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Sri Lanka Demands A Ministry Of Inclusion & Diversity

By Jude Fernando

Jude Fernando

Jude Fernando

Against Sexism, Racism, Homophobia, Ageism, and Ableism: Sri Lanka Demands a Ministry of Inclusion and Diversity &#8211 Component I

The myth of integration as propounded beneath the banner of the liberal ideology have to be cracked due to the fact it makes men and women think that one thing is being achieved when in reality the artificially integrated circles are a soporific to the blacks although saving the consciences of the handful of guilt-stricken whites. &#8211 Steve Biko

It’s just like when you’ve got some coffee that’s too black, which signifies it is as well sturdy. What do you do? You integrate it with cream, you make it weak. But if you pour too considerably cream in it, you will not even know you ever had coffee. It utilised to be hot, it becomes cool. It employed to be robust, it becomes weak. It used to wake you up, now it puts you to sleep &#8211  Malcolm X

“We grow to be not a melting pot but a stunning mosaic. Different folks, various beliefs, distinct yearnings, diverse hopes, various dreams.”- Jimmy Carter

What does it imply to be a human in a multicultural society such as Sri Lanka, a nation comprised of groups with culturally, historically, and territorially distinct identities, and with a history of contentious relations among them? This ought to be the central question for all efforts to generate excellent governance (Yahapalanya) and domestic mechanisms of accountability and reconciliation. Here, I applaud President Maithripala Sirisena strategy to eradicate corruption and formulate a code of conduct for Parliamentarians his recognition in his Independence Day speech (unprecedented in the history of such speeches given that Independence) of the failures of the reconciliation approach, and his guarantee to rectify them.

Aluthgama ViolenceThe President’s efforts will succeed only if he supplements them with a extensive broad-based plan to develop a culture of inclusive governance by establishing a specific ‘mindset’ – a critical awareness of, and basic changes in the way society thinks about race, gender, age, physical capacity, and sexuality. Why do we want to engage in such a reassessment? Basically put, they shape our identities and relationships that inform our perceptions of the root causes of sexism, homophobia, ableism ageism, and racism that produce and reinforce social stereotypes, oppressive power differentials, prejudice, discrimination and violence. These are also major sources of xenophobia and conspiracy theories that survived the previous regime and continue to threaten the stability of the present regime, and prevent society from productive engagement with the domestic social, financial, political troubles and international concerns with regards to the country’s human rights abuses.

Arguably, these ignorant of and complicit with racism, sexism and homophobia are probably to hero-worship these leaders who uphold such negative attributes and do not have qualms about getting them holding essential leadership positions in society. Without addressing these instruments of domination, the existing or any future governments can’t expect to fulfill its guarantee of good governance, stability, and reconciliation.   We cannot take for granted the meanings and social functions of race, gender, and sexuality as fixed in time and location. They are in a continual approach of becoming, therefore, they warrant reassessment of their social impacts. This is a multi-pronged, multi-layered procedure that should occur at the person and institutional levels in each and every community within the nation.

To this end, I propose a new Ministry of Inclusion and Diversity (MID). The MID must replace the redundant Ministry of National Languages and Social Integration (MLSI). The MNLSI lacked a clear vision and technique. It lacked clarity as to the which means of integration with respect to the specific realities of Sri Lanka’s multicultural society. Its narrow concentrate on ethnicity and language, and the ways in which it conflated integration with multiculturalism, created it irrelevant to the lives of its citizens and assist the post-war reconciliation, excellent governance, and transitional justice efforts. The MNLS functioned as a smokescreen for the Rajapaksa regime to disguise its prejudicial and discriminatory ethnonationalist and national safety policies that endangered post-war transitional justice and peaceful coexistence of distinct cultural communities of the nation.

With out a clear vision of multiculturalism, the MNLS failed to have any influence on schools, university curricula, oversees government ministries and administrative agencies to make sure they function in a manner that respects diversity and inclusion. Misunderstanding its goal due to nepotism, and the resulting failure to access the needed intellectual capacities and skilled persons, the MNLSI wasted public funds (for instance, placing up trilingual posters all through the country), rather than mainstreaming multiculturalism within government agencies, Ministries (Justice in distinct), and public educational and cultural institutions.[1] It is the job of the Urban Improvement and Road Improvement Authorities who is responsible to place Trilingual sign posts in public locations. The job of the MID would be to supplying the ‘software’ (rather than the ‘hardware’) required to mainstream multiculturalism in National and Neighborhood Governance administrative system of Sri Lanka.

The MID ought to develop an official policy of multiculturalism – as articulated in the Multicultural National Vision for Peace in Sri Lanka (Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake et al 2001).[two] Darini’s articulation of multiculturalism is deeply rooted in the situations of Sri Lanka. It is about fostering and enabling equality, justice, equal opportunity. It seeks access for all, by way of a mutual understanding and respect for those coexisting in the mosaic of cultures that is Sri Lanka, and establishing a cosmopolitan citizenship. It is about freeing society’s pursuit of freedom, equality and justice from prejudice and discrimination. It is not about imposing integration and assimilation, as envisaged by a lot of states, like Sri Lanka, but generating a totally free and dynamic environment for various communities to evolve and coexist without having compromising social and environmental justice.

The multiculturalism I am proposing is not British Prime Minister David Cameron’s ‘muscular liberalism,’ which would dismantle ‘state multiculturalism.’ Muscular liberalism is a security driven paradigm to address the insecurities and vulnerabilities brought about by the state driven multicultural policies. It is about securitization of multicultural societies driven by worldwide national safety and anti-terrorism paradigms. Taken in the context of present ethnic relations, this could lead to the ‘suspicion, surveillance and repression’ of certain groups. Muscular liberalism’s advocacy for “the values of equality, law and freedom of speech across all components of society” is not an adequate response to racism targeted against particular groups that exist in everyday society. It rejects the state driven multiculturalism that “encouraged distinct cultures to reside separate lives, apart from every other and apart from the mainstream.”

