Jaffna requested all Tamil political parties to cease functioning so that the LTTE could act as the sole representative of the Tamil people. The position of the Church was confirmed by Mr. S. Dixit, a former High Commissioner of India, who stated in his book (‘Assignment Colombo” P.228) that, “What was fascinating was that the Tamil Catholic clergy kept arguing in favour of the LTTE throughout my tenure in Sri Lanka’. So it is not surprising that Rayappah Joseph is carrying on with his support to terror backers! The actions of some Catholic Bishops had eroded the credibility of the Catholic Church (LankaWeb : 09 March 2014).

Rape of sovereignty - The Geneva circus is on with the worst violators of human rights in the world masquerading as champions of democracy. Perhaps, there is no bigger farce than this summit. The UNHRC is dominated by the West and, therefore, it could not be expected to act independently. It has become a kangaroo court in all but name.  Sri Lanka has taken exception to the US-sponsored draft resolution against it as a ‘bad precedent [which] can, in the medium-to-long term, have an adverse impact on all developing countries in the Council." Sri Lankan Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha minced no words the other day when he rejected it out of hand on the grounds that it ‘violates the constitutional provisions of Sri Lanka, is highly intrusive in nature and is in breach of the sovereignty of the Sri Lankan people and the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka". He described it as being politicised and in clear contravention of accepted principles of conduct in the UNHRC.  Ambassador Aryasinha has come out with a few home truths for the consumption of the global community. But, it is only wishful thinking that the sponsors of the resolution will heed them. There is no way one could wake up those who pretend to be slumbering. What we witness in Geneva, year in year out, is a diplomatic badger hunt. All that the badger being pursued can do is to valiantly fight back, but the mastiffs win the day because might is right at the UN. Regrettably, not only hounds but also other burrowing mammals, so to speak, join the pursuit of the quarry without realising that their turn to run for life will come sooner or later (Island : 09 March 2014).

India Yet To Decide on UNHRC Resolution - by Ira de Silva London, Canada; The Editor, The Hindu Delhi, India; Dear Sir : Reference your news item on March 7,2014 that the Indian External Affairs Ministry has indicated that India is yet to take a final call on the UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka, is this not what India did on two previous occasions when it was abundantly clear to both those that were for the resolution and those who were against it that India was going to vote against Sri Lanka? It seems that the Indian Government does not have the integrity or honesty to make it known publicly that it will vote against the resolution. India was against country specific resolutions except in the case of Sri Lanka, again illustrating India’s dishonesty and total lack of principles. Sri Lanka is well aware that India will vote against it just as the U.S. and U.K. know that they can count on India to support them because all of them have a common bond, they are the worst violators of human rights which abuses are proven unlike what they claim about Sri Lanka. For the U.K. and India it is also to win votes in their respective countries.  The External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said: “There was no substantive discussion in that meeting on this matter.” - that is diplomatic jargon which is used to indicate a lie. Sri Lankans are well aware that India will vote against Sri Lanka to get votes in Tamil Nadu at the upcoming elections. That has been the pattern always where India harasses Sri Lanka on trumped up charges under the cover of human rights abuses when the whole world knows that India is one of the worst violators of human rights in the world. In the case of Sri Lanka it was India that trained, funded and created the Tamil terrorists to terrorise Sri Lanka and committed gross abuses of human rights on Sri Lankans in Sri Lanka.  It is necessary for the Indian media to publicise that Sri Lanka is a sovereign country and that India’s foreign policy of interference in the internal matters of it’s neighbours is recognized by them, is not appreciated and that they are beginning to consider getting together to counter Indian bullying (LankaWeb : 09 March 2014).

Ambassador Aryasinha says draft resolution violates SL’s Constitution - Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, has said "the draft resolution on Sri Lanka deposited with the Human Rights Council by a core group comprising - the USA, UK, Mauritius, Montenegro and Macedonia, violates the constitutional provisions of Sri Lanka, is highly intrusive in nature and is in breach of the sovereignty of the Sri Lankan people and the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka".  "In being politicised and in clear contravention of accepted principles of conduct in the Council", he said, "the resolution sets a bad precedent, and can in the medium-to-long term have an adverse impact on all developing countries in the Council".  Ambassador Aryasinha made this observation in an intervention made at the commencement of the first informal meeting called by the sponsors of the draft resolution on Sri Lanka and held in Geneva on March 7 (Island : 07 March 2014).

Geneva and PC elections - President J.R. Jayewardene, whatever his faults, was not without wisdom. At a time when non-alignment was a buzzword, he remarked that there were only two non-aligned nations in the world and they were the United States and the Soviet Union. Once the Soviet Union disintegrated, only the US which was the sole remaining superpower, remains unaligned to any other country. It is aligned solely to its own interests as the world knows very well. This is the country with dirty hands that is leading the ongoing effort at the UN Human Rights Council to impose human rights accountability on small Sri Lanka. We, after nearly three decades of civil war, overcame a terrorist force that many, including the United States, believed was invincible. No wars in the course of history have been fought without human rights violations and ours was no exception. But it cannot be said that such violation was one sided and only on the part of the State of Sri Lanka. It is common knowledge that the LTTE was by far the bigger offender with its acts of sheer brutal terror, mostly inflicted on innocent civilians, legion.  Our newspapers and other media channels have in the last few days been full of what is going on at the UNHRC in Geneva. Most of our people share President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s view that the whole business will end with what he called ``a small black mark’’ placed on our country. The chances of Sri Lanka’s friends defeating the US-led resolution, as has been done at previous UNHRC sessions, are non-existent. This time round, the resolution will probably have less muscle than its sponsors hope because they will be forced to dilute it with a view to broad basing support. Very few Lankans are interested in the nuances of the Geneva happenings and they are not a major global news event. However our opposition, and particularly the UNP, is convinced that Rajapaksa sees political mileage in Geneva to be exploited at the forthcoming elections in the populous Western and Southern Provinces. In our view the biggest advantage the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance has is the perception that they are the winning side. We, after all, are a country that is vasi paththata hoiya (hurrah for the winning side) as the pithy Sinhala idiom has it. The opposition UNP has been written off as perennial losers and the green party has its work cut out in getting its not inconsiderable support base to the polls.  Quite apart from Geneva, there are many issues on which it is incumbent on electors to state their views. We have often stated in these columns that we subscribe to the view that the Provincial Councils do little for the people whose tax rupees support them. They are a white elephant that nobody, except the people of the North and East, long hungering for regional autonomy in predominantly Tamil areas, ever wanted or demanded. But as the late Mr. Lalith Athulathmudali once famously said, ``you cannot give to Jaffna what you will not give Hambantota.’’ So the country has since been saddled with a system that benefits the political class more than any other. Most of those seeking election to the Provincial Councils have their sights on Parliament. They find the PCs a convenient ladder which will help them to climb higher. Also, the perks and privileges that provincial councilors enjoy are considerable as clearly demonstrated by the number of close kinsmen of national politicians running for office. For the government, it is important to demonstrate to the country and the wider world outside that the president’s and its own popularity is largely undiminished however loudly tubs are thumped in Geneva (Island : 07 March 2014).

Ananthi alleges Sumanthiran silenced her in Geneva TNA, Tamil Diaspora split over US-led resolution backed by UK - By Shamindra Ferdinando - Arift has emerged in the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) with one of the most prominent Northern Provincial Council members, Ananthi Sashitharan publicly accusing TNA National List MP, M.A. Sumanthiran of having deprived her of an opportunity to address UNHRC members at a recent crucial meeting in Geneva due to her alleged past involvement in the LTTE. Ananthi was married to Velayutham Sasitharan alias Elilan, a hardcore terrorist who masqueraded as the LTTE’s Trincomlaee District political leader during the Ceasefire Agreement arranged by the Norwegian government in February 2002. Ananthi represents the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK), the dominant partner of the five-party alliance comprising the TELO, PLOTE, EPRLF, TULF and ITAK.  Addressing the media at the Jaffna press club on Thursday, an irate Sasitharan charged that MP Sumanthiran had scuttled her plans in Geneva, where she was to press representatives of 18 member states of the UNHRC to demand that the US-led resolution recommend an international investigation into war crime allegations. MP Sumanthiran, she alleged was basically seeking the support of member states for the US resolution.  MP Sumanthiran didn’t respond to an SMS message we sent him. The MP was in Australia this week to pressure the Australian government to co-sponsor US-led resolution.  Sasitharan claimed that those who had believed that the ongoing Geneva session would lead to a war crimes probe were frustrated and those who led Tamils speaking people to believe that a tough resolution would be presented to the UNHRC had deceived them.  She warned that the youth would be disillusioned unless the international community ensured that those responsible for war crimes were punished. The international community should take the responsibility in such an eventuality, she said.  Emphasising that there hadn’t been any restrictions imposed on her before she left the country for engagements in Geneva with a TNA delegation, Sasitharan alleged that after a couple of meetings there, MP Sumanthiran had advised her not to address UNHRC representatives direct.  Commenting on MP Sumanthiran’s strategy in Geneva, Sasitharan alleged that the National List MP had failed to push for an international war crimes probe though the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) had passed a resolution demanding ex external probe on accountability issues. Fielding questions, Sasitharan acknowledged that the MP had discussed the role allegedly played by Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in the militarisation of the Northern Province, the takeover of land belonging to Tamil speaking people as well as the fate of those who had surrendered to the army and the missing.  The TNA won the first Northern Provincial Council election last September. Sasitharan polled the second highest number of preferential votes after Chief Minister, C.V. Wigneswaran (Island : 07 March 2014).

Is UNHRC Navi Pillay probe, a push to replace Sri Lanka with Diego Garcia? - by Shenali D Waduge - There are many wanting to know why a country enjoying 4 years of post-terrorist peace with people and even former cadres getting on with their lives should be hounded by the likes of Navi Pillay, the US, UK and even India bringing Resolution after Resolution with non-associated additions with each new Resolution while no such Resolutions have come before the UNHRC for the Christian West’s successive imperial military interventions and regime change programs – the reasons are complicated just as they are unjust raising the need to always juxtapose demands made by US directly or through Navi Pillay or Ban Ki Moon against Sri Lanka with West’s desire to secure its geopolitical positioning in Asia when lease of its key base Diego Garcia is set to expire in 2016. When US is likely to be without a base sooner than later it needs to set the ground and it is doing a perfect covert operation just as it created a base by separating Kosovo and is now doing the same in Ukraine. The Government that boldly snubbed the Pillay report must now use the podium to place the issue of regime change as a topic that US/UK and West can be held accountable for.  Diego Garcia was given to the US on a 50 year lease after Britain unceremoniously chased out all the natives in what can be termed nothing other than forced expulsion or depopulation on request of US and pocketed USD14million from America. The British even exterminated all the pets and animals raised by the natives. It functions as an extraordinary rendition point. The British Government even lied to the British Parliament and the British citizens about the base and its use as a place where kidnapped people from overseas were flown in ‘ghost flights’ for inhuman and internationally banned interrogation methods. David Miliband was one of those liars. The British sham went on to hold an inquiry appointing Sir Peter Gibson who was the former head of UK intelligence leaving little to the imagination as to where the inquiry would lead to. If that was no considered a conflict of interest it is no surprise that Navi Pillay has deferred from recusing herself from Sri Lanka given that she is genetically, emotionally and ethnically a Tamil.  That US/UK were violating international laws never became a concern for Navi Pillay to issue statements against extraordinary renditions areas which she had direct mandate over. The European Parliament identified 1254 CIA flights through European airspace since September 2001 (LankaWeb : 07 March 2014).

UNHRC has made separatist elements more intransigent - GL - External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris during his meeting with United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navaneetham Pillay said that the highly prejudiced actions by sections of the international community and the Office of the High Commissioner to give disproportionate attention to Sri Lanka had only made the separatist diaspora Tamil elements and their proxies in the north more intransigent, making the intensely difficult task of achieving reconciliation in Sri Lanka even harder.  Prof. Peiris said the High Commissioner was well aware of the important political decisions the government of Sri Lanka had taken in the restoration of normalcy to those affected following the conflict, channeling the necessary resources to develop the previously conflict affected areas and in September 20, 2013, to enable the holding of the Northern Provincial Council elections, which four previous Presidents over 26 years did not have the courage to do.  Minister Peiris made this observation when as the leader of the Sri Lanka delegation for the 25th HRC, as is customary, he met the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navaneetham Pillay today (6th March 2014) at the Palaise de Nations in Geneva.  Minister Peiris drew to the High Commissioner’s attention the objections he made to the report submitted by her to the current Human Rights Council sessions where he detailed the lack of objectivity and patent bias evidenced in her report which also called for the setting up of an international inquiry mechanism on Sri Lanka. He said the report was both one sided and politicized. He said it was particularly unfortunate that the High Commissioner should have done so after having the benefit of an extended visit to Sri Lanka where she was given unimpeded access. Noting that the High Commissioner had undertaken her visit almost 2 ½ years after the original invitation was extended by the Government of Sri Lanka, the Minister said that he felt that some of the High Commissioner’s comments while in Sri Lanka and her final report represented a lost opportunity in contributing positively to Sri Lanka’s reconciliation process.  Minister Peiris said that the bias, unfairness with which Sri Lankan was being treated was also evident in recent acts such as the refusal of the OHCHR to, as done last year to place Sri Lankan’s comments on the High Commissioner’s report as an addendum, as done when she presented her report in the previous year. While appreciating that the OHCHR had incorporated some of the glaring errors that were contained in the draft report following Sri Lanka’s comments, he said, the GOSL was nevertheless concerned about the methodology and sources that continued to inform the High Commissioner’s reports and action on Sri Lanka (Island : 07 March 2014).

Don’t dilute US resolution, make it stronger – TNA to tell India - By Shamindra Ferdinando - The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) intends to request India not to dilute the proposed US-led resolution against Sri Lanka over accountability issues as well as post-war developments which it considered inimical to the interests of Tamils.  The TNA decided to make representations to India at a meeting held at the parliamentary complex on Wednesday evening.  Security and political sources told The Island that the Tamil National Alliance (TNA)was exploring ways and means of strengthening the proposed US led resolution scheduled to come up for voting on March 26 at the ongoing 25th session of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). A TNA delegation is likely to leave for New Delhi soon.  India represents Asia in the 47-member UNHRC categorised into five groups.  Sources said that the TNA expected India to ensure the formulation of the strongest possible resolution. The UK based British Tamil Forum (BTF) has already rejected the US draft proposal, demanding that the international community move a tough resolution. Although other major diaspora organisations including the UK based Global Tamil Forum (GTF) hasn’t officially commented on the draft resolution, it was in the process of making representations to foreign governments.  The five-party TNA is of the opinion that the draft resolution jointly tabled by the US, the UK, Montenegro, Macedonia and Mauritius has failed to address the concerns of the Tamil speaking people.  Well informed sources told The Island that the TNA parliamentary group had met in the wake of the US making the draft resolution available to 47 member states of the UNHRC as well as other countries expected to co-sponsor it. The entire group except MPs, M. A. Sumanthiran and S. Vino Noharathalingam met under the leadership of TNA leader, R. Sampanthan, MP, to discuss the situation. The meeting had been meant to reach consensus on their strategy to strengthen the resolution, sources said. In accordance with the TNA’s plan, senior representatives would meet Indian authorities as well as Colombo based Western diplomats and UNHRC officials to stress the need to formulate strongest possible resolution, sources said.  Sources quoted veteran politician Sampanthan as having told the gathering there was still time to make the required changes.  The TNA also decided to focus on post-war land issues as well as security forces deployment in the Northern Province. The TNA would pressure those moving the resolution to make specific references in the proposed resolution, to the land issue and the military deployment in the Northern Province, sources said (Island : 06 March 2014).

Silence on Lanka Resolution – March 5,2014 -by Ira de Silva London, Canada - The Editor, Letters The Telegraph Calcutta, India, Dear Sir: It is indicated that India and Sri Lanka were “non-committal” on the third resolution against Sri Lanka tabled at the UNHCR in Geneva. No one in Sri Lanka will find that surprising because they know that India will as usual vote against Sri Lanka although Mr. Singh claims to be “thinking about it” as he has done in the past and Sri Lanka is well aware of India’s constant harassment of Sri Lanka based on the claim that they want to help the Sri Lankan Tamils to which end they created a terrorist group and terrorized Sri Lanka just to win elections in Tamil Nadu. After the defeat of the leadership of the Tamil terrorists, India is now resorting to “diplomatic terrorism” against Sri Lanka because of the upcoming Indian election.  Mr. Rajapakse is well aware that India will again vote against Sri Lanka so he is “non-committal” in public but Sri Lankans hope that in private he has indicated to Mr. Singh that Sri Lanka is tired of India’s interference and aggresssion. They hope that he has indicated to Mr. Singh that Sri Lanka will not tolerate India’s interference because like him, Mr. Rajapakse will only win the next election if he can tell the Sri Lankan voter that he has taken a stand against India. He won the last time because he defeated the Tamil terrorists, next time he will only win if he stands firm against India and defeats Indian interference in the internal matters of Sri Lanka, stops the Indians from poaching in Sri Lankan waters and does not allow votes in Tamil Nadu to influence him to harass another sovereign country.   Any investigation should include the role that India has played in terrorism in Sri Lanka and particularly the massive human rights abuses of the Indian forces in Sri Lanka because these Indian forces killed thousands of Tamils (Tamil genocide) 4000 rapes documented, shelled the Jaffna hospital killing doctors, nurses and patients just to name a few FACTS documented by the Indians themselves. This is the India that created, funded and supported the Tamil terrorists and used them to terrorize Sri Lanka. Perhaps India should bring in a separate resolution as suggested by Mr. Karunanidhi and co-sponsored by the so called international community who were party to these Indian crimes in Sri Lanka. If the FACTS are documented correctly perhaps Sri Lanka will support it too – then it could be passed unanimously! (LankaWeb : 06 March 2014).

US resolution, Pillay’s report inflict harm on reconciliation – GoSL - Sri Lanka yesterday rejected a US-led resolution meant to pave the way for an international investigation into accountability issues in Sri Lanka.  The resolution jointly tabled by the UK, Montenegro, Macedonia and Mauritius welcomed UNHRC Chief Navi Pillay’s recommendations and conclusions on the need for an independent and credible international investigation in the absence of a credible national process with tangible results.  External Affairs Minister, Prof. G. L. Peiris yesterday told the 25th Session of the Geneva-based body that the government of Sri Lanka rejected the resolution as well as the UNHRC Chief’s report in its entirety as they were fundamentally flawed.  Minister Peiris said: "These initiatives disregard the substantial progress made by the Government during the five years which have elapsed since the end of the thirty year war against terrorism. They also pay scant regard to the complexities and local nuances of a sensitive reconciliation process, while eroding confidence of the people of Sri Lanka by the constant changing of unjustifiable demands. Moreover, they persist in an attitude which is clearly disproportionate to the circumstances and inconsistent with the treatment of comparable situations. It is much to be regretted that the High Commissioner’s Report and those who exalt its virtues only seek to inflict harm on the reconciliation process by bringing about a polarisation of the Sri Lankan society."Prof. Peiris reiterated Sri Lanka’s continued cooperation and engagement with the UNHRC.  The resolution, which is to be voted at the end of this month, will be the third in as many year since the conclusion of the conflict.  The resolution also recommends the establishment of a truth seeking mechanism, a national reparations policy, to hold individuals responsible accountable for violations of international human rights law, investigate all attacks against religious minorities, journalists, human rights defenders and civil society.  The resolution seeks meaningful devolution of powers in terms of the 13th amendment to the constitution and to empower the Tamil chief minister in the north with necessary resources and authority.  Minister Peiris told the UNHRC: "The High Commissioner’s Report has exceeded its mandate by making reference to and recommendations on numerous issues extraneous to the resolution. Additionally, the recommendations contained in the Report are arbitrary, intrusive and of a political nature, and are not placed within the ambit of the LLRC, as demonstrated by the call to establish an international inquiry mechanism. Further, this recommendation is in contravention of her mandate granted by GA Resolution 48/141, particularly Articles 3(a) and 4(g). In the Government’s detailed "Comments" on the Report, it has also regretted that the High Commissioner has raised concerns regarding a range of issues based on information of questionable veracity and conclusions arrived at in a selective and arbitrary manner. Sri Lanka’s Comments have attempted to address some of the errors and misperceptions contained in the Report."  In an obvious reference to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcoming of Pillay’s report, Prof. Peiris said: "The references made in the Council welcoming the High Commissioner’s Report on Sri Lanka, even at the highest level of the UN are regrettable, particularly considering that it is based on questionable and baseless material including what has been processed outside the UN framework. The Council may recall in this regard that the Panel of Experts Report which was the culmination of a private consultation that the Secretary General sought for his own advice, and is not the product of any intergovernmental process, has been extensively resorted to by the High Commissioner in her Report to the Council, in a bid to legitimise it within the UN framework despite the lack of mandate in this regard." (Island : 05 March 2014).

Navi Pillay is disqualified to be Head of UNHRC

Navi Pillay is disqualified to be Head of UNHRC - by  Shenali D Waduge SRI LANKA - When public sentiments against international public officials are voiced internationally there is an urgent need to investigate why the world public should openly find an international public official unsuitable. Thus, the UN Secretary General is duty bound to listen and in the least hold an impartial inquiry to ascertain the grounds on which people in different parts of the world are vocalizing their dissatisfaction with Navi Pillay, the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Countries too need to pay heed to calls of the public and place an official No Confidence Motion against her. Navi Pillay’s bias against Libya, Rwanda, Syria and Sri Lanka are highlighted below (LankaWeb : 05 March 2014).

Kilinochchi-Pallai re-constructed railway track, signal system inaugurated - The Kilinochchi-Pallai re-constructed railway track and signal system built by IRCON International Ltd under the concessional Indian Line of Credit was inaugurated on Tuesday.  The ceremony was attended by Transport Minister Kumara Welgama, Traditional Industries and Small Enterprises Development Minister Douglas Devananda, Indian High Commissioner Y. K. Sinha, Consul General of India in Jaffna, Shri V. Mahalingam, Northern Province Governor Maj. Gen. (Retd.) G.A. Chandrasiri, Deputy Transport Minister Rohana Kumara Dissanayake, Murugesu Chandrakumar MP, senior officials from the Transport Ministry, Sri Lanka Railways and IRCON International Limited. They undertook a train journey from Kilinochchi to Pallai on the reconstructed track.  The 27.5 km long Kilinochchi-Pallai railway line was reconstructed under a concessionary credit line of about US$ 800 million provided by the Indian government for the Northern Railway Reconstruction Project. India’s commitment was recorded in the Indo-Lanka Joint Declaration of June 9, 2010 in New Delhi, during the visit of the Sri Lankan President. Under this project, the segments already completed include the Medawachchiya-Madhu Road, inaugurated on May 14, 2013 and the Omanthai- Kilinochchi segment, inaugurated by the Sri Lankan President on September 14, 2013, an Indian High Commission Spokesman said.  Speaking on the occasion, Transport Minister Kumara Welgama, thanked the Indian government for the assistance provided towards reconstruction activities in Sri Lanka, including the rehabilitation of the Northern Railway line. Emphasising on the close relationship between the two countries, he noted that India had provided concessionary credit on soft terms for the project which others had not given.  Expressing satisfaction with the work of IRCON International, the Minister said that Talaimannar and Kankesanthurai would also be connected to the reconstructed rail network very soon."In the South the railway network would reach Kataragama from Matara in a period of two years. I urge the Indian government to consider more concessionary credit towards development of Sri Lanka’s railway network."  The Indian High Commissioner Y. K. Sinha said that the inauguration of the Kilinochchi-Pallai railway line was another milestone in the historic partnership between the two countries rooted in civilizational ties of history, language, culture, religion and in trade. He, pointed out that the reconstruction of the Northern line would assist in restoration of normal life, generate and support livelihood related activities, assist in restoring connectivity, not only within the Northern Province, but also with the rest of the country, thus promoting development, reconciliation and greater integration (Island : 05 March 2014).

Statement by Hon. Prof. G.L. Peiris at the High Level Segment of the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council - Minister of External Affairs & Leader of the Sri Lanka Delegation; Mr. President, Madam High Commissioner, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to deliver this statement on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka. May I at the outset congratulate you Mr. President, as well as Members of the Bureau on your election as office bearers of this Council. I pledge my delegation’s support to you at all times in the discharge of your office. Sri Lanka also reiterates its continued support to the High Commissioner in the discharge of her mandate as contained in GA Resolution 48/141, to the OHCHR, and to the work of this Council. Mr. President, It is imperative that the Human Rights Council remains a credible and independent arbiter in dealing with global human rights situations. All human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated, and must be treated in a fair and equitable manner, without the privileging of one set of rights over another. It is for these reasons, that economic, social and cultural rights which are at the core of sustainable development need to gain the same level of emphasis and legitimacy as civil and political rights. As we celebrate the 28th anniversary of the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the Declaration on the Right to Development, there needs to be a more robust approach to promote effective international cooperation with regard to the right to development and the elimination of obstacles to its enjoyment. Sri Lanka shares the concern of the High Commissioner as well as States on the challenges faced by her Office on account of resource constraints. At the same time, we remain deeply concerned that the lack of financial independence of the OHCHR leads to the erosion of independence in its overall functioning. For example, the disproportionate attention being paid to country-specific action in the Council which selectively targets some countries, while situations, human rights violations and restrictive practices in other parts of the world that warrant more urgent and immediate attention and action remain conveniently ignored, is a matter of serious concern. The stark reality is that the continuation and proliferation of the practice of the selective adoption of country-specific resolutions in the Council is a tool that exploits human rights for political purposes. Regrettably, a similar pattern is evident in the case of continued action on Sri Lanka in this Council. We reiterate that such politicized action is contrary to the high purposes and principles of the Council and must be arrested. We believe that additional budgetary allocations from regular funding would lessen the OHCHR’s dependence on voluntary contributions and earmarked funding and thus would allow it to function in an independent manner (island : 05 March 2014).

Mannar Bishop leads call for int’l war crimes probe - ‘Identify specific units, senior officers’ - by Shamindra Ferdinando - A group of Catholic priests and Rev. sisters from the Northern and eastern provinces has urged the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to adopt a strong and action oriented resolution on Sri Lanka.The appeal was made by 205 persons on the eve of the inauguration of the UNHRC’s 25th sessions.  The move is led by the Bishop of Mannar, Rt. Rev. Dr. Rayappu Joseph, who has been in the forefront of local Tamils’ push for an international war crimes inquiry.  Well informed sources told The Island that the group had made its move in spite of last month’s controversy over the Mannar Bishop and Jaffna Bishop Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Saundranayagam calling for an international war crimes investigation during a meeting with US Ambassador-at-large at the State Department’s Office of Global Criminal Justice Stephen J. Rapp in the North and US Ambassador in Colombo Michele J. Sison. Sources alleged that the UK based Global Tamil Forum (GTF) was behind the latest project undertaken by the priests.  Asked whether the GTF had played a role in this project, Rev. Father S.J. Emmanuel, the leader of the GTF told The Island that it was an initiative taken by the victims and witnesses on the ground.  External Affairs Ministry sources alleged that the petition was meant to justify the US-led effort to move a resolution against Sri Lanka at the ongoing Geneva session. Sources said that the group of clergy was obviously working closely with the LTTE rump/Diaspora. In fact, the petition was most probably prepared in London or Washington and sent to Sri Lanka to collect signatures, sources said.  The priests, in their petition to the member states of the UNHRC alleged that the government had done nothing to address the grievances of those who suffered during the conflict. Alleging that the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) as well as other domestic mechanisms had failed to achieve desired results, they emphasized the importance of international intervention in Sri Lanka (Island : 04 March 2014).

Defence Ministry alleges Mannar Bishop pursing LTTE agenda - by Shamindra Ferdinando - Responding to Mannar Bishop Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph’s call for an international war crimes probe, the Defence Ministry yesterday accused the priest of working closely with the LTTE pushing for external intervention in Sri Lanka.  The ministry alleged that the clergyman was most probably working with the UK headquartered Global Tamil Forum (GTF) headed by Rev. Father, S. J. Emmanuel.  Had the Mannar Bishop been genuinely concerned about the wellbeing of Tamil speaking people, he would have urged the one-time co-chairs of Sri Lanka’s peace process, namely the US, EU, Norway and Japan to turn the heat on the LTTE when the group quit the negotiating table in April 2003, during the tenure of the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, a senior Defence Ministry spokesman told The Island. The official said that the Bishop of Mannar had remained silent as long as he felt the LTTE would overwhelm the army on the Vanni front. Responding to a query, the official said that the government was confident that the vast majority of Northerners as well as Easterners appreciated the eradication of terrorism in May 2009.  The Defence Ministry alleged that the Bishop of Mannar had turned a blind eye to LTTE atrocities, particularly the use of children as cannon fodder throughout the conflict and he had never opposed the LTTE’s decision to hold the civilian population as a shield until the very end.  Since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009, the LTTE had been working overtime to undermine the post-war national reconciliation process, the spokesman said.  The ministry said that the international community would be briefed on the Bishop’s longstanding relationship with the LTTE. The latest petition submitted by a group of Catholic clergy was meant to convey to the world that the situation was worse now than during the war, the ministry said (Island : 04 March 2014).

CHIEF MINISTER VIGENESWERAN’S SUGGESTION TO GRANT DUAL CITIZENSHIP TO TAMIL DIASPORA HAS A SINISTER MOVE - by Malin Abeyatunge, Melbourne, Australia - There is some hidden agenda in Northern Province Chief Minister Vignesweran’s suggestion of granting of Dual Citizenship to the Tamil Diaspora to encourage them to invest in Sri Lanka. It sounds okay on the face of it but there is some sinister move under this suggestion. This is a very subtle ploy by the TNA and pro-LTTE Tamil Diaspora (a) to get the LTTE activists among the Tamil Diaspora back in to Sri Lanka to start another separatist war (b) to allow free flow of illegal funds to fund another separatist war. The demand by TNA to close army camps in the North appears to be directly linked to this suggestion. Closing of army camps will be one of the proposals made by UNHRC in March Sessions. LTTE rumps flocking back to Sri Lanka thro dual citizenship claims, free flow of illegal funds to oil another terrorist war machine and removal of camps in the North will eventually make an easy path for them to restart another terrorist war (Sri Lanka News Online : 02 March 2014).

S. Africa urged to shun SL, back US resolution - by Shamindra Ferdinando - An influential South African organization working closely with pro-LTTE groups are stepping up pressure on the African National Congress (ANC) to abandon its role in the post-war national reconciliation process in Sri Lanka and vote for the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka.  Sri Lanka Solidarity Group (SGPJ) comprising the South African Tamil Federation, the Tamil Coordinating Committee, the World Saiva Council and several other stakeholders established in 2007 has urged South African government to quit the Sri Lankan reconciliation project. The grouping is widely believed to be close to the UK based Global Tamil Forum (GTF).  The SGPJ recently urged South Africa to join the US-UK led grouping spearheading the move against Sri Lanka at the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session scheduled to begin today (March 3). The US is scheduled to move its third resolution against Sri Lana since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009.  South Africa is among the seven countries from the African continent on the 47-member UNHRC. The vote on the US resolution is scheduled to take place later this month.  An authoritative GoSL official told The Island that the Diaspora as well as the SGPJ probably feared that the appointment of Vice President of the ANC Cyril Ramphosa as South Africa’s Special Envoy to spearhead the Sri Lankan project could undermine UNHRC chief Navi Pillay’s efforts to haul Sri Lanka up before an international war crimes tribunal.  The official said that the GTF had distanced itself from the South African initiative though it was originally involved in the effort. Well informed sources said that the GTF appeared to have second thoughts on the project especially after the Tamilnet at the behest of the LTTE rump attacked the South African initiative. The Tamilnet went to the extent of alleging that some corrupt sections of the ANC were involved in the operation.  The announcement of Ramphosa’s appointment was made by no less a person than South African President Jacob Zuma in his 6th State of the Nation address a few weeks ago. The announcement was made ahead of GoSL delegation headed by Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva visiting South Africa for a series of meetings. The SGPJ has strongly urged South African government to shun the Sri Lankan delegation. The grouping reminded the pretoria government that it was set up by the late Minister Roy Padayachie to enhance the Diaspora support for the Tamils’ struggle in Sri Lanka.  A three-page statement issued by Solomon Pillay on behalf of SGPJ, the group reiterated the GTF claims that 23 countries, including India would vote for the US resolution in March.  Although international media said that US Assistant Secretary of State forSouth and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal would visit New Delhi early this week to discuss bilateral relations in the wake of Khobragade episode involving an Indian diplomat whose humiliating treatment at the hands of US authorities angered India, GoSL sources said that the US resolution, too, would definitely figure. Biswal is scheduled to visit Bangalore and New Delhi from March 4-6. In Bangalore, she will meet with government and business leaders to discuss joint efforts to foster innovation, increase high-tech and engineering engagement, and strengthen US-India economic ties. From Bangalore, she will travel to New Delhi, where she will meet with senior Indian officials to discuss the full range of bilateral and regional issues, "including shared defense, security, and economic engagement across the Indo-Pacific corridor," according to a State Department announcement. On March 6, she will deliver remarks on the US-India economic relationship at the American Center in New Delhi. The State Department asserted that during her visit, Assistant Secretary Biswal "will seek to further broaden and deepen the US-India relationship, which President Obama has called one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century." (Island : 02 March 2014).

80% disappearance cases point finger at LTTE – Indian Express - Eighty per cent of the complaints of forced disappearance made to the Sri Lankan Presidential Commission of Disappearances, blame the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), The Indian Express reported yesterday quoting a well-placed source in the Presidential Secretariat of Sri Lanka.  A news report published by the Indian Express said: "Quoting members of the commission, the official told Express that majority of the complaints from Tamils in the Northern Province pertained to children being abducted by the LTTE to fight its war against the Lankan forces.  However, Tamil media reporters who had covered the sittings of the disappearances panel in Kilinochchi and Jaffna, reported an overwhelming majority of the complaints were against the Sri Lankan army and their Tamil auxiliaries.  At a meeting of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MPs and members of the Northern Provincial Council held in Jaffna on Friday, it has been announced that the Tamil National Alliance was not satisfied with the functioning of the panel.  A resolution passed by the meeting said, while the panel was sitting in Kilinochchi, a group of state agents were trying to persuade complainants to accept Death Certificates and close the case." (Island : 02 March 2014).

Indian Govt challenges commuting death sentences on Rajiv killers & others - Five-judge bench needed for constitutional adjudication - BY S VENKAT NARAYAN Our Special Correspondent - NEW DELHI, March 1: The Central Government of India on Saturday moved the Supreme Court seeking review of its verdict holding that undue delay by the government in deciding mercy plea can be a ground to commute death sentence of a condemned prisoner.   The Centre submitted that the January 21 judgement, by which 15 condemned prisoners were granted life and paved the way for similar relief for Rajiv Gandhi’s killers, is "patently illegal, suffers from errors apparent".  It said such an important issue should have been heard by a Constitution bench and the judgement passed by a three-judge bench was without "jurisdiction".  "It is respectfully submitted that the impugned judgement is patently illegal, suffers from errors apparent on the face of the record and flies in the face of well-established principles of law laid down by this Court and contained in the Constitution and other statutes," the review petition said. "It is submitted that in the present case, the issue raised was that of the commutation of the death sentence to life imprisonment on the ground of delay, which allegedly attracted Article 21 (right to life) in favour of the convicts. "Therefore, it involved a substantial issue of interpretation of the Constitution and ought to have been heard by a bench of five Judges, as mandated under Article 145 of the Constitution," it said.  Referring to an earlier apex court order in which it was said that the nature of crime has to be considered while commuting the death sentence of a convict, the government said the previous verdict "observed that there is a distinction between offences such as the Terrorist Prevention and Distruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) and other offences".  The Sri Lankan Tamils and natives of Tamil Nadu implicated in Rajiv Gandhi’s sensational assassination on 21 May 1991 were tried under TADA.  "Thus, there is an error apparent on the face of the record, and the impugned judgement merits a review," it said (Island : 01 March 2014).

Reportedly, British all out to fix Lanka in Geneva

Lankan American writes to US lawmakers - An American of Sri Lankan origin has written a concise four paragraph letter to two Senators from Maryland and seven Congressmen from that state drawing their attention to issues related to the forthcoming US-led resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva.  The letter was described as ``concise, benefits the recipient and focuses on only one issue.'' It noted that ``our people write lengthy letters with the history of Ceylon without realizing it is of no interest to the recipient".  The following is the text of the letter written by Mr. Kenneth Abeywickreme, who was a director in a multi national company in SL. As Chairman of the State Timber Corporation he made it from a near-bankrupt organizations to a profit making state venture in the late 1970s-early 1980s. He was a Commanding Officer of an Army Volunteer unit (Island : 01 March 2014).

President Rajapaksa denounces US plan for rights resolution - Sri Lanka’s president denounced Washington’s plan to move a UN human rights resolution against the island nation today, comparing the US move over alleged war crimes to a professional boxer taking on a schoolboy.  “There should not have been a resolution at all,” Mahinda Rajapaksa said in his first news conference with the foreign media in Colombo for more than three years. “If they have evidence they should have given (it) to us.”  Pressure has mounted on Rajapaksa’s government ahead of a UN Human Rights Council debate next month, where the United States plans to propose a resolution that may call for an international investigation in Sri Lanka. In a report released this week, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said many thousands of civilians were killed, injured or remain missing after the 26-year civil conflict between government forces and separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the north of the island that ended in May 2009 (Daily Mirror : 28 February 2014).

British all out to fix Lanka in Geneva - By Sujeeva Nivunhella in London- British government indicated on Wednesday that it was fully geared to bring a resolution against Sri Lanka at the forthcoming United Nations Human Rights Council meeting to be held in Geneva this month.  Speaking at the House of Lords debate about Sri Lanka, Baroness Warsi confirmed that British Minister of State for the Foreign Office, Hugo Swire would be lobbying a number of like-minded countries to move a resolution calling for an independent investigation, at the Human Rights Council high-level session on Monday. "We have been working with a number of countries that have indicated strong support for the resolution. We continue to work incredibly hard to make sure that we get the resolution."  She said that they were yet to see a meaningful, time-bound, independent, domestic-led political process with clear milestones in the matter. The Baroness, however, reiterated that should a genuine and credible truth and reconciliation commission get under way, the UK would be prepared to support it.In the same debate, Lord Foulkes of Cumnock said that the British government should consider withdrawing the invitation extended to President Rajapaksa to attend the Commemoration ceremony to mark the start of the First World War in Glasgow Cathedral at the end of the Commonwealth Games (Island : 28 February 2014).

Obama urged to SL policy reflecting security, economic interests etc. - US Senate resolution calls for S. African style mechanism - By Shamindra Ferdinando - In the wake of a group of US Senators calling for the establishment of an independent international accountability mechanism to investigate wartime atrocities as well as other human rights abuses, another group of Senators is proposing a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), similar to the one set up by South Africa, to address grievances of those who had been effected by the Eelam conflict.  The first resolution dated February 6 was endorsed by five Senators (Richard Burr, Robert Casey, Patrick Leahy, Sherrod Brown, Barbara Boxer and John Cornyn, while the second resolution was moved by 11 Senators, namely James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), John Manchin (D-West Virginia), Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming).  The counter resolution was submitted on Thursday.  Both groups have urged the Obama administration to adopt, in dealing with Sri Lanka, a policy which reflected respect for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law, as well as economic and security interests.  The counter resolution noted that Sri Lanka was of great strategic importance to the US as well as other ‘significant powers’ and a key US partner in fighting against terrorism and Indian Ocean piracy.An authoritative government official told The Island that Sri Lanka greatly appreciated international support for its ongoing reconciliation process. The official pointed out that a section of the US Senators had taken into consideration the ongoing Sri Lanka-South African efforts to move the domestic process forward.  The counter resolution urged the United States Government and the international community to assist the government of Sri Lanka with due regard to its sovereignty, stability, and security, in establishing domestic mechanisms to deal with any grievances arising from actions committed by both sides during the war.  It encouraged the Government of Sri Lanka to put in place a truth and reconciliation commission similar to the one adopted by South Africa to help heal the wounds of war, taking into account the unique characteristics of the conflict and its aftermath. The resolution urged the government of Sri Lanka to improve religious and media freedoms and to bring to justice those responsible for attacks on journalists and newspaper offices as well as places of worship, regardless of religion.  Appreciating Sri Lanka’s efforts to create an environment conducive to conduct first Northern Provincial Council polls last September, the resolution noted the poll resulted in a clear victory for the provincial wing of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA).  The resolution stressed the importance of giving the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) process to continue, while highlighting key recommendations made by the Commission (Island : 28 February 2014).

India’s failure to disarm Tamil armed groups led to disaster - Thambimuttu - by Shamindra Ferdinando - Faulting the government of India for providing military training to Tamil youth in the early 1980s, Arun Thambimuttu, SLFP Chief Organiser for Eastern Batticaloa District on Tuesday (Feb 25) said that many people believed the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) would disarm all terrorist groups in the wake of the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord (ILPA). India deployed troops in the Northern and Eastern districts consequent to the ILPA signed on July 29, 1987.  Thambimuttu was addressing a gathering at the launch of the coffee table book ‘1975-2014’ Sri Lanka authored by Malinda Seneviratne, Editor, The Nation, at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKIIRSS).  Having cheered and appreciated the Indian action, they expected the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) to disarm armed groups, Thambimuttu said. Instead of withdrawing weapons, India ended up arming more youth, including children to fight the LTTE leading to massacre of children. The SLFP organiser said that he knew what was happening in Batticaloa as he lived there.  Thambimuttu was referring to bloody battles between the LTTE and the so-called Tamil National Army (TNA) created to prop up the Indian backed NE provincial administration of Varatharaja Perumal.  Referring to both domestic and international calls for external investigation into the final phase of the conflict, Thambimuttu asserted that a comprehensive war crimes investigation would plunge the country into an unprecedented crisis. Estimating the number of ex-militants belonging to the LTTE as well rival groups living in the Batticaloa District now, Thambimuttu said that the launch of an investigation would change the situation there overnight.  The SLFPer reminded the international community that some of those who had committed atrocities during the conflict now lived overseas. Thambimuttu said that he knew of one such person who had received German citizenship though many others lived in London, Toronto and Berlin.  Commenting on post-war national reconciliation efforts, Thambimuttu said that some believed addressing the grievances of those living in the Northern Province, comprising the administrative districts of Jaffna, Mannar, Vavuniya, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu would be the panacea for all problems faced by the community. Only 900,000 lived in the Northern Province but much more Tamils lived in other areas, he said, underscoring the need to reexamine the situation.  Thambimuttu reiterated his belief that Sri Lanka should have a domestic mechanism to address accountability issues and support national reconciliation efforts (Island : 26 February 2014).

Accountability issues - UNHRC members can’t make independent decisions – Prof. Peiris - by Shamindra Ferdinando - Alleging that the issue of accountability was being used as a political tool to undermine post-war Sri Lanka, External Affairs Minister, Prof. G.L. Peiris on Tuesday revealed how some member states of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) were being blackmailed into voting against Sri Lanka at the forthcoming session or face the consequences.  Prof. Peiris quoted senior representatives of member states as having told him that they didn’t have any appetite for the Geneva move.  The minister was addressing a distinguished gathering including the diplomatic corps at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKIIRSS) following the launch of the book ‘1975-2014’ Sri Lanka.  The 25th sessions of UNHRC begins next week.  The US recently announced that it would move its third resolution against Sri Lanka since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009.  The US moved two successful resolutions in 2012 and 2013.  US Ambassador Michele J. Sisson, who left Colombo on some personal matter, is believed to have been campaigning against Sri Lanka in New York to secure support for the resolution.  Prof. Peiris acknowledged the difficulties experienced by the countries having defence agreements with the US as well as others dependent on its financial assistance. Without naming countries, Prof. Peiris said that he had been told by some member states of their predicament due to unwarranted pressure exerted by those moving the resolution.  The UNHRC consists of 47 countries divided into five separate groups.  Giving several examples of Western projects leading to regime changes in several countries, Prof. Peiris explained how countries suffered due to external interventions.  The minister recalled the circumstances under which the British had launched an offensive to bring the Kandyan Kingdom under their control. The minister highlighted the British defending their action in directives given by the then administration.  The minister emphasised that Sri Lanka wouldn’t accept anything inimical to the country’s interest in paving the way for an understanding with those moving the resolution.  Referring to the recent cancellation of Afghan President  Hamid Karzai scheduled two-day visit to Colombo, Prof. Peiris said that many countries still experienced the horrors of conflict though Sri Lanka restored peace in May 2009 (Island : 26 February 2014).

India’s failure to disarm Tamil armed groups led to disaster - Thambimuttu

TNA welcomes Pillay report to UNHRC - The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) yesterday welcomed the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Nawanetham Pillay "on promoting reconciliation and accountability" in Sri Lanka to the 25th session of the Human Rights Council.  The TNA in issuing a statement said: "The High Commissioner’s report contains a comprehensive and accurate depiction of the serious human rights issues facing Sri Lanka. The Report has benefited from the High Commissioner’s visit to Sri Lanka, where she was able to observe first-hand the issues of concern to victims and survivors in the Northern and Eastern Provinces.  "The High Commissioner has raised a number of serious concerns in her Report which also pertain to the entire country: the treatment of former combatants and detainees; attacks on religious minorities; the attack on dissent and the freedom of expression; the government’s dismal record in implementing LLRC recommendations; and the government’s disinterest in making progress on accountability. The TNA is particularly concerned over the impact of the high levels of militarization on the security of women in the Northern and Eastern Provinces.  There are mounting and credible reports of systematic patterns of sexual harassment and violence in highly militarized areas, and we ask that the Human Rights Council take cognizance of this reality in its deliberations on Sri Lanka.  "We also take serious note of the High Commissioner’s observations on the impermissibility of amnesty provisions in respect of international crimes and gross violations of human rights. We observe that the Secretary General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka made similar observations, and that the Government of Sri Lanka’s own written submissions to the Panel of Experts viewed amnesty provisions as inappropriate for the reason that they "intrinsically encourage a culture of impunity". The TNA has and continues to articulate victims’ demands for truth, justice, just resolution of land issues reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence; the undesirability of blanket amnesty provisions; and the need to give effect to the duty to prosecute international crimes and gross human rights abuses (Island : 26 February 2014).

DPF demands release of LTTE suspects - By Lal Gunesekera - The Democratic People’s Front (DPF) led by Mano Ganeshan and Deputy Leader Dr. Kumar Guruparan said that it was the responsibility of the government to ensure the safety of all prisoners and demanded an impartial inquiry and second opinion by a Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) into the death of Viswalingam Gopidas (43) found dead inside a toilet in Ward 22 of the Magazine Prison on Monday (24).  A protest was held opposite the Magazine Prison yesterday (26) by the DPF calling for the release of over 700 LTTE suspects and authorities should disclose the proper cause of death of Gopidas, Deputy Leader of the DPF Dr. Guruparan told The Island yesterday.  He said that Gopidas, a British citizen, had been held at Magazine Prison for seven years and on Sunday (23) had spoken to fellow detainees and had not shown any signs of illness. He is alleged to have had cardiac arrest, but Dr. Guruparan said that the cause could be due to other factors.  Gopidas’ daughter had attained age in London and his wife was keen to have hims released to attend the ceremony, Guruparan said.  The DPF also alleged that one Dharamadas Thawaselvam (39) from Trincomalee had been seriously injured in an assault allegedly by some detainees and prison officers and admitted to hospital two days back. The DPF demanded an impartial inquiry into that incident too (Island : 26 February 2014).

Lanka rejects Pillay’s call for setting up ‘international inquiry mechanism’ - The Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) has rejected the call by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navnanethem Pillay’s for establishing ‘an international inquiry mechanism to further investigate the alleged violations of International Human Rights Law (IHRL) and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and monitor any domestic accountability process in Sri Lanka", saying "it gives scant or no regard to the domestic processes ongoing in Sri Lanka within the framework of the (National Plan of Action for the Implementation of the Recommendation of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC NPOA), and is politicized in premise".  The government said, the trajectory that has emerged with regard to the recommendation of the High Commissioner "reflects the preconceived, politicized and prejudicial agenda which she has relentlessly pursued with regard to Sri Lanka", since just a week following the defeat of terrorism in Sri Lanka, on 26th May 2009 at the 11th Special Session of the UNHRC on Sri Lanka, and at subsequent sessions and reports.  It is noted that the reference in the current report that "the High Commissioner remains convinced" for an "independent, international inquiry" demonstrates her persistent efforts against Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka said, "it is pertinent to question the factual basis for the High Commissioner’s initial formal call to the HRC for an independent, international investigation in May 2009 and its continuation, in order that the international community not be misled".  GOSL made these observations in "comments" submitted to the draft report of the High Commissioner on 12 February 2014, ahead of the High Commissioner’s (HC) final report on Sri Lanka to the 25th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) which was placed on the OHCHR website on Feb 24, 2014.  Although on the last occasion when the HC reported on Sri Lanka to the 22nd Session of the HRC in March 2013, GOSL’s "comments" were placed as an addendum to the report, ensuring the integrity of the HC’s report and the GOSL comments, and also that they were equally visible, the GOSL’s request this year that its comments be published as an addendum to the HC’s Report has been refused, and have instead been placed at a separate link under "Communications from Governments" which contains an assortment of correspondence from governments on a broad range of matters of specific concern to respective governments.  In its "comments" GOSL noting its "non-recognition and categorically rejected of resolution 22/1 that mandated the HC’s report", observes that "it has nevertheless continued to make significant progress in its own reconciliation process, and has continued to regularly update the Council on such progress. In this context, GOSL rejects, without prejudice to its position of non-recognition of resolution 22/1, the High Commissioner’s claim that most of the recommendations made in her previous report to the Human Rights Council remain unimplemented". GOSL has also "reiterated its categorical rejection of the conclusions and recommendations contained in the HC’s Report, which reflects bias and is tantamount to an unwarranted interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign State". In its detailed point by point "comments" on the HC’s report, GOSL has regretted that "the HC had raised concerns regarding a range of issues based on information of questionable veracity and arrived at conclusions in a selective and arbitrary manner". It added that this included many she had raised during her August 2013 week long visit to Sri Lanka, "where the GOSL had requested the High Commissioner to provide factual evidence to substantiate allegations" and "to refrain from making general comments without a degree of specificity which would allow the GOSL to investigate and respond in a comprehensive manner", which however had not been forthcoming (Island ; 25 February 2014).

