20 September, 2020

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The Rajapaksa State Barricades The NPC

By Kumar David

Prof Kumar David

Prof Kumar David

Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran (CV) has enunciated a bitter testament of what it is like to run a provincial administration under the Rajapakse semi-dictatorship. I will quote from his statement anon. The seven UPFA Provincial Councils (PC) are phonies who stand up when told to, and squat when so instructed. The government treats them like spittoon bearers not administrations. Hence they are inept, riddled with scandal and incapable of regional development. Many dismiss the PC system as a monumental waste of money that delivers no useful output; this is true since they have zero autonomy and function as pliant instruments of Temple Trees. As long as PCs remained docile the problem was buried, but the birth of the Northern PC (NPC) upset the totalitarian apple cart. Anything that doesn’t cringe when the autocrat cracks his whip, obviously and by definition, is anathema. This is what has now come to pass in the North.

May I remind readers of what I said in this column on 11 August when election preparations were underway? My concern was an impending challenge, that is wilful obstruction by Centre, Governor, and a military accustomed to aggressive interference in civilian affairs. A second point I drew attention to was demilitarising the North and ending its de facto status as if occupied by an alien force. Third was recruiting talented people to build an energetic, able and efficient administration. CV has now bitterly complained of a deliberate and gigantic roadblock placed in his way by Centre and Governor in all three matters. A subculture of obedience to the military has so penetrated the sinews of serving provincial staff, he says, that his work programmes are obstructed. The implications are very far reaching; potentially catastrophic. Let me next offer you a few quotations from CV’s 10 December statement edited for length. (The full statement is on the Colombo Telegraph website).

Incapacitating the NPC

“The Provincial Council System was identified as a means to devolve power, but 13A strengthened the Executive President (EP) and widened his powers. The Governor is the representative of EP; no appointment is possible within the Province without his approval. From Secretary to minor employee, it is the Governor who holds the whip hand. Though the law says the Chief Secretary shall be appointed by the President with the concurrence of the Chief Minister, the present Chief Secretary was not appointed in conformity with the law. She did not resign when the new Administration came in; neither did other Secretaries”.

“It is the former Jaffna Armed Forces commander who has taken on the mantle of Governor. He goes on unhindered as if the Army is administering the Northern Province. Officials of the Provincial Council fear to cooperate with the Peoples’ Representatives. They shudder to displease a former Army Commander and present Governor”.

“We have not been able to present a single Statute to the Council as the Administration lacks high level human resources and institutional arrangements. It is by passage of time that the present cadre of senior officers got to where they are. We are unable to expect high efficiency and proficiency in certain quarters. There is no system by which we can induct high level human resources. Twenty odd years of military rule has trained our officers to act parrot-like and do things as they are told to do. There is a gap in the capacity for governance and development inside and outside the Administration”.

The TNA was absolutely right to contest the elections, win in a landslide to give utterance to the voice and soul of the Tamil people, and now to expose before the whole world what a farce Rajapakse style devolution is, and what “decentralised” administration in the tomb of a totalitarian government is like. CV once again makes the point incisively.

“Only by standing for election could we bring to the notice of the world the feelings and aspirations of the people and show that the Government was portraying a false picture. In the election people were able to proclaim their disapproval to the Government and of the military presence in the Northern Province. Second, without power, without authority in our hands, to proclaim insufficiencies in the Thirteenth Amendment at colloquiums and seminars made no impact on Government or International Community. By establishing ourselves in authority and experiencing the short comings in reality, we can tell the world what is really happening. That is what we are doing. Rather than say the Thirteenth Amendment is insufficient, we are exposing its shortcomings while established in office”.

There is nothing the NPC can achieve if its actions are curbed and it has to kowtow to the government. Breaking free of these fetters is sine qua non for any PC to get on with its job; sans this, it is as good as dead. The regime wants to starve, frustrate and drive the NPC out of office since it is Tamil and since it refuses to genuflect to the Rajapakses.

