Filed under: News | Tagged: Aljazeera, Facebook, Gottabaya, Human Rights, Indi, killing, LTTE, Mahinda Rajapakse, Samarajeewa, sinhala, srilanka, Tamil, Tamil Diaspora, Twitter, war | Leave a comment »
Gordon Weiss was spokesman for the United Nation’s humanitarian mission in Sri Lanka during the civil war.
GORDON WEISS: Well I think that the decisions over the war and the execution of the war come down to a very narrow circle of people that surround the Rajapaksa family. The Defence minister was a Rajapaksa, the president was as a Rajapaksa, there was a range of Rajapaksas in the administration, but also people like Palitha Kohona, who was the secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs there.
ALI MOORE: Who also has Australian citizenship.
GORDON WEISS: Who has also Australian citizenship. And these were the people who were busy pedalling the notion to the rest of the world that there was nothing very untoward happening at all, that the war was going along merrily and ultimately that the war was won without a drop of civilian blood being spilt, which the Government maintains to this day, despite all this evidence to the contrary.
Filed under: News | Tagged: Army shelling, Civil Society, civil war, Disapora, Gordon Weiss, Gottabaya, humanitarian mission, killing, LTTE, Mahinda Rajapakse, Palitha Kohona, sinhala, spokesman, Sri Lanka, Tamils, UN, UN Report, United Nation | Leave a comment »
A United Nations investigation panel says both the government and Tamil Tigers are to blame.
In May 2009, Sri Lanka’s decades long civil war with the Tamil Tigers, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam came to a bloody close after government forces launched a massive offensive.
What exactly happened during the last days of the battle is still the subject of fierce debate, but it is clear that as the rebel perimeter shrank, around a third of a million civilians were trapped between the two armies and tens of thousands were killed.
The government says the LTTE were using civilians as human shields, Tamil exiles say the deaths were the result of indiscriminate shelling by the Sri Lankan army. The LTTE was crushed in the offensive, most of its leaders killed and thousands were captured and imprisoned but the Sri Lankan government has so far refused to agree to an independent, international war crimes investigation.
Now a UN panel has found that the allegations against both sides are credible saying they may have committed serious violations of humanitarian law.
As Juliana Ruhfus and Dom Rotheroe have been finding out, unless and until the truth is established, a final reconciliation in Sri Lanka may prove impossible.
Some of the images in their film are deeply disturbing.
This episode of People & Power can be seen from Wednesday, April 20.
Filed under: Events, Interview, News | Tagged: Aljazeera, Bloody, extrajudicial Killings, Gotabhaya, government forces, Human Rights Watch, Killinochchi, Mahinda Rajapakse, massive offensive, million civilians, People & Power, perimeter shrank, Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan Army, War crimes | Leave a comment »
Interview with S.G. Punchihewa
Interview with Kelly Senanayake
Interview with Hemamalee Wijesinghe
Interview with Vasudeva Nanayakkara
Interview with Wasantha Fernando
”I am proud of My Farther..” Daughter of Somapala Garusinghe
Interview with Lionel Bopage
Interview with Sunanda Deshapriya
Source : Vikalpa.org
Filed under: Interview | Tagged: 1971, Future, Hemamalee Wijesinghe, Human Rights, Insurrection, JVP, Kelly Senanayake, killing, Learnt, Lessons, Lionel Bopage, political asylum, Political Solution, political violence, S.G. Punchihewa, Somapala Garusinghe, Somawansa Amarasinghe, Sunanda Deshapriya, Tamil, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Wasantha Fernando | 1 Comment »
9 March 2011
Amnesty International has called on the Sri Lankan government to immediately release thousands of people currently being held in detention without charge or trial and to amend its repressive anti-terrorism laws to conform to international standards.
An Amnesty International briefing paper, Forgotten Prisoners, released on Wednesday, highlights how some of those detained are being held secretly where they are vulnerable to a range of abuses, including torture or being killed in custody.
More than 1,900 people already arrested and detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) remain in custody pending investigations, according to the last relevant official statements from May 2010.
“Sri Lanka’s so-called national security laws, and in particular the PTA, are being used to harass, intimidate and punish critical voices,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director.
“Thousands of people are languishing in detention without charge or trial under these laws, outside even the protections offered by the Sri Lankan legal system and in clear violation of recognised international human rights standards.”
Sri Lanka has been under a state of emergency almost continually since 1971, and successive governments have used national security as an excuse to introduce a range of broad of emergency regulations.
This has led to the erosion and even suspension of people’s rights to freedom of thought, conscience and expression, as well as their right to live free from arbitrary arrest and detention.
The national security laws grant state authorities sweeping powers of detention and permit people to be held in secret locations. Security agents, often without proper uniforms or identification, can detain and hold suspects for months or years without a warrant or being produced before a magistrate.
“Amnesty International recognizes the right and duty of the Sri Lankan government to protect its citizens from violence by armed groups, but these laws, and in particular the PTA, are too often abusive and too rarely result in proper convictions of alleged wrongdoers,” said Sam Zarifi.