The TNA, An Apparent Tamil Tiger Proxy Needs To be Dealt With Before Responding To Their Apathetic Clarion Calls! - LankaWeb Weekly Editorial, February 24th 2014 - TheTamil National Alliance (TNA) clarion calls demanding that” war criminals must be punished for there to be real reconciliation in Sri Lanka following the end of the war.” seems apathetic as well as never ending laced in bias as well as an emboldened audacity given the role they played towards supporting the Tamil Tigers.  To the discerning, it was their accountability towards supporting the most dangerous terror group in the world through their fronts and proxies that was blatantly obvious not only in Sri Lanka but in many other parts of the world where their accountability in all probabilities by far exceed those of the Government whose right it was to fight and overcome the terrorists with no thanks to the TNA and Tamil Nadu who now pretend they were not linked to the terrorists.  They could in fact be war criminals themselves if their role in supporting the LTTE could be proved tangibly where there is much evidence to support this where Sri Lanka in defending Sovereignity and Territorial Integrity did nothing provably wrong and protected all citizens including the Tamils who were used as human shields towards the latter part of the insurgency which is often misnomered as a “war” to justify the mindset of terorist supporters where the Armed Forces played an admirable role as much as they could given the circumstances and the villany of the LTTE but an internal armed insurrection with help from outside it certainly was undeniably (LankaWeb : 25 February 2014).

Accountability issues: The UK factor - By Shamindra Ferdinando - British High Commissioner, John Rankin, recently dismissed allegations that Western powers were seeking a regime change in Sri Lanka. The British envoy was commenting on accountability issues ahead of the forthcoming 25th session of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The declaration was made a few days before BHC Rankin, accompanied Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) staffer, Julie Scott, on a two-day fact-finding mission. For some reason, a statement issued by the British High Commission, at the conclusion of their visit, chose not to reveal the identity of the FCO official visiting Jaffna. The BHC also refrained from releasing a picture of the FCO official, though several photographs of HC Rankin, taken during the visit, were released.  The visit was meant to increase pressure on the government of Sri Lanka in the run-up to the vote on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC.  It would be pertinent to examine the circumstances under which successive British governments cooperated/facilitated the Eelam project, though the LTTE was listed as a proscribed organization, under the Terrorism Act of 2000. Sri Lanka shouldn’t hesitate to remind the UNHRC of the UK’s culpability and that of Canada in the terrorism project in Sri Lanka. Had the UK and Canada deprived the LTTE of required funds, it would never have been able to acquire a conventional military capability by early 1990s. Although the LTTE had raised funds, in about 20 countries, the UK and Canada the two leading Commonwealth nations - are widely believed to be the largest contributors. Although the US has now taken up cudgels for the LTTE rump, it never supported LTTE terrorism. In fact, the US supported the war against terrorism by not disrupting the Israeli weapons supply line during the conflict. (Obama administration moved two resolutions targeting Sri Lanka in 2012 and 2013. It will move another next month). However, successive British and Canadian governments played politics with the issue, enabling the LTTE to have a free hand.  Now that BHC Rankin has assured that the West wouldn’t seek a regime change here, let me recollect the position taken by the UK at the UNHRC session in March, 2012.  UK’s Foreign Office Minister, responsible for the human rights portfolio, Jeremy Browne, MP, emphasized the responsibility on the part of the global community to intervene in Sri Lanka unless the government addressed accountability issues. The Liberal Democrat member, Browne, called for UN intervention to support a change in Sri Lanka (Island : 25 February 2014).

Sri Lanka rejects Pillay’s call for setting up ‘international inquiry mechanism’

Senator Christine Milne -Your speech in the Senate on Feb 12, 2014 re HR in Sri Lanka - by Mahinda GunasekeraToronto, Canada - Senator Christine Milne Leader of the Green Party Canberra, Australia; Dear Senator Christine Milne, Your speech on accountability for violation of Human Rights and International Humanitarian law on February 12, 2014 in Sri Lanka; I am in receipt of the annexed letter sent by one James Stewart on your behalf in response to mine of February 21, 2014 which is given below. I regret to note that despite your being aware of atrocities committed by other parties in the 33 year conflict including the serious incidences of war crimes and violations of international human rights laws perpetrated by the Indian Peace Keeping Forces during their operations in Sri Lanka from 1987 to 1990 earlier mentioned by me, and the horrendous record of atrocities of the LTTE from 1975 to May 2009, you insist on focusing attention on the last few months of the military operation ended on May 19th, 2009. That process would be skewed and unfair by the vast number of people who were killed or maimed by the actions of the IPKF and their protege the Tamil Tigers whom they trained, armed and funded on Indian soil before directing them to engage in terrorist acts to destabilize Sri Lanka. Your logic of confining the investigations and inquiries to the last few months ended May 2009 ignoring the prior 32 plus years is difficult to comprehend especially when you claim to champion human rights of the people of Sri Lanka. Reference has been made in your letter to a report published on February 1, 2014 by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre titled “Island of Impunity” which I glanced through briefly and noted several incorrect statements, especially, that relating to alleged shelling of Food Convoy 11 around January 21-24,2009. The actual position relating to this incident which was subsequently inquired into by Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Disaster Management but not given due coverage by the UN or the media, is as follows: (LankaWeb : 25 February 2014).

Memo to the US Congress and Senate regarding the UNHRC Resolution-Re: The Geneva UNHRC Resolution in March 2014 against Sri Lanka - Re: The Geneva UNHRC Resolution in March 2014 against Sri Lanka; As a voting US Citizen of Sri Lankan origin, I wish to address all of you with concern and utter disappointment regarding the appalling rationale used in the upcoming resolution at the UNHRC in March 2014 proposed jointly against Sri Lanka. This is a witch hunt against my people who have suffered enough with terrorism for nearly 29 years that we who live in the US do not understand. The threat of a third resolution against Sri Lanka due to impatience, with unreal expectations of what you believe should have been accomplished in a short period of 5 years, fails to credit the work completed and currently in progress. Demanding more that is humanly impossible in 4 years following a 29 year war of destruction is counterproductive to moving forward with the momentum gained so far (LankaWeb : 25 February 2014).

Amnesty International lacks Moral Authority to Question SL on Human Rights Issues - by Dr.Chula Rajapakse MNZM - Mr Grant Blaydon, Director Amnesty International New Zealand. Dear Mr.Blaydon,  Has AI asked for an “ independent investigation and accountability ” from the US for it’s alleged violations of human rights in the same manner as AI has been doing with Sl and relentlessly pursued it as AI has been doing with SL.  Further , as I have asked before , why is AI not questioning the role of leaders of the British Tamil Forum, Global Tamil Forum , Trans National Government of Tamil Elam, in funding three decades of threatening & violation of the most fundamental human right of all, the right to life for 20 million Sri Lankans , with Tiger Terrorism. Also, why is AI not questioning the role of Britain in permitting unfettered & unquestioned access of UK to them and access to their parliamentary premises once a year in March to celebrate their inauguration as they have done for three years so far.These groups , though operating under new names were open supporters and funders of Tiger terror in Sri Lanka for three decades as stated and have simply assumed new names to overcome proscription of Tigers in many countries. They are the ones now instigating and engineering the “alleged human right violation” vendetta against SL.  Also, why is AI not questioning Adel Balasingham’s unquestioned existence in UK given her well known role in adorning hundreds of child soldiers with a cyanide necklace and sending them to the front as cannon fodder.  Till AI has done these , with the US and the Tiger Diaspora as identified above, I don’t believe AI has any moral authority to question SL on human rights issues (LankaWeb : 25 February 2014).

Impose travel ban and freeze assets of Lankan politicians

UK-based pro-LTTE groups demand

Sri Lanka rejects High Commissioner Pillay’s call “to establish an international inquiry mechanism”- by Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN, Geneva - The Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) has rejected the call by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navnanethem Pillay’s ”to establish an international inquiry mechanism to further investigate the alleged violations of IHRL and IHL and monitor any domestic accountability process in Sri Lanka”, saying “it gives scant or no regard to the domestic processes ongoing in Sri Lanka within the framework of the LLRC NPOA, and is politicized in premise”. The government said, the trajectory that has emerged with regard to the recommendation of the High Commissioner “reflects the preconceived, politicized and prejudicial agenda which she has relentlessly pursued with regard to Sri Lanka”, since just a week following the defeat of terrorism in Sri Lanka, on 26th May 2009 at the 11th Special Session of the UNHRC on Sri Lanka, and at subsequent sessions and reports. It is noted that the reference in the current report that “the High Commissioner remains convinced” for an “independent, international inquiry” demonstrates her persistent efforts against Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka said, “it is pertinent to question the factual basis for the High Commissioner’s initial formal call to the HRC for an independent, international investigation in May 2009 and its continuation, in order that the international community not be misled”.  GOSL made these observations in “comments” submitted to the draft report of the High Commissioner on 12 February 2014, ahead of the High Commissioner’s(HC) final report on Sri Lanka to the 25th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) which was placed on the OHCHR website today (24 February 2014).  Although on the last occasion when the HC reported on Sri Lanka to the 22nd Session of the HRC in March 2013, GOSL’s “comments” were placed as an addendum to the report, ensuring the integrity of the HC’s report and the GOSL comments, and also that they were equally visible, the GOSL’s request this year that its comments be published as an addendum to the HC’s Report has been refused, and have instead been placed at a separate link under “Communications from Governments” which contains an assortment of correspondence from governments on a broad range of matters of specific concern to respective governments (Lankaeb : 24 February 2014).

New ICRC paradigm on ‘the use of force in armed conflicts’ - By Neville Ladduwahetty - Confusion on how to categorize Sri Lanka’s conflict has a direct bearing on how the issue of accountability is handled. If categorized as an Armed Conflict the scope and nature of the accountability exercise would take a certain prescribed trajectory that is defined by internationally accepted provisions of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). On the other hand, if categorized as "eliminating terrorism" the accountability exercise would be defined by Domestic Law Enforcement where provisions of Human Rights Law apply. Thus, categorizing it as one or the other or a combination of both has a direct bearing on the nature and scope of investigations into issues of accountability.  In a new document titled "THE USE OF FORCE IN ARMED CONFLICTS: INTERPLAY BETWEEN THE CONDUCT OF HOSTILITIES AND LAW ENFORCEMENT" (ICRC, November 2013) the ICRC categorizes the use of force during conflicts as "Hostilities paradigm" or "Domestic Law Enforcement paradigm". This document states: "The paradigms of the conduct of hostilities and law enforcement find their international legal basis in the legal regimes of IHL and human rights law. The IHL basic rules governing the conduct of hostilities were crafted to reflect the reality of armed conflict. They are based on the assumption that the use of force is inherent to waging war because the ultimate aim of military operations is to prevail over the enemy." This is the Hostilities Paradigm (pp 6-7).  Continuing, the above cited document states:" Human Rights Law is based on different assumptions. It was initially conceived to protect individuals from abuse by their State. Its rules on the use of force in law enforcement essentially provide guidance on how force can be used by State agents when it is absolutely necessary in self-defence; to prevent crime, to effect or assist in the lawful arrest of offenders or suspected offenders; to prevent the escape of offenders or suspected offenders and in quelling a riot. In brief, human rights law regulates the resort to force by State authorities in order to maintain or restore public security, law and order. The essence of the principles governing the use of force under law enforcement in human rights is that lethal force may be used only as last resort in order to protect life, when other available means remain ineffective or without any promise of achieving the intended result"(ibid) (Island : 24 February 2014).

‘Defending non-implementation of LLRC recommendations’ – a reply - by Bodhi Dhanapala Canada, February 23, 2014, 9:12 pm - Mr. Harim Peiris, writing in The Island newspaper (22. Feb. ’14) and criticises the post-LTTE policies followed by the government. His rebuke begins as follows: “The argument used by the government … contrary to all the facts, is that it has in fact implemented much of the LLRC recommendations. This from a government which post war even stopped Tamil children from singing the national anthem in their own language, something which had been occurring even at the height of the war”.  Mr. Peiris forgets that at the “height of the war” Tamil children, their sisters etc., far from singing the National Anthem were singing songs of death and murder, undergoing war drill, and had been abducted from their parents and brain-washed to become little killers.  And how can a government stop children from singing whatever they want in any language?  The only cases where the government imposed a specific language were on official occasions. Has Mr. Peiris heard of the French Marseillaise being sung in Arabic by French Arabs whose demographic percentage is higher than all the Lankan Tamils put together? In the US there are some19% Hispanics. Has Mr. Peiris heard any official function of the US, or the US embassy, where the “Star-spangled banner” is sung in Spanish as well, even by Hispanic children?  So why should a province be given the opportunity to rouse emotions and create ethnic strife by making demands of parity of status on the national anthem, at a time where the wounds of a four-decade war are still raw?  Mr. Peiris unfolds his jaundiced, flawed views based on his belief that the Eealm wars began because of Sri Lanka’s injustices towards the Tamils. The oft quoted example is the Sinhala official languages act of 1956, even though Tamil separatism started long before.  Peiris now looks at land ownership! Does he not know that land tenure in the North has been extremely skewed, with most of the good land owned by rich land-owning Tamils who live in Colombo? Most of them are TNA-MPs now and ITAK or TC MPs in the 1950, or State councilors in an earlier era in the 1930s. There has been no change in the political masters of the North. So, what we need is land reform in the North, with private lands nationalized and re-allocated to poor Tamils of socially disadvantaged castes who actually live in the North, and not in Cinnamon Gardens. Instead, Mr. Peiris says , “Furthermore, there has been no progress in giving back the private lands in the now redundant artillery range perimeters of the former high security zones in the North, especially in the Waligamam North area, almost five years after the last threat of artillery to security forces was eliminated for good” (LankaWeb : 24 February 2014).

Impose travel ban and freeze assets of Lankan politicians - UK-based pro-LTTE groups demand - By Sujeeva Nivunhella in London - Pro-LTTE Tamils in the UK are pushing for a travel ban and the freezing of assets of Sri Lankan government politicians. If they succeed, Sri Lankan parliamentarians may not be able to travel to the UK and perhaps, even to Europe.  This development has emerged in the backdrop of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s proposed visit to Glasgow in Scotland in July to attend the 2014 Commonwealth Games. As the President is the current Chairperson of the Commonwealth, he will be the chief guest at the Commonwealth Games.  Pro-LTTE groups are already drawing plans for a big protest in the event President Rajapaksa arrives in Glasgow. British High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, John Rankin, in a recent statement, said is the British Government will allow any peaceful demonstration. In December 2010, President Rajapaksa’s speech at the Oxford University had to be cancelled due to pro-LTTE protests.  These elements sympathetic towards the LTTE are also pushing the British government to call for an independent international investigation on Sri Lanka and bring war crime charges against the government. They are being helped by Conservative MP for Ilford North, Lee Scott and Labour MP for Mitcham & Morden, Siobhain McDonagh.  Meanwhile, Conservative Friends of Sri Lanka (CFSL) says that they have met with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) officials and were assured that no draft resolution has been agreed for the UNHRC meeting.  "FCO has confirmed that there is no British intention to impose any travel ban or asset seizure on Sri Lankan officials", CFSL said (Island : 22 February 2014).

ANANTHI SASITHARAN – how humanitarian is she? - By Shenali D Waduge - Ananthi Sasitharan has a job being cut out for her. She is the new face of charity and accountability and is taking pains to project life of Sri Lankan Tamils in post-conflict Sri Lanka. Her efforts is such that foreign embassy officials, foreign delegates and even the UNHRC head has personally had meetings with her to appraise them of the situation in Sri Lanka. So we ask who is this humanitarian and on what grounds is the West flocking towards her.The West was hunting for a man or woman to fill a void. Politically Wigneswaran has become their choice but he is still practicing his chords. The West is losing patience so now their focus has turned to choosing from the LTTE itself. Their objective is to stop Tamils from placing the zigsaw pieces to discover how LTTE have fooled them and the LTTE foreign wings continue to fool them.  The West’s choice has been Ananthi Sasitharan – a woman whose association with a terrorist organization is being questioned, married to a terrorist, her resume is just perfect. Who exactly is Ananthi Sasitharan the new-found darling of the West? She is wife of the LTTE Trincomalee District Political Wing leader – Elilan whom she married on 6 June 1998 in Mulliyaweli.  Ananthi’s fatal attraction to the LTTE is said to have begun while schooling at Chullipuram Victoria School. Regular visits by LTTE to schools to indoctrinate the youth resulted in Ananthi not only falling for LTTE lies but also ending up involved with LTTE leader Elilan. Having completed school Ananthi undertook an accountancy course. She stopped her course after obtaining employment as a clerk in the Kilinochchi district secretariat on 10 June 1992. She was located at the Valikamam West Provincial Secretariat office from 1993 to 1996. In 1997 she was working at the Mullaitivu District Secretariat. Elilan had to move to Vavuniya as he had been appointed political leader of the area.  Following her marriage Ananthi is alleged to have closely worked with LTTE female leaders compiling monthly promotional literature on behalf of the LTTE (LankaWeb : 21 February 2014).

Senator Christine Milne-Your speech on accountability for violation of Human Rights and International Humanitarian law - by Mahinda Gunasekera Ontario Canada - Your speech on accountability for violation of Human Rights and International Humanitarian law on February 12, 2014 in Sri Lanka - I refer to your speech delivered in the Australian Senate on February 12th, 2014 on the subject of accountability for violations of human rights and humanitarian law, in the military action taken by Sri Lanka against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) which was concluded on May 19, 2009. The echoes of your speech have reverberated in the land of ice and snow where I live, causing me to take a closer look at the key matters raised by you.  I wish to state that I am greatly encouraged by your upright stand on the subject of human rights. However, I wish to state that I am disappointed in the very narrow time frame that you have chosen to scrutinize the alleged violations, confining such investigations to the last five months ending in May 2009. You appear to be guided by the UNSG’s Panel of Experts report which the panelists themselves admitted did not meet the standards of the UN, looked at information coming from just one side of the conflict which is obviously a prejudiced source to arrive at what they called “credible allegations” none of which were proven, and even locking away the evidence for the next twenty years. You are no doubt aware that the conflict in Sri Lanka lasted over 33 years starting with a resolution adopted by the Tamil political parties in 1976, to seek a mono-ethnic separate state for Tamils to be carved out of the north and east of the island by whatever means including violence. There is a long list of atrocities committed by the LTTE where they targeted the civilian population by planting bombs in public transit, claymore mine attacks on highways, truck bomb attacks on public buildings, midnight machete attacks on remote villages, unleashing of 388 suicide bombers, assassination of political leaders including Tamil moderates, killing two heads of state, killing other Tamils deemed dissidents, abducting and forcibly conscripting Tamil children, gunning down those engaged in spiritual practices in temples and mosques, and much more, dating back to 1975. Considering the horrendous list of atrocities carried out by the Tamil Tiger terrorists, focusing on the period from January 1 to May 19, 2009, is not only ridiculous, but unfairly ignores the suffering caused to the tens of thousands of persons in the 32 plus years prior to January 1, 2009 (LankaWeb : 21 February 2014).

Rajiv killers’ daughter beseeches Rahul to forgive them - Harithra, the daughter of Sri Lankan Tamil Murugan and his wife from Tamil Nadu Nalini, has said her parents are innnocent and appealed to Rahul Gandhi to forgive her parents and let them be free.  Murugan and Nalini are among the seven who were convicted for their complicity in the assassination of Rahul’s father and former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991. The Indian Supreme Court on Thursday stopped the Tamil Nadu Government from freeing the four Sri Lankan Tamils and three Tamil Nadu natives in the wake of an appeal from the Government of India.  In a gmail chat with The Hindu’s London correspondent, United Kingdom-based university student Harithra said: "I do know what exactly it feels like missing your loved ones. I [have] been going through the same pain without both my parents. I believe my parents are innocent — they have suffered 23 years".  "I would like to thank Sonia Gandhi for reducing my mom’s sentence and Priyanka Gandhi for forgiving her. I feel terrible for her father’s loss."  The 22-year-old Harithra went on: "I do know what exactly it feels like missing your loved ones. I [have] been going through the same pain without both my parents. I believe my parents are innocent — they have suffered 23 years. Not just them, but me too, [despite] not having done anything wrong! I kindly request Rahul Gandhi to please forgive my parents and let them be free — for my sake?." Harithra said that she was "very upset to read the news this (Thursday) morning of a [court] stay against my parents’ release". "It was awful. I was excited that they were finally gonna (sic) be with me. Today, it has just gone away." She wanted to give her parents the message that she loved them very much. "Please be strong and take care. I will always be waiting for you," she said.Harithra went to the UK in 2006. She did her schooling in Scotland and moved to England for her university Education. She has not seen her parents since then, but writes to them every month and receives letters from them every two weeks.  If she had three wishes what would they be? In response, Harithra wrote: "1. Have my parents back and live with them. 2. I wish Rajiv Gandhi had not been murdered and [had] lived happily with his family too 3. I wish nobody dies in assassinations! We live in peace and harmony."   Ms. Haritra wants to do a PhD in medical physics, and not in medicine. "I can’t stand blood," she said. "TBH (to be honest), I don’t understand politics," Harithra said. She added: "Thanks each and everybody who supported reducing my parents hanging to life sentence! It meant the world to me having them alive." She also requested support for their release. "I have been suffering without them for the past 22 years," she said (Island : 21 February 2014).

Norway asks if army demob is possible; Rankin queries whether North has 150,000 troops

The answer should be ... It is none of your business mate

Norway asks if army demob is possible; Rankin queries whether North has 150,000 troops - by Shamindra Ferdinando -British High Commissioner John Rankin has queried whether the post-war Sri Lankan Army (SLA) deployment in the Jaffna peninsula is as high as 150,000 personnel. The envoy posed the question to Jaffna Security Forces Commander, Maj. Gen. Udaya Perera when they met in Palaly yesterday. Maj. Gen. Perera recently succeeded Maj. Gen. Mahinda Hathurusinghe.Maj. Gen. Perera told Rankin that there was no basis for the latter’s assessment. Army headquarters said that even at the height of the conflict, the maximum SLA presence in Jaffna peninsula was at about 45,000 personnel, deployed on both defensive and offensive roles. Army headquarters said that even Sri Lanka’s largest ever multi-pronged ground offensive in the Vanni (March 2007 to May 2009) involved less than 100,000 personnel.  The British HC raised the issue of SLA deployment in the Jaffna peninsula in the wake of Norwegian Ambassador Grete Lochen questioning the possibility of further reducing the SLA strength in Jaffna peninsula as well as demobilising troops.  HC Rankin last year went to the extent of contradicting President Mahinda Rajapaksa as regards the strength of troops deployed in the Jaffna peninsula.  The SLA deployment came up for discussion when Ambassador Lochen met Maj. Gen. Perera at the Security Forces headquarters in Palaly. Maj. Gen. Perera told Ambassador Lochen that the SLA presence in the Jaffna peninsula had been considerably reduced since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009. The SLA had also abandoned almost all sentry points previously manned by troops, Maj. Gen. Perera told the Norwegian envoy, while emphasising the necessity to maintain adequate troops in the peninsula to face any eventuality. The Jaffna army chief said that the SLA had to be mindful of the possibility of the police needing its backing in case extremist political elements caused chaos in the peninsula.  Maj. Gen. Perera stressed that the military presence was nothing but a necessity though troops were now confined to camps.  Asked by Ambassador Lochen whether there was a possibility of demobilising the SLA, Maj. Gen stressed that such a course of action couldn’t be implemented without a proper plan.Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is on record as having said that battlefield victory over the LTTE wouldn’t have been a reality unless President Mahinda Rajapaksa had authorised the increase of the SLA’s strength to 220,000 officers and men. At the onset of eelam war IV in August 2006, the SLA had about 116,000 personnel, the majority of them deployed in defensive posture in the Northern theatre of operations.The Maj. Gen. assured that the SLA was in the process of gradually decreasing its strength.  Much to the surprise of the Jaffna commander, the Norwegian envoy expressed concern about the army making available vegetables grown by troops in the Jaffna market. The Jaffna chief explained the necessity to provide vegetables at affordable prices, though the military had stopped the practice.  Ambassador Lochen was accompanied by Ms Dagny Mjos, Counsellor and Ms Hanne Pilrem, Senior Advisor (Island : 20 February 2014).

Lanka to counter US war crimes resolution - by Zacki Jabbar - The government yesterday revealed that a resolution would be submitted to the UNHRC to counter the one that the US was planning to move against it on alleged war crimes.  Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella addressing the weekly Cabinet Press Briefing in Colombo said that the counter motion would have the backing of its friends in the UNHRC.  "We are in consultation with many members of the UNHRC and a resolution favourable to us is taking shape. It will be presented at next months Geneva sessions", he said, adding that the Rajapaksa government would not take things lying down.  The US has said that it will push for a credible and independent Sri Lankan inquiry into the war crimes allegations levelled against both the security forces and LTTE, during the last stages of the war which ended on May 19,2009.  Meanwhile, the government has rejected the call by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay, for an international inquiry into the war crimes accusations. It has asked for more time and space to address issues in the post war period.  The UNHRC sessions are scheduled to begin on March 3. The vote on country specific resolutions have been listed for March 28.  The Sri Lankan delegation led by External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris is expected to leave for Geneva on March 1. It would include Plantation and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, Leader of the House Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga and External Affairs Monitoring MP Sajin Vas Gunawardane (Island : 20 February 2014).

Northern PC has no authority over air and port services – Govt. - By Zacki Jabbar - Aviation and Ports are not devolved subjects and the Northern Provincial Council(NPC) has no authority to commence any projects in these two areas, the government said yesterday. Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella responding to a recent statement by the Northern Province Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran, that the NPC is planning to commence air services between Jaffna and Trincomalee to India, told the Cabinet Press Briefing in Colombo, that it would not be permitted. Aviation and ports like Defence remained under the purview of the Central government in terms of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. As such Provincial administrations did not have jurisdiction over such subjects, he emphasized.The Minister rejected accusations by Wigneswaran that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had not honoured the pledges made to him with regard to the NPC. "If the President had not fulfilled his promises, the NPC would not be able to function", Rambukwalle said while casting aspersions about Wigneswaran’s motives (Island : 20 February 2014).

Jayalalitha to release Rajiv Gandhi killers - BY S VENKAT NARAYAN Our Special Correspondent - NEW DELHI, February 19: Twenty-three years after they were jailed, the Tamil Nadu Government headed by Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalitha today decided to set free within three days all the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case after the Indian Supreme Court commuted the death penalty of three of them to life sentence.  Besides Santhan, Mur-ugan, the husband of Nalini, Perarivalan, who earned a major reprieve from the Supreme Court yesterday which spared them from gallows, Nalini, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichan-dran will walk out from prison.  Four of the men who will be set free are Sri Lankan Tamils. They are: Murugan, Santhan, Robert Payas and V Jayakumar. Jayalalithaa convened an emergency Cabinet meeting in Chennai this morning over the issue, and took the decision for the early release of the convicts sentenced for their roles in the sensational killing of Rajiv Gandhi.  She made a suo motu announcement in the state assembly.  The announcement, which brought cheers on the faces of convicts, their families, was hailed by opposition parties, barring the Congress Party.  Jayalalitha said that, in compliance with the Sec 435 of Criminal Procedure Code, the state will send the cabinet decision to the Centre seeking its nod for the release as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed the case against the convicts. "If there is no reply within three days from the Centre, the state government will release all the seven under CrPc section 432 in accordance with the powers vested with it", she declared.  While members from the opposition parties thanked the Chief Minister for her gesture in deciding to release all the convicts, Congress Party's JD Prince stood up and made certain remarks, which the Speaker V Dhanpal expunged.  John Jacob and NR Rangarajan (both Cong) were heard saying something, but the Chair refused permission stating that any statement made under Rule 110 of the House did not entail members to seek clarifications.  The three Congress members later trooped out of the House. Majority of political parties in the state had demanded immediate release of convicts in the backdrop of Supreme Court observation that the state can consider their release.  Perarivalan's mother Arputhammal, who had relentlessly campaigned for about 23 years seeking her son's release, had exuded confidence that the state will free her son from the prison.  Jayalalitha told the Assembly that soon after the Supreme Court judgement, she held a discussion with legal experts on the issue Tuesday.  She said she summoned the Cabinet meeting today at which the decision to release all the seven were taken. "Considering that they have spent over 23 years in prison, the Cabinet decided to immediately release Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan under the powers vested with the state government under Section 432 of CrPC. Likewise, it was also decided to release life convicts Nalini, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran, who too have spent 23 years in prison," Jayalalitha said. However, since the case was filed by the CBI before the TADA court, the Tamil Nadu Cabinet's decision has to be referred to the Central government under Section 435 of CrPC. "Hence, the Cabinet's decision to release Santhan, Murugan, Perarivalan, Nalini, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran will be sent to the Central government immediately," the Chief Minister said.  "If the Central government did not respond to the Cabinet reference within three days, then the state government invoking powers vested with it under Section 432 of CrPC, will release Santhan, Murugan, Perarivalan, Nalini, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran," Jayalalithaa said.  Ridiculing the DMK's demand to the state government to release the Rajiv killers, Jayalalitha blamed the previous Karunanidhi regime in 2000 for rejection of mercy petitions of convicts by the Governor and also by the President. "Had the then government considered the plea of the convicts for clemency and recommended it to the Governor, it could have taken a Cabinet decision on it. But, such a thing did not happen."  Jayalalitha also recalled the state Assembly resolution in 2011 seeking the President to commute the death penalty awarded to Rajiv assassins to life sentence.  "Though the DMK was part of the UPA alliance for one and a half years after the resolution was passed, Karunanidhi did not pursue the issue with the Centre," she charged.  The Designated Court had in January 1998 sentenced all 26 available accused to death, but on appeal, the Supreme Court confirmed the conviction of only seven and acquitted 19 persons for being part of the conspiracy to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi. Of these, four were sentenced to death and three to life terms. In April 2000, the State Cabinet granted a reprieve to Nalini alone, and her sentence was reduced to life. The other three serving life terms are Ravichandran, a youth from Tamil Nadu who formed a separatist group loyal to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Robert Payas and V Jayakumar (Island : 20 February 2014).

Indian SC grants relief to convicts in Rajiv killing - Two of them are Sri Lankans

Indian SC grants relief to convicts in Rajiv killing - Two of them are Sri Lankans - by S Venkat Narayan Our Special Correspondent - NEW DELHI, February 18: India’s Supreme Court on Tuesday granted relief to Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan—-the three convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case by commuting their death sentence into life term on the grounds of inordinate delay in disposal of their mercy petitions by the country’s President.  Murugan and Santhan are Sri Lankan Tamils, while Perarivalan is a native of Tamil Nadu.  A three-judge Bench headed by the Chief Justice P Sathasivam rejected the contention of the Central Government that the three convicts do not deserve any mercy as they never showed remorse for the killing of the former Prime Minister and that they have been enjoying their prison life.  Considering that the convicts were languishing in jail for nearly 23 years, the Bench also gave a ray of hope for their release by saying that the Tamil Nadu State government can exercise its remission powers under Section 432 and 433 following the due procedure in law.  In theory, this means the Tamil Nadu government can order the release of the three convicts in the none-too distant future by exercising its powers under Section 432 of the Criminal Procedure Code.  In May 2012, the apex court had transferred to itself the writ petitions filed by the three convicts in the Madras High Court challenging the rejection of their clemency plea by former President Pratibha Patil after 11 years. The High Court on August 30, 2011 stayed their execution.  Writing the judgment the Chief Justice Sathasivam said the principles had already been laid down by the apex court in its judgment on January 21, that inordinate and unexplained delay will be a ground for commuting death sentence into life imprisonment.  In this case the only question to be decided was whether the inordinate delay was a supervening circumstance and whether the delay was caused at the instance of the accused.  Referring to the stand of the Centre that the convicts are enjoying their prison life and they do not suffer any torture, the Bench said the accused are not under legal obligation to prove physical torture. Such an interpretation is unknown to law and it will be beyond the reach of death row convicts to prove that they suffered torture.  There is no requirement in law to prove actual harm suffered by them, the Bench said.  The Bench pointed out that the materials on record show that the convicts had sent several letters and reminders to the President which remained unheeded. This shows that they suffered unendurable torture.   The Bench said mercy petitions provide a ray of hope to condemned prisoners. Merely because no time limit was fixed for disposal of mercy petitions, the executive should not sit over these petitions but recommend the decisions to the President within a reasonable period for arriving at an early decision.  The Bench said the court did not derive any pleasure in judicial review of the decisions taken by the President. The Bench allowed the petitions and commuted the death sentence of three death row convicts into life imprisonment.  General Secretary of MDMK Vaiko, who was present in the court, said: "This is an historic judgment and will go down in golden letters in judicial history". He appealed to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalithaa to take into consideration the judgment and order the release of the three convicts exercising the State government’s powers under Section 432 Criminal Procedure Code.  Rajiv Gandhi was killed by Dhanu, an LTTE activist and woman suicide bomber, at an election rally at Sriperumbudur near Chennai in Tamil Nadu on the night of 21 May 1991. Fifteen others too died in that suicide blast.  A total of 26 men and women from India and Sri Lanka were tried for their involvement in the crime. The trial was conducted under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act (TADA). The designated TADA court in Chennai gave death sentences to all the 26 accused in January 1998.  In May 1999, the Supreme Court acquitted them of the charges under the TADA, but upheld their convictions on other charges including murder, and confirmed their death sentences. In 2000, they filed a mercy petition to President. Their mercy petitions were rejected after 11 years and their hangings were stayed in September 2011.  The presiding judge in the three-judge bench of the Supreme Court that confirmed the death sentences in 1998, told journalists in February 2013 that the judgment was ‘constitutionally incorrect’. He had also said that since the convicted prisoners had already spent over two decades in custody, a decision to execute them would amount to giving ‘two punishments for the same crime,’ which would violate the Constitution of India.  Commenting on the Supreme Court’s judgment, Divya Iyer, Senior Researcher, Amnesty International India, said: "The positive rulings of commutations of January 2014 and those of today offer context and impetus for India to move towards a direction of a society that can be free of the death penalty. India must now do away with the death penalty — a cruel, inconsistent and irreversible form of punishment that has no proven deterrent effect on crime."  D R Kaarthikeyan, the police officer who headed the investigation into the sensational case, said: "The verdict is just, fair, rational and reasonable (Island : 18 February2014).

K’nidhi wants Gandhi assassins released - by S Venkat Narayan Our Special Correspondent - NEW DELHI, February 18: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) President Muthuvel Karunanidhi on Tuesday urged the Governments of India and Tamil Nadu to release Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan from jail. In a statement issued in Chennai, Karunanidhi said that, taking into account the jail sentence served by the three, the central and the state governments should release them."If that happens, I will be doubly happy," he said.  Karunanidhi said the DMK party has been demanding abolition of death sentence for a long time.  The Supreme Court on Tuesday commuted the death sentences of the three assassins of Rajiv Gandhi to life imprisonment. It held that the 11-year long delay in deciding their mercy petitions had a dehumanising effect on them.  The court said that life imprisonment would mean life in jail till end.  Meanwhile, convict Perarivalan’s mother Arputhammal on Tuesday thanked Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam for commuting his death sentence to life term.  "I’ve been waiting for this day for the last 23 years," Arputhammal said in Chennai.  "I thank Chief Justice Sathasivam for giving justice to my son. For 23 last years, I have been roaming around knocking on various doors to get my son’s sentence commuted."  She said she is grateful to everyone who helped her in her fight against death penalty. "I thank Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalithaa for her efforts." She said she will continue her fight against death penalty. She will not remove a badge on her saree until death penalty is abolished in India. The badge says: ‘Say No to Death Penalty.’  "We will now discuss with our lawyers on how to secure Perarivalan’s release from the jail. My son is innocent," she claimed (Island ; 18 February 2014).

Geneva and the educated - By Nalin de silva - Apparently there are only three countries that will have to face substantive resolutions in Geneva in March, and all of them Sri Lanka, Myanmar and North Korea happen to be Buddhist countries of one ‘Yana’ (vehicle) or the other. Of the three countries Myanmar has been ‘disciplined’ after continuous application of pressure including economic sanctions and the country has agreed to a so-called consensual resolution.  In ‘disciplining’ Myanmar the western Christian countries had Aung San Suu Kyi as their agent, but in Sri Lanka and North Korea they do not have such a leader who could effectively challenge the relevant ‘regime’ and the west has to depend on so-called international pressure. As we have said often what we experience today is a clash between the Judaic Christian culture and the Islamic and Buddhist cultures. The Islamic culture is more powerful as a military power and also as a political force and the Judaic Christian cultural hegemony has concentrated on two Buddhist countries this year.  It is very likely that in Sri Lanka the west can depend on a more westernised elite group especially in education than in North Korea, and that in the latter there is not so much of a discussion on the impending resolution in the media. The Sri Lankan educated people are obsessed with Geneva and most of them seem to believe that their future would be decided in March in Geneva. It is unfortunate that free education in Sri Lanka has produced a western educated group irrespective of the medium of instruction, which depend on so-called analysis of western intellectuals echoed by the local pundits. If not for the so-called uneducated people in the country, Sri Lanka would have agreed to any suggestion by the Judaic Christian west without even critically thinking of what is taking place.  This is one of the reasons why we have to defeat the hegemony of the Judaic Christian Culture especially in the sphere of knowledge. Edward Said in his ‘Orientalism’ published in 1978 concentrated on what is known as post colonialism by the western intellectuals, described how a Eurocentric view of the Islamic world and the orient in general misrepresented oriental culture. The Orient of the westerners was something that the western intellectuals created and not the orient of the people living in that part of the world. Said was a Professor in English at an American university and he was accepted by the western intellectuals in general. Said also described a relativity of knowledge, his emphasis being on how the west, meaning of course the western intellectuals, saw the orient. It is nothing but the Orient relative to the western intellectuals and we could say that it was the Orient created relative to the Judaic Christian culture based on the Greek Judaic Christian (GJC) Chinthanaya (Island : 18 April 2014).

Canada’s unholy alliance with LTTE rump - By Shamindra Ferdinando - LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, in consultation with his senior colleagues appointed two high level committees at the onset of the Norwegian arranged Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) finalized in February 2002. The CFA was underwritten by the US, EU and Japan. The committees were in accordance with Prabhakaran’s grand strategy to propagate the eelam concept overseas. The then UNP administration didn’t at least bother to check what was going on.  One committee represented Tamils living overseas, while the other was tasked with overseeing the same. The latter operated under the supervision of Castro, one of Prabhakaran’s trusted lieutenants. The LTTE picked persons loyal to its macabre eelam project to represent the two committees.  Canada based Nehru Gunaratnam had been among those who earned the admiration of the Vanni based LTTE leadership. Therefore he was named in both committees. Gunaratnam visited the Vanni twice in 2002 and 2003 to confer with the LTTE leadership. As the LTTE’s top man in Canada, Gunaratnam wielded immense power during the CFA and subsequent years (2006 to 2009), as the LTTE battled the Sri Lankan military. Gunaratnam played a pivotal role in the Canadian operation during the conflict, as well as the ongoing operation to humiliate Sri Lanka.  After LTTE fighting formations collapsed on the Vanni east front in May 2009, those who had been committed for a separate state changed the direction of their campaign. Instead of raising funds for the acquisition of armaments, the Diaspora now utilized all its attention to secure the support of Western powers, India and South Africa. The new project was meant to haul Sri Lanka up before an international war crimes tribunal.  In the wake of Canada joining a US-led coalition to move a resolution at the 25th session of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) next month, it would be pertinent to discuss the Canadian factor in espousing the eelam project.  As the LTTE had lost its wherewithal to wage war, it no longer posed a conventional military threat, the LTTE rump remained a formidable foe with an uncanny power to move foreign governments as well as various organizations, including the UN.  Let me examine the Canadian factor with the focus on the growing power of those who propagated the eelam cause there. The Sri Lankan government seems ignorant of ground realities due to failures on its part. The government should realize that Western powers would move another resolution against Sri Lanka at the next Geneva session at the behest of the LTTE rump. The LTTE rump in Canada is playing a critically important role in the Geneva project. Although many perceive the US as the driving force behind the forthcoming Geneva resolution, it wouldn’t have been a reality without Canadian and British inputs.  Although Canada’s Conservative government listed the LTTE and its front organization, the World Tamil Movement (WTM) in April 2006 and June 2008, respectively, as terrorist entities, the group continued to flourish.  Although Canada declared in April 2006 that anyone knowingly providing financial support for the LTTE could be jailed up to 10 years and those who raised funds or facilitated the work of the banned organization faced 14 years imprisonment, the LTTE operations continued unabated. The then Public Security Minister, Stockwell Day warned that anti-terrorism laws would be utilized to imprison and deport LTTE operatives? Minister Day urged members of Canada’s large Sri Lankan Tamil community to denounce the LTTE activists.  In justifying the ban, Day claimed that LTTE activists have used threats of violence to coerce Canadian Tamils into making financial contributions.  Six years after the Conservatives banned the LTTE, those who represented the interests of the group have emerged as Diaspora leaders propagating eelam. Interestingly, some of those who had been earlier represented by the LTTE, and the WTM today, publicly work with Canadian politicians, particularly the Conservatives (Island ; 18 February 2014).

Geneva vote on SL: SAARC divided, FMs meet in Male - By Shamindra Ferdinando - Senior political representatives of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) will meet on Feb. 19 and 20 in the Maldives to discuss regional cooperation in the wake of the grouping being divided over a US decision to move another resolution against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) next month.  Three SAARC countries namely, India, Pakistan and the Maldives are members of the Asian states (13) in the 47-memberUNHRC.  The US moved two successful resolutions against Sri Lanka in Geneva in 2012 and 2013 alleging the country’s failure to address accountability issues. India backed both resolutions while Pakistan and the Maldives supported Sri Lanka.  Authoritative government sources told The Island that Indian backing for the third US resolution could cause irreparable damage to Indo-Lanka relations.  External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris will lead the Sri Lanka, delegation to the 35th session of the SAARC Council of Ministers scheduled to begin today. Foreign Ministers of the SAARC countries –Afghanistan, Bangladesh Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will attend the conference.  Minister Peiris will also lead the government delegation to the Geneva conference.  Asked whether Sri Lanka would use the Maldivian confab to call for a consensus among SAARC countries on the Geneva issue, a senior official said that official discussion was unlikely though talks would take place on the sidelines. However, another official stressed that the need to brief even those not in the UNHRC as the US was working overtime to convince non-members to co-sponsor the resolution.  Sources said that UNHRC members, US and UK were expecting over 40 countries to co-sponsor the resolution.  The External Affairs Ministry official said: "The Council of Ministers Meeting will discuss a number of issues, including trade and finance, counter-terrorism, food security, health, poverty alleviation, people to people contact and other measures to promote regional cooperation amongst its eight members.  Sri Lanka has played a key role within the Association to strengthen regional cooperation. In this context, Sri Lanka hosted the Sixth Meeting of SAARC Finance Ministers, the Seventh Meeting of the SAFTA Ministerial Council and the Third Meeting of the Governing Council of the SAARC Development Fund, in August of last year.  The Council of Ministers Meeting will finalise the venue for the 18th SAARC Summit to be held in the latter part of this year. The Ministerial meeting will be preceded by meetings of the Programming Committee and the Standing Committee."  Government sources pointed out that an associate of LTTE terrorist leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, the self-styled Prime Minister of Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE), had been allowed to address the Indian media at Chennai Press club last Friday (Feb. 14th) via Skype from New York. Rudrakumaran used the opportunity to discuss the upcoming elections in India as well as their ongoing campaign to ‘liberate’ the Northern and Eastern Provinces. The LTTEer urged Indian political parties to back eelam cause and to reiterate the commitment in their election manifestos (Island ; 17 February 2014).

WILL THERE BE A BACKLASH IN COLOMBO IF WE LOOSE AGAINST USA SPONSORED RESOLUTION? - by Malin Abeyatunge - 28 March 2014 will be very decisive day for Sri Lanka. USA conniving with UK is sponsoring again to bring a resolution at the UNHRC Session in Geneva for the third time against Sri Lanka for war crimes. Tamil diaspora spread in the affluent western countries are spending all their illegally acquired funds to buy over the so called humanitarian organisations, politicians, current and Ex UN staffers, state mechanisms, western media like Channel 4 , BBC,CNN,ABC,SBS to promote this resolution that will be sponsored by USA,UK, Canada and EU Countries against Sri Lanka.  TNA in the NPC has already passed resolutions to support USA sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka and in fact it is reported that they are planning to send a team of TNA to attend the Session to show their solidarity with the US resolution. Customs should be more than alert to screen all TNA delegates if they intend to go, to see that any harmful materials against Sri Lanka are not smuggled even in their person. Customs should not care less for the international outburst as long as they are within our shores but should be alert to protect our country.  All the above mentioned vested interest western elements are burning mid night oil, spends millions of dollars to see that this resolution is passed against the GoSL with a majority. If by any chance the USA, the UK and other white dominated countries able to pass this resolution against Sri Lanka for war crimes, there will be two actions the UNHRC will take against Sri Lanka.  One would be to appoint an international investigation to probe into such accusations against Sri Lanka for war crimes interfering with our sovereignty and the other action would be to impose sanctions on Sri Lanka. These two actions will path the way for USA and its allies for a regime change to appoint a puppet regime as has happened in the Middle Eastern countries (LankaWeb : 17 February 2014).

Pre-Geneva advice for Sri Lanka - by Shenali D Waduge -The 3rd annual sacrilegious pilgrimage to Geneva for some has already begun. The participants obviously have varying objectives but devising a multipronged attack towards a very clear single objective. An eventual plan to create a US satellite state out of Sri Lanka’s North and an interim plan to set the foundation towards that objective. The foot soldiers tasked to help achieve this objective are now coming out in various forms necessitating the Government to not approach the issue for political mileage but to address the issues holistically and place the interests of the country before all else (LankaWeb : 15 February 2014).

USA a Goliath arrogant and bellicose without a David to Challenge - By Charles.S.Perera - The Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, when he spoke all the men of Israel, fled him, and were sore afraid (First Book of Samuel Chapter 17).  The Goliath of to-day-the USA when it speaks all flee in fear daring not to challenge. The Goliath of to-day violates human rights, commits war crimes, kills civilians with impunity as no one dares accuse him or present resolutions against him. But he accuses small countries like Sri Lanka which has not committed any thing that can be called “ wrong”. But Goliath nevertheless accuses Sri Lanka, as he – Goliath, can get any one to give false evidence against Sri Lanka, which no one will be allowed to doubt. So, every one stands in fear accepting whatever he-the Goliath –the USA, says. Let us see briefly just a few out of so many glaring cases of vicious unchallenged crimes USA- the Goliath has committed, and how it escapes from being accused for them by the countries of the world who are forced to shut their eyes and clap their hands as if nothing has happened lest the wrath of Goliath will fall upon them, and they will loose small handouts and little benefits they receive as compensation.  I have not in this article included Latin American countries and those of Africa which also suffered immensely from the wrath of the un holy Goliath-the USA. However, I am surprised that Japan a country that honours its dead had not in memory of those innocent Civilian Japanese men, women, and children, killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not vote against the resolution on Sri Lanka presented by USA the perpetrator of those crime, but refrained from voting. It is a shame that Japan did not respect those that died a brutal death.  Reading this may open the eyes of those present at the UNHRCouncil Geneva sessions in March,2014, to see clearly who should really be in the box of the accused. USA by presenting a resolution against Sri Lanka is reversing the situation to absolve itself of the crimes which it has committed.  Being the arrogant Goliath who knows that nobody will dare accuse him because of his might and muscle, has chosen a lamb-Sri Lanka for sacrificial rights to be performed by Navi Pillai, USA, UK, Canada, France, EU and the rest of the Europeans Countries. India sleek in with them as a vulture smelling death to get nothing but a nod and a handshake from Goliath- and the mighty West. That satisfies the Indian ego to be with the mighty (LankaWeb : 15 February 2014).

