Rapp Stepping Down: US Accused Of Not Giving Sri Lanka’s “White Flag Killings” Info

The US government has been accused of not providing access to data that is essential to investigate the &#8216white flag case&#8217.

In an interview with the Foreign Policy magazine, Steven Ratner &#8211 a professor of law at the University of Michigan adn ex-member of a UN Panel that examined the commission of mass atrocities that occurred in the final phase of the Sri Lankan war, created this remark as he commented on the concern of Stephen J Rapp -the US Ambassador at big for war crimes, stepping down right after five and a half years of service.

Ambassador Stephen J. Rapp

Ambassador Stephen J. Rapp

“Rapp had tiny achievement forcing American intelligence agencies to share details they’ve collected about human rights abuses abroad,&#8221 Ratner mentioned as he recalled a visit to Rapp&#8217s workplace during the time Ratner was investigating war crimes in Sri Lanka on behalf of the U.N. panel set up by the U.N. Secretary-Basic Ban Ki-moon.

He had been looking for details concerning allegations that have been becoming levelled against the Sri Lankan officials about summarily executing senior rebel commanders soon after the United Nations brokered their surrender.

Ratner had heard a rumor that the U.S. Embassy had picked up some intercepts with data related to the case.

“They made it clear to us there have been pretty powerful constraints on what they were going to be capable to share with us. . . In the finish, they didn’t give us anything,&#8221 he mentioned.

There are several accusations against the US government like pressing the case for accountability for crimes selectively and passionately and advertising the international prosecution of political rivals.

“In Sri Lanka, Rapp has conceded that it is unrealistic to count on that Colombo will assent to conduct investigations into mass war crimes by government forces in the course of the bloody final months of the country’s civil war. But he has urged the government to at least exhume the bodies of victims in order to give their families some sense of closure,” the Foreign Policy magazine stated.

Ambassador Stephen J. Rapp visited Sri Lanka from January six-11 final year to meet with government and political leaders, civil society, and to tour former conflict zones.

Issuing a statement on his visit, the US Embassy Colombo last year mentioned: &#8220He heard about the progress created because the conflict, but also the Sri Lankan people’s continuing desire for reconciliation, justice and accountability.

“During Ambassador Rapp’s discussions, he listened to eyewitness accounts about critical human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law, which includes these that occurred at the end of the war. In that context the government of the United States encourages the government of Sri Lanka to seek the truth by means of independent and credible investigations, and where relevant, have prosecutions.

“The United States remains committed to working with the Government of Sri Lanka to promote higher peace and prosperity for all of the individuals of Sri Lanka. It is important that all sides come to an agreement on events, have suitable redress, and move forward as a unified nation that upholds the rule of law and respects the principles of democratic governance.”

Taking Stock: Presidential Election 2015

By Lionel Bopage

Dr Lionel Bopage

Dr Lionel Bopage

By far the most crucial problem for the constituents of Sri Lanka at the final week’s presidential election was about opening a pathway for the formation of excellent governance. Even so, just electing a new president does not develop good governance. A president and his/her government should enable, nurture and strengthen excellent governance by steadily institutionalizing political processes and advertising universal values that are intrinsic to very good governance. The new President, Maithripala Sirisena, and his revamped government have embarked on a journey with the proclaimed aim of establishing excellent governance, though some measures taken so far appear counter-productive and certain pronouncements appear rather utopian.

Nonetheless, I believe, we could contribute ingeniously to moving towards good governance – by engaging constructively, patiently and vigilantly – maintaining the momentum of all diverse forces that brought this unprecedented positive outcome for the individuals of Sri Lanka alive. What follows is a brief evaluation to see exactly where we are now ahead of we appear at the path ahead for reaching our aims.

Background of the election

The folks have taken component in the election campaign overwhelmingly and enthusiastically, though it was not totally totally free and fair, nor peaceful or democratic. Participation in the election was quite higher at 81.five percent. There was a substantial turn out by voters in the north. In spite of the partisan interpretation of final results by numerous groups with particular interests, this election can be deemed as the very first election since the 1990s exactly where a candidate was elected by the participation of the diverse spectrum of communities belonging to Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims. The problems connected to ethnic or religious troubles, which had been dominating the elections since the 1950s, did not play a major part in this election.

