Facing the inconsequential

President Rajapaksa’s begrudging announcement of a Northern Provincial Council election in September has sparked an utterly predictable melee of impassioned responses to the 13th Amendment. The government is presenting an urgent bill to parliament, a minister is demanding a referendum to guarantee abolition, the TNA is aghast, a party of Buddhist monks is on the warpath, and an alarmed New Delhi is summoning the TNA for talks. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s main opposition, the UNP, is attempting to position itself as defender of ‘minority’ rights. This circus is a farce. Neither the 13th Amendment, nor the provincial council election, is of any consequence to the Tamil question. The 13th Amendment cannot address the immediate needs of the Tamil people in the North-East, or the political aspirations of the nation. Its presence, absence and anything in between is of absolute insignificance and irrelevance. That Tamils are compelled to reiterate this 26 years on, is testament to the dismaying lack of progress on resolving the conflict.

Pieris lobbies against diaspora and UN resolutions

The Sri Lankan delegation to Europe has urged the German government to be aware of several Liberation Tamil Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) front organisations, that were operating under the disguise of community initiatives and organisations. Speaking to the Minister of Foreign affairs, Dr Guido Westerwelle, Siri Lankas External Affairs Minister, G.L Peiris, proposed that a substantial number of schools operating in Germany were for terrorist propaganda and fund raising purposes. Attending a meeting of the German Association for Foreign Policy (GDAP), Peiris stressed the need for an objective...

SL election commissioner ‘agrees’ to international monitors

The Sri Lankan Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya has said he agreed to a suggestion made by the UNP to invite international monitors to observe the Northern Provincial Council elections. The commissioner said that it would be appropriate to have monitors from Asia or other Commonwealth countries, rather than observers from the European Union. Deshapriya said that he would discuss the idea with the Sri Lankan government and arrange the invitations for the election monitors.

Head of German NGO arrested in Colombo

The bureau chief of the German NGO, Friedrich-Ebert Foundation, was arrested in Colombo on Thursday and released on bail, with conditions not to leave the country. The foundation, which has worked to promote democracy in Sri Lanka for over 50 years and is close to the main German opposition, has condemned the arrests. No further information is currently available. German NGO interrogated by SL police (24 May 2013)

Govt collects info on Sinhalese in Jaffna

The government of Sri Lanka is amassing proof of pre-1983 Sinhalese presence in Jaffna, reports Uthayan . Details on Sinhalese families and workers resident in Jaffna before 1983 is being compiled through the district secratariat, where each divisional secratariat has been directed to gather information from every village in the province.

Board of Intellectuals to investigate NGOs

The Sri Lankan government has appointed a Board of Intellectuals to investigate charges and allegations made against NGOs and their activities, reports the government's own news portal. According to News.lk, this is to ‘thwart certain NGOs from hatching conspiracies to effect regime change by engaging in politics in the guise of doing social work in the country.' See here . See also ' Head of German NGO arrested in Colombo ' (14 June 2013)

Gotabhaya's bogeymen...

Addressing a lecture on 'Sri Lanka’s National Security Concerns' at Kotelawala Defence University, Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa spelled out the biggest threats to the state's national security at present: 1. The possible re-emergence of terrorism 2. The emergence of other extremist groups 3. The creation of ethnic divisions and communal violence 4. The challenges of maritime security and border control 5. The growth of organised crime 6. Foreign interference in domestic affairs 7. Non-traditional threats through technology driven new media, including social media . Outlining the current 'threat' faced by Sri Lanka, Gotabhaya said: "The threat of terrorism re-emerging still persists. One of the main reasons for the LTTE’s success during its heyday was its extensive international network, which has been in operation for many decades." "As a result of the July 1983 riots, a large number of Tamil people left Sri Lanka and travelled to countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, Malaysia and parts of Europe. These countries granted asylum to these immigrants, and later granted them citizenship. As such, there is a large population of immigrant Sri Lankan Tamils in other countries . A small minority of this population supports the LTTE even to this day . Extremist elements within this community, together with LTTE agents and operatives, including trained terrorists who fled Sri Lanka at various times during the war, comprise the LTTE’s international network."

Intimidating SL fans caught out

Video footage of #Boycottlka campaign activist intimidation has been sent to Tamil Guardian in the aftermath of the #Boycottlka campaign, outside the Oval cricket ground on 13 th of February. Sri Lankan fans heckle Tamil activists and members of the public

Govt to present 19A as urgent bill next week

Sri Lankan government to present the 19th amendment as an urgent bill to parliament next week, said Media Minister and cabinet spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella on Thursday. The bill will seek a repeal of provisions in 13th amendment that allows for the merger of the Northern and Eastern provinces, which is 'critical because the merger of provinces could pose a threat to the authority of the central government' said Rambukwella.

Minister Weerawansa calls for referendum to secure 13A repeal

Minister Weerawansa called for a referendum on abolishing the 13th amendment if the government could not be confident of securing the two-third parliamentary majority needed to repeal it. Stating that the changes proposed by the government to the 13th Amendment were insufficient, Wwerawansa said that all provisions allowing separatism must be abolished. Weerawansa, also leader of the National Freedom Front said : “We promised the people at our May Day Rally that we will make sure to have land and police powers and all other provisions which support separatism be abolished before the Northern polls in September. We held a 10-day countrywide petition signing campaign calling for the abolishing of the 13th Amendment. More than one million people including UNP, SLFP and JVP provincial councillors and Pradeshiya Sabha Chairmen supported us in this worthy course,”