India may vote against Sri Lanka again - India is most likely to vote against Sri Lanka when its human rights record comes up for evaluation before the United Nations Human Rights Council in March, according to a senior official who did not want to be named.Sri Lanka had an opportunity to highlight elections to the Tamil-majority Northern Province as one concrete attempt at political reconciliation. But Colombo seems to have “squandered it by locking horns” with the newly elected provincial government.The provincial elections apart, Sri Lanka does not appear to have done enough to make countries like India that voted against it last year to change their minds (Daily Mirror : 15 February 2014).

LTTE rump hires ex-UN bigwig

Don’t isolate SL-Australia to Int’l Comm. - The Australian government has requested the international community not to isolate Sri Lanka at this juncture. Speaking at a ceremony organized by the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in Australia to mark the 66th Independence Day of Sri Lanka, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop also extends her government utmost support to Sri Lanka to establish peace, prosperity, economic growth and democracy in the country.She also said that Australia expects to strengthen ties with Sri Lankan government and to have an open discussion with these matters and her government has also revised its agenda on bilateral relations (Daily Mirror : 15 February 2014).

We continue to monitor land issue in SL-UK - Britain reiterated that it will continue to ‘monitor closely civil and political rights as well as land issues in Sri Lanka.’ Answering a question during a debate in UK Parliament Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hugo Swire said that his government will continue to underline to the Sri Lankan authorities the need for a long-term political settlement to address these underlying grievances and will continue to monitor these issues.  “We continue to monitor closely civil and political rights as well as land issues in Sri Lanka. We welcomed the Northern Provincial Council elections in Sri Lanka, which took place in September 2013. This was the first provincial council election held in the predominantly Tamil north since the 1987 establishment of provincial councils. The opposition, Tamil National Alliance, won over 80% of the vote. Local election observers noted that elections were“relatively free from violence, though not from intimidation”. “We have expressed concerns at military involvement in civilian activities in the north and are aware of reports that the military are involved in education.” “The Prime Minister raised land rights and militarisation in the north of Sri Lanka during his November meeting with the Sri Lankan President Rajapaska. He called for a meaningful political settlement with the north, including de-militarisation and full implementation of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) recommendations,” he added (Daily Mirror : 15 February 2014).

Former Tamil Tiger commander's wife to officially represent Sri Lanka's Northern Provincial Council at UNHRC - Chief Minister of Sri Lanka's Northern Provincial Council, C.V. Vigneswaran said yesterday (13) that the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Provincial Councilor Ananthi Sasitharan would represent the Northern Provincial Council at the upcoming session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) in Geneva next month.  Accordingly, the Provincial Council will bear the cost of her tour to Geneva. Earlier, she was to visit Geneva at her own costs.  Sasitharan, who arrived in Geneva on Wednesday along with the TNA MPs M.A. Sumanthiran and Suresh Premachandran ahead of the UNHRC session beginning on March 04, has reportedly met with officials of UNHRC and engaged in discussions.  Aside from meeting UNHRC officials, she is also expected to hold discussions with several NGOs in Geneva.  The Chief Minister said Sasitharan was sent to Geneva to represent the Council since she was not only a Councilor but also a victim searching for her missing husband.  Sasitharan, who is a leading human rights activist and a Tamil nationalist in the Provincial Council, is the wife of the former Trincomalee commander of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam "Major Elialan".  He was reported as missing after he surrendered to the Sri Lankan military at the end of the war in May 2009.  Ananthi contesting under the Tamil National Alliance was elected to the Northern PC from Jaffna district with 87,870 preference votes at the September 2013 provincial election (Colombo Page ; 14 February 2014).

Confounding Amnesty International’s Calls To Incriminate Sri Lanka At The UNHRC Summit - Insight By Sunil Kumar - When Amnesty International, the so called international watchdog has in a written statement to the forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council, saying that the Council must help Sri Lankan victims of human rights violations they are once again resorting to their dirty tactics which has brought them the name of International Rabble Rousers who are mere mercenaries under false pretexts and guises in the payroll of the still powerful Tamil Tiger supportiveTamil Diaspora. (heaven knows why as they should have had their effectivities linked to mendacity terminated long ago). The statement, which is another bold affront toward the smooth functioning of the mutri ethnic albeir predominantly Sinhala Nation has been made public ahead of next month’s UNHRC sessions in Geneva. When It states that “thousands of victims of human rights violations and their families have been denied justice, truth and reparation, as the Sri Lankan government concentrates its efforts and resources on blocking a credible international investigation of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the armed conflict between government forces and the terror group the LTTE that ended in the extinction of the terrorists in the best interests of Sri Lanka and the world. It is one of the boldest and unsubstantiable accusations against the GOSL which carries neither tangible evidence to back it up nor does it emphasize the reality that there were greater provable attrocities committed by the terrorists against Sovereign Sri Lanka, her majority Sinhalese, the Tamil community, other minority groups such as the Muslims and other residual ethnicities which inhabit Sri Lanka and constitutes blatant lies which appear to be as it always has as blatantly and apathetically composed towards discrediting the Nation’s administration (LankaWeb : 14 February 2014).

Cameron, Sri Lanka's de facto opposition leader - by Nalin de Silva - David Cameron, the Prime Minister of England has a second job. It is not a part time spring job as he is supposed to be active in the second job as well during his tenure as the Prime Minister of England. He has assumed duties as the de facto leader of opposition of Sri Lanka operating from Westminster and number 10, Downing Street, as the so called opposition in Sri Lanka is not effective the way he wants. He is a single issue leader of opposition ostensibly preoccupied with human rights of Tamils, the media people, NGO wallas, and of course leaders of anti nationalist political parties that submit "hora" (bogus) lists to the commissioner of elections having failed to find the required number of people to contest even at a Provincial Council election, and last but not least single issue candidates at Presidential elections concentrating on abolition of executive Presidency. The politics of Sri Lanka is between the UPFA and the conservative - labour alliance in England assisted by Obama and his colleagues in USA. As far as Sri Lanka is concerned all these people have formed an alliance under the leadership of Cameron. The objective of the alliance is the removal of the Rajapaksa "Regime" but they pretend to be obsessed with the human rights issue in Sri Lanka. Geneva, London and Washington and not Colombo of Western Province or Galle of the Southern Province are the centers of Sri Lankan politics with people such as Navi Pillai and American State Department officials together with those from Whitehall in London working as paid servants for the combined opposition mentioned above (Daily News : 14 February 2014).

LTTE rump hires ex-UN bigwig - Canadian consensus for int’l war crimes probe targeting GoSL- By Shamindra Ferdinando - One time UN Assistant Secretary General Denis J. Halliday is now in Canada to convince major political parties to support US-UK call for an international war crimes investigation targeting Sri Lanka at the forthcoming 25th session of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council.  Well informed sources told The Island that Halliday would meet influential Canadian lawmakers during the next two weeks on behalf of the National Council of Canadian Tamils (NCCT) widely believed to be the successor to the World Tamil Movement (WTM). The Canadian government listed the WTM as a terrorist organisation in June 2008.  Sources said that Halliday would also meet Canadian officials as well Canada based top representatives of NCCT. External Affairs Ministry sources told The Island that GoSL was concerned about the latest development.  Halliday quit the UN in 1998 following a 34-year career over serious differences regarding the global body’s policy towards Iraq.  Sources based in Canada said that the former UN bigwig was seeking a consensus among Canadian political parties regarding the move at the UNHRC. Although the ruling Conservative party had assured that it would co-sponsor the US-UK resolution, the NCCT was of the opinion that all Canadian parties should throw their weight behind the government on the issue.  Responding to a query by The Island, GoSL sources alleged that the LTTE rump had gone to the extent of employing an ex-UN staffer at the level of Assistant Secretary General level to pursue war crimes project. Sources said that the LTTE as well as the LTTE rump had effectively used both politicians and retired officials to promote their strategies. There couldn’t be a better example than having former UK Labour Minister as the policy advisor of the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) now in a collision course with some powerful Diaspora groupings.  Sources said that the NCCT was using Halliday’s visit to collect funds in the run-up to the Geneva resolution. A fund raising dinner is scheduled for Sunday (February 16) at Sheraton Parkway Hotel 600 Hwy 7, Richmond Hill Ontario. Several Canadian lawmakers are expected to attend the event. Asked whether Opposition lawmaker RATHIKA SITSABAIESAN would attend the event, sources pointed out that the MP of Sri Lankan Tamil origin had been on a collision course with the NCCT over her refusal to represent the group some time ago.The NCCT is working closely with Norway based Nediyawan faction. Sources said that Norway too, would co-sponsor the resolution though it was not a member of the UNHRC. It was no secret that the NCCT had been fully backing the International Council of Eelam Tamils (NCET) since it distanced itself from the UK based Global Tamil Forum (Island : 14 February 2014).

Russia will support Sri Lanka against US-resolution - Russia on Friday said that it will support Sri Lanka against a resolution sponsored by the US and other Western nations for an international probe into alleged war crimes in the final phase of the three-decade long war against the Tamil Tiger terrorists.  A visiting senior Russian diplomat said today that Russia has come to the state of officially supporting Sri Lanka at the forthcoming United Nations Human Rights Council Session in Geneva next month.  Addressing a media briefing in Colombo, the Director of the Department of Humanitarian Cooperation and Human Rights of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Russia Anatoly Victorov said the attempts to impose an international inquiry into the allegations of war crimes would be counterproductive.  He said that Sri Lanka's war situation could not be compared by any means to the situation existed in Rwanda.  The Russian official said the topic of human rights has been politicized extremely in the international political arena and the human rights issue in a country should not become a reason to meddle in the internal affairs of a country.  He said Sri Lanka is a confidant of Russia, which is one of the five permanent members in the UN Security Council and a member of the UNHRC, and the two countries maintain a similar stance on issues in the international fora despite the differences in political and cultural aspects.  Another permanent member of the UN Security Council, China also has opposed the resolution to bring an international inquiry against Sri Lanka and offered support to the Sri Lankan government in safeguarding national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. China said that people in Sri Lanka have the wisdom and capacity to manage their internal affairs and opposed some countries' interference in Sri Lanka's domestic affairs under the pretext of the human rights issue.  The US says it is not pleased with the Sri Lankan government's progress in addressing the accountability issue and human right violations and the international community's patience is wearing thin.  The US with the co-sponsorship of the UK has decided to table a third resolution building up on the two previous resolutions it sponsored and adopted by the UNHRC2012 and 2013.  UK Prime Minister has vowed to use Britain's position in the UNHRC to see to get the resolution adapted at the council's 25th session beginning on March 04 (Colombo Page : 14 February 2014).

Presidential Secretary alleges foreign governments not cooperating - Disappearances: Sri Lanka’s dilemma - By Shamindra Ferdinando - The Sri Lankan government is in a dilemma due to some foreign governments refusing to collaborate in its efforts to verify information as regards those persons reported missing during the conflict. Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga on Wednesday (February 12) admitted that the government hadn’t been successful in its endeavours though the same Western governments demanded to know the whereabouts of those disappeared.  Addressing the media at the Central Bank HQ, Weeratunga said that having received information recently regarding the presence of several of those listedmissing living abroad, the government sought the assistance of some Colombo based embassies to verify the information. The official alleged that the embassies had declined to assist, thereby thwarting Sri Lanka’s efforts.  The meeting was told how Australia had issued a new passport to Kumar Gunaratnam, leader of the breakaway JVP faction, the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) bearing the name Noel Mudalige a few years ago, while Gunaratnam still remained listed as a missing person. The ruse came to light when Australian High Commissioner Robyn Mudie produced Gunaratnam’s new passport to facilitate his return to Australia after the FSP leader arrived at a Colombo police station after being reported missing for several days.Responding to a query regarding attacks on the media, human rights activists and places of religious worship since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009, the Presidential Secretary said that United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay during a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa last August alleged the destruction of 33 Mosques and 23 churches. When President Rajapaksa inquired whether Ms. Pillay could provide a list of attacked places of religious worships she couldn’t, the Presidential Secretary said. A smiling Weeratunga said that when he had inquired from UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Sri Lanka, Subinay Nandy several months later whether he could obtain the list containing attacked places of religious worship, he furnished some media reports of alleged attacks.The Presidential Secretary recently briefed the Geneva-based diplomatic community with regard to measures taken by the government to address accountability issues, including post-war attacks directed against places of religious worship. Weeratunga said that he explained attacks on ten places of religious worship and the status of police investigations and judicial proceedings. Alleging that a section of the international community had been relentlessly pursuing Sri Lanka, the Presidential Secretary urged Western powers to treat Sri Lanka like any other country and give the government adequate time to address accountability issues (Island : 14 February 2014).

Presidential Commission probing disappearances in Sri Lanka begins hearings in Jaffna today - The Presidential Commission investigating the alleged disappearances of persons in conflict affected areas will begin hearing cases in Jaffna district today.  The public hearings will be held in Chavakachcheri, Kopay and the Jaffna town from 14-17 February.  The Commission is investigating the alleged abductions or disappearances of people who were residents in the Northern and Eastern Provinces during the period 1990-2009.  Secretary of the Commission H.W. Gunadasa has said that the Commission received the highest number of missing cases from Jaffna. The Commission has received 3000-4000 cases from the Jaffna district.  The Commission held its first public sittings in Kilinochchi district from January 18th -21st where it heard complaints from 440 people. Following the public hearing in Kilinochchi, the Commission has submitted details of 162 cases of missing persons in the area to the Attorney General's (AG) Department for further investigation.  The Commission has received approximately 13,700 complaints from all parts of the country and approximately 9,300 complaints of disappearances are of civilians and 4,300 are of security personnel.  The three-member Commission, comprising Maxwell Parakrama Paranagama (Chairman), Mrs. Priyanthi Suranjana Vidyaratne and Mrs. Mano Ramanathan, has been given the authority to conduct inquiries and investigations necessary, and submit a report to the President (Colombo page : 14 February 2014).

Russia opposes moves to use HR issues to interfere in Lanka’s internal affairs

Russia opposes moves to use HR issues to interfere in Lanka’s internal affairs - Human rights issues—although a legitimate global concern—must not be used by the international community to interfere in the internal affairs of a country or as a tool of force, a high ranking Russian official today said, while on a visit to Sri Lanka.  Director of the Department for Humanitarian Cooperation and Human Rights of the Russian Foreign Ministry Mr. Anatoly Viktorov yesterday said Russia rejected the approach taken by some countries to push for sanctions against countries they consider to be violating human rights.  “Those sanctions will only increase the suffering of people and contribute to aggravating their situation,” Mr. Viktorov said while addressing the media in Colombo upon concluding his visit here. Mr. Viktorov said he was impressed by the steps taken by Sri Lanka to overcome the aftermath of the conflict.He said Russia agreed that the work of the UN in promoting and protection human rights must be done in accordance with international law.“No violation of the UN Charter or attempt to undermine norms and principles of the international law may be justified by any cause. Unfortunately the UN human rights machinery experiences a number of problems like the lack of trust. To restore this it is necessary to introduce the principle of cooperation in the work of the UN human rights dimension. Russia and Sri Lanka continue working on it jointly”, he said.Mr. Viktorov said Russia would support only those resolutions in the Human Rights Council and General Assembly which enjoy the support and consent of the country concerned. “No country is free of human rights violations and therefore we reject the practice of naming and shaming which actually discredits human rights causes.”(Daily Mirror ; 14 February 2014).

SL’s fate hangs on tough lobbying in US - Lalith - - US will present resolution regardless of what we say or do  - Need time to replace Chief Secretary in Northern Province - Hate speech legislation worked out by legal draftsman - Amidst proposed moves by the US Congress and the US government to bring in a resolution against Sri Lanka at the upcoming UNHRC sessions, Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga said ‘the most significant factor when it comes to the power of lobbying, solely depends on the choice of lobbying groups one has access to in the US’.  He said the US had more than 800 key lobbying groups of which the LTTE-sympathising fronts were using some of the most influential groups among them for lobbying purposes.  Mr. Weeratunga said the Sri Lankan government would also have to gain access to some powerful lobbying groups to counter opposition that’s mounting against it in the international arena.  Speaking to a group of Newspaper Editors Mr. Weeratunga who toured several western countries recently and briefed Permanent Representatives to the United Nations in Geneva and Senators and Congressmen in US on ‘Progress in the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka’, said the Sri Lankan government has done all that was humanly possible to implement the recommendations of the National Plan of Action on the implementation of the LLRC, since its approval by the Cabinet of Ministers in July 2012.  Speaking about the forthcoming resolution, that is to be presented before the UNHRC session in March, Mr. Weeratunga said the US and other allied countries will go ahead with the proposed resolution on Sri Lanka. “Yes they will go ahead with that, we cannot stop it, whatever we have done, the resolution would be tabled as scheduled. But I would like to say that we are continuing with our work related to the reconciliation. We need more time, that’s what we need. ”  Speaking further about the lobbying groups, Mr. Weeratunga said, “I must say that the LTTE has hired a lobbying company, which is one of the strongest groups and is already in the White House. Its head is one of the closest associates of President Obama, so they are well placed. And the Sri Lankan government has not been able to reach that level,” he said.  When embassies ask for appointments with those lobbying groups they let their chiefs of staff but some of them are unaware about the ground reality in Sri Lanka and the relevant issues, he said.  When asked whether Sri Lanka was powerless against US lobbying groups, he said not only Sri Lanka but all the small countries are virtually powerless. “They just don’t give us a hearing, unless we go with someone they know,” he said.  “Lobbying is what you need to be keeping congressmen and senators fully briefed of what we are doing,” he said. “One congressman told me that when he opened his email inbox he has some fifty emails castigating the government of Sri Lanka and he says there was not a single from our government,” he said.  When asked it was the failure on the part of the foreign mission of Sri Lanka, Mr. Weeratunga said he believed it was not.  “I used to think so, but when you see the reality and realise the fact that you can only go through these people, I know how expensive the game is. But I am not saying if you have embassies which are very robust all the time looking at things that are happening around, then they need to be staffed very well. You should engage with these people but it is so difficult.”  Commenting on the issue related to the Chief Secretary to the Northern Province, Mr. Weeratunga said although the government had understood the situation there, they cannot remove the current Chief Secretary soon. The Northern Chief Minister requested us to appoint a retired person as the Chief Secretary to the north. That retired person was the former Chief Secretary. Unfortunately we cannot do that, because none of the current Chief Secretaries in the country are retired as they are all within the service age below 6o years.  But we understand the situation we have a new administration for the north, we agreed. We will be able to change this person over a period of time, but we can’t take her out immediately. We must find a replacement for her. If you take this particular lady and her counterparts in the rest of the country, she is much junior.  That problem is evident of all of the north and east. We do not have sufficient senior people to handle ground level work and because of that there is lack of progress and this is also one reason which the international communities should understand.  He also revealed that the Hate Speech legislation is promoted by Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara and now it was with the Legal Draftsman.  Commenting on the military presence in the north, Mr. Weeratunga said the total number of military presence in the north province has been reduced by 30 percent from 2009 to October 2013 (Daily Mirror ; 14 February 2014).

Govt mulls post-war Land Commission to address grievances - by Shamindra Ferdinando - The government is still struggling to address land issues four years after the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009. In accordance with the post-war recovery process, the government is in the process of addressing the contentious issue in accordance with the recommendations made by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).   Resolving land issues remained a priority in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga said while explaining the reasons for the delay in the finalization of the process as well as measures taken by the government to rectify shortcomings.  The Presidential Secretary was addressing the media at the Central Bank on Wednesday evening. Referring to the difficulty in alienation of land in the wake of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, the Presidential Secretary said that the government was mulling the possibility of appointing a Fourth Land Commission to settle land issues.  Previous Land Commissions were appointed in 1926, 1935 and 1985.  Responding to queries, the Presidential Secretary said that during his recent visit to Geneva and Washington, he had an opportunity to brief the international community as regards measures taken by the government to address the land issue.  Commenting on the large extent of land held by the military during the conflict, Weeratunga said that 20,001 acres of private and 5,740 state land had been released so far in the Northern and Eastern provinces. The Presidential Secretary said that high security zones too had been done away with, leaving military cantonments at selected places to ensure national security.  Dismissing allegations of a heavy military presence in the Northern Province, particularly in the Jaffna peninsula, even after the conclusion of the conflict, Presidential Secretary Weeratunga said that the government would continue to evaluate the situation to explore the possibility of further reduction of military presence. Weeratunga said that since 2009, the presence of troops in the Northern Province had been reduced by 30 per cent, whereas a 26 per cent reduction of troops was carried out.  On the issue of the five-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA), demanding the removal of the Northern Province Governor, retired Major General G.A. Chandrasiri and Northern Province Chief Secretary Mrs.R.Wijialudchumi, the Presidential Secretary said that the government couldn’t give in to that demand. Northern Province Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran had been pushing for the appointment of a retired SLAS officer as the Chief Secretary in spite of the government ruling out that possibility. "In fact, we asked the Northern CM to appoint his choice as his advisor. We also requested him to make some other appointments. Unfortunately, he is yet to respond." Responding to a query, the Presidential Secretary said that a retired SLAS officer couldn’t be appointed to the Northern Province, as retirees were in place in none of other provinces (Island : 13 February 2014).

Presidential Secretary alleges foreign powers undermining reconciliation process

What Hypocrisy! America’s Push for accountability in Sri Lanka - By Bandu de Silva-Former Sri Lankan Ambassador to France, and the Vatican” - For a small country like Sri Lanka, meeting the challenge of a super power like the US is an up-hill task. There is no match at all. Sri Lanka does not have even economic resources as Iran or Libya under Colonel Gaddafi had, to hit back at US, as they once did in their own way-occupation of US Embassy, and bombing of Pan-Am plane, respectively. Nor does Sri Lanka have the missiles and a few nuclear war heads as North Korea possesses, using which that country threatens devastation around in case of a US military threat.  Sri Lanka has been a very peace loving country historically, nurtured in the peaceful religion of Buddhism but which had to fight wars in defence of her territorial integrity for near two millennia against inroads from neighbouring lands and later from western colonial powers. It was as a result of a three decade long recent terrorist war which was originally, foreign supported, that Sri Lanka had to shift to a programme of defence capacity building. She is presently under immense international pressure to provide proof of accountability in respect of the war against terrorism she fought and won at a great sacrifice of material and human resources.  The country has devised its own mechanism to meet these demands but all round pressures area overwhelming and try to create a breakdown of the system of governance. These challenges are manifest in the way US Embassy in Colombo has been responding, more in a hegemonic role wielding a big stick in hand and interfering in the country’s internal affairs, more than in a helpful pacific role. The usual claim is US’ own commitment to this and that, R2P and the lot, forgetting that US passed its “US Servicemen Protection Act” and withdrew from the Rome Treaty which it initially supported. It even punished other countries which supported the Treaty. What hypocrisy!  This is not a situation that even the most servile country can endure. Neighbouring India reacted very strongly recently over the manner one of her senior diplomatic officers was treated in New York, That despite all the high profile bi-lateral relations that the two countries have developed in recent ears (LankaWeb ; 13 February 2014).

Path to USA Lies Through Israel Not New Delhi: Israel Joins Western European and Others Group (WEOG) in UNHRC  - by Kumar Moses - In an unprecedented development, Israel jointed the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) of the UNHRC when it re-joined UNHRC after a lapse of 18 months. It is unprecedented because Israel was always in the Asia group. Geographically too Israel is an Asian country. But by unanimous agreement it was admitted to the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) in December 2013. Turkey initially objected but later accepted it (LankaWeb : 13 February 2014).

UK and US disciple Sri Lanka – Why nudged to slaughter house in Geneva? - By Wendell W Solomons - Top-down reforms led Sri Lanka into becoming a follower of the economic doctrine proposed by US President Ronald Reagan. The reforms were imposed vigorously by a protégé when he was elected into leadership office in Sri Lanka. J R Jayewardene had struggled for this office in the island for a quarter century after he was hand-picked to serve as an asset in 1952. US State Secretary John Foster Dulles made newspaper history when he chose Jayewardene of an island in the distant Indian Ocean to speak from rostrum at the San Francisco Peace Conference.  J R J was found to be an extremist in his party because he was discovered offering US Republican party line solutions and he earned the nick-name Yankee Dick. That was a drop in the ocean because the State Secretary had unwittingly chosen a man who belonged in the family of a spy who betrayed the last sovereign of the country to the US’s predecessors. This spy was rewarded with an officially gazetted land grant and a prestigious title (LankaWeb : 13 February 2014).

Presidential Secy alleges foreign powers undermining reconciliation process - by Shamindra Ferdinando - Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga on Wednesday (12) asserted that the actions of some foreign powers could be severely detrimental to the ongoing reconciliation process.  Weeratunga warned that the post-war recovery process could suffer a serious setback if those who had been released after rehabilitation at the conclusion of the conflict were subject to the judicial process. The veteran SLAS official, tasked with implementing the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) said that the government had released the vast majority of those who had fought for the LTTE without taking legal action.  The official placed the number of LTTE cadres currently undergoing rehabilitation following legal proceedings at 171.  The Presidential Secretary was addressing the media at the Central Bank to explain measures taken by the government as regards the LLRC recommendations. Weeratunga discussed his efforts to convince the Geneva- based diplomatic community as well as the US government of GoSL’s commitment for a genuine national reconciliation process recently. Asked whether the government was trying to stop the US from moving its third resolution against Sri Lanka, Weeratunga said that the US was hell bent on going ahead with the resolution. The US moved two successful resolutions in 2012 and 2013.  The presidential secretary asserted whatever the outcome of the third US resolution, the GoSL would have to tell the world of Sri Lanka’s position. A smiling Weeratunga said that some of those targeting Sri Lanka at the behest of various interested parties weren’t even aware where the country was situated. Responding to queries, Weeratunga candidly admitted the extreme difficulty in reaching top US government officials to ensure they could be briefed of the GoSL’s position. The US and UK have declared that they would move the United Nations Human Rights Council against Sri Lanka at the forthcoming 25th session.  Weeratunga said that those seeking to make representations to the US administration had no option but to seek the services of expensive lobbying firms. Some 800 plus lobbying groups operated there and there was no way to reach the administration other than going through them, Weeratunga lamented. The Secretary to the President alleged that the LTTE’s interests in the US had been represented by one of the most influential lobbying firm close to the powers that be, therefore the GoSL faced an uphill task in countering the US project.  Weeratunga said that Sri Lanka wasn’t the only country in this predicament.  The Opposition JVP and UNP have repeatedly accused the government of hiring costly foreign PR firms due to the failure on the part of the External Affairs Ministry. The Presidential Secretary explained the plight of Sri Lanka when the US declined to provide spares after having sold Sri Lanka Bell 412s (Island ; 13 February 2014).

UK MPs, Diaspora focus on travel ban, assets freeze targeting Sri Lanka

UK MPs, Diaspora focus on travel ban, assets freeze targeting Sri Lanka - by Shamindra Ferdinando -Senior representatives of Tamil Diaspora have discussed sanctions against Sri Lankan government representatives with Foreign and Commonwealth officials in the House of Commons on Monday (February 10). The discussion followed consultations British officials had with US Assistant Secaretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal a week before. UK based sources told The Island that in spite of some differences among various Diaspora groups, those attending the meeting had agreed that travel restrictions should be imposed immediately after the endorsement of the third consecutive US-led resolution against Sri Lanka at the 25th session of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The US moved two successful resolutions targeting Sri Lanka in 2012 and 2013.  The Diaspora representatives have also urged the British to include required provisions in the proposed resolution to freeze assets of Sri Lankan leaders. Sources said that British and Diaspora representatives have essentially agreed that the resolution should ensure strong provisions to ensure witness protection among other actions meant to bring the government of Sri Lanka to its knees.Among the British parliamentarians present were Lee Scott (Conservative) and Siobhain McDonagh (Labour). They represented the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Tamils, an all-party political grouping at the forefront of the campaign against Sri Lanka.  Sources quoted UK government representatives as having told Diaspora that there was a strong possibility of the majority of member states of the UNHRC backing the US resolution.  The UN rights body comprises 47 countries divided into five regional groupings. Asian and African groupings have 13 votes each, while the remaining seats are divided among Latin American and Caribbean states (eight), Western European and other states (seven) and East European states (six). (Island : 12 February 2014).

March 2014 UNHCR session - By Sarath W - At the March session of the UNHCR session, Sri Lanka should propose that there should be an international inquiry to the war against the Tamil tiger terrorist, not only for the final stages, but from the beginning to the end, when the first bullet was fired at Alfred Durraiappa to the end at Nattikadal on the 19th of May 2009.It should be a comprehensive inquiry that should investigate all crimes committed by all the parties involved. It is true for true reconciliation the Tamils should know about if any crimes were committed against them, and so do the Sinhalese, Muslims and others the crimes committed against them and on our country. Sri Lanka should insist the international committee members should not include only members who are hostile to Sri Lanka such as from the UNHCR, UK, USA, India, Norway etc, but from friendly nations like China, Pakistan, Russia the government of Sri Lanka and representatives from the armed forces as well.  It should investigate how the terrorist organizations such as the LTTE, PLOTE, TELO etc. were originated.  India’s involvement in financing, arming and training those terrorist to wage war against a sovereign state.  Indira and Rajive Ghandi’s direct involvement. Involvement of NGO’s, their financial support, supply of equipment and the role of Catholic bishops. LTTE’s role in eliminating all Tamil political leaders and other terrorist organizations who had different views.   Killing Sinhalese politicians including democratically elected president Premadasa.  Killing 600 policemen during a ceasefire.  Massacre of Sihala and Muslim villages and ethnic cleansing of them.  Killing of Indian prime minister Rajive Ghandi.  India’s parripu drop violating Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and rescuing the LTTE in verge of defeat. Destroying economic targets such as the central bank, Air Lanka aircraft, railway lines etc.  The role of foreign governments such as UK, USA, Canada, Australia etc in moral and financial support, giving asylum, free passage, allowing fund raising, demonstrating against a democratically elected government, transfer of funds to buy weapons.  Demand from the international community & UNHCR that all those who are guilty of war crimes hiding in UK, USA, Canada, Australia and in other countries are brought back to face justice in Sri Lanka.( eg Adel Balasingham, Rudra Kumaran,Sundaram, Fr Emmanual)  Examine the if financial or political benefits were received from the Tamil diaspora and other organisations for outspoken Sri Lankan critics like Hilary Clinton, David Cameron’s and Harper’s political partys, Australian Greens, BBC chanel4’s and ABC’s staff, Gordon Weiss etc.  There are allegations of thousands of missing persons, Mass killings and mass graves. Examine the arrivals in Canada, Australia, UK and refugee camps in Australia, Malysia and Thailand for these missing persons, evidence of mass killings and graves etc.  Seek a guarantee, if found guilty of alleged war crimes, not only the Sri Lanka armed forces personnel, but all the others involved will be punished according to international law.  It is necessary that there is closure for thirty years of suffering, for not only for Tamils, but for all Sri Lankans so that we all can enjoy our hard won freedom.  It is time Sri Lanka should go on the offensive, not come back from UNHCR and whinge that we were hard done (LankaWeb ; 12 February 2014).

Diaspora money has deleterious effect on society – Wigneswaran - ‘No one can escape karma’ - By Shamindra Ferdinando - Northern Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran has lamented that money sent by Tamil Diaspora has had a devastating impact on the lifestyles of Tamils here.  The retired Supreme Court judge is of the view that foreign funds have caused irreparable damage to society, especially the student community.  CM Wigneswaran was addressing a gathering at the annual Prize Giving and 60th Anniversary of Varani Central College last week.  Those who had received political asylum overseas during the conflict had started sending money to their relatives living here, the CM said. Years back those striving for a good life had no option but to work hard but today money from abroad made things easier; it was spent on mobile phones, computers and Internet.  Wigneswaran stressed the need for addressing social issues caused by the Diaspora money.  Instead of studying hard, Tamil girls and boys had taken to watching movies, particularly those with sexual themes as well as violence and exchanging love messages via mobile phones, the Chief Minister said.  The retired judge lashed out at those who had abandoned traditional value systems and embraced a new culture where the youth smoked, consumed alcohol, narcotics and even engaged in street fights. Those receiving easy money from abroad were of the opinion that they could achieve anything by throwing around money, CM Wigneswaran said, adding that the youth, both male and female, tended to offer money to law enforcement officers when they were nabbed for road accidents.  Referring to Sinhalese boys and girls worshiping their parents and elders on auspicious days, Wigneswaran lamented that some Tamil youth abused their parents and teachers. The Chief Minister said that Tamils had worked extremely hard during those difficult days, primarily depending on education to secure a better life. But, today, the vast majority of Tamils were of the opinion that money from Diaspora would be enough to achieve whatever they desired, the Chief Minister said.  Commenting on welfare measures implemented by successive governments, the Chief Minister emphasised that people should keep in mind that free books, uniforms as well as free meals might not be available in the future. He said the student community should be told what the country expected of them and the days when such facilities hadn’t been available.  The Chief Minister said that people should realise that bad deeds would result in punishment in one’s lifetime and one would benefit from good deeds. Warning that no one could escape karma, the Chief Minister went on to recollect the fate of former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and Pakistan’s Musharaff.  He said: "Our pupils must pause to think of lives led by our elders in the past; what has happened in politics; changes that have occurred in our lives and what will happen in the future if this continues." The Chief Minister said that despite numerous difficulties, the NPC was working hard to improve the economy through self employment projects as well as cooperative activities and there was no point in the NPC’s work if the younger generation was only interested in migrating abroad or living on Diaspora money (Island : 11 February 2014).

Cameron held talks with Tamil groups before CHOGM-UK

US Resolution Allegations against Sri Lanka are those America blatantly violates - Shenali D Waduge - “Counting other people’s sins does not make you a Saint”. “Others will be more likely to take your advice if you practice what you preach” Generally, anyone pointing fingers need to have a clean chit – in other words no one is entitled to accuse if their crimes deny them the right to do so. Sadly, America is oblivious about its own crimes or simply thinks America is immune from facing justice. America accuses Sri Lanka of Extrajudicial Killings (unlawful killings) / Enforced Disappearance/ Torture and abuse of detainees by police and security forces. But in America …..the most senior members of the Bush administration, up to and including the President, broke international and domestic laws banning torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. Worse, they had subordinates in the military and in civilian intelligence services break these laws for them. . . . (LankaWeb : 11 February 2014).

The real reason for US Resolution against Sri Lanka - by Shenali D Waduge - The mainstream news released what is said to be the script of the supposed Resolution (3rd) America is hoping to pass in Geneva next month. It is a calculated move to send 2 messages to Sri Lanka’s leaders – to subtly give a clue what US wants and how Sri Lanka’s leaders can get off the hook by giving what US wants.  While US is dangling carrots before Sri Lanka’s leaders, the world public and Sri Lanka needs to take note of some facts: (LankaWeb : 10 February 2014).

American Dream - By Warna Hettiarachchi in Toronto Canada - Tamil Tigers were defeated in SL in 2009. However, LTTE’s funding roots were established overseas with their masterminded international network of terrorism, gun-running, arms-smuggling, arms trading, money laundering, slave-trading, human trafficking, Human smuggling, credit/debit-card scams, passport/travel document scams, international shipping network vessels with varying flags, tax evasion businesses, bank accounts with literally billions of US Dollars and media/publicity companies are well-established globally in every key western nation.  Sri Lanka continues to turn blind eye and ignore theses connections. After the physical war did not succeed, Tamil Eelam Tigers turned to their most dangerous weapons: Bankrupt Western politicians and NGO’s.  LTTE Diaspora donated handsomely to Western politicians’ election campaigns, gave them kickbacks under the table, tempted them with their voting power with hundreds of thousands, promised them large stakes of development business and resource exploitation if they help establish Tamil Eelam in SL.  LTTE fronts donated $50,000 to Amnesty International – Canada in the disguise of community fundraising walk in Toronto two years ago. More funding has been provided to CH-4 and AI recently. Stay tuned for details soon.  This perfectly aligned with the new “minority” government political culture of the West, that can use LTTE Diaspora votes to stay in or come to power. That can be realized through millions of Tamil tiger Diaspora votes in exchange of forcing Sri Lankan govt to ultimately secede the North and East of Sri Lanka to establish Tamil Eelam. The West’s greedy but bankrupt politicians saw the opportunity, especially the US, Canada and the UK, who have established strong relationships with India as an ally to fend off China’s presence in the Indian Ocean.  Well, as this little island of ours have direct connection and presence of China in there from naval to maritime to economic and infrastructure investments. Chinese intelligence have fortified their presence in SL and its embassy has been actively involved with surveillance and reconnaissance missions in SL against Indian and US threats to the region’s stability as it resonates with China’s own interests in the region. US wants to bring its Pacific Command (USPAC) to Indian Ocean to destabilize Asian countres (yes, including India) using covert and overt operations as they succeeded in destroying the internal political stability of South America, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Ukraine, .etc.However, China will try make it difficult for Yankees to succeed in Sri Lanka. Trincomalee harbour and tank farm, Hambantota and Galle harbours are strategic surveillance points for shipping lanes between Sri Lanka and Antarctica as there are no other land in between. This vastness of resources including natural gas and petroleum deposits, marine food resources and surveillance rights belonging to the sovereignty of Sri Lanka are huge stakes the US is trying to manipulate and exploit through India (LankaWeb : 10 February 2014).

Cameron held talks with Tamil groups before CHOGM-UK - Britain said that Prime Minister David Cameron held discussions with representatives of several leading Tamil groups in UK, including Global Tamil Forum and British Tamil Forum, before he leaves for Colombo to participate in the CHOGM last November.  In a response to a question Conservative MP Baroness Warsi informed UK Parliament on Friday that representatives of the following groups were invited to a meeting at Number 10 Downing Street on 7 November 2013: Global Tamil Forum, British Tamils Forum, British Tamil Conservatives, Tamils for Labour, Tamil Information Centre, Tamils Against Genocide, and Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (UK Branch). All of the invited groups attended the meeting.  “In addition to meeting these groups to discuss their concerns relating to attendance at the Commonwealth,” he said.  Speaking further, Warsi also said, “Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), and before visiting Sri Lanka to attend CHOGM, my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and the Minister of State, (Hugo Swire) met with a range of interlocutors, including the Sri Lankan High Commissioner, Non-Governmental Organisations, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Conservative Friends of Sri Lanka, and Parliamentarians including from the All Party Parliamentary Groups for Tamils and on Sri Lanka, my noble Friend included.”  Meanwhile, Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hugo Swire told UK Parliament that his government will continue to consistently call for progress on human rights, reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka, both privately and publicly.  “We continue to consistently call for progress on human rights, reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka, both privately and publicly. During his visit to Sri Lanka to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in November 2013, the Prime Minister raised our concerns directly with President Rajapaksa. The Prime Minister called for a credible and transparent independent investigation into allegations of violations of humanitarian and human rights law during the military conflict, a meaningful political settlement with the North, including demilitarisation and full implementation of Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) recommendations. We judge all of these to be important steps towards reconciliation and lasting peace between communities in Sri Lanka.”  “As a result of our continued concerns, the UK co-sponsored the UN Human Rights Council resolution on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka in March 2013. We have made clear the ongoing importance that the international community attaches to lasting peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. The Prime Minister has been clear that if credible domestic accountability processes have not begun properly by March 2014, the UK will use our position on the United Nations Human Rights Council to call for an international investigation,” he added (Daily Mirror : 08 February 2014).

13 acquitted on charges of aiding LTTE in India - "A Sessions Court in Chennai has acquitted three Sri Lankan Tamils and ten others on charges of hoarding communication gadgets and medicines with the aim of supplying them to the LTTE in 2009.  Judge S. Senthil Kumaresan observed that the Q-Branch CID police, which investigated the case, had failed to prove the charges framed against the accused, who included Kannan, a London-based Sri Lankan Tamil.  A total of 25 persons, including ten LTTE cadres, were chargesheeted in the case initially. However, the case was split up and the trial was taken up in respect of ten persons of Tamil Nadu and three Sri Lankan Tamils.  According to the prosecution, on December, 31, 2008 and January 1, 2009, four of the accused entered the country illegally by a boat. Kannan later sent a laptop and washing machine, 25 satellite phones, five communication receivers, cellphones and a night vision riffle telescope, which were kept concealed in Tharamani.  Similarly, they had planned to send medicines to the LTTE, which was then involved in a fierce battle with the Sri Lankan defence forces, and purchased them in Bangalore.  A case was registered against them under IPC and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the Indian Wireless Telegraphic Act and the trial was proceeding in the Sessions court in Chennai (Daily Mirror : 08 February 2014).

I always wanted to talk to the LTTE: CBK - "Former Sri Lankan president Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga said she always tried her best for peace despite military conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka during her tenure.  Speaking at the sixth international women’s conference organised by the Art of Living (AOL) in Bangalore, Kumaratunge said she ensured that development works and peace talks progressed simultaneously in the war-torn country.  “I always wanted to talk to the terror (LTTE) groups. They did not want any government officials involved in the talks and I even agreed with their demand for international observers,” she said.  Stating that the hospitals she opened had even treated the terrorists injured in the battle, she said she continued her efforts for peace even after an attempt on her life.  “They tried to kill me two days before the elections and even made an attempt on my life after elections,” she said. Mentioning some of the dark phases in her life, Kumaratunga said it is the religious belief and study of religion that shaped her life.  On leadership, she said that when an individual in power begins thinking of himself, corruption begins.  “A leader begins to think that power is God’s gift and begins to do whatever he wants. In order to rock, he (the person in power) needs to consolidate power and to consolidate power he builds his family around him, this becomes terrible as he tries to eliminate opponents,” she said (Daily Mirror : 08 February 2014).

UK’s IBC Tamil radio ordered to award damages to Jayadevan - By Sujeewa Nivunhella in London - An unreserved apology, substantial damages and costs have been agreed in a landmark out of court mediation effort on a libel action initiated by Rajasingham Jayadevan against the IBC Tamil radio operating from London.  IBC Tamil radio is run by Sathy Media Ltd., with Subramaniam Sathiyavadivelu as the overall controller, who has editorial responsibility for broadcasts. The libel action was initiated by Jayadevan following serious unverified allegations levelled against him in the IBC broadcasts and in the affiliated website.  IBC Tamil broadcasts on terrestrial and satellite platforms aimed at the Tamil community in the UK and has a substantial audience in 87 countries.  Jayadevan stands exonerated on allegations of fraud that had been leveled against him since 2002 by pro-LTTE and the Sri Lanka government backed paramilitary EPDP sympathetic Salasalappu websites and subsequently by the IBC Tamil. After a marathon nine and a half hours mediation meeting held on the request of IBC Tamil at the Bindman LLP offices in the Central London on January 31, 2014, mediator Richard Price, an experienced and much respected commercial mediator at the Bar, conducted the negotiations to a successful conclusion. An order was signed by both the contending parties, which was sealed by the High Court confirming consent and order that all further proceedings in this High Court action initiated by Jayadevan be stayed except for the purpose of carrying the following terms into effect: (Island : 08 February 2014).

UN agency arranged secret meet between US and ex-Tigers – GoSL

Reportedly, a top American official forcibly enters army camp near Boossa detention facility

‘Resolution counterproductive’ Hakeem tells UNHRC member SA - Anti-Sri Lankan move in Geneva: US woos Japan, South Korea - By Shamindra Ferdinando - The US is pushing two of Sri Lanka’s major investors, Japan and South Korea to throw their weight behind its third resolution against Sri Lanka at the forthcoming session of Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).  Authoritative diplomatic sources told The Island that the US was keen to secure the support of two key members of Asia-Pacific regional grouping to further weaken Sri Lanka’s position at the 47-member UNHRC. Japan abstained at last year’s vote, while South Korea backed the US move. Of the 47 countries, 25 voted for the US resolution, 13 against, eight abstained and one was absent during the vote.  The first US resolution in March 2012 was endorsed by 24 countries, while 15 opposed and eight abstained. Both Japan and South Korea didn’t figure in that resolution.  India, which backed both previous resolutions too, is accommodated in the Asia-Pacific grouping. China, Pakistan, Indonesia, Kuwait, the Maldives, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia, which had voted against the resolution, last year, are also in the same grouping. The US wants India, too, to play a proactive role in its Geneva project.  Ministerial sources said that the inclusion of Vietnam in the same grouping this year would be beneficial to Sri Lanka.  Sources said that newly elected UNHRC member, South Africa, too, would be under heavy pressure to vote for the resolution. South Africa was among 14 countries elected on November 12, 2014 to serve on the UNHRC for a period of three years beginning Jan. 1, 2014. Other countries are Algeria, China, Cuba, France, the Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Saudi Arabia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Vietnam, Russia and the United Kingdom. The election was by secret ballot at the UN headquarters in New York.  The other members of the UNHRC and the end of their terms are as follows: Argentina (2015), Austria (2014), Benin (2014), Botswana (2014), Brazil (2015), Burkina Faso (2014), Chile (2014), Congo (2014), Costa Rica (2014), Cote d’’Ivoire (2015), Czech Republic (2014), Estonia (2015), Ethiopia (2015), Gabon (2015), Germany (2015), India (2014), Indonesia (2014), Ireland ((2015), Italy (2014), Japan (2015), Kazakhstan (2015), Kenya (2015), Kuwait (2014), Montenegro (2015), Pakistan (2015), Peru (2014), Romania (2014), South Korea (2015), Philippines (2014), Sierra Leone (2015), UAE (2015), USA (2015) and Venezuela (2015).  Members of the UNHRC serve for a period of three years and are not eligible for immediate re-election after serving two consecutive terms.  Although the LTTE wouldn’t be able to influence Japan and South Korea, they could pressure South Africa, sources said. South Africa’s position at the UNHRC would be of pivotal importance due to its ongoing efforts to facilitate post-war national reconciliation process here. The South African effort to pave the way for a dialogue between the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the government was continuing though a section of the Tamil Diaspora were opposed to the move, sources said.  New Delhi based South African High Commissioner Geoff Doidge Thursday (Feb.6) met SLMC leader and Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem to discuss the reconciliation process and ways and means in which SA could help Sri Lanka in the national reconciliation process. The HC was accompanied by Ivor H. Jenkins, Director of Transformation Initiative Organization of South Africa. The NGO had been involved in the discussions aimed at facilitating a dialogue among the government of Sri Lanka and pro-LTTE groups.  Justice Ministry sources quoted Minister Hakeem as having told the South African duo that the international community shouldn’t push Sri Lanka too hard on the issue of accountability and the proposed US resolution would be counterproductive and detrimental to to the reconciliation process.  Having discussed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa, both parties agreed that Sri Lanka should develop its own mechanism based on experiences of other countries, including South Africa.  Sources said that the South African initiative could simply collapse if it voted for the resolution which a senior External Affairs Ministry official termed a calculated bid to destabilise the country (Island : 07 February 2014).

Lanka not ready to dance to western tune – GL - By Saman Indrajith - External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris told Parliament yesterday that Sri Lanka was not ready to amend or formulate laws to please the western countries.  Prof. Peiris responding to a question raised by UNP Hambantota District MP Sajith Premadasa said Sri Lanka was a sovereign nation and, therefore, there was no need either to amend its existing laws or to bring new ones to make other nations happy.  Sri Lanka had entered into international human rights agreements and conventions, the minister said. They were Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ratified on Feb 18, 1982), International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ratified on June 11, 1980) under that Optional Protocol on International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ratified on Oct 3, 1997), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ratified on June 11, 1980), Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (ratified on Oct 5, 1981), Optional Protocol (ratified on Oct 15, 2002), Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (ratified on Jan 3, 1994), Convention on the Rights of the Child (ratified on July 12, 1991), Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (ratified on Sept 8, 2000), Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Child: sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (ratified on Sept 22, 2006), and the International Convention on the Protection of Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their families (ratified on May 11, 1996).  Asked whether Sri Lanka was bound to implement the aforesaid agreements, the minister responded in affirmative. "But to implement an international convention, we first introduce them to the country’s laws. We have to formulate laws on the basis of those conventions and then to present them before Parliament for its approval. Once it had been approved by Parliament it becomes law. In doing so, we have to follow through a process of stages. Whenever, we include international laws to the country’s legal system, we have to do so within the framework of constitutional provisions" (Island : 07 February 2014).

Sri Lanka unlikely to question legality of UN report despite speculations - Despite speculations in legal and diplomatic circles, Sri Lanka may not challenge the legality of the UN Secretary General's Panel of Experts' Report on which the two US-sponsored resolutions against Sri Lanka were based on, a senior government official said. Speaking to state-run Daily News, the Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga has said that it is unlikely that Sri Lanka will question the legality of the UN panel and may take a different course of action on the issue.  A recent research paper published in the Foreign Policy Journal argued that the United Nation's Sri Lanka strategy is flawed and Sri Lanka should petition the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for an Advisory Opinion on the legality of the UN's report on Sri Lanka which was the basis for the two resolutions against the country.  Weeratunga, who chairs the task force monitoring the National Plan of Action on the implementation of the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Report, said the President will soon name the delegation that will participate in the United Nations Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva next month.  When asked whether he will be included in the Sri Lanka's delegation for UNHRC sessions Weeratunga replied that he had already briefed the international community on Sri Lanka's progress in implementation of LLRC recommendations.  The President has not yet made a decision on who will lead the delegation to the UNHRC next month. The government, anticipating a serious challenge from the international community at the UNHRC session has laucnched a diplomatic offensive to enlighten the member states on the measures taken for reconciliation and to address other critical issues.  The government has sent envoys to the member countries to enlighten them on Sri Lanka's progress since the end of the three-decade long war in 2009.  Weeratunga last month visited Geneva and Washington to brief the relevant officials on the actions Sri Lanka has already taken and future actions to be taken regarding the resolutions passed at the UNHRC in the past two years.  The human rights situation in Sri Lanka will come under scrutiny before the UNHRC at its 25th session, which is to be held from 3 to 28 March 2014. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanetham Pillay will present a comprehensive report on the implementation of Human Rights Council resolution 22/1 on Sri Lanka of March 2013 as well as a report on her fact-finding visit to the island in August 2013 (Colombo page : 07 February 2014).

