29 June, 2017

Deliver Promises First, And Then Welcome Refugees Back!

By Lionel Bopage

Dr Lionel Bopage

Regarding Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s recent statement on refugees: Deliver promises first, and then welcome refugees back!

The current Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremsinghe’s comments on refugees reported in the news media fly in the face of facts.

Despite the relaxation of the social and political environment under the new regime led by President Maithripala Sirisena and the Prime Minister, the repressive machinery and logistical approach of the governance system towards its political critics and opponents have not changed. This is evident from the incidents that have taken place in Sri Lanka recently, also giving the impression that the current regime may have started resorting to old repressive strategies and tactics. For example:

– killing of two university students in Jaffna;

– continuing police torture island wide;

– a laxed approach to investigations of the criminal activities of the previous regime;

– continued repression of trade union and student protests;

– the abduction of the leader of the telecommunication trade union; and

– the creeping closure of the democratic space gained after the elections.

There have also been evidence of at least several cases where the returning asylum seekers being arrested and subjected to ill treatment. Voices critical of the current regime are again being reinterpreted as supporting a separatist agenda. The reconciliation agenda of the current Sri Lankan regime and its efforts toward that end are yet to be demonstrated in practice, despite the rhetoric of its representatives at overseas forums like the United Nations.

By his statement, Sri Lanka Prime Minister has concurred with the Australian regime’s repression of the asylum seekers, and their off-shore detention, such as in Nauru and Manus. This while Australia’ refugee policy is being subject to intense and severe criticism by the United Nations.

Till the impunity given to perpetrators of humans rights abuses is rescinded, the organs of the state are reformed, the mindset of many working for the state in seeing dissent as unpatriotic is changed and when the rule of law becomes paramount, then and only then can the Prime Minister welcome refugees safely back to the country. Otherwise the current government will also be seen in the cold light of history like other previous governments (of 1970, 1977 and 1994 amongst others), who promised much in terms of good governance and reconciliation but in the end made democratic spaces in Sri Lanka even narrower.

Whilst supportive of the current government’s reform and reconciliation agenda, I am at the same time sceptical, given the past history of the United National Party and other members of the coalition which include the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, as reflected in the government’s inability and or hesitance to deliver the reforms promised during the Presidential and Parliamentary elections, in any concrete manner.

The Prime Minister of Sri Lanka and the government need to deliver their promises first, then welcome back refugees.

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  • 1
    8

    Amidst many other things, Sinhale is already a big mess because of trade unions and south indian immigrents.

    the funny thing is Mr. Prime minister has so many accusation to tell him that he is a failure. But, an unknown university which does not have decades of record for success offers him a honorary degree and Prime minister jumped at the offer and talk refugees coming back.

    I think, University wanted some publicity in Sri lanka.

    Pri minister was worreid about TNB, GTF, BTF etc., and was preparing a new constituion for them.

    NOw, suddenly he talks about refugees.

    Your haven’t forgotten destroying the lives of Sri lankans. One time with the help of Communist theory, you made some thousands youth getting killed. YOu escaped it and living in the greener pastures. Now, talk about Sri lankan trade unions which make workers very unproductive sloths.

    • 3
      8

      All boat people after 2009 are economic refugees.
      Prosecute them and jail them and dump them to PNG.

      One of the reasons for the SL passports to have no value is these boat people.

      • 4
        0

        Jagath Fernando

        “One of the reasons for the SL passports to have no value is these boat people.”

        Important reason is the politicians and and state functionaries issuing bogus diplomatic passports to their cronies.

        “All boat people after 2009 are economic refugees. Prosecute them and jail them and dump them to PNG.”

        Remember most people (probably 99% of total population) who live on this island are descendants of Kallthonies mostly from South India and a few from North India (refer genetic studies)?

        What do you want us to do to them, any idea?

        • 0
          0

          NV

          “What do you want us to do to them, any idea?”

          I have a patent wining idea. Just leave the things as they are.

          Soma

          • 4
            0

            somaasss

            “I have a patent wining idea. Just leave the things as they are.”

            Not really, proactively support the ghetto builder and limit the damage to 10 square miles, and protect the rest 25,320 sq mi.

            Dayan will be forced to join you.

