Foreign Affairs

Sri Lankan Media Breaks Silence On Sirisena Brat

The Day-to-day Mirror website in a surprising twist decided to break the censorship of all other Sri Lankan mainstream media homes, when they carried a story titled &#8220Daham Sirisena Justifies His Trip To UN&#8221 regarding the first son junket Daham Sirisena&#8216s trip to the United Nations which is at the moment being funded by tax payers cash.

Daham Sirisena - Pasikudah | File photo

Daham Sirisena &#8211 Pasikudah | File photo

Not a single mainstream media property reported Daham Sirisena&#8217s pay a visit to to the UN up till this point as of yesterday, as hundreds of Sirisena supporters started to criticize Colombo Telegraph internet site for breaking and following up the news concerning his pay a visit to propped up by a sense of pure nepotism that went wild on social media.

An avid reader of Colombo Telegraph sent in an e mail citing &#8220friend of mine who operates for the Daily Mirror mentioned she had been reading the Daily Mirror website routinely, but in no way knew that Daham Sirisena was in the US attending the current UN conference. How can she know anything of this sort as Day-to-day Mirror by no means carried something relating to the Daham saga has designed hence far&#8221 concluded the Colombo Telegraph reader.

&#8220The principal stream media failed to raise this distinct nepotism situation, as it focused on mostly raising troubles that blamed the the former Rajapksa regime as an alternative&#8221 stated our reader.

Writing to Colombo Telegraph media researcher Nalaka Gunawardene stated&#8221The [email protected] episode has shown up our mainstream media as properly. None of them had the courage to comment on this matter, or at least report the widespread social media condemnation of it. For some, the first time they ever described it was when they carried Daham’s ‘explanation’ on Facebook.&#8221

&#8220Is it since our media has been suppressed for also extended that, even now, they cover the President, his household and other political leaders with as well much deference? Why do most of our media treat the head of state as a feudal lord &#8212 when the incumbent has said he does not want to be treated as such?&#8221 he questioned.

&#8220Is it that parrots who have been caged for a decade do not want to fly away when released, so they just hover about repeating what the former master/captor taught?&#8221 he further asked.

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Foreign Affairs

Taking Reconciliation Method Forward Right after Co-Sponsored Resolution 

By Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

The government took a key step forward in rejoining the international community on equal terms when it reached agreement with the United States and other Western countries in the UN Human Rights Council to co-sponsor the resolution on the future its post-war accountability procedure. For the past six years Sri Lanka was on the defensive internationally for its conduct of the final phase of the war. From 2012 onwards it was at the getting end of increasingly adverse resolutions by the UN Human Rights Council. The resolution in 2014 mandated an international investigation into the previous. Every year the meetings of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva became the occasion of confrontation abroad and for political mobilization inside the country in which ethnic nationalism took the centre stage.

The new government’s agreement with the United States to co-sponsor the draft resolution that will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday is an indication that each sides sat collectively to sort out the difficulty. Unlike its predecessor the present government has acted on the rational basis that a policy of confrontation would not resolve the problem but only aggravate it. Though the confrontational approach of the preceding government was common at home it was major to an internationally imposed outcome which would have produced a bad predicament worse. The government’s issue solving method enabled it to convince the United States, and other Western countries, to drop the particular reference to a hybrid judicial mechanism. This was the most controversial function of the UN Human Rights Higher Commissioner’s report on Advertising Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka.

Kerry and Mangala 02 05 2015 Colombo TelegraphThe latest draft resolution of the UN Human Rights Council on advertising reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka affirms “the significance of participation in a Sri Lankan judicial mechanism, such as the Unique Counsel’s office, of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers, and authorized prosecutors and investigators.” This was in contrast to the UN Human Rights Higher Commissioner’s Report that named for a hybrid judicial mechanism with the participation of international judges, lawyers, prosecutors and investigators to guarantee the credibility of the accountability approach. The replacement of the emphasis provided to the hybrid judicial mechanism and its replacement with a Sri Lankan judicial mechanism would give the Sri Lankan government a greater measure of credibility in dealing with the nationalist sentiment within the nation.

Political Challenge 

The government is preparing to meet the political challenge that it expects from the opposition with regard to the compromises it is creating in Geneva. Getting dealt with the dilemma in Geneva, the government is now moving towards guarding itself politically within the nation. It is conscious that it is sitting on best of a volcano of ethnic nationalism. This is the identical volcano that developed the background for the assassination of Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike in 1957 when he tried to allay Tamil nationalism by conceding language and devolution rights to the men and women of the Northern and Eastern provinces, to the uprising of the JVP in 1987 when President JR Jayewardene signed the Indo Lanka Peace Accord to bring an finish to the Tamil uprising by conceding devolution of energy, and to the downfall of the UNP government in 2004 headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe when he attempted to have a negotiated political settlement with the LTTE via the Norwegian facilitated ceasefire.

More than the weekend the newly appointed Minister of National Dialogue Mano Ganesan referred to as two meetings, a single each with heads of media organizations and yet another with civil society activists to discuss the forthcoming Geneva resolution and how very best to take its message to the general population. The meetings have been chaired by Prime Minister Wickremesinghe who pointed out that the Geneva resolution that the government was co-sponsoring was not only about a probe into war crimes allegations, but was also about restoring democracy and bringing national reconciliation. He explained that the judicial mechanism for accountability would be one that was Sri Lankan and approved by Parliament.

At the civil society meeting, he indicated that the presence of international legal personnel in this judicial mechanism would not be as mere tokens. He pointed out that Sri Lankan judges held high positions in courts in foreign nations and it could be the other way round also, specifically in instances exactly where the neighborhood knowledge was either lacking or required to be supplemented. Such an international presence is anticipated by the Tamil polity which has no faith in the Sri Lankan judicial approach in relation to concerns of the war and the conduct of the Sri Lankan military during the war and its aftermath. This would also be the position of international human rights groups and numerous foreign governments.

Even so, the involvement of international judges and legal personnel in the judicial accountability approach in which the leaders of the former government and military are implicated will supply a political rallying point to Sinhalese nationalist leaders. The former leaders of the government who gave leadership to the war effort that saw the final victory over the LTTE and the military that created it achievable have been broadly perceived by the Sinhalese polity to be war heroes. There is tiny or no want on the part of the ethnic majority Sinhalese population to see them differently. So far the news media seems to be cooperating with the government in downplaying the compromises produced in Geneva and the implications for the country. The voice of the nationalists within the opposition has not been receiving the higher levels of publicity that they received during the period of the prior government. But this is probably to alter soon after the resolution in Geneva is passed with the Sri Lankan government co-sponsoring it, and the time for implementation begins.