U.N.Agency, U.S. and Ex-Tigers - by Ira de Silva Canada; The Editor, The Island Colombo, Sri Lanka;Dear Sir: This latest report that the International Organization for Migration has violated it’s mandate by arranging a secret meeting a top level U.S. delegation and and the Tigers (they can not be considered “ex” as they are still operation as Tigers to achieve their goal of Eelam} is very disturbing. The report states that the U.S. delegation included the U.S. Ambassador, Ms. M. Sison.  It seems that almost every day someone from the U.S. Embassy is involved in undiplomatic activity and continuously working with the LTTE to promote U.S. goals against Sri Lanka. It is baffling to the ordinary Sri Lankan that this administration, that had the courage to defeat the “invincible” LTTE is now acting in this careless and submissive manner and not doing anything to uphold the sovereignty and honour of the country. When are the authorities going to act in a responsible manner and stop this type of subversive activity on the part of diplomatic personnel and other agencies based in Sri Lanka? Is the Government going to accept the explanation that the Colombo office of the IOM was unaware of the meeting of it’s branch in Killinochchi? Is the office in Killinochchi in another country? That seems to be the attitude of the IOM. The IOM in Colombo is responsible as it is the main office. In the circumstances, why has the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office not asked for a more plausible explanation and, in the absence of one, not advised the IOM that unless it conforms to the protocol under which it operates, it can shut down and leave? The same applies to the intrusive, undiplomatic activities of almost everyone in the U.S. mission in Colombo. If they are unwilling to behave as diplomats rather than as the “Governing Authority of Sri Lanka”, they too should be held to account. It seems that Ms. Sison is carrying out the same strategy that she had in Lebanon and seems to want to create the same chaos in Sri Lanka which would be beneficial to the U.S. and it’s client the LTTE.  If Sri Lanka is facing international pressure from overseas it is because of the negligence of the personnel in the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence who seem to be either unaware of what is happening in the country and overseas or that they are so involved in their petty differences and one-upmanship amongst themselves that they are letting external forces gain the upper hand and dictate what happens in Sri Lanka.  To ordinary Sri Lankans it appears that the Government as a whole is facilitating the gradual take-over of the country and that it does not seem to care that all that the country suffered and achieved by defeating the leadership of the LTTE in 2009 is being gradually handed to the LTTE on a platter via the LTTE proxies in the foreign embassies in Colombo. Unless and until the GOSL stops looking at it through the lens of getting so-called aid which is heavily in favour of supporting the LTTE goals and stops the meddling in internal matters by the U.S., and India it will be responsible for helping these unfriendly countries to establish Eelam (LankaWeb : 07 February 2014).

House of Commons Sub-Comm on Int’l HR – Dr. P.Saravanamuttu’s Presentation - by Mahinda Gunasekera Agincourt, Ontario Canada; Mr. Scott Reid, MP Member for Lanark- Frontenac-Lennox and Addington Chair of the Sub-Committee on International Human Rights Of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Int’l Dev. House of Commons Ottawa; Dear Mr. Scott Reid, Resumed Hearings on the Human Rights situation in Sri Lanka : Nov 7 to Dec 10,2013. I have had an opportunity to read some of the presentations made to your sub-committee and found it quite disconcerting to note that you had invited only critics and vociferous accusers of alleged violations by Sri Lanka to make submissions, which needless to say calls into question your bias and impartiality. The presenters have focused their attention only on the latter five months of a military action taken by the Sri Lankan authorities to eliminate three decades of terrorist violence launched by the Tamil Tiger terrorists which was successfully concluded on May 19, 2009, and the period thereafter, based on one sided information looked at from outside the country by persons with an agenda to demonize Sri Lanka and destabilize that country. What they have presented are just unsubstantiated allegations, and it is a shame that Canada’s Parliamentary Sub-Committee would take such an unbalanced route to decide on a sovereign country which is a fellow member of the Commonwealth. At the outset, I would like to give some background data for your information. Sri Lanka made six separate attempts to reach a negotiated peaceful settlement with the militant Tamil groups that sought to carve out a separate mono-ethnic separate state for Tamils by armed force, through direct talks and internationally mediated peace talks using the facilitation by India and Norway. Some of the Tamil militant groups halted hostile actions following the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord of 1987. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), aka Tamil Tigers, which claimed to be the sole representative of the Tamil people failed to negotiate in good faith and used the ceasefire periods to build up their weapons stockpile and fighting strength made up of child soldiers and other adults many of whom had been abducted and forcibly conscripted. They blatantly violated the ceasefire agreements and continued to plant bombs in buses, trains, shopping centres, launch claymore mine attacks, unleash 388 suicide bombers, engage in machete attacks at midnight on remote villages, and carry out attacks by land, sea and air targeting members of the security forces, political leaders from all communities including moderate Tamils and civilians, causing wide scale death and destruction of valuable property on a daily basis (LankaWeb : 07 February 2014).

UN agency arranged secret meet between US and ex-Tigers – GoSL ; Top American official forcibly enters army camp near Boossa detention facility - by Shamindra Ferdinando - Commenting on the allegations made by the government, a senior spokesperson for the Office of UN Resident Coordinator told The Island: "On the basis of information the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office received from IOM, the Office understands that IOM was requested to provide information on a meeting between stakeholders (rehabilitated ex-combatants) of a recently completed project with representatives of the concerned project donor. It’s normal practice for donors to interact with project stakeholders/beneficiaries with the purpose of understanding the results that the project has achieved. IOM has informed UN Resident Coordinator’s Office that it has provided the requested information on the event and are available for any further clarification, as needed".  The government has accused the International Organization for Migration (IOM) of violating its mandate by arranging a secret meeting between a group of ex-LTTE terrorists and a top level US delegation led by Ambassador-at-Large Stephen J. Rapp, the head of the Office of Global Criminal Justice, during the second week of January.  The meeting has taken place at the IOM office in Kilinochchi. The US delegation included US Ambassador in Colombo Michele Sison. Authoritative government sources told The Island that the meeting had been arranged by the IOM in consultation with the Office of UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Sri Lanka, Subinay Nandy.  The meeting should also be examined against the backdrop of the US offer of rewards of up to USD 5 million to those who could provide information leading to the arrest or conviction in any country, or the transfer to or conviction by any international criminal tribunal, of any foreign national accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide, sources said.  The IOM comes under the purview of Nandy in his capacity as UNDP Resident Representative.  Asked whether the US delegation had an opportunity to meet ex-child combatants under the auspices of the UN, a US embassy spokesperson said the US wouldn’t discuss the particulars of those who had met the delegation. The spokesperson didn’t respond to the query whether the US embassy had secured UN approval to meet ex-terrorists.  Government sources said that soon after the secret meeting had come to light, the Defence Ministry took up the issue with the IOM mission which accused its Kilinochchi office of arranging the meeting without informing Colombo. Sources emphasised that the local office wouldn’t have facilitated such a meeting without the blessings of higher authorities.  Subsequently, Nandy spoke to Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa regarding the IOM abusing its mandate. Defence Secretary Rajapaksa has insisted that action be taken against the IOM for its high handed action.  The US delegation questioned ex-LTTE personnel on the last phase of the Vanni East battles. The army crushed the last LTTE resistance on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon on the morning of May 19, 2009. Army headquarters told The Island that thousands of LTTE cadres including those attached to elite fighting units had benefited through Information, Counseling and Referral Services (ICRS) carried out by the IOM. Those who had been invited to be interviewed by the US delegation were among the beneficiaries of the IOM project, sources said, adding that the US would now try to exploit whatever information elicited from them to justify the proposed US-led resolution.  Having moved two successful resolutions in 2012 and 2013, the US has declared its intention to move another, late next month at the United Nations Human Rights Council.  Asked whether the government had been aware of the IOM having access to LTTE cadres after the conclusion of the conflict, a senior military official said that the IOM had set up its project in Sri Lanka in 2002. "The original project went failed the resumption of hostilities by the LTTE. However, the IOM launched a fresh project to help ex-LTTE combatants even before the conclusion of the conflict. Those who had been rehabilitated received access to the IOM before their release. It was a unique project. Unfortunately, the new IOM leadership seems to be working overtime to undermine Sri Lanka."  Government sources alleged that the US delegation led by Ambassador Rapp had also forced its way into an army detachment adjoining the Boossa detention facility. The visiting US official had wanted to know whether the detachment was responsible for security at the detention centre, sources said, adding that the GoSL couldn’t comprehend the US attitude. The army detachment had been there for many years, they said (Island : 06 February 2014).

Entities conspiring to deny peace in Sri Lanka - by Shenali D Waduge - Throughout 30 years bombs, suicide missions, assassinations, mass murder of civilians visibly took place for all the world to see. These atrocities carried out by the LTTE was viewed globally. None of the entities now calling for war crimes against Sri Lanka demanded the same against the LTTE. LTTE was after all declared an international terrorist organization. We need to know why international organizations, foreign governments, media and the HR organizations would limit their condemnation of LTTE attacks only to a brief statement. The LTTE ridiculed and continues to ridicule the very nations that has banned the LTTE with LTTE fronts continuing to operate unscathed. Taking that ban to the level of bizarre is the manner that these LTTE fronts have managed to coerce foreign parliamentarians to attend their campaigns, fundraisers and even speak on top of LTTE stages with giant cut-outs of Prabakaran in the background. This makes us ask the question – does the LTTE dictate to Western Governments or is the LTTE a tool of the West/India? Therefore, if people wonder why we continue to question all the entities now rallying for war crimes trials against Sri Lanka – our simply question is what were they doing when the LTTE were involved in premeditated murder? (LankaWeb : 06 February 2014).

GL cites humiliation of Devyani to highlight US double standards - By Saman Indrajith - Double standards of the US became visible in the way it rejected video footage and photographs of Indian Consul Devyani Khobragade being strip-searched by dismissing them as a hoax while accepting the Channel 4 videos as genuine, External Affairs Minister Prof GL Peiris told Parliament yesterday.  Responding to a question raised by UNP Colombo District MP Ravi Karunanayake, Prof Peiris said that there had been negative international media campaigns against Sri Lanka by various interested parties to carry out their own misplaced agendas. The government had sought to counter such campaigns with facts and figures.  Asked whether the Channel 4 in the UK was conducting campaigns against Sri Lanka in 2010, 2011 and 2012 in the months of February and March, the Minister responded in the affirmative.  Prof. Peiris said the Ministry of External Affairs and Sri Lanka missions abroad monitored anti- Lankan media campaigns worldwide (Island : 05 February 2014).

Why Only Sinhalese Defending Sri Lanka Against UNHRC Threats While Tamils and Some Muslims Freeloading?  - by Kumar Moses - Who owns Sri Lanka? A question asked by many quarters. Sri Lanka belongs to those who protect it.  Once again for the umpteenth time Sinhalese are the only people defending Sri Lanka against foreign threats. Where are the Tamils and Muslims? Why aren’t they defending Sri Lanka as vigorously as the Sinhalese do? If their loyalties are elsewhere, by all means they should go where their loyalties are or start defending their motherland.  The biblical story of the wise Jewish king Solomon (971 – 931 BC) is very much similar to the happenings in Sri Lanka. The story goes: two mothers delivered their babies on the same day; both fell asleep huddling their babies. One careful mother made sure she kept her baby a safe distance away while the other carelessly pressed her baby in sleep killing it. Later she claimed the living baby as hers. The matter was taken to the wise king Solomon. Both women vigorously claimed to be the mother of the living baby. The wise king ordered the guards to split the baby into two equal parts and hand over each part to each mother. The real mother pleaded before it was carried out and begged the baby be spared and handed over to the other woman than kill it while the dishonest mother hailed the decision and pleaded the order is carried out. The king intervened; handed over the child to the real mother and punished the dishonest woman. Only the true owners of the nation feel for the nation (LankaWeb :05 February 2014).

Sri Lanka President condemns attempts to bring a resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC

US official meets envoys in Geneva to discuss Sri Lanka resolution - The US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Nisha Desai Biswal, who concluded a three-day visit to Sri Lanka on Sunday, met with the Geneva-based envoys of the UN member countries to discuss the US resolution on Sri Lanka's human right issue.  In a twitter message Biswal said that she finished a very good day of consultations in Geneva about Sri Lanka on Tuesday.  Before coming to Geneva, the US official met with the British officials in London to discuss the resolution on Sri Lanka.  In London, she met with the British Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Hugo Swire and the officials at the Prime Minister David Cameron's office.  Swire said he had a productive discussion with US Assistant Secretary on Sri Lanka human rights situation and the resolution to be tabled at the UN Human Rights Council in March.  During her three-day visit to Sri Lanka from Jan 31-Feb 2, Biswal met with government ministers, opposition leader and Tamil political leaders in Jaffna. She also met the Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister C.V. Vigneswaran and Councilor Ananthi Srithharan , the wife of former LTTE leader.  At the conclusion of her visit Biswal justifying a third resolution against Sri Lanka said that the government has shown little progress in reconciliation and addressing accountability in the five years after the conflict ended and the international community's patience is wearing thin (Colombo page : 05February 2014).

Khobragade Affair - by Mahinda Gunasekera Toronto, Canada - Your Excellencies and Editors,  I am in receipt of a letter dated January 12, 2014 on the ‘Khobragade Affair’ by one Mr. Thepanis Alwis from the Town of Baddegama located in the south of Sri Lanka. Mr. Alwis has looked at the issues from many angles and seems to have a deep understanding of the American systems and treatment meted out to non-European persons even of diplomatic standing.  I was amazed to read this news of the humiliating and degrading manner in which Ms. Khobragade was dealt with by India’s newest strategic partner with whom she even joined hands to beat up on her tiny neighbor, Sri Lanka, on unsubstantiated allegations of HR violations at the prior UNHRC sessions in Geneva. Sri Lanka has initiated her own process to inquire into and take action for any wrongdoings if any on the part of her security forces as recommended by the Presidential Commission referred to as the LLRC as any other sovereign nation would without undue interference from outside parties. All what Sri Lanka seeks is necessary time and space to resolve her internal issues in a fair and just manner following a conflict which lasted over three decades, including the resettlement of nearly 300,000 Tamil civilians who were forced to move with the retreating Tamil Tiger forces to be exploited for their labour, conscripted into the fighting forces to replace fallen cadres and lastly to be used as a human shield. They were civilians aligned with the LTTE terrorists who underwent military training as part of a people’s army, who were engaged in the making of landmines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), who provided various support services for the fighting cadres such as digging bunkers and ditches, building high earthen defensive walls, supplying ammo for cadres at the front, and other combat related roles which raised many questions as to their being ‘genuine civilians’ (LankaWeb : 05 February 2014).

BIG POWERS MAKE HUMAN SHIELDS OF NORTHERNERS ; Invaders came to our country shedding crocodile tears: We are not ready to deprive our country of the freedom we won: by Dharmasiri Abeyratne in Kegalle - It is necessary for the people in the North to be aware that certain foreign forces are attempting to use them as human shields. The invaders always came to our country shedding oceans of crocodile tears. They interfered in these countries putting forward claims to protect human rights, establish democracy and the rule of law. This was the warning President Mahinda Rajapaksa gave the people in the North in particular and the nation, addressing a ceremony to mark Sri Lanka’s 66th Independence Day in Kegalle yesterday. This is the first time Independence Day celebrations were held in Sabaragamuwa Province. Addressing the crowd, the President said that every powerful country should realise the difficulties involved in defeating terrorism.. “What we faced was a more serious and brutal challenge than they ever faced. The difference between them and us was that we instructed the Security Forces to give the highest priority to protect the lives of civilians (Daily News : 05 February 2014).

Sri Lanka's Presidential Commission probing disappearances to hear cases in Jaffna - The Presidential Commission investigating alleged abductions or disappearances of persons resident in the Northern and Eastern Provinces during the period 1990-2009 will hold its next public sittings in Jaffna district.  The public hearings will be in Chavakachcheri, Kopay and the Jaffna town from 14-17 February.  The members of the commission have visited the district to meet the district officials including the District Secretary, relevant Divisional Secretaries and Grama Niladharis in Jaffna in order to make preliminary arrangements, an official said.  Secretary of the Commission H.W. Gunadasa has said that the Commission received the highest number of missing cases from Jaffna. The Commission has received 3000-4000 cases from the Jaffna district.  He said the Commission will inform the people who lodged complaints through public media of the sittings in the district.  The Commission held its first public sittings in Kilinochchi district from January 18th -21st where it heard complaints from 440 people. Following the public hearing in Kilinochchi, the Commission has submitted details of 162 cases of missing persons in the area to the Attorney General's (AG) Department for further investigation.  The Commission has received approximately 13,700 complaints from all parts of the country and approximately 9,300 complaints of disappearances are of civilians and 4,300 are of security personnel.  According to the official, an interim report will be handed over to the President around by the end of next month. A website will also be launched soon by the Commission to facilitate complainants to access information regarding status of their complaints (Colombo page : 05 February 2014).

President condemns attempts to bring a resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC - Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today condemned the attempts to bring another resolution against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council session in Geneva next month.  Addressing the Nation at the 66th Independence Day celebrations in Kegalle today, the President said the international forces are attempting to take away freedom experienced by Tamils in the North after the government ended the terrorism and brought peace.  Recalling that the Tamil Tiger terrorist group LTTE forcibly took away children to fight the war with the government, the President said that every powerful country should realize the difficulty in defeating terrorism and not to forget the grave human rights violations committed by the LTTE.  The United States has said that it will bring a third resolution on Sri Lanka as a follow up to the earlier resolutions adopted by the UNHRC since they are not happy with Sri Lanka's slow pace of progress in addressing the accountability and achieving reconciliation.  However, the President said the resolution will be a grave crime against peace and attempts to level war crime charges against Sri Lanka in Geneva is the triumph of those who are not in favor of peace.  "I see the attempts level charges of war crimes against us in Geneva today as the triumph of those who are not in favor of peace. This seeks to drive fear into people and nations committed to peace and working to safeguard a country's independence and freedom. These are not founded on peace, fair play or justice."  "People in my country too should have the right to live freely in this country. Saving our peace and unity is our responsibility and not of any others," the President said adding that revenge has never been a part of Sri Lanka's culture.  He reiterated that under whatever circumstance, Sri Lanka will not be frightened to deprive the country of the freedom the people won.  The President recalled that the LTTE killed several people including Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi but with the defeat of the rebels in May 2009 even the Tamils in the North are experiencing true freedom.  "We have to recall the bitter memories of the past when baseless allegations are leveled against us," he said.  In a separate Independence Day message President Rajapaksa restated the government's commitment to safeguard the freedom and rights of Sri Lanka's people, and decide on a future free of dictates from the re-emerging forces of colonialism.  "I share your dream to strengthen the Sri Lankan nation under a single flag in a united country. Achieving this requires hard work, with diligence and honesty of purpose. It calls for patriotism that transcends the barriers of geography and community, with reconciliation in a rich unity of purpose," the President said in his message (Colombo page : 04 February 2014).

Prabhakaran uses British Parliament to accuse SL?army of chemical attack - By Shamindra Ferdinando -  An Indian passport holder named Thamil Prabhakaran deported from Sri Lanka last December for violating visa regulations has shown a documentary titled This land belongs to the Army in the House of Commons, alleging that the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) used chemical weapons during the final assault on the Vanni east front in 2009. The presentations were made in the Committee Room 14 of the House of Commons on January 31, the first day of a two-day conference and the following day at the University College of London. Thamil Prabhakaran from South India had an Indian passport bearing number MK 6149374 at the time he was detained in Pooneryn in the Vanni region. He was deported after the Indian High Commission in Colombo had been informed of the government decision. A senior security official alleged that Prabhakaran had been here on the invitation of the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK), the main constituent of the multi-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA). Prabhakaran has written a series of articles titled Searching for footsteps of Tigers for Tamil Nadu magazine, Junior Vikatan. A book was also published under the same title recently. Prabhakaran participated at the UK conference on the invitation of the British Tamil Forum (BTF) and the All Party Parliamentary Group of Tamils (APPGT). An External Affairs Ministry official told The Island that the BTF was seeking to dominate the Diaspora in the wake of its dispute with the Global Tamil Forum (GTF). The GTF didn’t receive an invitation for the event. On behalf of the ruling Conservative Party (MP Lee Scott) and the Labour (Siobhain McDonagh) addressed the gathering at the inaugural session. The Defence Ministry said that there was absolutely no basis for the BTF-APPGT allegations with regard to the SLA taking over of property belonging to Tamil speaking people. A senior Defence Ministry spokesperson told The Island that the alleged chemical attacks were a total fabrication by the LTTE backers. Since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009, the military had handed over many public properties to their rightful owners, the official said, adding that those who were skeptical of the Defence Ministry position could visit the Jaffna peninsula to see the situation for themselves. Callum Macrae of the Channel 4 News, too, addressed the gathering. The organisers also invited a group of TNA representatives for the conference also attended by several NGO activists (Island : 4 February 2014).

Biswal came looking for Government’s Opponents Delivered Nothing New - By Bandu de Silva- A former President of U.S. declared that Assistant Secretaries were there to implement policy decisions that he makes as President with the help of others. That was an assertive President. However, former State Secretary, Henry Kissinger, was not so assertive when he conceded while addressing new recruits to the Foreign Service that they had a contribution to make in policy formulation.  Let us not get too involved in these definitions the emphasis over which seems to vary depending on who is at the top. As we have seen under Robert Blake, former Assistant Secretary for South Asia and Central Asia in the US hierarchy and now with Nisha Biswal at the same post for a few months, officials at this post, what others may call “Desk-Officers” in their own establishments, do make a contribution to policy formation. The difference in US is that they are free to go public in contrast to others who work behind the scene. The fact that the US Embassy in Colombo reportedly sought a meeting for Biswal with President Mahinda Rajapaksa also points to her enhanced role (LankaWeb : 04 February 2014).

US reiterates its resolve to table third resolution on Sri Lanka calling for an international investigation

Who rules the world? - By Nalin de Silva - The punishment of the President and the Defence Secretary may be economic sanctions and we should be prepared for them. Unlike the so called educated people who are scared of economic sanctions the ordinary masses are not very much concerned, and it is the duty of the government to allay any fears among the people. As we defeated the LTTE we can defeat these bureaucrats who rule the world on behalf of GJC Chinthanaya, and the Chinthanaya itself though the latter would take some more time (Island : 4 February 2014).

Prabhakaran and Sri Lanka’s turning point - by R Chandrasoma- In a recent article published in your Journal, Mr Izeth Hussain hypothesizes that ‘India might impose a Cyprus-style solution: Indian troops invade Sri Lanka, establish Eelam, after which the Indian troops hold the frontier, in a process comparable to what happened in Cyprus’. There are many ‘ifs and buts’ about this dire scenario. Indeed the article is written in the belief that we (the Sinhalayas) are a foolish and supine race that necessarily faces defeat in a prolonged contest with ‘Great India’ and the indomitable Tamil Race fighting for their primeval rights in Sri Lanka. There is a skewdness and a blindsight in this approach that is astonishing . The Sinhala people have never treated the Tamils in the same way that Hindus treat Muslims, the Jews regard their Semitic foes and Loud Talking Whites treat the Darkies of the World. The recent ‘war’ was against an army raised by a pathological killer who succeeded in enslaving his people by rousing native phobias and instilling the fear of death in those who dared to question him. It was a fatal and unusual turn of history that is most unlikely to be repeated. Hitler played a similar game of mass tyranny with the most educated people in Europe at the time – the Germans. The war that ensued in our country– against a ‘nation’ led by Prabhakaran - was a defensive war forced on a deadbeat and friendless country at the end of its tether. Its victory was no triumph of the Sinhala forces against a historical enemy. Nor was any ideology – political or otherwise - deeply implicated in the operational logistics of the conflict. The coercive force of the State was used determinedly and effectively for the first time to defeat a force that - like a cancerous tumour – spread outside the Body of Sri Lanka to nourish its malignancy elsewhere. The removal of this ‘malignancy’ was forced and defensive and it is a huge error in politics and diplomacy to suppose that alternatives were ignored and ‘things could have been otherwise’. It is a notorious truth that post hoc analyses are free and unfettered while the current nexus of events calls for immediacy in judgement. If Mr MR and his close advisors faltered at the critical moment, Sri Lanka would have taken its place among the failed nations of the world - a fate perhaps deeply satisfying to those now who belabor us as violaters of human rights. We live in a strange world where misfortune is agonized and gloated over while prosperity is looked askance at.  About the ‘invasion’ from India – supposing this is a plausible turn of future events – the best answer is to redouble our strength along the North-Eastern Flank with Missile Batteries ready to launch against any target in that large Neighbour to the North. India is now a declining power with the kind of social malaise and gubernatorial decay that makes its wretchedness a lesson to those who harbour illusions of tribal grandeur. The Tamil clamour for separation will bring them grief – a lesson they have great difficulty in understanding (Island )4 February 2014).

War Crimes of US and its Allies - By S Akurugoda, Melbourne, Australia - Addressing a gathering in Mathugama, President Rajapaksa has said " If one were to probe the last days of Wold War II, you could bring war crimes charges" referring to efforts by the US to move a resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC. President's reference to the days of Wold War II has quite correctly expressed the silent question of the right thinking people, living anywhere in the world, have in their mind although many of the new generation may not aware of the devastation caused by the US bombing of Hiroshima on 6th August 1945 and followed in Nagasaki , just three days later, in Japan. Unlike many other bombing raids, the goal for this raid had not been a military installation but rather an entire city. The atomic bomb that exploded over Hiroshima killed civilian women and children in addition to soldiers. Hiroshima's population has been estimated at 350,000; approximately 70,000 died immediately from the explosion and another 70,000 died from radiation within five years. Two-thirds of Hiroshima was entirely destroyed. The bomb was created using uranium-235, a radioactive isotope of uranium and the product had never been tested before although US spent billions for its research. It is said that some scientists and politicians pushed for not warning Japan of the bombing in order to save face in case the bomb malfunctioned. The bombing destroyed approximately 40 percent of Nagasaki. With a population of 270,000, approximately 70,000 people died by the end of the year. Apart from the World War II, the whole world is aware of the extent of war crimes committed and continue to process crimes , not only war crimes, since World war II. US has committed war crimes in Vietnam, Laos , Cambodia, Vietnam, Iraq, Libya,  Afghanistan and the like, the list goes on. In 1969, the United States began a four year long carpet-bombing campaign in the skies of Cambodia, devastating the countryside and causing socio-political upheaval that eventually led to the installation of the Pol Pot regime. During the Vietnam War, the Vietnamese Liberation Front and the PAVN (Vietnam People's Army) used a network of supply routes that partially ran through Laos and Cambodia. As the War progressed, the U.S. invaded both Cambodia and Laos in order to disrupt these routes. The United States dropped upwards of 2.7 million tons of bombs on Cambodia, exceeding the amount it had dropped on Japan during WWII (including Hiroshima and Nagasaki) by almost a million tons. During this time, about 30 per cent of the country's population was internally displaced.  It was estimated that as many as 500,000 people died as a direct result of the bombings while perhaps hundreds of thousands more died from the effects of displacement, disease or starvation during this period. From 1964 to 1973, the U.S. dropped more than two million tons of ordnance on Laos during 580,000 bombing missions—equal to a planeload of bombs every 8 minutes, 24-hours a day, for 9 years – making Laos the most heavily bombed country per capita in history. The bombings were part of the U.S. Secret War in Laos to support the Royal Lao Government against the Pathet Lao and to interdict traffic along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The bombings destroyed many villages and displaced hundreds of thousands of Lao civilians during the nine-year period. Up to a third of the bombs dropped did not explode, leaving Laos contaminated with vast quantities of unexploded ordnance (UXO). Over 20,000 people have been killed or injured by UXO in Laos since the bombing ceased. A UN report notes that Laos is, per capita, the most bombed country on the planet, with .84 tons of explosives dropped per person from the years 1965 to 1974. Over 280 million bombs were dropped on Laos. It’s estimated that up to 80 million of them never exploded. It is estimated that it may take up to 3000 years to clean up all unexploded ordnance in Laos alone. The above war crimes have been committed with the fullest support of the US allies. Unfortunately, the whole world is silent today on the above crimes although the reports with fats and figures  are freely available. The obvious question we have is what moral rights these perpetrators have to talk about human rights and crimes of any nature and to pretend that they are they are the world's guardians of human rights (Sri Lanka News Online : 03 February 2014).

NPC ATTEMPTS TO INTERFERE WITH FOREIGN POLICIES OF THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT - by Malin Abeyatunge, Melbourne, Australia - NPC has last week passed resolutions to the effect calling for an international inquiry into war crimes allegedly committed by the Sri Lankan armed forces during the last stage of the civil war in attempt to interfere with the Foreign Policies of the Central Government. The NPC Councilor Ananthi Sasidharan. wife of ex hard core LTTE terrorist supporting these resolutions has also called for an international inquiry into the Mannar mass grave site, alleging that the census carried out by the Census and Statistics Department into the casualties during the war was wrong. Well, the investigations that are currently being carried out will reveal the truth in no time and that she may have to eat her own words as this is definitely an LTTE mass grave. I am sure Mannar Bishop Rayappu Joseph would be able to throw some light into this investigation.According to further reports the NPC has nominated this woman to attend the UNHRC session in March 28 2014 in Geneva. Firstly nowhere in the world national CENSUS & STATISTICS has been conducted by private/semi-governmental institutions or part of the politics in a country as demanded by NPC to carry out a separate C&S operation on its own. Census & Statistics of a country is done by ruling governments of countries according to the accepted international Norms & Standards. Sri Lanka has done the same thing at the last C&S operation. Is this woman and the NPC at large are out of their mind asking for a separate C&S to suit their fancies. Secondly, another report said that NPC has nominated Ananthi S to represent TNA at the next UNHRC sessions in March 2014 in Geneva. The Government should stop her attending UNHCR as NPC is part of the Sri Lankan nation (PCs are under the Central Government on Foreign Policy) from all avenues by not facilitating her trip financially by the NPC. In case, If she is allowed to go as President Rajapaksa is sometimes naïve (trust too much) to accommodate such requests without realising the dangers, she should be thoroughly searched of her all belongings and even a body search by the Customs to make sure that she is not smuggling any tapes, videos, films, Eelamist propaganda literature, papers and the materials such as any sim cards, fake mobile images and everything that may be detrimental to the country to show at the UNHRC session. There may be protest from LTTE rump, local LTTE activists, dollar thirsty NGOs and INGOS but the Customs (Government) should do this without bending to the TNA or other external demands. Take a cue from USA stripping a Indian diplomat for the sake of USA’s security. It’s time that GoSL passed an Act of Parliament like THE USA PATRIOT ACT as I mentioned in my letter which is quoted below. SHOULD THE GOVERNMENT REVOKE PTA AS DEMANDED BY LTTE PROXY TNA? Posted on September 6th, 2011-Lankaweb Quote As long as the active LTTE rump among the Tamil Diaspora continues to destabilize Sri Lanka through their international political connections, through print and electronic media bought with their funds like Killing Fields and Channel 4, the government should not repeal the PTA. In fact, we should further pass laws similar to the PATRIOTIC ACT of the USA government for check and monitor so that another terrorist group like LTTE will not emerge in Sri Lanka ever again. Unquote (Sri Lanka News Online : 03 February 2014).

SL doesn’t wish to be dictated to by others – Foreign Ministry - Reacting to comments made to the media by the visiting US Asst. Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Nisha Biswal, the External Affairs Ministry spokesperson says that as a sovereign state and one of Asia’s oldest democracies, Sri Lanka does not wish to be dictated to by others in the international community in the conduct of its internal affairs.  The observations by the External Affairs Ministry are as follows:  It is evident from this visit and that which preceded from the US, as well as intrusive behavior by other representatives of that country, that there is a desire to believe the worst of Sri Lanka and seek to build on that premise to justify punitive action against the country.  The claims, be it on the pace of implementation of the LLRC, allegations of religious intolerance or insufficient progress in addressing reconciliation and accountability, are unsubstantiated. They have been as preposterous as a visiting US official stating to being convinced of a figure of 40,000 missing persons based on a purported census of 2008 carried out by a civil society institution. Reckless and irresponsible statements without evidence have been recoursed to in order to create an impact to give way to prejudged action.  In fact the latest allegation of religious intolerance repeatedly stated by the US appears to be in order to give credence to isolated incidents as a regular occurrence. It is well known that many of the facilities for religious worship which have been targeted are those operating in violation of the guidelines governing the establishment of these places. It has generally been found that these incidents have been a reaction on the part of the community resident in those areas. Attributing blame to the government is totally unwarranted. While legal action has been taken with regard to some incidents, others have been settled amicably. Therefore, the criticism is grossly disproportionate and politically motivated.  Details of evidence have been requested with regard to allegations of individuals who have met with foreign officials being intimidated. However, such information has not been forthcoming, thereby drawing damaging conclusions. Such intimidating action could be resorted to by interested parties in order to bring disrepute to the Government of Sri Lanka. Therefore, it is imperative to receive the required information for investigations to be initiated.  The Government of Sri Lanka more than any other entity, including short term visitors to the country, has the paramount interest of maintaining a peaceful and unified Sri Lanka. The action of a US spearheaded Resolution in the UN Human Rights Council runs completely counter to the position that country is motivated with an "inclusive vision" in this regard. It is well known that such action only serves to polarize the communities within Sri Lanka and outside, causing a strain on the sensitive reconciliation process. It also seeks to divide the international community, whereas keeping them in a cohesive group would serve Sri Lanka better through assisting in meeting the challenges.  There is a lack of objectivity in recognizing the substantial progress in addressing the challenges during the brief span of 4½ years since the end of an armed conflict of 30 years. Therefore, "patience wearing thin" is a misnomer. It is the trajectory of the democratically elected Government of Sri Lanka to ensure the best for its people. Statements during the last few days are indicative of a desire to believe the worst and to work to a preconceived political agenda.  Bona fide friendship is extremely welcome. However, the basis of a friendship is formed through fairness and open mindedness and not predetermined conclusions.  The assertion that the US does not want to see Sri Lanka being left behind in Asia’s economic progress is patronizing. As a country that faced a protracted conflict, Sri Lanka has already demonstrated economic resilience and a projection of sustained economic stability.  As a sovereign state and one of Asia’s oldest democracies, Sri Lanka does not wish to be dictated to by others in the international community in the conduct of its internal affairs (Island : 02 February 2014).

Sri Lanka rejects unsubstantiated US allegations of weakening rights and rule of law - Feb 02, Colombo: Sri Lanka today flatly rejected the allegations made by the United States that the human rights and democracy in the country as well as the rule of law are weakening as "patently unfair".  Alleging the US is attempting to divide the country and strain the sensitive reconciliation process Sri Lanka's External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris said the concluding remarks by the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal, at the end of a two-day visit yesterday suggested that she wanted to believe the worst of the regime in Colombo.  The Minister said that it is clear from the visits by Biswal and other US representatives and the remarks made by them that there is a preconceived desire to believe the worst of the government and build on that to justify punitive action against the country.  The Government said Sri Lanka is a sovereign state and one of oldest democracies in Asia and will not allow the international community to dictate the country's affairs.  Biswal, who just concluded a three-day visit to the country today, said that Sri Lanka has shown little progress in reconciliation and addressing accountability in the five years after the conflict ended and the international community's patience is wearing thin.  In justifying the US move to bring a third resolution against Sri Lanka at the upcoming United Nations Human Rights Council session in March, the visiting official said the US was concerned about the human rights situation as well as the weakening of the rule of law and there is a growing frustration in the international community that Sri Lanka will not use the opportunity provided by the end of the conflict to move forward.  Professor Peiris said her observations were based on unsubstantiated allegations and the treatment of Sri Lanka by the US is highly selective and patently unfair.  Responding to Biswal's concerns on growing religious intolerance and attacks on places of worship, the Minister said these incidents are isolated incidents among different communities and attributing blame to the government is unwarranted. The US is giving credence to isolated incidents as a regular occurrence, he added (Colombo page : 02 February 2014).

SL rejects US criticism over rights record and democracy - Sri Lanka on Sunday rejected “patently unfair” allegations by the United States that its rights record had deteriorated in the five years since the end of a war.  Foreign Minister G. L. Peiris said remarks by Nisha Biswal, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, at the end of a two-day visit on Saturday suggested that she wanted to believe the worst of the regime in Colombo.  “Her observations are indicative of a mindset that solely wants to believe the worst and enthusiastically leaps to conclusions based on tendentious claims,” a foreign ministry official quoted Peiris as saying.  Biswal told reporters in Colombo on Saturday that the US was concerned about the worsening human rights situation as well as the weakening of the rule of law and an increase in the levels of corruption and impunity in Sri Lanka since a 37-year conflict ended in May 2009. “All of these factors lead to undermine the proud tradition of democracy in Sri Lanka,” Biswal said, adding that Washington was moving a third resolution against Colombo in as many years to nudge the island to improve its rights record. Biswal said Colombo had failed to ensure reconciliation, justice and accountability, and pressure was building for a foreign probe.  “Lack of progress in Sri Lanka has led to a great deal of frustration and scepticism in my government and in the international community,” Biswal said. “The international community’s patience is wearing thin.” But Peiris said her observations were based on unsubstantiated allegations. “The treatment of Sri Lanka (by the US) is highly selective and patently unfair,” Peiris said.  Sri Lanka is under increasing international pressure to probe its own troops over allegations that they killed thousands of civilians in the final stages of the war.  President Mahinda Rajapakse’s government denies any civilians were killed by its troops and has rejected calls for an international inquiry.  Peiris had closed-door talks Friday with Biswal who also met with opposition figures and non-governmental organisations during her visit.  Government forces declared victory nearly five years ago after wiping out the leadership of Tamil Tiger rebels in a no-holds-barred offensive.  At least 100,000 people were killed during the war, according to UN figures (Daily Mirror  02 March 2014).

Problems in the North -  by B. S. Perera, Kiribathgoda- If the government or security forces wanted to finish the LTTE off, without considering the civilian factor they (government or security forces) could have achieved that without taking months and sacrificing so many soldiers’ lives and country’s wealth.  If the world (including the Diaspora and NGOs), who cry for the Northern people who are still without proper housing, helps the government by providing funds, that problem could have been solved much earlier.  If the security forces used Cluster Bombs, why did the Bishops take four years to reveal it?  If those countries (US, UK, India and Canada), the Diaspora and now the TNA using the NPC are not making any threats using various modes (UNHCR, Channel 4 etc.), the SL government could have reduced the presence of the security forces in the North to the barest minimum.  Does the NPC, headed by Vigneswaran want it to be difficult both to the government (and rest of the country) and the Northern people to normalize conditions in the North and have good relations?  When a commission (say LLRC), is appointed to investigate and recommend on some matter, does it mean that all its recommendations should be implemented? Even if the President gave an assurance to implement it, why shouldn’t he change it, considering the actions by the others? (Island : 02 February 2014).

Investigate Indian War Crimes in Sri Lanka : RAPE of Tamil Women - by Shenali D Waduge - In 2013 Indian Prime Minister decided to vote against Sri Lanka in Geneva because of India’s concern for the ‘dignity” and ‘self-respect’ of Sri Lankan Tamils. In 2014 that changed to India not wanting to hurt Tamil sentiment before elections (Indian elections). But what did India do to the ‘self-respect’ ‘dignity’ of these Tamil women from 1987-1990 during the 3 ½ years when Indian Army (IPKF) were raping up to an estimated 4000 or more Tamil women, killing and looting the entire Northern peninsula so much so that they became known not as the Indian Peace Keeping Force but the Innocent People Killing Force. With India so concerned about accountability we think it opportune that investigations MUST cover India’s war crimes in Sri Lanka.  In what can be described as a rehearsal or a prelude as to what Sri Lanka’s Tamils can expect falling prey to the bogey of being concerned for the Tamils, India is using this as a slogan to fool Sri Lanka’s Tamils in a bigger quest to annex Sri Lanka’s North to India in a bid that meets approval by the West for India is all but in their pocket. An annexed North Sri Lanka would mean a bonus for both India and the West in terms of their own geopolitical interests but it would be a greater achievement for the West who are drawing up plans to balkanize India and run breakaway new states through their puppets.  Having said that we return to the issue of War Crimes and the hyped up ‘international investigation’ calls with India pretending it had no part to play in creating the LTTE. Having trained Tamil youth in India, India today pretends it had nothing to do with what LTTE monster did eventually. Thereafter, LTTE having killed India’s own Prime Minister, the Indians still has no remorse about continuing ties with the LTTE but pretending to the world it did not. If India is suffering amnesia which we think it is, it is no better a time to unearth India’s dirty past and the claims of rape are not by Sinhalese but by Tamils themselves (LankaWeb : 02 February 2014).

According to the US, ” Sri Lanka had no right to wipe out terrorism…” - by P.A.Samaraweera, Melbourne - The UNHRC meeting is to be held on 3rd March. At this meeting a Resolution is to be introduced against Sri Lanka on war crimes led by the US. Basically, what they are saying is that, ‘Sri Lanka had no right to wipe out terrorism’. So, only countries like the US, UK, Canada and so on has the right to decide which terrorists should be eliminated because according to them some are good terrorists, such as the LTTE. The reason is, LTTE funded politicians of the west.  For 3 decades, the people suffered from threats by the terrorists. The LTTE leader living in a safe under ground bunker, 200 miles away from Colombo, decided who should be killed or which city, town or village should be terrorised. And his threat was that Sri Lanka would be turned into a blood bath if his wishes were not granted. The LTTE had the backing of the TNA, the Tamil diaspora, NGO’s and some western countries. The TNA kept on saying that the LTTE is the sole representative of the Tamils. The Tamil diaspora funded the LTTE. During 2001-2004, western countries had supplied more than $24 million to the NGO’s, most of which had gone to the LTTE to fight the war against the govt. Now representatives from the TNA, NGO’s, Tamil forums overseas and so on had gathered in Geneva canvassing for the US Resolution against Sri Lanka.  The Resolution on war crimes is pointing the finger at our brave soldiers who salvaged the country from the terrorists. So, the allegations of war crimes are against those who fought a terrorist war for 3 decades. Therefore, the Govt, Oppositon and the people should fight tooth and nail against the Resolution and show that Sri Lanka had been victimised for fighting against terrorists. The people should stand against the Resolution and show support to the govt for bringing in peace to the country and thus save the hard won peace. The attempt by the LTTE rump is to destroy Sri Lanka by hook or by crook.  So according to the self appointed ’Police man’ of the world, the US, ‘Sri Lanka had no right to wipe out terrorism’. For them, the LTTE were ‘good terrorists’ (LankaWeb : 02 February 2014).

Diplomatic community briefed on current developments: Is UNHRC’s pursuit against Sri Lanka warranted? – Minister Peiris - External Affairs Minister Prof G.L.Peiris said that no acts of terrorist violence had been committed in Sri Lanka after terrorism was eradicated in 2009 and asked the Ambassadors in New Delhi, whether the situation in Sri Lanka warranted a relentless pursuit through the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).  The Minister briefed the Delhi based diplomatic community on the current developments in Sri Lanka on his recent visit to India for bilateral discussions with his counterpart Salman Khurshid ahead of the cricual Geneva Human Rights sessions. The Minister accompanied by Irrigation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva and Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam met envoys of 82 countries, resident in New Delhi who are currently accredited to Sri Lanka.  Referring to the resolutions on Sri Lanka that were moved in the UN Human Rights Council in 2012 and 2013, the Minister told the gathering that the United States hopes to table a Resolution on Sri Lanka again during the forthcoming UNHRC sessions next month. He called upon the Ambassadors to reflect objectively on the situation in Sri Lanka and its achievements during the past four years with the end of terrorism and protested against the selective manner in which Sri Lanka was treated at the UNHRC sessions by certain members.  The Minister said that the Commonwealth Heads of Government and the Ministers who attended CHOGM last year were impressed by the infrastructure, the thriving economy recording 7.8 percent growth and remarkable social progress. Apart from the 53 countries of the Commonwealth, 87 countries participated in the Commonwealth Business Forum which preceded CHOGM 2013.  Referring to the cessation of violent acts of terrorism since the defeat of the LTTE in 2009, Minister Peiris said that had terrorism continued, the country would not have achieved the economic and social progress it is witnessing at present. “Terrorism would have destabilised not only Sri Lanka but the region as well,” he said.  He said the international community must take into account the dignified reintegration of 14,300 ex-cadres, the massive infrastructure development in the North and the East and holding. Provincial Council elections in the North among other things while urging the diplomatic community to reflect objectively on these exceptional achievements after terrorism was eliminated  (Sunday Observer : 02 February 2014).

US reiterates its resolve to table third resolution on Sri Lanka calling for an international investigation - Feb 01, Colombo: The United States today reiterated its determination to bring a third resolution on Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva this March that will call for an international investigation into the alleged war crimes.  Addressing a media conference on Saturday following her visit to the Northern Province, the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Nisha Desai Biswal said the international community's patience is wearing thin over Sri Lanka's slow progress in achieving reconciliation and addressing accountability for alleged war crimes.  She said although the US still has hopes on a domestic process for reconciliation the US will table a third resolution at the UNHRC sessions.   However, responding to media the top US official said there is currently no talk of imposing economic sanctions on Sri Lanka over the human rights issue.  Biswal who arrived in the island on Friday met with Sri Lanka's External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris, Economic development Minister Basil Rajapaksa and the Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe before heading to the North to meet Tamil leaders.  Minister Peiris during his meeting with the US official cautioned that relentless pursuit on Sri Lanka by the US through the UNHRC would only hinder the reconciliation and polarize the communities further and the US action has further strengthened the hardliners.  Biswal has noted that there is a growing frustration in the international community that Sri Lanka will not use the opportunity provided by the end of the conflict to move forward towards reconciliation.  During her visit to Jaffna, the top US official met with Bishop of Jaffna Thomas Savundranayagam and Tamil National Alliance politicians including Northern Provincial councilor Anandi Shashitharan.  The US official will leave for London after her three-day visit to the island tomorrow and in London she is scheduled to meet British government officials to discuss the resolution against Sri Lanka. The UK is expected to co-sponsor the resolution at the UN Human Rights Council.  The UK Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to use UK's position in the UNHRC to pass the resolution if Sri Lanka does not start by March 2014 an independent, credible and transparent domestic process to investigate the alleged war crimes during the final phase of the conflict.  Biswal will also travel to Geneva, for meetings regarding US government's intention to sponsor the resolution.  According to the State Department, the third resolution will build upon previous resolutions in 2012 and 2013, and will urge Sri Lanka to do more to promote reconciliation, justice and accountability in the wake of the civil conflict.  Sri Lanka has been adamant not to allow any outside probes into the alleged human right violations saying that its domestic process LLRC is sufficient to address the accountability issue and the government is doing its best to implement the recommendations.  Sri Lanka's top most civil servant, Secretary to the President, Lalith Weeratunga, who was in Washington recently to hold discussions with State Department officials on the U.S. resolution said an international inquiry into war crimes in Sri Lanka would bring "chaos," and the government's national reconciliation process must be given several more years to work (Colombo Page : 01 February 2014).

British Tamil Tigers call for sanctions against Sri Lanka

British Tigers call for sanctions against SL - By Shamindra Ferdinando - The US is seeking a broad consensus on its proposed resolution against Sri Lanka at the forthcoming UNHRC session in Geneva, while an influential section of overseas Tigers strongly pushed for unprecedented inclusion of a special clause to pave the way for UN sanctions in case President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government ignored the latest resolution.  The US led two successful resolutions in 2012 and 2013.  Sources told The Island that the UK-based Tamil grouping was pushing the UK and US for toughest possible resolution seeking UN sanctions. The position adopted by an influential section of the Diaspora was very much contrary to the US effort meant to produce a resolution which wouldn’t be too offensive to the majority of UNHRC members, sources said.  Having met Labour Party Leader, Ed Miliband on January 29, at his office in parliament, Tamils for Labour chief, Sen Kandiah called for the inclusion of a clause to ensure that non-compliance would result in sanctions. The meeting was attended by senior representatives of the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) and the British Tamil Forum (BTF), now at loggerheads with each other over the post-war strategy vis-a-vis Sri Lanka. Sources said that all major Tiger Diaspora groups, including National Council of Canadian Tamils and Norwegian Council of Eelam Tamils as well as the recently created umbrella organization, International Council of Eelam Tamils would back the call for UN sanctions.  Members of the UNHRC are Algeria, China, Congo, Cuba, Ethiopia, Gabon, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Kuwait, Macedonia, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Philippines, Venezuela, Argentina, Austria, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Montenegro, Namibia, Peru, South Korea, Romania, Sierra Leone, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States of America.  US Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal will be in London on Monday (Feb 3) to discuss ways and means of taking forward the initiative. The Island in its yesterday front-page story headlined ‘Third consecutive US resolution targeting SL: Consultations in London after US official’s Jaffna visit’ inadvertently said that Ms Biswal would be in London on Saturday (Feb 1). The error is regretted.  Sources said that the US, UK as well as Diaspora groups were urging as many as 40 countries to co-sponsor the resolution. But Diaspora efforts to include special clause to pave the way for UN sanctions could undermine US efforts, sources said. Asked whether major British political parties were agreeable to nudge the US for a tougher resolution, sources said that Labour Party Leader Miliband during his meeting with Diaspora representatives reiterated his commitment to push British Premier David Cameron to use UK’s current position as a member of the UNHRC to demand an internationally acceptable credible accountability mechanism.  During the meeting, Diaspora representatives raised the issue of continuing heavy military presence in the Northern Province and Sinhala colonisation.  Tamils for Labour quoted Miliband as having said: "Prime Minister Cameron had to be held to the promises he made at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in November 2013, when he first acknowledged the need for an international inquiry. Labour will continue to press the UK Government to do all they can to support accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lanka and Labour will demand action from the Government of Sri Lanka as well." (Island : 31 January 2014).

