Sri Lanka Police Department has
removed the Police personnel who were deployed in and around the
Jaffna University premises following the clash between the university
students and SFs on November 27, 2012 when the university students
tried to commemorate the LTTE Heroes' Day.
Higher Education Minister of Sri
Lanka S.B. Dissanayake said that the Jaffna University would be
closed if academic activities are not resumed this week. Jaffna
University students and academic staff started to boycott classes
demanding the release of four university students who were arrested
on charges of supporting terrorist activities following the clash
between university students and the SFs on November 27, 2012 when
the students tried to commemorate the LTTE Heroes' Day.
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA)
Parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran said that the party would
vote against the amended Divi Neguma Bill (Enhancement of Life)
when it is taken up for a vote in Parliament.
The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress
(SLMC), an ally of the Government, also said that it is yet to
reach a final decision on the party's stance on the Bill as some
SLMC members have expressed concerns over the bill since it interfered
with subjects vested with the provincial councils under the 13th
Parliament passed the amended
Divi Neguma (Enhancement of Life) Bill aimed at poverty alleviation
in the country with a majority of 107 votes. 159 voted in favor
while 42 voted against.
The Ministry of Rehabilitation
and Prison Reforms has made arrangement to release another batch
of former combatants of the defeated terror organization, Liberation
Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to the society. The Ministry will
release another 313 rehabilitated cadres in Vavuniya District
on January 13 to coincide with the upcoming Hindu harvest festival
of Thai Pongal.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa said
Sri Lanka's Security Forces (SFs) fought the separatist terrorists
and liberated the country not for their personal gain but for
the yet unborn future generation. He told that the Government
is not prepared to reverse the massive development programme being
implemented as a free and sovereign nation.
The Sri Lankan Government has
increased the allocations for rehabilitating the former of LTTE
cadres from SLR 300 million to SLR 500 million. Sri Lanka Minister
of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Chandrasiri Gajadeera revealed
this while releasing a batch of former cadres of LTTE. A group
of 313 former LTTE rebels were reintegrated into the society to
mark the Hindu cultural festival "Thai Pongal" that falls on January
The official website of Sri Lanka's
MCNS has been hacked and defaced by a hacker, known as Game
Over. The hacker has not only defaced the site at nationalsecurity.lk,
but redirected it to another site and gained access to the server,
taking away and leaking hundreds of login information of the site
Media and Information Minister
Keheliya Rambukwella said Sri Lanka will focus on the need to
amend the Constitution to add a 19thAmendment due to the recent
conflict raised between the judiciary and legislature. He said
there is discussion in several Government circles on the need
to amend the Constitution and the Government will have to make
a decision. However, the country will be informed before such
a decision is taken, the Minister told.
Construction, Engineering Services
Housing and Common Amenities Minister and NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa
said the eradication of LTTE terrorism is the only reason for
all foreign interferences in Sri Lanka's internal matters. The
Minister said "Though the LTTE was defeated, we still have external
and internal enemies. All Sri Lankans should recognize these enemies
and support the government to defeat these enemies."
TNA leader R. Sampanthan said
that the Government has failed to honor the pledges given to the
UN on post war reconciliation. Sampanthan observed that the Government
had made several pledges to the UN and the international community
on reconciliation in the country, and one was the demilitarization
of the Northern Province. He pointed out that there were concerns
on the resettlement of the war displaced in their original homes.
He also added that the delay in releasing or taking legal action
against the Tamil political prisoners was also an issue that the
Government has failed to address.
Sri Lanka Parliament passed the
Code of Criminal Procedure (Special Provisions) Bill to extend
the detention time for suspects arrested by the Police for 48
hours. The Bill received 110 votes in favor and 33 against and
passed by the House with amendments. The main opposition UNP and
the Marxist party JVP decided to vote against the bill.
Army Commander Jagath Jayasuriya
said that the Army will hand over its first report on January
24 in response to observations and recommendations made by the
LLRC with regards to the Sri Lanka Army.
Defence and Urban Development
Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said no LTTE cadre that surrendered
to the Security Forces during the final stage of the humanitarian
mission went missing. The Defence Secretary said all allegations
are baseless and ever since, LTTE cadres who have surrendered
were rehabilitated and reintegrated to society.
A Board appointed by the Army
Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya to study the recommendations
made by the LLRC asserted the Sri Lankan Government's "absolute
"right to maintain its armed forces anywhere in the country. The
Board recommended appointing special boards covering the five
security forces headquarters in the North and East regions, namely
Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Wanni and East Districts, to
evaluate the land needs by those units in the region.
TNA requested the three US Assistant
Secretaries of State - Deputy Assistant Secretary of State James
Moore, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Vikram Singh, and
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jane Zimmerman - arrived in
Sri Lanka on January 26 on a mission to mainly assess the progress
on implementing measures recommended by the country's own LLRC.
The TNA delegation led by R. Sampanthan and including parliamentarians
M.A. Sumanthiran and S. Sridharan met the US officials at the
residence of US Ambassador, Michele Sisson.
External Affairs Ministry Secretary
Karunathilaka Amunugama said that he has briefed India about the
progress it has achieved in the areas of post-war reconciliation
and the implementation of the recommendations of the LLRC report
during the eighth meeting of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission,
which was held in Delihi last week.
US Deputy Assistant Secretary
of the State Department James R. Moore said, "As a measure to
force Sri Lanka to expedite the implementation of the pledges
given on reconciliation, the United States will sponsor a new
resolution against Sri Lanka at the upcoming UNHRC Sessions in
Geneva in March. It is a straightforward resolution that will
build on the resolution brought in March 2012." He added that
the resolution will be to expedite reconciliation and implementation
of the LLRC Report.
Two US Senators called for an
independent investigation into the potential war crimes committed
by the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE during the civil war
in Sri Lanka. In a letter addressed to the outgoing Secretary
of State Hilary Clinton, Democratic Senator from Pennsylvania
Bob Casey and Democratic Senator from Vermont Patrick Leahy said
an independent investigation is needed because the Sri Lankan
Government has not answered the legitimate concerns of the people.
"During the years following the end of the war, the Sri Lankan
people have waited for the Government to address these concerns,
yet no tangible or substantial progress has been made," the Senators
HRW in its World Report 2013 said
the Sri Lankan Government continued its assault on civil society
and failed to take meaningful steps towards accountability for
war crimes during the country's armed conflict that ended in 2009.
There was no fundamental progress on key human rights issues in
Sri Lanka over the past year, HRW said. Overly broad detention
powers remained in place under various laws and regulations, leaving
several thousand people detained without charge. State SFs committed
arbitrary arrests and torture, including sexual assault, against
ethnic minority Tamils. Repatriated Tamils allegedly linked to
the defeated LTTE were at particular risk, HRW research found.
