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TNA calls for Geneva intervention again

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On the eve of Independence day celebrations

On the eve of the 74th anniversary of Sri Lanka’s Independence, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R. Sampanthan has written to all 47-member states of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) urging them to take tangible measures against Sri Lanka over its failure to fulfill commitments relating to Resolution 46/1.

The Trincomalee District MP alleged that the government hasn’t taken any steps to address the Tamil National Question as the only sure means to ensure non-recurrence of conflict. The following is the text of MP Sampantha’s letter addressed to Permanent Representatives of the member states made available to The Island by his Office:

“I write to you as the Leader of the largest Tamil Political Party (Tamil National Alliance) in the Sri Lankan Parliament in the lead up to the 49th secession of the United Nations Human Rights Council (U.N.H.R.C) when the situation in Sri Lanka is to be evaluated after the written update by the High Commissioner for Human Rights in keeping with the provisions of Resolution 46/1.

Within a week of the end of the armed ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka in May 2009, a joint communique was issued by the Government of Sri Lanka and the United Nations at the conclusion of the U.N Secretary General’s visit to Sri Lanka on 23rd of May 2009, which inter alia stated

“Sri Lanka reiterated its strongest commitment to the promotion and protection of Human Rights, in keeping with international Human Rights standards and Sri Lanka’s international obligations. The Secretary General underlined the importance of an accountability process for addressing violations of International Humanitarian and Human Rights law. The Government will take measures to address those grievances”.

Sri Lanka has not taken any meaningful steps to address the above commitments in the last twelve (12) years. During the intervening years the U.N.H.R.C has adopted seven (7) resolutions ending with U.N.H.R.C 46/1 in March 2021. Sri Lanka has meanwhile issued statements of various commitments which have largely not been implemented. In addition to not addressing the accountability issue the government of Sri Lanka continues a programme of oppression of the Sri Lankan Tamils including Militarisation, indefinite detention of political prisoners with several new arrests of also Civil Society and Media Personnel and family members and others memorializing their departed kith and kin, impeding displaced Tamil people from resettling on their lands through the actions of various Government Departments, the denial of traditional collective land rights and cattle grazing rights and intensifying surveillance of political and Civil society activists.

The most serious danger the Tamil people face is the issue of Land Grab that is going on in the pretext of archeological explorations, Wild Life protection and protecting of forest reserves., in addition to driving the Tamil people out of their traditional habitats

The government is engaged in a programme of redemarcation of divisional boundaries, and colonisation of historical Tamil speaking areas with new Sinhala settlers, so as to render any future settlement of the Tamil question nugatory. In this situation of uncertainty, Tamil people are leaving the country and seeking refuge abroad, in the interests of their own safety.

These actions of the Sri Lankan Government are intended to defeat the concept accepted both domestically and internationally that the Tamil people are a people within a united and undivided Sri Lanka inhabiting the Northern and Eastern provinces as their area of historical habitation, and thereby progressively transform the Northern and Eastern provinces into a majority Sinhala Areas.

As the U.N.H.C.R meets in February and March 2022 to evaluate the performance of the Sri Lankan government on its commitments relating to resolution No 46 / 1 we urge the member states to clearly articulate that Sri Lanka has failed in its obligations to investigate allegations of violations and not taken any steps to address the Tamil National Question as the only sure means to ensure non-recurrence.

The Tamil people request that you make your observations at the interactive sessions, and urge the Government of Sri Lanka to abide by its commitments, both in respect of accountability and settling the Tamil National Question justly and also adopt measures that will compel the Sri Lankan Government to move in the right direction in conformity with all its commitments, to ensure that we the Tamil people in Sri Lanka are able to continue to live in our Areas of Historical Habitation, the Northern and Eastern Provinces, within a United and Undivided Sri Lanka with Self- Respect, Dignity and Security.”



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Speaker proposes how to steer SL out of crisis

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Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena has handed over a set of proposals to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, spelling out how to resolve country’s economic crisis.The proposals made by the Speaker pertain to a number of important sectors and highlight the importance of providing relief to low income groups.