Indian Sepoys ride again unabashedly serving western neo–colonial agendas - by Shenali D Waduge - The British Empire was built largely on the back of Indian Sepoys who slaved and died for a pittance from their colonial masters. The term ‘sepoy’ was used for Indian soldiers who worked for the British East India Company and later the British Imperial Army. Nearly ninety-six percent of the British East India Company’s army of 300,000 men was native to India and these sepoys played a crucial role in securing the subcontinent for this British company by taking orders to kill from foreign i.e. British occupying forces, and slaughtering their own people. The sepoys performed a role in India similar to that of Lascoreens in Sri Lanka being indigenous soldiers who fought for the supremacy of the Portuguese against the patriotic nationalist forces of Sitawaka and Kandyan Kings during the Portuguese era (1505–1658) and continued to serve as colonial soldiers until the 1930s. This is a shameful chapter in the dark period of colonial rule in Sri Lanka and the same goes for India.  The term sepoy in its modern connotation bears startling resemblance in the manner that a new breed of ‘Indians’ are functioning on behalf of modern imperialists who have outsourced their dirty work to these ‘modern sepoys’ and currently one such has arrived from the US to Sri Lanka. Indian Sepoys who fought on the side of the colonial adventurers have been recruited by the Portuguese, the French, British and several other former European colonial rulers in furtherance of their undisguised objective to plunder and colonise lands belonging to other people.  Indians volunteered to fight on behalf of the very nation that colonized them and made up the biggest volunteer force during World War 2. Thousands of Indians fought during World War 1 as well. By 1903, the total strength of the British Indian Army was 240,000 men – serving 39 cavalry regiments, 135 infantry battalions (including 17 Gurkha), there were also armies of the Princely states, regiments of the Auxiliary states had 22,613 men in 20 cavalry regiments and 14 infantry battalions. The Indian ‘sepoys’ (soldiers) were all recruited to police the British Indian Empire. In fact in 1914, the eminent pacifist Mahatma Gandhi himself created the Natal Indian Ambulance Corps to be used by the British in the Second Boer War in South Africa.   The same tools of money, international positions, prestige, social status, privileges and the opportunity to rub shoulders with the white man were incentive enough for these Indians to forsake their own. In Sri Lanka we had and continue to have similar groups ever ready to betray their nation for ‘crumbs from the tables’ of their foreign principals (LankaWeb : 31 January 2014).

Victims of LTTE suicide bomb attack on Sri Lanka Central Bank remembered - Sat, Feb 1, 2014, 12:02 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka. - Jan 31, Colombo: Sri Lanka today marked the 18th anniversary of the deadliest suicide bomb attack by the Tamil Tiger terrorists group liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on the Central Bank, country's top most financial institution in the heart of capital Colombo.  The victims of the suicide bomb attack were remembered in a somber ceremony at the precise time of attack, at 10.49 a.m., today at the Central Bank with the participation of its Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal.  Several prominent people including parliamentarians attended the event and bank employees and relatives of employees killed in the attack paid floral tributes in memory of the victims.  On January 31, 1996, the LTTE rammed a massive explosive-laden truck through the main gate of the Central Bank building in Colombo killing 91 people including 41 bank employees.  Over 1,400 were injured in the attack and at least 100 people totally lost their eye sight due to the injuries caused by shattered glass. A protest was held after the event against the US-sponsored resolution that will be tabled at the United Nations human Rights Commission session in Geneva in March (Colombo page : 31 January 2014).

Gota Has a Case - By Bandu de Silva - “You have met our opponents”. That is what the Swiss President told me when I went to present Credentials as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in the Swiss capital in 1984. The President actually used was “enemies” but I have sanitized it thinking that in a democracy like Switzerland they could not be calling the single member in the Opposition in Bundes (Parliament) an “enemy”. I thought it was a problem with the use of the English language.  “We considered whether we should accept you as the new Ambassador but we decided in your favour because we have many crucial issues at this time to deliberate with your government.” The President continued.  I was unruffled by the remarks but his sending a bundle of newspapers through the Chief of Protocol who was present to be placed on my lap disturbed me. I felt that was an act inappropriate to an occasion like this. I had already made my speech presenting the Credentials which were accepted. The above remarks by the President were in response.  Once again I offered greetings from my President following usual Protocol as if I was unconcerned by the remarks but I thought I should meet the accusation not by explaining the circumstances, but by directly extolling the virtues of Swiss experience as a premier practicing democracy. My reply was: “Excellency, I thought I am in the Capital of the foremost democracy in the world. My country too which is a small country like Switzerland is a democracy and under our system the Leader of the opposition is held in highest esteem. He ranks next to the Prime Minister in the order of Precedence.” After that I said, if your Excellency was looking for an explanation, though it was not, I had the intention of meeting the member of the Opposition as a courtesy because he had written to me several times. That was courtesy on my part. My Secretary had gone to the extent of clearing it with the Foreign Office, again as a matter of courtesy. My Secretary was present with me when this conversation with the President took place. She is now a senior Foreign Office official who has been Ambassador to several countries.  The President looked at the Foreign Minister and the Chief of Protocol whom I saw nodding. The matter was over then and there. But I went on to say that I had no intention of meeting the gentleman concerned at that time. I had just arrived in my hotel room and was waiting for my baggage. Instead of the baggage-porter who appeared after the knock were a gentleman who introduced himself to me as the opposition Councillor in the Bundes and a lady who accompanied as his Secretary (Lankaeb : 31 January 2014).

Relentless pursuit by US would polarize communities further, Sri Lanka tells US official - The Sri Lankan Government today told a visiting top US official that relentless pursuit on Sri Lanka by the US through the United Nations Human Rights Council would only hinder the reconciliation and polarize the communities further.  Sri Lanka's External Affairs Minister, Prof. G.L. Peiris told the visiting US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Ms. Nisha Desai Biswal, when she called on the Minister Friday (31) that the US action against Sri Lanka has further strengthened the hardliners.  The Minister has told Biswal that the several factors including money, votes and power are operating behind the international elements against Sri Lanka and the progress Sri Lanka has made in a short time has not been acknowledged. He added that he was not necessarily referring to the US.  "There is a very strong perception of a lack of objectivity and impartiality on the part of the US, and a woefully inadequate acknowledgement of the developments that have taken place," the Minister has said.  The US official has stressed that the US has no hidden agenda and the US is compelled to take certain actions since there are certain stumbling blocks on its way towards reconciliation.  She said that there is growing frustration in the international community that Sri Lanka will not use the opportunity provided by the end of the conflict to move forward.  The Sri Lankan Minister referring to the recent tweet by the US Embassy which said that the military shelled hundreds of families in the North said it was another example of how unsubstantiated claims make a huge effect on Sri Lanka's image.  He has said that there is an imbalanced focus on Sri Lanka in the UN Human Rights Council and the country has become a soft target.  Assistant Secretary Biswal has reiterated that the US is consistent with its position and wants to see the reconciliation process continuing. She has added that the US expects to maintain a positive relationship with Sri Lanka and build upon the existing cooperation in many fields.  Michele J. Sison, US Ambassador in Sri Lanka and Ms. Kshenuka Senewiratne, Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs also participated in the discussion.  US Assistant State Secretary met Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa before her meeting with the External Affairs Minister this morning. She was scheduled to meet Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe in the afternoon.  She will also visit Jaffna and meet the Governor and Chief Minister of the Northern Province and Tamil National Alliance leaders (Colombo page : 31 January 2014).

Dayan Jayatilleke’s tears for mother Lanka - by C. Wijeyawickrema - Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke is writing to Colombo Telegraph as if his rear-end is on fire. On Jan 28, he wrote about his friend Lalith W’s wrong strategy in Geneva and America. On Jan 30, he is warning Wigneswaran (W) for trying to divide Sri Lanka (by passing a resolution asking for a war crimes inquiry by UN). Was that not Dayan was behind all these years? One comment said Dayan was shedding crocodile tears. Dayan (D) must be happiest man in Sri Lanka, because he was able to get President MR into a well during day time, which other presidents did not fall in the night not due to their wisdom, but because the country’s horoscope was good. If there is any aspect of this Wigneswaran drama that one can think troubling Dayan, it is the acceleration of W’s Eelam march. DJ wants W to take time and not to rush (LankaWeb : 31 January 2014).

LTTE Accountability : Central Bank bombed 31 January 1996 - by Shenali D Waduge - The premeditated murder of innocent civilians was planned by LTTE on 31st January 1996. The time 10:45a.m. Premeditated murder is one of the most serious forms of homicide. The attack on Sri Lanka’s Central Bank was carefully planned, well thought out in advance and wilfully carried out on civilian targets unprepared and unaware of the attack. LTTE came prepared in a suicide driven lorry full of 440 pounds (200kg) of high explosives that crashed through the main gate of the Central Bank building after LTTE gunmen fired at the security guards. 91 CIVILIANS were MURDERED and 1400 were injured. 26 people were permanently incapacitated – blind, loss of limb and other injuries meant that they would never enjoy a normal life. LTTE had denied them their fundamental rights.  The bomb destroyed 2 storeys of the 10 storey Central Bank, damaged 8 other buildings and left a crater 8feet deep. Buildings affected were the World Trade Center, Intercontinental Hotel, Galadari Hotel. The front of the Central Bank collapsed into the street. Debris from the bomb flew 1 ½ miles. LTTE had struck once again. Once again on civilians and the number of suicide attacks over 30 years number well in excess of 300. Mangled bodies littered across the streets, buildings ripped apart, personal belongings scattered and people moaning in pain were hallmarks of every LTTE target 20million people went through for 3 decades. The world has forgotten. We have not. We remember every attack, every suicide mission, people fleeing in fear, people scared to walk out of their homes, children unable to play, parents fearful of sending their children for even classes. (LankaWeb : 31 January 2014)

AI tells India to back call for war crimes probe against SL - BY S VENKAT NARAYAN , Our Special Correspondent - NEW DELHI, January 29: India must support demands by civil society actors, UN officials and survivors of human rights abuses in Sri Lanka for an international investigation into alleged war crimes committed during the civil war, Amnesty International India said today.  Amnesty noted that the elected government of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province also reinforced such calls on Monday by seeking an impartial global probe.  Amnesty issued the statement even as visiting Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister Prof GL Peiris was meeting his Indian counterpart Salman Khurshid here to discuss bilaterial issues.  Last year, while supporting a UN Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution asking Sri Lanka to conduct an "independent and credible investigation", India had noted that such an investigation must be to the "satisfaction of the international community". Given the lack of progress from the Sri Lankan government’s side, it is now time for facilitating an international investigation, Amnesty said.  On 27 January 2014, Sri Lanka’s Northern Provincial Council passed a resolution calling for an international investigation into alleged war crimes committed during the country’s armed conflict. The government came to power in a landmark election in September 2013.  "An elected body of representatives calling for an international probe shows how little faith some people in Sri Lanka have in any domestic mechanism," said G Ananthapadmanabhan, Chief Executive, Amnesty International India.  "India must take note of this resolution, and press Sri Lanka at every opportunity to conduct an independent international investigation into all allegations of crimes under international law committed by Sri Lankan government forces as well as the LTTE."  There is substantial evidence, including eyewitness accounts by civilians and humanitarian workers, that in the last months of the 2009 Eelam war, Sri Lankan government forces committed war crimes, including alleged enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions, intentionally shelled civilians and protected areas such as hospitals, and blocked food and medicine from reaching civilians trapped by the fighting, Amnesty charged.  There is also evidence that the LTTE committed war crimes, including the use of civilians as human shields, killing individuals who tried to escape and recruiting child soldiers.  The Sri Lankan government continues to deny credible allegations of crimes under international law committed by its forces and to resist calls for independent investigation of senior officers allegedly responsible, several of whom remain in positions of authority.  In April 2013, a military court of inquiry exonerated the Sri Lankan military for civilian casualties in the last stage of military operations, concluding that any casualties that occurred were the fault of the LTTE. The inquiry’s full report remains unpublished.  A second military inquiry into alleged extrajudicial executions of individuals who surrendered to or were captured by the Sri Lankan military in the final days of conflict was initiated in March 2013, but by the end of 2013 investigators had not even interviewed witnesses other than army field commanders (Island : 30 January 2014). 

Not Investigating LTTE is Disastrous for Sri Lanka at the UNHRC and Elsewhere

Sri Lanka Accountability: Investigate LTTE-TNA allegiance - by Shenali D Waduge - We agree with the US, UK, EU, UN and UNHRC head. There are serious allegations to be investigated. The onus is on the Government of Sri Lanka to immediately INVESTIGATE – how the LTTE emerged, who trained, armed and financially sponsored them and the most important link between a terrorist organization and a political entity such as the TNA. In our eyes both LTTE and TNA are one and the same – the Sri Lankan public now demand that this evil nexus be investigated and the criminality of these entities be exposed and charged under the country’s laws and regulations (LankaWeb : 30 January 2014).

Third consecutive US resolution targeting SL: Consultations in London after US official’s Jaffna visit - By Shamindra Ferdinando - Senior British officials dealing with the LTTE based in the UK will meet US Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal early next week in London as they step up pressure on member states of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to back a third US resolution targeting Sri Lanka since 2012.  Biswal, an American of Indian origin is expected to be in London on Monday (Feb. 1).  Assistant Secretary Biswal will fly to London from Colombo after having completed a three-day assignment here. She is expected to meet senior government as well as Tamil National Alliance (TNA) representatives and visit Jaffna before leaving for meetings in the UK as well as Geneva.  Government sources alleged that India was being pushed by both the US and the UK to back the forthcoming resolution. India backed the two successful US resolutions in 2012 and 2013.  The US State Department announced that Assistant Secretary of State Biswal would focus on a range of bilateral issues, including post-conflict resolution, justice and accountability during her first visit to Sri Lanka. Discussions in London and Geneva would center on the proposed third resolution which was to be built on previous resolutions in 2012 and 2013.  The 47-member body is divided into five groups namely Africa (13 seats), Asia-Pacific (13 seats), Latin America and Caribbean (8 seats), Western European and other states (7 seats) and Eastern Europe (6 seats). Members of the council serve for a period of three years and are not eligible for not eligible for re-election after serving two consecutive terms.  The US embassy spokesperson told The Island that Assistant Secretary Biswal would address the media in Colombo on Saturday afternoon.  Biswal recently succeeded Robert O. Blake, the war-time US Ambassador in Colombo credited with an initiative which led to the US providing the intelligence leading to destruction of four LTTE floating arsenals on the high seas.  GoSL sources told The Island that various Diaspora groups too, were campaigning in support of the US-led resolution with the UK based British Tamil Forum (BTF) and the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) pressing foreign governments, separately.  A senior External Affairs Ministry official told The Island yesterday said that Sri Lankan High Commissioner in London Chris Nonis would attend a conference at the British parliamentary complex today (January 31) organized to discuss alleged Sate takeover of land belonging to Tamil speaking people in the Northern Province. A delegation of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is in the UK for the conference jointly organized by the BTF and the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPG-T).  Members of the UNHRC are Algeria, China, Congo, Cuba, Ethiopia, Gabon, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Kuwait, Macedonia, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Philippines, Venezuela, Argentina, Austria, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Montenegro, Namibia, Peru, South Korea, Romania, Sierra Leone, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States of America.  Sources said that the UK was trying to convince Commonwealth member states serving the UNHRC to vote for the US resolution. Although the British faced somewhat difficult task, EU members would vote together against Sri Lanka, they said, adding that Sri Lanka was in the process of making representations to member states. President Mahinda Rajapaksa already sent special envoys to several countries seeking their support at the next vote (Island : 30 January 2014).

Not Investigating LTTE is Disastrous for Sri Lanka at the UNHRC and Elsewhere - by Dilrook Kannangara - There is broad consensus on the need for an independent domestic investigation into the happenings in Sri Lanka leading to the conclusion of the war (May 2009). However, some argue against investigating the LTTE in the same process. Scales of justice will be uneven and it will be a mockery of justice and investigation if LTTE is left out. When talking about war excessed, LTTE is the elephant in the room and its involvement must be investigated. Leaving out LTTE acts from an investigation is a disaster for Sri Lanka. If LTTE is not investigated, it is better not to do a (biased) investigation at all as the war had not one but two parties.   There is no need to have the LTTE defend itself or stand as an accused. An investigation can proceed without the LTTE party being present or remaining ‘alive’ to face consequences.  The government in response to UNHRC resolutions plans to table the result of the census into the disappeared and the dead in war in March this year. However, it falls well short of an independent domestic investigation. As such it will not satisfy the members. Another resolution will result. The aim seems to be to postpone accountability issues as in 2009 for temporary relief. It does not work as can be seen from the tightening of UNHRC reprimand of Sri Lanka in 2012 and 2013. The longer it is put off, the more political demands need to be granted. What should happen is to address all accountability issues promptly and stand firm against all political demands concerning devolution and demilitarisation which are strictly internal matters.  Not just the security forces and the LTTE but also the connected role of the ‘LTTE Rump’ (Tamil Diaspora sections), NGOs, Tamil racist political parties, India and other connected parties must be investigated by a single body (Lanka Web : 30 January 2014).

UK Parliament venue for Sri Lanka bashing - GTF under fire:LTTE rump divided over post-war strategy - By Shamindra Ferdinando - In the wake of growing differences among various Tamil Diaspora groups ahead of the forthcoming Geneva-based UNHRC session over post-war strategy vis a vis the government of Sri Lanka, the influential British Tamil Forum (BTF) has organized a two-day conference in the UK to censure Sri Lanka.  The inaugural session of the conference meant to target the Sri Lankan government and the military over alleged state takeover of private land will take place in the House of Commons tomorrow (January 31). The second day of the conference will be held at the Kennedy theatre, Institute of Child Health, No 30, Guildford Street London.  A delegation of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is in the UK for the conference jointly organized by the BTF and the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPG-T).  However, the organisers left out the UK based Global Tamil Forum (GTF) widely believed to be the most influential outfit with the British political establishment. The BTF went to the extent of publicly denouncing the GTF accusing the grouping active in over a dozen countries, of failing the Tamil community. Alleging that the actions of the GTF had been detrimental to the cause of the Tamils, the BTF pointed out that the outfit sometimes appeared to have supported Sri Lankan government initiatives aimed at undermining the international campaign for accountability and justice for Tamils in Sri Lanka. The BTF was obviously referring to the GTF’s role in the much talked about South African bid to pave the way for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  Diaspora sources told The Island that the presence of members representing the ruling Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition as well as the Opposition Labour party would give credence to the UK conference. It could be part of a plan to undermine the GTF, sources said.  The TNA delegation included Sivagnanam Sritharan (Jaffna District MP-Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi), Suresh Premachandran (Jaffna District MP-EPRLF) and Pakkiachelvam Ariyanetran (Batticaloa District MP).  Among the invitees were some NGO activists and politicians from several Commonwealth countries.  The event is the first of its kind organised in the UK, since Sri Lanka assumed the chairmanship of the Commonwealth last November.  Well informed sources told The Island that the dispute between the GTF and the BTF, which together met UK Premier David Cameron last November to urge him to shun the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo, should be examined in the backdrop of powerful Diaspora activists based in Norway and Canada teaming up against the GTF. Sources said that with the National Council of Canadian Tamils as well as the Norwegian Council of Eelam Tamils throwing their weight behind the Norway based Nediyawan/BTF, the GTF was likely to be under pressure. Amidst the ongoing power struggle, the Nediyawan faction had set up ‘International Council of Eelam Tamils’ to spearhead the war crimes campaign targeting Sri Lanka.  olitical sources said that the ongoing battle abroad could cause friction among the five-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA). Sources pointed out that those TNA members who had been involved in the GTF/South Africa initiative could find themselves in a difficult position, unless they switched allegiance to those flexing muscles now (Island : 29 January 2014).

Ministry of Defence to probe TNA-LTTE nexus ahead of Geneva HR summit

This should have been done within hours after dismissal of Prabhakaran

MoD to probe TNA-LTTE nexus ahead of Geneva HR summit - EU polls monitors’ report used as evidence - By Shamindra Ferdinando - The Ministry of Defence (MoD) would probe the nexus between the LTTE and the five-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA), a senior MoD spokesman told The Island yesterday.  The official said that the investigation would focus on the close relationship between the LTTE and the TNA since late 2001, when the political grouping recognised the LTTE as the sole representatives of the Tamil speaking people. Based on the findings, legal action would be taken against TNA members, the MoD said.  The international community, too, would be informed of the TNA’s pro-LTTE activities during the conflict, the MoD said.  The TNA consists of the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK), the TELO, PLOTE, EPRLF and TULF.  The MoD official was responding to a recent resolution adopted by TNA-led Northern Provincial Council to urge the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to inquire into the alleged atrocities against civilians during the military offensive against the LTTE.  The MoD official said: "We intend to investigate senior TNA members including those in Parliament and the Northern PC. The investigation is aimed at ascertaining how the TNA?influenced the LTTE strategy leading to war in mid 2006." Asked whether the MoD had irrefutable evidence to support allegations against the TNA, the official said that following parliamentary polls in December 2001, an EU Election Observation Mission had revealed that the TNA had been backed by the LTTE to win the majority of seats in the Northern and Eastern districts. The MoD said some senior TNA representatives had even attended the passing out parades of the?LTTE’s child soldiers. Photographic evidence was available, the MoD said. "We will also inquire into the circumstances under which the TNA on behalf of the LTTE ordered Tamil speaking people to boycott presidential election in November 2005." The TNA made the announcement on November 10, 2005 in Kilinochchi, the then nerve center of LTTE operations in the Northern Province. The MoD acknowledged that there hadn’t been a comprehensive investigation into the TNA-LTTE nexus though some military officers felt an inquiry was a necessity. Responding to a query, the MoD said that except for last presidential polls in January 2010 when the TNA backed former army commander General Sarath Fonseka, the alliance had worked closely with the LTTE at the general elections in 2001 and 2004 (Island : 28 January, 2014).

TN poaching in Lankan waters: JHU decries double standards of TNA - By Dasun Edirisinghe - The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) yesterday accused the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) which claimed to fight for the rights of Tamil people in the Northern Province of being silent on mass scale poaching by Tamil Nadu fishermen in northern waters.  JHU spokesman Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe said that though the TNA was campaigning around the world against the present government claiming that it had violated the rights of Tamil people during the final phase of the war against the LTTE, it was silent on Tamil Nadu poachers taking away the Northern fish resources. "One of the main income sources of Northern people is fishing and the main problem for them is their fish is taken away by Tamil Nadu fishermen," he said.  Warnasinghe said though the TNA was silent on Tamil Nadu poachers, it let out howls of protest when the southern fishermen went to fish in northern seas.  The LTTE, too, chased away the southern fishermen by massacring them in places like Kent and Dollar farms, Warnasinghe said.  Warnasinghe said the LTTE had been silent on Tamil Nadu encroachments and now the TNA was doing the same thing.  "Our stand is both countries should work to stop poaching without giving in to unreasonable demands by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha," the JHU spokesman said (Island : 28 January 2014).

CAN GOSL SOLELY DEPEND ON LLRC ? - War Crimes charge: Urgent need for reappraisal of GOSL's response WAR CRIME ALLEGATIONS: - By Shamindra Ferdinando - Having brought the LTTE to its knees on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon on the morning of May 2009, the government is still struggling on the diplomatic front. For want of a cohesive post-war strategy, the government is now on the defensive in the run-up to the forthcoming United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session in Geneva.  Those responsible for meeting the Geneva challenge in March, 2014 are yet to adopt remedial measures, in spite of the rapidly deteriorating situation. The country faces a third consecutive defeat at the next session when the US moves its third resolution targeting Sri Lanka.  The first resolution in March 2012 backed by the US against Sri Lanka was adopted at the 19th session of the UNHRC in Geneva with 24 nations including India voting against Sri Lanka. Fifteen countries, including China, Russia and Bangladesh were among the nations that voted against the resolution, while eight countries abstained from voting. China vehemently opposed the resolution calling it an instance of meddling in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka’s affairs. Other countries that supported Sri Lanka were Thailand, Cuba, Indonesia, the Maldives, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Angola, Uganda, the Philippines, Kirgizstan and Ecuador.  The second US resolution received the backing of 25 countries, including India. Thirteen countries opposed the resolution, eight abstained, and was 1 absent. Under heavy Tamil Nadu pressure, India directed its permanent representative in Geneva, Dilip Sinha to issue a strong statement condemning Sri Lanka. Sinha declared: "We reiterate our call for an independent and credible investigation into allegations of human rights violations and loss of civilian lives."  Those representing Sri Lanka didn’t have the guts to remind India that Sri Lanka wouldn’t have been in this predicament if not for Indian intervention here. No less a person than one-time Indian Foreign Secretary J.N. Dixit in his memoirs titled Makers of India’s Foreign Policy: Raja Ram Mohun to Yashwant Sinha revealed that the Indian move was influenced by what he called the Sri Lankan government’s evolving security connection with the US, Pakistan and Israel. Dixit went onto explain that the strategy should be examined Vis a Vis Sri Lanka, the regional as well as global environment between 19080 and 1984 (Island : 28 January 2014).

Report published in Sunday Divaina of 19th January 2014 – Translated by Ranjith Soysa - In Ampara district about 5000 acres of State Land had been illegally distributed with the direct interference of a Muslim political party.  Former Provincial/District Secretary attached to Pottuvil Provincial/District council had compiled about 2000 deeds and had pocketed millions of rupees by indulging in this illegal transaction. This person had completed 1200 illegal deeds in a day by placing the official seal and had allocated two acres of land to rouge recipients.  Even though a Provincial/District Secretary can allocate lands only in his area, this person had distributed land in the areas coming under others’ jurisdictions too. Some of those who were allocated illegal lands are under the age of 12 years. A written complaint had been lodged in this regard at the CID by the Commissioner General of Lands. The Minister for the Lands and Land development Mr Janaka Bandara Tennekoon told Sunday Divaiana that most of the illegal land deals had been done in Thirak, Komarai, Wegamak and Dharam palai areas. In the illegal allocation of land, a licence similar to ones used by the Government when distributing land to the landless had been used.

UN ROLE IN SRI LANKA – CREDIBILITY QUESTIONED - by Shenali D Waduge - Let us view some of the comments made by the Office of the UN Secretary General in relation to Sri Lanka.  STATEMENTS ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE SPOKESMAN OF THE UN SECRETARY GENERAL;  New York, 12 September 2011 – ON UN PANEL OF EXPERT REPORT;  “The Secretary-General is sending today the report of his Panel of Experts on accountability in Sri Lanka to the President of the Human Rights Council and the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Sri Lankan Government has been informed of the Secretary-General’s decision to share the report with the Council and the High Commissioner. While the Secretary-General had given time to the Government of Sri Lanka to respond to the report, the Government has declined to do so, and instead has produced its own reports on the situation in the north of Sri Lanka, which are being forwarded along with the Panel of Experts report.” (LankaWeb : 25 January 2014).

US interference in Sri Lanka - by P. A. Samaraweera, Melbourne - A month ago, US Ambassador at Large Stephen Rapp visited Sri Lanka on a so called Human Rights mission. He spent most of his time in the North interviewing people and collecting information against Sri Lanka for the March Human Rights Council meeting. He was accompanied by the US Ambassador, Michelle Sisson. It had now been reported that last week some more officials had come from the US to Sri Lanka and visited Jaffna with the US Ambassador. They had held a secret meeting with Chief Minister Wignesvaran and MP Sampanthan from 9 PM till midnight.  Then, this week the US Ambassador had visited Jaffna and had a meeting with Provincial Councillor Ananthi Sasitharan, who had visited Europe recently, having meetings with the LTTE rump on ‘separatism’. As usual, Chief Minister Wignesvaran and MP Sampanthan had been at this meeting, with US Ambassador. Sasitharan in the past, had been a LTTE recruit married to Eastern Province Political Wing Leader Elilan, who was killed during the war. After the war, while LTTE supporters were rehabilitated, Sasitharan had avoided this Rehabilitation Program.  US Ambassador Sisson’s interference in Sri Lankan domestic affairs is alarming. It had become obvious that the US and the West are doing their best with the LTTE rump and the TNA to dig separatism in Sri Lanka (LankaWeb : 25 January 2014).

Defence Secretary lambastes foreign interference as US envoy meets Elilan’s wife

Probe LTTE atrocities against Muslims too – SLMC - by Manjula Fernando - While welcoming the Government’s ongoing efforts to record the events of a 30-year-war against terrorism, Sri Lanka Muslim Council (SLMC) sources said the atrocities committed against the Muslims by the LTTE too need to be investigated in a systematic way.SLMC General Secretary Hasen Ali said that the Muslims were the only community that was evicted by the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran from the entire North. In an act of ethnic cleansing, they were given a 48-hour notice to evacuate their homes in October 1990. As a result over 70,000 Muslims were expelled forcibly. “The government is putting on record happenings connected to the war against terrorism with regard to other communities and we urge that the sufferings of the Muslims too, their loss of life, livelihood and loss of property to be accounted for.”  Although Muslims were not a part of the war against terrorism, unverified records indicate that around 20,000 Muslims perished as a direct consequence of the violence that prevailed in the country for 30 years until the Security Forces ended it.  “No one knows the exact numbers as there was no proper census. Groups give different figures. The Government must step in and do the needful,” he said (Sunday Observer: 26 January 2014).

GR lambastes foreign interference as US envoy meets Elilan’s wife - By Shamindra Ferdinando- US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Michele J. Sisson met Northern Provincial Councillor Ananthi Sasitharan in Jaffna while the Defence Ministry was exploring the possibility of rehabilitating her in view of her alleged LTTE links. The meeting took place at Hotel Margosa, Chundikulli, Jaffna on Wednesday evening. Among those present were Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP M.A. Sumanthiran.  A mother of three, Sasitharan, contested the first Northern Provincial Council polls last September on the TNA ticket and polled the second highest number of preferential votes secured by a candidate. Chief Minister Wigneswaran obtained the highest number of preferences. The TNA delegation had dinner with Ambassador Sisson at Hotel Margosa, according to sources. Asked whether the Defence Ministry plan for rehabilitating Sasitharan had come up for discussion during dinner, a US embassy spokesperson said: "We don’t have any details to share on any discussions."  Sasitharan was married to Trincomalee District LTTE political wing leader Elilan. Ambassador Sisson was in Jaffna to launch a programme to support the Jaffna fisher community. It was in accordance with a USAID livelihoods project worth approximately Rs. 196 mn.  Addressing a public gathering in the Batticaloa District on Thursday, the Defence Secretary alleged that the US Ambassador in Sri Lanka was interfering in domestic affairs. The Defence Secretary was addressing religious dignitaries and civil society representatives in the Eastern Province at Hotel East Lagoon, in Batticaloa.  Defence Secretary Rajapaksa lashed out at those who had been pushing for foreign intervention in Sri Lanka even after the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009.  Rajapaksa, who is also Secretary, Urban Development, said that foreigners would only make matters worse, therefore all communities should resolve to settle their problems themselves. An irate Defence Secretary alleged that the US Ambassador had overstepped her mandate. He said the Rajapaksas had been in politics for 75 years and they were capable of tackling post-war issues. Emphasising the pivotal importance of thwarting foreign interference in domestic issues, the Defence Secretary said that the country could proceed without advice from diplomats.  Recollecting the circumstances leading to eelam war IV in mid 2006, Defence Secretary Rajapaksa said that those living in the Northern and Eastern regions knew the measures taken by the government to restore normalcy since the eradication of the LTTE.  Security forces brought the entire Eastern Province under government control in mid 2007. The Defence Secretary said that the government speedily handled resettlement, de-mining, rehabilitation, as well as disarming of armed groups subsequent to the conclusion of the conflict.  Responding to a query by The Island yesterday, Defence Secretary Rajapaksa said that a section of the LTTE couldn’t be accepted as a political wing. During the Norwegian arranged Ceasefire Agreement, terrorists had masqueraded as political activists to operate in government held areas, the Defence Secretary insisted. The Defence Secretary said that an attempt was being made to differentiate the LTTE fighting cadre and a non-existent political wing. Those who had been accusing the GoSL over accountability issues weren’t bothered about the TNA calling the LTTE the sole representatives of Tamil speaking people in late 2001, Rajapaksa said (Island : 24 January 2014).

'Sri Lanka has done everything humanly possible to implement LLRC recommendations' - Sri Lanka's top most civil servant, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga has said that the Government of Sri Lanka has done all that was "humanly possible" to implement he National Plan of Action for the implementation of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), since its approval by the Cabinet of Ministers in July 2012.  Weeratunga, who chairs the task force monitoring the National Plan of Action, briefed the Permanent Representatives to the United Nations in Geneva at the Palais des Nations on Tuesday (21st January 2014) on 'Progress in the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka'.  Addressing the UN representatives the official has described the state of the country at the end of the three-decade long war in May 2009 that defeated the terrorist group LTTE and the efforts that went into restoring normalcy to the lives of those affected due to the conflict.  He informed his audience of the action taken by the Government over the past eighteen months to give effect to the recommendations of the LLRC in the areas of International Humanitarian Law Issues, Human Rights, Land Return & Resettlement, Restitution/Compensatory Relief and Reconciliation.  Weeratunga elaborated on the progress made, including the successfully concluded Northern Provincial Council elections, the government's cooperation with the Northern Province Chief Minister in continuing the massive development effort that had been undertaken in the area, developments relating to the Commission of Inquiry into alleged disappearances which recently held its first public sittings in Kilinochchi, as well as the recent Census on deaths/injuries to civilians and property damages due to the conflict.  Noting Sri Lanka's continued cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Lalith Weeratunga said since the visit of the High Commissioner to Sri Lanka in August 2013, at the Government's invitation, the Special Rapporteur on Internally Displaced Persons had visited Sri Lanka in December 2013 and the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants is scheduled to visit in May 2014.  While appreciating the support from the international community towards the implementation of the LLRC National Plan of Action, Weeratunga emphasized that the solutions to reconciliation cannot be found overnight and that trying to do so at the stroke of a pen could be detrimental to a sustained process.  He explained some of the complexities involved such as language issues, lack of senior Tamil administrators in the public service due to the LTTE preventing their recruitment since the conflict started in the early 1980s, and the ground level issues in administration in the former theatre of conflict.  Weeratunga pointed out that although the Government continues to enjoy popular support, some of the recommendations also required evolving a consensus across the ethnic, religious, regional and political diversity in the country, in order ensure that solutions are sustainable.  He emphasized the importance of the opposition including the major Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) joining the government to make the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) which had been constituted, fully functional.  Prior to the briefing to Member States, Weeratunga also met with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanetham Pillay and updated her on developments that had taken place since her visit to Colombo in August 2013.  He also had discussions with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres at the UNHCR and the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross Peter Maurer, on ongoing collaboration between Sri Lanka and their respective organizations (Colombo page : 24 January 2014).

Reportedly, Indira Gandhi had asked her British counterpart Margaret Thatcher to stop military assistance to Sri Lanka including training

INDIRA TOLD THATCHER: STOP HELPING LANKA - Wanted Thatcher to use influence with JR - Declassified document bares details - London: Former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had asked her British counterpart Margaret Thatcher to stop military assistance to Sri Lanka including training, to crush the separatist Tamil Eelam movement in the 1980s, according to newly declassified documents. In a document relating to Sri Lanka, released by the National Archives here under the 30-year declassification rule, a reference was apparently made to India's suspicion in 1984 that Britain's elite Special Air Service (SAS) was training the Sri Lankan military. Gandhi told Thatcher, "We hope that you will use your influence to persuade (Sri Lanka's) President J.R. Jayewardene to give a positive lead by making constructive suggestions at the All Parties Conference. Military aid and anti-insurgency assistance are not enough to overcome a political crisis which has to be faced and resolved." According to another document, the British government under Thatcher allowed former SAS officers to train Sri Lankan security forces against the LTTE. The new set of documents, that will intensify speculation over SAS operations in the region, suggest that in September 1984, Peter Ricketts private secretary to foreign secretary Geoffrey Howe wrote to David Barclay private secretary to then prime minister Thatcher about a request to allow a British company with SAS connections to work in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan government under Presi-dent J.R. Jayewardene was then tackling the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) forces and other groups in the north and east of the island nation. Later, Ricketts said that the SAS was in Lanka for commercial purposes only (Daily News ; 24 January 2014).

Ontario Premier met with Sri Lankan Tamil man formerly linked to LTTE - Report - The Liberal Party Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne had a friendly meeting with a former spokesman for a Tamil Tiger front organization, a Canadian newspaper report said.  Canada's National Post reported that the office of the Ontario Premier has confirmed the Premier's meeting with Nehru Gunaratnam, a former spokesman for the World Tamil Movement (WTM), a federally listed terrorist organization in Canada, while on a visit to a Toronto temple on January 14.  The Premier and Gunaratnam along with city councilor Michelle Berardinetti and Liberal MPP Lorenzo Berardinetti have attended the event at the Kanthasamy Hindu Temple to celebrate Thai Pongal.  Press secretary for the Premier has confirmed the meeting saying that Premier Wynne meets many Ontarians in her public events.  The WTM, which was formed in 1986, is labeled as a "front organization" for the Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Canada, according to the Canadian government website (Colombo page : 24 January 2014).

UK, SL equally responsible for addressing accountability issues – European HR body - By Shamindra Ferdinando - The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) said that it hoped member states of the UN would raise war crimes committed by the UK in Iraq at the forthcoming session of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in March.  Andreas Schueller, legal adviser at the Germany-based ECCHR said that he would appreciate UNHRC members as well as those representing other countries referring to a comprehensive UK war crimes dossier the ECCHR together with prominent law firm Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) of the UK recently handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC).  Schueller was responding to questions raised by The Island in the wake of the ECCHR and PIL pushing the ICC to launch war crimes probe targeting the UK. The 250-page dossier titled, ‘The Responsibility of UK Officials for War Crimes Involving Systematic Detainee Abuse in Iraq from 2003-2008’ dealt with accountability issues.  Having accused Iraq of stockpiling Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs), the US and UK spearheaded the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.  Asked whether they would submit a copy of the same dossier to UNHRC ahead of the next Geneva session, Schueller said that the Geneva body was a political organ and therefore they felt no need to move it. The decision to send the dossier to the ICC was taken on the basis it was a judicial body, the official said.  The UNHRC consisted of 47 countries divided into five sectors namely Africa (13 seats), Asia-Pacific (13 seats), Latin America and Caribbean (8 seats), Western Europe and other states (7 seats) and Eastern Europe (6 seats).  Responding to another query as regards the UK membership in the UNHRC in the wake of war crime allegations, Schueller emphasised that the UK should address accountability issues raised by ECCHR and PIL. The UK should especially explain its failure to conduct domestic prosecutions. Schueller stressed: "Every state is duty bound to effectively investigate and prosecute international crimes, this includes the UK as well as Sri Lanka."  Members of the council serve for a period of three years and are not qualified for immediate re-election after serving two consecutive terms. The UK won a term beginning 2014. When pointed out that the UK had ruled out the possibility of appearing before the ICC, Schueller said that the decision would be made by the ICC as the UK was a signatory to the Rome Statue.  The UK ratified the ICC Rome Statue on Oct 4, 2001 though the US shunned the ICC.  A spokesperson for UK Defence Ministry earlier told The Island that there was absolutely no need for ICC intervention as the allegations were either under thorough investigation or had been dealt with through various means including through the Iraq Historic Allegations Team, independent public inquiries, the UK and European Courts and in Parliament (Island : 23 January 2014).

Secretary Weeratunga briefs Geneva diplomats on progress in national reconciliation - Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga who briefed Permanent Representatives to the United Nations in Geneva at the Palais des Nations on Tuesday (21st January 2014) on ‘Progress in the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka’, has said the Government of Sri Lanka has done all that was humanly possible to implement the recommendations of the National Plan of Action on the implementation of the LLRC, since its approval by the Cabinet of Ministers in July 2012.  The following is the text of a statement issued from Sri Lankan mission in Geneva: “ Weeratunga, who chairs the Committee Monitoring the National Plan of Action on the Implementation of the National Plan of Action of the LLRC who informed his audience of the state the country was left in following a near thirty year terrorist conflict which ended with the defeat of LTTE in May 2009, the effort that went into restoring normalcy to the lives of those affected due to the conflict and detailed the action taken by the Government over the past eighteen months to give effect to the recommendations of the LLRC in the areas of International Humanitarian Law Issues, Human Rights, Land Return & Resettlement, Restitution/Compensatory Relief and Reconciliation. He elaborated on key progress, including the successfully concluded Northern Provincial Council elections, the Government's cooperation with the Chief Minister in continuing the massive development effort that had been undertaken in the area, developments relating to the Commission of Inquiry into alleged disappearances which recently held its first public sittings in Killinochchi, and in this regard, the cooperation with the ICRC as well as the recent Census on deaths/injuries to civilians and property damages due to the conflict, the results of which are expected shortly. Noting Sri Lanka's continued cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Mr Weeratunga said since the visit of the High Commissioner to Sri Lanka in August 2013, at the Government's invitation, the Special Rapporteur on Internally Displaced Persons had visited Sri Lanka in December 2013 and the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants is scheduled to visit in May 2014. While the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education had also been invited, he had indicated his inability to visit Sri Lanka in the current year. The government is giving due consideration to visits by other Special Rapporteurs (Island : 23 January 2014).

The Dilemmas the GOSL finds itself in -  by Shenali D Waduge - No post-independent Government has faced such a barrage of disputes as the current Government many of which have been as a result of its own making. The momentum brought about by the patriotic forces following the LTTE’s closure of the Mavil Aru water supply forced the Rajapakse Government to take a detour from following the customary path of appeasement via negotiation table to a virtual declaration of war. That led to the eventual collapse of the LTTE and liberation of Sri Lanka ending 3 decades of terrorism. The collapse dealt a severe blow to those aligned to the LTTE in a partnership that had an agenda beyond that of a utopian Eelam for Sri Lanka’s Tamils. Whatever Eelam currently being drafted was never meant for Tamil Hindus though it is taking longer for Hindus to realize this hard fact. The ultimate agenda objective remains very much in place championed by Hindus forsaking their own. Yet without the terror factor the quest has become somewhat rocky to say the least made all the more difficult given the position the Government finds itself placed in. Giving in to the Agenda-lobbyists would mean their downfall – not giving what the agenda-lobbyists desire would mean a plethora of international demarche s’ in the form we are witnessing courtesy Geneva – all leading to the same objective – regime change and eventual take over no different to Sudan and Kosovo (LankaWeb : 22 January 2014).

War crime allegations: Justice Minister calls for cross examination of accusers, verification - By Shamindra Ferdinando - Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem yesterday said those who levelled war crime allegations against Sri Lanka should be cross-examined. Hakeem, who is also the leader of the UPFA constituent, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), said that the veracity of allegations had to be ascertained and, therefore, specific allegations would have to be made in a court of law either here or abroad. Minister Hakeem was responding to questions raised by The Island in an interview at the Justice Ministry yesterday.  The Justice Minister said that the recommendation that written and oral submissions as regards accountability issues received by the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s three-member Panel of Experts (PoE) would remain ‘strictly confidential’ until 2031 could hinder the ongoing efforts to address accountability issues. The PoE further recommended that even after that declassification they would be subject to another review in accordance with UNSG Moon’s bulletin on ‘Information sensitivity, classification and handling.’  The PoE comprising Maruzki Darusman (Indonesia), Steven R. Ratner (US)and Yasmin Sooka (South Africa) released its report on March 31, 2011.  The US embassy, too, declared that it wouldn’t reveal eyewitness accounts of war crimes though officials met on a regular basis with a broad range of individuals around the country.  The Island sought a clarification in the wake of US embassy’s claim in a statement issued at the conclusion of State Department official Ambassador Stephen J. Rapp’s visit on January 11 that the envoy had got an opportunity to listen to eyewitness accounts of serious human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law including those which allegedly occurred during the closing stages of the Vanni war.  Minister Hakeem said that the government was in the process of introducing a witness protection programme to facilitate investigations into accountability issues. The country had felt the need to introduce such a programme even before the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009, he said. Referring to the work undertaken by the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) as regards witness protection mechanism etc at the height of the war, the Minister said that the Attorney General’s Department had objected to the move.  Responding to another query, the SLMC leader said that in accordance with mutual assistance in criminal matters legislation there was provision for foreign courts to obtain evidence relating to a specific case heard in Sri Lanka and transmit the same to Colombo. Minister Hakeem said that he had an opportunity to discuss the proposed mechanism with Ambassador Rapp, who was in Sri Lanka from January 6 to 11.  Acknowledging that their refusal to divulge sources had been influenced by the assumption that those giving evidence could be harmed, Minister Hakeem said that a witness protection programme was now on the drawing board.  The minister stressed that whatever the circumstances, information collected by the UN or any other agency couldn’t be accepted without proper verification. The PoE is on record as having said that it has received over 4,000 submissions (both oral and written) from 2,300 persons (Island : 21 January 2014).

THE AMERICAN CAT IS OUT OF THE BAG - Reported by Keerthi Warankulasuriya (The main news item published in Sunday Divaina of 19th January –translated by Ranjith Soysa) - If the government forces are removed from the North war crimes charges will be withdrawn The demand rejected by the Sri Lankan government. .Sri Lankan government has totally rejected the American demand to consider withdrawal of Sri Lankan Government forces from the North and five other stipulations. The Americans have stated that if the Government of Sri Lanka agrees to implement these six stipulations the proposed motion on war crimes will not be tabled in Geneva in March. The senior government sources told Sunday Diviana that the Sri Lankan government will not sacrifice the national interests and the national security in consideration of the US proposals.  Among the US demands are : to provide all powers to the North and the East including the powers regarding land and the Police, to initiate an independent inquiry into the defence force personnel who are alleged to have committed war crimes, to let the NGOs and the media operate without any restrictions, to take legal action or to free the LTTE suspects presently in custody.  The according to the Government sources they have refused to consider the proposals favourably as the US demand is closely connected to the national security and if accepted will pave way for the armed separatism.  Meantime, most of the countries have informed Sri Lankan government they have no alternative but to support the American proposal as they are dependent on American aid. The motion against Sri Lanka which will be tabled on 26th March will be sponsored jointly by the USA, Canada, the UK, Switzerland and Norway (Island : 21 January 2014).

Who is interested in human rights? - By Nalin de Silva - The "Irida Divaina" of 19th January announced with a banner headline that the mask worn by US the US had dropped, and it is very likely that the good translators at the American Embassy in Sri Lanka would have brought it to the notice of the officials in the embassy who are ‘committed’ to human rights. It may be that the embassy is not concerned of news items reported in the Sri Lankan press, especially of the ‘vernacular’ Sinhala as these are mostly read by Sinhala Buddhists. Why should the super power be concerned of what the Sinhala Buddhists think of the American policy? The embassy it appears has ignored the news item, and no media has bothered to ask the spokesperson of the embassy to respond to it.  In essence what the ‘Irida Divaina’ has said was that the American government would withdraw the resolution that is intended to be brought before the Geneva human rights council provided that the Sri Lankan government would implement the following among others: devolving all powers including land and police powers as per the thirteenth amendment to the Northern and Eastern Provinces, releasing land in the Northern Province, Hold an independent investigation of all officers in the armed forces who have alleged ‘war crime’ charges against them, allowing the NGOs and media to work without any obstacles within the country and indicting the tigers in custody or releasing them.  I do not want to analyse these demands, and it is reported that the government has rejected all of them. The demands are political and a threat to the national security as the Sri Lankan government has apparently realised. However, what is interesting is that according to the ‘Irida Divaina’ the American government is prepared to drop the charges of human rights violations if the Sri Lankan government accedes to its demands. These charges on human rights violations would naturally include those on so-called war crimes, and what it implies is that the west especially England and USA are using human rights as a political weapon. This is not something unknown, and unlike the ‘pundits’ and enlightened people of various fora we ‘yakkos’ knew always that human rights were used by the western countries led by England and the US against countries in Asia and Africa to maintain the hegemony of the Judaic Christian culture (Island : 21 January 2014).

