25 July, 2021

Blog

What Is Terribly Missing In High Commissioner’s Report?  

By Laksiri Fernando –

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

What is terribly missing is the necessity of reconciliation. Further, there is no other constructive analysis or recommendation in the Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Almost all others are negative, destructive, or punitive. There are 11 recommendations prescribed to the Government of Sri Lanka, but nothing on the question of devolution, the Provincial Council (PC) system, or holding of elections to the PCs as soon as possible. Why? 

This is surprising in a context where the present government or the last government have failed to hold elections to the nine Provincial Councils. They are at present defunct as people’s representative councils particularly affecting the regions and remote provinces where people are largely minorities, poor, and without basic amenities. The terms of office of the nine provinces ended in the following order. 

Sabaragamuwa and Eastern – September 2017

North Central – October 2017

Central, North Western, and Northern – September 2018 

Southern and Western – April 2019

Uva – September 2019  

The Provincial Council system was introduced to the Constitution of Sri Lanka in 1987 through the 13th Amendment (13A) with an understanding and agreement between the Sri Lankan and the Indian governments as a way of reconciliation to the minority-majority problems, devolution and taking care of the people affected by too much centralization of the administration and financial resources. In a recent visit to Colombo, India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar has raised the issue again with his counterpart, Dinesh Gunawardena, in a friendly and a constructive manner.  

Under the PC system, the Tamil community could administer at least one council (the Northern), if not two (Northern and Eastern), and influence several others (Central, Western and Uva). The Muslim community could administer or influence another council (the East) in partnership with the Sinhalese or the Tamils. All depend however on how the people use their franchise and the representatives behave after that. 

The failure to hold elections to the provincial councils is a fundamental human rights question or a violation at present that the Office of the High Commissioner has completely failed to understand. Sri Lankans have the right to exercise franchise at three levels: local, provincial, and national. Any breach in this respect at any level is a fundamental violation of rights. It is possible that the High Commissioner or her advisors have gone along with the extremist sections of the Tamil community who expresses the view that provincial councils are useless for their purposes. 

When C. V. Vigneswaran (a judge turned politician!) was the Chief Minister of the Northern Provincial Council (2013-2018) he used it for his extremist political objectives without utilizing the opportunities to serve the people or to pursue reconciliation. He formed a new party and passed a genocide resolution 2015. The Office of the High Commissioner perhaps is going in that direction. All these are extremist politics. These are some reasons why the people particularly in the South have some misgivings on the provincial council system on their part. Of course, the Sinhala extremists are also against provincial councils advocating an extremely centralized unitary state. 

Otherwise, the PC’s are the best institutions to address the grievances of the minorities, the rural people, and the marginalized sections of the Sri Lankan society without harming the rights of the majority. Of course, there are certain limitations and technical difficulties in the laws and administration. These should be and could be sorted out through negotiations, reforms, and cooperation. In my opinion, the vision that could be followed is cooperative devolution. This means the cooperation between the center and the provinces through formal meetings, discussions, and dialogue. 

A cooperative devolution model also does not exclude the possibility of strengthening the center or national security to prevent extremism and possible terrorism. When the matters like education, health and regional development are devolved, the national government has more opportunities to focus on security, national economic development, international relations and shipping and trade in the present context.        

The Finance Commission is an important element in the devolution architecture. As Article 154R (3) of the Constitution says, “The Government shall, on the recommendation of, and in consultation with, the Commission, allocate from the Annual Budget, such funds as are adequate for the purpose of meeting the needs of the Provinces.” The principles on which these allocations should be implemented are explained very clearly as follows (para 5). 

The Commission shall formulate such principles with the objective of achieving balanced regional development in the country, and shall accordingly take into account – (a) the population of each Province; (b) the per capita income of each Province; (c) the need, progressively, to reduce social and economic disparities; and (d) the need, progressively, to reduce the difference between the per capita income of each Province and the highest per capita income among the Provinces.”             

Unfortunately, the potential of the provincial councils has never been utilized properly by anyone in the North or the East. It is more unfortunate that the current Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has completely ignored the principles of devolution and the provincial council system in Sri Lanka. If there were any positive recommendation to the government in the Report, a priority should have been given on the provincial council system and holding elections with mutual understanding between all communities as soon as possible. 

‘Be positive and be constructive, without being politically bias’ are the simple advices that the people could offer to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.     

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 5
    1

    Prof. Laksiri says “question of devolution, the Provincial Council (PC) system, or holding of elections to the PCs as soon as possible. Why? “
    Why is Laksiri being coy about the fact that the government itself wants to abolish the PC’s ?
    In any case, if the PC’s were introduced as a measure of self-government for the Tamils, why are there seven totally useless PC’s in Sinhala areas? The central govt has never been sincere in its attitude to devolution, simply playing along to delude the Indians.