Recently the TNA made headway in appealing directly to the people in the south over the heads of the despised UPFA leadership. Now here is an issue on which it is more important than ever to make a direct appeal to the Sinhalese people. The message has to be: “You don’t want us to talk Eelam; you don’t want the country divided. Fine, that suits us too, but give us a chance to run our affairs, create a decent, honest, development oriented PC and to improve the lot of our people. Everyone knows that if this is sabotaged there will be disastrous conflict again”. Neither the portfolio besotted poltroons of the Dead Left, nor spineless Hakeem and his graft infested SLMC be of any help. Will the UNP, JVP and Peratugami help? I don’t know; we will have to wait and see.

Pro-LTTE quarters at home and in the diaspora are pleased that the NPC has hit a snag; they pray that deadlock worsens till there comes a point at which they can say to the Tamils: “See, devolution and political settlement within one country is an illusion; Eelam is the only way.” It is wrong to jump to this premature conclusion. This is Mandela season; recall that Madiba persevered through horrendous obstacles, created by none other than the state, until he finally triumphed.

International intervention

It was concerted intervention by the International Community and Delhi that made NPC elections possible. The regime’s fallback plan is now obvious. ‘OK’, think the Rajapakses, ‘you can force us to hold elections and let the TNA form an administration, but humph, you cannot stop us from buggering it afterwards’. Since Sinhalese opinion will mature only slowly it is imperative that international pressure be brought to bear now. Intervention has to include enforcing guarantees given to the UNHRC and Delhi and implementing promises made by the President on many occasions.

In that August 11 piece I said: “From its inception, the NP-PC will be a living arena in which 13A will be tested beyond its limits and towards 13A+. India and the international community are vital in protecting the PC and extending its powers towards real devolution, not the make-believe faked by UPFA slave-councils. When repression is highlighted, internationally, by elected representatives of a people it has more impact than individual or political exposure. When regimes coerce minorities they only undermine their own sovereignty and invite intervention. Repression by Rajapakse’s forces will be a flashpoint once the NP-PC starts work”. I am no prophet, but this is just how things have turned out and CV’s statement mirrors these concerns.

That the Tamil diaspora in the UK was a major factor in motivating Cameron to demand an investigation into human rights and war crime issues, is not disputed. But this is a protracted contest and raising it at the UNHRC in March 2014 will only be symbolic; at most it will bury the reputation of the Rajapakses a little deeper. The more important task which will have immediate benefits, if it gains traction, is international pressure on GoSL to stop blockading the work of the NPC. It will be easy to secure British, American and Western support. In Thailand the all powerful military is wary of taking sides in the conflict in Bangkok “because the international community is watching closely”. China which is reluctant, despite its new turn on human rights issues, to go after the Rajapakses explicitly, will be amenable to a progressive stance on devolution. The Chinese system endows Provinces with economic power and as the Bo Shilai case illustrates a significant amount of political autonomy. The international factor is of huge importance in determining outcomes in Lanka.

The elephant in the room is India. As electoral uncertainty shifts bets from Congress to BJP Hindu-saffron tinged with AIADMK black-and-red, influencing India becomes vital. Both Congress-led and BJP-led AIADMK-inclusive governments, will be receptive to CV’s pleas (who will not?). More important, now is the time to make the limitations of 13A clear. It is timely to commence a campaign for 13A+ and delineate the specific changes needed. The GTF, described as the most influential diaspora outfit, as well as the others, have their work cut out for 2014!

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Latest comments

  • 2
    6

    Well, I really do understand the problem Santa Claus. Although many like you seem to miss the point. No one is against devolution are they really hmm?? Its quite simple really. Things such as econimics, finance, sports, marine resources and the justice system can be devolved matters easilly. There are others that are controversial. All it needs is particpation in PSA without pre-conditions isn;t it. Start with a brand new canvas and create the system from ground-up without bringing the past.

    TNA/TULF/FP has been avoiding the reality since Lord Solbury constitution. Mahinda was not even in Parliment. This is not a problem of Mahinda Rajapaske’s creation is it really?

  • 10
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    Indeed, the ROT starts at the TOP, at the Center of the CORRUPT AND CRIMINAL Rajapassa regime and has TRICKLED DOWN to every corner of Sri Lanka which today is a morally and intellectually bankrupt polity.

  • 1
    12

    Is Dr Kumar also sucking up to Cameron on behalf of the LTTE proxy TNA and their ally the Reverend?.

