Category Archives: legal issues

Extremist Fervour as Roadblock for Reconciliation: A High Profile Example from the Galle-Lit-Fest

RK Radhakrishnan, in The Hindu, 2011 (?)https://www.thehindu.com/books/books-reviews/reconciliation-elusive-on-the-ground/article6164031.ece

The packed hall at the Galle Literary Festival was stunned into silence by a series of abuses hurled on a Sri Lankan human rights activist by a member in the audience. The hurler of abuses, a well-known journalist, questioned the activist’s patriotism, labelled her pro-Tiger, and described her as a ‘stooge’ of the Western nations. Oh yes, that was just the printable part.

The activist at the receiving end was Sunila Abeysekera. She was one of the panelists on ‘Aftershock: The lingering legacy of civil war,’ presented by the BBC World Service. Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and event moderator Bridget Kendall (BBC’s diplomatic correspondent) were on stage. The exchange presented a clear idea of the differing perceptions on the concept of reconciliation.

Rajpal Abeynaike

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Devanee Jayathilaka stands firm … and the Video Tale goes viral

Malinda Seneviratne, in Daily Mirror, 13 February 2020, with this title “Devanee vs Sanath: who do you want to back, Citizen?”

A YouTube video going viral on social media has a state official going one-on-one with a politician.  Well, not exactly one-on-one because the politician had in his corner what could be assumed was a section of his constituency. Not exactly in the corner. They were in the ring, so to speak. 

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Coronavirus Time Bomb …. Tick, Tick, Tick

Jamie Walker, in The Weekend Australian  1/2 February 2020

Passenger A flies into Melbourne from Wuhan on January 22 before the Chinese government seals off the drab industrial city of 11 million people in a futile bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus. He doesn’t know it — because what he feels is excitement to be on holiday in faraway Australia — but he has brought the disease with him.

A masked man walks the streets of Wuhan. Picture: Getty Images A masked man walks the streets of Wuhan. Picture: Getty Images

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Jehan Perera evaluates New President’s Cautious Approach

Jehan Perera, in Island, 28 January 2020, where the title is “Adopt a problem solving approach for the north”

Contrary to expectations the government is treading a cautious path with regard to past commitments on controversial matters made by the previous government. This may be disappointing to its more nationalist supporters. They might have expected an immediate change of approach and rescinding of agreements they see as unfair or not in the national interest. In the run up to the presidential election campaign, the present government’s front line campaigners claimed that the MCC grant of USD 450 million by the US government that had just received cabinet approval would endanger the country’s national security. Members of the government and their nationalist supporters were emphatic in saying that the former government had betrayed the country. This effectively sank any prospect of election victory that the former government’s presidential candidate may have had.

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Gota’s Assets placed in the Present Political Context

H. L. D. Mahindapala, in Colombo Telegraph, January 2020, where the title is

Any critical assessment of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa must take into consideration the salient characteristics that make him stand out from the run-of-the-mill politicians who had occupied the peaks of power.

The first notable characteristic is that he is the first head of state to come from the Sri Lankan diaspora. Initially it was a disadvantage tangled in legalities of citizenship. Later it smoothened out and has been an invaluable asset to him. His existential experiences as an expat in America had widened his horizons and opened up new vistas in his thinking and strategizing. He has acted so far as a leader who had seen the future and is bent on taking the nation in that direction. It has all the signs of being influenced by the American efficiency in delivering goods and services. The new breed of intellectuals he had recruited to run his state indicates clearly that he is in a hurry to modernise the sluggish nation and usher it into the 21st century. His first-hand knowledge of an advanced nation would hasten him to mix tradition with modernity without deracinating the nation – a critical issue in modernising Afro-Asian countries.

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Chandraprema to beard the UNHRC Den in Geneva

Item in NewsInAsia, 19 January 2020, where the title is “Veteran columnist C.A.Chandraprema appointed as Lankan envoy at the UN in Geneva”

 Veteran Sunday Island columnist, C.A.Chandraprema, has been appointed as Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations in Geneva, within which is located the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

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Barefaced Lies in the OHCHR REPORT from Geneva: Weerasekera’s Challenge in 2016

Dharshan Weerasekera, in Lankaweb, 15 January 2016, with this title “A rebuttal of the OHCHR Report, 1: Outright Lies”

To my knowledge, the Government has to date not commissioned an official assessment of the OHCHR report (also called the OISL report) or at any rate if it has, such report is not available to the public.[1]  And yet, one reads in the newspapers that the Government is about to start ‘the consultation process to design’ mechanisms to probe the ‘past,’ in order to satisfy recommendations made in UNHRC resolution A/HRC/30/L.29.[2]

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