21 October, 2020

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CHOGM No-Show If Human Rights A No-Go

By Belinda Cranston

Belinda Cranston

Belinda Cranston

There is little point in delegates gathering at the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka unless rule of law issues in the South Asian nation are raised, a Sri Lankan human rights lawyer says.

The meeting, which will be opened by Prince Charles on 15 November, has already been boycotted by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has criticised the host country for failing to investigate human-rights violations during its 29-year civil war.

Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena, who is delivering two public lectures at ANU next week, says countries including Australia are obliged to discuss the unravelling of the rule of law in Sri Lanka while attending the CHOGM meeting in Colombo.

Rule of law refers to a legal system in which the law is able to impose meaningful restraints on a country’s government.

“If a country were to take the position that it observed the rule of law in its own country, but is not concerned about that not being observed in other countries…I do not think that attitude is a reasonable one,” she said.

“And I do not think that that attitude is appropriate.”

For ‘ordinary’ Sri Lankans, Pinto-Jayawardena maintained CHOGM was of little relevance.

“Because the rule of law is not being enforced by the host country,” she said.

Pinto-Jayawardena attributes the ‘complete and utter breakdown’ of the country’s legal system following the end of the civil war in 2009, to the centralisation of power in one person – namely Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

In recent months, Rajapaksa removed Sri Lanka’s chief justice from office – a move that was strongly criticised by religious leaders, pro-democracy activists and lawyers.

In Sri-Lanka’s north-east, where the Tamil population is highly concentrated, physical security and land ownership has been negatively affected.

“Civil administration has still not replaced military administration,” says Pinto-Jayawardena.

“Within the last three or four years, we have seen instances of places of worship being demolished, sometimes by government troops and sometimes by unknown groups, whose actions are not then investigated.”

When the war ended in 2009, many family members were missing.

“The welfare of these people has not yet been accounted for,” says Pinto-Jayawardena.

A 2010 government inquiry into Sri Lanka’s civil war was flawed, she added, because the government wasn’t interested in implementing most of its recommendations.

Pinto-Jayawardena is delivering two lectures at the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific as part of its distinguished visitors series.

The first lecture, Braving the seas: Sri Lanka’s post-war troubles, will take place from 5-6.30pm on Monday 11 November.

She will deliver Women, politics and the law in Sri Lanka at Seminar Room 3, Hedley Bull Centre (Building 130) from 11.30am to 12.30pm on Wednesday 13 November.

Pinto-Jayawardena’s visit is supported by the Research School of Asia and the Pacific at ANU.

*Story by Belinda Cranston – The Australian National University, Canberra 

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Latest comments

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    It is not the defeated Tamil terrorists or foreign mercenaries(disguising as HR activists and journalists) who has a say in the situation in Srilanka.But it is the Srilankans themselves.If Mahinda is no good the voters will do the needful.In the meantime keep your dirty noses out of Srilanka and poke it in Afghanistan,Egypt,Libya and Iraq.

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      The people who died in Rathupaswala were not Tamils, UNPers or JVPers. They are the ones who voted and supported openly for MR. The village is well-known for garlanding the military and sharing Kiribath openly after the war victory.

      And the same leader and the same military pointed and triggered the same guns at them that were directed to Tamils few years ago.

      This is why the world says that “Dictatorship has no Heart”.

      One day it will be on your head… even if you give them the back (anus) wholeheartedly……

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        Damn good lesson for these rathupaswallahs for supporting the anti tamil war. LTTE terrorism had to be responded to for sure but there was no need for the response to be an indiscriminate massacre replete with torture, rape and murder. There are ways in which governemnts are expected to conduct themselves and no government is expected to attack its own citizens. Rebellion is a political phenomenon and requires political responses. If the governemnt does not know how to deal with rebellion through a democratic and political process I will be glad to teach.

        For starters place the rehabilitation of the tamil areas- yes you dumb fools the tamil areas, the areas where the tamils have been living since long before you were born, the tamil homelands if you like to call them that – give the task of rehabilitating these areas to THEM DAMN TAMILS THEMSELVES!Let the buggers do it. Get the hell out of their lives and concentrate on the development of the sinhalese – which you are supposed to be dedicated to – instead of shooting them as well.

        I think this is as plain and simple as it can be and if this had been done LONG AGO there would have been NO WAR, NO WAR, NO WAR you dumb idiotic THUGS!

