PEARL’s News Update 12 November 2018
Mahinda Rajapaksa wields the power: Sri Lanka’s political crisis
For his insight into the current political crisis unfolding in Sri Lanka, ABC’s PM spoke with Mario Arulthas, advocacy director at the US based Tamil advocacy group, PEARL Action – ABC.
Sri Lanka’s Tamils fear bloody return of ‘Lord of the Rings’ Mahinda Rajapaksa
“A targeted campaign of harassment, intimidation and killings of Tamil activists for political reasons remains the fear amongst Tamils. The repercussions of such violence would be unthinkable,” said the advocacy director of PEARL. – The National
Over 230 skeletons and counting unearthed from Mannar mass grave
The skeletal remains of at least 232 people have been unearthed from a mass grave in Mannar, with over 100 days of excavations having taken place thus far and more bodies reportedly still to be discovered. – Tamil Guardian
Sri Lanka’s snap election challenged in supreme court
Three political parties holding an absolute majority in parliament and an election commissioner, one of three officials tasked with conducting polls, on Monday asked the Supreme Court to declare the president’s actions illegal – AFP.
President takes over police with fresh Gazette
Sri Lanka’s Police Department, which was under the Ministry of Law and Order, has been brought under the purview of President Sirisena – Daily FT.
Western diplomats shun meeting with Sri Lanka minister on political crisis
Eight Western countries stayed away from a meeting with Sri Lanka’s government on Monday to register their protest against President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to dissolve parliament – Reuters.
Mix of local and global policies for development: Yapa
State Minister of Finance Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said expressed that solutions for the economic issues that the county is facing must be tackled as short-term and long-term goals, and the ending of the pricing formula, reduction of oil prices and removal of some taxes by the Minister of Finance were some of such decisions taken – DailyFT.
Sri Lanka tourism takes a hit as political crisis continues
The outbreak of the crisis, coinciding with the run up to Sri Lanka’s peak winter tourist season, saw an almost immediate onslaught of travel advisories from foreign governments, including Europe and North America, warning of potential violence. Tour operators say the spurt in cancellations has been the highest since the end of the civil war nearly a decade ago. – Tamil Guardian & Times of India
International Responses to Crisis
Canada concerned by decision to dissolve Sri Lanka’s parliament – GAC
UN Sec Gen urges Sri Lanka to uphold commitments to human rights, justice – Tamil Guardian
EU calls for ‘swift and peaceful’ resolution to Sri Lanka’s crisis – Tamil Guardian
Commonwealth urges Sri Lanka to resolve crisis – Tamil Guardian
House Dems Urge Sri Lanka to Reopen Parliament, Commit to Democratic Process – House Foreign Affairs Committee Democrats
UK FCO is ‘deeply concerned’ about Sri Lanka – Tamil Guardian
Tamil Nadu warns Sri Lanka’s crisis threatens stability, jeopardises Tamils – Tamil Guardian
Western Ambassadors Slammed for Interference
A group of Buddhist monks and leaders from the extremist Bodu Bala Sena organisation have slammed Western countries for “unnecessary interference and influence” – Colombo Gazette & Tamil Guardian.
Foreigners continue to exit Colombo Stock Exchange
With Sri Lanka’s political crisis ongoing, foreign selling and exiting from the Colombo Stock Exchange continued at a staggering rate. – Tamil Guardian
Foreign Aid and Investment:
Sri Lanka’s ousted PM says US, Japan freeze aid over political crisis – Channel News Asia
MCC program on hold as US assesses situation in Sri Lanka – Tamil Guardian
EU warns crisis could deter investors – Tamil Guardian
COLUMNS, FEATURES & REPORTS
Sri Lanka’s political crisis explained, and what it means for the island nation’s Tamil community
In the 2015 presidential election, Sirisena won on the strength of the votes of the minorities and lost the Sinhala vote to Rajapaksa. It was clear from the very beginning that Sirisena suffered from a sense of inferiority from not being recognized as leader of the Sinhala Buddhists – Scroll.in
Why the US’s policy on Sri Lanka needs a reset
The policy of western democracies – led by the United States – of over-emphasizing military-to-military relations with Sri Lanka to the detriment of human rights accountability has weakened their hand to play a constructive role in this crisis – Asian Correspondent
Halfway Isn’t Good Enough on Human Rights
With a Rajapaksa return looking increasingly likely in Sri Lanka, the stakes of shortsighted human rights policy that declares victory at the first sign of progress are clear—just as they have become in Myanmar, South Sudan, and Egypt – Foreign Policy.
Sri Lanka: when is a political opinion a crime?
On 8 October, in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, former state minister and Tamil MP Vijayakala Maheswaran was arrested and charged for “attempting to excite disaffection”. There is not only a distinction between propagating war and expressing an opinion, but also a government’s feelings are not protected by any international standard – Lowy Institute.
Sri Lanka’s Homegrown Crisis
As president, Rajapaksa took the country in an increasingly authoritarian direction. His return to power could foment a new wave of oppression, particularly for ethnic and religious minorities. In the heavily militarized Northern Province, the civilian population is especially vulnerable to rights violations committed by state security personnel – Taylor Dibbert, Foreign Policy.
What, to the minority, is democracy?
All postcolonial Sri Lankan heads of government, all of them Sinhalese, have consistently violated the constitution and/or “threatened” democracy – usually by practicing it – and/or oppressed minorities. One could deem it a job requirement. – Groundviews