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UK sidesteps query on LTTE cadres, Adele living there

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…assures probe on those foreign experts who backed JRJ govt

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The British government has sidestepped a query on the UK accommodating a group of LTTE cadres responsible for international crimes.

Global Justice Forum (GJF) representing civil society groups based in UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand-all member States of the Commonwealth, in addition to Israel, UAE and Switzerland has raised the continuing presence of those responsible for terrorism receiving privilege status at a time the UK was pushing for new resolution in respect of Sri Lanka at the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

A spokesperson for GJF told The Island that the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, in its response to their appeal dated January 8, 2021, refrained from commenting on the continuing presence of LTTE cadres therein.

The GJF has submitted a list of 27 LTTE cadres living there to Dominic Raab, MP, and Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs and Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth.

Pointing out that UK based Tamil groups wanted an International Independent Investigation Mechanism (IIIM) to probe Sri Lanka and the UK was being asked to back the move, the GJF urged the UK to take tangible measures to investigate LTTE cadres living in the UK, probe Adele Balasingham, wife of late Anton Balasingham, the LTTE theoretician and prosecute former members of the Keenie Meenie Service (KMS).

Former employee of the British High Commission, Colombo, Anton Balasingham, a UK passport holder of Sri Lankan origin passed away in Dec, 2006 in the UK.

Responding to another The Island query, GJF spokesperson said that instead of opposing the proposed IIIM, the outfit felt the need to request the British to probe those who received shelter in the UK. The GJF also called for inclusion of KMS in the Geneva led investigation.

GJF made available a copy of the UK response to The Island released by South Asia Department.

The spokesperson pointed out that while the UK had assured the Metropolitan Police War Crimes Unit initiated an inquiry into the conduct of KMS personnel who had been in Sri Lanka’s employment in the 80s, no specific reference was made to LTTE cadres and Adele Balasingham living there.

The UK also reiterated its firm commitment to the Geneva Resolution 30/1 adopted in early Oct, 2015. The UK emphasised that there was absolutely no change in its position as regards accountability issues regardless of Sri Lanka’s decision to quit the Resolution it co-sponsored in 2015.

The GJF consists of Global Sri Lanka Forum, UK, Sri Lanka Canada Action Coalition, Justice for Sri Lanka Global Movement, Friends of Sri Lanka, Canada, Global Sri Lanka Forum, Israel, Society for Peace, Unity and Human Rights, Australia, Montreal Friends of Sri Lanka and Calgary Friends of Sri Lanka.

Interestingly, GJF didn’t make reference to Lord Naseby’s Oct 2017 disclosure that contradicted the very basis of the Geneva accusations.

Civil society activist involved in the GJF initiative Ajantha Premaratne told The Island that Sri Lanka was being persecuted for eradicating terrorism whereas a significant number of those who had been engaged in terrorism received British passports. Many EU countries, the US and Scandinavian countries provided citizenship to LTTE cadres without questions asked, Premaratne said, pointing out how war winning Generals were being hounded.

“Chagie Gallage’s is a case in point,” Premaratne said.

Premaratne referred to a study undertaken by Darusman Committee member Yasmin Sooka, which had revealed the presence of LTTE cadres in many countries, including UK and Germany.

Premaratne pointed out how Balasingham enjoyed privileged status as a British national in spite of his organization carrying out a murderous campaign. When Balasingham’s men assassinated Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar in August 2005, the British allowed the then ‘peacemakers’ Norwegians to secretly meet the LTTE theoretician in the UK, Premaratne said.

Meanwhile, authoritative military sources questioned the rationale in GJF complaining against the KMS as the outfit was invited by the then JRJ government in the absence of anticipated Western support. KMS provided invaluable expertise and was instrumental in strengthening fighting capabilities of the military et al, sources said, urging those interested in defending Sri Lanka also to be mindful of facts.

KMS included former members of the elite British Special Air Services (SAS).



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Geneva HR vote:

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UK, Canada seek to influence member states against Lanka

The Sri Lanka Core group members, Canada and the UK, are campaigning hard to muster support for their resolution against Sri Lanka at the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council. Sri Lanka Core group consists of Canada, Germany, the UK, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Malawi.

Canada High Commissioner David McKinnon met the Bangladesh High Commissioner Tareq Ariful Islam, at the Canada House, Colombo 07.

Sources said that meetings between diplomats of those countries were rare. Bangladesh is a member o the f UNHRC. The meeting at the Canada House took place close on the heels of the UK HC Sarah Hulton meeting South Korean Ambassador Woonjin Jeong. South Korea is also a member of the UNHRC.