Sri Lanka Army facilitated a group
of IDP of Sampur town in the Trincomalee District of the Eastern
Province to revisit their village. The 224 brigade of Sri Lanka
Army provided facilities to the villagers to revisit their homes
in the High Security Zone and 138 families of the Navarathnapuram
village visited their old houses which were in dilapidated conditions.
Sampur town, located in close vicinity to the Trincomalee harbor
was under the control of the LTTE until the Army recaptured the
area in September 2006.
TNA called for further action
by the UNHRC against the Sri Lanka Government. The party in a
statement said that appropriate action at the UNHRC is absolutely
necessary to persuade the Sri Lankan Government to adhere to the
UN resolution adapted by the UNHRC and to discontinue with what
it called 'harmful agenda' against the Tamil People of Sri Lanka.
TNA accused the Government of refusing to consider the proposals
offered by the TNA while the Government has repeatedly asked the
TNA to join the PCS appointed to work out a solution for the ethnic
TNA parliamentarian, S. Sritharan
said that thousands of civilians in Sri Lanka's North will launch
a hunger strike to protest against the lack of access to their
lands. Over 20,000 civilians in the North are to participate in
the hunger strike scheduled to be held at the Tellippalali Durga
Devi temple premises on February 15. The protestors will demand
the withdrawal of the SFs from lands owned by the civilians prior
to the end of the war and will continue until the authorities
address the civilians' demands.
Ruling out granting minority Tamils
of the North any political autonomy as a solution to the three-decades-long
ethnic conflict, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said "It
is not practical for this country to have different administrations
based on ethnicity. The solution is to live together in this country
with equal rights for all communities." The President said this
in his address to the nation on the occasion of the Sri Lankan
Independence Day from the eastern port town of Trincomalee the
administrative capital of Eastern Province. Mr. Rajapaksa claimed
that though nearly four years had passed since the LTTE were routed,
Sri Lanka "had to face continued challenges to protect the freedom
and independence of our motherland. For this very reason we have
now come to a very strong situation. Similarly, facing up to these
challenges have increased our desire to be committed to our freedom".
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Minister for South Asia Alistair Burt confirmed that the British
Government will support a United Nations resolution on Sri Lanka
sponsored by the United States at the upcoming 22nd UNHRC session
in Geneva later this month. Burt said UK will continue to urge
the Sri Lankan Government and the major Tamil party, TNA to make
serious progress towards a political settlement in the country.
Sri Lanka Parliament moved a draft
revision bill to revise legislation on terrorist financing as
the country needs a complete legal framework in order to suppress
the financing of terrorism. The draft bill to amend the Convention
on Suppression of Terrorist Financing Act No 25 of 2005 was presented
to Parliament by Minister Nimal Siripala de Silval. The Sri Lankan
Government, as a response to the threat from the LTTE, which is
still active overseas, has launched legislative efforts focused
on limiting financial support for the remnants of LTTE.
Parliament approved the draft
bill to amend the Convention on Suppression of Terrorist Financing
Act No 25 of 2005 without a vote after its Third Reading in Parliament.
Secretary of Defence and Urban
Development Gotabhaya Rajapaksa while delivering a keynote address
in Colombo said "The international pressure brought to bear on
Sri Lanka especially by the Western nations misled by LTTE sympathizers
can cause international investors and even tourists to stay away
from the country." He further said the Government will not compromise
when it comes to providing security to the nation as a part of
LTTE remains active outside the country.
The report by human rights experts,
which was submitted to the UNHRC, said that Sri Lanka has failed
to honor promises to investigate serious rights abuses and allegations
that thousands of civilians were killed in the final stages of
its ethnic war. The document said grave human rights violations,
including the killing of 17 aid workers of a French charity in
August 2006 had not been probed despite Government promises swiftly
to bring perpetrators to justice.
Speaking at the Special Development
Committee meeting at Tilco City Hotel in Jaffna District, President
Mahinda Rajapaksa said all countrymen have a responsibility to
ensure no room is left for the re-emergence of terrorism which
brought suffering to the people of all communities for over three
Traditional Industries and Small
Enterprise Development Minister Douglas Devananda said TNA leaders
are following in the footsteps of the LTTE in spreading falsehoods
about the country. The minister said LTTE leaders were also in
the habit of traveling in many countries and cities including
Oslo and propagating falsehoods.
The Court of Inquiry appointed
by Sri Lanka Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya
investigating into the controversial instances of shelling referred
to the LLRC Report said that instances of shelling mentioned in
the LLRC report were not caused by the Sri Lanka Army and the
civilian casualties might have occurred due to unlawful acts by
The Government has decided to
acquire the land that is now being used as High Security Zones
permanently. The acquisition is to be done under the Land Acquisition
Act and the Ministry of Defense had already made a request in
this regard from the Ministry of Lands and Land Development. The
Government is to acquire an extent of over 2000 acres of land.
A TNA spokesman said that they
had received complaints from the family members of three rehabilitated
cadres of the former rebel group LTTE in Batticaloa District of
Eastern Province that they have been arrested by the Police again.
Sri Lanka Ministry of Land and
Land Development said that it will resolve the dispute arisen
due to the occupation of civilian lands for military establishments
immediately. The Ministry has started a study on the land in the
HSZ of Northern and Eastern Provinces. The civilians who resided
in the lands now taken under HSZ have been asked to submit their
proof to the ownership of lands to the Divisional Secretaries
of the area. The Ministry said that the land that is needed to
be retained will be acquired and the owners will be compensated.
International terrorism expert
Rohan Gunaratna said that all three pro-LTTE factions have started
lobbying ahead of the UNHCR sessions in Geneva in March. Gunaratna
said the three factions are the Tamil Eelam People's Assembly
led by Perinpanayagam Sivaparan alias Nediyawan in Norway,
the Global Tamil Forum led by Father S J Emmanuel in London and
the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam led by V Rudrakumaran
in New York.
The EU decided to support the
US sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at the forthcoming UNHCR
in Geneva. The document reads that, "the EU will also support
efforts aimed at keeping the issues of accountability and reconciliation
as well as the current human rights situation in Sri Lanka on
the agenda of the Human Rights Council."
Fresh questions have been raised
over Sri Lanka's armed forces conduct during the final stages
of the operation against the LTTE rebels after new photographs
emerged claiming that the 12-year-old Balachandran Prabhakaran
son of the LTTE's leader Villupillai Prabhakaran was summarily
Sri Lanka flatly rejected the
latest documentary by a British channel that is featuring a new
set of images of LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran's 12-year-old
son in the final battle.
HRW in a letter to the UNHRC members
said that at its March 2013 session, the UNHRC should authorize
an independent, international investigation into war crimes committed
during the final months of Sri Lanka's armed conflict.