The target of Cameron’s speech was undoubtedly Muslims, and it appeared far more like a counter terrorism approach that confuses national integration with multiculturalism. Muscular liberalism is an ‘authoritarian articulation of shared values’ that defies the acknowledgement and acceptance of what Charles Taylor calls “the plurality of techniques for citizens to belong to their country.” It forces integration predicated on a superficial sense of belonging without creating a space to deal with pre-existing racial tensions, prejudices, and discrimination exacerbated by escalating financial inequalities and the reduction of state investments in social improvement.

David Miliband, former British Foreign Secretary points out “David Cameron&#8217s &#8216muscular liberalism&#8217 has small to offer you in providing greater sense of security for those who really feel discriminated and alienated from society. The threat is that substantial numbers in this group leapfrog to latent hostility or active enmity.”[three] Pitting muscular liberalism against multiculturalism is a recipe for inciting extremist responses to discrimination, which could at some point undermine national safety. The apparent shortcomings of muscular liberalism, in fact, make a stronger case for multiculturalism.

Multiculturalism advocated here is not opposed to integration, nor is it a recipe to encourage separation amongst cultures. Rather, it is about inclusion and diversity within a larger cultural mosaic that consists of justice and equality. Multiculturalism entails the recognition of, respect for, appreciation, and tolerance of cultural diversity and differences in ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, age, national origin, disability, education, and religion. Inclusion calls for that all individuals be valued and respected as human beings worthy of dignity. This will ensure equal chance. The concept here is to produce not only procedural and administrative changes, but also a culture that is not fearful of engaging with distinction and diversity, or difficult stereotypes, and a single that will not scapegoat minorities.

The multiculturalism advocated right here, starts with human rights and human security, whereas integration starts with crises that arise rights and safety of the nation. It is not about regulating and managing the variations between diverse groups, but rather, producing an awareness of prejudices and injustice, and creating solidarity against them, with the hope that individuals will embrace laws and administrative structures of inclusion and diversity voluntarily, and meaningfully. Nor is multiculturalism synonymous with integration or assimilation of various cultures, as typically understood. It is about remaking of the national identity (and “national story”) in which fear, prejudice, and discrimination do not undermine the scope for various individuals and groups maintain their distinctive person and collective identities.   Multiculturalism imagines national identity as a cultural mosaic with diverse rather than single dominant culture and history. Multiculturalism is a process that could quite nicely open the possibilities for meaningful integration and assimilation and pave the way for cosmopolitan national identity.

Responsible multiculturalism does not endorse a benign celebration of diversity or the rejection of all universal norms, rules, or truths. Nor is it a signifies to enable those who violate these universal norms to exploit cultural diversity (cultural relativism) to escape accountability and justice. It also does not endorse rabid secularism, which I contemplate hypocritical and counter-productive to the humanistic ambitions of multiculturalism advocated right here. Anti-theistic and anti-religious secular multiculturalism could turn out to be an additional form of prejudice and discrimination when it turns against these with firm religious beliefs, and fails to provide a space for the potential of religion to play in freeing part in society. Multiculturalism is not a panacea for curing the ills of secularism. As G.K. Chesterton noted, secularists’ contradict themselves and undermine their own position when they deny equal spot for religion that they provide for secular worldviews and ideologies. In a genuinely multicultural globe, tensions between the secular and religious are blurred by way of negotiation as they are provided equal space to strive to totally free themselves from the prejudices and discrimination that are inherent to them and the larger society.

Sri Lankans have too typically viewed diversity and multicultural policies as threats to, rather than possibilities for the nation, or its culture. Amongst ultra-nationalist fears that cultural diversity will destroy the unitary nation-state on the 1 hand, and empty ‘celebrations of diversity’ on the other, we require a effectively-articulated national multiculturalism policy framework to market inclusion, value diversity, and provide equal chance for all – people, communities, and social groups. Post-war Sri Lanka wants to engage with cultural diversity head on. We need to face the shameful elements of our own past, as well as present prejudices and discomfort with cultural diversity, and challenge assumptions about race, sexuality, gender, disability, and age, to foster private and collective duty in daily practice and attain genuine reconciliation.

Thus, the MID should be tasked with building a effectively-articulated national vision and policy framework for multiculturalism to promote not only equal opportunity for individuals and groups who have suffered systemic marginalization, but also post-war reconciliation. This would call for education, the education of educators, and the mainstreaming of concepts and practices aimed at promoting inclusion, and valuing cultural diversity in national institutions, the private sector, and society. The MID need to also seek to set standards and operate collaboratively with governmental ministries and departments to make certain equal opportunity in state institutions, and compliance, monitoring, and evaluation at all layers of governance, like via mandatory instruction. The multiculturalism policy framework would aim to create an empowering environment to guarantee the essential situations for folks and groups to attain their complete potential, without having getting subject to discrimination and prejudice, by way of education and the media.

Compared to numerous other countries, Sri Lanka is trailing in addressing these root causes of discrimination, prejudice and violence. In this regard, Sri Lanka is an anomaly when 1 considers it’s an impressive good results in related areas of the social welfare state, higher literacy, and common friendliness toward progressive social policies. For the duration of the war and its aftermath, we have observed a backtracking or stagnation of the progress the country has created since Independence &#8211 the gap in between superficial and substantive changes have widened.

Component II of this series will explore the reasons for Sri Lanka’s slow progress and setbacks in addressing these root causes of prejudice and discrimination.

*To be continued ..


[1] https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/copa-exposes-misappropriations-in-vasus-ministry/#comments

[two] Senanayaka, Darini, ((2001) Identity on the Borderline: Multicultural History in a Moment of Danger, Colombo: Marga Institute.

[three] http://news.ucajournalism.com/2011/02/28/david-mili/

Genocide Resolution & Geneva Gambit: Prongs Of A Pincer

By Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

Chief Minister Wigneswaran attempted to clarify away the Northern Provincial Council’s ‘Genocide’ Resolution by saying it was not directed against the present administration but rather against its predecessor. He was not telling the truth, to put it mildly. The Resolution has a distinct target and that target is unveiled in the quite title. The Resolution goes into the record under the title “Sri Lanka’s Genocide Against Tamils”. Thus the charge is not against Mahinda Rajapaksa—not that this would have created it right—but against Sri Lanka. It is Sri Lanka, the country—our country—that stands accused. It stands accused of ‘genocide’. Any reference to the previous administration appears in these sections dealing with ‘recent genocide’, even though every single section on ‘recent genocide’ is preceded with one on ‘historic genocide’.

