PEARL’s News Update 02 November 2018

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Students at the University of Jaffna held a memorial service to mark ten years since the death of former student union leader Sellathurai Purusothaman, who was killed along with another Tamil youth. He was one of the many activists killed as the ceasefire broke down
(Photo: Tamil Guardian)

 

 

 

 

PEARL’s News Update 02 November 2018

PEARL in the NewsProsecutions for Crimes Against Journalists Necessary to Prevent Media Repression
“The international community failed to prioritize justice in their interactions with Sri Lanka. Justice and accountability would help guarantee the non-recurrence of human rights violations, including crimes against journalists. This global failure has contributed to the political return of an individual who may bear the greatest responsibility for the war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide committed against the Tamil people at the end of the war.” – PEARL Statement.Was the sacking of Ranil Wickremesinghe legal?
The government appears to be in crisis and many fear Sri Lanka could slide back into another violent era. Guests: Mario Arulthas Advocacy director at the People for Equality and Relief in Lanka, Alan Keenan Senior Sri Lanka analyst at the International Crisis Group and Dilanthe Withanage Chief Executive of Buddhist nationalist group, Bodu Bala Sena – TRT World.

 

 

 

 

NEWS

118 MPs resolve that Rajapaksa’s appointment was illegal
A meeting with 118 Sri Lankan parliamentarians earlier today resolved that the appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa was illegal and unconstitutional, according to reports in the Colombo press, while President Sirisena remained defiant. Crucially, amongst the lawmakers who met, were MPs from the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and JVP, who have thus far not pledged an allegiance to either Mahinda Rajapaksa or Ranil Wickremesinghe – Tamil Guardian. The UNP also handed over a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa – Daily Mirror.

Tamil desire for constitutional settlement punctured yet again – TCSF
The ongoing political crisis in Colombo has demonstrated to Tamils that “Sinhala Buddhist majoritarian parties continue to demonstrate a lack of respect to constitutionalism,” said the Tamil Civil Society Forum (TCSF). In a statement on Tuesday, the TCSF said that the appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa as prime minister, illustrated that “time and again the Sinhala polity reminds us of the limits of liberal constitutional democratic solutions to our political aspirations”. – Tamil Guardian.

TNA MP defects to Rajapaksa
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Batticaloa MP and PLOTE member, S Viyalendiran has defected to Rajapaksa’s cabinet being appointed as the deputy minister of regional development today – Tamil Guardian.

Sri Lanka’s new Cabinet expanded
Though the President’s office indicated on Thursday morningthat Parliament will be reconvened on November 5, it retracted from the position in the evening. The legislature would be summoned on “another future date”, officials said, but did not indicate when. Earlier, Mr. Rajapaksa too told local media that the President had informed him about reconvening the Parliament on Monday – The Hindu.

Mahinda making economic changes
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Mahinda Rajapaksa has given direction to implement several initiatives to revive the economy as the consumers are saddled with high cost of living, Finance ministry said – Daily Mirror. The telecommunication levy will be reduced, levy on lentils and chickpeas was reduced, customs duty on wheat will be waived and taxes on sugar were reduced. Fuel prices were also reduced – Daily Mirror.

Full house for Mahinda as armed forces and police chiefs visit
Sri Lanka’s top security force officials have met with Mahinda Rajapaksa, in an apparent show of support in the midst of Sri Lanka’s unfolding political crisis over the office of Prime Minister and the collapse of the unity government – Tamil Guardian.

Sri Lanka risks EU trade concessions if any back-sliding on rights
The European Union will consider stripping Sri Lanka of its duty-free access if it backs off commitments on rights, the EU ambassador said, amid worries stoked by the president’s replacing of the elected premier by a wartime nationalist – Reuters.

‘Sri Lankan parliament must decide on prime minister’ – US State Dept spokesperson
“The United States for now, we’re focused on the need for Sri Lanka to follow the necessary constitutional process to determine its leadership,” said Robert Palladino, deputy spokesperson for the state department on Wednesday – Tamil Guardian.