Land and Land Development Minister
Janaka Bandara Tennakoon said in Colombo that measures will be
taken within the next two years to resolve disputes of the conflict
in the Northern and Eastern Provinces arising from the requisition
of civilian lands for military establishments.
External Affairs Ministry spokesman
Rodney Perera said the Sri Lankan Government will seek the support
of several countries including China to fend off a resolution
to be brought against the country by the United States at the
upcoming 22nd session of the UNHRC next month.
The ALRC, an independent regional
NGO in a written statement suggested the UN Working Group on Enforced
Disappearances to study the situation and conduct inquiries into
to the remains of the 200 or more persons found in the grave in
Matale town of Jaffna District.
UN High Commissioner for Human
Rights Navi Pillay making the opening statement at the 22nd session
of the Human Rights Council in Geneva said that 'massive' human
rights violations have occurred in Sri Lanka during the war that
ended in 2009.
Sri Lankan Information Department
said that the Government under its NAP to implement the recommendations
of LLRC prepares to conduct an island wide census on deaths and
injuries to people and on damages to the properties during the
three decades of ethnic conflict. The census, to be conducted
jointly by the Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs
and the Department of Census and Statistics, will cover the conflict
period from 1983 up to the end of war in May 2009.
HRW in a report reveals that Sri
Lankan SFs are accused of continuing to use rape and sexual assault
nearly four years after the end of the war to torture Tamil detainees
suspected of having links with the vanquished terrorist outfit
LTTE. According to the HRW report, the military, military intelligence
and the police, including specialized units such as the CID and
TID took part in the alleged crimes.
Military spokesman Brigadier Ruwan
Wanigasooriya dismissed the HRW report that alleged the country's
SFs continued to use sexual violence on suspected LTTEs in detention.
Wanigasooriya said that the Army is ready to investigate if there
are proper complaints filed.
Plantations Minister and President's
Special Envoy on Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe addressing
the 22nd UNHRC sessions in Geneva said "Undue pressure exerted
by external parties on the issue of 'retributive justice and accountability',
is not helpful in the resolution of these issues."
Sarath Fonseka, Sri Lanka's former
Army Commander and the leader of unregistered Democratic Party
said in a press conference in Colombo that he was ready to answer
any alleged war crime charges brought by international investigators.
Patrick Ventrell, acting deputy
spokesperson of U.S. Department of State said at the daily press
briefing that the Government of Sri Lanka to date has not initiated
any kind of investigation into the alleged rights violations yet.
Voice Against Corruption called
on the Government to reveal details of the wealth and assets that
were seized from the LTTE during the war. Co-convener of Voice
Against Corruption Wasantha Samarasinghe said that the Government
had taken into custody large stocks of gold, vast amounts of money
and ships belonging to the LTTE during the war.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa denied
that the Army killed LTTE chief Prabakaran's 12-year-old son Balachandran.
He SAID "Had it happened, I would have known it. It is obvious
that if somebody from the armed forces had done that, I must take
responsibility. We completely deny it. It can't be."
United Nations High Commissioner
for Human Rights Ms. Navi Pillay, addressing the UNHRC general
debate on thematic reports by Secretary-General and High Commissioner
for Human Rights in Geneva at the 22nd session of UNHRC, said
she remained concerned about the lack of meaningful progress in
terms of accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, and welcomed
the Council's engagement in monitoring domestic processes regarding
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
in reply to a question on Sri Lanka during a press briefing said
"I recognised the important steps taken by the government of Sri
Lanka since the end of the conflict."
A group of about 1,500 representatives
of the organization called 'Dead and Missing Persons Front' representing
the family members killed by the LTTE handed over a petition to
the UN over their loved ones killed in LTTE attacks. The organization
holds TNA, the proxy party of LTTE before the end of the war,
as equally responsible as the LTTE for the deaths of their family
members and injustices claimed to have been committed to them.
The Secretary to the Ministry
of Public Administration in Colombo said that Sri Lanka will conduct
a census on people died and injured during the civil war with
the LTTE and the Marxist insurrection in the 80's. The census
will cover the period of the terrorist war since 1983 including
the unrest prevailed in the country in 1983 and the insurrection
of the Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna in the years of
1988 and 89.
Minister of Investment Promotion
Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena addressing a public meeting in Colombo
said the groups supporting LTTE who could not defeat Sri Lanka
through war are now trying to attack the country by creating conflicts
using international forces. The Minister alleged that international
forces envious of Sri Lanka's rapid development process are exerting
pressure on Sri Lanka and hatching conspiracies to make a regime
change in the country.
Canada reiterated its call for
an independent investigation into Sri Lanka's human right violations
at the UNHRC sessions at Geneva and urged the Sri Lankan Government
to implement without delay the recommendations of the LLRC through
Land and Land Development Minister
Janaka Bandara Thennakoon said that the Government will vest around
21,000 acres of land in the Jaffna Peninsula, taken over for military
purposes during the war, among their original owners. He said
all problems related to lands in those areas are to be solved
within next two years.
Addressing a media briefing in
Colombo, the convener of the 'Dead and Missing Persons Front'
Ananda Perera questioned why the UNHRC is silent about the atrocities
committed by the LTTE during the three decades of terror. He further
said the UNHRC should also focus its attention on TNA, which was
the proxy party of the LTTE during the war and assisted the terrorist
Vavuniya prison authorities said
that no LTTE suspects were located in the Vavuniya prison due
to security reasons. The Vavuniya prison was opened on March 12
after being refurbished and the relocating of prisoners would
be carried out gradually.
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative
to the UN, Ambassador Dr. Palitha Kohona said that Sri Lanka undertook
a task never undertaken by any country that faced terrorism, by
even rehabilitating suicide bombers of the LTTE and releasing
them to the Sri Lankan community. He said, "LTTE suicide bombers
struck over 230 times, killing thousands of civilians. They targeted
men, women and children indiscriminately and left thousands dead
and maimed. They created a massive wave of terror in the country."
The UNHRC adopted the outcome
of the UPR on Sri Lanka in Geneva. Sri Lanka's Special Envoy of
the President on Human Rights and Minister of Plantation Industries
Mahinda Samarasinghe briefed the Council that the Government is
actively engaged in removing military involvement in civil administration,
demining, and rehabilitation, and had launched national reconciliation
and peace-building initiatives. Sri Lanka had accepted 113 out
of 204 recommendations received, and had also made 19 voluntary
commitments. Sri Lanka was currently evaluating the implementation
of the NAP for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.
Mahinda Samarasinghe answering
a question during the sessions at the 22nd Session of the UNHRC
also asked the International Community as to why "it keeps silent
on the atrocities committed by the LTTE."
US Ambassador to the UN in Geneva,
Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe said the U.S. is disappointed that
Sri Lankan Government rejected all UPR recommendations from States
that called upon it to implement the LLRC recommendations and
called on the government to expeditiously implement both the UPR
and LLRC recommendations.
