10 December, 2019

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Open Letter To Dr Deepika Udagama, Chairperson, HRCSL

By Tush Wickramanayaka –

Tush Wickramanayaka

Conduct a Thorough and Impartial Investigation – Are you Serious?

Do you recall the helpless 11year old who was subjected to corporal punishment in school, isolated, called a buffalo, refused an eraser, refused a toilet break, refused participation in class activities resulting in mental breakdown?  No….?

How about the 11year old girl whose case file was taken home by Mrs Kusum Jayawardena, staff member at Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL), who divulged the information to family and school, which resulted in a cascade of events leading to severe mental abuse? Yes, of course you do….!

My complaint of corporal punishment at Gateway College, Negombo was accepted by HRCSL in January 2018. After commencing inquiries with Ministry of Education, Seeduwa Police and Board of Investment (BOI), the case was abandoned in April 2018 claiming that International Schools do not fall within the purview of Human Rights Commission. Obviously, this fact was known to those conducting the inquiries who were convinced of the severity of the incident, which prompted use of legitimate discretion to intervene promptly. However, it appears that HRCSL buckled due to external pressures. There has been no effort made to ensure that all students of Sri Lanka are protected by the Ministry of Education Circular No 12/2016 banning Corporal Punishment, currently applicable only to government schools causing stark discrimination against a large population of our children.

I made over five phone calls and 2 emails requesting an appointment to meet you, wrote three letters directly appealing to you, spent over three hours in one day at the Commission meeting various officials but I have not heard a murmur from you to date. Your lack of empathy is unfitting to hold such a prestigious public post, funded by tax payers like me.

I find your statement, “The Commission urgently calls for a thorough and impartial investigation” regarding the alleged abduction of Employee of Swiss Embassy, neither a government nor a private institution of Sri Lanka, hypocritical and laughable!

HRCSL Attains A Grade Accreditation – Are you Serious?

HRCSL was established via Act No 21 of 1996. There is no section on Conduct of Staff or Disciplinary Procedures relevant to Staff.

I complained to HRCSL on 29/01/2018. On 16/02/2018, Mrs Kusum Jayawardena shockingly confessed to taking my daughter’s case file home and divulging confidential information. This conversation was recorded by me. On 19/02/2018, Commissioner, Ambika Sathgunandan, whilst listening to the recorded conversation, held her head in utter disbelief of what she referred to as “Serious Breach of Confidentiality”. She admitted such serious professional misconduct had NEVER occurred at the Commission.

On 19/02/2018, I re-submitted a seven page complaint of the corporal punishment and a separate four page complaint regarding the “Serious Breach of Confidentiality”, requesting an urgent inquiry and appropriate disciplinary action.

A Staff Member of HRCSL commits a serious violation of Human Rights setting a new national record!

HRCSL Violates Paris Principles – Are you Serious?

Adopted in 1993 by the United Nations General Assembly, the Paris Principles require National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) to:

Protect human rights, including by receiving, investigating and resolving complaints, mediating conflicts and monitoring activities; and

Promote human rights, through education, outreach, the media, publications, training and capacity building, as well as advising and assisting the Government.

After months of failed communication, in July 2018, the Commission requested a copy of the call recording. I was hopeful and looking forward to finally be able to explain how an innocent child was subjected to inhumane mental abuse as a consequence of lapse of judgement by Mrs Kusum. I was determined to set a precedence in ‘lessons learned and reconciliation’ process where we could collectively act to avoid similar circumstances and spare the mental torture of victims and families.

However, I received a letter on 28/01/2019 from Secretary, HRCSL. “I wish to inform you that the matter was taken up at the board level of the Commission on 15/11/2018…The Board was of the opinion that Mrs Kusum had indeed discussed the complaint with her family members. Mrs Kusum was requested for explanation of the matter after which she explained herself and expressed remorse for her conduct. Hence the Board decided to close the matter…”

The matter was concluded without any opportunity for the complainant to attend the inquiry, there was no investigation made to the welfare of the victim, there was no mediation done to stop further abuse of the victim and there was no monitoring done to ensure the victim and family are spared of harassment.

HRCSL neither protects nor promotes the Human Rights of a child!

The Plot Thickens – Are you Serious?

Following the saga of events of ongoing harassment of the entire family, I complained to National Authority for the Protection of Victims of Crimes and Witnesses, established via Act No 4 of 2015.

