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SRI LANKA: Time to bring cultural rights in to the centre of human rights discourse*
Published Date: 22/09/2017 (Friday)
Sri Lanka became a British Colony in 1815 and gained its independence in 1948 and in 1983 we embarked upon the destruction, that was the ethnic civil war. After the war ended in 2010 a new type of destruction began with the unapologetic and undeterred advent of a highly racist movement with strong fascist undertones. But in 2015 the Sri Lankan people were able to topple such a government through democratic means during our Presidential Election.
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Former President condemns government efforts to ‘destroy democratic institutions’
Published Date: 22/09/2017 (Friday)
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has urged the people to unite and oppose the efforts rendered by the current government to destroy democratic institutions within Sri Lanka. In a media release that was circulated today, the former President condemned the concerted efforts of the ‘yahapalana conspirators’ who made several changes to the Provincial Council’s Elections law in order to indefinitely postpone the PC elections. He cited the ruling of the Supreme Court which stated that a referendum and two thirds majority in parliament
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Constitution framers divided over bid to change ‘unitary state’
Published Date: 22/09/2017 (Friday)
The Steering Committee, tasked with drafting a new constitution has raised the hackles of some of its members by proposing that the term, ‘unitary state’ be done away with. The Steering Committee interim report submitted by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to the Constitutional Assembly yesterday states that people in the south are scared of the term, ‘federal’ while the people in the North fear the word, ‘unitary.’
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New Constitution: Interim Report of The Steering Committee published in all three languages
Published Date: 22/09/2017 (Friday)
The Constitutional Assembly established by Parliamentary Resolution of 09th March 2016 unanimously appointed a Steering Committee at its first sitting on 05th April 2016. The Steering Committee identified 12 main subject areas and assigned six of those subjects to Sub-Committees appointed by the Constitutional Assembly on 05th May 2016. The Reports of the said six Sub Committees and another report by an ad-hoc Committee appointed by the
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Opportunity to create an indivisible Sri Lanka must not be squandered - Sampanthan
Published Date: 22/09/2017 (Friday)
Speaking in parliament today (21), Leader of the Opposition R.Sampanthan appealed to the members of the House not to squander the opportunity to create a constitution with a substantial bi-partisan consensus that will be beneficial to every member of the Sri Lankan community creating an indivisible Sri Lanka. In his speech today, the Leader of the Opposition stated that the process of formulating a
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Sri Lanka parties, including TNA agree to accept country as unitary state: PM Ranil Wickremesinghe
Published Date: 22/09/2017 (Friday)
All political groups in Sri Lanka, including the main Tamil party, have agreed to accept the country as an indivisible state in the new Constitution, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Thursday. Wickremesinghe's remarks came as he presented a report of the all party steering committee on formulating the Constitution in Parliament. The new Constitution was a key promise of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena during
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New Constitution: Some Aspects Of The Process We Are Engaged In
Published Date: 21/09/2017 (Thursday)
It is not my intention at present to comment on the matters contained in the Interim Report submitted by the Hon Prime Minister or the annexures tabled therewith. These matters will be dealt with at future meetings of the Constitutional Assembly that will be held for that purpose.
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Making the case for constitutional reform
Published Date: 21/09/2017 (Thursday)
Even as this article is being penned, the interim report of the Executive Committee of the Constitutional Council is scheduled for the 21st of September 2017, about one and a half years, since Parliament turned itself into a Constitutional Council in January 2016. This crucial process of nation building through state reform, is typically generating more political heat than shedding light on facts or creating a process of informed public discourse.
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Govt. flayed for implementation of Geneva recommendations
Published Date: 21/09/2017 (Thursday)
President’s Counsel Manohara de Silva on Tuesday said they would even defend those who had been accused of perpetrating war crimes in courts established in accordance with the Geneva Resolution 30/1 in case their ongoing efforts to thwart the UN-led project failed. PC de Silva said so in response to The Island query whether they would face the Geneva challenge if their initiative went awry. PC de Silva was speaking on behalf of Eliya (light), an
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Unit of devolution: District or province?
Published Date: 21/09/2017 (Thursday)
It is old news that those who regard themselves as Sinhala nationalists always preferred the district to the province as the primary unit of the devolution of power. What is amazing though is that they do not recognize that this is no longer an issue in the real world of politics; only in their individual or collective imagination. Thus the debate on the district vs. province is a non-debate. It takes place only in a mono-ethnic echo chamber.
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Sri Lanka continues intimidation of human rights activists – UN report
Published Date: 21/09/2017 (Thursday)
A new report by the United Nations names Sri Lanka as a state that continues to intimidate and harass activists who co-operate with the global body on human rights issues. The report stated that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was “disturbed” to hear that civil society members had faced intimidation from Sri Lanka in the United Nations Palais des Nations in Geneva earlier this year.
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Red clay roof tiles in high demand as asbestos ban looms
Published Date: 21/09/2017 (Thursday)
Roof tiles made out of red clay is now in high demand due to the asbestos ban that is set to come into effect next year, according to the country’s Industry and Commerce Ministry. “Our clay is of high quality and is in demand for roof tile making due to the asbestos imports ban starting next year,” Industry and Commerce Minister Rishard Bathiudeen told the 14th AGM of Sri Lanka Ceramics and Glass Council held recently in Colombo.