What is the pith and substance of the resolution? There is no space for confusion. It says:

“This resolution gives an overview of the evidence demonstrating successive Sri Lankan governments’ genocide against Tamils, and respectfully requests the ongoing United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) to investigate the claim of genocide and advocate suitable investigations and prosecutions by the International Criminal Court. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide (Genocide Convention) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9th December, 1948, and acceded to by Sri Lanka in 1950, and supplies:

In the present Convention, genocide implies any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in complete or in element, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group (b) Causing severe bodily or mental harm to members of the group (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group situations of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in complete or in part (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group (e) Forcibly transferring young children of the group to an additional group.

Even though the OISL investigation is a time-bound work focused on February 2002 – November 2011, Sri Lanka’s genocide against Tamils began with the island’s independence. Since then, Tamils across Sri Lanka, specifically in the historical Tamil homeland of the NorthEast, have been subject to gross and systematic human rights violations, culminating in the mass atrocities committed in 2009. Sri Lanka’s historic violations consist of over 60 years of state-sponsored anti-Tamil pogroms, massacres, sexual violence, and acts of cultural and linguistic destruction perpetrated by the state. These atrocities have been perpetrated with the intent to destroy the Tamil people, and therefore constitute genocide.

This Council is of opinion that during the period extending from 1948, when the Citizenship Act was passed to strip citizenship from a segment of the Tamil neighborhood and render them stateless, and continuing via the present day, successive Sri Lankan governments have perpetrated genocide against Tamils. In depth proof demonstrates that acts have been committed that constitute 4 of the 5 enumerated genocidal acts in the Genocide Convention…” (p.1)

The resolution passed by the Northern Provincial Council solemnly locations our nation, Sri Lanka, in the organization of Hitler’s Germany, Rwanda and former Yugoslavia.

“…This Council notes that the spread of false rumors to incite violence against a group is a hallmark of genocides all through history, such as in Nazi Germany, Rwanda, and the former Yugoslavia. The Sri Lankan government has utilised false rumors as 1 tool in organizing Sinhalese mobs to commit genocide against Tamils.” (p.3)

The Resolution accuses Sri Lanka of committing “cultural genocide” against the Tamils.

“…The governments of Sri Lanka also committed acts of cultural genocide, beginning on June 5, 1956, when the S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike government passed the Sinhala Only Act, or the Official Language Act, which replaced English with Sinhala, spoken by 70% of the population at the time, as the sole official language. This act failed to officially recognize Tamil in any capacity. In the 1st republican constitution of 1972, Buddhism was privileged “at the foremost place” among religions in the constitutions. Though the term “cultural genocide” does not seem in Genocide Convention, it was incorporated in the initial draft, and international criminal tribunals have found acts of cultural and linguistic destruction to constitute acts of genocide. The Sinhala Only Act and the privileging of Buddhism undermine the Tamil people’s language and religion, predominantly Hindu.” (p.5)

The Resolution states that the Sri Lanka sought to physically eliminate the Tamils in the same manner as in Rwanda. One particular of the strategies by which this Rwanda–style “physical destruction”, albeit in slow motion, defined as “slow death genocide”, was sought to be effected, was by way of – wait for it—university admissions policy.

“…Moreover, according to international criminal jurisprudence from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the term “physical destruction” “should be construed as the methods of destruction by which the perpetrator does not instantly kill the members of the group, but which, in the end, seek their physical destruction,” which would “include, inter alia, subjecting a group of people to a subsistence diet regime, systematic expulsion from properties and the reduction of important medical services below minimum requirement”. By pushing Tamils out of the workforce and rendering them financially insecure, the Sinhala Only Act and university admissions standardization ultimately aimed to destroy the Tamil group at least in element by way of a “slow death genocide.” This Council additional notes that during the war, the government imposed prolonged blockades against humanitarian aid and embargos on needed goods, stopping fundamental goods and supplies from reaching the NorthEast.” (p.7)

Did you know that a military blockade is nonetheless in location against ‘Tamil areas’, causing the “historical impoverishment and isolation of the Tamil community”? Note the despicable use of the present tense, and the open-endedness, in the phrase “has been in place since 1990”.

“A military blockade against Tamil places has been in spot considering that 1990, except for ceasefire periods, which has contributed to the historical impoverishment and isolation of the Tamil neighborhood. The blockade has prevented ordinary products such as standard medicine, school books, cement, gasoline, candles, and chocolate from getting into Tamil regions. For the duration of certain periods of the ethnic conflict, the military adopted a harsher stance, and blocked all humanitarian help intended for civilians.” (p.7)

According to the Resolution, the genocide is ongoing: “To this day, Tamils in the NorthEast suffer from Sri Lanka’s ongoing genocide …There has been no change in the oppressive level of militarization in the NorthEast with the election of Maithripala Sirisena…” (p.11)

So what’s the bottom line? What does the Northern Provincial Council, its Chief Minister Wigneswaran and by extension the Tamil National Alliance which has failed to denounce the resolution and whose most moderate member justifies it entirely, wish to be accomplished with – and to—this nation, Sri Lanka? What is sought to be carried out? What is the agenda? There is no area for confusion on this score.

“…Resolved that the obligation to prevent and punish genocide under the Genocide Convention is not a matter of political selection or calculation, but one particular of binding customary international law. This Council urges OISL to comprehensively investigate and report on the charge of genocide in its 11 submission to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2015. The UN Security Council need to refer the circumstance in Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court for prosecutions primarily based on war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Alternatively or concurrently, domestic courts in nations that may possibly exercise universal jurisdiction over the alleged events and perpetrators, which includes but not limited to the United States, must prosecute these crimes.