All Inclusive 

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe seems to have taken note of the lessons of the previous. In the course of the abortive 2002-2004 peace process he and his government confronted the then president Chandrika Kumaratunga who undermined him. On this occasion the Prime Minister is operating closely with President Maithripala Sirisena who has the credibility to give him covering assistance against Sinhalese nationalism. During the 2002-2004 peace process, the government did not actively engage with civil society in taking optimistic messages of the peace method to the individuals. The early meeting that the Prime Minister chaired with civil society groups indicates that he appreciates the function that civil society played in advocating the lead to of very good governance in the course of the presidential and common elections earlier in the year. In a democracy unless there is well-known understanding and acceptance of the need to have for reform it is unlikely to be effective. Sri Lankan civil society organizations have a track record in taking advocacy and educational messages to the common population.

It is significant that the draft resolution recognizes the need to have for a method of accountability and reconciliation for violations and abuses, including those committed by the LTTE as highlighted in the UN report. The Sinhalese folks need to know that the accountability process is meant for all who violated human rights and committed war crimes, and is not targeted only against the government. Action against financiers and other international operatives and agencies will be an integral element of the criminal investigation that the UN Higher Commissioner’s report has proposed by way of the recommended involvement of international personnel in the accountability procedure. At the identical time, it is also essential for the government not to lose sight of the concerns of the Tamil population on the ground. They could not require to be convinced of the merits of possessing an international component in the Sri Lankan judicial mechanism to ensure accountability. However, their interest in a swift return to normalcy requirements to be taken into account. The requirements of the war-affected folks of the North and East are urgent ones. The government has announced a mechanism to deal with the past that will be based on a fourfold system which will include a Commission for Truth, Justice, Reconciliation, an Office of Missing Persons, a judicial mechanism with special counsel to be set up by statute and an Office of Reparations.

As initial self-confidence developing gestures, the government can have a prison census and folks uncover their missing ones so that no one particular gets lost in the program, either deliberately or inadvertently. It can also speed up release of persons detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act with no charge and also the release of land taken more than throughout the war back to the individuals. There is also a want to help displaced persons who nevertheless number in the tens of thousands to resettle in their original areas if that is what they want. This is a difficulty that continues to have an effect on a massive proportion of the 90,000 strong Northern Muslim neighborhood who had been forcibly evicted from their homes in the North by the LTTE in a single of the war crimes that took location in the course of the course of the war. The benefits of the transitional justice approach will be applicable to all communities, as will accountability. Many of the required actions do not need to have any new mechanism but the political will of the government.

Foreign Affairs

5 Lies In Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Statement On OHCHR Report

By Niranjan Rambukwella

The Member of Parliament from Kurunegala, Mahinda Rajapaksa, not too long ago released a statement explaining his position on the lately released United Nations investigation into allegations of human rights abuses and crimes that occurred in the course of and after the war in Sri Lanka. His statement contained five main factual inaccuracies.

Mahinda1. “The investigation on Sri Lanka was not carried out by an independent Commission of Inquiry but for the really initial time, by the OHCHR.”

This was not the very first time the OHCHR has carried out an investigation. Other investigations contain the OHCHR investigations into Darfur in 2004, and the investigations on Afghanistan and Kyrgystan. These have been all carried out by the OHCHR.

two. “Similarly, I as well had to go against the wishes of certain strong nations to defeat terrorism and bring peace to this country.”

The LTTE is banned in the United States, EU and India. The US and India both supplied vital intelligence, instruction and military gear that played a crucial role in the defeat of the LTTE. EU nations also assisted with coaching and gear. There is no basis for saying that these nations did not want the LTTE defeated.

three. “Some politicians have been telling the individuals that all these international initiatives are based on my joint communiqué with the UN Secretary Basic of 23 May possibly 2009. I see that as a deliberate try to mislead the individuals and seek justification for their own cooperation with interventionist foreign forces.”

These are the words of the Mahinda Rajapaksa-Ban Ki-moon Joint Communique, “The Secretary General underlined the value of an accountability method for addressing violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. The Government will take measures to address those grievances .” Dayan’s renowned congratulatory but self-defeating resolution in 2009, created this guarantee to the complete world, it “welcomes the check out to Sri Lanka of the Secretary-Common of the United Nations at the invitation extended by the President of Sri Lanka, and endorses the joint communiqué issued at the conclusion of the check out as properly as the understandings contained therein”

4. “The most that can be accomplished with a report of this nature is to suggest the setting up of a war crimes tribunal and that has been done.”

The report could have completed a great deal a lot more than advocate a tribunal. It could have advised referral to the Safety Council, it could have named men and women and it could have advised an international tribunal. It could even have advised financial sanctions.

five. “Some seem to believe that had my government still been in energy, this report may possibly have led to financial sanctions becoming imposed on Sri Lanka. Nonetheless, neither the UNHRC nor the OHCHR can impose financial sanctions on a country.”

As these are UN reports and taken extremely seriously by the whole world, if the OHCHR recommended sanctions, it is very likely that the economy would have been in tatters. The OHCHR report would have led to numerous governments thinking about sanctions. The little investment Sri Lanka received would have dried up, tourist arrivals would decline, the interest prices Sri Lanka pays would rise and access to concessionary finance would be even a lot more difficult. Furthermore, it would make it extremely challenging for the US and EU, which account for more than half our exports, to not have targeted sanctions and travel bans. In a couple of years the Rajapaksas lost GSP+, with a damning report recommending economic sanctions, the Sri Lankan economy would have been in free of charge fall.

The query we want to ask is, why does Mahinda keeping lying to us?

Foreign Affairs

Rajapaksa’s Comments On UN Report Does Not Portray The Party Position: SLFP Media Spokesman

The Sri Lanka Freedom Celebration (SLFP) has criticized the stand taken by their former leader Mahinda Rajapaksa on the Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Investigation on Sri Lanka.

Releasing a statement a couple of days back former President Rajapaksa called upon the government to reject the Report of the UN Higher Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Investigation on Sri Lanka.