TNA leader R. Sampanthan accused
the Government of changing demographics in north east. He said,
"Most regrettably, the time and space that the Government seeks
is not to fulfill its commitments and obligations but rather to
fulfill its own agenda, which is to change the demographic composition
of the North and East Provinces further and dilute and alter the
cultural and linguistic identity of those areas."
Tamil activists in Tamil Nadu
supporting Sri Lanka's defeated Tamil Tiger terrorist outfit LTTE
have assaulted Sri Lankan Buddhist monk identified as Bandara,
who was part of a group of Sri Lankan pilgrims at the Central
Railway Station in Chennai.
Sri Lankan High Commissioner to
India Prasada Kariyawasam said, "Resolution on Sri Lanka in UN
is uncalled for. We don't think there is a need for international
community to get involved in Sri Lanka at this point."
United States presented the revised
version of its resolution 'Promoting reconciliation and accountability
in Sri Lanka' at the 22nd session of the UNHRC in Geneva co-sponsored
by 32 countries. The final draft welcomes and acknowledges the
progress made by the Government of Sri Lanka in rebuilding infrastructure,
demining, resettling the majority of internally displaced persons,
while noting that considerable work need to be done in the areas
of justice, reconciliation and resumption of livelihoods. It welcomed
the announcement by the Sri Lankan government to hold elections
to the Provincial Council in the Northern Province in September
In letters addressed to Foreign
Ministers of Council member countries, Sri Lanka's External Affairs
Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris rejecting the new resolution wrote
"Just as the Government of Sri Lanka did not recognize the last
HRC resolution, it rejects the new resolution. Sri Lanka intends
to request a vote when the draft resolution is taken up at the
Human Rights Council on 21st March 2013."
Sri Lanka expressed 'strongest'
reservations on the content of the report prepared by the United
Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights Navanetham Pillay on
Sri Lanka following a technical mission to the country at the
22nd session of the UNHRC in Geneva.
Tens of thousands of Tamils from
the North joined a rally in Jaffna city of the Northern Province
to condemn a US sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at the
UNHRC in Geneva.
UNHRC adopted the resolution sponsored
by the United States with 25 votes in favor, 13 against and 8
abstentions. Adopting the resolution, the 47-member UNHRC reiterated
its call made in the resolution adopted last year for Sri Lanka
to effectively implement the constructive recommendations made
in the report of the LLRC and to take all necessary measures to
initiate credible and independent actions to ensure justice, equity,
accountability and reconciliation for all Sri Lankans.
In a rejection of the resolution
on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC, President's Special Envoy on Human
Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said that the resolution
was clearly unacceptable due to its inherent flaws. The minister
pointed out that preambular part of the text is 'intrusive, bears
misinterpretations and focuses disproportionately on the negative
and eliminates or is dismissive of the positive.'
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, at
the presentation of Presidential Colours to the Vijayabahu Infantry
Regiment in Boyagane town of Kurunegala District in the North
Western Province said that the Government has made the LTTE aspiration
of an Eelam state a dream.
Minister for Youth Affairs Dallas
Alahapperuma while addressing a media briefing held in at the
Sri Lanka Foundation Institute in Colombo said "The UNHRC has
become an institution that implements a new 'colonial policy'
of ruling by creating divisions in international community.
Environment Minister Susil Premajayantha
said that preparations are being made to hold the Northern Provincial
Council elections in 2013. He explained that holding elections
to the Northern Provincial Council was delayed until the completion
of the de-mining and resettlement programs. Elections could now
be held in the North since the de-mining of most of the areas
has been completed.
Human Rights Commissioner, Prathibha
Mahanamahewa said that the resolution passed by the UNHRC could
be described as a soft but dangerous one. He said when the text
was analysed it was very 'soft' as terms such as "urge", "note",
"welcome" and "request" were used, which implied that they were
not a must. A dangerous fact is that it urges Sri Lanka to allow
an opportunity to the UN rapporteur to make observations in the
following areas - the freedom of expression and the independence
of the judiciary, the independence of the judges, the independence
of the lawyers, abductions, disappearances and women's rights.
Secretary of the External Affairs
Ministry Karunatilaka Amunugama said that Sri Lankan Government
expects to meet the deadline set by the United Nations resolution
to implement the remaining recommendations made by the LLRC. He
told that most of the recommendations have already been implemented
and the rest will be implemented by March 2014.
Elections Commissioner Mahinda
Deshapriya said that elections in the Northern Province could
not be held as the Northern Provincial Council was yet to be constituted
by the President.
Plantation Industries Minister
Mahinda Samarasinghe said that the resolutions adopted at the
UNHRC in Geneva in 2012 and 2013 are not indicative of an agenda
to promote and protect Human Rights.
Defence and Urban Development
Ministry Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa while delivering a talk
in Galle District said "Certain politicians who are slavishly
devoted to the service of LTTE terrorists are engaged in a dirty
game of creating problems among the Tamil population to cling
Brad Adams, the Asia director
at HRW said that Sri Lanka should act on the call by the Deputy
Minister V Muralitharan, known as Colonel Karuna, to investigate
war crimes by examining his own role in serious abuses. He said
" LTTE forces under Karuna''s command was directly involved in
some of the worst crimes of Sri Lanka's 26-year-long armed conflict,
which ended in May 2009."
Minister of National Language
and Social Integration Vasudeva Nanayakkara said that the Government
is seeking a ban on nationalist and religious extremist groups
disrupting the ethnic harmony in the country. The Minister said
his ministry is preparing to submit a Cabinet paper seeking a
ban on extremist groups that are creating rifts between the ethnic
and religious communities in the island. According to the Minister,
the Cabinet paper will seek to bring new laws to crack down on
TNA Spokesperson and parliamentarian
Suresh Premachandran told that the party would continue to push
for a UN mechanism to investigate alleged human rights abuses
in the island nation. He said "We need an independent international
probe to find out what happened. The Government has proved that
it cannot handle the matter properly as there is no faith in their
own investigations. We cannot expect justice from the Government."
Ahead of the NPC election likely
to be held in September 2013, the rift within the TNA has widened,
opening up avenues for a possible split in the party in the near
future. The TNA is an amalgam of five parties - ITAK, EPRLF, TELO,
TULF and PLOTE.
S.B. Divaratne, who heads the
Presidential Task Force overseeing resettlement, said that the
LTTE is known to have taken over more than 2,000 acres of residential
properties belonging to Muslims in the North and given them to
its supporters during the war. He said this has resulted in the
Government having to find alternative land to resettle the displaced
An unidentified gang attacked
the office of the Jaffna-based Tamil language newspaper The Uthayan
in Kilinochchi District in northern Sri Lanka. At least three
people including two paper distributors and the Kilinochchi office
manager have received injuries in the attack while the building
and a vehicle were damaged.
Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero,
the secretary of Sri Lanka's ill famous Buddhist extremist organization
BBS said that the country's fate would be changed within two months.
He further said that BBS will not allow the casinos and other
betting businesses to surge in the guise of developing tourism.
Executive director of the PAFFREL
Rohana Hettiarachchi said election monitors in Sri Lanka have
begun their operations in the Northern Province in preparation
for the provincial council elections. He said public awareness
campaigns have been commenced in the North and programs have been
started from Mannar District. The election monitor in collaboration
with the Registrations of Persons Department has organized a mobile
service for the voters in the North to obtain national identity
A man engaged in de-mining in
Muhamalai of Jaffna District was injured accidentally by a land
mine and succumbed to the injuries on admission to the hospital.
The deceased, identified as K. Murugesu, was an employee of the
Halo Trust, a NGO involved in de-mining operations in Muhamalai.
External Affairs Minister G.L.
Peiris reaffirmed in Parliament that it did not concur with the
US-sponsored resolution adopted at the UNHRC sessions on March
22. He said the resolution seeks to incorporate both the report
of the panel of experts, dubbed by Sri Lanka as the Dharusman
report and the report by United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner
Tamil representatives who met
the Indian MPs in Jaffna District demanding an interim administration
told the Indian delegation that the Provincial Council system
under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution are inadequate to
solve their problems.
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa
said "Had the then Indian Government acted with responsibility,
Sri Lanka wouldn't have experienced a 30-year protracted war with
LTTE. He said former Indian Permanent Representative to the UN
Hardeep Singh Puri had been directly involved in the Indian operation
against the then J. R. Jayawardene Government in the run-up to
the July 1987 Indo-Lanka Accord.
The first part of the Army's CoI
report which was handed over to Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa
by Army Commander Jagath Jayasuriya stated "The instances of shellings
referred to in the LLRC report were not caused by the Sri Lanka
Army and civilian casualties might have occurred due to unlawful
acts by LTTE."
TNA dismissed the report by an
Army's Col that absolved the Army troops of any civilian deaths
during the final phase of the three-decade long war with the LTTE
rebels. TNA parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran rejecting the
report said that it is a "joke" for the Army Court to conclude
that Army had not killed a single civilian during the war. The
TNA parliamentarian rejected the facts contained in the report
as completely untrue.
An unidentified group set fire
to the printing press of The Uthayan Newspaper office of Jaffna
District in the Northern Province. The Uthayan is a Jaffna-based
Tamil newspaper which has survived for a long time amidst repeated
attacks by unidentified groups in the past.
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague
said the human rights situation in Sri Lanka in 2012 remained
of serious concern, with a number of negative developments, including
with regard to freedom of expression and media and judicial independence.
A group of BGHH, called Ablaze
Ever, hacked and defaced three Sri Lankan Government websites
in protest of "disrespect of Islam". The sites are Ministry of
Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms (reprimin.gov.lk), the Chief
Government Whip of Parliament (govtwhip.gov.lk), and the Deyata
Kirula Exhibition (deyatakirula.gov.lk).
A LTTE cadre who was arrested
by the CID in November 2011 and imprisoned after being found guilty
of killing 10 persons escaped from Pottuvil Court premises at
Pottuvil town of Ampara District in Eastern Province. The escapee
is identified as Mahendra Rajah Shashidharan alias Cristy.
Secretary Defence and Urban Development
Gotabhaya Rajapaksa opened Toppigala Heritage Park Complex, the
former hideout of the LTTE in the Batticaloa District of Eastern
Province. The Complex comprises an exhibition center, hiking trails,
obstacle course to the rock, souvenir shop, cafeteria and other
common amenities for the visitors.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa said
that the Government is planning to hold elections to the NPC most
likely in September. This will be the first time, provincial council
elections will be held in the Northern Province, since the PC
system came into existence under the 13th amendment to the Constitution
National Mine Action Center established
in the Ministry of Economic Development announced that only 96
square kilometers of the land which amounts to only 5 percent
of the land remain to be demined in the war-battered Northern
Former spokesman of LTTE Velayutham
Dayanithi alias Daya Master said that he would announce
his decision to contest the NPC election within the next two weeks.
Daya Master is slated to contest under the ruling party United
People's Freedom Alliance.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa vehemently
rejected the allegations made against the country by the US in
its human rights report released on April 19. The 2012 Human Rights
Report said although the overall number of extrajudicial killings
appeared to have decreased from previous years, killings and assaults
on civilians by Government officials continued in 2012.
SFs in Sri Lanka have resumed
security checks in Elephant Pass in the North since last week.
Military Spokesperson Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said these
were random security checks that were being carried out for the
safety of the civilians.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa stated
that "the only way to eliminate the scourge of terrorism from
the world is to understand its true nature and fight it for what
it is, instead of giving terrorism various definitions and tags."
However, he lamented that when fighting against the LTTE, Sri
Lanka had to seek foreign help largely to get weapons.
Tamil People's National Front
announced that the party would not contest the NPC election which
is scheduled to be held in September. The leader of the party
Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam said in a press conference that the
party would not contest the NPC election since it does not accept
the 13th amendment to the constitution as a viable solution for
the Tamil's problems.
TNA threatened a continuous protest
campaign against the military's acquisition of private lands in
the North. TNA says the military has acquired over 6,400 acres
of private lands in the North.TNA will commence a protest campaign
in Jaffna from April 29 against the military acquisition of lands.
SLFP, the largest ally of the
ruling coalition, officials said they will call for applications
from prospective candidates soon to contest the elections for
the NPC in September. The SLFP-led alliance will handpick 19 candidates
for the Jaffna District, eight for the Mannar District, and eight
for the Mullaitivu District, nine for the Vavuniya District and
seven for the Kilinochchi District.
Sri Lankan Deputy Permanent Representative
to the United Nations Major General Shavendra Silva speaking to
the national radio said bombs used in the Boston attack of US
are similar to the bombs used by the LTTE in Sri Lanka. Highlighting
that still arms and ammunitions are being recovered from the former
battle fields in the North and East, the UN envoy said placing
SFs in those areas is not a matter to be considered in a different
Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe
said he will table a document comprising the names of 472 people
who are known to have disappeared in Mannar District during the
war. The document will be tabled in Parliament at the request
made by Mannar Bishop the Rt. Rev. Dr. Rayappu Joseph and the
Association of Families Searching for Disappeared Relations.
National Mine Action Centre said
that 95 percent of the Confirmed Hazardous Area has been cleared
of mines and an area of 96 kilometers remains to be cleared at
the end of March 2013. A total of 1,968,369,553 square kilometers
have been completely cleared of mines in the North, Eastern and
North Central Provinces during the last four years.