    Vellala CM wants the Military out of the North and a new TNA Police Force .That is the main game and that is what is in the LTTE agenda which , the CM was kind enough to present to the Northern inhabitants.

    Northern inhabitants earning a proper living now , sending their kiddies to school instead of early childhood Military training,and not garlanding young women with Cyanide capsules mean nothing tor the Vellala rulers.

    If the other seven CMs also played the same spoilt sport like the Vellala CM , Dr Kumar and his NGO buddies will be happy.

    And Dr Kumar’s new ally Cameron might even contemplate forming a “Spring Army” of hired guns.

    • 0
      1

      concern for Tamil children very touching !
      Reminds me of an Aesop fable about a lamb and a wolf

  • 0
    0

    Such,

    Please read this first before we talk about TNA and NPC devolution.

  • 5
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    Devolution as originally envisaged was for the devolution of power for the Tamil speaking peoples of the north and east. Due to political expediency and to centralize power in the president there has been a proliferation of mini administrations in all the provinces with a surfeit of devolution, corruption and expenditure resulting in the idea of devolution being counterproductive, superfluous and a drain on the resources. These were not meant to be taken seriously as long as the Rajapaksas were kept happy. Here is a CM in Wigneswaran who takes his role seriously and is keen on delivering as per his duties and responsibilities. He faces numerous obstacles as designed by the Sinhala polity led by the Sri Lankan military. His position is unenviable in that he has reached an impasse as early as this. This is not only his problem but that also of the Tamil people. Bensen

    • 7
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      Bensen Burner,

      THere is a Tamil proverb, which says: Fermenting dough is good for the hopper.

      In the NPC, our friend Mahinda the Great and his army are fomenting trouble for the NPC for the watchful international community to see: When they realize that the Sri Lankan state and its rulers won’t allow freedom and autonomy for the Tamils they can take the appropriate action for Tamils to rule themselves.

  • 2
    6

    Other provincial councils run well. Only this racist Tamil NPC has problems.

    Never forget SL is not India.

    Tamils in Colombo can go to Jaffna and then we can have devolution. Not otherwise. If there is another 1983 riot, India will ship all Tamils out of Colombo to Jaffna and then there can be some devolution.

    • 2
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      Fart fuku

      When you going back to your homeland Arabia?

  • 8
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    Whilst the NCP is struggling to find its feet and move forward we observe that the Executive is silent on these issues affecting the people. His henchman the Military Governor makes various condescending statements.

    There seems to be no will to devolve power other than to have everything under the control of the Executive and his siblings. The remedy lies with India and the International Community.

  • 0
    3

    I beg to differ from safa bunsen burner and thiru. Laws have been enacted and vested into people of srilanka as vibushana says.therefore NPC should act without complaining about military.
    Furthermore discard the vellala leaders in NPC as per my good friend sumana. This should get rid of NPC and we can a homogenous society.

  • 2
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    ”…. The main topic that figured at the discussions was the powers of the Governor of a Provincial Council. Most Governors in carrying out their duties fall in line with the views of the Board of Ministers headed by the Chief Minister But Education Minister of the Eastern Provincial Council complained that their Governor(a retired military official) has become a stumbling block to the smooth functioning of the Provincial Ministries including his. …….‘’ – Are Provincial Councils a White Elephant?, http://www.nation.lk/2011/02/20/newsfe5.htm

  • 7
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    Mahinda allowed the Provincial council elections just to please the International community that he has given the devolution of powers to the Tamils!!! He was hoping that his party will win by exerting SUPPRESSION, BRIBE, THUGGERY in short by every available illegal means. He also had a plan B in case his party did not win. That is to have Wigneswaran as a figure head, and continue ARMY RULE as usual.

    He is very good at pinching the baby and rocking the cradle!! I wonder how far he can go with this type of THUGGISH ADMINISTRATION!! May be he can continue to manage to BRIBE the UN with all the stolen wealth from the country!!

  • 3
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    Truth,
    I agree with you. He is a good actor and experienced cheater. His key to the success is bribe and thuggery. However, I don’t think he can go on for ever like this and I am sure he will face the reality not only by anyone other than from the affected Sinhala Buddhist.

  • 4
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    Thank you Kumar David. A true report of the ground situation that I am observing from the ground. As always you write without any ambiguity.