Hamid Ghazali Hussain, Commissioner of HRCSL and Board Member of the Authority was a panellist at the special inquiry on 08/08/2019. He revealed that you and he were members of the Board that concluded Mrs Kusum’s case. Mr Hussain insisted that certain comments made by me expressing my displeasure at the way HRCSL mishandled my daughter’s case resulting in compromise of my child’s welfare were struck off the record. On 15/08/2019, at the third successive medical examination, it was concluded unequivocally that my daughter had suffered severe mental abuse at Gateway College. Even though the other two panelists have signed the final report, Mr Hussain has deliberately refrained to do so, preventing the prosecution of perpetrators. Please listen to attached call recording bellow:

At the dawn of a new political era, when the citizens are desperately clinging to the faintest hope of change, in a country riddled with corruption where the law is from a scene of a Western cowboy movie and justice is a scene from La-la Land, we hear the helpless explanation from a decent civil servant of the Authority, “apita wada ihalin inna ayata erehiwa karanna puluwan dewal seemithay” (we cannot take action against the people above us).

Your statement regarding the alleged Swiss Embassy incident, “Not only must justice be done on behalf of the young woman who may be traumatized …the larger issue of the need to reassure the public must also be addressed’, is ironic.

HRCSL requires an urgent and thorough clean up like the rest of the country!

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Latest comments

  • 8
    10

    IT is true. HRCSL seems very political and very corrupt. IT needs cleaning. Remover all the montessoris and begin Pajhala Balanshaya, Ihala Balanshaya, Shaastra and Shshtra method.

    • 1
      0

      If this kind incidents too happen in those “Anshabhagayas” you mentioned what will do crawling back to the montessoris eh?

    • 0
      0

      It is just the words, if they talk about IMPARTIAL investigation under an outfit, which proved to the world once, that they are even worst barbarians compared we got to see few in Ruwanda or the like tribal countries. ‘

      See, not even a month passed since the barbarians returned to power, the manner they treat MEDIA men today. Now the situation is u turning so quickly and people have been realizing that they were caught by the blatant lies which were spread across the country. ‘-

      Forensic report of COPE is blocked and parliament was prorogued not respecting parliamentary tradition where the PM appointed should get passed by the majority of parliamentarians – nevertheless the idiots continue as if we dont care about the laws. Is the COMMON wealth principles ? Not th eleast is respected by them – but make media displays by sending the message across that the govt is doing well.

      International media discuss loudly as they can, that the HURT made by some unknown underground men to SWISS embassy employee is against the human rights should have been safeguarded by a state.

      Even today, they GOVT make every effort to mislead the nation. Wait and see, how they would succeed.

      They would never change their nature…. Rajaakshes should be punished to bring this country to an order.

  • 1
    1

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  • 11
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    It is a disgrace and an insult to have employed such people. Did they do psychometric tests on these two before offering employment?

    • 0
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      Entire country is ruined by rascals and thuggery today. Just imagine, Kelaniya Temple is being created by the anscestors of Premier Ranil Wickramasinghe. But today, they the DAYAKA Sabawa is against RW be the president of that. How come ? The hand helped them to be bitten that way ?:

      All because that[edited out] hidden behind SIVURU as the chief incumbent is a condom supporter to Rajakashe gangsters. Lately, we got to see, the way, how the bugger CHIEF inumbent priest the way how he sowed blatant lies misleading the people of that Temple. People dont eat PUNNAKU to get misled that way. He may be eating punnaku being offered by Rajakashes ballige puthas to him. ‘

      People as worshipers get there are misled by that NAGAya to have brought RELICS to the temple. My gosh, what fool people live yet today in SRILANKA. They just believe anything that would come in the air.
      Nagaya was a tribe, but has nothing do to with reptiles. But the manner [edited out] Priest explained to themedia, made it big news. How come ? Why people are caught by SUCH blant lies in order BARBARIANS to be able to grab power ?

  • 1
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  • 13
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    Mrs.Wickramanayaka, I sincerely hope justice will be meted out for the cruelty to your son.

    Once that happens , please continue to write about other causes too.

    A well written article.

  • 1
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  • 2
    1

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  • 6
    9

    Hey lady,
    Is your real name Tush? tsk tsk

  • 7
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    Tush,
    I think that your letter is no different from Ajith Prasanna’s antics in from of the Swiss embassy. If you feel that HRCSL is not doing enough, what you should have done is not to ridicule the efforts to put pressure on the Gvt to inquire the abduction case, which itself is a very dangerous sign of potential continuation of past habits brutality, but to praise it while pointing out cases it may have missed. In any case, as far as I know, your personal case, despite the painful personal experience, has been attended in a fair manner. You also got the political mileage from it – your main intention from all these complains.