SLFP media spokesman Dilan Perera

SLFP media spokesman Dilan Perera

Nonetheless, his colleagues in the SLFP who blindly backed any stand taken by Rajapaksa, when he was in charge, has refused to stand by their former leader who is now relegated to an opposition MP’s post.

Speaking to the media in Colombo nowadays SLFP media spokesman Dilan Perera mentioned today that Rajapaksa’s comments does not portray the party position and the statement on UN report by Rajapaksa was totally personal views of the former leader.

Perera noted that the SLFP has taken a neutral stand on the matter.

Perera went on to say that the party leader, President Maithripala Sirisena has appointed a committee to seek opinions of the SLFP members on the UNHRC report and the proposals contained in it.

The SLFP media spokesman stated that Rajapaksa was most welcome to submit his views to this committee.

In a statement to media, the former President Rajapaksa and current Kurunegala district parliamentarian said his government did not cooperate with the OHCHR investigation for a lot of reasons, mostly due to the fact it was instituted outside the established process of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

Rajapaksa went on to say that the usual procedure was for the President of the UNHRC to appoint a three-member independent panel to carry out the investigation after the relevant resolution is passed in the Council but the investigation on Sri Lanka was not carried out by an independent Commission of Inquiry but for the really initial time, by the OHCHR.

The report of the OHCHR investigation was presented to the UNHRC in Geneva by UN Higher Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra&#8217ad al Hussein on September 16th.

Foreign Affairs

Reject The UN War Crimes Report: Mahinda Rajapaksa Tells Govt.

Issuing a statement former President Mahinda Rajapaksa these days urged the new Government to reject the report by the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) on war crimes allegations.

The full statement issued by Rajapaksa

As the former head of state, I feel it would be suitable to make known to the public my observations on the recently released report on Sri Lanka by the OHCHR. My government did not cooperate with this investigation for several motives, foremost of which was that it was instituted outdoors the established procedure of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The usual process was for the President of the UNHRC to appoint a 3 member independent panel to carry out the investigation after the relevant resolution is passed in the Council. Nonetheless the investigation on Sri Lanka was not carried out by an independent Commission of Inquiry but for the extremely 1st time, by the OHCHR.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa

President Mahinda Rajapaksa

The OHCHR’s independence is questionable simply because it is funded for the most portion not by way of the normal spending budget of the UN but by means of ‘voluntary contributions’ from the quite Western states that sponsored the resolution against Sri Lanka. Additionally all the essential staff positions in this body are held by Westerners who make up half the cadre of the OHCHR. Resolutions are passed with overwhelming majorities at practically each session of the UNHRC calling for an ‘equitable regional distribution’ in staffing at the OHCHR to no avail. Given the composition of the OHCHR, it would not be possible to anticipate an impartial inquiry from them.

The Pakistani Ambassador to the UNHRC, HE ZamirAkram observed for the duration of the debate on the resolution that set up this OHCHR investigation on Sri Lanka, that “No self-respecting nation would agree to the intrusive measures advocated in this resolution.” He also wanted to know how this investigation was going to be funded, and stated that if the ‘donors’ providing the funding were also the sponsors of this resolution, the complete approach would be seen to be tainted. In spite of persistent questioning, he did not obtain a satisfactory answer to his query.

The Indian Ambassador HE Dilip Sinha warned that “an intrusive strategy that undermines national sovereignty” is counterproductive and that what is needed is a “constructive approach for dialogue and cooperation.” India also refused to support the setting up of this OHCHR investigation. The final resolution had the assistance of only 23 members of the 47 member UNHRC despite all the pressure that its strong sponsors brought to bear on the member states. That in short, is the background to the OHCHR investigation that has led to this Report.

Some speculate that this report could have been watered down due to the fact a new government has been elected to energy. If that is correct, then the Pakistani Ambassador HE Akram would have been correct in telling the UNHRC on 27 March 2014, that this resolution is “All about politics and not about human rights.” Be that as it might, I don’t see this report as possessing been watered down. The most that can be carried out with a report of this nature is to recommend the setting up of a war crimes tribunal and that has been accomplished.

Neither the OHCHR nor the UNHRC has the authority to set up an international war crimes tribunal. The only body with the authority to do so is the UN Security Council exactly where the veto power of China and Russia will be a element to contend with. Sri Lanka can not be taken before the International Criminal Court (ICC), due to the fact we are not a signatory to the Rome Statute below which the ICC functions. The other way is for the government of the nation concerned to cooperate voluntarily with the UN to set up a hybrid war crimes tribunal. What has been recommended in the OHCHR report is the only sensible way in which a war crimes tribunal can be instituted in relation to Sri Lanka. So it is incorrect to think that this report has been watered down in any way.

Some claim that this report has been watered down simply because no names have been pointed out in relation to any alleged incidents. That is obviously due to the reality that the OHCHR has no way of justifying such a linkage. But a prominent journalist D.B.S.Jeyaraj has pointed out that the names of crucial military personnel and units have in reality been described in the report in a manner created to incriminate and direct investigations even although those names have not been linked to particular incidents. Although some think that the report is not as negative as was anticipated, I do not share that view.

Even though some politicians claim that the threat of our war heroes getting arrested in foreign nations for alleged human rights violations under universal jurisdiction has receded simply because of this purportedly watered down report, the quite opposite is true in truth. There is a certain request made in this OHCHR  report on web page 252 to member states of the UN to investigate and prosecute those allegedly accountable for war crimes. This is in addition to the proposed hybrid war crimes tribunal they have advised. It is essential that the common public be informed about the genuine nature of this report.

Some appear to believe that had my government nonetheless been in power, this report could have led to economic sanctions getting imposed on Sri Lanka. However, neither the UNHRC nor the OHCHR can impose financial sanctions on a nation. Only the UN Safety Council has that authority and they will not impose financial sanctions except in the most serious conditions associated to a threat to worldwide safety. The USA and the EU could if they so wished, have imposed unilateral sanctions on Sri Lanka as it is their sovereign proper to refuse to trade with any nation. But such measures are extremely seldom implemented because the nation imposing sanctions ends up generating a permanent enemy of the folks of the country at the receiving end. Unilateral sanctions against Sri Lanka was never on the cards for the duration of my tenure.

Whilst there may have been tensions in between my government and some Western nations at particular times, there were Western leaders who understood our point of view as properly. John Kerry when he was the head of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations wrote in his December 2009 report titled ‘Sri Lanka: Re-charting US Strategy soon after the War’ that the Obama administration need to take a broader multi-dimensional strategy to Sri Lanka not driven solely by brief-term humanitarian issues but involving political, financial, and security dimensions.