        • 1
          0

          Good response, Native Vedda

      • 3
        0

        What is the difference between after 2009 and before 2009? Do you think those Sinhalese who went to Australia during JVP terror period are real refugees. Economy is the most important thing for people and Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalism uses economic benefits to kill Tamils and looting Tamil businesses. Srilanka is a refugee country and all are economic refugees.

        • 0
          1

          Ajith

          Why doesn’t any Tamil migrate to Tamilnadu , the fastest growing part of next superpower?

          Soma

          • 6
            0

            somaaasss

            “Why doesn’t any Tamil migrate to Tamilnadu , the fastest growing part of next superpower?”

            Good question.

            Why doesn’t any Sinhala/Buddhist migrate to Tamilnadu , it is not only his/her ancestral homeland but also the fastest growing part of next superpower?

            Historian Prof Champahalaxmi has identified medieval Sinhala settlements in Tamil Nadu.

        • 0
          0

          Many people have left Lanka since the fifties and sought asylum elsewhere. In the fifties many Burgher people had to leave Sri Lanka as they were deprived of their employment opportunities in the public service. Most of them came to Australia under the White Australia Policy. They did not have to come by boat, as they were mostly well to do people. Some Sinhalese left due to the 1971 repressive environment, and then Tamils people left due to July 1983 riots led by the politicians of the then government. Then in 1988-89 period followed by the 30-year war against the Tamil militancy.

      • 1
        0

        Jagath,

        You appear to be approving autocratic rule based on discarding the rule of law – the very same political paradigm of the previous regime in Lanka. However, Australia has not yet gone into that deep in its degeneration. They still have to follow local and international law. So following Rule of Law procedures, many of those you identify as economic refugees have been found to be genuine refugees.

        How can Sri Lankan passports be of any value when the government itself has been degrading Lankan passports by sending their criminal goons and cronies abroad using bogus passports under bogus names?

      • 2
        0

        Jagath Fernando? This means you belong to the Sinhalese Karawa caste, that is purely descended from Tamil South Indian boat people ( from what is now modern Tamil Nadu and then Tamil Kerala) who arrived in the island a few centuries ago and now have taken on a Sinhalese identity and busy beating the anti Tamil drum.

        You can see them all on the Sinhalese extremist website Lankaweb led by a nasty evil lying Karawa woman who deliberately misinforms and distorts history/facts.

        May be your Tamil grand parents also should have been sent back to South India or dumped somewhere else and we would not have had all these problems, due to all these recently Sinhalised, Tamil South Indian low castes doubling the present Sinhalese population and creating all these problems.

        You and that Karawa woman and her ardent followers in Lankaweb are very good examples of this. Another good example is the so called gay homeless one calling himself Anagarika. He belonged to a Catholic Salagama or Durawa family. This means he is purely descended from low castes Tamil immigrants from South India who were imported into the island a few centuries ago but created all this problems by preaching about Sinhalese Aryans( Sic)

    • 0
      0

      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

    • 0
      0

      Jim repeats the same lines no matter what my response is. A pathetic distorter of facts!

      Whatever the background for the honorary degree, your utterance on Deakin University as an unknown university is factually wrong. While the well-known La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia is ranked the 20th on ERA research ranking, Deakin is ranked the 17th. Though established in 1974, it is also one of the well-known universities in Australia.

      Lanka is in a big mess not because of trade unions, Tamils or other migrants who have settled in the country as citizens, but because of the socio-economic and political policy frameworks successive regimes have followed since 1948. This policy calculus was based on ethnicity, religion and caste. This led to the inability of the Sri Lankan body politic to develop a nationalism that transcended ethnicity. That is what destroyed Lanka’s social fabric and that continues to destroy it.

      To the deliberate and erroneous out of context comments you make as a dimwit, I have previously responded several times, but you seem to repeat like a broken tape recorder. For your information, according to the Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) records, the JVP was responsible for 41 civilian deaths, the killing of 63 members of the armed forces and the wounding of 305 members of the armed forces. In retaliation the state machinery led by the United Front government of the SLFP, the LSSP and the CP killed between 5,000 and 10,000 JVP cadres and sympathisers and put into arbitrary detention from 15,000 to 25,000 supporters of the JVP. Many JVP cadres and civilians were summarily executed after arresting them while at home or elsewhere, not at a confrontation. One of the more notorious perpetrators, Sandhurst-educated Lieutenant Colonel Cyril Ranatunga, said at the time:
      “We have learnt too many lessons from Vietnam and Malaysia. We must destroy them completely.”