    In SL, HR violations by many responsible people -clergies included – occur daily totaling perhaps hundreds, if not thousands, daily. It is nearly impossible for HRCSL to attend all of them. It is important to remember that we had a situation once when not even high-profile cases were given proper attention for political reasons.

  • 6
    11

    Trash,
    =
    Would you please include the human rights of African Americans in America also to your list of the ‘denied’?
    =
    They are living worse than their slave ancestors, and get killed (while unarmed) by the racist white police on a daily basis.
    =
    Your ignorance seems to prevent seeing the human rights fraud in the correct light.
    =
    Get a life yourself!

  • 13
    7

    Well written up in English by Dr Tush Wickramanayaka, and the telephone conversation between her and a clerk at HRCSL shows them both using Sinhalese effectively.
    .
    We’ve been told so much about all this in articles on CT. Why doesn’t Tush Wickramanayaka quite simply move her child away from the hostile environment of her present school? Whatever this child suffered (while not being negligible) is little compared with what so many other kids in this country undergo.
    .
    I remember exaggerations and omissions. Reader comments sympathised by saying that there were no other suitable schools in the vicinity – Negombo! What came through to me was a sense of entitlement – an insistence, bordering on selfishness, for the best possible treatment for her child. Sometimes an individual’s predicaments could lead to improvements for all, but there was far too much about appeals to influential people and institutions with the woman in question hiding that she was the daughter of the late Prime Minister, Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka. I don’t think that there was any politics in the incidents per se, but the mother’s complaints were full of it.
    .
    If the main concern is the child, move her to a new school fast.

    • 6
      8

      Sinhala Man, Article 11 of The Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka guarantees that every citizen is entitled to live free of fear and inhumane treatment. Article 12 allows every citizen to be protected by the law and the law must be EQUAL to every citizen. Rich or poor, politician or beggar, man or child – EVERY citizen should be treated fairly. My familial composition has no bearing to the injustice to a
      helpless child. Did you ever wonder what benefit Gateway would achieve by dismissing this case? To make it simpler, did you wonder WHY would Gateway wish to avoid prosecution at all cost?

      • 2
        0

        I agree with all that. But do you really protest equally strongly when a beggar’s child is ill-treated?
        .
        I wouldn’t blame you for caring more for your own child, than for the child of another person.
        .
        What I mean to say is, “Haven’t you gone on long enough about this?”
        .
        It’s time to move on, and you’ve got to recognise that much more horrific things have happened in Sri Lanka. Relatively, yours is a privileged child, just as you had a privileged education in the Private Medical College at Ragama. Be happy about it. I’m not against private education; unfortunately, not many parents are willing to spend on Education. It is heartening to find parents spending on education. However, let us recognise that many parents are too poor to spend on education.
        .
        Oh my God, did I actually write the previous sentence? Nowadays, no child seems able to get anywhere without private tuition. I’ve been a teacher, now long retired, and I don’t approve of corporal punishment.
        .
        On the other hand, let me tell you that as a schoolboy I did receive some corporal punishment, but I don’t blame all my failures in life on those long-forgotten canings. However, I don’t attribute any success I’ve had in life, either, to being caned. We’d be better off without anybody meeting out such harsh treatment to another person.
        .
        But please get your perspectives right.

    • 2
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      Dear Dr Tush Wickramanayaka,
      .
      I’d like to have your comments on what I have already written below this one. You needn’t respond to what I’m going to write below.
      .
      I regard your father, and even your brother, Vidura, as being rather more honest with money than most other Members of Parliament. However, I don’t think that your father got where he did (i.e. Prime Minister) without, on many occasions, compromising on matters of principle. I considered him somewhat of a racist. My standards on that matter are admittedly rather extreme. Your father also had a well-known failing.
      .
      One of my grandmothers was a Wikramanayake. I don’t bother with such things, usually, but I do know that when it suits you, you claim kinship. I’m much clearer about my kinship with this much more affluent woman:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shemara_Wikramanayake

      I know that when it suits you, you trace your ancestry back to Baddegama, but there is all that stuff about the mahout’s beautiful wife entering it, so it’s difficult for a guy like me who’s a bit of a prol. in outlook, and even in circumstances, to get into all this.