In the course of the war, Sri Lanka and the USA had a mutually useful exchange of information on safety matters. Republican administrations in the USA typically took a much less intrusive strategy to Sri Lanka. There is much more to international relations than just human rights. The purchases produced, contracts awarded and possibilities offered for investors all play an even far more  important part in international relations. So I do not think that the OHCHR report would have led to sanctions getting imposed on Sri Lanka if my government had nonetheless been in power. Throughout my tenure, the main foreign investors in the Sri Lankan long term sovereign bond market and the securities exchange have been from America and Europe. It is only soon after I was voted out of office that these investors started withdrawing their funds from Sri Lanka.
In ruling a nation, there are occasions when one has to go against the wishes of strong nations in order to serve the interests of the individuals. In 1952, when Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake signed the Rubber-Rice Pact with China, the USA had imposed financial sanctions on the new Communist government of China and rubber was on the prohibited list. But Prime Minister Senanayake exported rubber to China even at the risk of antagonizing the USA since the folks of Sri Lanka needed rice. Similarly, I also had to go against the wishes of specific strong nations to defeat terrorism and bring peace to this nation.
Had unilateral sanctions in fact been imposed on Sri Lanka by Europe and the USA throughout my tenure, we would undoubtedly have taken remedial measures. When the EU withdrew the GSP+ trade concession from Sri Lanka in 2010 below stress from the potent Eelamist lobby in Europe, my government saw to it that exports of apparel to Europe continued to develop year after year. In 2008-2009 when the whole world was reeling beneath the worst worldwide depression because the 1930s, the folks of this nation had been not even conscious of the worldwide recession because of the measures that my government took to contain the crisis. My government had an financial track record of which I am justifiably proud.

Several of the suggestions in the OHCHR report give result in for concern. In my view, establishing a hybrid special court to try war crimes integrating foreign judges, lawyers and investigators, and prosecutors is not feasible. If there are allegations of wrongdoing against any member of the armed forces, I strongly think that those must be tried below the existing Sri Lankan law, beneath our present courts system and by our judges and our Lawyer-General’s department. Our armed forces risked almost everything and produced huge sacrifices to save the nation from the scourge of terrorism.

The recommendation that the OHCHR be permitted to establish a permanent presence in this country to monitor the human rights situation makes no sense since the country has been at peace for over 6 years with no allegations of ongoing human rights violations.
The OHCHR has also advised that the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka must retract its refusal to accept the competence of the UN Human Rights Committee to consider person complaints from Sri Lanka. We had a equivalent arrangement with the Privy Council when we were a dominion of the British Crown. In my view, such an arrangement would not be of any advantage to Sri Lanka.

It has also been recommended by the OHCHR report on web page 250 that the Sri Lankan government develop a vetting process to ‘remove from office’ safety force personnel who are believed to have been involved in human rights violations. Nobody can, or should be removed from workplace on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations or on mere suspicions. The government must be mindful of the fact that these recommendations are becoming made by forces that attempted their greatest to quit the final offensive against the LTTE but failed.

The OHCHR has also advisable the repeal of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and the Public Security Ordinance and the formulation of a new national security framework. Sri Lanka would not have survived as a state if not for these laws. The public security laws of a sovereign nation ought to be primarily based on an assessment of threats and other such factors and not according to the dictates of an international organization which does not specialize in public security.

I want to request the government to study the legal opinions on the law of armed conflict and humanitarian law given to the Commission of Inquiry on Disappearances by Sir Desmond De Silva QC, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, Rodney Dixon, David Crane and Paul Newton and contemplate circulating these to UNHRC member states –in certain the detailed report on the law of armed conflict in relation to the allegations produced against Sri Lanka which was submitted to the Commission on Disappearances by Sir Desmond De Silva recently. The views of these international lawyers should in my view, be incorporated in any detailed response to the OHCHR report.

Some politicians have been telling the individuals that all these international initiatives are based on my joint communiqué with the UN Secretary Common of 23 Might 2009. I see that as a deliberate try to mislead the men and women and seek justification for their personal cooperation with interventionist foreign forces. There was practically nothing in my joint communiqué with the UN Secretary Basic about war crimes investigations and hybrid or nearby war crimes courts. All that the Sri Lankan government undertook in that joint communiqué was to address ‘grievances’. The accelerated improvement of the north, the holding of the Eastern and Northern provincial council elections, the setting up of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and the Commission of Inquiry into Disappearances have been all measures taken in that spirit.

In reality in the course of the debate on the resolution that set up the OHCHR investigation on Sri Lanka in March 2014, the Indian, Cuban and Pakistani Ambassadors to the UNHRC taking the floor 1 after the other said in a single voice that the US backed resolution had not taken into account the wide ranging measures taken by the government to address outstanding issues, which includes the setting up of the LLRC. That was one particular of the factors they decided not to support the proposal for an OHCHR investigation against Sri Lanka.

Foreign Affairs

Lengthy Distance Nationalism – Dangerous For Sri Lanka

By Niranjan Canagasooryam &#8211

Niranjan Canagasooryam

Niranjan Canagasooryam

Long Distance Nationalism &#8211 Dangerous For Sri Lanka Reasoning behind the behaviour of the Sri Lankan diaspora

For the objective of this post, I refer to the Sri Lankan diaspora as these Sri Lankans who have migrated to a foreign country permanently and not these who are temporarily working or residing in foreign nations. Estimates suggest that the total Sri Lankan diaspora amounts to roughly two million, of which, it is estimated about 1.two million are of Tamil ethnicity and 800,000 of Sinhalese ethnicity.

A sizeable proportion of the Tamil diaspora migrated following the black July riots in 1983 exactly where they fled in worry for their lives and the lives of their loved ones. The ensuing migration was the result of the ongoing civil war that posed poor living conditions and a continuous fear for security. This group of the Tamil diaspora are scarred with tragic tales and horrific memories of the darker side of Sri Lanka’s previous resulting in mixed emotions. Externally they bear deep hatred and open anger towards the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) for being the sole explanation that they fled their motherland. Internally, they feel what I refer to as “survivor’s guilt” when feeling privileged for achieving material accomplishment in their adoptive nations, they are also faced with the guilt for the fate of the much less fortunate loved ones members, community and homeland that they had left behind. In wrestling with this guilt, this section of the Tamil diaspora strongly voice out on GOSL who are overly nationalistic and a single that still fails to pay heed to the plight of the Tamils living in the north and east of Sri Lanka.