To this day, Tamils in the NorthEast endure from Sri Lanka’s ongoing genocide…There has been no adjust in the oppressive level of militarization in the NorthEast with the election of Maithripala Sirisena…This Council urgently calls upon the international neighborhood to develop situations suitable and sustainable to defend the Tamils of the NorthEast Provinces in Sri Lanka from genocide.

The case of genocide in Sri Lanka is exclusive among genocides in history since it occurred over numerous decades and beneath various governments before intensifying into a no holds-barred war for almost 3 decades and culminating in the mass atrocities of 2009. It is accordingly important that Sri Lanka’s historic violations against Tamils, in addition to the 2009 attacks, are addressed via an international mechanism in order to combat Sri Lanka’s institutionalized impunity. This international intervention, coupled with action to promote the respect of human rights, is required to make certain a sustainable future for self-determination, peace, and justice, in Sri Lanka and for the Tamil folks.” (p. 11)

So that is what the elected representatives of the Northern Provincial Council and their Chief Minister, consider of the nation in which they reside, function, do politics and pontificate in. It is a country in which genocide is ongoing a country which has perpetrated and is perpetrating genocide.

What do they want? They want to put the charge of genocide foursquare on the international agenda. They want Sri Lanka to be prosecuted. The charge is against “Sri Lanka”—the nation this nation our nation. They want “international intervention” –their term, not mine—to avert (ongoing) genocide against the Tamils.

It is not only the provincial representatives who think so. The moderate Mr. MA Sumanthiran, poster boy of Colombo’s cosmopolitan civil society, completely justifies the Genocide resolution. He also indicates the opportunities that will open up with the institution of a ‘domestic mechanism’ into accountability, with the “supervision” of the OHCHR, the Workplace of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Taken collectively with the genocide resolution and Mr. Sumanthiran’s endorsement of it, there can be tiny doubt that the ‘domestic mechanism’ proposed by the new UNP administration will open the space for creating the charge of genocide stick, and infiltrating into the Higher Commissioner’s report and hence the international agenda, firstly in Geneva. Excerpts from the Ceylon Right now interview given to Ananth Palakidnar comply with:

“The Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran, defending the NPC&#8217s genocide resolution as democratic and timely, emphasized on the need for the war victims to prepare themselves to collect more proof in order to strengthen the OHCRC&#8217s OISL report to be released in September this year. He also added that an internal investigation with the OHCR&#8217s supervision, as opposed to the neighborhood investigations in the past, is essential to guarantee a constructive UN investigation into the alleged war crimes in the country.

Q: What is your view on the current &#8216genocide resolution&#8217 passed by the Northern Provincial Council?

A: The resolution is timely and the facts which have been listed out in it are practically nothing but accurate. It was a sheer democratic action and really nicely drafted, taking into consideration the grievances of the people straight impacted by the war. Numerous comments could surface with regard to the resolution, but it was aimed at looking for justice for the individuals who have been impacted by the ruthless war in the North. The Chief Minister of the Northern Province or the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) can not be criticized for bringing about the genocide resolution, since the NPC represents the people who were quite significantly impacted by the war. So the NPC, which represents these men and women and getting a democratic institution, has carried out its portion in the correct manner in bringing out the resolution. The Chief Minister has clearly pointed out the atrocities committed systematically towards the Tamils because the nation gained independence. Therefore without having addressing the genuine grievances of the folks impacted by the communal upheavals in the past, we cannot talk of reconciliation. Therefore, the genocide resolution was brought out to recognize the perpetrators who had committed the war crimes and bring justice to the war victims. The resolution is not at all meant to hurt the feelings of those who strive for peace and reconciliation in the country…

Q: Do you think the delay in releasing the OISL report will make way for the perpetrators to do the manipulations over the accusations against them with regard to the alleged war crimes?

A: Nothing at all like that. The OISL report has its own findings. It can’t be influenced or adjusted. The TNA is consistently in touch with the OHCHR officials. On the other hand the folks who had knowledgeable the adverse effects of the war should do every thing to strengthen the OISL report by adding more evidence to it. When the report is released in September it should bear the appropriate weight. The war victims must come forward without having any hesitation to strengthen the report further. They ought to be bold enough to give their evidence. There are many witnesses who had observed for themselves, directly, the atrocities committed in the course of the war. A massive number of crucial witnesses had provided their evidence in the past, secretly. However, they need to now cooperate inside the other six months to make the OISL report much more meaningful.

Q: How do you comment on the proposed internal investigation below the supervision of the OHCHR in Sri Lanka?

A: A nearby mechanism to hold an internal investigation into the alleged war crimes is crucial. It will not be a approach adopted in the form of commissions in the past. The internal investigation below the supervision of the OHCHR will aid in a big way to protect the witnesses as well. In any nation, to assistance the OHCRC action, an internal investigation is also carried out in addition to the UN investigation. As a result, the internal investigation, which is the Lankan Government is clamouring for, will only add weight in an substantial way to the UN action. Right here again the people, with no any hesitation, have to cooperate in the investigations in whatever form to attain a constructive finish outcomes.”

Mr. Sumanthiran’s Ceylon Today interview reveals the intentions and expectations of the TNA and provides an inkling into the nature of the pincer move comprising the ongoing OHCHR international investigation and an OHCHR-superviseddomestic mechanism” that Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and the Wickremesinghe administration seem to have agreed to.

*Dayan Jayatilleka was Minister in the North–East Provincial Council in 1988-’89 and Sri Lanka’s Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the UN Geneva in 2007-2009

Rattled Ranil Panics After Nugegoda: Summons Media Heads

By H. L. D. Mahindapala

H. L. D. Mahindapala

H. L. D. Mahindapala

The 100-day programme of the “My-three-pala-naya” had no plans to encounter the Nugegoda rally. Not so soon, at least. They believed they could sail smoothly into the imagined “ideal country” located, of course, only in mythical Maithripala’s Manifesto. But within 40 days the “My-3-planners” have been hit by a backlash that no new elected government had ever faced in electoral politics. It is Ranil Wickremesinghe who is feeling the heat of the increasing events going against his political ambitions. It is his Prime Ministerial seat that is at stake in the coming general election. Maithripala Sirisena has no such issues due to the fact he is ensconced safely in his presidential seat.