  • 2
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    “Since Sinhalese opinion will mature only slowly it is imperative that international pressure be brought to bear now”

    I feel that the Sinhalese opinion will NEVER MATURE!!! They are so much brain washed by the Sinhalese politicians, the saffron clad(bogus Bikhus)
    and the un-employed catchers, who will do anything for a parcel of rice, the average sinhalese thinks that all the ILLS of the country is due to the Tamils!! They think that once the Tamils are eradicated the country is going to be the “miracle of asia” They do not have the education or the brains to figure out that Sri Lanka is going down the hill, because of their own leaders and the BOGUS BIKHUS!!Budhism is being traded by the politicians and Bikhus!!!

  • 0
    4

    IF all the Tamils go back to their motherland Tamilnadu, they have every thing theirs.

    Why Tamils are suffering in Sri Lanka ?

    Why wignesawaran is not asking Tamils to move back to their motherland ?

    • 5
      0

      why dont you also move back to you mother land which is also India.

      The problem you may have is that your current language Sinhala is extinct in India so you have to find out what was your mother tounge before your ancestors migratedto Sri Lanka.

      You may well find its Tamil!

      The Tami Language and culture is propspering world over

      • 3
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        Well said. I completely agree with you. Who knows they might demand “Sinhala only in 24 hours” there also!

    • 0
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      Jim softly

      Why Vigneswaran is not asking Tamils to move back to their motherland Eelam?

  • 5
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    Kumar David has given a balanced and true viewof the NPC situation. In contrast DBS Jeyaraj has given a very biased report to which I am responding as foloows:

    An open letter to D.B.S. Jeyaraj

    Your 10 page essay is like that of a paid advocate defending murderers. In your wisdom, you have given copious criticisms of the elected Tamil Justice Wigneswaran, but none for the ex military Singhalese governor. Your integrity is questionable.. Don’t you think Chandrasri and Rajapakse also need your wisdom? You seem to presume that Chandrsri and Rajapakse are infallible and can do no wrong and only Justice Wigneswaea and TNA have to correct themselves.

    The truth is that it is the story of the Singhalese wolf and Tamil lamb. What you are doing is trying to find justification for the wolf to devour the Tamil lamb. You have assumed the role of a sycophant. Pray tell me what do you gain by your type of journalism. Rajapakse tried to deny the people of the North, their rights to autonomy, but was forced by India to hold the elections. Having held the elections, he is now doing all in his powers to scuttle it, and people like you are giving him a smoke screen.

    Below are reasons why Governor Chandrasri should have gone long ago and should do so without further delay.:

    On September 21, 2013 the Northern Tamils voted and said NO, loud and clear, to the administration of Governor Chandrasri and Rajapakse government. They said enough is enough. Chandrsri had been the military commander of Jaffna and had been instrumental in many Tamil deaths. He was commandant of the concentration camps where 300,000 Tamil civilians who surrendered, were incarcerated behind barbed wire and Singhalese armed guards in inhuman conditions, without toilets and running water. After the LTTE surrendered on May 19, Chandrasri served as Governor of Northern Province, during which time many Tamils were abducted in white vans and killed mercilessly by army and paramilitary thugs. Chandasri is an accused war criminal against whom there is a prima facie case, which has to be investigated. You are pretending not to know these facts. Why should not TNA as the people’s representative ask for his removal.? You cannot deny that he is a military man

    Chadrasri, as governor had openly supported government candidates, which is highly improper. Any respectable man would have resigned as soon as the election verdict was known, but this accused criminal clings on like a leech, and makes mattes difficult for he Chief Minister. His departure is long overdue. You have an agenda in holding a brief for Chandrasri, and you should come clean. He has Tamil blood on his hands and should go.

    You blame the diaspora as if TNA and Wigneswaran are not capable of making their own decisions. This is a pet subject and litany of the Singhalese extremists, which you are parroting. According to the constitution, a governor can be removed by the provincial council. The NPC has passed a resolution to that effect; so should you not advise Chandrsri to go ? Why not ? Does not the will of the people prevail ?