DiasporaThe majority of the Sinhalese diaspora migrated to seek economic accomplishment and upon reaching material good results, they feel something which I refer to as “wealth seeker’s guilt” exactly where they really feel the enduring guilt for leaving behind their motherland in order to accomplish material success and even unfairly lampooned as shallow wealth seekers. In wrestling with their personal demons, they support governments that strongly toe on nationalistic lines with anti-west sentiments.

The frequent complex faced by both ethnicities of the diaspora, is that they endure getting the perpetual outsider in white-dominated Christian societies, even though, the tide is turning with some moving into mainstream political life in their adoptive countries.

Dangers of Extended Distance Nationalism

While nationalism is an adored patriotic emotion, extended distance nationalism can pose numerous threats as it eludes reality at the grass-root level. Nowadays, the web creates a sense of immediacy for an idealised ‘homeland’ with no the wisdom of real lived expertise. This means that passions of expatriate communities can be very easily inflamed as the diaspora wrestle with their personal alienation and demons. Person nationalistic values are rooted from an individual’s own experiences as such, it is apparent that there will be conflicting values or sentiments for each and every group. This is perhaps why George Orwell commented that nationalism is ‘the worst enemy of peace’.

The Sri Lankan diasporas do not vote in Sri Lanka, and rightly so, as all politics are eventually regional. Democratic politics is rooted in the ground realities of municipality and townships and not in imaginary suggestions and hankering for an idyllic Sri Lankan from thousands of miles away. GOSL fortunes are not going to be decided in Toronto or London, so why it is important for GOSL to toil for excellent relations with the diaspora community?

Expatriate communities usually tend to be far far more conservative than domestic ones, precisely since the assaults on self-esteem are so wonderful in adoptive nations. The Zionist cause was, and is, championed by American Jews the Khalistan demand was run by expatriate Sikhs in Canada several Irish Americans supported these in Ireland waging war for the Irish identity and similarly at house, the LTTE received path, leadership and funding from Tamils residing in western societies. This distinctively demonstrates the danger of the pertaining strength of nationalism from the diaspora who frequently confuse the values of self to these of the nation.


The GOSL requirements to engage with the diaspora and continuing to ignore their existence or failing to be far more inclusive, can grow to be an exercising in polarising society rather than uniting it. In essence, it is pertinent that the GOSL ensures that the sentiments of Sri Lankans living in Sri Lanka is also migrated to the diaspora. In reality, long distance nationalism is unsafe for Sri Lanka and it is in this context the GOSL ought to have an inclusive method exactly where it embraces all stakeholders of Sri Lanka even the diaspora and in return these stakeholders ought to cease putting an “I just before Sri Lanka”.

Foreign Affairs

Release All Reports On Final Phase Of War Right away: A Group Of Sri Lankans Tells Sirisena

A concerned group of Sri Lankan foreign policy observers have referred to as upon President Maithripala Sirisena to right away table &#8220Presidential Commission&#8217s International Advisors Report&#8221 on the final phase of the conflict at the ongoing Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva.

We publish beneath the petition sent by a group of civil society members, retired diplomats, ex Parliamentarians and expatriates requesting the President of Sri Lanka to table the Report on the 2nd Mandate of the Presidential Commission on Missing Persons immediately at Human Rights Council.

His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena,
President of Sri Lanka

Your Excellency,

We the undersigned,  are very concerned about the mechanisms proposed in the Report of the  UN Higher Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Investigation on Sri Lanka, which was presented to the UN Human Rights Council  in Geneva by Prince Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, on the 16th of September.

Dayan and TamaraWe are certain perturbed that the UNHRC conclusions had no opportunity to consider the rigorous legal &amp military evaluation  conducted  by the international advisory council, that had on the 15th of August 2015 completed its process by issuing a report to the Government on the final phase of the war in Sri Lanka as stipulated in the 2nd Mandate of the Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints concerning Missing Persons, otherwise known as the &#8220Paranagama Commission&#8220.

Therefore, we would like to draw your consideration to two separate paragraphs in UNHCR report, which itself laments the reality that the UN Human Rights Council members and specially the OHCR group that undertook a complete investigation into alleged severe violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by each parties in Sri Lanka throughout the period covered by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), had been not privy to the report on the  2nd Mandate of the Paranagama Commission. The advanced unedited version of the report that was released on the 11th of  September 2015 stated as follows:

&#8220Following signals of engagement by the newly elected Government of Sri Lanka in January 2015, and the possibility that additional details might grow to be offered for the investigation, the Human Rights Council accepted the Higher Commissioner’s recommendation to defer consideration of the report until the 30th session.&#8221

&#8220At time of writing there had been indications that the Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints regarding Missing Persons appointed by the earlier Government had received a further extension to full its perform,  despite widespread issues raised about its credibility and effectiveness.  The International Advisory Council appointed by the preceding Government to assistance the Commission on the second, expanded mandate it had been provided to investigate  alleged violations  in the final stages of the conflict has not been extended but is believed to have submitted its report.  In June 2015, two additional Commissioners were appointed to expedite the hearing of situations.  In July 2015, the Government also announced the appointment of a particular investigation group to expedite investigation into some instances, despite the fact that its status is not recognized .&#8221

It is clear from perusing the above paragraphs of the Geneva HRC&#8217s Report,  (please draw your attenton to the highlighted section)  that the UN Human Rights Council was awaiting the release of the report carried out as per the 2nd mandate of the Paranagama Commission.  It is also curious as to how the certain reference to the International Advisory Council, which was naturally referring to the professional panel assembled to carry out the 2nd mandate of teh Paranagama Commission,  had been omitted in the final version of the HRC Reprot that was released to the public on the 16th of September. We would urge your Excellency to investigate this matter, and find out as to who from the Ministry of External Affairs had advised the UN HRC to drop this reference from their report.

