Mahinda's devolutionary Chinthana

It was just this week Mahinda Rajapaksa asserted that only the Parliamentary Select Committee would decide on devolution , dismissing India's external affairs secretary, SM Krishna's statement that 13+ changes had been promised by Sri Lanka. On Thursday his words were: "The PSC, in which all parties in parliament would be represented, was the best forum to discuss and take a decision on the matter.” “I cannot reveal it. If I say anything on it, people will say, I am biased. Let parliament decide. I’ll accept its recommendations.” Yet speaking Saturday, at celebrations for what Sri Lankans commemorate as their independence day, Rajapaksa revealed his devolutionary vision and his guiding light: " Ethnic communities have no separate regions. The entire country belongs to all ethnic communities." " what is required today is the formulation of policies based on a vision that is commonly applicable to the whole country ." "The words of the Buddha show the path we should take and how we should solve problems. Akkodhena jine kodham – asadhum sadhuna jine Jine kadariyam danena – saccena alikavadinam "Let this thought guide all in making the freedom of our motherland meaningful!"

Exhibition in Westminster highlights Tamil genocide

Gavin Barwell, Conservative MP, Croydon Central. Photographs Tamilnet British MPs and peers endorsed the call for an international, independent investigation, at an exhibition organised by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPGT) and the British Tamil Forum (BTF). Photographs Tamilnet.

Virginia University students' ‘unfriendly’ visit in Sri Lanka

A group of students from the University of Virginia’s School of Law visited Sri Lanka as part of a Human Rights Study Project (HRSP). Eight students spent their time interviewing many people, including judges, military and government officials, NGO’s and individuals within camps, to study different areas of human rights within Sri Lanka. Here is a description of the group’s experience by the President of the HRSP, John Akin: "The current government of Sri Lanka has a history and a reputation of being very unfriendly to NGOs and human rights organizations. "The second day we were in the...

Tamil refugees trapped in Togo

Around 200 tamil refugees who have fled from Sri Lanka have found themselves stranded in the West African country of Togo, where they are now held by the army, reported the BBC . The refugees, who include at least 19 women and 11 children, are being detained in an open stadium in the capital of Lome, where they are held under tight security. It is thought that they travelled by ship to India, then to Ethiopia before flying to Togo, where they were promised to be taken to Ghana and onwards to Canada. But now they are stranded in Togo, after their “agent” vanished, after having paid more than $...

US official arrives in Sri Lanka to discuss Iranian sanctions

The United States Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary Luke Bronin visited Sri Lanka on Thursday to discuss Sri Lanka’s options, as US sanctions on Iran look set to cut off Sri Lanka’s crude oil imports. The US Embassy stated that Bronin’s visit was to “discuss how the Iranian sanction legislation will affect Sri Lankan financial institutions and to discuss the legislation and its implementation.” Sri Lanka is almost totally dependent on Iranian oil, which makes 93% of its oil imports and the single refinery on the island capable of processing only Iranian crude oil. President Mahinda...

Sri Lanka scrambles for US support ahead of UN meeting

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has stated that he wants to send a delegation to the United States of America in order to gain support before the UN Human Rights Council meeting in March. The Daily Mirror reported that as the US has already announced it would back a resolution against Sri Lanka at the upcoming session, Rajapaksa insisted that engagement with the Americans was important. He reportedly told a cabinet meeting, “It is important for us to brief them about measures we have taken, and plans for the future.” However, the statement did not go down well with all the ministers,...

British MPs urge action on Sri Lanka

At a recent debate in the House of Commons, British MPs urged the British government to ‘speak out loudly’ and raise human rights issues in Sri Lanka with the UN and other organisations. Labour MP Kerry McCarthy called for a debate in the House of Commons about the controversial LLRC report. “We have recently had the report published by the LLRC. I hope that, at some point over the next few weeks, we will find time for a full debate on that in the House, because there are many question marks over the report, in relation to the terms of reference of the commission and its recommendations.”...

Boycott blues

Dismissing the recent boycott of Sri Lankan goods but activists in Tamil Nadu, an official of Sri Lanka's Deputy High Commission to India, drew attention to the lack of an apology from Tamil Nadu state government. The official added, This is not even noteworthy when compared to the magnitude of trade in India. The authorities of this company brought the matter to our notice. The total value of our products was Rs.4,000. We raised the issue with the state government of Tamil Nadu. We also informed our mission in New Delhi" Only a certain group is involved. We hope it will not be repeated,”

Only Parliamentary Select Committee will decide on devolution - Rajapaksa

Any decision of system of devolution will only be determined by a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) said Sri Lanka's president, Mahinda Rajapaksa: “I had told Krishna that I had no objection to going beyond the 13th Amendment, and that I had said so earlier too. However, I added that I could not take a decision on the matter arbitrarily." "The PSC, in which all parties in parliament would be represented, was the best forum to discuss and take a decision on the matter.” “I cannot reveal it. If I say anything on it, people will say, I am biased. Let parliament decide. I’ll accept its...

HRW urges UNHRC to act on Sri Lanka during March session

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged the UN Human Rights Council to act against the continued lack of accountability for abuses committed in Sri Lanka. In a letter , addressed to council members, HRW called on the council to undertake credible measures towards accountability, as the Sri Lankan Government is still continuing to ignore calls for an independent accountability mechanism, nearly 3 years after the end of the armed conflict. "The Human Rights Council is uniquely positioned to ensure that the deaths and injuries of tens of thousands of civilians in the last months of Sri Lanka's...

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