    You know the standing of Justice Wigneswaran and Chandrsri. The former is a man of impeccable record. The latter is an accused war criminal given immunity my the corrupt Rajapakse government. Why do you expect Wigneswaran to keep going for dialogue with Chandrasri for everything. Why don’t you ask Chandrsri to have dialogue with Justice Wigneswaran. Should the elected Chief Minister go to the governor every time a decision has to be made. Shouldn’t the governor let the Chief Minister run the province for the benefit of the people,

    What is wrong with NPC establishing departments of housing and transport ? Why is Chandrsri up in arms against it. Is he correct in summoning NPC staff and warning them not to carry out orders of the Chief Minister. Chandrsri should have had a dialogue with Chief Minister if he had any doubts. Is it not wrong for the governor to give counter instructions and undermine the discipline of the staff. On the contrary, you have given an unsolicited clean character certificate to Chandrsri.

    You mention that the NPC Chief Secretary R. Viyayalakshmi, who is only taking orders from Governor Chadrsri and refusing to co operate with the Chief Minister is granddaughter of
    Vaithilingam Durasamy. Does that give her a halo of sanctity and infallibility. Is she not an opportunist pandering to Singhalese chauvinism. ?

    You are saying because TNA decided to support Sarath Fonseka as President, which was because they had to chose the lesser evil, now TNA cannot ask for the removal of an accused war criminal. You are going out of the way to hold a brief for an accused criminal Chandrasri. What is your motive.?

    You say that President wanted to do this and that. The whole world knows what a dishonest man he is, changing his word and going back on his promises. You are painting the president as a nice well meaning man whereas he is cheating the Tamil people. Why cannot Rajapakse appoint a Tamil or a Singhalese civilian as a governor with the concurrence of the Chief Minister ? It is you who are engaged in cheap journalism.

    You are saying that army and the ex military governor have to be eased out slowly. Did Rajapakse promise to do that ? He has publicly said that he will not remove the army from the north. So you are conveying wrong and misleading information to the reading public. You say that other provincial councils have averted friction. Are you so dumb as not to know that the whole problem is that Singhalese do not want to give powers to a Tamil province. In your wisdom don’t you realize that Chandrasri is a military man, and Rajapakse should never have appointed him as governor of Northern Province. At least after the election he should have been removed. You are giving lame excuses for the sabotaging actions of Chandrasri and Rajapakse

    Are you not aware that Rajapakse was trying to scrap provincial councils to prevent Tamils having a little autonomy and Manmohan Singh had to force him to hold NPC elections. Don’t you know that Chandrsri is hell bent on preventing NPC from delivering their promises to the Tamil people. This is triumphalism. Acceeding to people’s request cannot be described as ‘caving in’. That is democracy. What is his problem in acting on the wishes of Tamil people in their own traditional home. Are the Singhalese justified in showing their arrogance to the Tamil minority and do you have to hold ‘pantham’.

    If Chandrsri wants to show that he has the whip hand and he will run the show, then what is the use of having elections. Where is the devolution and where is the reconciliation.
    What is your objective in asking the Chief Minister to go cringing after Chandrasri when he is causing so much problems. An elected Chief Minister deserves more respect. Don’t you think that Tamils need to be treated with some self respect. Justice Wigneswaran was justified in refusing to sit and co chair meetings with a man like Douglas Devananda, who has criminal records. Douglas Devanada wants to sanitise himself by sitting with Justice Wigneswaran.

    I can only request you not to indulge in partisan and low level journalism to earn a living.

    • 3
      0

      Thanks Mr Makenthiran . I agree with ” low level journalism to earn a living.”
      His ( David Buell Sabapathy Jeyaraj )Email: dbsjeyaraj@yahoo.com

    • 3
      0

      Makenthiran,
      Good of you to call DBSJ’s bluff.
      DBSJ has sold his soul and integrity to Mahinda Rajapakse in return for what, will soon be known.

    • 3
      0

      From the inception in the mid-1980s, the crying need was a PC for the Tamil majority areas. JRJ knew that. But by that time his position was
      challenged by the Sinhala hawks in his own Cabinet he was afraid to allow internal devolution only to the Tamils. One of his dis-advantages then was he had little equation with the Mahanayakas, while the hawks in his Cabinet later did. This resulted in the other 8 Provinces – that never asked for it nor had any reasons for – being saddled with what became duplicate governance at a huge bill to the State now described as White Elephants both by friend and foe.