As your Excellency knows, this Commission was established by the previous Government of Sri Lanka in response to the calls by the international community to have a credible domestic investigation process, and had its mandate expanded on the 15th of July  2014, to inquire into the matters of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and therefore secured the services of numerous leading internationally renowned legal and military experts like  Sir Desmond De Silva Q.C. , Professor David Crane,  Sir Geoffrey Good Q.C. and Major General John Holmes, the former commander of the SAS, to give help to the Commission with regard to international humanitarian law, international human rights law, customary international law and the laws of armed conflict usually.
The second mandate of the Paranagama Commission was as a result expected to inquire into the information and circumstances that resulted in the principle loss of civilian life in the final stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka and to issue a report on or before the 15th of August 2015.   Sir Desmond De Silva Q.C. and Professor David Crane, were each chief prosecutors of an international criminal tribunal.   They were both picked personally by the Secretary General of the United Nations to discharge these roles.   In that part, they were both appointed at a level of an Beneath Secretary General of the United Nations. Sir Geoffrey Nice Q.C. was the lead prosecutor in the case against  Slobodan Milosevic, the former President of Yugoslavia.  In reality, all 3 of them, have every single prosecuted a head of state.  Sir Desmond prosecuted the former President of Liberia, Charles Taylor, and had him arrested  and prosecuted for war crimes, for which he is now serving 50 years in prison.

It is imperative, that this 1st official report from the Government of Sri Lanka, prepared with help from independent international legal and military pros, is tabled forthwith to the ongoing Human Rights Council in Geneva,  so that it tends to make a meaningful impact. It is only correct that the 47 voting member nations of the Human Rights Council have an opportunity to read and digest Sri Lanka’s personal independent report in order that they may make an informed judgement prior to the conclusions of the final deliberations on Sri Lanka by the HRC.

We are deeply concerned to learn from media reports and the statements issued by the Minister of External Affairs, that this vital report dealing with the 2nd mandate of the Paranagama Commission, which has been produced offered to your workplace more than a month ago, has not as yet been presented to the members of the  UN Human Rights Council, which commenced its sessions on the 14th September 2015.

It has  been recommended that the present Government has been influenced by a some lobbies  to delay the release of this report till following the Geneva sessions are successfully over, so that the unverified allegations of up to 40,000 civilian deaths in the final months of the war contained in the Darusman Report remains unchallenged and intact.

The announcement created in Geneva by the Minister of External Affairs, Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, that the Paranagama Report would be presented to the Sri Lankan Parliament later this month suggests that the Government of Sri Lanka  has been  misled into keeping this report from becoming regarded as by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. It is critical that your Excellency is appropriately briefed on the Geneva method, and we would like to take the liberty to bring to your attention that though the OHCHR had given the Government of Sri Lanka five days to respond, and that deadline has already expired, the Government nevertheless has the correct to table this report at the UNHRC, as the final resolution draft is nonetheless in circulation, and would only get finalized on the 24th of September 2015, and only be taken in for consideration on the 30th of September.

Consequently, in the interest of transparency and excellent governance, we are incredibly concerned that this critical Paranagama Report, prepared with the help of the aforementioned distinguished experts, that was expected to delve into the allegations created by the Darusman Panel, which the OHCHR was expecting has not been presented to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva this week.

As Your Excellency is also conscious, certain lobbies produced an attempt to influence you against Sir Desmond De Silva, QC and the international advisory council that ready this crucial report for the Paranagama Commission, by submitting a petition to you on the 4th of August 2015, imploring on you to rescind his appointment and discontinue the panel  just ten days before they have been anticipated to release their report!

Your Excellency would have noticed that the petition was also copied to Prince Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Mr. Pablo de Grieff, the United Nations Unique Rapporteur on Truth, Justice, Reparations and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence, in a deliberate try to discredit the Paranagama Report in advance of its release. The petition based its request on a complaint to the Bar Requirements Board in England against Sir Desmond.

What was hidden from everyone’s eyes, was that the organization creating the complaint in the UK was the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace &amp Justice, which has listed the co-author of the Darusman Report, Ms Yasmin Sooka, as its Executive Director!

The TNA M.P.  Mr. M.A. Sumanthiran, led the campaign against Sir Desmond and the international panel in Sri Lanka, raising the matter in Parliament on the 17th of  March 2015 and urged the government itself to forward a complaint against Sir Desmond de Silva to the Bar Requirements Board in England. Thankfully better sense prevailed, and we commend your Government for ignoring Mr. Sumanthiran&#8217s request.

Possessing failed in his try to convince your Government to do this, Mr. Sumanthiran seemed to have secured Yasmin Sooka’s help to lodge the complaint in the UK.  That complaint was utilised by many neighborhood civil society groups as the basis to send you a petition, in a last minute try to sabotage the 2nd Mandate Report of the Paranagama Commission.

There seems to be a nexus in between numerous men and women and groups, some of them separatist groups, based on their determination to tarnish the image of Sri Lanka with in specific the false allegation of “genocide” against Sri Lanka. Consequently, they are anxious to avoid the release of the aforementioned Paranagama Report to the UN Human Rights Council, as that has been ready with inputs from an extremely credible and eminent panel of advisers.

Maintaining reports unavailable to the public and international stakeholders is not constant with the great governance principles. Transparency is vital, and it is the duty and obligation of the Government to hold the UN Human Rights Council fully informed at the earliest chance feasible, as the reconciliation process in our nation can only succeed if all communities are satisfied that our elected Government is acting impartially and with credibility.

We the undersigned, consequently, call upon Your Excellency to give instructions to the Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka to immediately table the report dealing with the 2nd mandate of the Paranagama Commission at the UN Human Rights Council and also the Udalagama Report and to make the very best efforts to distribute copies of this report widely to not just the 47 members states of the HRC, but to all 193 member states of the UN represented in Geneva, and to all the NGO’s and other international bodies attending the UN HRC sessions in Geneva, such as members of the international media and feel tank institutions.

We also urge Your Excellency to present this report yourself to the Secretary Common of the United Nations, when you check out New York later this month to attend the UN General Assembly Sessions.  Please also use that opportunity to distribute the report widely to all member countries of the UN,  as the choices in Geneva are influenced by the political policy decision taken at their respective capitals.

The citizens of Sri Lanka and the expatriate Sri Lankan community are awaiting a credible response from the Government of Sri Lanka in the wake of the Geneva OHCHR report. It is the citizens of  Sri Lanka who are the ones who will be most affected by the choices taken in Geneva, and therefore to have an informed view of  our contemporary history in their journey towards reconciliation is essential.

Given the feasible impact on the people of Sri Lanka of choices that will be taken in Geneva, the release of these reports must be carried out right away, and not soon after choices are taken by the UN Human Rights Council.

Your Excellency, thank you for your consideration of our request.

