Posts Categorized: Government

A Look at Language Rights in Sri Lanka

When asked about what the official language in Sri Lanka is, a majority of Sri Lankans said that it is Sinhala only while only 15% gave the correct answer of Sinhala and Tamil. CPA has a long history of work in the field of language rights, one that speaks of great success for minority communities… Read more »

“More Than a Domestic Mechanism”

For nearly three decades, the government of Sri Lanka fought with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), but after years of resistance, the new government has committed to launching a genuine transitional justice program to address, and redress, the grave international crimes committed by all sides during the conflict. This welcome about-face comes after… Read more »

144 NGOs & Activists Call on GOSL to Stand by Intl Commitments

We the undersigned activists and organizations condemn President Maithripala Sirisena’s recent statements (BBC Sinhala Service, 21 Jan. 2015, Frontline, 14 Jan, 2015) wherein he appears to be indicating a withdrawal from the obligations the Government had committed to in the consensus resolution passed at the 30th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in… Read more »

Testing Time for Sri Lanka and Tamils

Yet another — a fourth new constitution — is in the making for the troubled Sri Lanka, which has had three different constitutions since independence, in the years 1948, 1972 &1976, all of which apparently failed to meet the national challenges, which prevailed in Sri Lanka.  The refreshing picture in this iteration is the participation… Read more »

Myths, Realities and Options for Transitional Justice in Sri Lanka

by Bhavani Fonseka & Luwie Ganeshathasan, Centre for Policy Alternatives, Colombo, January 18, 2016 The 2015 political transition in Sri Lanka witnessed several promises for reform. One area in the reform agenda includes the processes and mechanisms for transitional justice. The resolution titled ‘Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka’ adopted at the… Read more »

Wigneswaran Calls For Shared Sovereignty Within A United Lanka

Full text of speech below and at http://tamildiplomat.com/npc-cm-calls-for-solution-on-the-basis-of-shared-sovereignty-within-merged-north-and-east/ COLOMBO: The Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’ Tamil-majority Northern Province has called for a new constitution which will be based on the principle of shared sovereignty between the Sinhalese majority and the Tamil minority within a united Lanka. Giving the keynote address at a seminar on constitution making… Read more »

Sri Lanka’s Tamil Political Prisoners

by Taylor Dibbert, ‘The Huffington Post,’ Los Angeles, December 13, 2015 Just days ago, a Tamil political prisoner being held in Jaffna Prison commenced a hunger strike. Similar hunger strikes have taken place this year, although this behavior doesn’t appear to have changed the government’s calculus in a significant way. This issue has been a… Read more »

TNA Statement on Penal Code Amendment Regarding Hate Speech

The Tamil National Alliance is deeply concerned about the proposed Penal Code (Amendment) Bill placed on the Order Paper of Parliament on 11 December 2015. The said Bill was placed on the Order Paper by the Minister of Justice. The Bill seeks to introduce a new provision (Section 291C) to the Penal Code, No. 11… Read more »

Looming Dangers

Whether it would be possible to achieve consensus on the focal areas of the new arrangement – devolution of power, electoral reform and the replacement of the executive presidency – will be possible remains to be seen. …

While matters like replacing the executive presidency and a new electoral system can be relatively less complicated, devolution will undoubtedly be a very tricky problem given the state of play of current politics. There is no doubt that the minorities played a major role in President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s defeat on January 8. It is widely accepted that a minority of the majority – meaning of the Sinhalese – and a majority of the minority (the Tamils) ensured Rajapaksa’s defeat. Thus there will be the ever present danger that the kind of opportunistic politics that we saw in the post-1956 years when the UNP did not permit Mr. Bandaranaike to implement the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact and the SLFP and its allies sabotaged Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake’s efforts to reach an accord with the Tamils (Dudley-ge badey masala vadai, remember?) will recur. Doubtlessly national reconciliation is a top priority facing this country. Will the devolution proposals in a new constitution, rather than the forthcoming local elections early next year, be the opportunity the Rajapaksa faction of the SLFP/UPFA is waiting for? Hopefully not, is all we can say at this present moment.

Clarifying Sri Lanka’s Transitional Justice Commitments

With the recent passage of yet another UN Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka — dealing broadly with human rights, accountability and reconciliation — now is an opportune time to clarify and explain how Sri Lanka’s new government has said it will approach transitional justice. The interpretation of the resolution remains a source of… Read more »

Tamil Political Prisoners Resume fast

Tamil political prisoners resumed their fast today in protest over the failure by the Government to keep its promise and release all of them. At least 29 Tamil detainees at the Anuradhapura prison were among those who resumed the fast today. The Government was to release 30 Tamil detainees today and another 32 by next week… Read more »

Tamil Grassroots Organizations Seek Clarity from Sri Lanka on UN Probe

A collective of Tamil organisations representing the war affected in Sri Lanka’s north has expressed doubts about the governments stance on its understanding and approach to the war crimes probe proposed by the United Nations. In a meeting with Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera on 29 October in Colombo, the Tamil Civil Society Forum (TCSF) has… Read more »

For Sri Lanka to Break Cycle of Impunity Promises Need to Be Kept

Sri Lanka may be undertaking a change of course towards accountability for atrocities committed during its 26-year civil war. The new government promised to establish a truth commission and co-sponsored a UN resolution calling for international involvement in a domestic tribunal. At the same time, a commission of inquiry initiated by the previous government issued… Read more »

What Do Constitutions Do?

by Sumit Bisarya, Lawyers for Justice in Libya, December 24, 2015 Sumit Bisarya International IDEA www.idea.int/   Constitutions cannot build roads or bridges.  They cannot cure disease, educate children or put food on the table (at least directly).  A few countries, such as the United Kingdom, seem to get by perfectly well without a written Constitution… Read more »

A More Robust Democracy will Safeguard Peace in Sri Lanka

by Richard Armitage & Karen Bue, ‘South China Morning Post,’ Hong Kong, October 9, 2015 The horrors of the conflict in Sri Lanka were laid bare in a report issued last month by the UN Human Rights Council. Unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, sexual violence and the use of child soldiers were among the parade of… Read more »

World Bank on Integrating Island & Need for Empowering Local Govnts

Key challenges are how to manage the growth of the Kandy-Colombo-Galle region, in particular, the Metropolitan Colombo Region, and how to enhance connectivity of other single-city agglomerations with the Kandy-Colombo-Galle region so as realize their potential for economic growth and poverty alleviation…

Specifically, the report identified three areas where reform could address fundamental deficits – in empowerment, resources, and accountability:

· Improving intergovernmental fiscal relations to address empowerment.

· Identifying practical ways to increase the resources available to local governments to allow them to perform their mandated functions.

· Strengthening mechanisms to hold local governments accountable for their actions.

2015 UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka

 —– Archived webcast of discussion of OHCHR Report on Sri Lanka OHCHR Report on Sri Lanka – 37th Meeting, 30th Regular Session Human Rights Council OHCHR Report on Sri Lanka (Cont’d) – 38th Meeting, 30th Regular Session Human Rights Council  —— Resolution on Sri Lanka A/HRC/30/1 UNHRC Resolution 30/1 October 1 2015 Received from (main… Read more »

Report & Recommendations of UNHCHR to UNHRC on Sri Lanka

HCHR Report and Recommendations  A_HRC_30_61_ENG http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/Pages/OISL.aspx   A/HRC/30/61 Advance Unedited Version Distr.: General 16 September 2015   Original: English Human Rights Council Thirtieth session Agenda item 2 Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General Report of the Office of… Read more »