“Despite the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in May 2009, the government has failed to demonstrate its commitment to human rights and the rule of law by getting rid of the PTA.”
Amnesty International will again be raising its concerns about Sri Lanka’s emergency laws at a 9 March session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, including at a seminar about the laws and their application that will include lawyers from Sri Lanka.
Source : AI-London
Filed under: News | Tagged: Dateline, emergency laws, freedom, freedom of thought, Human Rights, Human Rights Council in Geneva, IDPs, lawyers, London, LTTE, Mahinda Rajapakse, military victory, Peace and Conflict, PTA, Sri Lanka Army, Tamils, violence, war, Yolanda Foster | Leave a comment »
Full text of speech delivered by Houston-based Attorney George R. Willy, during a recent event in Houston, Texas, USA, welcoming President Mahinda Rajapaksa:
Your Excellency, Mrs. Rajapaksa, Hon Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. Sheila thank you for making this, really appreciate this and Consul General Arora, Consul thank you for making this.
Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome Your Excellency to this great city. If you can ignore the oak trees and the mockingbirds you could easily mistake this for Sri Lanka.
It is in Sri Lanka that I was born, and my mother and the parents of my wife Shanthi, our grand fathers and grand mothers are all buried under the sacred soil of my motherland. I grew up Your Excellency, in Jaffna and moved to Colombo when I was only 10 years old. My wife is from Badulla, grew up in Diyatalawa where her dad was a well a respected captain in the army.
I have smelt the sweetness of Magosa trees in Jaffna and taste of the Red Jumbu fruits that left red stains on my white shirt as I walked to school in Colombo. I know the allure of Jack fruits ripening on the trees as crows begin to break them open.
I have seen the bright colour of pandals during Wesak and shamelessly ate food at Dansala meant for the poor. And I have heard the chanting of Kovils and inhaled the smell of jasmine and Joss sticks. I’ve heard the bell of All Saint’s church as I assisted Father Herath during Mass.
But since I left Sri Lanka in 1975 there has been such pain, such sorrow and such agony. The mighty Mahaweli Ganga that usually brings its sacred waters to the paddy fields spat out blood. Both the Sinhalese and Tamils. From up here in the United States I have watched the land of my forefathers descend from paradise deep into hell. No one can say with certainty who is to blame but the time for blaming is long gone.
Your Excellency, your power be descended from Dutugemunu and my people from Elara. Remember how Dutugemunu fought Elara on his Elephant Kandula and killed Elara. Dutugemunu of course is still remembered for uniting Sri Lanka for the first time. But he is also remembered for something else. After defeating and killing Elara he built a monument for Elara out of respect for his worthy opponent. He ordered all the citizens of the land to stop, dismount and pay respect to Elara. In so doing he not only showed what a great noble man he was. But also proved to be a great politician. He knew that He had to rule the Tamil people too after the defeat of Elara.
Your Excellency, faith and fortune and your great political skills have placed you at a unique point in history.
Children years to come, will read in their history books, that a great leader, a great warrior by the name of Mahinda Rajapaksa finally defeated the rebellion after nearly 25 years when several before him failed. They may even say that you are Dutugamunu of the 21 century. But if you want to wear Gemunu’s mantle, Your Excellency, you will have to build a monument too. That monument does not have to be a Dagoba or a building. It will have to be new policy backed by laws with teeth to enforce.
Do not make the mistake that started 58 riots. Do not hold back Tamils who want to get into Universities. Do not make the Tamils feel like they are second class citizens. Respect their religion, and respect their language. There is something about the Tamil people you need to know Your Excellency. To them their language is God. There are only few cultures in the world which has such devotion to the language.
You were trained as a lawyer and in your early career you were a formidable defender of human rights.
Now you have the popularity, you have the power of a hero, like Julius Caeser, returning to Rome from his conquests. No one can deny what you ask. Ask the parliament to pass some entrenched clauses; you and I read in law school. Then we have had to study the Soulbury Constitution. If you need my help I will give it free like many in this audience would. The Tamil people are naked and hungry looking for you to assure them that there is a place for them.
Make sure they have one. You killed one Prabhakaran but do not let another grow. You cannot prevent another one with swords and guns. You can only do that with your heart and wisdom. Compassion, truth and justice, you learnt from Buddha are the only weapons you will need. According to Dhamma Pada, Buddha said that hatred does not cease by hatred at any time. Hatred cease by love. This is an old rule. That’s what the Buddha said.
Your Excellency, as you leave this fair city and return to Sri Lanka, promise me that a 10 year boy walking to school tomorrow in his white shirt will have no other red stain than from the Jumbu fruits. The morning crow will not open anything other than the jackfruit. That there will be nothing else hanging from the Magosa trees, than the fruits I smelt.
Your Excellency return us to paradise, return us to paradise. Thank You
Read in Sinala _PDF : Hier
Filed under: Events, News | Tagged: Attorney, Free Tamil, George R. Willy, Human Rights, Independent Media, JHU, JVP, killing, LTTE, Mahinda Rajapaksha, Prabhakaran, sinhala, Sinhala police, Tamil, war | Leave a comment »