It is this turn of events that has created Wickremesinghe nervous. He is displaying signs of a panic-stricken, nervous wreck. He is hitting indiscriminately at anything that moves – from the Australian Prime Minister to editor’s who have criticized him. He has now summoned newspaper owners to meet him to hold the media in line with his future. He has even invited anti-Rajapaksa NGOs to this meeting, hoping to get their backing to suppress the press.

It is time that somebody started feeding him with valium sandwiches morning, noon and evening to calm his nerves. This champion of “free media” – don’t forget how he packed off Paul Harris, the correspondent of Jane’s Weekly and Day-to-day Telegraph for exposing his deal with Prabhakaran? – feels that the only way to manage the oppositional forces rising against him is to muzzle the media. To do this he has to cook up a plausible argument. Having promised the electorate that the media will be totally free he can’t be observed to have gone back on his word to suppress the opposition. He has to offer an excuse. And the excuse is : media is rousing communal feelings!

So has anybody seen the Bodu Bala Sena, or even Champika Ranawaka who raved and ranted against the Muslims and Tamils in his current tour of Australia just just before the presidential election, whipping up communal feelings after January 8 in the south? I was in the Monash University audience listening to Ranawaka predicting the finish of the Sinhalese with the Muslims and the Tamils taking over the nation within the next few decades with their powers of prolific procreation, cash and scheming politics. Even he is silent as if his mouth is stuffed with pittu now on the communal issue. Only Wickremesinghe has begun to see Sinhala-Buddhist communalists increasing in the newspaper columns. Obviously, he hasn’t read TamilNet and Tamils newspapers. He is quitehappy to appear the other way about Jaffna jingoism because it does not pose a threat to him. Only the alleged communalism of the Sinhala papers is noticed as a threat to communal harmony. Which is Wickremesinghe’s way of saying that raising Sinhala-Buddhist problem is a threat to him.

Apart from this, there are early indicators of Wickremesinghe cracking below escalating stress. As a manage-freak, with an obsession to gather all power into his hands, the perform load is bound to overwhelm him. There is no 1 else to blame except himself for painting himself into this tight corner. All of a sudden every thing has begun to get on prime of him and unsettle him.

Initial, he is the unelected Prime Minister with out a majority in the Property. His position is hanging in the balance with his major political partners in the SLFP threatening to challenge his authority with a no-confidence motion against a single of his most reliable partners, John Amaratunga. He wouldn’t have offered Police powers to anybody other than whom he can trust. Keep in mind Amaratunga is the loyal Police Minister who concocted the story of Army trying target Wickremesinghe soon right after he signed the deal with Prabhakaran – a ruse to leak the names of the deadly and elite LRRP forces for the LTTE to target them?

Second the function load is throwing him into a dizzy spin, with pressures from a variety of lobbies crowding him and pushing him into corners from which he can’t escape. His political IOUs are also coming home to roost. He is also struggling desperately to catch up with his 100-day time-table which he presented with President Maithripala Sirisena to the organization community to impress that the “My-3” team can achieve what they promise. With every single failure and falling behind his own time schedule he is beginning to look a lot more like a lame duck than a dynamic reformer.

Third, cracks are building within his personal ranks and his partners and he does not how to prevent these exploding forces from running out of control.

Fourth, in his koka-tath-thai-laya Manifesto he has bitten more than what he can chew. The rosy optimism of delivering promises on time is fading by the day. Ven Sobitha is now batting on the sidelines promoting the thought of postponing the delivery date to two years.

Fifth, he wants to type a national government ONLY with him at the head, with out giving too a lot power to the other parties, even though they are in the majority. His obsession with energy with each other with his paranoia is compelling him to poke his fingers into minute information in the administration which is spinning beyond his control incrementally. It is impossible for him be at the best overseeing the massive picture and micro-handle the specifics at the bottom simultaneously. Nor is he. at 65, that healthier or physically robust to carry that work

Sixth, his gimmickry of presenting a “seeni-bola” price range has come and gone with hardly any effect on the electorate. He has currently lost two Ministers – Faizer Mustapaha and Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha (possibly). And counting. There is no new blood to give a shine to his regime. He has fallen back on the tired old fogeys that led to his fall the last time.

Seventh, he lacks the charisma of a leader who can win the self-assurance of the people or a credible mandate from the electorate. He is in a really vulnerable position of based on manipulating a couple of ith-thas (pawns) at the leading. He is now screaming his head off saying that he can decrease Mahinda Rajapaksa’s majority. Is not this one more sign of his becoming on the verge of a nervous breakdown?

Final but not the least, an election is hanging over his head like a sword of Damocles and he knows that there will be hardly any individual to pick up his severed head.

His anti-Sinhala-Buddhist paranoia too is unsettling him. His initial reaction is to summon Sinhala newspaper editors and accuse them of rousing communal feelings. He has blasted them as “suck-killi-yas who cleaned Mahinda Rajapaksa’s toilets”. Not stopping at that he has decided to have a go at the media owners. He aims to tighten his grip on the media from the top and summoned the newspaper owners.

The reality is that the media has been subdued sufficiently and the state media has been cowed down. The media that ttaked him aggressively when he was in the opposition has turned to play his type of music. The state media, as per usual, has turned 360 degrees to be the Master’s voice. For instance, an NGO apparatchik like Luxman Gunasekera has returned to The Sunday Observer to resume his anti-Sinhala-Buddhist campaigns.

The nervous and paranoid politics of Wickremesinghe is revealed when he first blasted the Sinhala editors and then followed it up with summoning the newspaper owners on far-fetched charges of rousing communal passions without having uttering one word about the most damaging racist attack coming from Northern journalists, academics, NGOs and politicos. The most provocative statement to disturb communal harmony was the anti-Sinhala resolution passed by the North Provincial Council resolution on February 10, 2015.