Unfortunately, the election occurred in an environment in which multifarious hurdles have been laid against the campaign of the widespread opposition candidate. The Rajapaksa campaign was heavily racialist and abundantly financed. Almost all state resources which includes human, material, economic and media were utilised against the opposition campaign. One particular of the significant concerns impacting all other vexed troubles in Sri Lanka – the national question – was not discussed at all.

The opposition’s election campaign, which highlighted the incumbent’s authoritarianism, corruption, fraud, waste, household nepotism and politicisation and militarisation of civil administration seems to have been effective in urban regions, but not as efficient in the rural locations, especially down south. The election campaign of the UNP has been more organised, coordinated, and properly-oiled and more grass-roots based. The assistance the frequent opposition candidate received from Tamils and Muslims improved, due to the authoritarian and mono-cultural method adopted by the Rajapaksa regime to stay in energy.

Election outcome

This election outcome has been and will be analysed in a lot of diverse methods according to the planet outlook of the analyst (which includes myself), and whose interests and privileges that analyst is trying to safeguard. Currently many interested parties like pro-Rajapaksas and nationalists with some from the Sri Lankan left groups have tried to interpret the election outcome by means of identity politics. While the ethnic breakdown of the electoral outcome may be not-so-important, it should not be below-emphasised. The abolition of executive presidency and appointment of independent commissions are being offered priority at this presidential election. There were a lot of other concerns highlighted throughout the election campaign such as good governance, rule of law and democratic practices, fight against corruption, cost of living, employment opportunities, and far better access to healthcare and education etc. Those on the left also raised the problem of the need to address the national question, but it did not acquire a lot traction.

In spite of the assistance of the Tamil National Alliance in the North and East and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress in the East and elsewhere, attributing the total election outcome just to ethnic or religious identity is an oversimplification. Although the overwhelming votes cast by the Tamils and Muslims of the North and East may have tipped the balance in favour of Maithripala Sirisena, the argument that the election outcome is in support of separatism or devolution of energy is misplaced, for the statistical breakdown of the election final results shows that 84% of the votes cast for Maithripala Sirisena came from the rest of the nation.

The Rajapaksa regime and its torch-bearers carried out a massive all island Tv and radio campaign primarily based on mono-cultural nationalistic and racialist propaganda. This could have influenced much more racialist thinking Sinhalese to vote for Rajapaksa, whilst much more Tamils would have been influenced to vote for the common opposition candidate. We are also conscious that some separatist groups and specific radical groups advocated boycotting the election. That was also an exercise of their bourgeois democratic proper. By carrying out so they efficiently forfeited their own democratic proper. They may possibly claim that they have collectively convinced about 20 % of the voters to stay away from voting, although this is disproved by the fact that this time there had been more men and women prepared to cast their vote in favour of one of the two key candidates.

I think the Tamil neighborhood wants to be applauded and welcomed for their participation in the election, in spite of the fierce propaganda of the pro-Rajapaksa elements of the preceding regime, and the constrictions placed on the opposition’s agenda of obtaining to keep the national safety status quo, and the unitary nature, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nation. My conclusion is that given that the 1940s, this is the first election in the history of Sri Lanka, where ethnicity and religion did not play a major role in influencing the outcome of the election.

The immediate future

The President and the new Cabinet has assumed duties. Some secretaries have been appointed. The 100 day reforms plan has been launched. The greatest tips I could give to this new interim government, is that it should choose the ten most important issues pertinent to each and every department and Ministry, create appropriate policy calculi to address these problems and implement them. This will significantly help in creating the confidence of folks in the new President and the government. President, Ministers and Ministries need to have to take choices in consultation with every other in a participative manner. Deferment of considerable troubles or vacillation on decisive troubles could grow to be deadly for the future.

This is important because the Rajapaksas and Weerawansas will not stand idle. They have begun to spread the lie that they lost because of the voters in the north and east and the plantations. They are silent on the reality that they got portion of their votes because they had been able to use state sources to bribe, intimidate, frighten, and cajole some by raising the spectre of LTTE and separatism in the national psyche of the Sinhala Buddhist majority.