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Lanka to act over adoption racket claims
Published Date: 21/09/2017 (Thursday)
Sri Lanka is to launch an investigation into adoption fraud following claims that thousands of babies were sold to foreign nationals in the 1980s. Sri Lanka’s Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said the government would set up a DNA databank to enable children adopted abroad to search for their biological parents and other relatives, and vice versa.
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‘Mass starvation’ should be considered a war crime argues new report
Published Date: 20/09/2017 (Wednesday)
The use of ‘mass starvation’ should be considered a war crime as many who are at the coalface of humanitarian crises have long argued. In their new report, the Humanitarian Learning Centre (HLC) calls for the global community to heed the lessons of the past and hold those who use famine as a weapon of war to account for their actions, by revising international law to reflect such atrocities.
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Sri Lanka Monitoring Accountability Panel (MAP): PRESS RELEASE
Published Date: 20/09/2017 (Wednesday)
The 30th of August marks the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances. This day has a particular resonance for the Sri Lankan Tamil community whose members have been subjected to decades of abductions, secret prisons, and disappearances at the hands of the Sri Lankan Army and security services. As noted previously by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights the ‘scale of enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka has long been exceptional’. Historically, disappearances have been used ‘to target those
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Mahinda Rajapaksa:I did my best for the CountrySays Constitution allows him to become Prime Minister
Published Date: 20/09/2017 (Wednesday)
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is said to be one of the colourful Presidents in the Asian region, amidst having to face political attacks from his opponents, said that he did his best for the country and he could defend himself on that. He also pointed out the presence of the Chinese was only to invest in projects and they had not influenced him otherwise. On becoming the next Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, the ex-President said, "The Constitution
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Sri Lanka’s former army chief denied visa to attend UN due to allegations of war crimes during civil war
Published Date: 20/09/2017 (Wednesday)
The wartime general, who is now minister of regional development, said he was due to travel to New York this week, but he was the only one in the Sri Lankan delegation not issued a visa. Fonseka said he could not accompany President Maithripala Sirisena who left Colombo on Sunday to address the UN General Assembly.
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Steps to expedite suspects arrested under PTA
Published Date: 20/09/2017 (Wednesday)
The Attorney General’s Department will take steps to expedite the cases of those arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), said Minister of Prison Reforms, Resettlement and Rehabilitation D. M. Swaminathan today. The Minister addressing the National Prisoners Day celebrations held at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute explained that the Attorney General had assured him that steps are being taken to deal with 73 cases filed under the PTA.
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Putting Sri Lanka’s Office of Missing Persons in Perspective
Published Date: 20/09/2017 (Wednesday)
Sri Lanka’s Office of Missing Persons (OMP) became operational on September 15. The OMP is one of Colombo’s four big transitional justice mechanisms – the others being an office to handle reparations, a truth commission and a judicial mechanism to address allegations of wartime abuses. Colombo announced an impressive transitional justice agenda two years ago, yet far too little has happened since then. The other three mechanisms have yet to be established.
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Backtracking on accountability measures will harm all Sri Lankans: Tamil leader
Published Date: 19/09/2017 (Tuesday)
Media reports state that, at the suggestion of President Maithripala Sirisena, the parliamentary debate on the Bill to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances (CPAPED) will not held as scheduled on September 21. The media also quoted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as saying that the “Disappearances Bill” pertains only to future cases and not those of the past (including disappearances which had occurred during the war).
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Sri Lanka drought worsens hunger, indebtedness: UN
Published Date: 19/09/2017 (Tuesday)
The prolonged drought that has gripped Sri Lanka has worsened food insecurity, with more people going hungry and indebtedness rising for lack of farm work, the United Nations office in Colombo said. Despite the Southwest monsoon in late May, which triggered flooding and landslides in the country’s southwest provinces, country-wide drought conditions are ongoing, it said in its latest drought update.
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Malaka Silva Back To Terrorizing Night Club Revellers
Published Date: 19/09/2017 (Tuesday)
Malaka Silva who was notorious for terrorizing guests at popular night clubs he patronized during the former Rajapaksa regime is once again back in business. Last Friday Malaka Silva accompanied by his friend Romesh Kulatunga and an alleged drug dealer named ‘Maama’ had badgered a reveler at the famous up market night spot the Park Street Mews. This incident incidentally was blacked out by all main stream media outlets and also social media websites.
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Another Eyewitness Speaks Out On The Welikada Prison Riot
Published Date: 18/09/2017 (Monday)
As the authorities continue investigations into the Welikada prison massacre, more eyewitnesses have come forward to reveal information about the incident. Hewadalugodage Sahan Sri, an eyewitness to the incident who has since fled the country, spoke to The Sunday Leader on what he saw. He had been arrested in 2007 under the terrorism prevention act and had served eight years behind bars and was eventually released being cleared of all charges.
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Govt attempting to delay provincial elections again - CaFFE
Published Date: 18/09/2017 (Monday)
The government is attempting to postpone the Provincial Council Elections through a proposal during the committee stage on September 20th, the Executive Director of the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon claims. Issuing a press release today, he said that the gazette of the draft bill allocating 30% of seats in provincial councils for female representatives has been issued and that this is to be
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For the first time, 3-pronged election battle for PCs and local councils
Published Date: 18/09/2017 (Monday)
Plans are on the drawing board for the two coalition partners – the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United National Party (UNP) – to contest each other at an upcoming Provincial Council or Local Government election. It is most likely the PC polls will come first followed by elections to local government institutions. Friday was World Democracy Day and Elections Commission officials are seen carrying placards calling for the protection of the rights of voters
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