Police arrested three Police officers
for allegedly killing three civilians in Gomarankadawala village
in Trincomalee District in 2008. The Police officers included
an Inspector, a Sergeant and a Constable. They were arrested from
Thambalagamuwa, Serunuwara and Udamaluwa Police Stations of Trincomalee
District. Earlier, the Police believed the killings were committed
by LTTE militants who were active in the area at the time.
Sri Lanka's Marxist party, JVP
Propaganda Secretary and Parliamentarian Vijitha Herath said the
party has plans to present affidavits to court from family members
of individuals who had disappeared from the Matale District during
the 1988-1989 period. The Matale mass grave was uncovered last
November and 154 skeletal remains have been unearthed from the
TNA MP M. A. Sumanthiran said
that TNA is planning to file at least 5,000 cases in various courts
demanding the lands taken over by the military for security purposes
from Northern Province. TNA and other Tamil groups say that 6,000
acres of land are taken over by military for the High Security
The Sri Lankan Government has
allocated Rs. 400 million to pay as compensation to owners of
the land in the HSZs in the North. The Government has decided
to acquire 6,381 hectares of the land in Jaffna District that
is now being used as HSZs permanently and the owners of the land
will be paid compensation.
TNA has requested the Elections
Commissioner to invite foreign poll observers for the Northern
Provincial Council elections. TNA representatives have made this
request during a meeting with Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya
on an invitation extended by him.
Marxist party JVP says the Government
should take steps to repeal the PTA. JVP Propaganda Secretary
and parliamentarian Vijitha Herath said that the PTA is a draconian
piece of law that needs to be repealed.
At least six Army personnel sustained
injuries following an accidental explosion in Oddusuddan town
of Mullaitivu District. According to the Army spokesman, preliminary
investigations have revealed that a stock of detonators hidden
by the LTTE had exploded when a soldier dug the ground for the
The Government ruled out the possibility
of repealing the PTA despite requests by opposition political
parties. In response to a question by opposition UNP Leader Ranil
Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne told Parliament
that though the LTTE was militarily defeated, there were attempts
to revamp the organisation in different parts of the world. The
Prime Minister said the provisions of the PTA were required to
deal with the discovery of weapon hauls hidden by the LTTE. He
said the PTA was needed to take action with regard to LTTE suspects
who did not surrender after the war ended in 2009.
Tamil political sources said that
several parties in the TNA are planning to register the TNA without
the support of the major Tamil party ITAK. ITAK also known as
Federal Party says the TNA could not be registered due to legal
barriers. However, the other parties in the alliance are mounting
pressure on the ITAK to formally establish the alliance.
Rehabilitation and Prisons Reforms
Minister Chandrasiri Gajadeera said that several rehabilitated
former LTTE cadres have expressed interest to enter politics.
He noted that measures would be taken for them to contest in future
local Government elections in a democratic manner.
Matale Magistrate and Additional
District Judge Chaturika de Silva, after studying 13 affidavits
filed by the relatives of missing in the area, ordered the CID
of Police to investigate the mass grave discovered in the Matale
town of Matale District in Central Province and submit a full
report to court by the end of this month. Skeletal remains of
154 people were found during excavations carried out from November
26, 2012 until March 12, 2013.
Gunasundaram Jeyasundaram, a childhood
friend and close mate of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, while
making a statement before the Colombo Supreme Court deplored the
acts of his one time leader and expressed his desire to undergo
a rehabilitation programme conducted by the Sri Lanka Army. Jeyasundaram
said he was profoundly disturbed by the role of the LTTE and condemned
its aggressive and violent methods, urging his onetime fellow
sympathisers of the outfit to follow suit. Gunasundaram also asserts
that factions of the LTTE scattered across the globe should immediately
cease their actions as they continue to inflict more harm on the
Tamil community in Sri Lanka.
In the wake of the NPC elections
likely to be held in September, the Cabinet approval was granted
to enact 'Registration of Electors (Special Provision) Bill to
enable those who were displaced from the North between May 1,
1983 and May 18, 2009 to vote at the election. The bill, if enacted,
will enable 15,000 people who are known to have been displaced
between May 1, 1983 and May 18, 2009 to be registered as voters
in the North.
Government sources said that President
Mahinda Rajapaksa has scheduled two crucial meetings with the
coalition parties of the ruling UPFA and the TNA to mainly discuss
the NPC election. According to sources, the discussion will be
focused on the ideological division in the coalition regarding
the NPC elections, which is scheduled to be held in September.
Former LTTE arms procurer Kumaran
Pathmanathan also known as KP said that reducing the army presence
in the war-hit areas in the country and introducing civil administration
would help improve the living conditions of the people there.
He also said that in the 1970s, Tamil politicians brainwashed
youngsters like him into joining the Tamil cause.
Tamil political parties, both
within the fold of the TNA and outside decided to agree to a common
policy on the political solution to the national question. The
decision was arrived at a meeting convened by northern civil society
movements with TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran, Tamil People's Liberation
Front leader Gajendra Kumar Ponnambalam and civil society activist
Vanni Security Forces Commander
and Officer-in-Charge of Displaced Persons in the Northern Province
Major General Boniface Perera said, "Not a single civilian had
gone missing in the Vanni District after the end of the war. If
anyone says someone has gone missing after the end of terrorism
and if they are ready to give information on who had gone missing
etc, and when and where, I am ready to debate with any person
at any international forum on behalf of the Government."
TNA provided legal assistance
to 1,474 land owners in Jaffna District to file the cases in court
challenging the Government's occupation of land for security purposes.
The TNA has appealed to people to file at least 5,000 cases in
Opposing the NPC election, JVP
MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said, "The provincial council system
in the 13th Amendment is not devolution of power it will only
extend the power of councils pressuring the people especially
in the north if the Provincial Council election was held. Therefore
it is essential to establish a new constitution that would treat
all ethnic groups equally, safeguarding their rights and culture."
Former LTTE leader Gunasundaram
Jeyasundaram who pleaded guilty to the charge of not disclosing
the LTTE's international arms deals was sentenced to 15 months
rigorous imprisonment by the Colombo High Court. Gunasundaram
was arrested on September 5, 2007, on charges of helping the LTTE,
has since been arbitrarily detained without charge.
Vanni Commander Major General
Boniface Perera while celebrating Victory Day in Vavuniya District
said "Any organisation or individual will not be allowed to venerate
a terrorist organisation. Anyone participating in a commemoration
ceremony for LTTE cadres will be arrested. There is only one military
in a country. Any citizen has the right to commemorate their loved
ones but no one can commemorate terrorists who were disloyal to
| May 20
Commenting on an article in Udayan
newspaper, Dharmapuram Citizen Committee Chairman Wanni Murugesu
claimed that the newspaper never spoke of conditions during the
The Udayan newspaper recently
commenting on conditions related to the Northern Provincial Councils
election in its editorial states that holding the Northern Provincial
Council Election is not conducive.