The Rajapaksa plot to keep in power utilizing the military and emergency laws was thwarted, thanks to the integrity of Elections Commissioner, Inspector General of Police and the Army Commander – to all of whom we are grateful. This anti-democratic behaviour demands to be provided ample exposure amongst the people and the suspects need to be charged according to the law. Some of the suspects in this regard have gone overseas, almost certainly with the tacit expertise of some bureaucrats, who have been directly helping them previously. Some of the prominent youth organisations who have been closely operating with Rajapaksas and at times with Nil Balakaya (Blue Corps) have been trying at all costs to paint a democratic picture of the Rajapaksa’s reign. When required in future, they will no doubt try to support resurrect the remnants of the Rajapaksa regime dressed up in democratic garments.

There have been a lot of criminal allegations against the Rajapaksa regime like the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda, disappearance of Frontline Socialist Party activists Lalith and Kuhan, assassination of Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, the massacre of 17 help workers of Action Contre la Faim, the massacre of five higher college students in Trinco, and assassination of arrested criminal suspects mostly in Colombo. There are allegations to the effect that unarmed and peaceful civilians have been killed during strikes, peaceful protests and for the duration of the civil war. The Rajapaksa regime openly, unhesitatingly and flagrantly violated the election laws by employing violence, intimidation and bribery. Such criminal activities and offences require to be effectively and independently investigated and the perpetrators need to be brought to justice.

Conclusion

The new regime is taking its 1st baby actions in opening up a more democratic space for civil society to operate. Nevertheless, in the implementation of its one hundred day program just before going for the subsequent Common Elections, the new regime is getting forced to rely on at least some of the existing politicians, bureaucrats and systems of the previous autocratic regime. Obviously, this situation is not in favour of the anticipated journey towards establishing excellent governance and rule of law. The new President and the regime want to remain vigilant in this regard. Vacillation and marching time will be deadly and tantamount to committing suicide.

The non-violent regime change was mostly a outcome of the social discontent of the suffering masses of the nation like workers and peasants. The non-Sinhala communities have expressed their wish for democratic reform and a way forward to negotiate and resolve problems certain to their communities. If the hopes and expectations of these masses are not fulfilled, then the predicament will be conducive for emerging struggles. The initial step in the right direction will be for the new regime to take bold measures with the consent of the people to appropriately address such concerns in the extended term interest of the individuals and the nation.

In the meantime, the remnants of the former Rajapaksa regime will attempt their very best to resurrect the bogey of racialism and nationalism by resorting to the lowest levels of deception. This tendency and the autocratic and repressive nature of the Rajapaksa regime compelled numerous folks, groups and organisations to come forward and assistance the typical opposition candidate for overturning the autocratic executive presidential technique.

This unprecedented dynamic collective that was not involved in partisan politics, opened the doors for this change of direction. We need to have to maintain this momentum for modify alive, by means of sustaining the peoples’ desire for modify, so that any hesitation or vacillation on the part of the new regime can be prevented. Then the new regime will have no alternative but to implement what they have pledged during the election campaign. Regardless of the possibility of deferments and vacillations of the new regime, this social collective need to be much more organised, energetic and vigilant so as to maintain up its momentum for adjust lively.

BBS Wishes New President And PM – Claims They’ve By no means Been Anti-Muslim

The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) organisation has stressed upon the fact that they have never promoted anti-Muslim campaigns nor utilized hatred or violence as a tool in their activities.

BBS Gnanasara

BBS Gnanasara

In a statement issued to wish the new President and Prime Minister, the organisation has stated that given that its establishment in 2012, they have only worked towards safeguarding Sinhala Buddhists under a clear vision and program but that certain comments they produced have been misinterpreted and exploited to market the notion that they are an anti-Muslim group.

&#8220We have by no means at any point utilized hatred or violence as a tool but due to specific actions carried out by other groups, the media as effectively as particular anti-Buddhist groups have misunderstood us,&#8221 the organisation has stated.

The BBS has noted that even though their initial strategy was to stay neutral at the Presidential elections that just concluded, they decided to help Mahinda Rajapaksa as a outcome of the wrongful suggestions that were integrated in the election manifesto of the typical candidate relating to religious tensions in Sri Lanka and the all round opposition in the common Opposition camp concerning the BBS.

They have stated they view the votes of the North/Eastern Tamils as a deciding aspect in the election.

&#8220Although the North/Eastern votes are now being interpreted as a vote cast to oust the former President who won the war than a correct reflection of their help for the new President, we observe it by means of an unbiased mindset. We feel that their voting for a Sinhalese leader and working to make sure his victory is a blow against the separatist forces and different international groups that attempt to divide this nation,&#8221 the BBS has stated.