ICRC Sri Lanka during final phase of war - by Shenali D Waduge - The ICRC started operations in Sri Lanka in 1989, an invitation extended by late President Premadasa following his tryst with the LTTE and with LTTE expanding its terror ICRC was able to expand its operations too. What is noteworthy is that ICRC established its offices in areas that were held by LTTE and this certainly questions ICRC’s claim to be ‘impartial’ ‘neutral’ and ‘independent’ as set out by its global mission statement established in 1863. We run through some of ICRC’s past.  Accentuating these ambiguities further is how an impartial, neutral and independent body would call for the immediate declaration of a demilitarized zone in the area covering the Jaffna Fort and the Jaffna hospital. This was declared in July 1990. In fact John Amaratunga then Minister accepted the proposal of the ICRC to the surprise of all which eventually resulted in the overrunning of Kokavil and Kilinochchi by the LTTE and major battle losses for the Sri Lankan Military even having to vacate Mankulam. “Why should we have demilitarized zones and ceasefires when they are brutally massacring innocent people? I am not in a mood for any demilitarized zone or ceasefire” was what State Minister for Defense Ranjan Wijeratne had to say when he learnt of the move to declare a demilitarized zone by the ICRC with blessings of John Amaratunga!  In another example that questions the impartial / neutral and independence of the ICRC was its suggestion to give publicity to LTTE’s release of 15 Tamil speaking policemen. Ranjan Wijeratne had pointed out that LTTE had killed 600 policemen so the release of 15 policemen was a mere publicity gimmick. While ICRC was working towards demilitarized zones – LTTE had even stormed the Kattankudy mosque killing 150 Muslims in prayer. What needs to be reiterated is that the ICRC did not make ANY COMMENT on LTTE atrocities during this entire period. Much of ICRC’s records of actions throughout this period where LTTE’s atrocities were at an all time high reveals a high degree of bias which the international agency needs to accept without defending itself (LankaWeb ; 21 January 2014).

 

Final stages of the war: Colombo-produced documentary screened in London

The Buddhist Monk at the 96 th Mile Post on the Habarana Trincomalee Road: LTTE massacres & Economic Emancipation- the need of the hour - Garvin Karunaratne, Former Government Agent, Matara District - On my visit to Trincomalee in December 2013 I was privy to a monk settling a family dispute. My mission was to hand over a parcel of dry rations to deserving temples and in that process I marched into a temple at Mollipotana near Mavil Aru, at the 96 th mile post on the Habarana Trincomalee Road. I was greeted by a Bo Tree decorated with Buddhist flags but there was no one around. I walked into the residence of the monks- all empty rooms with a scattering of furniture. It looked desolate rooms, deserted by the monks. As I walked in further with a certain amount of trepidation, I heard a stern voice and listened. Someone was admonishing another person not to neglect his aged parents who had brought him up from birth because he had found solace in love. His voice was very firm, but polite and repetitive. He believed in consensus- talking and arguing till every one was convinced. The 160 Sinhala families near the temple looked up to the monk for advice and justice when there was any problem. They believed in the monk more than in the Police and the Judiciary. Later, I was told of a husband that had gone on the rampage assaulting the wife and children who was admonished by the monk and ultimately punished by having to work a day clearing the temple land.  The Sinhala families around the temple sought the assistance of the monk in anything and everything. It was a wevai, dagabai, pansalai, the trio I had seen at work all over Nuwara Kalaviya, my home in the Sixties when I worked for the peasantry in the Agrarian Services Department. Then there was more amity among the people. Even the Leftist elements were held in check as detailed in my novel, Vidanege Diyaniya (Godages) That was four decades or more ago. Now the rural hinterland is the home for the evangelical activities- an endless number of them who offer sweeteners to the poor with the idea of converting them- a sewing machine or something as an offer of help. That evangelical inroad has ruined the amity that once reigned in the rural areas. Let that not happen; not yet here in Mollipotana . The evangelical missions come in posing as investors and developers courted by us for bringing in some foreign exchange and the social fabric is shattered for good (LankaWeb : 20 January 2014).

MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan’s questionable tale of harassment in Sri Lanka - by Mahinda Gunasekera -By E-mail - The Editor Toronto Star, 1 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario - Dear Editor, Re: MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan’s questionable tale of harassment in Sri Lanka; I refer to the news report filed by Alex Boutilier published in your edition of January 16, 2014 which describes MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan’s version of her supposed experiences in Sri Lanka where she attempts to show that she was a target of the Sri Lankan intelligence and immigration authorities . In the first place she erred in visiting the country as a tourist without disclosing the fact that she was an elected parliamentarian of Canada, and meeting with separatist elements of the Tamil Tiger’s proxy party known as the TNA and other supporters of the Tamil separatist cause. MP Sitsabaiesan has obtained an entry visa on-line just like any one of the over one million tourists and not followed established protocol of informing Sri Lanka’s Mission in Ottawa. She probably drew the attention of members opposed to the Tamil Tigers resident in the northern province bringing same to the notice of the authorities. She being a rookie legislator who is a backbencher of an opposition party would certainly not have registered in that country’s radar to cause any concern at that end. It is possible that the Immigration authorities in Sri Lanka may have later cautioned her about engaging in activities of a political nature in the capacity of a tourist (LankaWeb : 20 January 2014).

Dr. Pakiasorthy Saravanamuttu: Evidence on Sri Lanka at Canada’s House of Commons - by Asoka Weerasinghe, Canada - During the last couple of days I have read the evidence that you had sought out mainly from accusers of Human Rights violations in Sri Lanka during the last phase of the 27-year long bloody ‘Eelam’ war which ended militarily on 19 May 2009. I note that you have cast your net wide over the salt-waters, to seek such evidence, and I read with concern and despair that the evidence sought were primarily from critics who base their arguments on unsubstantiated allegations. Any one who has been following this issue, will quite rightly as I would, categorize, Mr. Callum McRae, Mr. Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu, Prof. David Petrasak, Ms. Frances Harrison and Senator Hon. Hugh Segal, as dispassionate ‘one-sided critics’ of Sri Lanka for having won the Eelam War and stopped the killings of innocent civilians by the most ruthless terrorists in the world, the Tamil Tigers.  Now that you have cast your net far and wide to seek the truth on this issue, I hope you will be honest in your search for the truth and hear the other side of the story, for you and your committee to make a final judgment on this painful and sordid issue and write your report of your conclusions.  As such, I propose the following names, from whom I guarantee you will hear a honest opinion on this issue (LankaWeb : 20 January 2014).

The myth of the rule of Law in an American Police State – and America preaches to the world on human rights!!! - by Shenali D Waduge - The country that proclaims to be the shining example of freedom of every kind cannot escape the harsh realities that questions how far Americans are living in a free state. Tragically, most Americans do not know or realize how successive Governments have been fooling them – now America is a country in debt, majority of its citizen’s impoverished suffering numerous health issues, its war veterans depressed and under medication and American politicians believing it can still dictate to the world because the Companies that rule them say so. Moreover, the example of the Indian diplomatic passport holder being subject to a series of American Laws, legality of which denies even India to question the humiliation should seriously make India and the Rest of the World to wonder how safe it is for them to live or even travel to the US. http://www.policestateusa.com/ By the time people in America begin to realize that America is now a police state it would have been too late. Former top NSA official William Binney, declared that “We (the US) are now in a police state.” The mass spying conducted by the Obama regime, Binney says “is a totalitarian process.” (LankaWeb : 19 January 2014).

The Ugly American – War Criminal Britain and Modern Indian Sepoys bring Resolutions against Sri Lanka - by Shenali D Waduge - What can we say when 3 countries pretend they are the most virtuous nations of the world while as each day unfolds their crimes emerge one after the other? The latest in a never ending list of atrocities are images of US marines burning bodies of Iraqi’s, while a 250 dossier has been submitted to the International Court against UK war crimes in Iraq and India which has more military than civilians in Kashmir and unmarked graveyards think they can bring resolutions against other nations ignoring their crimes. Nations of the world must surely wake up and realize that in endorsing their actions by silence it is only encouraging them in their wicked ways and who knows who will be the next target. In a world where R2P – Global War on Terror are all synonymous with profit through plunder it is time other nations woke up to the realities that their nation may be next on the hit list.  In the case of the US – they have wriggled stipulations that have ensured none of their military gets pulled up for any crimes. The UK dossier is likely to be just an eyewash too because the ICJ has been accused of being the white man’s burden for African leaders ONLY. As for India, all we can say is they are living up to the legacy of how they were trained to function as sepoys through colonial rule. India is likely to simply watch their own natives be humiliated by the West simply to receive a pat on the back as the West’s new ‘ally’. The Indian diplomat’s humiliation is just one example of the likelihood awaiting many Indians as the West will test India’s reaction to how far it will go to show it is an ‘ally’ of the West and India is doing a great job of forsaking their own even distancing itself from the entire Asian continent to belong to the white man’s circle or rather circus. There are plenty of sepoys in Sri Lanka too even among the ruling and amongst public servants who falter to defend the nation’s sovereignty and its pride.  There are plenty who are willing to hand over the nation on a platter. Just as the US, UK and India are getting exposed for their criminality. They have become the laughing stock of the world and for officials who do not get a cent into their accounts from the plunderers should really start to rethink of the immoral role they are playing in the lies they are helping to fabricate. Is this what their parents or education taught them to do?  As for the rest of us in Sri Lanka all we need say is that we can see through every lie being weaved. As a nation the public is well aware of the lies being developed. We know the extent the local foreign missions have been apprised to build up the youth against the nation by sending them for youth camps and giving them modern electronic equipment and showing them how to bring about a Sri Lankan spring, we are also aware how even politicians are being manipulated – luckily none of us trust them and they stand for all that Buddha taught – nothing is ever permanent. Which is why the public is well focused on ensuring that whatever happens we will defend the nation against ALL those who are attempting to divide, devolve or separate the nation (LankaWeb : 18 January 2014).

Wigneswaran pushes forward West’s Re- Colonizing game plan in calling for re-write of Sri Lanka’s History - by Shenali D Waduge - It has become a key political and imperial strategy of the West intent on de–stabilizing and breaking up Sri Lanka to attribute all ills of this country to the majority Sinhala Buddhists and vilify the ‘Mahavamsa’ the ancient Historical Chronicle (originally written in the 5th Century by Mahanama Mahathera) as the literary source of all ethnic and religious disharmony in the country, while forgetting that most of this country’s current ethnic and religious disputes have originated in events that took place commencing in 1505 with the entry of the Portuguese followed by their successors i.e. Dutch and British, and local surrogates pushing hard to make Sri Lanka a vassal state subservient to the dictates of European colonial interests. Chief Minister Wigneswaran’s demand that Mahavamsa be set aside and a new history of the country be re- written with foreign input is a silly puerile effort. At best it is an ill – informed move with hardly any chance of success in this modern Broadband cum Internet led era. History stands witness. There is not a single shred of evidence to prove that wars were declared and people slaughtered, people forcefully converted, nations invaded and occupied because of Buddhism, Jainism or Hinduism. That however, cannot be said of Christianity/Catholicism or Islam. Much of the histories records of heinous crimes like the Inquisition, Crusades, Religious Holy Wars were tabulated not by Buddhists or Buddhist scholars but by Christian / Islamic scholars/writers themselves. The commentaries, spins and debates of these crimes and genocide are all available in major libraries and on the Internet. Therefore, a childish suggestion by a learned Chief Minister Wigneswaran to re-write history would mean that he may have to shut the Internet. Even if a bon fire is made of the Mahavamsa, the bloodstained record of the crimes of the European imperialistic nations and their chief accomplice the Christian Churches cannot be simply erased from history (LankaWeb : 18 January 2014).

A Workable Action Plan for UNHRC 2014 and Beyond - Prepared by: Dilrook Kannangara - Already three resolutions against Sri Lanka have been passed in UNHRC in 2009 (wrong to classify it as a win as today’s problems stem from it), 2012 and 2013. A fourth is on the way in 2014. As per threats made by UK and US officials, it will focus on imposing an international investigation into alleged war crimes. Facing the war crimes issue and defeating it are essential. 1. The Context - UNHRC resolutions, focus and action have little to do with human rights. They are more about wrestling control of matters internal to nations and manipulating them for the continued world dominance by cartels within the UNHRC. At all times the most powerful western cartel maintains a majority in the 47-member UNHRC.  Western interests and Indian interests converge on Sri Lanka. Both these interests want the island nation divided into two nations for their global and regional domination strategies to work. Peaceful rise of China further necessitates such a move to disintegrate the island nation as the west and India fear their hegemonic interests compromised. With that in mind, ‘Co-Chairs’ (donor group of aid to Sri Lanka) and India engineered the 2002 CFA (Ceasefire Agreement) which recognised a de facto territory in Vanni and parts of Jaffna, Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara districts that fell within LTTE control. A ‘Line of De facto Control’ was recognised by them. Pursuant to their disintegration strategy, various approaches were discussed including ISGA, PTOMS, etc. However, by 2007 Sri Lanka had successfully procured better borrowing avenues bypassing the Co-Chairs. These included China financing and direct borrowing in bond markets. The ability of ‘Co-Chairs’ to dictate terms to Sri Lanka ended. UNHRC replaced the ‘Co-Chairs’ arrangement.  Today the western and Indian interest in dividing the island nation is far greater. Peaceful rise of China has continued, India is planning for power projection beyond its territory with aircraft carriers and foreign military bases, A2/AD (anti access/area denial) tactics have become most important in naval warfare, US troops leaving Afghanistan in 2014 loosing a vital foothold in South Asia and the Diego Garcia lease is up for renewal in 2014 (expiring in 2016) risking the US its largest overseas military base (LankaWeb : 18 January 2014).

Final stages of the war: Colombo-produced documentary screened in London - ‘The Last Phase’ - By Sujeeva Nivunhella in London - Members of the Sri Lankan community and foreigners gathered at London’s Carlton Club last week to listen to former Conservative Party MP and an incumbent member of the European Parliament, Nirj Deva of Sri Lankan origin and watch a Colombo-produced documentary that depicted a different side of the final stages of the war against the LTTE than that propagated by the Callum Macrae-Channel-4 combination.  The talk and video presentation were organized by the Conservative Friends of Sri Lanka, a dedicated group of the Sri Lankan community in the UK, which is working towards convincing the public here that the Channel4-Macrae- Frances Harrison image of the last days of the war is a contrived, unsubstantiated version of the end of the war propagandized by Sri Lanka’s critics.  The documentary "The Last Phase" directed by Jeevan Chandimal and narrated by Richard Mundy tells the story of some Tamils, mainly women and children, who, while trying to escape from the LTTE human shield, suffered severe injuries and were flown to Colombo hospitals for surgical treatment and months of resuscitation.  It tells the story of a LTTE woman cadre who, as a child, was trained to fight for the Tamil cause, but later decided to quit. However, she was injured along with her infant son. It also portrays other Tamil men and women who suffered critical injuries and of the suffering of these civilians who tried to break away from clutches of the LTTE. They were eager to be free to lead the normal life they were accustomed to but had to pay a heavy price physically and psychologically. This provided the audience with the different perspective of the humanitarian operation that has been hidden from the public in the UK.  The event was attended by Neville de Silva, Sri Lanka’s acting High Commissioner, diplomats, borough councillors, representatives of the Conservative Party and a wide cross-section of Sri Lankans of all communities.  Before the screening of the documentary, Nirj Deva claimed that Sri Lanka’s case had not been understood by the British because they were either ignorant of or ignored the country’s history and its political position as one of Asia’s oldest democracies and its dominant place in the geography of the Indian Ocean through which major sea lanes carried goods in both directions to the Pacific nations and the Atlantic Ocean states.  Giving a few lessons in history, he pointed out how India involved itself in Sri Lanka’s politics and trained and armed militant groups that eventually launched terrorist attacks on the country. He emphasized Sri Lanka’s geostrategic position and hence the need to delicately balance the country’s foreign policy.  Dr Lionel Samarasinghe, President of the Conservative Friends of Sri Lanka, Rajan Yorke and Amal Abeywardena, the livewires behind the organization, which receives no financial or logistical support from anyone and is completely self-financing, encouraged the gathering to inform their friends to attend the next screening in the UK Parliament (Island : 18 January 2014)

Sri Lankan government prepares to face the challenge in Geneva - The Sri Lankan government says it will face all the challenges it may encounter at the upcoming United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session in Geneva in March. Speaking at an event held in Kandy Saturday, President's Special Envoy for Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said the government will face all the challenges against the country while safeguarding the country and its security forces.  "We have a big challenge in March. We are ready to face any challenge," said Minister Samarasinghe.  "We will neither betray the nation nor our gallant troops," he said adding that the security forces did not commit any crimes while fighting the Tamil Tiger terrorists.  He said the data collected by the Department of Census and Statistics on the deaths and missing persons in the Northern Province will be presented before the UNHRC at the March session.  He added that the data will prove the claims of over 40,000 civilians were killed during the final stages of the war were false.  Explaining that the civilians were however killed during the battle when the LTTE used them as human shields, Minister Samarasinghe reiterated that the security forces never targeted the civilians.  "We all know what the LTTE did. They took 300,000 civilians as human shields. They fired at troops from among the civilians," Samarasinghe explained. The Minister noted that it was not possible to take a count of the casualties during the final battle and said the false figure of 40,000 was given by a United Nations official to help him sell a book on the war.  Former UN official Gordon Weiss in his book "The Cage: The fight for Sri Lanka & the Last Days of the Tamil Tigers" said up to 40,000 civilians may have been killed in the final stages of the civil war.   Cabinet Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella earlier this month said although Sri Lanka expects heavy pressure at the session, the country is not isolated by any means and a number of countries have expressed their support. The government has already launched a program to meet the challenge, he said.The 25th session of the UNHRC is scheduled to begin on March 03 (Colombo Page : 18 January 2014).

TNA councillor to resist govt plans for rehab - Reacting to the possibility of being sent to a government—run rehabilitation camp meant for LTTE detainees, a TNA woman councillor of the northern provincial council has said she would resist the move.  Speaking to local media, Ananthi Saseetharan said that putting her under rehabilitation would require her arrest and any attempt to do so would have international repercussions for the government, according to The Hindu.  Saseetharan said she had never been a member of the LTTE but she wanted justice for her husband and several others who had disappeared during the three-decade ethnic conflict. She was responding to a news report in The Island.  The newspaper quoted a senior Defence Ministry source as saying that those who had not been arrested or surrendered at the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009 missed the government’s rehabilitation programme and Saseetharan was among those who had avoided rehabilitation.  Her husband Sinnathurai Sivakumar alias Elilan was the LTTE’s political commissar in the eastern port district of Trincomalee. He was among the top LTTE leaders killed during the final battle. The government has released the 11,000 surrendered LTTE members after rehabilitation and feels that Saseetharan would not be espousing the separatist cause if she were to go through the process.  She had been elected to the northern provincial council in the landmark election held last September (Island : 17 January 2014).

The Burning Sri Lankan National Issue? Collective Hypocrisy And A Collective Mental Illness - by Janaka Yagirala - Imagine the following experiment, you have a person with a white cube in front of him (or her). If you ask the question “Is there a black cube in front of you?”, the expected answer from a sane person with a clear conscious would be “No it is a white cube”. Now if the person were to answer “Yes it is a black cube”, what common sense conclusions can you draw about the subject? This may seem like a trivial trick question but understanding these conclusions has huge implications in solving what we are told is he burning “National Issue” of Sri Lanka by seeking out the root cause of the problem. For the readers convenience the important conclusions and categories are numbered (LankaWeb : 17 January 2014).

LTTE Political Wing was meant to infiltrate military-held areas; Sasitharans no saints - MOD - by Shamindra Ferdinando- The Defence Ministry yesterday said that Northern Provincial Council member Ananthi Sasitharan was under investigation, though she had publicly distanced herself from the LTTE fighting cadre.  A senior Defence Ministry spokesman said that the ongoing inquiry was meant to establish her role during the conflict as well as the post-war era. The Defence Ministry was responding to criticism of its decision to weigh the need to rehabilitate Ms. Sasitharan.  During the conflict Ananthi Sasitharan worked at the Kilinochchi Divisional secretariat. Ms Sasitharan successfully contested the first Northern Provincial Council polls last September. Representing the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) she polled the second highest preferential votes in the Northern Province comprising the administrative districts of Jaffna, Vavuniya, Mannar, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu.  Asked whether authorities had specific information regarding Ms. Sasitharan’s involvement in terrorism, the official pointed out that an attempt was being made to sanitize her on the basis that her husband, Velayutham Sasitharan alias Elilan functioned as the political wing leader of the Trincomalee district. The Defence Ministry alleged that the LTTE created a political wing especially to infiltrate territory in Northern and Eastern Provinces, during the Norwegian arranged Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) in early 2002. The CFA stipulated that LTTE could establish political offices in areas under the government control, the ministry said, adding that the Sasitharans could have taken advantage of the CFA on many occasions.  Sri Lanka wouldn’t give special status to those terrorists masquerading as political activists, the Defence Ministry insisted. Referring to the killing of LTTE political wing leader S. P. Thamilselvan in early November 2007, the ministry stressed that the former Jaffna commander was targeted as he was a member of a terrorist outfit. In fact, a US military team that examined the ground situation in late 2002 asserted that the LTTE was exploiting the CFA to its advantage. The team from Pacific Command alleged that: "Since the signing the CFA with the government of Sri Lanka, the LTTE has increased political presence within military controlled territory and actively repositioned, re-equipped and re-trained combat forces. As a result of these activities, the LTTE has improved its ability to affect civilian popular opinion, interdict military lines of communications and seize control of additional territory." The ministry said that those who had visited Sri Lanka to examine the ground situation ended up listening to either former terrorists or the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) which endorsed the LTTE as the sole representative of Tamil speaking people leading to the outbreak of eelam war IV (Isand : 16 January 2014).

Rayappu ‘Goebbels’ Joseph – a viper in the underwear of the local Catholic Bishops’ Conference

Neither Rapp Nor The USA Could Ever Substantiate Their Accusations Against Sri Lanka Based On Diaspora Sympathetic Innuendo - Insight By Sunil Kumar - Yet another worthless attempt to discredit Sri Lanka in advance of the forthcoming Geneva Summit appears to be the case where the pun fittingly needs to be interpreted as “Rapp’s Crap” which has been coined by a local satire group interestingly enough towards the related field and as usual instigated by the US and in all probabilities prompted by the UN who in turn have the harriers in the form of the global Tamil diaspora mostly Tamil Tiger sympathetic, behind them so what else is new beyond a few cackles!  The latest meeting between Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris and Ambassador Stephen. J. Rapp, US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice, had seen both sides take up the so called adversarial positions which many analysts believe would seriously damage future avenues of co-operation and engagement and quoted somewhat circumspectly in the local media. Needlrss to say Prof. Peiris is far from being an adversary being of high intellectual acumen as well as political savvy as he is as always armed with relevant statistics and credible as well as tangible proof in defence of his country against adversaries where Mr.Rapp the only apparent adversary seems to have coughed up ~ you guessed it ~ a load of crap!  The Legislature in Colombo and all government politicians with of course a few exceptions perhaps for reasons best known to themselves when adjudicating that Rapp appeared to have pre-judged the issues and had a closed mind on the matters under discussion and seems to have accepted unverified information provided by interested parties as correct were never far from the salient truth. In fact they seem to have been spot on.  This said on the basis of the invalidity of the puny sources of information he seems to have linked to his conclusions as well as the huge bias written all over his attestation on which basis it deserves to be trashed and he alongside some of his cronies adamant in their insistence needing a summoning towards the explanations of a few home truths about which they appeared to be whether inadvertently or not ~ blinkered as well as overstepping certain diplomatic protocols which they certainly were not entitled to!  With reference to Mr.Rapp’s somewhat officious stand, the source which has said in no uncertain terms that“This visit seems to have been undertaken by Rapp from a position of pre-judgment seeking aspects justifying the objectives he is seeking,’’ seems to have drawn a very appropriate conclusion which further accentuates the worthlessness of Mr Rapp’s accusations (LankaWeb : 15 January 2014).

Stephen J.Rapp do you know WIN and Gallup International say, today US represents the largest threat to world peace ? -  By Charles.S.Perera - “In their annual End of Year poll, researchers for WIN and Gallup International surveyed more than 66,000 people across 65 nations and found that 24 percent of all respondents answered that the United States “is the greatest threat to peace in the world today.” Pakistan and China fell significantly behind the United States on the poll, with 8 and 6 percent, respectively. Afghanistan, Iran, Israel and North Korea all tied for fourth place with 4 percent.”  There is proof of this in Sri Lanka -a country seeking a peaceful existence, where Stephen J. Rapp US Ambassador for Global Criminal Justice, who had come with a pre-conceived Agenda to accuse Sri Lanka for human rights violations. He had met a political party TNA, which still promotes the ideals of the former Tamil terrorists’ demand for a separate Tamil State. They had taken him to St.Anthany’s ground at Iranapallai where Stephen J.Rapp had taken a photo and sent it over the twitter with the comment that “ the Sri Lanka Army shelling had killed hundreds of families at St Anthany’s Ground.” (where he was standing).  This Stephen J.Rapp has stated without any attempt at verify the truth of the statement, just taking what some one had stated as the truth beyond any reasonable doubt. It is strange coming from a US Attorney and a one time Chief of Prosecution of ICTR. This is not surprising as all allegations the USA State Department make against Sri Lanka are based on the exaggerated lies of the Tamils for Obama and the rest of the pro-terrorist Tamil expatriates.It is unfortunate that these investigators from USA come with minds which have already accepted that Sri Lanka is guilty of the offences they are coming to investigate. It is unfortunate, because with that mind set they will accept all they are shown and every thing they are told as correct evidence of violation of human rights committed by the Government of Sri Lanka and its Armed forces.  The Americans seem to ask correct questions to inculpate Sri Lanka , but never pose those same questions to themselves. America cannot have solutions for internal problems of other Nations, other than opinionated suggestions, but they may have solutions to solve their own problems which they have not solved (LankaWeb : 15 January 2014).

War crimes: Gotabhaya urges US to share ‘eyewitness accounts’ - US won’t characterise Ambassador Rapp’s discussions - spokesperson - By Shamindra Ferdinando - The US wouldn’t share information gathered by Ambassador Stephen J. Rapp of State Department’s Office of Global Criminal Justice during his almost week-long visit to Sri Lanka with the government, US Embassy Spokesperson Juliana A. Spaven sad. "Embassy officials meet on a regular basis with a broad range of individuals around the country and we won't characterize those discussions. Ambassador Rapp's statement speaks for itself."  She was responding to a query by The Island whether Colombo based US embassy officials had met those who allegedly witnessed Sri Lankan troops committing battlefield atrocities before Ambassador Rapp’s arrival in Colombo on January 6th.  The Island sought a clarification in the wake of Ms. Spaven’s claim in a statement issued at the conclusion of Ambassador Rapp’s visit on January 11 that the envoy had got an opportunity to listen to eyewitness accounts of serious human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law including those that occurred at the end of the war." Having claimed to have direct access to eyewitnesses, the spokesperson urged Sri Lanka to seek the truth through independent and credible investigations and where relevant have prosecutions.  Asked if the US had inquired from eyewitnesses about whether they had furnished information to UNSG Ban Ki moon’s Panel of Experts (PoE) which investigated alleged accountability issues in Sri Lanka, the embassy spokesperson reiterated the mission couldn’t characterise those discussions.  Ambassador Rapp visited Sri Lanka from January 6-11 to meet government and political leaders, civil society, and to tour former conflict zones, the spokesperson said.  Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that if the US was genuinely interested in an independent and credible investigation it should assist the GoSL efforts by furnishing whatever information Ambassador Rapp collected. Defence Secretary Rajapaksa said that the US shouldn’t deprive the GoSL of an opportunity to verify all available evidence. The Defence Secretary said that the US claimed having eyewitness accounts of war crimes close on the heels of accusing the Sri Lankan Army of killing hundreds of families in artillery assault on Iranapalai in January 2009. "The US should confront us with eyewitness accounts which it claimed to have gathered during Ambassador Rapp’s recently concluded visit."  Responding to another query, Defence Secretary pointed out that UN Chief’s PoE, too, had adopted a similar stance as regards ‘war crimes evidence’. It had decided against giving Sri Lanka an opportunity to examine evidence in its hands until 2031, he said. Even then the release of the identities of those who had made allegations would be subject to a further appraisal, the Defence Secretary said. Quoting the PoE report, he pointed out that 2,300 persons whom the panel claimed to have made over 4,000 representations couldn’t be acceptable as victims unless they were ready to identify themselves. No government would accept such allegations, the Defence Secretary said, alleging that an attempt was being made to overwhelm the government by propagating lies ahead of the forthcoming Geneva human rights session (Island : 15 January 2014).

Northern Episcopal vengeance - by Durand Appuhamy, Negombo - It has been alleged that two northern Catholic bishops, Drs. Rayappu Joseph and Thomas Saundranayagam, have accused our security forces as having used cluster bombs and chemical weapons during the last phase of eelam war 1V.   As for cluster bombs, The Island newspaper of the 11th Jan revealed to us that it was the US Pacific Command that urged our Air force to acquire Cluster bombs for "unarmoured area targets" in 2002. The government, however, refrained from acquiring any cluster bombs. If it had acquired them, the ever-so inimical US would have by now revealed details of this transaction. Further all mine clearing units to date have not reported the discovery of any cluster bombs. Alan Poston was a supervisor of mine clearing operation in the north. He was originally the source of a rumour that a cluster bomb was found by the mine clearers. When confronted he denied the rumour and also averred that he had not made any such statements on this issue. The use of chemical weapons is another big canard. If this had happened, there would usually be some surviving victims with dire breathing difficulties and burnt injuries. Those patients would seek medical relief. In the east medication was supplied in Pulmoddai under the supervision of ICRC where Indian military/medical personnel treated the wounded. Those doctors would surely have diagnosed chemical poisoning and would have reported it to the ICRC. No such reports have been unearthed to date. Further the Tamil doctor Shanmugarajah was one who moved with the forced migration of LTTE’s human shield from place to place and erected many makeshift hospitals and provided emergency surgery and emergency medical treatment. In a recent detail statement of his work in a Sunday newspaper he did not make any reference to any patients with injuries from chemical attacks. Thus the conclusion is that the bishops were engaged in vile and vicious propaganda to discredit the country and its security forces in the eyes of their gullible clients.  According to the recently published electoral register of the Northern Provincial council, the number of voters for Vavuniya was 94,367, for Mannar 72,420, for Killinochchi 68,589 and for Mullaithivu 52,407 and for Jaffna 426,703. The above figures prove the absurdity of the bishops’ allegation that our army killed 140,000 civilians. Can you even imagine how a population far larger than the population of Vavuniya was decimated by the army? Where is the gas chamber that incinerated them? Where is the burial ground of those imaginary victims? Could an army engaged in a non-stop mortal combat risking life and limb, be in a position and have the time to divert soldiers to this ghastly job of killing civilians? So what motivates these bishops to malign our country? I can only speculate. I think it is simply revenge. They find it difficult to accept the military defeat of the LTTE. This, in my view, is thoroughly scandalous and unacceptable, even though they would argue that they are seeking justice for the victims. Even in this case where is the justice for the victims exhumed in Mannar in the neighbourhood of Bishop’s house? Where is the justice for the victims in the plane shot down in the Mannar Sea? I am not surprised that Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith had rightly disowned the slanderous accusations of the two anti-Sri Lankan bishops. They are still in the era of the Hebrew Bible which advocated "an eye for an eye!" (Island : 15 January 2014).

Rayappu ‘Goebbels’ Joseph – a viper in the underwear of the local Catholic Bishops’ Conference - by Mario Perera, Kadawata - In a recent commentary I referred to the declaration by Mr.Rapp the visiting US ambassador at large that hard core LTTE’ers should have been prosecuted and not rehabilitated. Now, as is well known, there is a section of them who have neither been prosecuted nor rehabilitated. A key figure of this number is Rayappu Joseph who has been duly tagged ‘Rayappu Goebbels’. I wish also to make reference to the public utterance over the BBC during an interview, by Gota that had General Fonseka made the white flag comment he would be hanged because it is treason.  What Rapp and Gota have stated are legal remedies available to a State under those dire circumstances. What would have been Gota’s reaction if a Sinhalese had come public with the declaration that the army used chemical weapons against the Tamils and tried to convince a visiting empowered enquirer of that fact? Gota would, as he did with reference to Fonseka, have said: I will hang him high. Now this is precisely what Rayappu ‘Goebbels’ has done. How come he is immune? Are we not thereby accepting the reality that Tamil criminals of the North are of a different jurisdiction? We are compelled to accept the fact that between the ‘south’ and the ‘north’ there is, to say the least, some separation – if not ‘de facto’ then at least ‘de jure’. They are under an international ‘white power’ government fuelled by their diaspora which MR is bending backwards to please.  Rayappu Goebbels told Rapp in other words that the army used chemical weapons against the Tamils. Considering his unwarranted, prejudicial, pernicious and destructive repeated intrusions into the political and diplomatic arena I suggested that the State has the right to demand the removal of Rayappu from his administrative function within State territory. This is quite a normal procedure of the State against any NGO functionary spreading seditious ideas within the country, and the Church is a glorified NGO. In this respect Rayappu is no different from Gordon Weiss or similar. For national purposes the title ‘bishop’ in itself has no more sanctity than that of ‘poosari’ or ‘lebbe’. They can call themselves what ever name they want, give themselves all the powers they want, and rig themselves up in all the colours of the kaleidoscope, all that is their matter. What matters is that no Sri Lankan citizen or any other as a matter of fact, engaged in treasonable and seditious practices should be allowed to continue in his functions with impunity within national territory. Now how did the peers in religion of the Tamil Goebbels react to the latter’s utterance? They did so with innuendos that still suggest the culpability of the State! They said: that is his opinion, indicating that he has a right to his opinion. They conveniently side-stepped the real issue which is one of truth and falsehood, of right and wrong. With reference to the question of Rayappu’s removal from his present functions it has been stated in these columns that Rayappu’s appointment was made by the Pope. This is true. Yet such appointments they are nevertheless not made ‘in vacuo’ or on a papal hunch. Candidates for bishoprics are scrutinized, and so to say placed under the microscope of papal diligence and concern. Candidates for bishoprics do not advertise themselves. They are proposed by the body of local bishops the head of whom is the cardinal. The recommendation of the bishops’ conference, the local governing body of the church is an absolute prerequisite. The head of this body is once again the Cardinal although they seemingly share the honours among themselves as regards the chairmanship of that body as a sign of their fraternity: a sort of I tap your back and you tap mine. The cardinal nevertheless remain the ‘primus inter pares’ – the first among the equals. Therefore if the removal of a bishop from his charge is in issue, there too the opinion and advice of the bishops’ conference and its head will have great weight, even the conclusive weight, as the Vatican (the pope) will not act on his own personal initiative and will bow to legitimate national constraints (LankaWeb : 14 January 2014).

Finally the British are taken to the ICC for War Crimes in Iraq - by Shenali D Waduge - When we had been thinking that the ICC was created to put on trial only African and other Third World leaders a 250 page dossier on Britains war crimes in Iraq has been submitted on 11 January 2013 to the ICC by Birmingham-based Public Interest Lawyers and the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR.). Knowing the scale of lies the West resort to the possibility that Britain’s case at the Hague is to show that the ICC is unbiased cannot be ruled out as well. Nevertheless, the fact that a dossier detailing some of the crimes often kept hidden gives the rest of the world the opportunity to shame leaders like David Cameron who thinks he can descend on nations to shine ‘human rights’ and humiliate the hospitality accorded to him. Every time Britain has been accused of war crimes it has always been brushed aside but the dossier gives a leverage now over those pointing fingers. Professor William Schabas, human rights law expert says that “What this application does is throw down the challenge to the court to show there are no double standards.” We await the day that happens. Double standards in international criminal justice must end. When Sri Lanka’s President declared ‘people in glass houses should not throw stones’ Cameron should have taken note – now the light has shone on Britain’s SYSTEMATIC War Crimes in Iraq.  The country pressing for ‘international investigations’ are now in the thick of an international investigation that is likely to boomerang on other nations of the First World especially NATO nations who have also been part of the War Crime Consortium in all of the bogus humanitarian interventions now taking place. The US however has ensured none of its troops would be taken to any international court for any offence – so literarily they are above all laws in existence.  Dossier Title : “The Responsibility of UK Officials for War Crimes Involving Systematic Detainee Abuse in Iraq from 2003-2008?, Dossier Charges: The 250 page document charges that “those who bear the greatest responsibility” for alleged war crimes “include individuals at the highest levels” of the British Army and political system.  Some of the names of the people being accused : two former Defence Ministry supremos, Geoff Hoon and Adam Ingram, Defence Secretary and Minister of State for the Armed Forces, respectively, under Tony Blair’s premiership, during the planning and invasion of Iraq and for most of the UK’s occupation. General Sir Peter Wall, head of the British Army; Witness testimonies : 400 Iraqis (LankaWeb : 14 January 2014).

Mahavamsa Buddhism of Wigneswaran and Sharmin S - by C. Wijeyawickrema - Introduction; Lankaweb readers need to surf Colombo Telegraph (CT) website to get an idea of the crazy things taking place on the other side of their world. It is full of examples reminding us the Sixteen Dreams of the King Kosol. Recently, I saw two news items on CT. First was by one Sharmini Serasinghe, who on her own words “was Director Communications of the former Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) under Secretary Generals Jayantha Dhanapala and Dr. John Gooneratne, with over thirty years in journalism in both the print and electronic media” says the late Ven. Piyadassi of the Vajirarama taught her so many things as a child including the habit to sit at the table with him. The second CT story (Jan 8, 2014) reports, “against this background, Wigneswaran referred to an article published in the Colombo Telegraph, titled ‘Mahawamsa- An insult to the Buddha’ by the Sinhalese journalist Sharmini Serasinghe, saying it was an exceptional article that portrays the truth. CT goes on, reporting “…Speaking at the inauguration, of the SOS Children’s Village in Jaffna last Sunday 5th January, Wigneswaran said that Sinhalese Buddhist propagandists, were claiming that Sri Lanka was a Sinhalese Buddhist country, and therefore other communities must live according to how the majority community wished……He further pointed out, that these propagandists needed to be reminded, that the Tamils were always here, as the majority of the North and East of the country. He said that this was acknowledged in a letter to Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam, by illustrious personalities such as E A Samarawickrama, and Sir James Peiris, way back in 1919……He added that, these Sinhalese Buddhist propagandists were using, the 6th Century AD Pali Chronicle- the Mahawamsa, to create ill feeling against Tamils, by portraying them as aliens……Wigneswaran warned that, if the country’s distorted history is continued to be taught in schools, trouble will inevitably ensue. Therefore he suggests, for a panel of Sri Lankan and foreign experts, to be entrusted with the task of re-writing Sri Lankan history impartially, from the earliest times, to that of independence from British rule, in 1948. (The story above is based on the report filed by PK Balachandran‘s to Indian Express). It was after the second story by Wignes that I decided to read the first story by Sharmini S. I record here what I thought about these two crazy stories (LankaWeb : 14 January 2014).

MOD ponders rehabilitating NPC member Ananthi - By Shamindra Ferdinando -The Defence Ministry is seriously considering accommodating Northern Provincial Council (NPC) member Ananthi Sasitharan at a rehabilitation facility to prevent her from propagating separatist sentiments. She represents the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK), the dominant partner of five-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA) led by R. Sampanthan, MP.  She was elected to the NPC last September.  A senior Defence Ministry source told The Island that those who hadn’t been arrested/surrendered at the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009 missed the government rehabilitation project. Ananthi was among those who had avoided rehabilitation , the official said, adding that a decision would be made soon.  Ananthi is the wife of Sinnathurai Sivakumar alias Elilan in charge of LTTE political section in the Trincomalee District. The Defence Ministry alleged that Sivakumar had been masquerading as a political activist during the Norwegian arranged Ceasefire Agreement (CFA). Ambassador Stephen J. Rapp in charge of the Office of Global Criminal Justice received a briefing from Ananthi during his recently concluded visit to Sri Lanka. Since her election to the NPC, Ananthi toured Canada, the US, India, Germany, Denmark and Norway, where she met government officials and LTTE activists.  Asked whether the government was planning to hunt for those who had managed to avoid rehabilitation, the official said perhaps Ananthi wouldn’t have adopted such a hostile stance towards the government and the military if she had undergone rehabilitation. The government has released over 11,000 LTTE cadres in batches following rehabilitation over past four years. The release of LTTE personnel took place under the supervision of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). The project was funded by several countries, including the UK, the Netherlands and Japan.  The spokesman admitted that the detention of Ananthi at a rehabilitation facility could trigger strong protests from the international community ahead of the forthcoming UNHRC session in Geneva as well as the TNA. However, the government was of the opinion that Ananthi would continue to undermine post-war reconciliation process unless she underwent rehabilitation, he said (Island : 14 January 2014).

Ambassador Rapp tells Defence Secy: ‘Instead of rehabilitating terrorists, you should have prosecuted them’

US accuses countries forgetting its own use of Cluster Bombs and WMDs - by Shenali D Waduge - “Military men are just dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.” – Henry Kissinger. America cries ‘bring down dictators’ little forgetting that they vote for Presidents who do not think twice about ordering use of chemicals upon entire villages and wiping out the natives of nations they invade on fictitious allegations that they have become masters at cooking up. While US falsely accuses countries of possessing ‘weapons of mass destruction’ America conveniently hides its use of depleted uranium and cluster bombs but has the audacity to send officials to sovereign nations and denigrate these nations purely based on allegations most of which they know are concocted with their connivance. With all these criminalities staring at America, the country creates portfolios to cook up war crime charges against other nations and these officials are now asking us to ‘seek truth’ and quoting a whole list of other terminology that is part of the bandwagon of lies and like the US tweet falls well in line with the modus operandi of how US and other globalists function. So our most recent visitor has been US State Dept investigator for ‘war crimes of other nations except US’ and he will be or would have already drafted parts to be inserted into the 3rd Resolution against Sri Lanka in March. Who is making the allegations that the US will take as witness? Father Rayappu Joseph, Bishop of Mannar who declared open the ‘Embassy of the Tamil Eelam’, the Eelam House in London and allowed LTTE to use the Madhu Church and even fired from the Church to provoke the army to fire leaving the army with a Hobson’s choice and the Bishop never so much as issued a single statement demanding LTTE to leave or even complained to Church superiors overseas. It was a question of whether they all knew about the LTTE usage and did not mind (LankaWeb : 13 January 2014).

‘Let’s get together and help reintegrate ex-LTTE cadres into society’ - Member of Northern Provincial Council and SLFP Organizer for Jaffna District Angajan Ramanathan delivering his maiden speech to the council last week (Jan 09) said the NPC should give priority to help reintegrate ex LTTE cadres into society.  He said:?"The former cadres of the LTTE have begun to lead a peaceful life with their families. Yet, there are only few or no opportunities for them for employment. It is necessary to note that a considerable section of them are disabled. It is bounden duty of the Northern Provincial Council to find them employment opportunities. I propose that the Council should offer them employment on a priority basis in accordance with their qualifications."  Excerpts of the speech: "I am eager to work in a spirit of co-operation and service with Chief Minister Justice C.V. Wigneswaran, a legal luminary, and other members of the Council, who are dedicated to raise the lives of the people.  It is pertinent to express my gratitude to Governor G.A. Chandrasiri for his dedicated contribution for the peaceful life and development of the people of the North prior to the formation of the Northern Provincial Council.  I grew up all my life seeing and hearing only about, the war, destruction and the damage it has done. Most of my peers, most of my team and most of my closest political group & volunteers are also made up of people who mostly grew up with the war - so I’m a part of and a representative of a special generation that has not experienced how and what life was before the war and whether you agree or not, this generation is the future of this great land.  There’s more than tens of thousands of ex-LTTE carders who have been rehabilitated by the government led by President Rajapaksa, unlike most warriors who are fighting with words, here and abroad, those guys actually went to war for whatever the misguided conceptions they were made to believe in but if you now talk to those rehabilitated youth, what do you think they want? Another war? a separate country? or integration, normalcy and success in life? Let’s get together and help them integrate with the society, find them a true cause to believe and help them enjoy everything that you and I enjoy in life, all they want is another opportunity.  The former cadres of the LTTE have begun to lead a peaceful life with their families. Yet, there are only few or no opportunities for them for employment. It is necessary to note that a considerable section of them are disabled. It is bounden duty of the Northern Provincial Council to find them employment opportunities. I propose that the Council should offer them employment on a priority basis in accordance with their qualifications.  It is my belief that all members will agree with this view without any reservation (Island : 13 January 2014).

Northern CM agrees to give gifts to all Hindus in prison - By Norman Palihawadana - An attempt by Northern Province Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran to hand over presents only to LTTE suspects at the Welikade prison in view of tomorrow’s Thaipongal festival was thwarted by prison officers.  When the Chief Minister wanted to handover presents to LTTE suspects, the prison officers have told him that it would amount to discrimination if only the Tiger suspects were considered and told him to consider all Hindus serving prison terms at the Welikade jail.  Wigneswaran relented to the request made by the prison staff (Island : 12 January 2014).

Geneva: Elephant in the room - The US is at it again. While carrying out indiscriminate drone strikes, adductions and assassinations in a bid to neutralise terrorist threats it has begun crusading for human rights in time for the Geneva summit. Ambassador-at-large Stephen Rapp was here to prepare the ground for another UNHRC resolution against this country. He wasted his time and energy by coming all the way here, pretending to be on a fact finding mission; Washington is determined to go ahead with its anti-Sri Lankan move with or without his input. Was it that he wanted to escape a polar vortex spell which brought temperature below zero back at home?  Ambassador Rapp and the US mission in Colombo have given away their battle plan with a twitter post which claims that hundreds of families were killed in army shelling in 2009 in one place alone in the North. One wouldn’t have been surprised to find such an unsubstantiated claim on a pro-LTTE website. Instead of plucking figures out of the air like a lazy schoolboy writing an argumentative essay, the US ought to provide reliable information to support its claims.  It is not being argued that everything is hunky dory on the human rights front in this country. A certain amount of international pressure may be necessary to keep the government reminded that the sky is not the limit. But, the countries which have taken upon themselves the task of having ‘accountability issues’ during the final phases of the Vanni war probed ought to mention specific instances of alleged war crimes without making sweeping statements.  The US wants the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) recommendations implemented forthwith. Yes, there shouldn’t be any delay on the part of the government in implementing recommendations by its own commission. But, how would the US reconcile its call for implementing LLRC recommendations and its campaign to prevent the publication of the Chilcot report on the UK’s involvement in the Iraq war and the correspondence between President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair as regards that illegal war?  Strangely, in Geneva, nobody dares take up numerous, blatant human rights violations and war crimes committed by the US, which has beaten the rap by virtue of being a leading world power (Island Editorial : 12 January 2014).

UNHRC SESSIONS IN GENEVA IN MARCH 2014 - by Chanaka Bandarage BA, LLB, GDLP Australian Lawyer - (i) An International Commission of Enquiry against Sri Lanka? - At the next UNHRC sessions in Geneva in March 2014, there is the possibility that an International Commission of Enquiry can be set up to investigate the war crimes allegations against Sri Lanka, in relation to the final stages of the war against Tamil Tigers.  Though they may think it will be easy, setting up of such an International Commission of Enquiry against Sri Lanka will not be an easy task for the adversaries of Sri Lanka.  It is true at UNHRC in Geneva we have failed twice – in 2012 and 2013. India voted against us on both occasions. Last time (in 2013), 13 countries voted in favour of Sri Lanka, but 25 countries voted against us. 9 countries abstained from voting.  I belive the vote this year (2014), will be too close to call.  The current membership (47) of the Human Rights Council of the UNHRC is as follows:  Algeria, Argentina, Austria , Benin , Botswana , Brazil, Burkina Faso , Chile, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire , Cuba, Czech Republic , Estonia, Ethiopia , France , Gabon, Germany, India , Indonesia, Ireland, Italy , Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait , Maldives, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Namibia, Pakistan , Peru , Philippines, South Korea , Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia , Sierra Leone , South Africa, Macedonia, UAE, UK, USA, Venezuela and Vietnam.  Judging the current membership, most Asian and African countries may want to vote in favour of Sri Lanka, otherwise they may abstain from voting. India is again likely to vote against us. The misfortune for us is that the EU countries will cast a block vote, and their votes will go against Sri Lanka. The US and UK will put undue pressure on some African and Latin American countries to vote against us. It is interesting to watch how Japan and South Korea would vote this time (LankaWeb : 12 January 2014).

Mannar, Jaffna Bishops’ war crimes charge: Catholic Bishops’ Conference won’t support move – Cardinal - US embassy claims having access to war crimes evidence - By Shamindra Ferdinando and Norman Palihawadana - Bishop of Colombo Rt. Rev. Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith yesterday said that the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka wouldn’t endorse the allegations made by Bishop of Mannar Rt. Rev. Dr. Rayappu Joseph and Jaffna Bishop Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Saundranayagam that Sri Lankan forces had used cluster bombs as well as chemical weapons during the last phase of eelam war IV.  The Bishop of Colombo was responding to a query by The Island in the wake of media reports that the Bishops of Mannar and Jaffna had called for an international war crimes investigation during a meeting with US Ambassador-at-large at the State Department’s Office of Global Criminal Justice Stephen J. Rapp in the North and US Ambassador in Colombo Michele J. Sison.  Rt. Rev. Dr. Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith emphasised that the controversial statements attributed to the two Bishops were based on their person opinion. At the conclusion of Ambassador Rapp’s six-day visit on Saturday, Juliana A. Spaven, Press and Information Officer, US Embassy, Sri Lanka and Maldives said that the official during discussions here had had the opportunity to listen to eyewitness accounts about serious human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law, including those that had occurred at the end of the war.  Spaven reiterated the US commitment to ensure an independent and credible investigation to pave the way for prosecutions. She said: "The United States remains committed to working with the government of Sri Lanka to promote greater peace and prosperity for all of the people of Sri Lanka. It is vital that all sides come to an agreement on events, have appropriate redress, and move forward as a unified country that upholds the rule of law and respects the principles of democratic governance." (Island : 12 January 2014).

