LEAD NEWS

Clarifying Pre-conceived Notions About UN Human Rights Council Focusing on Sri Lanka’s Accountability Issues.

By Dr.Nirmala Chandrahasan At the current 34th sessions of the UNHRC the draft resolution on ‘Reconciliation, accountability and human rights’, to be placed before the Council shortly, requests Sri Lanka to fully implement the measures identified in HRC Resolution 30/1 that are outstanding, while extending the time limit. In this context we have to once

[continue reading…]

Right to information: A tool to empower people

Recently I had an opportunity to discuss the Right to Information Act with Will Ferroggiaro, a Washington DC-based consultant with more than 20 years’ experience working on freedom of expression, Government accountability and human rights. He has worked on the right to information in countries around the world, including India, Japan and South Africa as

[continue reading…]

REBOOTING THE CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM PROCESS: A CIVIL SOCIETY STATEMENT

12 March 2017 It is now over two months since the constitutional reform process went into abeyance, with the indefinite postponement in January of the submission of the Steering Committee’s Interim Report to the Constitutional Assembly for debate. Substantial work was undertaken during 2015, including the work of the Public Representations Committee, the Subcommittees of

[continue reading…]

Going beyond empty speeches for gender justice

The Concluding Observations of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) issued in regard to Sri Lanka on March 3rd this year is illuminating in several respects. It was significant that the Observations were released just a few days before the world marked the International Day of Women. In Sri

[continue reading…]

There are many challenges in getting RTI laws properly implemented – US expert

Government could assert national security exemption in case of identifiable harm RTI can be of some help in getting transitional justice Sovereignty and inclusiveness among major global issues  Who is Will? Will Ferroggiaro is a Washington (DC)-based consultant with more than 20 years experience working on freedom of expression, government accountability, and human rights. He

[continue reading…]

Elusive reconciliation : Editorial of The Hindu on 6th March 2017

Colombo must do much more to address the concerns of the Tamil minority A United Nations report released last week on the progress of reconciliation efforts by the Sri Lankan government should be a wake-up call for President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Raising serious concerns about the delay in addressing allegations of

[continue reading…]

At UNHRC, states call for timetable from Lanka on establishing reconciliation mechanisms

Govt. officially announces co-sponsorship at informal session in Geneva  Several state delegations want new resolution to require Lanka to commit to specific timetable No aspects of 2015 resolution have been changed by new draft resolution says US US says draft resolution prepared in consultation with Govt.  By Dharisha Bastians in Geneva The Sri Lanka resolution at the

[continue reading…]

The President and his backbone

The President told the SLFP Executive Committee meeting that he has shown his ‘backbone’ to the international community by rejecting the UNHRC Chief Zeid bin Ra-ad Al Hussein’s recommendation for a hybrid court to probe war crimes allegations in Sri Lanka. “Two weeks ago the UN Human Rights High Commissioner in his report on Sri

[continue reading…]

Govt. says no new laws to include foreign judges in special court

 Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera heading the Sri Lankan Government delegation to the UNHRC’s 34th Session addressing a side event at the Palais des Nations on Wednesday. Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Secretary General of the Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms Mano Tittawella, MP and Constitutional expert Dr. Jayampathy

[continue reading…]

‘We will go the distance’: Mangala tells UN in Geneva

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera addresses the 34th UNHRC sessions in Geneva yesterday  Amid setbacks and realpolitik considerations, the Government remains determined to follow through on its reconciliation and justice commitments, Foreign Minister tells UN in Geneva Mangala tells UNHRC Govt. resolve on transitional justice undiminished Truth-seeking Commission before Cabinet in two months  ‘Even one incident of torture is one

[continue reading…]

OTHER NEWS

No foreign judges, only foreign observers: PM

The Government is agreeable to the presence of foreign observers and not to foreign judges to view the judicial procedures on human rights violations, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament today. He was responding to a question asked by joint opposition parliamentary group leader Dinesh Gunawardane as to how the Foreign Affairs Minister was to

[continue reading…]

Zeid continues to underscore ‘hybrid court

United Nations High commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid al-Hussein told the 34th regular session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva today that they continue to underscore the concept of hybrid court to Sri Lanka to utilize an accountability mechanism. Following the resolution debate of the member countries on Sri Lanka, the High Commissioner said

[continue reading…]

SL co-sponsors new resolution

Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Harsha De Silva a short while ago told the 34th session of the UNHRC that Sri Lanka will be co-sponsoring a Resolution with the United States and the other main co-sponsors of previous resolution (30/1) on the country for a two-year extension of the timeline for fulfilment of commitments made in

[continue reading…]

Lanka’s UN mission hosts panel talks on gender empowerment

UNITED NATIONS— The Sri Lanka Mission to the UN hosted two panel discussions last week to coincide with the 61st annual session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) focusing on the themes: “Empowering Women’s Economic Leadership” and “Women in Post-Conflict Reconciliation.” In her opening address, Minister for Women & Child Affairs