Thank you.

Signatories to this petition

Hon. Veerasingham Anandasangaree,  Sri Lanka
Former member of Parliament of Sri Lanka, and present  Leader,  Tamil United  Liberation Front (TULF)

Prof Rajiva Wijesingha, Colombo Sri Lanka
(Former member of Parliament of Sri Lanka and Head of the Peace Secretariat and delegate to UNHRC)

Dr. Dayan Jayetilleka, Colombo, Sri Lanka
(Former Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Former Vice- President of UNHRC former Ambassador to France and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO)

Tamara Kunanayagam, Paris, France
(Former Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva)

Chris Dharmakirti,  Colombo, Sri Lanka
(Former head of National Council for Economic Improvement (NCED) and Strategic Enterprise Management Agency (SEMA),  and delegate to UNCLOS  in New York)

Dr. Ranil Senanayake, Colombo, Sri Lanka
(Systems Ecologist,  and delegate to UNEP)

Dr. N.P. Wijayananda
(Former Chairman of the Geological Survey &amp Mines Bureau and delegate to UNCLOS in New York)

Dr. Kumar Rupesinghe, Colombo Sri Lanka
(Human Rights Activist &amp Specialist on Conflict Resolution)

Dr. T.L. Gunuruwan
(Former secretary to the Ministry of Transport &amp University Academic)

Manohara Silva,  Colombo, Sri Lanka
(Constitutional Law Expert)

Key General  Lalin Fernando, Colombo, Sri Lanka
(Retired Officer of the Army)

Col. Anil Amarasuriya, Homagama, Sri Lanka
(Retired Officer of the Army)

Chanaka Ellawala,  Colombo, Sri Lanka

Dr. Ivan Amarasinghe,  UK

Dr. Anula  Wijesundera , Colombo, Sri Lanka

Sanja Jayatilleka,  Colombo Sri Lanka

Hasina Leelarathna,  Los Angeles, USA

H.L.D. Mahindapala,  Australia

Asoka Weerasinghe, Ottawa, Canada

Ajantha Premarathna,  Sri Lanka

L Wanasundera, Sri Lanka

Mal Munasinha,  Ontario, Canada

Ranjith Soysa, Victoria, Australia

Mahinda Gunasekera, Toronto, Canada

Surein Raghvan,  Toronto, Canada

Gamini Gunewardena,  Sri Lanka

Mal Munasinha,  Ontario, Canada

Charles Perera,  Sri Lanka

David Blacker, Sri Lanka

Hon. Prime Minister  Of Sri Lanka
Hon. Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka
Mr. Maxwell Paranagama,  Chairman of the  Presidential Commission on Missing Persons
Mr. Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Mr. Pablo de Grieff &#8211 United Nations Special Rapporteur on Truth, Justice, Reparations and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence
Yasmin Sooka, Executive Director, International Truth &amp Justice Project Sri Lanka
M.P. M Sumanthiran,  Tamil National Alliance
47 members of the UN Human Rights Council:
Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, China, Congo, Côte d&#8217Ivoire, Cuba, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Latvia, Maldives, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Portugal, Qatar, South Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Macedonia, UAE, UK, USA, Venezuela and Vietnam

Foreign Affairs

Sri Lanka Lacks Judges And Prosecutors For War Crimes Instances: Wiggie

The Chief Minister of Northern Province C.V. Wigneswaran has welcomed the UN report on war crimes.

Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran

Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran

Wigneswaran who all through had named for an international mechanism of inquiry to investigate war crimes charges has mentioned that he is pleased the report called for a Special Court with international judges and prosecutors.

Wigneswaran, a former Judge has mentioned that Sri Lanka does not have judges and prosecutors who can take up war crimes cases.

Earlier, Wigneswaran told Colombo Telegraph that no Sri Lankan judge will ever find fault with the military.

Meanwhile he has also welcomed the resolution passed by the Tamil Nadu Assembly calling for an international inquiry into war crimes in Sri Lanka and urging the Indian Central government to move a robust resolution at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for such an inquiry.

&#8220We thank Selvi Jayalalithaa for the intense concern she has shown more than our predicament. It augurs properly for the future. It demonstrates a sense of togetherness that exists between Tamils all over the planet,&#8221 Wigneswaran had told the media.

&#8220The resolution of the Tamil Nadu assembly is on the lines of the resolution the Northern Provincial Council passed earlier this month,&#8221 he had observed.

Foreign Affairs

Ranil​’s Agenda In New Delhi

By R. Hariharan

 Col. (retd) R.Hariharan

Col. (retd) R.Hariharan

Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is neither a stranger to the inner circle of New Delhi polity nor an unfamiliar personality in the North Block. However, for the duration of the final 1 year his profile has undergone a welcome make more than. The fortunes of this seasoned political leader, identified more for his failures than successes in his repeated forays for power, pulled a political coup of sorts. In league with Maithripala Sirisena, one more political veteran even though from the opposition, he thwarted former president Mahinda Rajapaksa&#8217s bid for energy twice!

The duo defeated Rajapaksa&#8217s electoral bid for a third term as president in January and seven months later they outsmarted Rajapaksa’s try to comeback to power utilizing his loyalists in the seemingly more potent coalition – the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA), in the recently held general election.

Ranil ModiAs a result Prime Mininister Wickremesinghe now enjoys power with a public endorsement of his political agenda twice inside a year. Regardless of political obstacles the Wickremesinghe-Sirisena duo had made some progress in living up to the expectations of the public. Their promises include increasing the accountability of the executive president to the parliament, empowerment of the prime minister and cleaning up the administration of corruption and cronyism. Their perform carried out so far, although still not completed, has restored Sri Lanka’s credibility which was eroded each at house and abroad by former president Rajapaksa’s autocratic style of governance.

Wickremesinghe is heading a national alliance government, the 1st since 1977, in which the ruling United National Party (UNP) and the principal opposition the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) have come with each other. This has enhanced the possibilities of advertising a national agenda to focusing on improvement in an environment of unity, peace and harmony. Former president Rajapaksa, failed to do just that in spite of his singular success in receiving rid of the LTTE once and for all. He frittered away five years of peace that followed the military victory in Might 2009 by focusing on strengthening his help base. As a result the socio-political atmosphere was vitiated by acrimony, distrust, religious and ethnic polemics and strife.