      • 1
        0

        Dear Dr Tush Wickramanayaka,
        .
        For an “Open Letter” there is much here that is covert. Apart from your parentage, you’ve been pretty covert about that telephone call, which you have embedded in the article.

        Was the clerk aware that you were recording the conversation? I’m not sure what the law on such recordings is, but it was certainly not ethical to do so without her knowledge. Your Sinhalese transliteration is fine, but shouldn’t the English translation have been something like “the action that we can take against those above us is limited.” That woman certainly knew how to speak to a trouble-creater like you!
        .
        There’s pleny on your father on the web – and off it!
        .
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ratnasiri_Wickremanayake
        .
        I’m not too bothered about the differences in spelling the surname. I don’t want to read unwarranted things into it.

        • 0
          2

          Sinhala Man, i THOUGHT you would take the side of the victim ? What have been uttering here ? If you were the person to be treated this nature, how would u have been reacting ?
          Have you got personnel vendetta with this writer ?

          • 2
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            Dear babalawathie mudunkotuwa,
            .
            I did take the side of the victim
            when these reports first surfaced about two years ago. However, this has now become like the Sinhala proverb, “beggar’s wound”.
            .
            I’m operating only from memory. I have no say in what happens in this case, and I’m not going to go back to earlier articles by Tush on this subject. It’s somebody else who should take legal action regarding what has supposedly happened to this child. The mother for all her medical and other knowledge, her love, and the time spent on this case, should, perhaps, have been able to take effective action. As you rightly say, only she will know how much this child has suffered – I don’t. In a cursory sort of way, I have suggested that the child be moved to another school. Actually, it looks as though that has happened.
            .
            There are so many problems in this country. When attention was focussed on only one person, a great man asked derisively, “Who is Lasantha?” In the same way, I have asked, “Who is this TushW.”? I just don’t know this person or her child.
            .
            Could you please please research this yourself and tell me whatever from the past I should re-look at. If you expand the links that Tush has given “hancho pancha” you will see that there’s a week’s full-time work. Perhaps you haven’t looked. I did, got scared and gave up.
            .

      • 0
        0

        I’m sorry, Tush.
        .
        The way the comments by me have got arranged, it is the contents of the comment “above” that have to be addressed.
        .
        What appears below this represents an afterthought from late last night.
        .
        I’m not sure how I should unambiguously refer to them, but two of my comments have got far too personal, and may be said to be in bad taste. Please pardon me for those, but also note that they cam “very late in the day”, after you’d begun wearing your heart on your sleeve.

      • 1
        1

        Dear Ms Sinhala man,

        I trust your words regarding that ” Widhura ! who has now lost his nam for ever. Just having been able to watch two three discussion rounds where he was invited by SIRASA public forums (Satana or something), i thought Widura may have some respects, but now he is no different to that BALLIGE putha Wimal WEERAWANSA or GOD CHAIN hora Rohitha Abeygunawardhana.
        .
        See today how these bugger asa bunch has been doing reversing all the high values we enjoyed in this country during the last few years. Now that Ranathunga as the avia minister has been worsening it.

        In Europe, people dont have trust any more if they travel to srilanka as tourists.
        I think the tourist arrivals would go back as had been inthe days of Gota s brother. Thanks to good governance govt they achieved lot more in tourism and health sector, but all these will have to be overshadowed today.

    • 1
      2

      I dont think you are right here. The child psychology of any child is unique from the other. So if the damage made by them to the aforementioned child, is that huge, is only known to own mother. There it is not right MR SM you to underestimate it and ask her to get her an another school.
      Sure, you have seen lot more grievances being faced by poor children in this country, but telling something evasively and
      not taking legal action against the perpetrators should not have been the case also in this regard.

  • 8
    4

    HRCL is yet another white elephant. It is a green pasture land for some privileged cows. They do not bother to answer phone calls (phones ring no one to pickup), emails nor letters. All of them are a bunch of freeloaders having no duties to perform. Good at performing drama.

  • 1
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  • 2
    5

    Facts are stubborn comment is free. Who ever abducted the Embassy employee the act will have far reaching repercussions.bravo HRCOM.

    • 2
      4

      Appe Aanduwa is screwing up the case more and more. That is no strange as that is the only way Lankaweyans solve their cases. At least two times Tamil Prisoners in prisons murdered in massive scale. On time Sinhala Prisoners murdered the same way. These new developments can go up to plain clothed Rapist Army carrying out murders inside Swiss embassy and offering the heroism credit to Sinhala Buddhist up raising. I hear there is new court order to the woman to be present to the court and witness. The purpose of that is to establish the Lankawe’s sovereignty over all embassies in Colombo, other than Chinese managed Colombo Port and Hangbangtota.