Foolish antics of MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan and Comments of MP Paul Dewar - by Mahinda Gunasekera, Canada - By E-mail January 10, 2014; Hon. Thomas Mulcair, MP, Leader of the NDP, Leader of the Opposition, House of Commons, Ottawa - Dear Mr. Mulcair,  Re: Puerile Antics of MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan and Comments of MP Paul Dewar.  I am writing to bring to your attention the foolish antics of MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan on her recent visit to Sri Lanka as reported in the media, which I trust you are fully aware of. She is a caucus member of the NDP and the Deputy Whip of your Party, and should know better how she should conduct herself on a private visit undertaken by her to that country. She had travelled there on a tourist visa without disclosing the fact that she was a Canadian parliamentarian ignoring accepted protocol of informing Sri Lanka’s mission in Ottawa, and try to engage in the internal political affairs of Sri Lanka during her stay there.  We are aware of her hostile actions against Sri Lanka both within the House of Commons and outside, and also her links to the proscribed Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) from pictures displayed in her facebook since eliminated. Her meetings with politicians in Sri Lanka who still advocate the break up of Sri Lanka and the creation of a separate state exclusively for the Tamil community were reported with pictures in the Tamilnet, a propaganda website of the Tamil separatist bloc. She was obviously representing herself to them as a Canadian parliamentarian from the NDP. What I and other Canadians would like to know is whether she was tasked by the NDP to carry out an anti-Sri Lanka agenda to prop up the Tamil separatists, or was she pursuing an agenda based on her ties to the Tamil Tiger rump in the diaspora who are seeking to punish Sri Lanka for defeating their military and terrorist wing? (LankaWeb : 12 January 2014).

A black-white plan to salvage Sri Lanka - by C. Wijeyawickrema- Dayan Jayatilleke of the 13A + fame has come up with his latest proposal to save Sri Lanka from the March 2014 UNHRC Geneva trap. He no longer talks about Indian MIGs moved to South Indian air fields ready to face Sri Lanka or the American Navy ships. He said Wigneswaran was the best thing that had happened for the Tamils and became silent after one or two letters, warning W to be patient and moderate (or not to become another Vyatharaja Perumal). W has no agenda to accommodate Dayan’s soft path, and instead W wants to re-write Sri Lankan history removing the Mahavamsa Buddhism. Dayan took such an about turn in his warning letters that ome pro-Eelam writers thought that Dayan was trying to get MahindaR’s attention to get a UN posting again!  Dayan still boasts that he got 2009 Geneva victory while 2012 and 2013 were losses. Without even informing Sri Lanka, Dayan added 13A to his 2009 submission and he should explain why he could not get a unanimous approval for his 2009 thing because that was what America, UK, EU and Japan wanted all along, the 13A path to Tamil Eelam. Unless, MahindaR decided to remove 13-A and empower people at the village level (GSN) by a Jana Sabha system with a 10 member people’s committees elected on a non-political party basis for GSN units demarcated on an ecology based boundaries, he will not be able to stop the American plan to nail him down using the UN system. America (corporate US establishment) will go on this path if it cannot see MR’s regime is ousted from power sooner and they can wait and wait the same way they waited to USSR derailed or to get the WTO installed (40 to 50 years).  Now Dayan who is a Christian-Marxist proposes 3 things. (1) Appoint an independent commission of inquiry to look into war crimes headed by 1 or 2 from the list below. (2) Dayan wants a dialogue between Wigneswaran and MahindaR on how to make NPC work and (3) Create a mini-cabinet on foreign affairs with people 3-8 (LankaWeb : 11 January 2014).

Sri Lanka President's Secretary to meet UNHRC High Commissioner this month - Anticipating serious pressure from the international community at the upcoming United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session in Geneva, the Sri Lankan government is sending its top civil servant to Geneva later this month to meet the chief human rights official of the UN.  Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga will leave for Geneva later this month to meet the High Commissioner of UNHRC Navanetham Pillai, government sources said.  The meeting between Weeratunga and the UNHRC High Commissioner is scheduled to take place in the third week of January, according to government sources.  At the discussion, the President's Secretary is expected to explain to the High Commissioner the actions Sri Lanka has already taken and future actions to be taken regarding the resolutions passed at the UNHRC in the past two years.  Weeratunga, who heads the task force appointed to implement the recommendations of the domestic body Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), is expected to inform the UNHRC High Commissioner that the government may not be able to implement some recommendations of the LLRC.  Those recommendations include the sensitive factors such as granting a political settlement to the ethnic problem, devolution of land and police powers and bringing laws for the safety of the witnesses etc (Colombo Page : 11 January 2014).

Rapp "pompous,’’ US messaging methods "grotesque’’ - GL meets US Ambassador for Global Criminal Justice - Friday’s meeting between External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris and Ambassador Stephen. J. Rapp, US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice, had seen both sides take up adversarial positions which diplomats believed would seriously damage future avenues of cooperation and engagement.  Colombo had indicated that Rapp appeared to have pre-judged the issues and had a closed mind on the matters under discussion and seems to have accepted unverified information provided by interested parties as correct.  ``This visit seems to have been undertaken by Rapp from a position of pre-judgment seeking aspects justifying the objectives he is seeking,’’ one source said.  The visiting ambassador who traveled to the north and talked to people there said he had been briefed on incidents by people who had witnessed them. Based on such testimony, Rapp had said he was ``convinced’’ that the 40,000 figure of those who died was accurate.  His claim that as a prosecutor, he could judge credibility of testimony was seen as ``pompous’’ by the Sri Lanka side.Well informed sources said that the matter of the Twitter picture and caption posted by the US Embassy here describing the St. Anthany’s (sic) ground being ``the site of the Jan. 2009 killing of hundreds of families by army shelling’’ had also come up at the Peiris – Rapp meeting. Although Colombo had not summoned the US ambassador over the posting, a call on the ministry of the US Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) with a visiting delegation had been used by Mr. K. Amunugama, Secretary to the External Affairs Ministry, to raise this matter.  The DCM had told Amunugama that the Twitter posting was a result of the Embassy’s belief that as a result of various adverse press articles as well as the anti-Rapp demonstration outside the Embassy perceived to have been organized by a government minister, they had to give out a public message.  They also wanted to convey reports received from people in the area as credible and that Rapp wanted to highlight the need for a Witness Protection Bill. The mild-mannered Peiris, credible sources said, had categorized this manner of working as ``grotesque.’’  A Victim and Witness Protection Bill was ready and was likely to be presented to a Cabinet Sub-Committee as early as this week and Anti-hate speech legislation was also being prepared for cabinet consideration, Rapp was told during the meeting. He was further briefed that non-summary proceedings on the killing of five strudents on the Trincomalee beach had begun last September and the next hearing was set for March 6.Peiris has also said that the census of the disappeared was being done by the Department of Census and Statistics. Enumerators were public servants including university and school teachers and village officials like grama niladaris (Island : 11 January 2014).

Rapp has come with a preconception that Sri Lanka committed war crimes – Wimal Weerawansa - US Ambassador-at-Large at the Office of Global Criminal Justice, Stephen J. Rapp has come with a preconception that Sri Lanka had committed war crimes during the final phase of the war. He has already pre-judged the situation without a firm basis, says Minister Wimal Weerawansa.  Accompanied by the US Ambassador in Colombo, Michele J. Sison, Rapp had visited Puthumathalan and declared that the "Sri Lanka army had used cluster bombs killing hundreds of people". This shows that he has pre-judged the situation and already "convinced" himself that war crimes had been committed, the Minister said.  Speaking at a ceremony to distribute sewing machines worth Rs. 3 million to low income families at the CETRAC center in Battaramulla on Friday, Weerawansa said that Rapp’s preconceived statement indicates that he has come with the objective of pushing through the resolution against Sri Lanka at the human rights sessions in Geneva.  If he has already made up his mind that cluster bombs had been used by merely looking at a building, what is there to investigate any further? He has already predetermined the situation. He must be even aware how many cluster bombs were used! What is the use of an investigation when he has come here with vested interests and a pre-notion to nail Sri Lanka for ‘war crimes’?, the Minister queried.  It is clear that international forces are not interested in ascertaining whether war crimes happened or not. They are opinionated and want to put Sri Lanka on the dock irrespective of what may or may not have happened, he said.  Their objective is clear: Ignore the truth and target the Sri Lanka army, which showed a great degree of discipline during the war and saved thousands of innocent civilians used as cannon fodder by the LTTE, Minister Weerawansa noted (Island : 11 January 2-014).

40, 000 Civilian Deaths In Sri Lanka – David Shearer D’Post 6/1/14 -Fact or Fiction? - by Dr. Chula Rajapakse MNZM Spokeperson, United Sri Lanka Assn. Wellington NZ- Prime Minister John Key was right not to refer to the allegation of 40,000 civilian deaths of highly questionable credibility, in the last months of Sri Lanka’s war of liberation from Tiger Terror, at the CHOGM in Colombo in November , and David Shearer is wrong for being critical of this (Opinion Dompost 6th Jan). Thisbecomes evident when one traces how this figure evolved and the evidence against such a high figure.  The Tamil Net made the first claim of the number of civilian deaths at around 7000, allegedly based on UN sources, soon after the end of the war in May 2009. Sir John Holms the then UN under secretary in charge of humanitarian operations , was quick to clarify that it was only an estimate and was not comfortable with it as it was not based onevidence as the UN was not on site at the end of the war. Thereupon The Times London , who had earlier had it’s reporter expelled from SL accused the UN of collusion with SL , in making a low estimate, an accusation vehemently denied by the UN. The Timeswent on to escalated the figure to 20,000 based on “estimate of thousand deaths a day” and “analysis of areal photographs”. This drew criticism from many including The Guardian & BBC and even more vehemently from the UN.  Gordon Weiss , a UN employee in Colombo at the time, with a newly published book on the war “ The Cage “ to sell, raised the figure to 40,000 based on “sources” he refused to divulge. The UNSG’s Darusman commission concurred that civilian deaths could “range up to 40,000” again based on sources not available for divulging for thirty years. Gordon Weiss , subsequently reduced his estimate of civilian deaths to 10,000 , under intense interrogation at his book launch in Australia in June 2011.  However, well known human rights advocates like Amnesty International, who have been showered generous donations by the Tiger Diaspora and UK Channel 4 have orchestrated this figure of 40,000 with vigor since. Consequently it has gained currency with many including the ill informed whose passion for protecting human rights make them vulnerable to being mislead by poorly substantiated allegations of their violations.  The lack of plausibility and logic to this claim was apparent from the very start . If this claim of 40,000 civilian deaths from Sri Lanka forces fire was true, would nearly three hundred thousand of these Tamil civilians, herded as human shields by the retreating Tigers, stream into the arms of these very forces the moment the Tiger builtembankment to prevent them from doing so was breached? This streaming is a fact as it happened in full view of the world media (LankaWeb : 11 January 2014).

Mannar Bishop Rayappah Joseph lies to Ambassador Rapp - by P.A.Samaraweera, Melbourne - It is no secret that Rayappah Joseph was a mouth-piece of the terrorists when the North was under the control of the LTTE. Now he is a candle holder to the LTTE rump and had been undermining Sri Lanka and accusing the govt of war crimes. It had been reported, that at a meeting with Ambassador Stephen Rapp, he had said that the Sri Lankan Air Force had used unconventional weapons and targeted hospitals at Pundikudiruppu, Dharmapuram and Puthumalu killing patients and civilians. He had said this at the meeting, as if he had been an eye witness. He had also added that 200 students had been killed when Vallipuram school was bombed. Then, he had accused the army of killing 500 youth at Chettikulam, and so on. Years ago, when the Army went to rescue Madu Church from the terrorists, Rayappah Joseph took the Shrine of Our Lady Madhu from the church and went to the thick of the jungle with the LTTE fighters, who were occupying the church. He preferred the LTTE controlling Madhu area. So, his alliance to the terrorists is well known. Ambassador Rapp is in Sri Lanka to collect material against Sri Lanka for the next UNHCR meeting to be held in March. And here among other LTTE acolytes, we have a Catholic Bishop, making bogus allegations against Sri Lanka. The irony is that the Catholic Church is silent over the Bishop’s link to the LTTE rump. May be because, the Church as well supported the LTTE, as the claim made by the terrorists was that they were fighting against the Buddhists. The Church, ofcourse would like to see a divided Sri Lanka. Because, it would weaken the Buddhists and Buddhism in general, as Sri Lanka is foremost among Buddhist countries (LankaWeb : 11 January 2014).

US Embassy war crimes allegations - TAKE DOWN THAT TWEET - Rapp here with prejudiced mind - by Disna Mudalige - US Ambassador for Global Criminal Justice Stephen Rapp should tender an unconditional apology for the blunder he had made, Western Provincial Council Agriculture, Agrarian Development, Irrigation, Trade and Environment Minister and Jathika Hela Urumaya Deputy Secretary General Udaya Gammanpila told the Daily News yesterday. Commenting on a tweet carrying a baseless allegation on war crimes in Sri Lanka posted on the official Twitter account of the US Embassy, accompanied by an image of US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Michele Sison and US Ambassador for Global Criminal Justice Stephen Rapp standing on St. Anthany’s Ground Irranapallai, Gammanpila said Rapp came to Sri Lanka with a prejudiced mind on war crimes. He said the US Embassy should take down the offending tweet. “Frankly, Rapp is preparing the ground for human rights violations allegations against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions in March. That was the ulterior motive of his visit to Sri Lanka. We are not surprised at this tweet, as we know that he came to make this kind of statements here, but we urge the members of the UNHRC not to be misled by this kind of imprudent diplomatic mission” he said. He further said the US has an ulterior motive to punish Sri Lanka using the fig leaf of war crimes. “As all of us are fully aware Sri Lanka never committed war crimes. That is why we constantly tell the international community, that we are ready to punish our military officers if they have committed any kind of war crime. “However, in order to investigate and punish our military officers, there should be substantial evidence against them. So we repeatedly demand from the US to produce whatever the evidence possessed by them to prove their claims. However, they have failed to do so proving the fact that those are baseless and fabricated allegations.” he said. Gammanpila also noted there is no evidence or any historical lineage to claim that St. Anthany’s Ground was a site of war crimes. “This tweet exposes the US diplomatic community reflecting its shallowness in this kind of affair. On the other hand, there is an established procedure of diplomatic communication. Social Media such as twitter does not qualify by accepted norms of diplomatic communication between nations. Rapp because of his ignorance has insulted and defamed Sri Lanka in the international media. Therefore we demand of him to tender an unconditional apology for the blunder that he had made. Of course, if he has any kind of evidence to substantiate the statement, we are ready to look into that” he added (Daily News : 11 January 2014).

US asked SL to use cluster bombs against Tigers - By Shamindra Ferdinando - Even though the US recommended that the Sri Lankan government swiftly acquire cluster bombs to target the LTTE, the country never felt the need to do so, an authoritative official told The Island.  The US made the recommendation in the wake of the Oslo arranged Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) between the then Premier Ranil Wickreme-singhe and LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. It was among a series of recommendations made to the Sri Lanka Army, Sri Lanka Navy and Sri Lanka Air Force to strengthen their capabilities during the CFA.  Although Sri Lanka hadn’t been signatory to an international convention that prohibited the use of cluster bombs, the government refrained from acquiring the capability in spite of US recommendations, he said. Asked whether Sri Lanka had the required ability to deliver such munitions, the official said the Israeli built Kfirs, Russian MiG 27s and Chinese F7s were equipped to deliver them.The government was responding to a call for an international war crimes probe by Bishop of Mannar Rev. Rayappu Joseph and Bishop of Jaffna Rev. Thomas Saundar-anayagam to find out whether government forces had used cluster munitions and chemical weapons in populated areas during eelam war IV. The call was made during a meeting with Stephen J. Rapp, ambassador-at-large with the Office of Global Criminal Justice of the United States on Wednesday.  The recommendation that the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) acquire Cluster Bomb Units (CBUs) for ‘unarmoured area targets’ was made by USPACOM (United States Pacific Command) assessment team following a study conducted during Sept 12-2002 to Oct 24, 2002. USPACOM was acting on the instructions of the Department of Defence in the wake of Prime Minister Wickremesinghe seeking the intervention of US President George W. Bush. The US advice was meant to prepare the armed forces to face any eventuality in case of the Norwegian peace initiative coming a cropper.  Having closely studied the capabilities as well as the weaknesses of the SLAF, the US suggested that the service deploy CBUs, guided weapons for Russian Mi-24 helicopter gunships and Kfirs, multi-role combat aircraft in service since January 1996. The US stressed that guided weapons were necessary as they had to engage LTTE targets situated close to friendly forces.Military sources said that one-time AP Bureau Chief in Colombo Ravi Nessman alleged the deployment of cluster bombs on the basis of a statement attributed to Alan Poston, a UNDP technical advisor supervising mine clearing operations in the former war zone. The New Delhi based Nessman had been AP Bureau Chief for South Asia at the time the allegation was made. The then Army Commander Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya told The Island that Poston had failed to substantiate his claim though the army requested him to furnish whatever evidence he could provide.  When confronted, Poston admitted that he had never informed the SLA of the recovery.  Army headquarters emphasised that the SLA and other privately funded groups engaged in mine clearing operations in the Northern Province had never come across evidence of cluster bombs. Those injured on the Vanni east front during the final phase of the offensive were brought under the supervision of the ICRC to Pulmoddai, where Indian military/medical personnel treated them.  Air Chief Marshal Roshan Goonetileke yesterday told The Island that the SLAF never used cluster bombs, though it was in a position to launch attacks (Island ; 10 January 2014).

Rathika Sitsabaiesan & Paul Dewar on Sri Lanka - by Asoka Weerasinghe, Canada - Hon. Tom Mulcair, MP, Leader of the NDP Leader of the Opposition, House of Commons, Ottawa; cc. Paul Dewar, Foreign Affairs Critic for NDP; Rathika Sitsabaeisan, Deputy Whip for NDP; Dear Tom Mulcair: Re: Your Caucus Members, Paul Dewar and Rathika Sitsabaiesan –As Prime Minister-in-Waiting, it is imperative and crucial that you try to understand the harm that these two members of your caucus are presenting to your party being a “brainless” anti-Sri Lanka bashing Tag team. I certainly could christen this Tag Team as the S.Bison & D’War Sri Lanka Bashers. As that’s what they are. Permit me to explain my concerns: 1.It was in November last year that NDP’s Foreign Affairs critic, Paul Dewar indicated in an article published in a leading newspaper that Canada is in a position of authority on Sri Lanka when he stated that the Canadian Government can and should do more to defend democracy and human rights in Sri Lanka. He was obviously speaking for the NDP, the Party-in-Waiting to govern Canada.   Such ‘brainless’ chiding of Sri Lanka should be a concern to you and your caucus. The fact remains that when it comes to international politics and Sri Lanka in particular, neither he as the NDP’s Foreign Affairs critic nor Canada are in any position to defend democracy or human rights in Sri Lanka because Canada was indeed part of the problem of Tamil Tiger terrorism, as it supported surreptitiously by aiding and abetting them with financial support to destroy a working democracy, letting the Tamil Diaspora stuff two million dollars a month for 13 years into the Tamil Tiger War chest to buy sophisticated arms to fight and kill. And also when a couple of Liberal Party Cabinet Ministers (Paul Martin & Maria Minna) and several Liberal back benchers patronized a Tamil Tiger $60-a-plate fund raising dinner in Toronto in May 2000. Canada backing the most ruthless terrorist group in the world to destroy a democracy, Paul Dewar has no right to suggest that “Canada can do more to defend democracy and human rights.” This MP of yours is day dreaming to the point that he has reduced himself as your Party Joker on Sri Lankan Affairs which he seems quite concerned about, and he thinks he knows much (LankaWeb : 10 January 2014).

Ambassador Rapp tells Defence Secy: ‘Instead of rehabilitating terrorists, you should have prosecuted them’ - By Shamindra Ferdinando - Sri Lanka’s post-war rehabiliation project to reintegrate former LTTE combatants into society has come in for criticism from the United States. The US has faulted President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government for releasing those who had fought for the LTTE without prosecuting them.  Ambassador-at-Large, Office of Global Criminal Justice, Stephen J. Rapp has told Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa that LTTE terrorists should have been prosecuted instead of being rehabilitated.  The meeting took place at the Defence Ministry on January 6. He was accompanied by Michele J. Sison, US ambassador in Colombo.  Ambassador is on his second visit to Colombo since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009.  The army captured nearly 12,000 LTTE cadres during the final phase of the Vanni offensive east of the Kandy-Jaffna A9 road. Of them over 11,000 were released in batches after rehabilitation.  A senior Defence Ministry official told The Island that the government had decided to release, after rehabilitation, the vast majority of those who had surrendered or been captured on the Vanni front or arrested in the South in a bid to reassure the Tamils. He said the government had involved the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in the rehabilitation project, the official said.  Asked whether any other country had objected to rehabilitation of ex-LTTE cadres, the official emphasised that many countries including the Netherlands, Norway, Japan and UK financially backed the initiative. Responding to a query, the official said that the US had never faulted Sri Lanka’s rehabilitation project before. In fact, many US officials had appreciated the project though the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) was largely silent, he said (Island : 10 January 2014).

Spotlight on Rudrakumaran and Channel 4 - US Law and UK public expose pro-LTTE voices - by Lucien Rajakarunanayake - US lawyer Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran and UK’s Channel 4 broadcaster, two of the biggest champions of the LTTE’s separatist cause and apologists of its terrorism have been exposed this week in the United States and the UK for gross illegal activity and dangerous misleading of the public.  Rudrakumaran, is leader of the so-called Provisional Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam or "Eelam Government in Exile" who operates from the US, and Channel 4 in the UK has been carrying out a concerted attack on Sri Lanka through its massively doctored video footage of alleged war crimes, with another due to be released to time with the UNHRC sessions in Geneva, this March.  The two exposures, one for the violation of the much valued and respected traditions and ethics of the American judicial system, and the other for creating social unrest and posing a threat to welfare recipients in the UK respectively, raises important issues about the credibility of these advocates of separatist terror and the distortion of facts in the media to serve the cause of terrorism.  Rudrakumaran, the son of the former Jaffna Mayor Viswanathan, is a lawyer in the United States who lives in New York. He was the international legal advisor to Velupillai Prabhakaran and was in-charge of its international & diplomatic affairs. He co-ordinated lawyers in the defense of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, assisted in the Suresh Manikkavasagam trial in Canada and in challenging the US decision to name LTTE as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1997, and represented the LTTE in peace talks with the Government of Sri Lanka. The decision of the United States’ Courts Committee on Admissions and Grievances for Serious Misconduct, that gave its ruling on charges against Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, the current leader of the so-called "Eelam Government in Exile", dealt with issues such as the failure to refund a client’s fee in full when necessary, misleading clients, mismanagement of the affairs of clients, treating a client unfairly, lack of reasonable diligence causing injury or potential injury to a client, acting recklessly while knowing the relevant facts of a case and unreasonably failing to appreciate the high degree of risk involved to a client by his actions. These involved several US clients (Island : 10 January 2014).

Gotabhaya asks Ambassador Rapp: .... ‘Have you ever addressed accountability issues in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan?’

Protests Against Stephen Rapp

US COURT SHAMES TIGER RUDRA; Engaged in misconduct warranting discipline: Court rejects plea of private reprimand - The self-proclaimed leader of the mythical and mono ethnic Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam Visvanathan Rudrakumaran has been publicly reprimanded by the United States Courts Committee on Admissions and Grievances for serious misconduct. Visvanathan Rudrakumaran was the international legal advisor of LTTE terrorist leader Velupillai Prabhakaran placed in charge of the organisation's international and diplomatic affairs. He coordinated the lawyers in the defence of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and unsucessfully challenged the US government decision to proscribe the LTTE as a foreign terrorist organisation in 1997. The US Courts committee concluded in its report that there was clear and convincing evidence that Rudrakumaran had engaged in misconduct warranting the imposition of discipline. The Committee found that Rudrakumaran had, inter alia: (a) defaulted on scheduling orders in 27 cases, resulting in their dismissal, although he succeeded in reinstating eight of them; (2) created an unnecessary and substantial risk of potential injury to those clients who eventually received relief after their defaulted cases were reinstated; (3) caused injury or potential injury, through lack of reasonable diligence, to two clients who were denied reinstatement of their defaulted cases; (4) failed to withdraw 17 cases despite knowing that the clients did not wish to proceed or that other circumstances rendered further proceedings unnecessary; and (5) on a number of other occasions, violated this Court's rules and orders by untimely filing various documents. After considering various aggravating and mitigating factors, the Committee recommended that Rudrakumaran be publicly reprimanded, and required to complete eight hours of continuing legal education classes, in law office management, and to submit periodic reports concerning his caseload. In his response to the Committee's report, Rudrakumaran acknowledged that a reprimand was warranted. Although he pleaded for a private reprimand, the Court decided on a public reprimand. Rudrakumaran who was born in Sri Lanka and studied at the Colombo Law College has also represented the LTTE in several peace talks with the government (Daily News : 10 January 2014).

Gotabhaya asks Ambassador Rapp: .... ‘Have you ever addressed accountability issues in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan?’ - by Shamindra Ferdinando - Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday alleged that the US was undermining the post-war reconciliation process by strengthening the hands of those who had been propagating unsubstantiated war crimes allegations against Sri Lanka.  The US had made common cause with them for some strange reason at the expense of US-Sri Lanka relations, Defence Secretary Rajapaksa said.  An irate Defence Secretary Rajapaksa told The Island that he really couldn’t understand the US interest in alleged accountability issues here when its own conduct in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya was under heavy fire.  Even a decade after the illegal invasion of Iraq the US and its allies were yet to explain how their intelligence services had come with reports on non-existent weapons of mass destruction, the Defence Secretary added.  Asked whether he intended to raise those issues with the US, Defence Secretary said that he had the opportunity to point out Western double standards in dealing with the issue when US Ambassador-at-Large at the State Department’s Office of Global Criminal Justice Stephen J. Rapp met him on Monday (Jan. 6). Ambassador Rapp was accompanied by US Ambassador in Colombo Michele J. Sison. It was Ambassador Rapp’s first meeting after his arrival in Sri Lanka.  Ambassador Rapp is visiting Sri Lanka from January 6-11. It is his second visit since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009. Recollecting the circumstances under which former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had been captured, tortured and executed in Oct. 2011 at Sirte, Defence Secretary Rajapaksa asked Ambassador Rapp whether the US had conducted an investigation into that killing. The Defence Secretary urged Ambassador to peruse detailed accounts of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) during the final phase of the Vanni offensive. The Defence Secretary said that OCHA reports would give a clear picture of measures taken by the government to address humanitarian issues on the Vanni east front.  Responding to a query by The Island, Defence Secretary said the then US ambassador in Colombo Robert O. Blake, too, had been involved in the monitoring process and Ambassador Rapp could access all required information without any difficulty.  The Defence Secretary pointed out that those who had been pushing for an international war crimes probe here had conveniently forgotten the then US Defence Attaché here Lt. Colonel Lawrence Smith declaring in June 2011 in Colombo that there had never been organised surrender by the LTTE fighting cadre. The Defence Secretary alleged that Ambassador Rapp could interview Lt. Col. Smith as no one else could have given a better briefing than he.  The Defence Secretary has told Ambassador Rapp that the government had received a huge mandate from the people and was fully capable of managing its affairs.  The Defence Secretary said that some US officials were blind to the ground situation here. The Gajaba Regiment veteran told The Island that Sri Lanka had cooperated with the US in its fight against terror. He recalled that a previous government had handed over a top Al Qaeda suspect arrested while hiding in Sri Lanka to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in accordance with what the US media called extraordinary rendition (Island : 09 January 2014).

Letter to Stephen Rapp - by Warna Hettiarachchi Toronto, Canada - Mr. Stephen Rapp, Here are some questions for you: 1. How many terror suspects do you currently have imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay? 2. How long have they been incarcerated for? 3. Where is the investigation of US military abusing prisoners of war (POW’s) at Abu Gharib Prison in Iraq, where terror suspected were subjected to inhumane extreme humiliation, torture, killing and denigration? 4. Where is the investigation of US AH-64 Apache helicopter gunship killing two Reuters journalists and ten other innocent unarmed civilians including children in Baghdad during invasion of Iraq?5. Where is the independent investigation of US War Crime of using highly radioactive Depleted Uranium Shells in Iraq, exposing both the US military and innocent unarmed Iraqi civilians to dangerous levels of ionizing radiation? This tantamount to a crime worse than using chemical or biological weapons, as the half-life of Uranium is very long and it will kill Iraqi civilians in those areas for generations to come… Does the US think they can do whatever suits them at their own convenience, no matter how ghastly a war crime can be? 6. Where are the independent investigations of the US, UK military bombing unarmed Iraqi and Afghan civilians, including schools while in session? How many millions did you kill in Iraq and Afghanistan under the disguise of War against Terror? 7. After more than a decade, how many US troops still occupy Iraq and Afghanistan? 8. Why did the US force UK’s Chilcot inquiry / report NOT to be published and its content were secretly hidden away from publicity? What do you have to hide? In your legal expertise, did the US not commit any war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan? (LankaWeb : 09 January 2014).

Are Wahhabis on warpath against moderate Muslim Suffi’s in Sri Lanka - by Shenali D Waduge - It comes as no surprise when Sri Lanka is being accused of ‘attacking’ Muslims. The allegations come from the very globalists who created a brand of Islam better known as Wahhabism mandated to destroy Islam from within. Suffi’s of Sri Lanka are today under attack by the Wahhabis. Globalist media is quick to point fingers at the Buddhists. The LTTE strategy was to wipe out the moderate Tamils which they did successfully, the Wahhabis are using that same blueprint in Sri Lanka by targeting the moderate Muslims – the Suffis before launching a future wave of terrorism on orders of the globalists unless the Government does not ignore the impending doom and does not allow to repeat what shaped into LTTE terrorism by inaction that became a hallmark of previous governments (LankaWeb : 09 January 2014).

US Court publicly reprimands ‘Eelam leader’ Rudrakumaran for misconduct - The leader of the so-called ‘Eelam government in exile’ Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran has been publicly reprimanded by the United States 's Courts Committee on Admissions and Grievances for serious misconduct.  The Committee concluded in its report that there was clear and convincing evidence that Rudrakumaran had engaged in misconduct warranting the imposition of discipline. The Committee found that Rudrakumaran had, inter alia: (a) defaulted on scheduling orders in twenty-seven cases, resulting in their dismissal, although he succeeded in reinstating eight of them; (2) created an unnecessary and substantial risk of potential injury to those clients who eventually received relief after their defaulted cases were reinstated; (3) caused injury or potential injury, through lack of reasonable diligence, to two clients who were denied reinstatement of their defaulted cases; (4) failed to withdraw seventeen cases despite knowing that the clients did not wish to proceed or that other circumstances rendered further proceedings unnecessary; and (5) on a number of other occasions, violated this Court's rules and orders by untimely filing various documents.  After considering various aggravating and mitigating factors, the Committee recommended that Rudrakumaran be publicly reprimanded, and required to complete eight hours of continuing legal education classes, in law office management, and to submit periodic reports concerning his caseload.  In his response to the Committee's report, Rudrakumaran acknowledged that a reprimand was warranted. Although he pleaded for a private reprimand, the Court decided on a public reprimand.  Full text of the notice: (PRIU: 09 January 2014).

Sri Lanka Army rejects US claim that Army shelling killed hundreds of families in North - Sri Lanka Army today rejecting a United States' claim that the Army shelling had killed hundreds of families at St Antony's Ground, Iranapallai in the North as completely 'baseless', said the U.S. is laying grounds for a much larger campaign in the future.  The U.S. Embassy in Colombo today in its official Twitter account posted a photo of the Ambassador Michele Sison and the visiting Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, in the Office of Global Criminal Justice at the Department of States Stephen J. Rapp standing at the site and captioned the photo as "St Anthany's Ground - site of Jan 2009 killing of hundreds of families by army shelling".  Army Spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya in a statement said that allegation that the Sri Lanka Army shelling had killed hundreds of families at St Antony's Ground, Iranapallai is completely baseless.  "It is surprising to see a baseless allegation of this nature being released by the US Embassy without any credible verification. Although the reason for this release is best known to them, this could be part of a much larger campaign that they intend launching in the near future."  The statement said that according to people who live in that area the LTTE had used this ground as a place to handover dead bodies of their cadre who succumbed to injuries received during fighting.  "If this place was not safe the LTTE would never have used it for that purpose. They also confirm that there never was an incident of shelling on this ground when civilians were present," the spokesman said.  "It is surprising to see a baseless allegation of this nature being released by the US Embassy without any credible verification. Although the reason for this release is best known to them, this could be part of a much larger campaign that they intend launching in the near future," he said in his statement.  "It could also be an attempt to give credence to otherwise baseless allegations that have been propagated by some governments and separatist elements with the support of some international media organizations," the Army said.  The visiting U.S. official yesterday has assured the major Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance, that the U.S. would move a third resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council session in March calling for an international probe on alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka, according to the TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran.  Rapp, who is in Sri Lanka on a six-day fact finding mission, visited the former conflict areas in the North along with Ambassador Sison.  Photos of him visiting the Puthumathalan school and hospital in "No Fire Zone 2", and touring the site of former UN Headquarters in the "No Fire Zone" in Puthukudiyiruppu were posted on the U.S. Embassy official Twitter account.  The officials have also met with the Northern Provincial Council member Ananthi Sasitharan to discuss plight of the disappeared in the region and visited the Uthayan newspaper office in Jaffna.  The External Affairs Ministry has sought a clarification from the U.S. Embassy on the locations Rapp visited in the North and the tweets, the Colombo Gazette reported.  Meanwhile, activists of the National Patriotic Organizations Forum staged a protest Thursday against the U.S. official's visit and many organizations in Sri Lanka condemned his statement that the U. S. is bringing a resolution to try the island nation for war crimes.  Speaking at the protest campaign Secretary of the Patriotic Bhikku Front Venerable Bengamuwe Nalaka Thero said the U.S. has deliberately forgotten the war crimes committed by the LTTE. The Thero called on all patriotic people in Sri Lanka to unite against the U.S. move.  Sri Lanka Youth Lawyers' Association also condemned Rapp's statement. National Organizer of the Lawyers' Association Premanath Dolawatta accused the visiting diplomat of making the statement with the intention of ruining the existing peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.  He questioned why the U.S. is silent on the atrocities committed by the LTTE and not investigate the assassinations committed by the LTTE terrorists for over three decades (Colombo page : 09 January 2014).

The Sinhalese in Jaffna face problems merely because of them being Sinhala.

The Sinhalese in Jaffna face problems merely because of them being Sinhala - (Translation of an interview of Ven Akmeemana Dayarathne thero had with Eric Gamini Jinapriya published in Sunday Divaina of 29th Dec 2013 by Ranjith Soysa)). On 24th of November in Irida Divaina , M.A.Sumanthran, MP has stated that still it is a problem to know definitely whether the Sinhalese who have arrived in Navakuuli were displaced due to war or not.  Therefore, we decided to seek the comments from Ven Akmeemana Dayarratne thero who is involved in the resettlement of the Sinhalese in the North.  Question- What is the position of the Sinhlaese who were resettled in Jaffna?  Answer- Now 4 years have elapsed after the war in the Northern Province. The steps have been taken to resettle the Tamil people and the LTTE cadres too. Towards this end the Government, NGOs and the army have extended maximum support. They have also assisted in a big way to uplift the standard of living of the community. The settlers have been given agricultural implements, seed material and also every assistance to market their products. We have no problems with these efforts to help these people. That is what is meant by empowering the people. Not only in Jaffna, everywhere in Sri Lanka theTamil people do enjoy decent living standards. Therefore, the Tamils do nor encounter any problems merely because they are Tamils.  But, it is clear that the Sinhalese who are planning to re-settle in Jaffna do have a problem merely because of being Sinhalese. We know that there is a large Buddhist area in the North. Therefore, we believe that there had been a large Sinhala population in the North and by the time the incidents in ‘83 took place there were nearly 17,000 Sinhalese families living in these areas. They were involved in among others in running bakeries, jewellery shops etc. Among them were the ones who migrated from the South as well as others who were born there. The Sinhala Maha Vidyalya where they received education is still can be seen in Jaffna.  Even though there were 17,000 Sinhala families living in Jaffna to date neither the government nor a NGO had helped a single Sinhala family to re-settle in the North. As at present the regional power is in the hands of Tamil leaders. They and the Muslim leaders talk of the concerns of the Tamils and the Muslims. We are happy that they are interested in their own communities. But, it is indeed surprising to note that even the Sinhala leaders air their views on the Tamil and Muslim people but dare not speak about the plight of the Sinhalese. There are no leaders to speak about the Sinhalese . The Sinhalese have become helpless in their own country of birth. The pathetic situation was created due to the non –recognition of the plight of the Sinhalese by those who are responsible for the local and national politics as well as the NGOS. They have failed provide them with lands to resettle and help them to build house including assistance to lead a normal life.  But, we have observed that the political extremism is in operation and all facilities are provide to the Tamil people while the Sinhalese are neglected. There are reports that the assistance will be extended to the Muslim people too. But, we can say that not a single house had been given to a person of Sinhala origin.  The Sinhalese people who were ousted from the North were returning after the war in the expectation of re-settling In their own lands but they had to stay at Duriupph stadium. At that stage no one from the Government or the Opposition came forward to help them. We volunteered to feed them and provide them with bare facilities.  There was a state land of Housing Authority at Navakkuli junction and it was utilized to provide temporary housing to these helpless victims of the system. As Buddhist, monks we inquired from the settlers what they wanted. They requested for a community hall and also a place to worship. As the practice of one’s religion is a basic human right a small Buddhist temple was established and we invited a monk to reside. Subsequently, a bomb was exploded at this temple and we would like state categorically that this incident was promoted by the TNA politicians. There were threats aimed at these people indicating that they must leave the area urgently as there is no place for the Siinhalese in this area. That is why I wish reiterate that there is a problem for the Sinhalese in the North of the country because they are of Sinhala origin.  We complained officially to the authorities about the bomb explosion and the threats to the people. To date. No one has been apprehended. We would like to ask about the rights of the Sinhalese and what happened to the laws protecting the civilians? We have built 5 houses so far and we request the authorities to allocate 10-15 perches per family at Navakkuli.  Question- Didn’t the Chief Minister of the Northern Province in his inaugural address mentioned that he invited the Sinhalese people who were driven out to come and settle themselves In the North? Answer- If Mr Wigneswaran says such things it is good. But, the effort they put into resettling the Tamils and the Muslims does not seem be applicable in the case of the Sinhalese. If they really wanted they could have an advertisement in a newspaper inviting the Sinhalese who were driven away during the LTTE ruling to come back. If they did that the people could have submitted their documents such as the birth certificates, deeds etc . According to reports there had been 17,000 Sinhalese families in the North. We request that these people be allowed to claim their properties and live in the North.  Question- Without waiting for action on the part of Mr Wiigneswaran these people can furnish the documents to the authorities? (LankaWeb : 08 January 2014).

Rathika trying to embarrass SL – Envoy - NDP MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on October 19, 2012. Sri Lanka's official representatives in Canada are accusing Sitsabaiesan of attempting to embarrass the Asian country's government by claiming she faced political intimidation during a visit there.  Sri Lanka's official representatives in Canada are accusing a New Democrat MP of attempting to embarrass the Asian country's government by claiming she faced political intimidation during a visit there.  Earlier this month, Rathika Sitsabaiesan said in a brief statement she was warned by Sri Lankan officials during her private visit that she could be arrested and deported. At the time, fellow New Democrat MP Paul Dewar said after speaking to Sitsabaiesan — a Sri Lankan native of Tamil heritage — that his caucus colleague had been followed and closely monitored by authorities from the moment she arrived.  Authorities showed up at Sitsabaiesan's hotel one night to try to meet with her but she did not respond, Dewar said.  He said officials were concerned that Sitsabaiesan had met with a Sri Lankan MP and had visited an orphanage. The visits involved family, he added, noting the local MP was a cousin.  The Sri Lanka High Commission said Wednesday that Sitsabaiesan was on a tourist visa and had been advised not to engage in political activities that would amount to flouting Sri Lanka's immigration laws and regulations.  It said Sri Lankan authorities handled the issue in a responsible manner, adding that Sitsabaiesan's allegation she was subject to "political intimidation" is erroneous and an attempt to unfairly embarrass the government.  Sitsabaiesan, 32, came to Canada with her family at the age of five and was elected to the House of Commons in 2011 in the Toronto-area riding of Scarborough-Rouge River. She played a key role in New Democrat efforts to persuade the Conservative government to boycott a meeting of Commonwealth leaders in Sri Lanka last November. Prime Minister Stephen Harper did not attend, citing the Sri Lankan government's human-rights record. However, Deepak Obhrai, a parliamentary secretary, did represent Canada at the Colombo meeting.  The New Democrats and others have called for Sri Lanka to submit to an investigation of alleged war crimes during the lengthy civil conflict between the military and Tamil insurgents seeking an independent homeland.  "My experiences since arriving in Sri Lanka are a reminder that defending principles of human rights is not easy, but I continue to believe that it is only through open dialogue and freedom of expression that people can ultimately achieve healing and reconciliation," Sitsabaiesan said in her statement earlier this month. In its statement, the Sri Lanka High Commission said Sitsabaiesan's accusation against the government "could be indicative of her seeking to engage in political activity, and being unable to do so in the interest of abiding by Sri Lanka's immigration laws and regulations, seems to have been interpreted by her as political intimidation."  The high commission also seized on her reference to defending principles of human rights, saying it "further demonstrates a self-appointed role to pass judgment baselessly on a sovereign state."  Sitsabaiesan, who is still abroad, has yet to comment further on her experience saying only in a post on Twitter dated on Jan.4, "I'm safely out and in India now… Thank you everyone for your #love… Details to come in recent future." NDP spokeswoman Véronique Breton said Wednesday the MP was in Sri Lanka to visit friends and family and did not set out to embarrass the host country.  Two Green party MPs — one from Australia, the other from New Zealand — had their passports confiscated in November just before a planned news conference in Sri Lanka to describe human-rights abuses they were told of during their trip (Daily Mirror : 09 January 2014).

Police crackdown on Jaffna underworld: 21-year-old leader among 13 arrested - By Shamindra Ferdinando - Acting on information elicited from an underworld figure in the North, police arrested 12 persons in a series of raids over the past 36 hours ending 6.00 am yesterday. It was the first major operation undertaken by law enforcement agencies in the Jaffna peninsula since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009.  The Island revealed the existence of a Jaffna underworld in a lead story headlined UPFA constituent alleges escalation of robberies, violence in Jaffna on January 2.Jaffna based sources said the Kopay police had arrested the 21-year-old underworld leader following a complaint received from a person living at Kondavil. Sources said that the suspect had, under interrogation, revealed the identities of those collaborating with him. DIG Jaffna Rohan Dias told The Island that Kopay police had arrested ten persons including the leader of the gang. According to him the Athchuveli police had taken three more suspects into custody as the police stepped up operations in the Jaffna peninsula. DIG Dias said that the police were determined to crack down on the Jaffna underworld.Sources said that at least one of the gang members was believed to have fled to India before the police operations got underway. The police are also looking for a woman and five other persons for questioning over their alleged involvement with the gang. The police squads assigned for the operation took suspects in raids conducted in Kopay, Inuvil, Chunnakam, Kondavil, Manipay, Jaffna and Athchuveli.  The police recovered 12 swords, three knuckle-dusters, two hand grenades and six motorcycles.  Sources said that the police had recovered hand phones and CDs containing pictures of some of those now in custody. One video captured a person kneeling down before the gang leader while his associates looked on.  Police ruled out the gang’s affiliation to any political party or group operating in the Jaffna peninsula. DIG Dias said that fresh instructions had been issued to the Jaffna police to step up operations against the underworld. Responding to a query, Dias said that the people had been reluctant to contact police fearing reprisal (Island : 07 January 2014).

Rapp visits Jaffna - Stephen J. Rapp, the US Ambassador on War Crimes, will visit the North today and meet Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran in Jaffna, Daily Mirror learns.  Mr. Rapp heads the Office of Global Criminal Justice at the US State Department. He advises the Secretary of State and the Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights on issues related to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. A US Embassy spokesman said Mr. Rapp would hold talks with a broad cross section of government officials, political leaders and civil society activists during his visit to Sri Lanka.  External Affairs Ministry sources said he would meet External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris either on Friday or Saturday. The minister is currently in the Middle East with President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is on a state visit there. Mr. Rapp is expected to meet the commanders of the security forces and civil society activists including Dr. Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu, and representatives of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA). A meeting has also been sought with the main opposition United National Party (UNP).  Mr. Rapps’ official website says, “To this end, the office advises US Government and foreign governments on the appropriate use of a wide range of transitional justice mechanisms, including truth and reconciliation commissions and reparations in addition to judicial processes.  The office also coordinates the US Government stance on international and hybrid courts currently prosecuting persons responsible for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity – not only for such crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Cambodia – but also in Kenya, Libya, Côte d'Ivoire, Guatemala, and elsewhere in the world (Daily Mirror : 07January 2014).

Rapp visits Jaffna

Stephen Rapp, are US war crimes legal? - by Shenali D Waduge - The cliché ‘thick as thieves’ must have been coined with US in mind. Does the US Government and its officials actually believe they have done the world a favour by maiming, killing and making homeless over 20million people since Vietnam? The US Government seems to have a very haughty opinion that the entire world except for America are guilty even if proved innocent and the US thinks it can go bombing people and places to smithereens and get away with it too. Well they can and they have because there is no other country to stand up to challenge them and the UN is ….well just a paid entity doing what its sponsors ask them to do. But is this the way the world is to function. Does it mean that people and nations have to just sit silent and allow not the Americans but a handful of neo-cons to bomb nations into submission, plant their people in the form of UN troops and get their people to act as ‘negotiators’ while another lot plunders the nations installing their people? Can these officials coming to various nations on the pretext of investigating ‘alleged war crimes’ please tell us what the real agenda is about. Stephen J. Rapp of Iowa is Ambassador-at-Large, heading the Office of Global Criminal Justice in the U.S. Department of State but surely he cannot ignore America’s crimes and it does look rather silly to be pointing fingers when the fingers pointing back are too many to count (LankaWeb ; 06 January 2014).

Can Canada tell when MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan is telling the Truth or Lying? -  by Shenali D Waduge - Truth or Lies is what Canada needs to ask of its MPs for Rathika Sitsabaiesan has been caught red handed telling absolute fibs. She says she was under house arrest, then she denies it but not before she ensures her party’s leader makes a buffoon of himself by demanding from Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in Ottawa of Rathika’s house arrest. With the objective of maximum publicity achieved Rathika can go back to Canada and tell one lie after another about her ‘torture’ in Sri Lanka. The question is are Canadians foolish enough to believe her? But then a poll conducted in Canada finds that half of Canada believe its Prime Minister is a liar too! Canada is a multicultural country, when Canada selects MPs and MPs forward their nominations they do so to serve the Canadians living in Canada, why would Rathika be on a witch hunt against a country she left and not returned to since 1984 at the age of 5? Did Canada vote for her to look into the affairs of Sri Lankan citizens in Sri Lanka?  Why is Rathika promoting a privately funded documentary on Sri Lanka by the Global Tamil Forum that is going round the world showcasing edited versions which have no evidence for the allegations being made but getting international awards for it? (LankaWeb : 06 January 2014).

NDP Parliamentarian R. Sitsabaisen - by Ira de Silva London, Canada - Hon. T. Mulcair Leader of the Opposition House of Commons Ottawa, Ontario; Dear Sir:  Further to my letter to you of January 3, 2014 regarding the deceitful, dishonest activities of your rookie M.P. Ms Sitsabaisen on a visit to Sri Lanka, I am forwarding to you a news report in Sri Lanka based on an interview she gave there before she left, in which she denies being under house arrest, being intimidated etc. It confirms the fact that this entire episode was a charade she concocted to gain publicity to appeal to the LTTE supporters in Canada who are being wooed by all parties hoping to get votes in Canada. It illustrates the depths to which Canadian politics has sunk and adds to the public’s disgust and distrust of Canadian parliamentarians in general. Refer http://www.dailynews.lk/local/canadian-mp-denies-house-arrest-claims-during-lankan-visit  It confirms that she entered Sri Lanka on a tourist visa and that your actions in phoning the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in Ottawa was uncalled for and based on false information supplied by pro-LTTE media. LTTE propaganda seems to be the source for all Canadian political parties in their anxiety to harass Sri Lanka to get the votes of Canadian Tamil supporters of the LTTE, Perhaps it is a lesson to all not to believe what they are fed by these unscrupulous agents of the LTTE still operating in Canada – the same people who funded terrorism in Sri Lanka and were supported by unprincipled, uninformed Canadian politicians. It is now reported that she left Sri Lanka to visit the homeland of all Tamils which is Tamil Nadu, India. I would like to point out to you that this is the same M.P. that brought disrepute to Canada during the last election with the possibility of electoral fraud. Refer http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/03/13/voter-fraud-scarborough-rouge-river-rathika-sitsabaiesan_n_1343423.html The question is what you are going to say and do to this unprincipled, deceitful politician who has taken you for a ride? (LankaWeb : 06 January 2014).