US said in a report that Sri Lankan
Government generally respected religious freedom in 2012 although
in some instances, local authorities were not effective in responding
to attacks on members of minority religious groups.
| May 22
Petroleum Industries Minister
Anura Priyadharshana Yapa stated that the Government has not taken
any decision to amend the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.
Minister Yapa said the elections
to the NPC would be held in September 2013 as decided by the government
earlier, and this would not change.
UNP parliamentarian Lakshman Kiriella
said that the party believes that the devolution of power would
address the ethnic issue and it was the best method to solve the
ethnic issue in the country.
| May 23
The CID of Sri Lanka Police has
commenced a probe on the German NGO Friedrich Naumann Foundation,
which is operating in Sri Lanka since 1974, to ascertain whether
the NGO has acted within the country beyond its given legal mandate.
The investigation commenced after
the organization held a workshop for the opposition UNP parliamentarians.
Pro-government media reported that the workshop was a ploy to
overthrow the government.
TNA parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran
has said that the US is looking into the progress made by the
Sri Lanka government following the resolution adopted at the UNHRC
in March 2013.
Thero's call to abolish the 13th
Amendment came in response to the statement by Cabinet Spokesperson
Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa that the Government would not
abolish the 13th Amendment.
Technology Research and Atomic
Energy Minister and JHU leader Patali Champika Ranawaka called
on the government to initiate a comprehensive programme to wipe
out the idea of Eelam from Sri Lanka’s social, economic, intellectual
and cultural life. Ranawaka said members of TNA still espouse
the notion of Tamil Eelam.
| May 24
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa
has said that Police powers cannot be vested with the provincial
The JHU, a coalition party of
ruling UPFA, said it will take measures to mobilize the public
to urge the government to abolish the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.
Government stressed that the US
embassy as any other foreign mission based in Colombo should get
prior approval to engage with local government authorities.
TNA insisted on complete power
devolution to the provinces through the 13th Amendment to the
Constitution since problems over the provincial councils are due
to the incomplete devolution of power by successive governments.
TNA parliamentarian, Premachandran said the TNA expects nothing
less than complete devolution of financial, Police and land powers
to the provinces through the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.
Army Commander Lieutenant General
Jagath Jayasuriya told that only three camps would be kept in
the Jaffna peninsula and the rest of the camps would be withdrawn.
The lands where the camps are presently established would be returned
to the legal owners, the Army Commander said.
TNA parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran
observed that the three ministers - Leader of the LSSP and Minister
of Technology and Research, Prof. Vitarana, General Secretary
of the CP and Minister of Human Resources, D.E.W. Gunasekera,
and Leader of the DLF and Minister of National Languages and Social
Integration, Vasudeva Nanayakkara - had said the 13th Amendment
should not be weakened and the Northern Provincial Council polls
should be conducted in a manner without destabilizing the amendment.
The ministers had also said that land and Police powers should
not be stripped off the 13th Amendment.
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative
to the UN in Geneva and Leader of the Sri Lanka Delegation to
the 23rd session of the UNHRC Ravinatha Aryasinha said that the
Government has established a mechanism to ensure the right of
information to the relatives of LTTE suspects.
Tissa Attanayake, General Secretary
of main opposition UNP, criticized Defence Secretary Gotabhaya
Rajapaksa's statement on the holding of provincial council elections
in Northern Province. Attanayake observed that Rajapaksa has breached
the role of a public servant by stating that holding the Northern
Provincial Council election would pose a threat to national security.
Vanni Security Forces Commander
and Officer-in-Charge of Displaced Persons Major General Boniface
Perera said that civilians living in the Northern Province do
not want the Army to be removed from the Northern Province.
Two ex-cadres of LTTE were indicted
before the Anuradhapura Provincial High Court over charges of
shooting down a military aircraft on March 30, 2000. The two LTTE
cadres are accused of shooting down an Antanov-32 plane firing
missiles from Wilpattu Wildlife Park killing 32 military personnel.
TNA said that the Government was
covertly backing the move to abolish the 13th Amendment to the
Constitution. TNA parliamentarian, M. A. Sumanthiran said the
move by the JHU to propose the abolition of the provincial council
system under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution is backed
by the Government since the JHU is a constituent member of the
Governing party with a member in the Cabinet.
SLMC said the party would not
support the abolition of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.
SLMC Leader and Justice Minister Rauf Hakeem said that the SLMC
would not take any action to support the abolition of the 13th
A court in Bangalore city acquitted
10 LTTE suspects who were being tried for allegedly possessing
explosives and substances used for making bombs. The ten were
arrested by Police in the city in 2002. They were in judicial
custody and were subsequently granted bail by Supreme Court and
Karnataka High Court.
US Country Reports on Terrorism
2012 released by the US State Department said that LTTE's financial
network of support continued to operate throughout 2012 and there
were multiple reports of increased LTTE involvement in human smuggling
out of refugee camps.
TNA parliamentarian Mavai Senathirajah
said that a power sharing arrangement under a unitary State would
not solve national question. He said that power sharing under
a unitary system is questionable in today's context of domination
by Buddhist extremists and the party is yet to discuss and decide
its stance on the draft Constitution presented by the UNP.
Hundreds of Buddhist monks in
Colombo commemorated the massacre of 33 Buddhist monks in Aranthalawa
area of Ampara District of Eastern Province by the LTTE on June
2, 1987. LTTE brutally hacked to death and shot 33 Buddhist monks,
most of them novice monks as young as 8 years old when they were
in a bus heading to Kandy city of Central Province.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa in
Badulla District of Uva Province said that recalling atrocities
perpetrated by LTTE terrorists in the past was not intended to
sow seeds of hatred in society, but to ensure that such a gruesome
period will not be repeated in the future. He said "We should
tell the younger generation that the country faced such a gruesome
period in the past in order to avert such situations in the future
through forging closer and amicable ties between communities."
Sri Lanka's High Commissioner
to the UK, Dr. Chris Nonis, in an interview with BBCs Mishal Husain
in London said that the country has made tremendous progress towards
reconciliation since the end of conflict in 2009. The High Commissioner
said 297,000 people have been rehabilitated and there is a billion
dollar programme going into the North and East of the country
for the rebuilding.
Colombo High Court sentenced three
LTTE cadres suspected of blowing up a train 17 years ago killing
66 people. Colombo High Court Judge Kumudini Wickremasinghe sentenced
two of the suspects - Saverimuttu Loganathan and Robert Maxillan
to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment while the female suspect,
Siththirasenam Thirumagal to five years of rigorous imprisonment.
The suspects were accused of placing two bombs in two carriages
of a highly crowded train and detonating it while stopped at the
Dehiwala station in Colombo on July 24, 1996. The attack killed
66 people and injured over 400 people.
