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Sri Lanka Timeline - Year 2017



January 1

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe highlighting the Government's achievements in the past two years in his New Year message said the Government is focused on empowering the people while encouraging co-existence and harmony between all communities.

SLMC, backed by some other minority parties, opposed the new electoral system called the "Mixed Member Proportional System". SLMC leader, Urban Development Minister Rauff Hakeem told that his party was against it because, if enacted, it would be disadvantageous for the parties.

January 2

Minister of Local Government and Provincial Councils Faizer Mustapha refused to accept the report of the Delimitation Committee reviewing the demarcation of electoral boundaries in local Government wards as only three members of the five-member committee has signed the much-delayed report.

Mullaitivu District Court asked the Army to submit the list of LTTE cadres who surrendered to the security forces during the final phase of the war with the LTTE in 2009.

January 3

Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms appointed by the Prime Minister on January 26, 2016 handed over its complete report to the Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera.

CaFFE made an open request from the Local Government and Provincial Councils Ministry to publish the report of the Delimitation Commission through a gazette notification as soon as possible.

January 5

The three-day parliamentary debate on constitutional proposals was postponed because some political parties sought further time to come up their stands.

Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Secretary of CTF on Reconciliation mechanisms said that war victims have no trust in domestic mechanism.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein welcomed the report published by the CTF on Reconciliation Mechanisms.

January 6

Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said that I have no confidence in the CTF on Reconciliation Mechanisms appointed by the Prime Minister.

Addressing a hurriedly called press conference at the President's House, State Minister of Finance Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene said that President Maithripala Sirisena categorically ruled out the participation of foreign judges to hear or inquire into war crime allegations.

January 8

TNA's Jaffna District MP M.A. Sumanthiran said that TNA is positive about six subcommittee reports on new Constitution.

January 10

Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said "Deciding on the participation of foreign judges with the investigations on Sri Lanka's war crime allegations and human right violations is a sovereign right of the Sri Lankan Government and will be decided by the Sri Lankan Government."

HRW urged the Sri Lankan Government to adopt recommendations of the CTF on including foreign judges in a domestic mechanism on accountability as stated in the consensus resolution the country sponsored with the UNHRC.

January 11

European Commission on proposed GSP+ trade concessions to Sri Lanka in exchange of the Government's commitment to ratify 27 international conventions on human rights, labor conditions, protection of the environment and good governance.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the recovery of the GSP+ concessions is a result of the present Government's efforts and dedication over the last two years to protect the rights of the people and establish democracy in the country.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera said "Sri Lanka is committed to the implementation of the United Nations resolution, which it cosponsored in October 2015 so that we as a country can deal with the past honestly and truthfully, accept that past, put it behind us, and then move forward to build our Sri Lankan nation anew."

January 12

AI backing the recent report of CTF on Reconciliation Mechanisms called on the Sri Lankan Government to chart a roadmap for the establishment and efficient functioning of the mechanisms proposed by the report.

HRW said that though the Sri Lankan Government was able to report progress on certain aspects and sought technical expertise from the UN and other countries, the UNHRC resolution adopted in October 2015 on the country remained largely unimplemented.

Commonwealth delighted to give technical assistance to the constitutional realignment to Sri Lanka, Secretary-General of Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland said when she met with Sri Lanka's Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera. I

January 14

President Maithripala Sirisena addressing a gathering in the Galle said that the Government will never advocate federalism or division of the country on federal lines.

GTF welcoming the recommendations of the CTF on Reconciliation Mechanisms released on January 3, 2017 has called on the Sri Lankan Government to fully implement the recommendations.

January 15

TNA senior leader Dharmalingam Siddharthan said "If the Government abandoned the idea of finding a solution for the National question, we won''t be part of the Constitution making process and we would be compelled to leave it."

TNA Spokesman M.A. Sumanthiran pointed out any Constitutional Amendment could not be made without a referendum.

January 16

UNP MP Nalin Bandara Jayamaha said that Constitution is outdated and should be changed in keeping with today's needs.

January 17

An alleged fundraiser for LTTE lost his battle to stay in Canada as Federal Court upheld deportation order.

January 17

Delimitation Review Committee reviewing the demarcation of electoral boundaries in local Government wards handed over its much-awaited final report to the Minister of Local Government and Provincial Councils Faizer Mustapha.

Vavuniya Government Agent M.B.R. Pushpakumara said the Omanthai Army Camp and Checkpoint on the A-9 Road had been dismantled after 25 years and the land occupied by the Army was officially handed over him to be given to its original owners.

January 18

Army Spokesman Brigadier Roshan Seneviratne said that Omanthai Army Camp has not been removed but 18 acres of land around the camp belonging to the civilians has been handed over to the Vavuniya Government Agent.

EU said that the ratification and implementation of 27 international conventions signed by the Sri Lankan Government was the only criteria to to re-gain the GSP+ facility.

January 19

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein expressed his satisfaction towards the positive steps taken by Sri Lanka to improve the country's human rights conditions.

January 21

Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneshwaran speaking during a discussion in Jaffna District said that no skills based training was provided to Ex-LTTE cadres during the reconciliation programmes.

January 22

ICJ called on the Sri Lankan Government to implement the recommendations made by the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms.

January 23

Joint Opposition MP Keheliya Rambukwella said that President Maithripala Sirisena is attempting to enact a 'Sampanthan Constitution' by cancelling the first three clauses in the First Chapter of the current Constitution.

January 25

Government at a function held in Mullaitivu District handed over another 243 acres of land held by Army to the people in the North. At the function land entitlement deeds were presented to 1,352 families and subsistence to the tune of 100,000 rupees were given to 300 low income families of the District.

January 28

Four ex-LTTE cadres in the Tamil-majority Northern Province were arrested by the TID officials for plotting to assassinate TNA parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran.

Minister for Regional Development and former Army commander Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka speaking to the media after participating in a function at the Hadabima Authority said that war crime perpetrators should be punished irrespective of their status.

January 30

President Maithripala Sirisena speaking as the Chief Guest at a ceremony at Ambepussa town in the Kegalla District said that the country will never forget the sacrifices made by the Security Forces and the Police during the country's three decade old LTTE war.

Provincial and Local Government Minister Faizer Mustapha said the Delimitation Committee Report will be gazetted within a month.

February 5

Skills Development and Vocational Training Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe speaking at an Independence Day ceremony in Kalutara District said Northern Province Chief Minister C. V Wigneswaran's moves to establish a hybrid court in the province is a dream which will never materialize.

February 7

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera told foreign correspondents that the Government will seek more time at the next UNHRC session to investigate war crime allegations against the LTTE which ended in 2009.

Northern Province Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran said that Police saying there is a threat toTNA leader Sumanthiran's life is a ploy to station the Army permanently.

February 8 Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera while meeting Colombo-based foreign correspondents said that a new Constitution is the most potent weapon for non-recurrence of Sri Lanka's conflict and would have to be given priority over accountability mechanisms.
February 9

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya informed the Parliament that the relevant authorities have been instructed to take the necessary action to provide maximum security to the TNA Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran.

Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella in reply to a question raised by MP Wimal Weerawansa on devolution of power in Parliament said that the Government intends to hold a public referendum on new Constitution with the consent of all political parties.

February 10 TPC in a resolution adopted at the Eluga Thamil rally held in Batticaloa District called for an international investigation on war crimes allegations.
February 11 Former LTTE leader turned politician Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman launched a new political party to voice the concerns of minority Tamils in the North and East.
Source:Compiled from news reports and are provisional.





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