    • 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

      • 2
        0

        Laksiri, there is nothing missing in High Commissioner’s report because UNHCR is concerned with Human rights and not political rights. What is terribly missing is your ability to accept truth, due to clouding of your thinking by racism. How can there be reconciliation when Sinhalese are denying the truth about their crimes and refusing to grant justice to Tamils

    • 1
      4

      old codger,
      Why should the Central Government be sincere for something imposed on them by a foreign country?
      Provinces are a creation of Brits for their administrative purposes. Sri Lanka should erase Provincial boundaries from the map.
      —–
      “The central govt has never been sincere in its attitude to devolution,”

      • 2
        0

        Eagle,
        “Why should the Central Government be sincere for something imposed on them by a foreign country?”
        I suppose you wish foreigners hadn’t imposed blouses on buxom Sinhalayo females?

    • 1
      0

      LF s real face became to the world during that 52 day fake govt which was forced to form by Polonaruwe donkey remember ?
      .
      Since then, I dont have the least respect to this man. I really dont know these men would not see it right. Today, entire world is turning against us the srilanken, just because Rajapakshes only misled the gullible of this country, promising palatable to them.
      But nothing is achieved for the last 15 months even if entire family became even more powerful giving all licence the racal family to continue the loot which GOOD goavernance suspended for period of 4.5 years.

      People made to believe their utter lies for their political survival. Whenever anyone would stand against them, would have to count with the unexpected. Now with Former US Ambassador Stephen Rapp, setting secrets of them into air, they would make every effort to introduce conspiracy theories.

    • 0
      1

      Old Codger
      +50% of Tamil speaking people are living outside NE and they have consistently demonstrated that Sinhala Buddhist environment is far superior to a Tamil only enclave.
      1)
      Despite intense propaganda of discrimination, violence, loot, rape, murder or even genocide not a SINGLE TAMIL FAMILY who lived among the Sinhalese in the South during or after the war has relocated the residence to Jaffna.
      2)
      When arrangements were made for the estate Tamils to relocate themselves to India so that then can live as equal citizens among their own kith and kin in an environment of their own language, religion and culture they protested and demanded to continue that pathetic life in Sri Lanka. To this day they are happy here than going back to super power India.
      .
      If you are really serious about a Tamil Homeland take that message to the Tamil speakers living in Sinhala majority provinces.
      Your challenge is to convince a SINGLE TAMIL FAMILY!

      Soma

    • 3
      0

      OC
      This fellow is a waste of time.
      Readers have learned to ignore Udita Devapriya (but for one who makes a five part comment on anything that will enable him to touch on his pet subject).
      Is there no lesson in it for us?

      • 0
        0

        S.J,
        It could slightly improve his education. Are you talking about Uditha or Laksiri?

        • 0
          0

          OC
          You seem to persevere with L.
          I sought to save you some breath.

  • 8
    3

    25 districts. The PC system requires money, manpower and paper work. This is based on the American federal system and works in India because both nations have huge populations and territory. If a guy commits a crime in kalutara district and flees to badulla. He has to be extradited to kalutara for his trial. Kalutara police cannot arrest him. Only budulla can. Then BUDULLA and kultura magistrates will have to have file paperwork. While his lawyer can argue he has to be tried in budulla. Multiply this scenario in the thousands in budget allocation, devolpmemt, education etc. You have a massive structural problem. Does anyone know the border between Gampaha and Colombo or monaragala and ampara?

  • 9
    1

    Laksiri Fernando is a Sinhala racist who wants to find fault with the UNHRC report.

    Sinhalese governments had more than ten years to do something positive to the minorities, but all they do is to heap more and more discriminatory actions some systemic genocide of Tamils.

    When are these Sinhalese writers like him going to be honest to themselves, if not to others?

    • 3
      4

      Thiru
      For 70 long years the Tamil political class has not presented any conceptual framwork of a ‘solution’ for discussion which takes into account the demographic distribution of Tamil speaking people across the island.
      Neither have they defined the problem for which a ‘solution’ is required.

      Soma

      • 1
        0

        S
        Has the Sinhala political class bothered either, but to claim the whole island for the SB population?

  • 7
    1

    Laksiri,
    How many times you need to tell about reconciliation? You had 12 years for reconciliation but what did you do? Attack on Tamils. Attack on Muslims. Sinhalization of North East? Now you want to get rid Provincial councils? I only rule Sinhala Buddhist?

    • 1
      4

      Ajith
      Have you been able to convince a SINGLE TAMIL FAMILY living in Sinhala majority provinces of your opinon?