The Speaker has said Sri Lankans working or doing business overseas or foreign investors depositing USD 100,000 with the Central Bank for a period of two years should be paid a 10% interest per annum in Sri Lankan rupees and allowed to credit the interest to any account preferred by the depositor. He also proposes that the government issue a vehicle import licence worth USD 25,000, six months after an individual makes a fixed deposit while also allowing him to pay a standard tax of USD 10,000 to the government for that vehicle.Speaker Abeywardena has proposed how to reduce energy costs, release adequate stocks of LP gas to the market, boost domestic production food production, stabilise the banking system.

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MR had not decided to resign on 09 May, says Weerasekra

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By Shamindra Ferdinando

SLPP MP Rear Admiral (retd.) Sarath Weerasekera says Prime Minster Mahinda Rajapaksa had not decided to resign on 09 May 09 although the SLPP MPs had been asked to bring supporters to Temple Trees for a meeting.Weerasekera said so when The Island asked him why he had skipped the Temple Trees meeting.One-time Public Security Minister said that the then PM Rajapaksa had, during a conversation with him on 08 May had denied reports that the latter was planning to resign the following day. MP Namal Rajapaksa, however, had asked a group of MPs and others to bring supporters to express support for the PM, MP Weerasekera said.

Weerasekera said he had been among those contacted by MP Namal Rajapaksa.The former Navy Chief of Staff said that the failure on the part of law enforcement authorities and the military to respond swiftly and decisively to a threat of breach of law and order had led to a disaster at time global attention was on Sri Lanka due to the deteriorating financial situation.MP Weerasekera questioned why police had refrained from firing at least once into the air when mobs arrived at some MPs’ houses, which were destroyed. For over 48 hours mobs had ruled the country, the MP alleged, demanding an explanation why shoot-on-sight orders had not been issued as soon as mobs started to attack MPs’ houses.MP Weerasekera said that serious accusations made by SLPP members, particularly Wimal Weerawansa, Dr. Ramesh Pathirana and Mahindananda Aluthgamage couldn’t be ignored. They accused some sections of the SLPP of conspiring to unleash violence and the police and the armed forces turning a blind eye to countrywide retaliatory attacks.

Newly-appointed Public Security Minister Tiran Alles said that he would order a thorough probe into the May 09 incidents. Minister Alles said so when The Island asked him what he would do against the backdrop of allegations of the police facilitating attacks on protesting public in the Kollupitiya and Fort police areas.MPs, Weerawansa and Dr. Ramesh Pathirana alleged in Parliament that Maj. Gen. Jagath Alwis, Secretary to the Ministry of Public Administration and C. D. Wickremaratne, Inspector General of Police prevented Deshabandu Tennakoon, Senior DIG, Colombo from mob attacks on the protesting public.

Former Minister Weerasekera said that the government, the SLPP and the police should come clean on this matter. MP Weerasekera said that the government mishandled the challenge posed by those who cleverly exploited the economic crisis. “Perhaps one of the major blunders was allowing the public to block roads. Now, it has become a style. Interested parties also exploit the media and social media. The government seems clueless,” MP Weerasekera said, urging the government to review the developments.MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage, too, told The Island, the top SLPP leadership ignored repeated warnings. The former Agriculture Minister questioned whether those who had advised the Cabinet of Ministers chaired by the President deliberately deceived them.

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Lankan-born Cassandra elected to Australian Parliament

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She beat another candidate of Sri Lankan origin, Ranj Perera

Cassandra Fernando of Sri Lankan descent has been elected to the Australian Parliament.Cassandra, an advocate for essential workers and the Federal Labor Candidate for Holt.She migrated to Australia with her family when she was 11.She began working at Woolies Dandenong Plaza as a teenager. She now represents workers in the retail and fast food industries, fighting to improve their pay and conditions. She has also volunteered to tutor migrants and refugees from non-English speaking backgrounds so they can make the best of every opportunity.

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