The group has stated that it shows the will of the Tamils to live in a united nation and has emphasized on the reality that the government should work challenging in order to guarantee it turns into reality than it merely remaining an expectation.

&#8220This is a golden chance for this government to win the trust of Sinhala Buddhists and this is a chance that we must seize to rid ourselves of the labels of becoming racists and a creation of the former government,&#8221 it has additional noted.

The BBS has also called upon the government to think about gravely, the concerns they have highlighted for the duration of the previous thirty months regarding the safeguarding of Buddhism and Buddha Shasana and the security of Buddhists, pointing out it would help in establishing the trust of the Sinhala Buddhists in the new government.

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Prosecution To The Full Extent Of The Law

By Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

I know the campaign of Maithripala Sirisena for the Presidency of Sri Lanka was based mainly on receiving rid of that obscenity of modern day governance in Sri Lanka, an Executive Presidency gone stark raving mad.

However, what emerged as the campaign progressed was a huge surge of anger and resentment about the enormous corruption with which the Rajapaksas had swamped the nation and the reality that people realized that this was not anything “out there” but anything that had already established to have major implications for every Banda and Biso and in which ocean of filth their progeny and the progeny of these progeny would surely drown if permitted to develop.

Yes, the implications of the wanton spending and lining of political nests with ermine of unbelievable worth had grow to be evident to every single man and woman in Sri Lanka’s rural regions. And as Sir John Kotelawela and his UNP found in 1956, this could create a political wave of Tsunami proportions. Yes, even though it is the tenth anniversary of that terrible event hammering a huge portion of Sri Lanka’s coastline, this political tsunami promises to wreak havoc even more broadly in our island nation, from its beaches to its highest mountains. The difference, although, is that it is a benign storm.

Maithri oath

We can and must harness the energy that was released on January eightth in the manner most positive for our country these days and tomorrow.

How do you do this?

The main concern ought to be to keep away from petty vengeance as too often has grow to be the Sri Lankan tradition immediately soon after an election. In order to ensure this and stay away from the senseless vengeance that has completed harm to a nation and its individuals a lot more occasions than I care to bear in mind, we need to employ the law as it was meant to be utilized: to punish the guilty and give solace to their victims. Such an exercise will have yet another restorative outcome: it will resurrect practices of law and justice to a point that people start to recognize that what is in statute books and in the criminal code has validity. This has been diminished to the point that it has disappeared from public perception.

The catharsis that is most needed after all these years of corruption and violence in the name of “governance” is a most needed issue if we are to restore our island nation to one thing resembling the Beacon of Democracy it when was in this area.

We don’t need kangaroo courts or the Asian equivalent of Ku Klux Clan in white hoods to punish the guilty. We require the application of current law to bring to book these who’ve robbed us blind, with patronage for that endeavour extending to the very highest levels of this government which blithely claimed that “anything goes” insofar as “our people” (“apey minissu”) had been concerned.

Criminal conduct calls for the application of criminal law. That mentioned, trying to drag the mountain of criminal activity through current legal avenues will just result in roadblocks of unprecedented proportions and set even the current court systems in backlog mode for years to come, putting even the hobbling apology for jurisprudence that exists today in reverse gear.

If require be, more judges and prosecutors should be employed and the (public) funds recovered from the thieves should be employed to meet at least some of the further costs. While this will surely imply funds effectively spent, it will hardly make amends for the huge harm inflicted on this country in so several approaches. Make no mistake even so, this is a very first Essential first step in the work to restore national pride and self-respect and to bring back the rule of law.

The placatory statements made by the erstwhile opposition’s leaders for the duration of the lead up to the Presidential election about President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his henchmen not getting prosecuted for their criminality need to have to be treated as just that: placatory statements and small far more. Prosecutions need to be launched with the least attainable delay. In this case, justice delayed will, indeed, be justice denied to the enormous number of victims and not, as is generally the case, to the accused only.

Those businessmen who played “footsie” with the Rajapaksa Regime so that their buyer-gouging enterprises prospered have currently begun their attempts to influence the course of vital justice, seeking to have these monumental miscreants handled with kid gloves, just in case they return and these second-price capitalists need to have their patronage again. This ought to NOT, on any account, be permitted since the individuals count on the incoming President to do what each and every new broom is expected to do: Sweep clean!