      Soma

      • 1
        0

        Soma,
        “Have you been able to convince a SINGLE TAMIL FAMILY living in Sinhala majority provinces of your opinon?”
        It is the same reason why Sinhala ladies prefer to work for Arabs in Dubai but not Sinhalese in Colombo.
        No red herrings please.

        • 0
          2

          Old codger
          1)
          Despite intense, unrelenting propaganda of discrimination, violence, loot, rape, murder or even genocide not a SINGLE TAMIL FAMILY who lived among the Sinhalese in the South during or after the war has relocated the residence to Jaffna.
          2)
          During the period Prabakaran was ruling Jaffna the only desire of a Tamil mother was to send her children to South.
          3)
          Your politicos who promoted LTTE as the sole representative of Tamils carried out their political activities while living within the enemy.
          4)
          When arrangements were made for the estate Tamils to relocate themselves to India so that they can live as equal citizens among their own kith and kin in an environment of their own language, religion and culture they protested and demanded to continue that pathetic life in Sri Lanka. To this day they are happy here than going back to super power India.

          Soma

          • 0
            0

            Soma,
            As someone said, :
            “Information cannot argue with a closed mind”

            • 0
              0

              Old Codger
              A Tamil who desires to achieve self rule cannot in the same breadth argue to retain +50 of them in Sinhala majority provinces.

              Soma

          • 0
            0

            S
            1.
            People displaced to Colombo have got used to a way of life for over a generation, and a war-wrecked Jaffna was not a place that one could readily relocate to. But I grant that the average Sinhalese is a very hospitable person.
            2.
            Pirapakaran was a product of policies pursued by succesive governments.
            Despite the brutality of the LTTE, how come that the SLAF failed to find supporters, even after the LTTE is gone?
            3.
            Nobody really promoted the LTTE as anything. There was little choice in a context of effectively total control of the North by the LTTE. It was acknowledgment of a cruel reality, although opportunistic.
            4.
            The was no kith or kin in India for Hill Country Tamils, who had settled many generations ago.
            Had their citizenship been not taken away, the toiling Sinhalese masses would have had a firm political ally in events that followed.
            For a start there would not have been a Federal Party.

            • 0
              0

              SJ
              “But I grant that the average Sinhalese is a very hospitable person.”
              Average Tamil is an honest guy.
              More reliable and dependable in business dealings.
              Tamil public servants in Sinhala majority areas do an exemplary job.
              Tamil judges are more unbiased and impartial.
              EVEN IN THE MIDST OF 83′ MAYHEM I WOULD NOT HAVE HESITATED TO TAKE MY CHILD TO A TAMIL DOCTOR.
              .
              Prabakaran was a product of Vaduckodai resolution not Sinhala politicians.
              .
              “Nobody really promoted the LTTE as anything”
              Come on brother, entire political class promoted LTTE as the sole representative of Tamils.
              .
              Tamil desire to live in Sinhala majority provinces is the real stumbling block to your political ambitions and your attempt to justify that is undialuted hypocrisy – flies in the face of intense, unrelenting propaganda of discrimination, violence, loot, rape, murder or even genocide.

              Soma

    • 1
      3

      Ajith,
      What did Malabar Vellala Tamil politicians do for 73 years to promote co-existence of Demalu (Tamils after 1911) who came from Hindusthan and Sinhalayo who are the Native people in Sinhale?
      Their game plan was to Divide Divide Devide for their political survival. So, do not bark at the wrong tree. That will take Tamils nowhere. Get rid of racist separatist politicians if Tamils want to live with Sinhalayo peacefully. If they can’t, Tamils should go back to their ancestral homeland leaving Sinhalayo to live in peace in their country.

  • 4
    4

    If foreign countries can impose what they want against the wishes of the people in the country is Sri Lanka an independent sovereign country?

    • 0
      2

      If the foreign invaders, deported rowdies from India, Bestiality indulged Sinhala Buddhist can do War Crime- Genocide against Tamils and escape without punishment for that, then by that ethics, Sinhalese will be slaves of Chinese. No escape. There was a report, released by Chinese government on the 3 Islets it captured using ADB fund, indicate there could be another round of shut down of Government computers in Lankawe. India criticized the Aanduwa’s action for not calling tender to assign the power plant contracts. After ambassador Gopal B met Communist Denesh, there is another report that said Lankawe was ready to reassign the contract to India to install renewable power, electricity generator plants. (Lankawe has to fool PM Modi and FAM Jeysankar (Aka Demulu Pariah) to get their help to block any new resolution in Geneva. Interesting part is when the Tamil FAM tried to finalize the signed contract on ECT, Lankawe kicked him on his butt to fly back and fall in Delhi. Now an ordinary Ambassador has convinced Lankawe to take away the award contract to China and give it to India. What the power of the word of a Demulu Pariah! )

  • 3
    2

    There is no need to have Nine Provincial Councils. That is very unwieldy. Reduce the number to Four by amalgamating the provinces as shown below and reducing the number of provincial councillors.