      Will the Rajapakses with their advantage of the Mahanayakas (more than 2 now) being with them – and a mute Parliament guaranteeing him much more than 2/3rds – gather the nerve to dissolve the other 8 PC’s and do the right and practical thing in giving life to the NPC. While the
      suggestion may sound bizarre giving it a try can save the country a great deal of money and a trip down the road to early reconciliation. There is little doubt such a bold step will have the support of India, the UN, E/U, Japan and our other friends in the IC.

      Senguttuvan

    • 0
      0

      Dear Makenthiran,
      DBSJ moved away from his views, criticising TNA not going to help. When he last criticised mahinda and his thugs….don’t you think its shows some thing….

    • 0
      0

      DBSJ is paid for what he writes. Poor man, he too has to make a living no?

      Sengodan. M

  • 0
    1

    Dissolve the NPC.

  • 2
    0

    Fathima Fukushima wants Thamils in Colombo to go back to Jaffna. That is fine. But before that let us get the Sinhalese settlers at state expense be taken out of Northeast. The Colombo Thamils are state sponsored settlers. They have established themselves on their own. Three quarter of them live in rented homes belonging to the Sinhalese. As for Sumanasekera he always write at a tangent. He calling CV Wigneswaran a vella CM is arrant nonsense. In that case the Siyam Buddhist chapters are caste based. The Siyam Nikaya grants Higher ordination only to the Radala and Govigama castes from the time of the Kings of Sri Lanka, giving lie to the myth there is no caste system among Buddhists. Because of the domination of Radala and Govigama,the Salagama caste (Thamils brought by the Dutch to peel cinnammon)founded their own Amarapura nikaya. The caste based discrimination made many Karava, Salagama, Durava, Bathgama & other castes considered as low to covert themselves as Catholics & Anglicans. The Siyam Nikaya as custodians of the Tooth Relic have always received the full support and patronage of the Govigama dominated Sri Lankan State and its Ministers and Ministries of Buddha Sasana and Cultural Affairs. None of the mainstream Sinhala parties have a non-govigama as leaders. Colvin R de Silva could not become the leader of the LSSP because of his low birth. The only notable exception is Ranasinghe Premadasa. The monopolisation of the lord Buddha’s tooth relic by the Radala Govigama combination on caste based lines have brought shame to Buddhism in Sri Lanka,which resembles the white apartheid rule in South Africa. In apartheid South Africa where only the whites were able to enjoy the fruits of government. one of his discourses the lord Buddha had specifically mentioned against caste based discrimination.During the late 19th century when buddhism was at the brink of extinction,due to Christian missionaries & the British government,it was a Salagama caste Amarapura nikaya buddhist monk,

  • 2
    0

    A note to DBSJ.

    I have not seen what SM is referring to. If that is so, you are
    one of the worst with a Tamil Name. Why not call yourself as
    Jeyarajana and get onto the payroll of Rajapaksas?

    Tony Francis

  • 2
    0

    This is what contained in the letter which Mandela Madhiba had sent to Mahinda Rajapaske:

    “Unfortunately, too little has happened since the end of war in Sri Lanka. Lasting reconciliation; upholding the rule of law; protection of human rights: it is difficult to feel positive about any of these essential objectives today. The impeachment in January of the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice, Shirani Bandaranayake, was a particularly disturbing sign that the authorities do not plan to tolerate dissent or disagreement. …There has, furthermore, been almost no meaningful action to implement the LLRC’s recommendations ….There needs to be an independent and credible international investigation into alleged violations of human rights perpetrated by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and other rebel factions in the final months of the civil war …”

  • 2
    0

    Yes what the whole country needs is the restoration of democracy and this can be done if the LLRC Recommendations on Governance are implemented. At a minimum the 18th Amendment will have to be repealed and the Independent Commissions set up under the former Constitutional Council.

  • 0
    0

    Well written view point, Kumar. Congratulations!

    Sengodan. M

  • 0
    0

    The following will be of use to us very much:

    ”this is a political crisis and urgently needs to be dealt with through political dialogue” – Deputy Secretary-General’s press conference on Rights up Front Action Plan, New York, 19 December 2013,
    http://www.un.org/sg/dsg/dsgoffthecuff.asp?nid=270

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