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Statesmanship need of hour- NPC

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The National Peace Council says, in a statement, that Sri Lanka requires statesmanship in governance to be displayed in Parliament, and by the President, at this time and not denial of truths to buy time.

The statement titled ‘Statesmanship in governance not denial to buy time’ said: Once again Sri Lanka has received unfavourable exposure, internationally, when the UN Human Rights Council voted by 20 votes to 7 to pass resolution No 51/1 titled “Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka,” against the wishes of the government.  Many of the countries that spearheaded and supported the resolution are those on whom we depend on to extricate us from the current financial and economic crisis the country has fallen into.  Countries that voted for the resolution, and those who abstained, such as India and Japan, essentially have the welfare of all Sri Lankans and the country to live up to its inherent resilience.  We can only hope that the confrontational attitude taken by the government in Geneva will not affect their continued support for Sri Lanka.

This was the 9th UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka that different governments, including the present one, have refused to accept. Each resolution has made new demands.  The list of demands in them grows longer, including on economic corruption, which has national implications.  The international community may not wish to impose punitive sanctions on Sri Lanka so as not to cause harm to the innocent Sri Lankan people who are suffering from the economic downturn.  However, there can be international law and punitive sanctions directed against individuals against whom there are allegations of violations of international law.  The government has a duty to protect all its citizens from both the economic crisis and the growing reach of international law.  There is a need to consider the reputational damage and the impact on economic flows to the country.

The moral of the Aragalaya is that the sufferings and unmet needs of the general public should not be ignored as it awaits ignition by the events of the day and the hardships faced by them. Sri Lanka requires statesmanship in governance to be displayed in Parliament, and by the President, at this time and not denial of truths to buy time.  The National Peace Council believes that the most important issues to be taken up are those of missing persons, finding the truth of what happened during the war through a truth commission, the misuse of the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the enactment of other laws that can violate human rights of people, addressing the political grievances of ethnic minorities through power devolution, holding of local government and provincial council elections and overcoming the economic grievances of the general population.

The National Peace Council is an independent and non-partisan organization that works towards a negotiated political solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. It has a vision of a peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka in which the freedom, human rights and democratic rights of all the communities are respected. The policy of the National Peace Council is determined by its Governing Council of 20 members who are drawn from diverse walks of life and belong to all the main ethnic and religious communities in the country.



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Full implementation of 13A: NFF vows to torpedo Ranil’s move, asks Dinesh, Mahinda to disclose their stance

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By Shamindra Ferdinando

The National Freedom Front (NFF), a constituent member of Nidahas Janatha Sandhanaya (NJS), has declared that it would oppose President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s bid to fully implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. The patriotic people were ready to defeat such plans, even at the expense of their lives, the party has vowed.

The breakaway JVP faction consists of six MPs, including former minister Wimal Weerawansa. The NJS is contesting the Local Government polls, scheduled for March 09, under the ‘Helicopter’ symbol.

NFF spokesperson, MP Jayantha Samaraweera, on Monday (30), told the media that his party was ready to lead a campaign against the UNP leader’s move to do away with constitutional safeguards meant to ensure Sri Lanka’s unitary status. The Lawmaker addressed the media at the NFF main office, at Pitakotte.

Having declared his intention to fully implement the controversial constitutional amendment at the Thai Pongal celebrations, in Jaffna, on January 15, President Wickremesinghe reiterated his commitment to the Eelam project during the party leaders’ meeting at the Presidential Secretariat, the former State Minister said.

Lawmaker Samaraweera asked Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, and twice President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had flanked President Wickremesinghe, at the party leaders’ meeting, to disclose their stand on 13th Amendment.

The Nidahas Janatha Sandhanaya, consisting of NFF, Democratic Left Front, Communist Party, Lanka Samasamaja Pakshaya, Pivuthuru Hela Urumaya, Vijayadharani Jathika Sabhawa, Yuthukama, Sri Lanka Freedom Party, Nidahasa Janatha Sabhawa, Jana Jaya Peramuna, Sri Lanka Mahajana Pakshaya and Nidahas Janatha Peramuna, has yet to disclose its position on this issue.

MP Samaraweera attacked the President, close on the heels of NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa, who is also the Chairman of the Uththara Lanka Sabhagaya (ULS), questioning the legitimacy of the move. Lawmaker Weerawansa addressed this issue at a meeting held at the BMICH, on January 26, to discuss ways and means to thwart the move to privatize the CEB.

The ULS consisting of seven political parties, and groups, is aligned with the NJS.

Referring to the circumstances UNP leader Wickremesinghe re-entered Parliament, through the National List, nearly a year after the last General Election, former Minister Weerawansa emphasized the President didn’t have a mandate to fully implement the 13th Amendment. How could the UNP leader abolish Sri Lanka’s unitary status, having received an opportunity to complete Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s remainder of five-year term, won at the Nov. 2019 Presidential Election.

The MP challenged their erstwhile comrades, in the JVP, to state their position on the 13th Amendment. Alleging that the JVP had been conveniently silent on the issue at hand, MP Samaraweera asked whether the current leadership would take up Wickremesinghe’s challenge.

In addition to Weerawansa and Samaraweera, Yuthukama leader Gevindu Cumaratunga, MP, has declared opposition to the President’s move, at the party leaders’ meeting.

Of the SLPP parliamentary group, retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera is the only MP to publicly oppose Wickremesinghe’s proposal.

Political sources said that the NJS, as a group contesting the forthcoming LG polls, was yet to deliberate this issue and take a stand. They said that consensus was required without further delay as the President’s proposal would be a major issue at the forthcoming election.

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PHU, too, opposes land, police powers to PCs

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A lawyers’ group, aligned with Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU), yesterday (31) said that President Ranil Wickremesinghe couldn’t unilaterally decide on the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

Attorneys-at-Law Pasan Gunasekera and Bhupathi Kahathuduwa, in a statement issued, explained why police and land powers, in terms of the controversial amendment, shouldn’t be granted to Provincial Councils. Abolition of current constitutional safeguard would undermine Sri Lanka’s unitary status thereby paved the way for a new conflict.

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Bangladesh FM to deliver LK memorial lecture

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Bangladesh Foreign Minister, Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen, will deliver the Lakshman Kadirgamar memorial lecture at Block 3, Jasmine Hall, BMICH, on February 03, at 6 pm.

The LTTE assassinated the then Foreign Minister, Kadirgamar, on Aug. 12, 2005.

FM Momen will deliver the annual lecture on the invitation of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies.

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