The 47-member UNHRC is divided into five groups on regional basis. The Asia-Pacific Group consists of Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Marshall Islands, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea and Uzbekistan; Western Europe and Other States consists of Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and UK; Eastern European States consists of Armenia, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Russia and Ukraine; Latin American and Caribbean States group consists of Argentina, Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, Uruguay and Venezuela and African States group consists of Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Eritrea, Gabon, Libya, Malawi, Mauritania, Namibia, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan and Togo. (SF)

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CEB Chairman: Country would have been facing daily power cuts if not for MR’s initiative

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by Ifham Nizam

The country would have been facing a daily power cut of eight hours if not for the initiative taken by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, when he was the President, to commence the first coal fired power plant complex at Norochcholai, said Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) Chairman Engineer Vijitha Herath at yesterday’s inauguration of the first Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) power plant in Sri Lanka.

PM Rajapaksa was the Chief Guest at the event. The CEB head stressed that if not for the Norochchoali plant the country would have lost more than Rs. 100 billion annually.

Power Minister Dullas Alahaperuma said that since the construction of the Norochcholai power plant in 2013, no large scale power plant had been built.

“Today, we are paying for this. Only small hydro power plants and solar power plants have been added to the national grid,” Alahaperuma said.

The power minister said that the LNG plant was coming up at an important time and would bring great relief to the economy which was heavily dependent on fossil fuels.

“Let there be a power sector that is not dependent on fossil fuels. The new power plant has been constructed at Kerawalapitiya, Wattala. This has been designed in accordance with international standards with minimal environmental damage. This power plant will have the highest efficiency F class gas turbine installed. The Kerawalapitiya Power Plant is a dual cycle power plant and will be completed in two phases. The installation of the first phase, or gas turbine, will generate 220 MW, which will be completed within 21 months and added to the national grid.”

Alhaperuma said that the second phase would add another 130 megawatts to the national grid via a steam turbine, which was expected to be completed in 12 months. With a total capacity of 300 MW over the next three years, the plant was expected to meet the country’s growing electricity demand, he said.

Speaking at the event Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa stressed that the government wanted to provide electricity at affordable prices using the most advanced technology. There had been many delays in building power plants under the Yahapalana regime; but the current government would fast-track power projects, he added.

Minister Alahapperuma also said: “The LNG power plant will be a great relief to the economy. Renewable energy is the future. It was clearly mentioned in the President’s vision of prosperity as well as in the Mahinda Chinthana. Our goal is an economy fully armed with renewable energy.”

State Ministers Duminda Dissanayake, Susil Premajayantha, Nimal Lansa, Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Energy Wasantha Perera, LTL CEO of Lakdanavi Affiliates U.D. Jayawardena, and a large number of people’s representatives and government officials were present.

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US Secretary of State names Lankan for International Women of Courage (IWOC) award

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Lankan Human Rights Activist and Attorney-At-Law Ranitha Gnanarajah is among the recipients of this year’s International Women of Courage (IWOC) award presented by the United States Secretary of State.

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will host the annual International Women of Courage (IWOC) Awards virtual ceremony to honour a group of extraordinary women from around the world on Monday, March 8, at 10:00 am, the U.S. State Department announced.

The First Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden will deliver remarks to recognize the courageous accomplishments of these women.

Now in its 15th year, the Secretary of State’s IWOC Award recognizes women from around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment – often at great personal risk and sacrifice, the US State Department says.

According to the biographies of the finalists for the 2012 IWOC Awards, Sri Lanka’s Ranitha Gnanarajah, a lawyer, and Head of the Legal Department of the Center for Human Rights and Development (CHRD) Sri Lanka continues to fight for and defend the rights of the marginalized and vulnerable communities in the country, despite threats and challenges by the state.

“Ranitha has dedicated her career to accountability and justice for victims of enforced disappearances and prisoners detained often for years without charge under Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism Act by providing free legal aid and related services. As an individual personally affected by the conflict and based on her extensive experience working with victims and their families, Ranitha has demonstrated tremendous passion and dedication to justice and accountability, especially for Sri Lanka’s most vulnerable populations.”

From the inception of this award in March 2007, the Department of State has recognized more than 155 awardees from over 75 countries.

U.S. diplomatic missions overseas nominate one woman of courage from their respective host countries, and finalists are selected and approved by senior Department officials.

Following the virtual IWOC ceremony, the awardees will participate in an International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP) virtual exchange and connect with their American counterparts.

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