We can and have to make the pursuit of justice our No. 1 priority not only because it is the correct point to do but due to the fact we owe it to ourselves if we are to claim to be, in any way, a civil and civilized nation.

As for the apologists who went prior to international tribunals and the television channels of this world, blatantly lying in defence of their masters in government, they have to be exposed absolutely and totally for what they are, liars, prevaricators and totally amoral sub-humans. I have one specific individual in thoughts who now sits front and centre on Mr. Sirisena’s platforms. This fruit of his father’s loins did not fall far from the paternal tree (if I may be permitted to mix my metaphors) and I cannot but add a little sidebar to that allegation. The man’s father I’ve heard praised for getting “helped” men and women from his village to get good government jobs when he (the sycophantic father) was setting new records in sleazy stooging for the delectation of his progeny and the globe at huge. What his admiring referees fail to see is that the man was “helping” his kinsmen and other folks from his hometown get jobs that would otherwise have gone to those chosen in the regular scheme of factors soon after being judged on their merits and suitability for the positions concerned.   This “pulling of strings” is devoid of anything resembling fairness even though parading as some thing praiseworthy. Obscene! Like the man himself and his plummy-voiced progeny!

As for these who’ve skirted criminal offenses just barely but have, nevertheless, completed what passes for the “public good” massive damage by the propagation of outright lies and deceit, they require to be exposed, chapter and verse, for what they mentioned and, stemming from that, who they truly are. You may possibly not be in a position to put them in jail, but you can certainly minimize their effectiveness when they return to the trail of misdirection yet another time, as they surely will. That most of them, sans their Rajapaksa patronage, might finish up in the unemployment line would be poor enough punishment for the untold harm they have carried out individuals that they have targeted in this country not to mention the entire area of public data.

I would suggest that each and every appointment primarily based on political grounds created by the Rajapaksa regime be scrutinized in complete public view and, where necessary, these who’ve been picked in complete contravention of fairness and the recommendations existing for such appointments be terminated with instant effect. This have to be carried out by a group or group of individuals about whose integrity and honesty there need to be no doubt. A hard bill to fill? Perhaps, but some thing eminently “do-in a position.”

Another matter, especially offered the truth that Sri Lankans’ appropriate to access info has been seriously curtailed by the Rajapaksa Horde, is the matter of Net Service Providers blocking their subscribers’ access to a selection of internet sites carrying details about Sri Lanka. The conduct of those in telecommunication companies such as Dialog and Sri Lanka Telecom need to be investigated and, if there is a prima facie case to be made against them for removing a simple democratic proper from citizens of our nation, they must be prosecuted with out hesitation right away.

If all of the preceding sounds like some sort of national cleansing, it is meant to be just that due to the fact I am convinced that nothing brief of an exercising of that nature will suffice to restore even a modicum of decency to this nation in the conduct of its affairs.

This piece would surely lack balance if I didn’t comment on an entity that has emerged as strong beyond the level of its public assistance: the Jathika Hela Urumaya. This bunch with a track record in racism and xenophobia only second to the Bodu Bala Sena, are beginning to appear like the proverbial tail wagging the coalition dog. This must finish and, even if their presence is needed in the short term for strategic motives, they should be kept on the shortest of leashes. They fundamentally run counter to the central thrust of the public assistance for the Coalition and their chauvinism need to NOT be permitted to intrude on that Coalition’s efforts to establish fairness, justice and equity in Sri Lanka.

How can you help? Make confident that you take every chance to hold the feet of these in decision-making positions to the fire. Absolutely nothing else will suffice and keep in mind, if we do not make sure that this is done, what we achieved on January 8th could all be for naught.

A Challenge For Change

By Nimalka Fernando

Dr. Nimalka Fernando

Dr. Nimalka Fernando

Retruning back from Nedunkerni and Mulathivu soon after an election monitoring physical exercise today I was horrified to see two huge armed automobiles and automobiles carrying soldiers near the Kelaniya bridge. Eventhough I could have avoided the pay a visit to the message I received challenged me as a human rights defender to be present with the people as they exercised their correct to vote. On the otherhand I am glad that the check out now compelled me to share with the Sri Lankan citizens who will be certainly celebrating one more victory the huge political challenge ahead of us.