      In addition, the JVP’s failure in 1971 represented a botched putsch by a faction-ridden party of young inexperienced revolutionaries responding to the repression of the Lankan state. Whether the politics we pursued were right or wrong, the capitalist state convicted us for the political role we played against it and imperialist plots at the time led by the CIA. Yet, the criminal nefarious role the armed forces played led by the SLFP, LSSP and CP coalition of the day had never been subjected to public scrutiny. They continue to play the same criminal nefarious role with impunity under government protection.

      • 1
        0

        Lionel Bopage

        “Jim repeats the same lines no matter what my response is. A pathetic distorter of facts!”

        Come on Lionel, you don’t take this dimwit seriously.

    • 1
      0

      sRI Lanka is in a mess because it was cursed by Budha. Monks are child rapists, saree wearing trannies. Budha cursed sri lanka

  • 3
    0

    Amen to that, Lionel Bopage.

    • 0
      0

      No comment, as I do not understand what this comment means!

  • 0
    2

    Dear Mr. Lional Bopege,
    You write the following observation:
    “By his statement, Sri Lanka Prime Minister has concurred with the Australian regime’s repression of the asylum seekers, and their off-shore detention, such as in Nauru and Manus. This while Australia’ refugee policy is being subject to intense and severe criticism by the United Nations.”
    My personal opinion is that Sri Lankans (Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims) are much better off with compared to real deserving refugees who are languishing in refugee camps in Africa. They do not have simple basic needs of the life. The Australian Government needs to give priority to the real suffering refugees who are coming to Australia on regular channels.
    Therefore, the Australian Government Policy on Sri Lankan boat people are correct and I fully support that policy.
    Sri Lanka is going through an economic crisis created by the “Yahapalanaya” government due to economic mismanagement and intentional frauds. Therefore, every Sri Lankan is undergoing the economic hardships. That does not necessarily support your argument that Australian Government needs to change or re-think about their immigration policy on boat people.
    If the Sri Lankan government can create a good economic, political and social environment, there is no need for the Sri Lankan people to go to Australia by boat.

    • 3
      0

      Sunil Dahanayake

      “If the Sri Lankan government can create a good economic, political and social environment, there is no need for the Sri Lankan people to go to Australia by boat.”

      What are the needs for the so called educated, highly qualified, highly paid, smart, knowledgeable, ………… leave this island by aeroplanes in rows,…… ?

      • 0
        0

        Well said, Native Vedda

    • 0
      0

      Sunil,
      To enter Australia without authorisation for the purpose of seeking asylum is not a crime. Asylum seekers do not break any Australian laws simply by arriving on boats or without authorisation. Article 31 of the Refugee Convention clearly states that refugees should not be penalised for arriving without valid travel documents. What may be considered an illegal action under normal circumstances (e.g. entering a country without a visa) should not, according to the Convention, be considered illegal if a person is seeking asylum.

      Despite your assertions, as of 30 October 2016, according to Australian Government, in
      • Manus Island:
      675 refugees had been given a positive final determination
      510 people had been given a positive initial assessment
      505 people had been a negative initial assessment, and
      147 people had been given a negative final determination.
      • Nauru:
      941 people had been recognised as a refugee
      254 people had been determined not to be refugees.

      For Nauru, those status determinations included decisions following review by the Refugee Status Review Tribunal.

      The Australian government does not let these refugees to settle down in any other country. New Zealand and Canada offered to take them, but the warped Australian regime wants to send them to Kampuchea like countries.

  • 2
    0

    A very good timely article By Dr Lional Bopege. That shows there are many intellectuals in the south who want the country to progress by treating all citizens the same.

    Sunil Dahanayake writes

    “f the Sri Lankan government can create a good economic, political and social environment, there is no need for the Sri Lankan people to go to Australia by boat. “

    So long as fraudsters and corrupt politicians exploit the illiterate (reading and writing do not make a person politically literate) for their own selfish purposes there is no salvation. House maids and professionals will continue to go to other countries to increase their income and enjoy a better life.

    Even in education lack of planning leads to increase of unemployed graduates and over employment in government service. Is there any responsible leader who has a vision for the country and impoverished masses?

