521 Brigade Releases 50 Houses & 22 Lands to Their Owners

Army serving in Jaffna, continuing to shift its camps to government lands, handed over 50 houses and 22 plots of lands hitherto occupied by the troops to their legitimate owners Saturday (09) morning.

Headquarters 521 Brigade of Point Pedro (PPD) released 29 houses and 03 lands while Headquarters 7th Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment (7 VIR) of Valvettithurai handed back 19 houses and 18 blocks of lands. Meanwhile, 2 more houses and 01 block of land used as a Company Headquarters at Sakkottai by the 7 VIR were also given to their owners during a brief function held at PPD Saturday morning.

Commander 521 Brigade Colonel Tikiri Dissanayake delivered the documents with regard to release of civilians’ property to Divisional Secretary PPD Mr. R.T. Jeyaseelan.

Assistant Divisional Secretary PPD Ms. Usha, Mayor PPD Mr. Ravindran, senior officers of Army and Police serving in the area, owners of released lands and houses and distinguished guests attended the occasion.

PPD jetty road so far remained within the former 521 Brigade Headquarters premises was also opened for public use during the ceremony.

http://www.cimicjaffna.lk/Cimicnews_2013_11_10.php

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“Dayata Sevana” National Tree Planting Programme held in Jaffna – 15th November 2013

“Dayata Sevana” National Tree Planting Programme held in Jaffna – 15th November 2013

“Dayata Sevana” National Tree Planting Programme held in Jaffna – 15th November 2013

 “Dayata Sevana” National Tree Planting Programme was inaugurated in 2010 to commemorate the birthday and the second anniversary of the ascendancy of HE the President Mahinda Rajapaksa to office as President. Now it is implemented annually to make the nation green. This year, this day is very important in the history of Sri Lanka. HE the President Mahinda Rajapaksa officially takes over the office of Chairperson of the Commonwealth Nations from Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot for two years.

In order to mark these events, this year “Dayata Sevana” Tree Planting Programme is followed through out the country.

A ceremony in this regard was held in Karainagar, Jaffna this morning (15). Governor of the Northern Province GA Chandrasiri participated in this event and planted the trees.

While addressing the gathering, the Governor wished the President for assuming Office of the Commonwealth Nations as the Chairperson.

Govt Agent of Jaffna District Sundaram Arumainayagam and Secretary to the Governor L.Ilaangovan and other officials from various departments took part in the event.

http://www.np.gov.lk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2628:dayata-sevana-national-tree-planting-programme-held-in-jaffna-15th-november-2013

A Response to Rajan Phillips and L. Jayasooriya

A few comments on the paper delivered in Brazil indicate how deeply Sri Lankans have absorbed the oppositional mindsets that Nirmal Verma and Tagore deplored. One generalization occurred in the Sunday Island, to which a response was made. Another appeared only in the electronic media, but was obligingly sent in. Published here are the response to the Sunday Island and a response to another comment, since it seems important to explain to those who seem confused the idea between a nation in which there is a majority of a particular religion, and characterizing the state as that of a particular religion.

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The Editor

Sunday Island

 

Dear Sir

I read with some interest Rajan Philips’ account of ‘Anglo-Indo-Lanka ties and tangles from DS Senanayake to Mahinda Rajapaksa’  in your columns last week. In the midst of an interesting thesis, he made a gratuitous reference to a paper I had delivered in Brazil last month, and claimed that my thesis seemed to have been ‘to attribute the foreign policy differences between DS Senanayake and the UNP, on the one hand, and SWRD Bandaranaike and the Left on the other, to the difference between a supposedly dichotomous Western view of things and a contrastingly unifying Eastern vision’.

I am grateful to him for having so graphically illustrated a dichotomizing view of things, and sorry that his mindset seems to be ‘Western’ in this regard, as defined by Nimal Verma and Tagore. I did not talk about differences between Senanayake and Bandaranaike, and indeed I pointed out that the Rubber Rice Pact with China was signed during a UNP regime. I did note that J R Jayewardene had abandoned traditional Sri Lankan foreign policy because of his decision to enter the Cold War on one side, but I would certainly not describe the traditional UNP, as represented by the Senanayakes, as dichotomizing.