This has increased the probabilities of the present government making additional progress in its reform agenda regardless of the widespread cynicism in the political milieu. But Wickremesinghe would be more confident than ever ahead of when he visits New Delhi nowadays for the very first time right after becoming prime minister.

There is a lot of convergence in between the leadership in India and Sri Lanka in their outlook than ahead of. Wickremesinghe’s agenda to correct Sri Lanka’s tilt towards China after Rajapaksa had succumbed to its &#8220fatal&#8221 charm in the locations of strategic safety and trade was 1 such area. So it was not surprising to uncover the Ranil- Maithripala duo welcomed Prime Minister Modi&#8217s renewed efforts to build a broadened and enduring connection with Sri Lanka when he visited the island nation some months back. They reciprocated his wish to get rid of other kinks in the relations among the two countries that had appeared during the earlier regime. This makes the Sri Lankan leader’s New Delhi visit a specific one as Sri Lanka government probably enjoys greater credibility in the corridors of North Block than Rajapaksa ever did.

Both Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and President Sirisena have also shown their readiness to act upon the concerns of both India and the West such as the US, which were dealt with superficially in the course of ten years of Rajapaksa rule. These issues are confident to be incorporated in Modi-Wickremesinghe talks even if they are not aired in public due to national sensitivity more than some of them in both countries.

Both India and the West were irritated by Rajapaksa’s ploy to twist their issues over his government&#8217s dismal human rights record throughout and following the ethnic conflict to whip up Sinhala nationalism and encourage xenophobia for his political benefit. Similarly, he distorted their insistence on resuming the political dialogue approach with Tamil polity to resolve their long standing demand for equity with Sinhala majority as encouragement to Tamil separatism.

This had produced issues for India as its adverse fallout in Tamil Nadu politics adversely affected the fortunes of successive governments in New Delhi. This had cramped India’s efforts to meaningfully contribute to create a win-win connection with Sri Lanka. This weakness was exploited by China to enter Sri Lanka in a huge way.

Even though the coalition era has ended in New Delhi, ethnic amity in Sri Lanka will continue to influence India’s policy not only due to its impact on Tamil Nadu politics, but also in the interest of national safety. India and Sri Lanka are geographically too close to every other producing their national security interests complimentary than contentious. This makes it required for them to create a mutually reinforcing partnership, notwithstanding their unequal sizes and strengths.

Political dispensation for Sri Lanka Tamils will continue to stay one particular of lynchpins to progress India-Sri Lanka realtions. The Wickremesinghe government had tried to break the impasse in resuming the dialogue procedure with Tamils within the ambit of 13th Amendment (13A) to the Constitution which is supported by India. Nonetheless, it will be politically hard for the Sri Lanka government to grant land and police powers envisaged in the 13A to the provincial councils. We can anticipate this situation to come up when Modi and Wickremesinghe meet, though it is a moot point regardless of whether it would go beyond creating cordial statements.

For both India and the West, Rajapaksa reneging on his promises to them attend their issues went beyond matters of Sri Lanka’s internal politics it became a challenge to their strategic power assertion specifically right after he got cozy with China and provided a welcome strategic foothold for China in Sri Lanka in India’s close proximity and midway in the Indian Ocean sea lanes by means of which bulk of global maritime trade is performed. This assumes specific significance in the light of China growing assertion of is naval power in Asia- Pacific area, specifically in the Indian Ocean.

From the Sri Lankan viewpoint, there are some issues exactly where it wants India’s help and understanding. The UN Human Rights Council Rights Council (UNHRC) discussion on Sri Lanka’s comply with up actions taken on the US-sponsored resolution passed session 3 years back would come up on Friday, right after the report of the UN Human Rights Commissioner is presented. Although the US is probably to modify its insistence on a UN sponsored international inquiry by accepting a domestic inquiry with the assistance of the UNHRC, Sri Lanka needs Indian assistance to broaden its help base. Though the US move has met with some political criticism in Tamil Nadu and agitation by fringe elements egged on by the Sri Lanka Diaspora, India had always supported domestic inquiries in preference to international ones. In view of this the compromise resolution recommended by the US would almost certainly be supported by India.

The second situation is Indo-Sri Lanka trade. During his Colombo pay a visit to, Prime Minister Modi had revived the idea of a Comprehensive Financial Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in between India and Sri Lanka. India had mooted the idea and it nearly came via in 2008. Nevertheless, in the face of protest from neighborhood enterprise, the Rajapaksa government created cold feet and gave it up following that. Sri Lanka is facing exceptional economic crunch and troubles of debt servicing for the servicing the loans it had incurred. Even the IMF had been lukewarm to the thought of lending much more to Sri Lanka to service Chinese loans.

So Sri Lanka urgently demands India’s hand holding to see it via its crisis. Nevertheless, it will be difficult for Sri Lanka government to openly help CEPA as it is probably a no-go location in Sri Lanka politics. However, it appears Sri Lanka would not be averse to operate out an economic arrangement comparable to CEPA though it may be called by a various name. This was indicated in a report in Sunday Times, Colombo which quoted Sri Lanka Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha de Silva as saying that CEPA troubles have been likely to be among other essential issues throughout the bilateral talks between the two leaders. He added, “We should push for such agreements with nations like India. However, we need to not blindly enter into such agreements. We must study in detail our personal experiences and that of other equivalent countries to negotiate the best deal for us. Any bilateral or multilateral trade agreement that rewards Sri Lanka have to be pursued.”

*Col. R Hariharan, a retired Military Intelligence officer, is related with the South Asia Analysis Group, and the Chennai Centre for China Studies. E-mail:[email protected] Website: www.col.hariharan.information

Foreign Affairs

Mobitel Blocks Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Web site

Sri Lanka&#8217s new government has blocked, a website run by Mahinda Rajapaksa Info Centre. The web site has been blocked considering that Friday by one particular of the net service providers, Sri Lanka Mobitel, a totally-owned subsidiary of Sri Lanka Telecom.

Final January President Sirisena appointed his brother, Pallewatta Gamaralalage Kumarasinghe Sirisena as the Chairman of Sri Lanka Telecom.

Mobitele block www.mahinda.infoMobitelPresident Maithripala Sirisena gave a distinct order to lift direct on the web censorship as a single of his first acts in power. Web sites can be “prohibited or be topic to supervision and control” below S.69 of the Sri Lanka Telecommunications Act 1991 – but only under ministerial authority, and below a publicly announced order.

No such order was produced to replace the directive issued by President Sirisena in January.

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