Monitoring elections is tiring if we take a political vision into this procedure. As a member of Mothers and Daughters of Lanka I agreed to be involved in monitoring realising the challenge that this the approach is intrisically linked to voter education and literacy on democracy. I am also glad that the approach we initiated during the Northern Provincial Council Election has now paved the way to develop neighborhood primarily based interactions for reconcilitation bnetween Sinhala and Tamil ladies. For us this vote was critical since this extremely interaction was frequently disrupted in the atmosphere of surveillance nurtured by the Gotabaya regime.

We seasoned that the space to conduct a free and fair election has been completely eroded beyond democratic norms. There is credible evidence to indicate that the Mahinda regime employed Executive powerwhich instigated worry in our society.

From all the reported election associated violence and violations, we saw the blatant manner in which executive powers were utilised in favour of a single candidate. That is Mahinda Rajapaksa. From the use of state resources to the inaction of the neighborhood police to remove illegal banners and cutouts, the political violence unleashed against the joint opposition rallies, attack on opposition leaders and their election propaganda offices clearly demonstrated that our get in touch with to hold cost-free and fair elections was totally rejected and ignored. For the duration of the previous couple of weeks our members in numerous districts continued to share details connected to the violations and violence which are now effectively know and published in the media. I believe that election monitoring is not a procedure which is restricted to tabulating violence and violations. Monitoring should also play an essential role in facilitating a level playing field crucial to holding cost-free and fair elections. Our very first expertise in election monitoring was gained in 1994 when we as members of MDL participated in monitoring the then Presidnetial Election which was also marred with violence and intimidation. It is unfortunate that we see the identical violent trends and the use of executive powers sustained and continued over 20 years in our nation. As citizen’s we have not been capable to effectively address the use of state sources , election violence and breaking of election laws over the previous three decades.

It is ironical that a nation and a leadership which boasted of ending terrorism and terrorism connected violence was not been capable to produce mechanisms and a culture which respect the freedom to physical exercise 1 of the basic democratic rights – the appropriate to use our vote in a free and fair manner. We saw how the military was used in the course of the Northern Provincial Council for election campaigns. The same fear continued these days which produced me rush to Vanni.

As I toured Vanni meeting ladies the election even though remaining unreal to them posed challenges to me. Some ladies told me that the Sinhala leaders have not looked after them. They also told us that this vote is a reflection of the need to have to live freely in the North. I was informed with tears in their eyes that the samurdhi receipients were named to the office at Nedunkerni with the promise of some funds. Females have come leaving all their other tasks some even borrowing cash to travel. As officials were not capable to continue with the discussion as the crowd was dispersed by the District Secretary the females had to go back residence with nothing at all in their hand. This brought pain to them.

Receipients of Samurdhi who are the poorest of the poor were herded to attend the rallies of Mahinda Rajapaksa the candidate. They had no choice. Fearing that their only indicates of survival would be removed from them the ladies went. Eventhough on the day of the election we declare that `it has been peacefully concluded’ lot of work goes into make certain such an environment. This situation is regretable given that democratic norms and practices are not respected as a organic norm in our nation. Both regional and international civil society has to preserve on reminding the Sri Lankan Executive that there are obligations and duties associated to making certain democratic norms. Under Mahinda regime the scenario has worsened with the state and government combining create a an authocracy to control the grass-roots .

The smaller units of political powers in the village which is named our voter constitutency is fully controlled by the Executive. The leader of the Pradeshiya Sabaha, the neighborhood authority who is a UPFA supporter becoming a thug, a particular person connected to the underworld and closely involved with the member of Parliament is wielding his/her power in the electorate. All appointments and rewards are designed and defined to maintain the poorest of the poor beneath the handle of the political authroity and their political power, the correct to vote is in the grips of the executive. Consequently directoves issued by the can be ignored and rejected. Eventhough he managed to stop couple of incidents related to distribution of `gifts’ during the election period the Commissioner could not manage the whole approach.

We as civil society continued to campaign for the estbalishment of an independent election commission following yje Indian example and the introduction of an electronic voting system. Sadly Sri Lanka has failed to take good lessons from it is neigbour in South Asia. Our efforts will have to be strengthened for the future. The forces who pledged a alter promised a transformation of the existing political culture. I have seen `this hope’ as individuals came to vote in the North.