    Northern + Eastern Provinces = One Province with Devolved Powers
    North-Central + North-Western Provinces = One Province with Devolved Powers
    Central + Uva Provinces = One Province with Devolved Powers
    Southern + Sabaragamuwa Provinces = One Province with Devolved Powers
    Western Province = Direct Rule by Central Government (No need for Devolution)

    Is that a Brilliant or Stupid solution?

    • 2
      4

      Stupid.

      Soma

    • 3
      0

      Solutions are not stupid.

      The stupidity is the suggestion of solutions itself.

      The Sinhalese want to take every thing from and erase every thing Tamils including demography.

      Yes, there are individual Sinhalese who want to share and they are miniscule tiny numbers.

      On the other hand, there is a reasonable majority among Tamils for sharing. So, nothing can be done as a solution.

      Going by all agreement torn by Sinhalese, no solution is possible except Tamils accept and watch whatever Sinhalese do.

      The violence is not there because one side has no capacity for violence, which condition was primarily imposed and facilitated by Hindia with active support of international community.

      Hindia with international community expected the remaining Tamils go quiet and obedient to Sinhalese and towards the whole process of Sinhalese making the Island Sinhalese ghetto.

      The Tamils are friendless, and even in that Sinhalese project the opposite as though Sinhalese themselves are friendless.

      The Tamils still have mouth to shout, think to write etc., and that is the reason for all these protests.

      • 0
        0

        KA
        What can you and I do my brother.
        No Einstein can think of a solution in view of the demographic distribution of Tamil and Sinhala speaking people.

        Soma

        • 0
          0

          Does anyone (especially Tamil nationalists) think of the Muslims and Hill Country Tamils?

      • 1
        1

        Captain Morgan, this is exactly what I have been suggesting for the last several years, but with slight difference by redrawing provincial boundaries.
        You could perhaps have only three Regional councils and capital territory.
        1 .Colombo District – Avissawela electorate and Coastal electorates of Gampaha district as capital territory
        2. Northern province + Puttalam electorate and eastern province – Amparai electorate
        3. Central province, North central province, Sabragamuwa province – Kolonne electorate and Uva province – Monaragala and Wellawaya electorates.
        4. Southern province, Puttalam district – Puttalam electorate, Rest of Gampaha district, Kalutara district, Avissawela, Kolonne , Ampara, Moneragala and Wellawaya electorates.

        • 0
          0

          What problem will this solve for the Muslims and Hill Country Tamils?

  • 5
    0

    The United Nations Human Rights Council is primarily concerned with Human Rights, just as its name implies. Matters relating to Governance, Devolution of Power, and Provincial Council elections do not come within its purview.

  • 1
    3

    Dr L.K.
    Why UNHRC has wisely avoided getting involved in geographic ‘devolution’ in Sri Lanka is in view of the demographic distribution of Tamil speaking people scattered across the island no Einstein can formulate a model which can satisfy at least 90% of them.

    Soma

  • 2
    2

    War Criminology professor, who wrote the book against Secret Solution & Federal System constitutional change to block Lankawe complying with Resolution 30/1, is now preaching because he is looking for the bathroom when it is too late.

    These criminal minded Wildlife Sanctuary, SinhaLE, Lankawe’s Sinhala Buddhist Intellectuals, the strange species on earth are striving hard to do maximum damage to Tamils and thus to the country Ceylon, before their life ends.

    Why talking about the ethics of HC? Please talk about the ethics of the Communist Denesh, who withdraw from fulfilling the Resolution 30/1 after cheating the entire wold for 5 years, even taking three extensions and reading all false completions reports in Geneva, every six months.

  • 0
    0

    Dear LF Sir

    (1) “Sri Lankans have the right to exercise franchise at three levels: local, provincial, and national”………..relay????? did you just land back in SL after a long break somewhere pls????

    (2) Please ensure Police and land powers too……………for anther round of whatever left of the Nation??? make sense indeed…………..do you know the history of Jaffna sir????

    (3) You are not concerned when the UN not investigating the Ratha Pottu Mafia 1970-1977-1981 killing fields but some selective few day event in the war?????

    (4) or are you saying that you want to rid of all the Tamils including the Indians and Muslims from the the south as the next phase of the work???? this makes sense as to why you want the TNA to run the Provincial Councils and think this then transpire to be the dignified(final nail) life for the Northerners is it?????? or you already know that this FP/TULF is a criminal outfit anyway (factual) and that is all we deserve in the North correct????? after all they are solely responsible for all our death I guess you are right???

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.