‘Civilians’ in Sri Lanka’s armed conflict - By Neville Ladduwahetty - Sri Lanka’s detractors claim that it should be held accountable for the violations committed during the final stages (January to May 2009) of the conflict. The issues that dominate this claim are: 1. High number of "civilians" killed during this period.  2. Indiscriminate firing into No Fire Zones (NFZs).  3. Denial of humanitarian aid to those in the NFZs by deliberately under-estimating their numbers.  Issues of distinction between "civilians" and those directly participating in hostilities, rules regarding NFZs, and denial of humanitarian aid do not arise in the case of insurgencies or internal disturbances. Such issues arise in the case of Armed Conflicts, where rules of international or non-international Rules of War apply. Therefore, the violations listed above that are alleged to have been committed by Sri Lanka during the final stages of the conflict should be investigated in relation to violations as defined by Rules of War and which are governed by International Humanitarian Law as applied to non-international Armed Conflicts, the guardian of which is the ICRC.  Criteria for categorizing a conflict as an Armed Conflict were established by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia 1995 (ICTY) during the trial of Prosecutor v. Tadic. The Tribunal stated: "…we find that an Armed Conflict exists whenever there is resort to armed force between States or protracted armed violence between government authorities and organized groups or between such groups within a State. Article 1.1 of the Additional Protocol of 1977 states: "This Protocol …shall apply to all armed conflicts which take place in the territory of a High Contracting Party between its armed forces and dissident armed forces or other organized armed groups which, under responsible command, exercise such control over a part of its territory as to enable them to carry out sustained and concerted military operations…". (Island : 05 January 2014).

Sri Lankan Tamils – Learn Lessons from what happened to Sudan - by Shenali D Waduge - Is it just a coincidence that virtually all the world’s current conflicts finds its roots to either British divide or rule policies or the policies of other European colonial rulers! Sudan’s case is no different. It is time people woke up to realities. The handful of nations being used as the big bullies in a new wave of military interventions on the pretext of solving conflicts devise their plans irrespective of religion, ethnicity, race but solely on realizing profit through plunder. Leaders and their stooges are mere puppets in a game that today is being carved out by an invisible set of people which is why Gen. Wesley Clarke said in 2001 that 7 countries were earmarked to be taken out in 5 years – Iraq, Libya, Syria, North Korea, Lebanon were on that list. So was Sudan. Should we be surprised that in 2011 Sudan was divided and made into 2 separate states? The plans to divide, militarily intervene, separate are all planned and politicians only help execute this plan.  South Sudan was separated purposely by the British depriving the South of economic and social development. British chose to invest in Arab North over Christian South Sudan. The North was more developed and more populated. To make matters worse with the intent of subverting Islam from within, Britain deliberately created the Wahhabi movement in the North while Christian missionaries were used to ensure Islam did not trickle to the South. The British is said to have planned to attach South Sudan (Christian) to British Colonial East Africa as well. Another policy adopted by the British was ‘indirect rule’ in other words in order to deny educated and urban class Sudanese from influencing social and political life Britain gave power to the tribal leaders dividing the South into hundreds of chiefdoms that were to function separately resulting in Northern officials transferred out from the South, trading permits withdrawn to the Northerners and speaking Arabic and wearing Arabic dresses discouraged (Ref Southern Policy Document).  This Southern Policy was reversed in 1946 with British now saying that the Sudanese were ‘inextricably bound, both geographically and economically to the Arab north’. This was a total shift of Britains earlier policy many say was simply to repay North Sudan for helping Britain during World War 2.  Policies can change but when policies that ingrain hatred between people living in the North against those in the South in a systematically devised program is it as easy to change? Britain had drilled into the minds of the Sudanese that the North was different from the South and vice versa and the built up of this difference culminated into a large scale armed conflict in the mid-1950s. The armed conflict in Sudan cannot be any different to the background to what materialized in Sri Lanka. It is on this ground that any contemporary conflict intending to find the root to the conflict cannot omit from investigation the colonial policies that led to the animosities that prevail. It should not be too difficult to read between the lines of every policy adopted by the British and other colonial rulers. Fast forward post-independence virtually all these former colonies are experiencing turmoil that were genetically engineered by the British through Christian missionary education and the social system they fostered. In fact, the similarity was such that the army mutiny in South Sudan can be compared to the Catholic Action and the army attempted coup by Christian officers to overthrow the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Government in Sri Lanka (LankaWeb : 04 January 2014).

Jaffna born Canadian MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan is likely to face disciplinary action back at home

An Open Letter To Stephen J. Rapp, US “Ambassador-at-Large” For “War Crimes” - by Janaka Yagirala - Dear Mr. Rapp, It is with great pleasure that I welcome your planned visit to my country. If you are coming to Sri Lanka as the Brand Ambassador for (US) War Crimes (much like Michael Jordan, George Clooney or Leonardo DiCaprio are brand ambassadors for various products) you are more than welcome. Indeed, the US has a long and proud history of innovative war crimes.  Take for example the ingenious war crime of Jeffery Amherst, the Crown Governor of Virginia from 1759-1768 who managed to eradicate an entire continent of Native Americans by secretly giving them blankets contaminated with smallpox.  It is doubtful if the forceful abduction, trafficking and sale of Africans for slavery on US soil constitutes a true war crime. Similarly, despite being a brilliant accomplishment of circumventing medical ethics by infecting rural African Americans (who were expecting free government health care!) in Macon County, Alabama with syphilis between 1932 and 1972, it again does not constitute a war crime as well. The same can be said about the US sponsored Guatemalan syphilis experiment of 1946-48 where mental patients and prisoners were infected with the disease without informed consent. However, the death of nearly 200,000 civilians (by the most conservative estimate) during the Philippine American war of 1899-1921 does qualify as a war crime. So does the shooting of Japanese shipwreck survivors of the Battle of the Bismark Sea (March 3-5, 1943), the massacres of Italian civilians in Canicatti (July 1943), Italian POWs in Biscari (14 July 1943) and German POWs in Dachau (April 29, 1945) during WW2. The Dresden bombing raid of 13-15 February, 1945 that killed 25,000 civilians (by conservative estimate) and dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that killed 150,000 civilians (again a conservative estimate) can also be counted in the proud American track record. It is a bit sad that DNA testing wasn’t invented back then, or else the numerous rapes carried out right after the surrender of Japan in 1945 could have been traced right back to the source!  Next comes the Vietnam War, the war where Agent Orange was used indiscriminately on civilians and Laos (a country not even involved in the war) became the most bombed country in history, all thanks to proud American warfare. The massacres of Guatemala between 1960 to 1996 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQl5MCBWtoo) where 200,000 people disappeared may not count because they were committed by a US backed puppet regime. The list has to go on, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now Syria but has to be cut short for brevity! (LankaWeb : 04 January 2014).

Canadian MP denies house arrest claims during Lankan visit - by Vijayani Edirisinghe Courtesy The Daily News - Canadian MP Rathika Sitsabaisen who is on a visit to Sri Lanka denied media and website reports that she has been placed under house arrest in the Jaffna Peninsula by Police or some Security Forces wing as completely false and baseless. She had made this denial in a statement made to Immigration and Emigration Department Intelligence officers in Mullaitivu on December 2.  Sitsabaisen who also contacted Controller General of Immigration and Emigration Chulananda Perera over telephone from Mullaitivu in the presence of these officers had confirmed that she arrived in Sri Lanka on a tourist visa and promised that she would never act in a manner that would contravene immigration and emigration regulations.  “I arrived in this country on a tourist visa. I undertook a tour of the North during my visit. Many sections of the media and certain websites had published false information about my visit and I categorically deny all these false reports,” she said. “No member of the Security Forces or police ever met me during the visit let alone keeping me under house arrest,” she said.  Sitsabaisen said she only met Tamil politician and Parliamentarian Sri Dharan because he happened to be her uncle.  Sitsabaisen said she was at the Tilco Hotel during her visit to Jaffna and many people met her at the hotel after reading news reports that she was under house arrest.   It was following these false news items that the Controller General of Immigration and Emigration dispatched a special team of intelligence officers to check the veracity of these reports.  She had told these officials that on her arrival the Canadian High Commission in Colombo had also advised her to avoid any action that would contravene Sri Lanka’s Immigration and Emigration laws. She had also cancelled meetings scheduled with certain personalities after the misleading reports published in the media and websites. Sitsabaisen who was accompanied by an Indian Youth had visited any sites in Jaffna including kovils and other places of worship and recorded them on video films.  Sitsabaisen who returned to Colombo from Jaffna on Thursday was preparing to leave for Canada yesterday afternoon after completing her tour (Lankaeb : 04 January 2014).

MR. PUTIN, FOLLOW SRI LANKA PRESIDENT RAJAPAKSA IN DEALING WITH TERRORISTS - by Malin Abeyatunge, Melbourne, Australia - Russian PM Putin didn’t mince his words when he in his New Year Message to the nation said that “quote Dear friends, we bow our heads in front of the victims of the terrible acts of terror. I am sure we will toughly and consistently continue to fight against terrorists until their total destruction" unquote. He made this statement when Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday threatened "terrorists" with total destruction after twin suicide strikes claimed 34 lives and raised alarm over security at the Sochi Winter Olympic Games. A bombing at the main railway station of the southern city of Volgograd killed 18 people on Sunday while a second strike that hit a trolleybus on Monday claimed 16 lives. The blasts are Russia's deadliest since a suicide raid on Moscow's Domodedovo airport that was claimed by Islamic insurgents from the North Caucasus killed 37 people in January 2011.  President Rajapaksa spoke the same language in the same tone soon after rescuing Mavil oya villagers from the grips of LTTE when he firmly vowed to destroy LTTE comprehensively. It did happen on 18 May 2009 completely annihilating LTTE terrorist outfit to the surprise and disappointment of Tamil Diaspora and the western countries that appeased and supported LTTE. Need not mention how the west & India supported to keep LTTE alive. The LTTE defeat was eggs on the faces of USA, UK, Canada, Norway, EU countries and India who tried their utmost attempts to save Prabhakaran and his terrorist gang. Instead of supporting Sri Lanka for defeating the world most brutal terrorist organization , the terrorist supported west & India decided to take revenge against Sri Lanka by bringing “WAR CRIMES” charges at the UNHRC session ably supported by UNSG Ban-Ki-Moon and Navi Pillay through the infamous illegal Darusman report.  The question is whether RUSSIA will have to face the same consequences Sri Lanka had to face from the west maneuvered by USA, UK, Canada at any future UNHRC session for violation of human rights. The UNHRC is ready to bring War Crimes charges against the President Rajapaksa and the tri forces again in March 2014 and Russia has already pledged their support to Sri Lanka to defeat such resolutions. I bet the west will dare to question PUTIN for any war crimes when he, as vowed destroy the Terrorists who were responsible for the latest suicide bombing in Volgograd where the Sochi Winter Olympics Games have been planned. Putin can take a cue from President Rajapaksa regime in dealing with terrorists as since the LTTE was comprehensively defeated in May 2009, there were no suicide bombs or any other terrorist crimes and even during the CHOGM which conducted without any hitch. Sri Lanka will be waiting to see the reaction of USA, UK, Canada, EU countries on Putin if he destroys the Terrorist outfit as vowed and the way he thinks right. THEY WILL DARE NOT as Russia is a powerful country unlike a small island like Sri Lanka. The west will continue to work tirelessly thro various international organisations until they Balkanize Sri Lanka to their agenda. So, Mr.Putin ,we wish you all the courage to defeat the terrorists who are making mayhem in your country and majority Sri Lankans will wholeheartedly support you and in return we need your unstinted support at the next UNHRC session in March 2014.

A challenge to Tamil Disaspora - by K Godage - If the Tamil Diaspora is genuinely concerned about the Tamil people of our country, then instead of spending their money on lobbyists and on legislators in the countries they now live in; let them do something more positive; they could transform our Northern Province into a Knowledge Hub – an Information Technology and technical Education hub. Obtaining a good Education has been the lifelong goal of the Tamil people of the arid north and they would welcome with open arms such a project sponsored by the Diaspora. It should be recalled that it was the American Missionaries with their missionary zeal who took English education to the Jaffna District and emancipated the people of the north of this country.  We should learn from Malaysia, where I served, Malaysia acts as a magnet for cross-border education activities. There are over 120,000 foreign students and ten branch campuses of high ranking foreign universities. Malaysia has taken the matter of developing Education and establishing itself as an education hub very seriously; our Minister SB Dissanayake visited Malaysia thrice during my tenure there to entice some universities to establish branches here. I don’t quite know why he did not succeed as he should have. Let us seek to establish Jaffna as an international Education City. Are we not seeking to re-establish real sustainable peace and effect true reconciliation then this is the road we need to travel. If we establish a Knowledge hub in the north it would also create development in every sense of the word not only in the north; we shall see the south too benefitting in many ways. There is no doubt in my mind that we would attract much foreign investment including from Industrial Corporations.into this country and foreign countries would have an interest that would preclude them from bullying us as they have done with impunity as they had no material interests in this country. If Jaffna becomes an education hub this country will without doubt attract thousand of students from foreign countries and also scholars; my own experience in the countries I had the privilege of serving was that thousands of foreign students enrol in their institutions of higher education. In this age of globalization and easy international travel the world has shrunk and there is no doubt that our country will attract thousand of foreign students and not only to Jaffna. There is also another issue – only a small number of the students who seek to enter the state universities make it – quite a few of them find places in universities in Malaysia. Singapore, India, Pakistan and even Nepal besides the well to do going out to Universities in the West and Australia. If our higher education system is upgraded and foreign universities are allowed to establish here we would not only save much foreign exchange but also earn foreign exchange from foreign students. In this regard we would need to retain the services of a reputed marketing company to promote any project to establish foreign universities and to also promote the Jaffna Hub project (Island : 03 January 2014).

A Comparison: Allied Forces treatment of German POWs and Sri Lankas’ Armed Forces treatment of Terrorist LTTE - By Shenali D Waduge- World War 2 took place over 70 years ago but Geneva Conventions did exist and the Allies were signatory to the Conventions. The Nazi soldiers were all members of the German army though Germany did not declare war on Allied Forces – the Allies declared war on Germany. In Sri Lanka’s case LTTE are classified as terrorists banned by 32 nations and do not enjoy Geneva Rights under the conventions terminologies.. LTTE terrorism had lasted 3 decades with none of the foreign recipes for peace delivering any peace to the nation. 30 years of failure to deliver peace for Sri Lanka is what should haunt the international community and the UN not the excuse of 4 months. For it was only after going through daily terror deaths, bombs and killings that a Just War was declared and LTTE was militarily defeated after offering them the opportunity to surrender. While more Germans died after World War 2 ended and Germany was occupied for over 10 years after the wars conclusion, close to 300,000 Tamil civilians were saved more than 11,770 LTTE combatants handed themselves in and are all accounted for, many of them were child combatants. None of them died, were tortured, starved, ill treated or killed (as German POWs and German civilians were) but went through an indigenous rehabilitation program and are now leading normal lives.  What the Allies did to German civilians and German POWs remains retrospective. While the Allies were quick to set up the Nuremberg Trials and execute German soldiers, none of the war crimes by Allied has ever been taken up for trial and the crimes committed by US, UK, France and the Soviet Union are far more shocking than what they accuse the German soldiers of.  Judge Robert H. Jackson, Chief US prosecutor in the Nuremberg trials in a letter discussing the potential weaknesses of the trial, in October 1945 told US President Harry S. Truman that the Allies themselves: (LankaWeb : 02 January 2014).

Exposed: Tamil Plan to Revive the LTTE and Blame the Government - by Kumar Moses - LTTE was comprehensively defeated in the beaches of the Nanthikadal Lagoon on May 18, 2009. Thanks to the last weeks of war, Sri Lanka remains safe from bombs, terror assassinations and other terrorist activities for over four and a half years. Emergency Regulations have been lifted for the longest period of time. As war killed an average 4,000 people on conservative estimates, each year from 1983 to 2009, winning the war in 2009 saved 4,000 lives each passing year.  However, LTTE is not dead in Canada, Australia, India, USA, Norway and the UK.  Fearing the fate of KP (LTTE’s international weapons procurer), all LTTE fronts changed their stripes into sham political movements. This way they managed to sustain part of the $300 million a year money flow (1). LTTE became TGTE, TFO and TAG. Close to 60 LTTE successor Tamil groups exist in the west. Vishwanathan Rudrakumaram and Perinpanayagam Sivaparan alias Nediyavan are at the frontline of resuscitating the LTTE in the west. Tamil Elam Supporters Organisation (TESO) is the equal in Tamil Nadu. It must not be forgotten that LTTE was raised and trained in Tamil Nadu in the 1970s and 1980s. TELO (the first Tamil terrorist group) was raised in the UK by the Tamil Diaspora in 1976. They were trained in Lebanon by Palestinian terrorist groups. Today the LTTE International has its funds and has plenty of opportunities to get trained by terrorist groups around the world.  In March 2011 Sri Lankan Prime Minister revealed that there are at least 3 LTTE training camps currently operating in Tamil Nadu. About a year later, Karnataka Home Minister R Ashok told the state assembly that Tamil terrorists are training Maoists in the forests of Western Ghats (2). Both these high ranking politicians of Sri Lanka and India made these independent observations.  Later in 2012, Indian police arrested 4 Tamil terrorists in Tamil Nadu (3). The four men, Suresh Kumar, Udaya Doss, 39, T.Maheswaran, 33 and K.Krishnamurthy, 29 were arrested in their rented house on Nallathambi Street near Pallavaram, Tamil Nadu on December 19, 2012 on information shared by the Sri Lankan Army. It was revealed that the terror operation is spearheaded by LTTE leader Perinpanayagam Sivaparan alias Nediyawan who is based in Norway.  LTTE revival in Sri Lanka is spearheaded by the TNA and its affiliated agencies through the annual “Maaveerar Naal” activity in November (4). It remembers what Tamil separatists hail as “heroics” of the LTTE and pray for their return. Despite the ban on LTTE, these events take place. However, the biggest evidence of Tamils’ activities leading to a possible revival of the LTTE comes from the highest echelons of governance in India, Australia and USA. India twice expended the LTTE ban after 2009 in 2010 and 2012 (5). Three Tamil Nadu politicians challenged the ban in 2012 at the madras High Court but without success. Obviously the threat is still real for India to continue its ban. In addition, Australia extended the LTTE ban in late 2013 as a foreign terrorist organisation.  LTTE is still in the list of foreign terrorist organisation in the US (LankaWeb : 02 January 2014).

Tamil Eelam aspirants must ask how ‘Liberated’ the people of Kosovo are? - by Shenali D Waduge - The lies to create Kosovo’s ‘independence’ are many. Allegation that 225,000 ethnic Albanian men aged between 14 and 59 were missing or presumed dead was made by US Ambassador-at-large David Scheffer. It was an invention. In 2000, the International War Crimes Tribunal announced that the final count of bodies found in Kosovo’s “mass graves” was just 2108. This included Serbs, Roma, and those killed by the West’s allies, the Kosovo Liberation Front. The allegation of dead bodies finds startling resemblance to the 40,000-125,000 figures making center stage for war crimes charges against Sri Lanka – enroute to an Eelam. The people of Kosovo are today barely making a living, women have turned into prostitution to survive – is this where Tamils want to take Tamils?  In 2008 Kosovo declared independence. 60 Governments have recognized the ‘republic of Kosovo’ – these ‘recognitions’ are a direct result of pressures from Washington no different to how Resolutions get passed at UN. Are countries really sovereign today, we wonder! Kosovo is said to be a ‘unique case’ – something the Eelam lobbyists are also pushing for. It would be certainly unique for Tamils who demand an Eelam only for Tamils based on discrimination by Sinhalese, while half of the Tamils propose to continue to live among the Sinhalese and not in Eelam. So we have a unique case of Tamils wanting a separate Eelam for only Tamils (where Sinhalese will be prohibited from entering) but Tamils can also live anywhere throughout Sri Lanka as well – what kind of hypocrisy are we talking about! (LankaWeb : 02 January 2015).

Who killed whom in Sri Lanka? - by H. L. D. Mahindapala - Bruce Haig, former deputy High Commissioner of Australia to Sri Lanka, is back again doing what he normally does: demonizing Sri Lanka, his bête noir. (Canberra Times – 2/1/2014) This time he is quoting the Second Session of the Peoples’ Tribunal on Sri Lanka which sat in Bremen in December 2013. He is a part of the lobby that regurgitates today what the Tamil propagandists had said yesterday.  According to Haig, the Peoples’ Tribunal report consists of ex-parte statements of thirty witnesses without being cross-checked for veracity. This is not the first time that reports of this nature have come out against Sri Lanka. Even the notorious report presented by the anti-Sri Lankan Darusman to the UN Secretary-General consisted of accusations based on ex-parte statements. Evidence to be credible must be verifiable. The easiest tactic to demonize anyone is to produce ex-parte reports.The main charge is that the Government of Sri Lankan (GOSL) has been, and continues to be, engaged in “genocidal “ attacks on the Tamils, which Haig compares to Nazi elimination of Jews. Though he is high on rhetoric he is very low on substance. He has failed to substantiate his charge that the GOSL acted like the Nazis in exterminating the Tamils. The facts deny his jaundiced view of Sri Lanka.First, in May 2009 and a global audience witnessed the exodus on prime time global TV nearly 300,000 Tamil civilians fleeing the fascist grip of Tamil Tigers and running into the arms of the Sri Lankan Security Forces. The hapless Tamil civilians who were used as a human shield to protect Velupillai Prabhakaran, the internationally banned Tiger terrorist, without food, water, medicine or shelter in the last months of war in 2009, were rescued by the Sri Lankan forces and provided with the basic essentials for survival. Prabhakaran’s fascist terror led the New York Times (May 25, 1995), to brand him as the “the latest Pol Pot of Asia”.Second, the entire Tamil leadership in the democratic mainstream were eliminated physically by “the Tamil Pol Pot” on the basis that there can’t be two tigers in the same mountain.Third, even at the height of the war (from 1976 – 2009) the Sri Lankan government provided free education, health, medical and other basic essential for the survival of Tamil civilians who were lived under “the Tamil Pol Pot’s” regime. Mr. Haig was the deputy high commissioner in Sri Lanka in the nineties and he would have known this fact if he was doing his job with due diligence.Fourth, elections were held in September 2013 restoring to the Tamil civilians the right to elect their own administration for the first time in the history of the northern region dominated by the Tamils.Fifth, over 2,000 Tamil policemen and women have been appointed to protect the Tamil population (LankaWeb : 02 January 2014).

Rathika Sitsabaesan MP for Scarborough-Rouge River - by Asoka Weerasinghe, Canada - The Editor (Letters) THE OTTAWA CITIZEN; Dear Editor:I am not sure why all this fuss is about in your news item “Sri Lanka warns MP possible arrest.” The MP concerned is the Tamil-Canadian Rathika Sitsabaesan, the NDP Parliamentarian for Scarborough-Rouge River where the majority of her constituents are Tamils.Whether she is a Canadian MP or not is insignificant to the Sri Lankan Police and Army who are the guardians of the sovereignty of that island nation. None of them would have recognized her face anyway. All what they knew was that here was a Tamil woman on a tourist visa with a definite agenda, inimical to Sri Lanka’s sovereign interests.She flies into Colombo and as a tourist immediately travels north zeroing on the Northern Provincial Council Tamil members who are proxy-Tamil Tigers and other Tamil activists in the North who wants to separate the country and have their mono-ethnic, Tamil racist state, Eelam.She should count her lucky stars that she was not deported from the island for being mischievous and cunning to come into the island on a tourist visa and gets on with her political agenda having meetings with Tamil separatists in the North of the island where the Tamil Tiger terrorist separatist war happened for 30 bloodying years.Without penalizing the Sri Lankan government for guarding her sovereignty of their island state which is their right, the NDP leader Tom Mulclair should rap her knuckles when she returns for bringing disrespect to Canada’s parliament with her shenanigans, and that she should not try that stunt again (LankaWeb : 02 January 2014).

Rathika Sitsabaiesan Sri Lanka saga - by Asoka Weerasinghe,  Canada - Rathika Sitsabaiesan, NDP MP, for Scarborough-Rouge River, Ontario House of Commons, Ottawa; 2 January 2014. Dear Rathika: You surprised me when I read your statement in ColomboPage and later in the National Post “……., but subjected to political intimidation. I was warned I could be subject to arrest and deportation, as several Commonwealth MPs from New Zealand and Australia recently faced.”  Wrong! That was not “political intimidation”, Rathika, it was a lesson given to you free of charge by the Police and Immigration personnel of Sri Lanka, on a sovereign county’s immigration laws, which you should accept as a Rookie MP as part of your learning curve. They couldn’t care two masala vadais from a Take Out Curry Hut in Scarborough-Rouge River, whether you are a Canadian MP or not. You just do not go into a foreign country as a tourist and disregard their statutes of law. You were damn lucky that you were not deported.  In simple language, if you still didn’t understand their English which is spoken in a non-Canadian accent, is that you just cannot enter Sri Lanka on a visitor’s visa, take off immediately to the North of the island and have your private political meetings with the proxy-Tamil Tiger politicians. That’s what it is. These Sri Lankan officials are paid to do a job. To keep an eye on fraudulent tourists, who sneak into the island’s north to accomplish their anti-Sri Lanka political agenda. So you got caught, Rathika, and I hope you learnt your lesson and not to repeat that cunning shenanigan again in Sri Lanka.  This issue is far worse than your learning curve of the number of people that make up the Canadian population when you said on February 5, 2012 “We’re almost 9 million if I remember the number correctly”, when a person in the audience prompted to correct you and educate you, that there were 34 million people in Canada. That was embarrassing, wasn’t it, Rathika! Again, I hope you took it as part of your learning curve as a rookie MP (LankaWeb : 02 January 2014).

News report stating that MP Rathika Sitsabaesan is under house arrest in Sri Lanka - by Mahinda Gunasekera Agincourt, Ontario, Canada - The Editor Toronto Star; Dear Editor, News report stating that MP Rathika Sitsabaesan is under house arrest in Sri Lanka. I refer to the news report carried on page A2 of today’s edition stating that Ms. Rathika Sitsabaesan, MP for Scarborough-Rouge River is being held under house arrest in Sri Lanka. Your report cites one Thasan Ganeshalingam who is said to be the President of the NDP’s Riding Association as the source for the story based on his not having received a response to a text message sent by him to the MP who is currently visiting Sri Lanka. Contrary to your report, I understand that the MP concerned is freely moving about in the Jaffna peninsula meeting with members of the Tamil National Alliance which is the proxy party of the Tamil Tigers, who subscribed to the position that the proscribed Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was the sole representative of the Tamils of Sri Lanka. It is regrettable that such publicity is given to unverified news reports in your columns. It is also shocking to find that Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs rushes to act on an unverified news report, merely to vituperate Sri Lanka based on his misguided views aimed at wooing the votes of Tamils in the GTA who funded the 30 year terrorist violence of the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka from Canada. . Ms. Rathika Sitsabarsan, MP, has travelled to Sri Lanka as a tourist when she is an elected representative who is required under normal protocol to notify Sri Lanka’s High Commission in Canada about her need to visit the country. She apparently decided to conceal her visit from the Sri Lankan authorities but same came to light when the local media caught up with her meddlesome activities. Furthermore, her association with the banned terrorist group as displayed in her facebook boldly standing beside the Tamil Tiger flag and hostile actions both in and outside the House of Commons would naturally cause the host country to take note of her secretive visit to that country (Lankaeb : 02 January 2014).

Canadian MP Rathika in hot water over Jaffna episode - by Shamindra Ferdinando - Jaffna born Canadian MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan is likely to face disciplinary action back at home for falsely claiming that she had been placed under house arrest in northern Sri Lanka. Canada based sources told The Island that the New Democratic Party (NDP) MP had caused chaos while being on a private visit to Jaffna. NDP leader Thomas Mulcair went to the extent of phoning Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in Ottawa Chitranganee Wagiswara to inquire about Sitsabaiesan’s safety and security.  Immigration authorities yesterday told the visiting MP as she was here on a tourist visa she shouldn’t engage in unnecessary activities. She had told them that she would be leaving the country on January 3.  The NDP is the main Opposition to Premier Stephen Harper’s ruling Conservative Party. She met several TNA representatives in Jaffna.A senior GoSL official told The Island that the Sitsabaiesan’s episode should be examined against the backdrop of MP Deepak Obhrai (Conservative Party), Parliamentary Secretary to Foreign Minister John Baird expressing serious concern over the situation in Jaffna. Having met Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran, Bishop of Jaffna Rev. Thomas Saundranayakam and Tamil National Alliance MP Eswarapatham Saravanabavan in Jaffna during the second week of November, Obhrai declared that the people there had been deprived of even the basic democratic rights. Obhrai declined to reveal the names of others he had met in Colombo and Jaffna as, he said, he feared for their safety. Sitsabaiesan earlier lost her position as the NDP spokesperson on higher education and universities soon after Thomas took over the leadership in 2012.  Canada based Tamils told The Island that Sitsabaiesan had undertaken a visit to Jaffna in the wake of Markham Councillor Logan Kanapathi (Liberal Party) challenging her in the newly created federal electorate Scarborough North next year. Kanapathi was inadvertently identified as a Labour Party member in our yesterday’s front-page news item. The error is regretted. As Kanapathi had the unstinted support of the powerful pro-LTTE groups based in Canada, Sitsabaiesan probably felt she could overcome the challenge by reaching out to the ITAK, the dominant constituent of the five-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA), sources said. Sitsabaiesan earned the wrath of the LTTE grouping after she refused to attend a conference on Tamil People’s Rights on March 2, 2013 on the sidelines of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council session. Kanapathi agreed to attend the Geneva conference at short notice. The Conservatives and the Liberal were represented at the Geneva meet by MP Partrick Brown and MP Jim Karrigiannis, respectively.  The LTTE grouping also prevented Sitsabaiesan from attending an event at the Queen’s Park, Toronto on May 18, 2013 to remember those killed war.  Apart from Kanapathi, several others, including TULF leader Anandasangaree’s son, Gary, are seeking to enter the fray on the Liberal Party ticket. Sources said that most of those who had been seeking nomination from the Liberal Party were pro-LTTE. But, the LTTE lobby would also field some of their activists on the Conservative Party ticket, sources said. They identified Nehru Gunaratnam as one of those closely dealing with the Conservative Party in spite of him involvement in the LTTE during the Norwegian arranged Ceasefire Agreement in Feb 2002. Although the Conservative government was often accused of supportive of the LTTE, the Conservatives proscribed the LTTE and took tough measures to curb illegal migration (Island : 02 January 2014).

Sri Lanka News Online wishes its readers Happy New Year, 2014

False Information Regarding “House Arrest” of R. Sitsabaiesan by GOSL - I wrote to you earlier regarding the incorrect information from your mission regarding Mr. Obhrai’s visit to Sri Lanka in November for the Commonwealth summit as well as the fiasco of the wreath with different messages in three languages. I have not had the courtesy of a reply from you as yet. To refresh your memory, it was incorrect that you were denied a flight to Jaffna by the Sri Lanka Air Force. You had made reservations on a private airline and when that reservation failed accused the SLAF of not providing you with a flight. As I mentioned, it was an attempt to blame Sri Lankan authorities for your mission’s incompetence and a deliberate attempt to mislead the Canadian public. It exposed the bias and anti-Sri Lanka attitude by Canada. Yet, Mr.Obhrai on his return to Canada has the nerve to lie to Canadians claiming that Canada is a friend of Sri Lanka. As the saying goes, with a friend like Canada, who is blatantly anti- Sri Lanka to pander to the supporters of the LTTE in Canada, who needs enemies! I hope your Government realises that you are fooling no one. I am now writing to you regarding the latest lie being broadcast by Canada in keeping with it’s anti-Sri Lanka agenda based on false information that Rathika Sitsabaiesan is under “house arrest”. While Rathika is shown in media reports travelling around Jaffna meeting whoever she pleases, accompanied by a local Member of Parliament, who even recently made known to all Sri Lankans that he supports the Tamil terrorists (LTTE) and is a great admirer of the LTTE leader Prabhakaran, this false information is repeated by the Canadian Foreign Affairs Ministry which has lost no time to announce that it is “investigating reports” when all it had to do was to check the source of this information, which according to a news item in Sri Lanka was from a “local pro-LTTE website” – source http://www.colombopage.com/archive_13B/Jan01_1388567761CH.php That Rathika would work closely with LTTE supporters in Canada and Sri Lanka is evident as she also supports the LTTE - attached is a picture of her proudly standing with the LTTE flag. Other photos are http://i.imgur.com/OWznJ7D.jpghttp://i.imgur.com/OWznJ7D.jpg Mr.John Baird in his ignorance and haste to once again broadcast to the world his anti-Sri Lanka stance based on the current government’s policy to cater to their Tamil LTTE supporters, has reported that his staff was “working on these reports”. Perhaps he too should take a picture of himself wrapped in the LTTE flag to counter Rathika’s photo. It is obvious that his staff must have not much to do or that the High Commission in Colombo is not doing it’s job of providing the Foreign Ministry with accurate information in a timely fashion. To add to the show of wasting time on mischievous, frivolous misinformation and definite bias against Sri Lanka is the tweet from Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Lynne Yelich that “our High Commissioner in Colombo will be making representations in Sri Lanka to determine her status.” Had your office sent pictures of Rathika’s daily photo opportunities and schedule, all these people in Canada would be more gainfully occupied and not be wasting tax payers money (LankaWeb : 01 January 2014).

Of MR’s swipe - Critics of Sri Lanka’s human rights situation are either uninformed of the ground situation here or sympathetic to the LTTE, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said in a newspaper interview. With a little over two months to go for the next UNHRC session in Geneva, where Sri Lanka is expected to face another condemnatory resolution moved by the US, his swipe is obviously aimed at undermining the credibility of his detractors. President Rajapaksa never misses any opportunity to tear into those who have embarked on a war crimes campaign against his government. His indignation is understandable, but their hostility stems from anything but ignorance, we reckon. India has been quite au fait with the situation here. If not for its blessings, the LTTE couldn’t have been eliminated. True, there were times when New Delhi succumbed to pressure from Tamil Nadu and wanted the military operations in the Vanni suspended, but, overall, it was supportive of Sri Lanka’s war which effectively neutralised a threat to India’s national security as well. India had even been compelled to tighten security at nuclear power stations in its southern regions in view of the LTTE’s crude air wing. It must have been relieved to see Prabhakaran dead. But, today, it is one of the most vociferous critics of Sri Lanka’s war owing to some domestic political imperatives. It has also been left with no alternative but to join forces with western governments campaigning for a war crimes probe against Sri Lanka because it aspires to a seat in the UN Security Council and, therefore, wants to be in the good books of the global powers. Thus, it may be seen that India is on a campaign against Sri Lanka not because it is either uninformed/misguided or pro-LTTE. In the UK, too, there are some constituencies where LTTE sympathisers claim to be able to determine the outcome of any election by voting for a party of their choice. David Miliband has admitted in a diplomatic cable disclosed by WikiLeaks that he, as the British Foreign Secretary, focused on this country and even rushed here during the final phases of the war in 2009 because of the pro-LTTE votes in Labour constituencies with slim majorities.Politicians, the world over, hunger for votes and thirst for power, and it is only natural that most British politicians, especially the ruling party ones, are falling over themselves to woo pro-LTTE activists and have taken to Sri Lanka bashing in return for votes. But, by no stretch of the imagination, could they be described as uninformed about Sri Lanka. It’s just that they don’t give two hoots about facts, which they unflinchingly distort to suit their own agendas. The same goes for most of the Scandinavian countries where the LTTE is still strong. The US is a different kettle of fish in that its governments are not dependent on pro-LTTE voters for survival, but it also uses the Sri Lankan issue to further its geo-political interests (Island Editorial : 01 January 2014).

Canada’s claim of Rathika under house arrest baseless – govt. - By Shamindra Ferdinando - Jaffna police denied Canadian media reports that Jaffna born Canadian MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan had been placed under house arrest in the peninsula.Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police, Jaffna Roshan Dias told The Island that MP Sitsabaiesan was staying at Tilco hotel in the heart of Jaffna. "We had no reason to place her under house arrest," Dias said, adding that the Sitsabaiesan was visiting the country on a tourist visa.New Democratic Party (NDP) MP Sitsabaiesan arrived in Sri Lanka on Dec 28 on a fact finding mission. Soon after her arrival, Sitsabaiesan travelled overland to Jaffna peninsula, where she met several Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) representatives.  A section of the media tends to speculate on sensitive issues, the official said. He pointed out that no one could be placed under house arrest without having a judicial order.The Canadian government media office didn’t respond to The Island query as regards the alleged arrest of MP Sitsabaiesan though it acknowledged receiving our question.A senior official told The Island that those concerned about the visiting MP’s safety and security could easily send her SMS to verify. According to him, the NDP MP was seeking political mileage back at home in Canada by having a relationship with an influential section of the ITAK, which was the dominant partner of the five-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA) running the first ever Northern Provincial Council.The External Affairs Ministry official alleged that it was part of the propaganda campaign to vilify Sri Lanka. The official expressed surprise none of those concerned about the MP had contacted her or the ITAK representatives whom she met in Jaffna and Kilinochchi.Well informed sources told The Island that Ms Sitsabaiesan was visiting Jaffna amidst a move by the LTTE rump in Canada to clip her wings. Sources said that the LTTE rump was now backing Markham City Councillor Logan Kanapathi (Labour Party) to contest newly created Scarborough North electorate at the general election next year. Sources revealed that she had earned the wrath of the LTTE rump by refusing to attend a conference on ‘Tamil People’s Rights’ on the sidelines of the March 2013 session of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), thereby paved the way for Kanapathi’s entry into the field. The Conservative Party and the Liberal Party were represented by Patrick Brown and Jim Karrigiannis. The rift widened in May last year when Ms Sitsabaiesan was deprived of an opportunity to address a commemorative event held at the Queen’s Park, Toronto for those who died on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon during the final confrontation between the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE. In fact, she couldn’t even get on to the stage, sources said, adding that the NDP was making a bid to lionise her to downplay the Labour Party announcing Kanapathi’s candidature.  Ms Sitsabaiesan first entered parliament at the 2011 polls (Island : 01 January 2014).

They come from Jaffna He comes from Colombo - by Gomin Dayasiri - A9- the road from Jaffna to Colombo is rapidly improving – surface and surroundings- as hundreds from the South travel to the North and are greeted by the northern traders as the mainstay of their sale. Northerners travel in greater numbers to the South in ease and spends more.  Life in Jaffna meanders without stress in tranquil surroundings these days with its stoic inhabitants having experienced heavy storms before; welcome the ensuing peace. They are baffled on the postures of those for whom they voted – desire to lead a life without strife and skirmish, if heard.  Locals tell it in a short sentence. They voted mindfully for the man who came from Colombo to Jaffna. Once a respected judge who upheld esteemed values of authentic Jaffna, unknown and unspoken in most of Colombo: old school Wigneswaran has a feel for its value. In the present mode, has become a typical politician: yet he does not have the guile and craft associated with politicians. He is a judge who should have led his life as a retired judge and earned respect for his wisdom and integrity – lived on his pension without greed for other office.  His metamorphosis can mar the potential of the provincial council of the Northern Province. Voters overwhelmingly went for him than for their known peninsula politicians. There was a reason.  Prabhakaran posed as different to the politicians and towered over them in esteem at both tips of the Palk Strait-as an uncorrupt doer. It mattered not whether Prabhakaran was in the liked or disliked column- he is credited for the variation.  After him Jaffna was in search of a politician with a difference and distant from terrorism – Wigneswaran appeared to hold that space- capable of bridging the distance between Jaffna and Colombo over troubled waters.Maturity and wisdom of the voters are not lessons learnt by the northern legislators.A storm is gathering over the Northern Provincial Council where Wigneswaran acts as a storm trooper more than a fire fighter.  Naturally, he does not have a political base to fall back or the charisma, dynamism and capability to give leadership and has become a disciple of the provincial councilors of many shades than a leader to an assortment of them. It seems he loves high office and wants to hold on to it by playing to the loud and vocal.  A pattern was set-a five party combine of the North carried 85.2% of the vote and one man became a towering giant in the vision of the North carrying 62% of the votes cast for the TNA, amongst five competing parties.He had the North at his feet but instead fell at the feet of lesser politicians.  It bodes ill for the country as fissiparous tendencies surface in the art of a quick fix by reviving the spirit of terrorism or attempting to erect mausoleums and war cemeteries for them and adorning terrorism with flowers to display. It places the Chief Minister at the crossroad of a confrontation and such makes it imperative the military stands to attention based in the North. Wigneswaran lacks foresight and he is making the case stronger to keep the military stationed in the North permanently. The old judge is a maverick at heart and lacks the quick steps of a politician to pivot around a tight position.Wigneswaran in his present unpredictable mood could open and close a terrorist mausoleum and be passionate on both counts -political immaturity makes him a wavering seasonal weathercock speaking in two tongues moving away from the reconciliation process to a conflict situation (LankaWeb ; 31 December 2013).

War Crime:Urgent need for reappraisal of Go SL's response - An opportunity to highlight origins of eelam terror - By Shamindra Ferdinando -There is something common in Rathika Sitsabaiesan and Nisha Desai Biswal, now in their early thirties. Both left their countries of birth as toddlers along with their families, seeking better lives in the West. Rathika and Nisha had been just five and six years of age, respectively, when their families migrated. Jaffna-born Rathika’s family moved to Canada in the mid 80s. Both had achieved important milestones in their lives; Rathika is now a Canadian MP, while Nisha, from rural India recently succeeded Robert O Blake as US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia. Rathika returned to Sri Lanka on an Etihad flight on December 28, 2013 as a Canadian member of parliament representing the New Democratic Party (NDP). Having obtained a tourist visa, Rathika rushed to the Northern Province where she had a series of meetings with representatives of the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK). She is here on a fact finding mission ahead of the next session of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in March, 2014. Rathika was among those wanting President Mahinda Rajapaksa to address accountability issues during the final phase of the military offensive on the Vanni east front (January-May 2009) or face the consequences in Geneva. She also publicly accepted war crimes allegations made by the UK media outfit, Channel 4 News in June 2011.Sitsabaiesan was elected to the House of Commons on the New Democratic Party (NDP) ticket at the last parliamentary polls on May 2, 2011.Canada is home to one of the largest communities of the Tamil diaspora in the world, outside of India, many of whom live in Rathika’s constituency, Scarborough—Rouge River and across the greater Toronto area in general.The MP was the first person of Tamil origin to be elected to the federal parliament in Canada and a close associate of pro-LTTE activists still propagating Eelam sentiments, though the LTTE remained a proscribed organization in Canada.The first Indian-American Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Biswal is scheduled to visit Colombo next month ahead of the next Geneva session. Biswal too will raise the issue of accountability for atrocities committed during the final phase of the offensive. It would be the responsibility of the government to remind the two ladies of the circumstances under which neighbouring India destabilized the country, plunging Sri Lanka to a three decades long war. It would be important to establish why Rathika’s family fled her Jaffna. Did the Sitsabaiesans seek asylum in Canada after the deployment of the Indian army in Jaffna on July 29, 1987? Did they suffer at the hands of Sri Lankan forces, the Indian army or over a half a dozen terrorist groups sponsored by India? Was a close relative or relatives involved in Indian sponsored terrorism? It would be of pivotal importance to establish the truth, as the country is under intense scrutiny by a section of the international community (Island : 31 December 2013).

Jaffna-born Canadian woman MP here on fact finding mission - By Shamindra Ferdinando - The government expects a spate of visits by Eelam activists and foreign politicians, having close relationship with the pro-LTTE Tamil Diaspora, to the Jaffna peninsula in the run up to the next session of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in March 2004. A senior official said that some of them were likely to visit the Northern Province on tourist visa. The official was responding to a query by The Island after the Jaffna born Canadian MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan was seen with Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) members in the Jaffna peninsula over the weekend. She is here on a tourist visa. ITAK is the dominant partner in the five-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA).Another official asserted that those engaged in political activity, after having arrived in the country on tourist visas, looked forward to being deported as they obviously felt such deportations would be advantageous to them, he said.The visiting MP met several other activists, during her visit to the Northern Province. Among those who had opportunity to meet the visiting politician were ITAK Jaffna District MP Sivagnanam Sritharan and Northern Provincial Councillor Anandi Sashikaran. The meetings took place in Kilinochchi and Jaffna, respectively.The Canadian politician arrived in Sri Lanka on Dec 28. She stayed at Tilco hotel situated close to the Jaffna library.Sitsabaiesan was elected to the Canadian House of Commons on the New Democratic Party (NDP) ticket at the last parliamentary polls on May 2, 2011.The MP was the first person of Tamil origin to be elected to the federal parliament in Canada and a close associate of pro-LTTE activists still propagating Eelam sentiments, though the LTTE remained a proscribed organisation in Canada.Sources pointed out that the visit was taking place close on the heels of Conservative Party MP Deepak Obhrai, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, touring Jaffna. Having met the Chief Minister of the Northern Province Wigneswaran of the TNA and TNA MP E.Sarawanabawan, MP Obhrai declared that the government was suppressing the people of Jaffna and people of all three communities were deprived of the basic democratic freedoms.External Affairs Ministry sources pointed out that the Canadian NDP would have decided to send a representative to Jaffna to prevent the ruling Conservatives from taking advantage of the situation in Sri Lanka. Sources said that with the Conservatives, the Labour and the NDP, fighting for the lion’s share of Tamil votes, at the next parliamentary polls, accountability in Sri Lanka could be a major issue. Sources said that all those eyeing Tamil votes had no option but to engage in Sri Lanka bashing. A senior official said that the NDP MP could have visited Jaffna officially without sneaking into the peninsula as a tourist. The official said: "In fact, Jaffna was brought under control way back in Dec 1995. Foreign representatives are free to visit any part of the country, including former LTTE strongholds in the Vanni, both west and east of the A9 road." The Canadian visited a refugee centre in Jaffna, which was also inspected by British Prime Minister David Cameroon during his recent visit to the peninsula during the CHOGM summit (Island : 30 December 2013).

Sri Lankans ‘need not flee’- Envoy - Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Australia Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe said Sri Lankans no longer have any reason to flee to Australia as the country moves towards reconciliation.  Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe attended a Sri Lankan community event at the weekend, paying tribute to the contributions of Sri Lankans to Wagga, where about 100 Sri Lankan families call home.  According to the UN, more than 30,000 civilians died in those final years of conflict and more than 14,000 people are seeking asylum.  Speaking before the Wagga Sri Lankans' cultural event, Admiral Samarasinghe told The Daily Advertiser the civil war and its fallout has been "fully settled".  "Terrorism was defeated in Sri Lanka against terrorists," he said.  "But they are trying to accuse Sri Lanka of various wrongdoings which are not true."Sri Lankans need not come to Australia anymore as asylum seekers or refugees. "They are not being persecuted." Admiral Samarasinghe said the Sri Lankans living in Australia came looking for a better life.  "Sri Lankans have deep roots in Australia," he said.  "They make very responsible citizens, very disciplined with no trouble and very friendly.  "For Sri Lanka, Australia is a second home."  Most Sri Lankans living in Wagga are employed in education and health service sectors. Admiral Samarasinghe highlighted education as a major link between Sri Lanka and Australia. "A lot of students are coming to Australia," he said. "With the new Colombo Plan, there will now even be Australian students going to Sri Lanka. "This is a link that will flourish. "We are expecting our relationship to go from strength to strength."(Daily Mirror : 30 December 2013).

Canadian MP in Jaffna, meets TNA politicians - Canadian parliamentarian Rathika Sitsabaiesan, who is on a visit to Jaffna, held discussions with several Tamil National Alliance parliamentarians and Jaffna-based organizations, yesterday and today, sources said. Jaffna-born Ms. Sitsabaiesan arrived in Sri Lanka on December 28. The Valikamam North Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman accompanied her during her visit to the Sabapahipilai Refugee Camp in Jaffna and met the internally displaced people living there. This refugee camp was also visited by British Prime Minister David Cameron when he was in Sri Lanka last month.  Ms. Sitsabaiesan is also reported to have met TNA MP S. Sridharan last evening at Kilinochchi and Jaffna Provincial Councillors including Anandi Sashikaran this morning (Daily Mirror : 30 December 2013).

Sri Lanka police suspect new mass grave used by Tamil Tigers - Sri Lankan authorities continuing investigations on a new mass grave uncovered in the North believe the mass grave was used by the Tamil Tiger terrorists during their reign of the area.  The new mass grave was found along the access road to the Thirukethiswaram Kovil in Mannar in the former war zone. The area was under the control of the Tamil Tigers until the government security forces liberated the area in 2008.  The police suspect the grave was used by the Tamil Tigers during the war to bury civilians and soldiers killed by the rebels, Xinhua reported Monday.  Police Media Spokesperson SSP Ajith Rohana said that the excavation work was carried out at the mass