I attach a copy of the full paper and hope that you might be able to publish it in full, since Mr Philips’ account is misleading.

Yours sincerely

Rajiva Wijesinha

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Thanks for writing to me personally. I am sorry you have only blind copied to others, so please do pass this on to all those others as well. I have taken the liberty of copying this to many of those on these lists who have written to me personally recently, but I assume there are many more.

I have long realized that few people read carefully, and that comments on what others say are

a) based generally on what one assumes they have said

b) intended to make points one makes anyway

In this instance it seems that you, like Shenali, have confused my criticism of those who think Sri Lanka is a Buddhist state with those who refer to it as a Buddhist nation. The latter is not a problem, since it means a nation where the majority is Buddhist, which is of course true of Sri Lanka. But thinking of Sri Lanka as a Buddhist state (or of France as a Catholic state) is inaccurate, since this is not the case constitutionally, and it is generally not acceptable to give a state a particular religious identity when there are substantial portions of its populace who belong to other religions. Continue reading

The World Today: China, India and the United States as seen from Sri Lanka

Text of a presentation by Prof Rajiva Wijesinha, MP, at the Seminar on:

Crossed Perceptions: China, the United States, the European Union, Brazil and the Emerging World

October 22nd 2013, Rio de Janeiro

 

Let me begin with one of the formative myths of the Sri Lankan state. It deals with the introduction of Buddhism to the country, in the 2nd century BC. The king at the time, Devanampiyatissa, was out hunting when he came across a strange man in the forests of Mihintale. This was Mahinda, the son, or some say the brother, of the Mauryan Emperor Asoka, who had converted to Buddhism after a terrible war in which, to complete his conquest of India, he had slaughtered thousands.

When the monk saw Tissa, he asked him whether he saw the mango tree before them. Tissa said yes, and then the monk asked whether there were other mango trees. Tissa said yes, and then the monk asked if there were trees other than mango trees. Tissa said yes again, whereupon the monk asked whether, apart from all the other mango trees, and all the other trees that were not mango trees in the world, there were any other trees.

Tissa thought hard, and then replied that there was indeed the original mango tree the monk had pointed out. This was when Mahinda decided that Tissa was a fit person to understand the doctrines of Buddhism, so he preached to him and converted him and through him his people. Buddhism has since been the dominant religion in Sri Lanka, though, I think uniquely, we also have substantial proportions of our population belonging to the other principal faiths of the world, Hinduism and Islam and Christianity.

When I was young I used to think the story a silly one, but I have since understood its implications for the way we should look at the world. It seems to me now the epitome of what I would describe as the Eastern vision of the individual, society and the world, as opposed to the dichotomies the West believes in, and therefore often creates. In what I would posit as an ideal concept of our relations with the world, we should see ourselves as existing at the centre of several concentric circles, to all of which we belong. While we share aspects of identity with others belonging to those circles, ultimately we need also to be aware of the unique nature of our own individuality.

Continue reading

Towards Reconciliation

Rajiva Wijesinha

Adviser on Reconciliation to HE the President

 

Four years after the conclusion of conflict, Sri Lanka still has a long way to go to achieve Reconciliation. This is unfortunate, given the enormous efforts made by government to improve facilities for the people most affected by war. But it is not surprising that, as indicated by the results of the last election held in the Northern Province, we have failed to win hearts and minds.

That would not have been difficult had a concerted effort been made. But this requires planning, and unfortunately planning is not something Sri Lanka has been good at. For over three decades now, we have tended to respond to events or rather to crises. The one exception was the care with which, in the period after 2005, we approached the conflict, with all branches of government working together and care taken to ensure the dissemination of clear and convincing information. Following the conclusion of the conflict however all that broke down, and propaganda, often based on parochial electoral considerations, took over, with little attempt at intelligent analysis of ground realities.

Thus we seemed to believe that reconstruction alone would suffice, and reconstruction that placed a premium on cement rather than people. This is on par with the worst delusions of capitalism as elevated into a political philosophy, the assumption that prosperity will trickle down. But this does not work, and Sri Lanka may in the end have to pay heavily for the failure to conceptualize with sensitivity of those who took on responsibility only for construction and not for consultation, who concentrated only on resettlement and not rather on restoration.

