Posts Categorized: Politics

Justice in Guatemala

To deny the guerrillas local support, he sent soldiers to wipe out hundreds of Mayan villages. In 1999, after the war’s end, the United Nations-sponsored Historical Clarification Commission tallied thousands of rapes, tortures, disappearances, violations of cultural rights and extrajudicial executions his forces committed while he held power, and concluded that he presided over acts of genocide…

How, then, to account for Guatemala’s move to prosecute its most notorious public figure? Most of the credit goes to survivors and victims’ families for 30 years of tenacious research and advocacy. International human rights groups, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the United Nations and foreign governments helped. And Guatemala’s attorney general since 2010, Claudia Paz y Paz, has revolutionized the prosecutor’s office, pushing cases involving war crimes, corruption and narcotrafficking.

Tamil Groups Convene for Discussion

These discussions will continue and progress with wider participation to bring together more Tamil and Tamil speaking people’s organisations in the months to come.

Govt Withdraws Funding in Northern Province

The government has withdrawn over Rs 560 million worth of funds ear marked for development in the TNA controlled Northern Province, reports the Sunday Times. According to Jaffna’s Local Government Assistant Commissioner S Jeyaharan, the directive to withdraw the funds came from the Ministry of Local Government. M K Sivajilingam said: “They do not want us… Read more »

China Card Becomes ‘License’ for Genocidal Order

Speaking at a ceremony of Sri Lanka’s National Chamber of Commerce held at Hotel Hilton in Colombo, the SL Defence Secretary and presidential sibling, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was cited saying, “The biggest threat the US can pose to Sri Lanka’s military is to take away their defence scholarships”

“We can send our soldiers to China for training,” Gotabhaya added.

South Asia’s Largest Fisheries Harbor

“The fisheries sector is the third most important contributor to economic growth in Sri Lanka. It is second only to agriculture and tourism. That is the main reason the President wanted to kick off this project. According to the ongoing investment and development projects in the industry in post- terrorism Sri Lanka, the fisheries industry will become the main contributor to the economy within the next few years. I hope to provide a 50 percent contribution to Sri Lanka’s economy at the end of this year by doubling fish exports” Minister Senaratne said.

Impeachment of the Sri Lankan Chief Justice

Indeed, the two issues – this assault on the independence of the judiciary and the accusations of war crimes – are interlinked and must be seen as such. The Sri Lankan government’s insistence that Sri Lanka should be left to investigate and remedy its own shortcomings with regard to the latter looks increasingly (if more evidence were required) implausible as one of the last remaining independent institutions – the court – is so openly dismantled.

The Story of the People of Kepapilavu

by ‘The Sunday Times,’ Colombo, January 6, 2013 The life and times of the people of Kepapilavu should make for a study in endless suffering. After witnessing the war at its cruellest, experiencing multiple displacements and spending the longest interval of time confined in Menik Farm, one would expect that life can hardly get any… Read more »

Justice Under Siege in Sri Lanka

It was nothing but raw political power that steered the Rajapaksas to the impeachment route. With provincial economic development under the centre, they deemed they would become king maker in the provinces…

At the same time, the impeachment of the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka, its relation to the rule of law as it relates to the Tamils could also figure prominently in the UN discussions.

Tamils: The Quest for Human Dignity

  Tamils of Sri Lanka: The Quest for Human Dignity [PDF]   “The crimes committed by the Sri Lankan state against the Tamil minority – against its physical security, citizenship rights, and political representation – are of growing gravity for the international community. Other countries across the world which have had to shelter the thousands… Read more »

The International Crime of Genocide

The International Crime of Genocide: The Case of the Tamil People in Sri Lanka by Lutz Oette, Tamil Information Centre, London, March 1998 Dr. Lutz Oette is today Counsel at REDRESS, a human rights organisation that helps torture survivors obtain justice, and Lecturer in Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)… Read more »

Go After the Terrorists!

Eventually, the guerrillas sued for a ceasefire that was turned down, after which they were completely wiped out. This is how living nations deal with armed insurgencies on their soil.

In sharp contrast, the insurgents in Pakistan have been treated with kid gloves during the last decades. Since they professed to be religious, they’ve acquired many admirers and supporters. Perhaps, that is one of the reasons why a national consensus on defeating the militants could not emerge.

No Husband, No Home and No Future for Their Children

Women-headed families: no husband, no home and no future for their children In the Eastern Province, some women head their household all alone without a job, sometimes without a home, or without doors and sanitary facilities, unable to send their children to school. Their husbands died in war or disappeared into the hands of police…. Read more »

Briefing: Sri Lanka’s Ethnic Problem

While moderate lawmakers from both ethnic groups express willingness to reconcile, they are far outnumbered by hardliners, who enjoy strong support outside of cities, especially the rural south, which is the president’s home area. Criticism of the ruling party’s human rights record and lack of progress on ethnic reconciliation has been limited to educated urbanites in Colombo, a scant percentage of the country.

Sampanthan’s Parliament Speech

Out of the 20 divisions in the Sri Lankan Army – according to the information I have – 15 divisions are in the North, two divisions in the East and three divisions in the rest of the country. I am told that if there are 15 divisions in the North, that would mean that there at least 150,000 soldiers in the Northern Province…

Armed forces are being used in my submission by their large presence in the Northern Province in particular, to achieve political objectives. That must not be allowed… The war is over.

That is a very very large number of soldiers, given the fact that the number of people in the Northern Province is probably in the region of 600,000, which means that you have one soldier for every four civilians. This is not acceptable, Sir.

Pressing the Case for Reconciliation

The United States will invariably look to strengthen military ties with Sri Lanka. Strategically speaking, it would be unwise for Washington to further antagonize Colombo and lose an ally in a region where it intends to maintain a significant presence in the coming decades. Sri Lanka is not a top tier foreign policy priority for the United States, but the Obama administration will be reluctant to cede all influence there–especially as China’s foreign policy agenda continues to expand…

With Obama currently looking at major shifts within his foreign policy and national security team, few decisions about Sri Lanka are likely to be made until 2013.

20 Incidents Against “Uthayan” Newspaper

 20 violence incidents in 28 years only against “Udayan” newspaper. Pointed out in parliament yesterday. Continuous methods of repression are unleashed against the “Udayan” newspaper and 20 violence incidents have been unleashed was pointed out by Tamil National Alliance parliament member P.Ariyanenthiran yesterday in parliament. During the group discussion regarding the authorized ministries to the… Read more »

Sumanthiran Speech on Rule of Law

Several mentions have been made in this House in the last couple of weeks with regard to sovereignty of the people. In our Constitution the people are sovereign. It is not the Parliament that is sovereign. It is the people who are sovereign.

Gujral: Politician Who Was Gentleman First

[A]s Prime Minister, when the Jain Commission report accused the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam of supporting the Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers who were responsible for Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, he refused to drop the party, even though the price was: withdrawal of support by the Congress.

Response to the ICG Report on Tamil Politics

The ICG Report on Tamil Politics and the Quest for a Political Solution: The Blind Spot The recently released report “Sri Lanka: Tamil Politics and the Quest for a Political Solution” by the International Crisis Group [ICG] is a timely contribution to the international community’s understanding of current Tamil politics, and reiterates a number of… Read more »

Sen. Rhiannon Maveerar Day Adjournment Speech

I congratulate all those who are working to ensure that there will be a war crimes investigation. As 27 November dawns around the world, I acknowledge the grief and courage of Tamils who gather together to remember and reflect on the enormity of the lives lost.

I repeat the call that crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Sri Lanka must be independently investigated.