The vote is an indication that the campaign for democracy, reconciliation and demilitarisation has emerged victorious. But we have a tremendous challenge. I am compelled to say that the North has voted for adjust. It is our duty to deliver the freedom for the people. The females in the North who are tillers of the land want their rights. Their faces and tears once once more reminded me of the distinction among my reality and their life experiences. The huge distinction of votes among the swan and the beetle leaf in the Tamil homeland has to be understood appropriately. Sinhala political leader who are going to lead this country towards changhe has been trusted by them to take them towards this new future. I hope and pray we will not let them down.

I salute the citizen’s of Sri Lanka for igniting their conscience soon after numerous years.

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CSM Shocked Catholic Bishops Conference’s Silence More than Govt Derogatory Comments Against Bishop Rayappu

The Christian Solidarity Movement has expressed their surprise over the silence observed by the Catholic Bishops Conference in Sri Lanka over the derogatory remarks that are being produced against Mannar Bishop Rev. Rayappu Joseph blessing the common Opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena.

Rt. Rev. Dr. Rayappu Joseph, Catholic Bishop of MannarThe CSM releasing a media statement over the remarks that have been produced by particular major government Ministers as effectively as in state media more than Sirisena meeting Bishop Joseph on December 30 to seek his blessings, has pointed out that when President Rajapaksa too approached the very same Bishop for the exact same goal no problem was raised and neither have any remarks getting produced branding him as the &#8216Tiger Leader&#8217 or the &#8216Tiger Bishop&#8217.

Although expressing their concern over the verbal attacks that have been launched by the politicians, the CSM has called for a clarification on whether the views expressed by such politicians is reflective of the government&#8217s point of view.

In addition the CSM has pointed out that these comments are an indication of the abysmal depths that the regional politics have fallen into due to the entry of undisciplined and uneducated persons entering politics.

The CSM has also urged the Bishops Conference to raise the concern at the national level and to stand by their fellow brother Bishop who has been the &#8216voice of the voiceless&#8217 for the people of Mannar as properly as the entire of Sri Lanka.

We publish under the letter in complete

Derogatory remarks made about Bishop Rayappu Joseph of Mannar diocese.

Widespread opposition candidate Mr. Maithripala Sirisena on an election campaign to the north met the Mannar Bishop Rayappu Joseph on 30 December and sought his blessings in view of the January 08 presidential poll. This occasion was then utilised in the government electronic media as an advertisement in a very uncouth manner, throwing derogatory comments about Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph that it was from the ‘Tiger Leader’ that the widespread candidate Mr. Maithripala Sirisena received blessings for the forthcoming presidential election.

However, a couple of days later the President Rajapaksha as well approached the very same Bishop for the same objective but there was no such a remark created by any individual about a ‘tiger bishop’ blessing the incumbent President.

We, Christians and concerned folks, are disturbed and perturbed more than Bishop of Mannar being the object of a verbal attack of a personal nature launched by the politicians with self interest at this crucial juncture of our history. A clarification is now needed regardless of whether the views expressed by such politicians is reflective of the Government’s point of view.

We get in touch with on politicians to quit the harassment of Bishop Rayappu immediately. Unlike the most politicians who have served themselves than their people, Bishop Rayappu Joseph has fostered common good, the spirit of humanism and human rights. We like to reiterate that Bishop Joseph has looked after his flock – not just Catholic Christians, but Christians of all denominations, non-Christians, and other folks. He is not only the leader of the Catholic diocese in Mannar, but a humanitarian, who had stood for the rights of all Sri Lankans.

Generating such vulgar accusations on a religious leader merely to acquire political mileage is quite unethical. It is an indication as to what an abysmal depth our politics have fallen into, due to the entry of the undisciplined and uneducated persons into politics.

We as the CSM condemn the uncouth and unethical remarks about Bishop Rayappu, created by a single of the major government ministers as soon as once more at the final rally held at Kesbewa in help of the incumbent President.

At the same time we are surprised to note the silence observed by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Sri Lanka on this matter. We urge the Bishops’ conference, to raise this situation at the national level and to stand by their fellow brother bishop who had been the ‘voice of the voiceless’ people of Mannar and in the complete island of Sri Lanka.

Christian Solidarity Movement &#8211 281, Deans Road, Maradana