Not since the Vadukoddai Resolution was passed on May possibly 14, 1976 has such a vicious, twisted, racist attack been unleashed by the North on the South. It is to the credit of the Sinhala-Buddhists that they have restrained themselves and not gone on the rampage. When the Tamil leadership passes a resolution projecting the entire Sinhala race as murderers of Tamils and accusing the complete leadership, which includes Wickremesinghe’s blood relatives, as genocidal barbarians, it was his prime duty, as the Prime Minister, to defend the nation and its wonderful leaders.

Which prime minister in the globe would not defend his/her nation against such a sweeping denigration of its image? When, for instance, Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake, in passing made a remark that people in Sri Lanka had not died of starvation like those in India. Indira Gandhi reacted furiously and Dudley, becoming the gentleman that he is, apologized in parliament explaining that he did not mean to denigrate or insult India.

Envision, for instance, the reaction of India if any southern provincial council had passed a resolution condemning Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a genocidal murder for what he did in Gujerat? Regardless of whether accurate or not, is generating such an accusation in sensitive instances conducive for reconciliation or easing the tensions in between Indian and Sri Lanka? So is NPC resolution aimed at promoting reconciliation? Or is directed at confronting the Sinhala-Buddhists with the sole aim of destroying communal harmony? Isn’t Wickremesinghe’s silence a deliberate act of giving consent and encouragement to the anti-Sinhala-Buddhists who are vilifying the nation for their political gain?

If the Sinhala-Buddhists have been the type of genocidal killers as stated in C.V. Wigneswaran’s resolution would they have rescued 300,000 Tamils fleeing from the Tamil Pol Pot? Would 23,000 Sinhala soldiers have sacrificed their lives to liberate the Tamil young children from the gulags of Tamil Boko Haram? Why has Wickremesinghe been silent on this internationally considerable and nationally sensitive situation? And why was he swift to turn his wrath on Sinhala editors and threaten newspaper owners by summoning them? As opposed to this, why is he purring like a pussy cat in the lap of Wigneswaran and the NPC? Is it simply because he got their votes to get into energy? Is Wickremesinghe appointed to play the function of the Prime Minister or Prime Traitor?

Please note that the NPC resolution was sent to the UNHRC, demanding action against Sri Lanka primarily based on the accusations listed in resolution. Any Prime Minister, who has any respect for his folks, would react forcefully, being aware of the significant consequences that would flow from such grossly distorted and concocted lies. The silence of a prime minister on a essential issue like this is completely unacceptable by those folks yearning for peace and reconciliation.

At a time when Western leaders in liberal democracies are demanding from minorities threatening the values of the majorities total acceptance of the national way of life, language, and laws Wickremesinghe has no right to be silent when “his nation” (I hope he agrees?) is condemned as a genocidal state by an additional neighborhood which has benefited most from sharing the riches, benevolence and welfare applications of the nation.

It is inconceivable that Prime Minister Wickremesinghe can stay silent on a critical situation like this. His silence can only imply that his uncles and grand-relatives were all murderous barbarians as stated in the resolution. Apart from, Wickremesinghe as well was a portion of the leadership that is accused of getting genocidal murderers. The only missing part in the NPC resolution are the atrocities committed at Batalanda. Could this be the explanation why he is silent on the NPC resolution? Is it with this record that Wickremesinghe proposes to contest Mahinda Rajapaksa in the coming election and reduce his vote by 5 million?

More importantly, will the media owners cave in and go along with Wickremesinghe? They have a duty by the readers and not by Wickremesinghe who does not even have a mandate from the folks, or parliament to be the prime minister. To counter Wickremesinghe’s media offensive they can politely hand over a copy of the “My-3”s” Manifesto highlighting the segment on free media. They can even go further and cite the guidelines of the International Democratic Union of which he is a Vice President.

The most incontrovertible argument against Wickremesinghe’s demand for compliance on the grounds of communal harmony comes from the West which is waging a life-and-death battle to defend free media against Islamic fundamentalists. The appropriate of the media to express freely, even when communal harmony is threatened, is exemplified in the case of Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine which has inflamed passions on both sides. Employing the Charlie Hebdo stand to defend media freedom, even above communal harmony, the media owners ought to unmask Wickremesinghe’s fake hijab of taking cover behind communal harmony. He ought to not be permitted to import ISIS fanaticism duty free of charge. He can not market communal harmony by imposing his dictatorship only on the journalists of the south. He should begin with the NPC politicians 1st. He must begin very first by asking the NPC to apologize to the nation and withdraw its resolution. Communal harmony is a two-way procedure. It can not be attained by suppressing the media of the south.

The media owners need to not tolerate Wickremesinghe’s higher-handed action to study the riot act to them below the pretext of defending communal harmony. That is a bogus problem, as pointed out earlier. They need to attend and listen to him very carefully. If Wickremesinghe threatens them they can stroll out. For as soon as, they can be guaranteed that the people will be with them.

Exposé: Queries Haunt Well being Ministry’s Rs 7 billion Cancer Project

Couple of are surprised by accounts of corruption on Sri Lanka’s mega-projects such as highways, ports and airports. These were extensively rumoured at the time and hardly come as a surprise. But even as President Maithripala Sirisena struggles to implement the Senaka Bibile drug policy reforms in an attempt to reduce healthcare charges, emerging revelations from the Health Ministry cast shadows more than the transparency of a multi-billion rupee cancer remedy project inherited from the former government.

Rajitha - became the minister to &#x00201cthe most corrupt ministry&#x00201d

Rajitha &#8211 became the minister to “the most corrupt ministry”

Anatomy of a Scam

The project appears to have had its origins in a proposal drafted by Drs Mahendra Perera (Board Chairman for Oncology) and Jayantha Balawardane (Senior Consultant Oncologist at the National Cancer Insitute, Maharagama), which was then submitted to the Sri Lanka College of Oncologists. Sensibly, the proposal known as for a transition from the outdated Cobalt-60 radiotherapy machines to much more modern day linear accelerators. It was adopted at the College’s annual general meeting and submitted to the Ministry of Health, now dubbed “Provision of High High quality Radiotherapy for Cancer Individuals in Sri Lanka with Higher Power Radiation”.