The Government decided to appoint
the PSC proposed some time ago to work out political proposals
for the resolution of the national question. The decision was
taken at a meeting with the leaders of the ruling party's allies.
Minister of Water Supply and Drainage
and Chief Government Whip of Sri Lanka Dinesh Gunawardena announced
that an urgent bill will be tabled in Parliament for approval
on June 5 regarding the NPC election.
Addressing the Foreign Correspondents'
Association, TNA leader R. Sampanthan said that in regard to the
people of the north and east, affected by the war, the Alliance
had endeavoured to avoid an attitude of confrontation with the
Government and had offered to cooperate. M.A. Sumanthiran, TNA
MP, also said that the TNA has offered to work with the Government.
TNA spokesman Suresh Premachandran
said the 'majoritarian principle' would augur well for the Government
and the Sinhalese majority since the other provinces except the
Eastern province is governed by the Sinhalese.
The Government will submit a proposal
to the cabinet of ministers today seeking approval to re-amend
the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. The proposed amendment
reportedly aims to remove the provisions provided for a merger
of the adjoining provincial councils which allows bills and acts
to get passed by all provincial councils before they are passed
in Parliament. The draft bill in this regard has been approved
by the party leaders of the ruling UPFA on June 4.
TNA has opposed the Government's
move to amend the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. TNA parliamentarian
Suresh Premachandran said the 13th Amendment which was aimed at
solving the national issue and the Government must consult the
TNA as a representative of the Tamil people prior to any move
to amend the 13th Amendment since it would affect the people of
the North and East. However, Premachandran noted that the Government
has not yet made any official comment on its stance on the 13th
Elections Commissioner Mahinda
Deshapriya said that the Elections Department had begun preparations
to hold the NPC elections in September although it was yet to
receive an official confirmation regarding the holding of the
election. He further said as of now the status quo regarding the
registered voters would remain unless there is legislation to
effect change to include a new voter list.
TNA said that it would be useless
to hold elections to the NPC after amending the 13th Amendment
and reducing powers vested with the provinces. TNA parliamentarian
Suresh Premachandran said, "The current President and the Government
are going against this (implementing the 13th Amendment and going
Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga said
that the then Government was so much under pressure that it accepted
the 13th Amendment to the Constitution without calling for a referendum
in the face of a threat of invasion. He said many countries including
the United Kingdom, United States, France, and neighboring India
exerted pressure to stop the humanitarian operation launched by
the Government to free the country from terrorism.
The Parliamentary Group of SLMC unanimously resolved
to express opposition to any moves to make changes to the 13th
Amendment to the Constitution. The SLMC parliamentary group met
at the Colombo residence of party leader and Justice Minister
Rauf Hakeem and all eight MPs of the party came to the decision
unanimously to oppose any moves that curtail the powers allocated
to the Provincial councils.
The Catholic Bishops of Sri Lanka in a statement
at Catholic Bishops' Conference in Colombo requested the Government
not to proceed with amending the 13th Amendment or totally repeal
it but to discuss with all relevant parties on drawing up a totally
new Constitution which is fair by all communities. The bishops
advised the Government to discuss the 13th Amendment through a
PSC and consider a totally new Constitution which would guarantee
"justice, peace and prosperity for all citizens of the country
regardless of their ethnic, religious or social differences."
Deputy Minister of Investment Promotion Faiszer
Musthapha and SLFP Batticaloa District organiser Arun Thamabimutthu
said that the Provincial Council system was a 'white elephant'
and called for the repealing of the land and police powers enshrined
in the Constitution if the Government were to proceed with the
Faizer Mustapha, the Deputy Minister of Investment
Promotion said that it is dangerous to hold election to the NPC
with land and Police powers since TNA still harbors a separatist
line. According to Mustapha, if Police powers were granted to
the provincial councils it would interfere with the independence
of the Police.
Leader of LSSP and Senior Cabinet Minister Tissa
Vitarana said that 13th Amendment to the Constitution needs to
be changed. The Minister said the shortcomings in the Amendment
should not be a reason to postpone the NPC election to be held
in September. He maintained, although the 13th Amendment needs
change, any modification to it is not a prerequisite to hold elections
in the North.
In a letter addressed to President Mahinda Rajapaksa,
Opposition Leader and leader of the UNP Ranil Wickremasinghe requested
the Government to take measures to ensure a free and fair of the
NPC scheduled to be held in September this year. Further, the
Opposition leader requested the President to schedule a meeting
for a delegation headed by him to discuss the measures he suggested.
Sri Lanka's Cabinet approved the revisions to
the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and asked the Parliament
Speaker to appoint a PSC to study the issues regarding the legislation.
An organization called the National Group announced
that it would campaign for the abolition of the Provincial Council
system and has called on the Government to remove Police and land
powers vested on the Provinces by the 13th Amendment.
The Central Committee of SLFP decided to hold
the elections in September for three provincial councils - Northern
Provincial Council, Northwestern Provincial Council and the Central
Provincial Council. The Central Committee appointed three committees
to handle the party organizational work in the three provincial
councils. The committee for the Northern Provincial Council is
headed by the secretary of the ruling UPFA Minister Susil Prema
Jayantha while UPFA Vice Secretary Minister Nimal Siripala de
Silva will head the committee for the Central Provincial Council.
The committee for the Northwestern Provincial Council is headed
by General Secretary of SLFP Minister Maithripala Sirisena.
External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris, during
his bilateral discussions in Berlin with Dr. Guido Westerwelle,
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany
urged Germany to keep a close watch on the several LTTE front
organisations in Germany, breaching the European Union proscription.
Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Rajitha
Senaratne addressing a press briefing held in Colombo said that
he was ready to sacrifice his cabinet portfolio to stop further
reducing the powers devolved to the provinces through the 13th
Amendment to the Constitution. He further said that the Government
would be defeated before the international forces unless it fails
to stop the moves to further curtail the powers of the provincial
UNP Assistant Leader Joseph Michael Perera said
that the confrontation over the scrapping of the 13th Amendment
to the Constitution in particular would ultimately create a situation
where the separatists would achieve their objective overnight.
JVP announced that it would bring a political
package to replace the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. JVP
proposes solutions to the problems of the Tamil people in their
package while proposing to abolish the 13th Amendment completely.
JVP package is based on constitutional recognition of state as
a multinational state and acceptance of freedom of all nationalities.
The package will be launched within two weeks.
SLMC said the party will take legal action if
the PSC that will be appointed to revise the 13th Amendment to
the Constitution approves the proposals to curtail the powers
devolved to the Provincial Councils. National organizer of the
SLMC, Rafeek Rajabdeen said the party was against the amendments
brought to take away police and land powers from Provincial Councils.