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      My dear Max Factor, HOW can the Sri Lankan voter ‘do the needful’ when EVERY election is Rigged by yr cousin MIND_Dirt ? ! Get your head out of yr as_ You Moron !

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        Ruwan,
        You ask George Bush and his kid brother Jeb Bush.They will tell you how to win elections!

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      Max is quite correct when he advises foreigners and their governments to stay out of our business. He is quite wrong when he writes…’if Mahinda is no good the voters will do the needful’. Not anytime soon! If he can see the signs, he will get an idea of where where we are heading to. The Rajapaksa regime now has much at stake so the current hold on the armed forces and the private militias of those who feed of the Rajapaksas mean that, future elections that determine true power will descend into farce as the all-powerful machinery of state is brought out to ensure the status quo. Max, extrapolate further to see the grim reality of our plight.

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        Spring Koha,
        Why play spoil sport?If you can’t win you can’t win.Don’t act like cry babies.Instead enjoy the CHOGM.

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      Max is quite correct when he advises foreigners and their governments to stay out of our business. He is quite wrong when he writes…’if Mahinda is no good the voters will do the needful’. Not anytime soon! If he can see the signs, he will get an idea of where where we are heading to. The Rajapaksa regime now has much at stake so the current hold on the armed forces and the private militias of those who feed of the Rajapaksas mean that, future elections that determine true power will descend into farce as the all-powerful machinery of state is brought out to ensure the status quo. Max, extrapolate further to see the grim reality of our plight.

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        if this is true how did the TNA win in a landslide in the NPC ? This is typical nonsense spewed by the losing party . this has always been the same .

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          Reflect on the reality, friend. It matters not a jot at what happens in the electorates of the coccooned north and (parts of the east). They can have landslides and backslides.
          Real power is delivered by the electorates of the rest of this country – and especially the Sinhalese-Buddhist voter. This was the simple reason why, notable, the JVP uprisings were brutally squashed by governments of different hues.

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    ”Sri Lanka is probably the only country in the world where NGOs have to register under the Defence Ministry” –
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-peoples-forums-highlight-challenges-for-the-future/

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      Rita,
      Forget about registering.You go to the US embassy and say that you want to establish an NGO in the US and ask for a visa.Try and let me know what happened.

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    A note below for CHOGM members.

    Martin Vickers, Conservative MP, UK:

    Clearly there has been genocide taken place in Sri Lanka and the International Community needs to take the issue much more seriously and investigations should take place.

    Source a video clip in English, above is a transcript by me from:

    http://www.tamilwin.com/show-RUmrzBSVMZit7.html

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    ” The Rule of Law ” was ignored by Austarlia, NZ, UK and US when initiating the supreme crime of illegally invading/occupying Iraq, resulting in the death, according to some sources, of as many as 1.4 million innocent Iraqis. Sri Lanka merely annihilated a group of terrorists running riot within it’s borders, and yet is held to a higher standard not demanded of the clearly guilty nations mentioned.

    Now we have Green MP’s from NZ and Australia with newly discovered ‘Commonwealth values’ which did not exist at the time the illegal agressive war on Iraq was started, nor has it since been mentioned with regard to that invasion/occupation. Hypocrisy is not a commonwealth value.

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      Ram has fallen for the age-old SL tradition of mimicking the next goon. The ‘look, they eat shit so it must be ok for us too’. Our government has signed up to international conventions that were are now happy to renege. Don’t even ask what that does for our integrity. If I commited murder, I think I will not be able to plead that it’s ok because SL government forces have. Lets try to judge ourselves on our own behaviour and not succumb to inappropriately judging ourselves against others.

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        well said Spring Koha !

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    The Australian woman MP should remember that Genocide was Successfully Applied In Australia. No more Aboriginals in Australia. Proud are you?

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      Correction. No more Aboriginals in Tasmania (not Australia). The Aboriginals who weren’t slaughtered in Australia live in worst conditions than Bombay’s slum dwellers, and certainly with less dignity and less hope of a future for their children.
      Shame!!!

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    They can’t fool a fan.

    The Next Only Super Power once Darwin has accommodated the Moneda Franca on its mission to violate all humans in search of similar to Mackenna’s Gold 200 years ago. Christopher Columbus>Raleigh

    It all belongs to Baharath what is this monkey scabies land Lanka??

    Indo-Chino Only world Power power!

    Awesome Chinese Dance Quick Crew – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cG3F0rq6N4
    Vyjayanthimala and Padmini’s Dance- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOrY54-cKxY

    0:3

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