The Treasury then went on to make a provision of Rs 900 million for the project in 2014, Rs 2,750 million in 2015, Rs two,640 million in 2016 and a additional Rs 800 million for 2017. The total commit on the project? A hefty Rs 7,090 million. To place it in perspective, the worth of this single project (Rs 7 billion) is equivalent to the annual equipment spending budget for all 550 hospitals beneath the Ministry of Wellness for two years.

Amazingly for so large a project, Philips (Israel) refused to provide a detailed breakdown of costs even when requested to do so by the Health Ministry

Amazingly for so huge a project, Philips (Israel) refused to offer a detailed breakdown of expenses even when requested to do so by the Wellness Ministry

According to the Monetary Regulations, the process for making any procurement for the government is a public get in touch with for tenders, sometimes preceded by a prequalification procedure. In the present case, however, there was no prequalification approach. Neither was there a contact for tenders. Instead, a decision was created arbitrarily to make this enormous obtain from the UK branch of a Swedish business called Elekta. The local distributor for Elekta is Siyol International (Private) Limited, situated on the second floor of Bible Residence in Colombo 3. Incredibly, the decision to make this purchase from Elekta—in strict secrecy and flagrantly violating tender procedure— was regardless of the reality that there are at least four reputed international producers of healthcare linear accelerators. Elekta, even so, basically named its price and the Health Ministry paid up. According to market insiders, the costs being paid by the Ministry exceed industry rates by more than 50%, a rorting of the public purse and raising queries as to who the beneficiaries of this largesse are.

The UAE Deal

Elekta had been unheard of until the government of the United Arab Emirates was approached for the gift of two multimillion dollar brachytherapy units, for the Maharagama cancer institute and Teaching Hospital Kandy. Once again no tenders have been called. Instead, the gear was bought through Siyol with no transparency or competitive bidding. So cynical has the scheme grow to be that Siyol proudly lists “Coordinating with the UAE Embassy for the donation of 02 Nos Brachytherapy units” in its Corporate Social Responsibility report, as if this had been an act of charity. But the query remains: Who suggested Elekta and its agent Siyol without having any transparent procedure?

The technical specialist to sign off on the project was S.A.J. Karunatilaka, an engineer attached to the Health Ministry&#x002019s Division of Biomedical Engineering Services based on de Saram Road, Colombo 10. Information now in the hands of Colombo Telegraph (see image 2) show that this individual had been caught red-handed, making as many as 15 secret, unauthorised overseas trips over the past several years.

The technical specialist to sign off on the project was S.A.J. Karunatilaka, an engineer attached to the Overall health Ministry’s Division of Biomedical Engineering Solutions based on de Saram Road, Colombo ten. Info now in the hands of Colombo Telegraph (see image two) show that this individual had been caught red-handed, producing as many as 15 secret, unauthorised overseas trips more than the past several years.

For the linear accelerator deal, nonetheless, Elekta and Siyol brought in a third organization, Philips Electronics (Israel) Restricted. Elekta had acquired the Radiotherapy Division of Philips Health-related Systems and now had an added front beneath which to do enterprise. Hans Barella, former President and CEO of Philips Healthcare Systems now sits on Elekta’s board. What is a lot more, functioning out of Israel indicates not becoming topic to the tedious anticorruption regulations of the European Union, or the draconian Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of the United States. The deal had by now reached astronomical proportions, with plans to supply 13 a lot more linear accelerators, together with a host of ancillary equipment. These contain eight Massive Bore Philips CT simulators at a value of US$ 15 million (Rs 2000 million) and nine IBT Bebig brachytherapy units for US$ 6 million (Rs 810 million). For its portion, Elekta (UK) would supply 13 a lot more linear accelerators at a mind-boggling Rs 3200 million. In all, the consortium would walk off with much more than Rs 7000 million in public funds. Amazingly for so huge a project, Philips (Israel) refused to give a detailed breakdown of fees even when requested to do so by the Well being Ministry (Image 1).

A Significantly-travelled Engineer

The technical specialist to sign off on the project was S.A.J. Karunatilaka, an engineer attached to the Wellness Ministry’s Division of Biomedical Engineering Solutions primarily based on de Saram Road, Colombo ten. Details now in the hands of Colombo Telegraph (see image two) show that this individual had been caught red-handed, creating as numerous as 15 secret, unauthorised overseas trips over the past many years. Whilst the sources of funding for these trips are as but unknown, the matter of locating out who paid for them is child’s play given that a schedule of the relevant flights has been obtained from the Division of Immigration and Emigration (see Image three). But, the Ministry of Well being has failed to interdict this officer, report him to the Bribery Commission or even investigate a lot of other multimillion rupee deals with which he was linked.

While the sources of funding for these trips are as yet unknown, the matter of finding out who paid for them is child&#x002019s play given that a schedule of the relevant flights has been obtained from the Department of Immigration and Emigration (see Image 3). Yet, the Ministry of Health has failed to interdict this officer, report him to the Bribery Commission or even investigate many other multimillion rupee deals with which he was associated.

Whilst the sources of funding for these trips are as but unknown, the matter of locating out who paid for them is child’s play given that a schedule of the relevant flights has been obtained from the Department of Immigration and Emigration (see Image three). Yet, the Ministry of Well being has failed to interdict this officer, report him to the Bribery Commission or even investigate several other multimillion rupee deals with which he was linked.

Documents the Colombo Telegraph has seen show that these deals consist of not only procurements for the Ministry of Wellness, but also for the Ministry of Larger Education, the Sri Lanka Army and Sri Lanka Navy. These projects incorporate “Supply of Healthcare Equipment to the Health-related Faculties of Rajarata and Eastern Universities and the Faculty of Allied Well being Sciences of the University of Peradeniya” for the Ministry of Larger Education for Rs 750 million”, “Purchase of Single-Place Floor Mounted C-arm System” for the Sri Lanka Army for Rs 86.eight million, and a “Digital Radiography System” for the Sri Lanka Navy for Rs 65.9 million. Sources in the Army and Navy state that these deals are being separately investigated by them for improper procurement procedure.