    • 0
      0

      Very true, Saro

  • 0
    3

    What refugees, All are economic migrants!
    Bopage, are you in the pay list of diaspora?
    What are above points got to do with bringing back refugees?
    These problems are there all the time and applied equally to all!

    The Tamil die as poras want to manage and maintain a ethnic problem to keep living in developed world!

    • 0
      0

      Srinath,

      You appear to be in the same boat as Jagath, approving autocratic rule based on discarding rule of law., The very political paradigm of the previous regime in Lanka. However, Australia has not yet gone into that deep in its degeneration. They still have to follow local and international law. So following Rule of Law procedures, many of those you identify as economic refugees have been found to be genuine refugees.

      You seem to have better yardsticks to determine who the genuine refugees are. It would therefore be worthwhile for you to canvass the United Nations to change its Refugee Convention, rather than writing non-constructive comments.

      • 2
        0

        Lionel Bopage

        “It would therefore be worthwhile for you to canvass the United Nations to change its Refugee Convention, rather than writing non-constructive comments.”

        We write comments.

        On the other hand srinath gunaratne, jim softy, Sumane, sach, lal, HlD M, Dayan, Sunil Dahanayake, soma, John, …. etc type.

        Therefore, it is too much to expect anything constructive from them.

        However, we do need all of them for much needed entertainment.

      • 0
        0

        Many of those you identify as economic refugees have been found to be genuine refugees?

        The real refugees are the set got stuck in the north and who had to sacrifice their children to a maniac! Influential middle class used the opportunity and managed to get away as refugees! Any Tamil could live in the south and many did.

        None of these so called refugees do not want to come back! It is not because they have threats to their lives, It is because they want to enjoy the perks in the west, educate their kids for free at the expense of our tax!

        I still do not understand why an ordinary person cannot come back and settle here, Of course we have plenty of problems thanks to our dick politicians, As I said they are all common to us all! In that measure, All SriLankans are refugees!

  • 1
    0

    Bribing PM with a doctorate and asking to get back the refugees. There can’t be meaner than Aussies and our PM.

    I hear suddenly “don’t go to Australia by boat” ads increase

  • 0
    0

    This itself is hallucination when those people are called refugees. They had money. that is why they could afford large amounts of money to smuugglers.

    So, Ranil wickramsinghe asking those now bankrupt, because all their wealth given to smugglers, Tamils to telling come back is lack of responsibility and stupidity of the prime minister.

    Because, developed countries are looking for rich immigrents.

    • 1
      0

      Jim softy,

      Capitalism wants brains, not humans. Put yourself in their shoes and see what if they entertain ‘boat people’?

      It will double your worry that very few will be left among Sinhalese also to talk proud about Sinhalese culture and civilization in the only country where Sinhalese can practice their culture.

      You worry only for Sinhalese culture in Sri Lanka being changed, what will happen to Aussie culture in Australia?

      • 0
        0

        By the way Mr Mohamed have you ever heard of a Muslim who migrated to another Muslim country?

        Soma

        • 1
          0

          I know of plenty in South Asia and personally know several in the Middle East.

          • 0
            0

            A chaff quip!

            Soma said something with common sense. But this really a PhD Vithandavatham.

            Please write something meaningful in detail like the Author.

            That is train you out of your ability to write.

            Thanks

        • 1
          0

          somaassss

          “By the way Mr Mohamed have you ever heard of a Muslim who migrated to another Muslim country?”

          Have you ever heard of a Sinhala/Buddhist who migrated to his/her ancestral homeland in South India?

          However the Sinhala/Buddhists have forced Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims to leave the island and settled down in many countries. This trend should and will be reversed. The noisy minority will be relocated to your promised land.

      • 0
        0

        Good one, Mohamed

    • 0
      0

      Jim,

      For once, why don’t you comment on something constructive?

      For your information:
      “Most asylum seekers who have reached Australia by boat have been found to be refugees. According to the Australian Parliamentary Library, between 70-100% have typically been found to be refugees. In 2012-13, 88% of asylum seekers who arrived by boat were found to be refugees.

      Even if an asylum seeker is found not to be a refugee, however, it doesn’t mean that the person is an economic migrant or that his or her refugee claim was ‘made up’. It simply means that the person isn’t a refugee. For example, some asylum seekers may fear persecution but they don’t have enough evidence to back up their claims. They may fear mistreatment which isn’t sufficiently serious to meet the definition of refugee. They may also be considered to be able to avoid persecution by moving to a safe area within their home countries.