  • 3
    1

    It appears that the Gateway College has opened its gates wide to allow the HRCSL to vanish away from performing their duties and obligations on Human Rights issues. HRCSL’s contention that they ” cannot take action against the people above us” is baffling.
    I wonder who took the IGP and Mr. Hemasiri to courts?. Was it the President himself?

  • 7
    0

    In Sri Lanka, if you don’t take the side of a complainant , they will allege corruption. We cannot hold inquiries into these matters on a public forum. May be this lady should take the matter before a court of law .
    However I hope Ms. Udugama gave her version to the papers for the sake of integrity of the commission.

  • 5
    3

    Deepika jumped on the bandwagon without hesitation as I see it.We do not know whether this incident really happened,whether it is a fabrication by this alleged victim to gain asylum in Switzerland.There are 43000 Tamil Asylum seekers who have obtained citizenship according to official information.Out of this how many LTTE cadres and their families now live there.Why is the Swiss embassy hampering investigations?Is it because they are powerful ?We know some time ago there were demonstrations in Switzerland against Tamil refugees.We can guess who is behind this ?Discredit the Sri Lankan Government under the new president.Why not Ms Udagama speak and act regarding human rights of the workers,especially women who go to middle eastern countries for employment to earn a few dollars?

    • 1
      1

      Well said. My thoughts exactly.

  • 4
    0

    This Human rights commission has said nothing or done anything about the gross violation of human rights abuses taking place at our state universities in the name of ragging. They maintain “I hear nothing, I saw nothing” attitude about this abuse of hapless undergraduates at the hands of sadistic thugs. Sexual assault is also common in this barbaric acts of students unions affiliated to the Peratugami party. No wonder they received only around 8000 votes at the presidential election. This is less than one third of the undergraduate population of our universities! At least the Human rights commission can issue a statement condemning this brutal activity.

  • 7
    1

    To the compassionate in you – Both children are out of Gateway but only time will tell the true aftermath of the mental abuse my child suffered. Through out this roller coaster journey in pursuit of justice, just as I feel a faint of hope, I am choked by the absolute corruption of the people I most respect. I rise up ever more determined and my indefatigable efforts will continue for the greater good.

    To the critic in you – one of the most painful experiences of a mother is to witness their child being unhappy or unwell. As the epitome of a law abiding citizen who has NEVER misused the “privilege”, I still live in hope that law and justice would actually mean something in the sunny isle that I grew up and live through. The fact that you commented, whether negative or positive, means you care. I value that.

    To the intelligent in you – when anarchy prevails and the country is at the threshold of lawlessness what should the citizens who live in Sri Lanka do?

  • 2
    1

    Human rights applies ONLY to those designated by the Western countries as the official “victims”. And as such a boy with the sinhala name is not a victim.

    [Edited out]

  • 1
    1

    It’s been apparent right from the start highly unsuitable ppl have been appointed to this ‘white elephant’ commission. All it appears to do is jump up and down to show off its existence, and on matters which are not even within their purview. Any govt appointed commisson may give guidance or assistance to the govt when requested, but THIS commission blasts forth with ‘advice’ and commandments even to the President of the Republic of Sri Lanka, unasked !!! (Prez Sirisena getting quite angered by it all !). It is ridiculous to see it go where it should not tread, believing itself to be some superior judicial forum which can go so far as to issue dictats even relating to foreign embassies, and when the matter is not yet clearly made out ! What can you expect from a HR commission where its Head has no idea about the difference between humanitarian acts and Human Rights ??? Pathetic !

    • 0
      1

      OMG, very well said. Plundering and pillage is the SINhala way of life.

      • 0
        0

        Is it? What is the Tamil way, the Muslim way racist?

  • 3
    3

    Tush Wickramanayaka

    Conduct a Thorough and Impartial Investigation – Are you Serious?

    *** Do you remember the thousands of Tamils who disppeared who Gotha said are gone forever and stop looking.

  • 0
    0

    HRCSL is not impartial. I had a case where the inquiring officer accepted my case at the inquiry, but I received a vague reply. My appeals and registered letters did not receive any reply.

    • 0
      0

      Your comment doesn’t suggest partiality. It points to ineffectiveness.
      .
      Funny how the sets of vogue words keep changing.

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