All this begs the query, why was an officer found guilty of undertaking 15 foreign trips with no official approval, and blatantly utilizing undeclared sources of earnings, permitted to sit on such essential technical procurement committees? Why did the Secretary of the Ministry of Overall health not inform the Secretary of the Ministry of Larger Education and the commanders of the Army and Navy that S.A.J. Karunatilaka had been found guilty of critical misconduct in a formal ministerial inquiry? Was it so that these bargains could proceed with no further scrutiny?

The question also remains as to who it was that decided to subvert the government’s procurement process and award this enormous contract to a single supplier with no calling for tenders. Such a decision can have only come from extremely high indeed. Asked for a comment by Colombo Telegraph Dr Jayantha Balawardane denied ever asking that this procurement be produced from Elekta with out calling for open tenders. “We only requested high energy linear accelerators with associated equipments”, he said. “We have not requested or specified any certain brands at any stage in our proposal.” Asked why no tenders had been known as for this multibillion-rupee procurement, which clearly violated the government&#8217s tender process, Dr Balawardane stated “I am not involved in [this] process”, placing the ball squarely in the Ministry’s court.

Yahapalanaya on Trial

The query now ahead of Rajitha Senaratne, who presides over the ministry that President Maithripala Sirisena himself in a speech at Maharagama last week described as “the most corrupt ministry” in the country, is what action to take? Should this multibillion rupee scam be swept beneath the carpet (with the implication that the new administration as well, is complicit in it), or should a public inquiry take spot to find out why no tenders were called and on what basis the astronomical prices quoted by Elekta and Philips (Israel) were accepted as being reasonable. This, after all, is precisely the type of wasteful and extravagant excess the Widespread Candidate bemoaned publicly and swore to investigate and eradicate. That stated, will the government reside up to its guarantee?

© Colombo Telegraph- oooTiHa

Witness Protection Bill Passed

The witness protection bill has been passed unanimously in the parliament today. The considerably delayed bill was approved by the Cabinet final July. It was first tabled before the parliament in 2008 but was deferred.

The bill was drafted by the Justice Ministry, and thereafter referred to the cabinet sub-committee on legislation for its recommendations prior to becoming presented to the parliament.

The contact for an Act for Protection of Witnesses has been created for the past handful of years, especially for the duration of the post-conflict period as it would create support conduct fair trials by way of striking a balance in the criminal justice method of Sri Lanka between the rights of the accused, the rights and entitlements of victims of crime and the entitlements of witnesses.



Open Letter To The Government Of Sri Lanka On The Port City Review

By Ranil Senanayake

Ranil Senanayake

Ranil Senanayake

Open Letter to the Government of Sri Lanka.

By means of :

Prime Minister Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe

Minister Hon. Rajitha Senaratne

Minister Hon Lakshman Kiriella

Dear Sirs,

On the Port City Assessment

I am writing this open letter to you all as I have doubts that you may obtain it through the layers of bureaucracy and entrenched interests that assistance the proposed ‘Port City’ project. A recent news report quotes a senior government spokesman stating that a “comprehensive review would look into every single aspect of the project, including its environmental influence.” Naturally a ‘comprehensive review’ will take a handful of weeks at least for a project this size and any selection taken in a couple of days would mean that no ‘comprehensive review’ has been undertaken and we are as soon as once again lulled into a state of false complacency whilst our nations future is dismantled.

It will be salutatory to have the names of the scientists who are on the ‘comprehensive review’ committee, as there is severe doubt of good quality of function by the ‘scientists’ who performed the initial EIA, which we the public have no access to as but. We trust that you will not continue the underhand, opaque transaction procedures of the last government and be tarred with the same brush, we trust that you will you give us the Government that you promised us, open and transparent. I as the only qualified Systems Ecologist in this nation, offer you my services to this nation and to you GRATIS in the defense of this nation, if you are to set up an independent Sri Lankan committee to investigate the EIA that allowed the “Port City’ to proceed.

As we, the public have not has access to ‘Environmental Influence Assessment (EIA) that has been done in regard to this project there are some serious issues that I would request you to take into account. These considerations are basic, they effect this nation far into the future and if not addressed could produce irreparable adverse consequences for the public of this nation. Could I list a couple of to illustrate the magnitude of the problem?

  • Air Good quality. The pollution from the new city will be swept into Colombo city by the prevailing sea breeze. Will there be controls of the air quality in the new city, so that the residents of Colombo will not have to endure improved rates of emphysema, lung cancer and connected illnesses? How will be the requirements for air good quality from the new city be set and monitored?
  • Water Quality. The new city will require huge quantities of fresh water for its use. Exactly where will this water come from? There is not enough surface water in the Kelani basin to supply such a quantity. Will the citizens of this nation have to compete with the new city for its fresh water ?
  • Where will the energy to operate the new city come from? At the moment we are advertising harmful coal fired energy plants that have been demonstrated to bring ill overall health to our citizens, destroy our agriculture, poison our fishery and ruin our heritage. Will this new power requirements be met with more such disastrous power generation being foisted on our nation?
  • Garbage and pollution. Who will deal with the garbage and toxic effluents that will be generated by the new city? Will Sri Lanka be utilised as the dumping ground for the new city? What waste therapies plans are in spot, recognized by the current EIA?
  • Destruction of the land environment. The massive amount of rocks that will be used in filling up the sea has to come from our land. What will be the effects of this blasting and quarrying? We have already witnessed the earth slips and erosion at Koslanda and elsewhere by means of bad land use practices.

There are numerous other considerations including offshore sand transport, marine biodiversity and climate adjust impacts that must appear in a reasonable EIA. Therefore it is clear that any ‘comprehensive review’ will have to address these problems. To do much less will be to cheat the public. Hence we the public, await an open discussion.

Please do appear about to see the other equivalent difficulties designed without having consultation with the public, the Chinese Trans Canal project in Nicaragua is a case at point. Already a massive segment of the population are dissatisfied with the secrecy and political instability looms. Such secretive contracts, will often breed national discontentment.

Wishing your new government effectively in its endeavor to defend this nation and to bring us prosperity and nicely being.


Ranil Senanayake