[continue reading…]

Yet another imaginative proposal to privilege the police

The tortuous dance of some in Government to ensure that a suspect in police custody is not allowed legal counsel at the earliest opportunity is indeed painful to observe. The latest amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure Act suggested by the Ministry of Justice reflects this reluctance exceedingly well. Now, instead of the earlier

[continue reading…]

STRENGTHENING CREDIBILITY REQUIRES TIME LINE FOR IMPLEMENTING COMMITMENTS

The ongoing session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva is generating strong hopes and emotions especially in the former war zones of the north and east of the country and amongst the Tamil Diaspora.  Many of the people living there have been direct victims of the war that lasted nearly three decades.  They look to

[continue reading…]

Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu participated at the inauguration;

Executive Director of the Center for Policy Alternatives (CPA) Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu yesterday participated at the inauguration of Masters Degree programme 2017 offered by the Faculty of Graduate Studies of the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University. On his arrival, Dr. Saravanamuttu, who functioned as the Secretary to the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanism

[continue reading…]

Yahapalana foot soldiers intensify campaign for new Constitution : By Shamindra Ferdinando

Civil society groups that campaigned for Maithripala Sirisena at the January 2015 presidential poll, have stepped up their campaign for a new constitution. The project gets underway against the backdrop of members of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) reaching consensus as regards a new resolution to give space for Sri Lanka to

[continue reading…]

EU asks for ‘concrete’ HR progress ahead of GSP+

Recognises progress on several fronts including RTI, legislation on the Office of Missing Persons Detailed exchanges with PM and Mangala on constitution-making and repealing PTA     EU Working Group conclusions to be reported to EU-Sri Lanka Joint Commission  The European Union has underscored the importance of the Sri Lankan Government achieving “prompt and concrete” progress

[continue reading…]

CONVICTED OF SCREENING HUMAN RIGHTS DOCUMENTARY

MALAYSIAN HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER LENA HENDRY HAS BEEN CONVICTED BY THE KUALA LUMPUR MAGISTRATE COURT FOR THE PRIVATE SCREENING OF THE DOCUMENTARY “NO FIRE ZONE: THE KILLING FIELDS OF SRI LANKA”. SHE FACES UP TO THREE YEARS IMPRISONMENT OR A FINE OF UP TO RM30, 000 ($7,200 USD). Lena Hendry, in her capacity as staff

[continue reading…]

134 years of criminalization is enough

Ceylon’s colonization by the British rule had a sizeable impact on what we now deem as cultural and social norms in Sri Lanka today. When the British established themselves in this country, they brought in their morals and culture which contrasted dramatically with what we Sri Lankans practised pre-colonization. With colonization, the British forced upon

[continue reading…]

Democracy Has Always Been a Contact Sport Interview by Julia Hanna

In the wake of a rancorous presidential election and the early, tumultuous days of the Trump administration, a new book by HBS professor David Moss—Democracy: A Case Study—serves as a reminder of that one word’s living, breathing origins. In a collection of 19 case studies, Moss examines key institutions and decision points of American democracy

[continue reading…]

The Geneva ‘disconnect’

Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera heading the Sri Lankan Government delegation to the UNHRC’s 34th Session addressing a side event at the Palais des Nations last week. The event was organised by the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva and chaired by Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN, Ambassador

[continue reading…]

Backlash against women’s rights progress hurts us all.

Statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein International Women’s Day, 8 March. GENEVA (8 March 2017) –Today we honour the human rights struggle of millions of women who have demanded respect for their rights and the rights of others. The women’s movement has brought about tremendous change but we must

[continue reading…]

Speaking Frankly About Sri Lanka and Accountability

 Taylor Dibbert, Sri Lanka’s compliance with an October 2015 UN Human Rights Council resolution is being hotly debated at the Council’s 34th session, which began in late February and will run through March 24. At this point, it looks as though another resolution on Sri Lanka will be passed later this month and that the

[continue reading…]

President rejects UN call for foreign judges in war probe

AFP: President Maithripala Sirisena has rejected a fresh appeal from the United Nations to allow international judges to investigate alleged war-era atrocities, vowing to not prosecute soldiers. “I am not going to allow non-governmental organisations to dictate how to run my Government. I will not listen to their calls to prosecute my troops,” the president

[continue reading…]

INFLUENCING THE POLITY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM –Jehan Perera

Constitutional reform is once again on the front burner of the national agenda.  The election manifestos of both President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in 2015 gave high priority to it.  The government started strongly with passage of the 19th Amendment through parliament. In an unprecedented act of statesmanship President Sirisena voluntarily relinquished much

[continue reading…]