      According to the UNHCR,
      “By the end of 2015, over 65 million people worldwide were displaced from their homes by conflict and persecution – up from 37 million ten years ago, and the highest number seen in decades. The tally for the year included 40.8 million people internally displaced by conflict, violence and human rights violations, over 21 million refugees,1 and more than three million asylum-seekers. In 2015 alone, an estimated 12.4 million people were newly displaced, including 8.6 million inside their own countries and 1.8 million refugees, and 500,000 new refugees also fled in the first half of 2016. Numbers are likely to continue to increase in 2017 and beyond if the circumstances driving displacement persist, or as communities currently trapped in enclaves or besieged as a deliberate tactic by parties to conflicts become able to move in search of safety.”

      Don’t these people have the right to seek asylum, despite the fact that most of them cannot fly to the west or reach an embassy, or a refugee processing centre in their own affected areas?

      • 0
        0

        They found to be refugees because of the bogus stories they come up! No government have the sanity to verify the facts 100%.
        Immigration lawyers make a killing out of the system!

        What persecution, Even the LTTE soldiers live in the country?
        Who is getting persecuted in SL, Give evidence?

        Don’t these people have the right to seek asylum, despite the fact that most of them cannot fly to the west or reach an embassy, or a refugee processing centre in their own affected areas?

        Why? are their road blocks? Someone beat them up in Colombo?

        You bring one lie to cover up another lie!

        Whole world know Tamils, mostly are economic migrants, Most of them migrated from Colombo!There are only handful of real refugees.

    • 0
      0

      you dont know the difference between hallucination and delusions. dont use any words bigger than: saree, cock, children, hate, big cock, rape. The standard of these words are of you caliber.

  • 1
    0

    A simple solution of saying that Refugee is welcome back is not so much the problem for the PM but to get his think tank to investigate this human need to migrate and to find solutions to prevent his people from begging to stay elsewhere The comparison of wages that eneters into the minds of the people and why the dissatisfaction ?.The wages that seem low and the rise in the cost of living .The blocks in the path of higher education according to the potential and passion of the youth ..the broad based education to feel that the so called menial jobs too are a worthwhile for they carry a certificate backing to negotiate wages the class structures and the mobility aspired ..Yes Wages in keeping with world class evaluation of skills not the wages dictated by the investor .Wages to be happy with the family and feed the needs of the kids who hanker after the life of the rich on the silver screen in their shacks Minimum wages and a structure of award wage levels at a glance open for scrutiny and not left to the employer and the employee to negotiate .Another fact is the problem of the landless ?..Much more could be done to keep our people from the detention camps and leave the high fliers to the wander out .So many people go out from the the developed world and their is no labels ..Migration happens with the all animals for varied reasons ..but it need not happen with kids and vulnerable taking risks in the high seas in dingy boats to languish in detention centers

  • 1
    0

    I just read a very interesting article by the author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, in the English Guardian newspaper of 21 Nov 2014:

    “Mohsin Hamid: why migration is a fundamental human right”.

    I am on my mobile and cant copy the website but this is enough info to find the article which I recommend to readers here.

    • 2
      0

      manel fonseka

      Thanks here is the link:

      Mohsin Hamid: why migration is a fundamental human right

      Born in Pakistan and educated in the US, Mohsin Hamid has made a home in the UK. He explains why he longs for a world without borders

      https://www.theguardian.com/
      books/2014/nov/21/
      mohsin-hamid-why-migration-
      is-a-fundamental-human-right

      • 0
        0

        Thank you, Native Vedda

      • 0
        0

        Anyone in a third world Muslim country will jump to grab this idea, infinitely confident that none will come to their countries. That is pretty obvious. The question he should tackle is given the option will a Bangaladeshi choose idol worshiping India or pure Islamic Pakistan.

        The problem is not attempting to promulgate this kind of ideas, absolutely not, but a few fools in the targeted audience may get convinced.

        Soma

      • 0
        0

        Migration is a human right, Migrating and benefiting the tax system in a foreign country posing as a s refugee is cheating and depriving the opportunity for real refugees.

        It hurt when they call you refugee, does it?

    • 0
      0

      Manel, does he also justify the right to carry his baggage where ever he goes?

      Soma

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