Connect with us

News

President-Nuland meeting: FNO asks if govt. took up issue of US vilifying Army Chief

Published

on

‘Travel ban on Shavendra insult to entire country’

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Top spokesperson for the Federation of National Organisations (FNO), Dr.Wasantha Bandara, has asked whether the government raised during Under Secretary for Political Affairs, US Department of State, Victoria Nuland’s high profile visit to Colombo, the categorisation by the US of Army Chief General Shavendra Silva, who is also the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), as a war criminal

The government certainly owed an explanation, Dr. Bandara said.

Referring to the statement issued by the President’s Media Division (PMD), and the joint communiqué issued by the Foreign Ministry and the US Embassy, which dealt with the so-called fourth Partnership Dialogue, Dr. Bandara pointed out there hadn’t been any reference to humiliation of Sri Lanka on the basis of unsubstantiated war crimes allegations.

“How could Sri Lanka engage in partnership dialogue with the US when its war-winning armed forces are vilified in this manner?” Dr. Bandara asked.

Dr. Bandara said that Sri Lanka should be ashamed of failing at least to make its position clear when the US delegation raised a range of concerns, as well as those of the European Union (EU).

Shavendra Silva commanded the celebrated 58 Division that played a pivotal role during Sri Lanka’s biggest offensive (2007-2009) on the Vanni front.

The Joint Statement dealt with the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and cooperation on maritime security in the Indian Ocean, and other concerns, Dr. Bandara said. “Sri Lanka cannot be silent on the war crimes issue,” the civil society activist said, adding that those who wielded political power today should realise that the labeling of General Silva as a war criminal was an affront to the entire country.

The previous US administration announced the travel ban on Gen. Silva, in early Feb 2020, soon after the last presidential election.

Dr. Bandara said that the government should be concerned about some members of the British Parliament pushing for punitive measures against Gen. Silva on the basis of the US travel ban on the Sri Lankan military leader.

The FNO spokesperson said that Lord Naseby, who provided Sri Lanka ‘ammunition’ to counter war crimes accusations, way back in 2017, must have been quite disappointed that the country never used available information to counter the US-led war crimes campaign against Sri Lanka. Dr. Bandara said that he expected Lord Naseby, who is here to launch ‘Sri Lanka: Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained’ tomorrow (29) at the BMICH, to comment on the failure on the part of successive governments to exploit information provided by him.

Dr. Bandara said that since the Yahapalana administration co-sponsored an accountability resolution at the Geneva-based Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Oct 2015, Western powers had acted on unsubstantiated allegations against the military. In addition to General Silva, several others, including Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, and Maj. Gen. Udaya Perera, had been denied visas by the US, whereas Australia had refused visa to Maj. Gen. Chagie Gallage, Dr. Bandara said.

Dr. Bandara said that those who repeatedly promised to take up false war crimes accusations with Western powers, in the run-up to the last presidential and parliamentary polls, in Nov 2019 and Aug 2020, respectively, had been conveniently silent.

The FNO official said that those who had voted against Sri Lanka, at the UNHRC, wanted the government to back the US stand on the ongoing war in Ukraine. The government seemed unable to cope up with the US-led coalition undermining Sri Lanka as the country struggled on the economic front, he added.



News

BASL urges President to de-escalate tensions in different parts of country

Published

on

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka has called upon President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to instruct the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of tensions in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by the public.”

 “Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint”, the BASL has said in a media statement.

 “We also call upon you to ensure that steps are taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.”

The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police.

 The armed forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

Full text of the BASL letter to the President:

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) expresses its gravest concerns at the current situation at fuel stations throughout the country and the reports of several incidents of conflicts between civilians and members of the police force and the armed forces at fuel stations. There has been video footage of civilians being assaulted by personnel of the armed forces and the police, the latest being of a civilian being kicked by an Army officer at a fuel station. There have also been situations of the police and Army opening fire into the air to contain the crowd.

Your Excellency is no doubt aware that thousands of desperate civilians are waiting in queues at hundreds of fuel stations in the country. The queues are kilometres long. The tension at the fuel stations have arisen from this desperation for which there is no immediate solution in sight.

The BASL wishes to warn Your Excellency of the imminent dangers this situation could give rise to. The present unrest could result in a conflagration between civilians and members of the armed forces or the police. Some years ago, confrontations between members of the public and the armed forces resulted in the deaths of civilians. Such incidents between the members of the armed forces or the police and the civilians will discredit Sri Lanka’s armed forces and the police.

We call upon Your Excellency to take all necessary steps to give instructions to the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of the situation in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by public. Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint. We also call upon you to ensure that steps be taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.

The Sri Lanka Army and other service personnel must be deployed only in very limited circumstances as contemplated in the Criminal Procedure Code. The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police. The Armed Forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

We trust that this will receive the immediate attention of the Government as to do otherwise may otherwise result in unprecedented turmoil and harm.

The BASL believes that the ultimate solution to the situation at fuel stations is to be transparent with the public and to ensure an equitable and effective system of fuel distribution throughout the country.

Continue Reading

News

SC orders AG to submit report on fuel purchases and distribution

Published

on

By A.J.A. Abeynayake

A three-member Supreme Court bench consisting of Justices Vijith Malalgoda, Mahinda Samayawardena and Arjuna Obeysekera yesterday ordered the Attorney General to submit a report on fuel purchases, the distribution thereof and the sectors to be provided with fuel on a priority basis.

The Supreme Court made the order after considering two fundamental rights petitions presented by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka.

The BASL has requested the Supreme Court to direct the Cabinet of Ministers to consult all stakeholders and independent experts to formulate and implement the necessary policies, and to provide concessions in relation to the prices of essential goods and services to the people including LP gas, fuel, electricity, milk powder, medicines and food.

The petitions were filed by the President of the BASL Saliya Pieris PC, Deputy President Anura Meddegoda PC, former Secretary Rajeev Amarasuriya, Treasurer Rajindh Perera and the Assistant Secretary Pasindu Silva.

Continue Reading

News

A/L may be delayed by one month

Published

on

Education Minister Sushil Premajayantha told Parliament yesterday that although it had been scheduled to hold the G.C.E. A/L Examination 2022 in November this year, it could be further delayed by another month.

Responding to a question by MP Shantha Bandara, the Minister said: “The examination should be held at least after three months of releasing the results of the previous A/L exam because the students who need to sit it again should have enough time to prepare,” the Minister said.

Continue Reading

Trending