Cross party British MPs urge action over Sri Lanka’s political crisis
A cross party group of British MPs, the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPGT) have urged the UK government to take urgent action over the Sri Lanka’s unfolding crisis following the sacking of the prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe and appointment of the former president, Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place – Tamil Guardian. British MPs also discussed the issue in parliament – Tamil Guardian.

Harassment in the North-East
TID summons head of security at Jaffna Teaching Hospital
Police interrogate Maaveerar Naal event organisers and journalist, threaten arrest

Threat of international sanctions required to protect at risk ethnic groups in Sri Lanka – ICG
In a damning situational update on Sri Lanka, the International Crisis Group has recommended military and economic sanctions to mitigate against tangible risks faced by Rajapaksa dissenters and ethnic communities in Sri Lanka. Stressing the importance of concerted and decisive action, the International Crisis Group statement called for the international community to make clear that military cooperation, economic development funding and trade concessions would be “reconsidered” or “immediately suspended” in response to Rajapaksa’s rise to power – Tamil Guardian.

Sirisena vows he’d have to be killed before any North-East merger or federalism
Speaking to the SLFP electoral organisers at a meeting in Colombo yesterday, Sirisena said that “some groups had been adamant about the merger of the North and East and the formation of a federal state”. The two demands had been pushed by Tamil voters and were key parts of the Tamil National Alliance’s previous election manifestoes – Tamil Guardian.

CID ordered to arrest CDS Wijegunaratne 
The Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court today ordered the CID to arrest Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne for harbouring Lieutenant Commander Prasad Hettiarachchi and produce him in Court before November 9 – DailyMirror.

Sri Lankan navy threatens resettled family in Mullikulam
The family were in the process of installing a fence to their land, which was released from occupation by the security forces, when navy officers arrived at the scene and stated the land belongs to them – Tamil Guardian.

Day 610: Keppapulavu families continue protest for land
In a letter to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the families pointed out that despite the release of some areas, “the lands of 104 families are still in the hands of Sri Lankan Security Forces.” – Tamil Guardian.

Lakshman Kadirgamar assassination suspect acquitted after thirteen years of PTA detention
The suspect, Aarokiyanathan, was acquitted after being detained for thirteen years under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) – Tamil Guardian.

COLUMNS, FEATURES & REPORTS

Remembering Thamilselvan
“Today marks eleven years since S. P. Thamilselvan, the head of the political wing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was assassinated by the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF). On November 2nd 2007 Sri Lankan Air Force jets carried out a strike on a residence of members of the LTTE’s political division. Brigadier Thamilchelvan was a member of the LTTE negotiating team that took part in peace talks with the Sri Lankan government in 2002 and 2003, becoming the Chief Negotiator after the death of Anton Balasingham.” – Tamil Guardian.

Sri Lankan political crisis threatens media independence
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urges the Sri Lankan authorities to respect journalists’ safety and editorial independence after supporters of Mahinda Rajapaksa – the new prime minister, whose appointment is being disputed – invaded state media outlets on 26 October in order to seize control of them – RSF.

Muslims in Jaffna mark 28 years since expulsion
Muslims in Jaffna town hung black flags to mark 28 years since they were expelled from the peninsula by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) – Tamil Guardian.

Sri Lanka’s president installs his arch-enemy as prime minister
“First to go was the navy honour guard, in crisp uniforms with brass buttons. Then the maintenance staff departed, followed by the cooks and gardeners and cleaners. The next day no drivers showed up, marooning a fleet of fancy cars in the compound’s garage. By the third day all but a token ten out of a normal complement of 1,008 dedicated security personnel—round-the-clock shifts of police, watchmen, bodyguards and the like—had abandoned Temple Trees, the stately official residence of the prime minister of Sri Lanka.” – The Economist.

 

 

 

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