Continue reading

Jaffna Roads Lit up for Deevali

Celebrating “Deevali” festival that fell on Saturday (02), Security Forces Headquarters –Jaffna (SF-J) decorated and illuminated roads in the Jaffna town. Commander 512 Brigade, based in Jaffna town Colonel Ajith Pallawala and senior officers illuminated the Hospital road at auspicious time. Soldiers then lit up either side of the roads with coconut oil lamps.

Security Forces Headquarters –Jaffna annually celebrates this festival with assistance of people in the town. 

http://www.cimicjaffna.lk/Cimicnews_2013_11_04.php

Statement by Tamara Kunanayakam at the 68th session of the General Assembly Third Committee -28/10/2013

Statement by Tamara Kunanayakam

 

 CHAIRPERSON-RAPPORTEUR OF THE WORKING GROUP ON THE RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT

68th session of the General Assembly Third Committee

Item 69 (b) of the provisional agenda Human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms

28 October 2013

 New York

Mr. Chairperson,

Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is an honour to address you in my capacity as Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on the Right to Development. It is the first time that the Assembly has invited me to present an oral report, instead of an update, of the 14th session of the Working Group, and to engage in an interactive dialogue with the Third Committee. I thank you for this invitation.

  Continue reading

Right to Development: Political will urgently needed to address rising inequalities

NEW YORK / GENEVA (31 October 2013) – The Chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Working Group on the Right to Development speaking to diplomats in New York has warned about the dramatic increase of inequalities within and between countries during the unprecedented current global economic and financial crisis.

The surge in inequalities has brought “countless victims, violating their human rights, and threatening the ecosystem upon which life depends,” said Tamara Kunanayakam, who currently chairs the Working Group charged by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and report on the promotion and implementation of the right to development.

“We are lacking neither in the means nor in the resources to confront these historical challenges through international cooperation and solidarity. Problems of a global character can only be resolved through collective action,” Ms. Kunanayakam told the UN General Assembly during the presentation of the Working Group’s latest report.* “The question is: Is there the political will to do so?”

If any progress is to be made in the realization of the right to development, then social justice and equality, as well as national and international justice, must be given the prominence they deserve in today’s development discourse.

Ms. Kunanayakam urged Governments worldwide to implement the Declaration on the Right to Development, calling it “an instrument that provides a framework for building a human society based on justice, equality, non-discrimination and solidarity.”

The Working Group was established in 1998 by the then Commission on Human Rights to monitor and review progress made in the promotion and implementation of the right to development in the world.

Tamara Kunanayakam (Sri Lanka) took up her functions as Chairperson-Rapporteur of the open-ended intergovernmental Working Group on the Right to Development in 2011. Ms. Kunanayakam has worked as both international and national civil servant, inter alia as Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva. She has also worked for civil society organizations and as independent researcher and is a recognized expert on the right to development. As Chairperson-Rapporteur she serves in her personal capacity. Learn more, log on to:http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Development/Pages/WGRightToDevelopment.aspx orhttp://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Development/Pages/DevelopmentIndex.aspx

(*) Read the full report: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session24/Documents/A-HRC-24-37_en.pdf

The UN Declaration on the Right to Development:http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Development/DeclarationRightDevelopment_en.pdf

The numbers game: counting civilian deaths in Sri Lanka’s war

Estimating the number of civilian deaths in the final stages of the war in Sri Lanka is proving problematic.

By Kath Noble

The generation-long war in Sri Lanka came to an end in May 2009, with the military defeat of the the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) by government forces. Tamil diaspora groups claimed there had been genocide, but the dominant narrative was of a bloody but essentially fair fight, as captured in the congratulatory resolution passed in the UN Human Rights Council barely a week later.

Even the United States, which backed an alternative and more critical statement, privately felt the same way—a cable published by Wikileaks quotes its Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues as having said at around the same time, ‘The Army could have won the military battle faster with higher civilian casualties, yet chose a slower approach which led to a greater number of Sri Lankan military deaths.’

However, this near-consensus has gradually been eroded, and pressure is now mounting for an international investigation.

Continue reading