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Monday, 30 April 2012






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Government Gazette

Good news on HR complaints

The news that complaints on Human Rights issues made to the LLRC are being investigated by the state is highly encouraging and uplifting for those right-thinking sections that are desirous of seeing progressive change in Sri Lanka. We have it on the authority of former Attorney General and member of the Sri Lankan delegation to UNHRC Mohan Peiris that such probes are being attached priority by the state and its agencies.

This piece of information should be food for thought for those sections which have been and are calumniating the state of Sri Lanka on what is made out to be foot-dragging on implementing the recommendations of the LLRC report. Whereas the position of the government is that those recommendations which could be implemented would be gone ahead with and put into practice, the state's critics, both here and abroad, have been recklessly claiming that nothing is being done on the LLRC recommendations.

The government is not obliged to pander to the demands of its critics on this score, but the fact is that those LLRC recommendations which are practicable are being implemented by the state and its numerous agencies. In doing so they would be taking into consideration only the national interest. The state is not in any way prepared to hasten its stride on these questions merely to defer to its critics.

That said, there certainly ought to be concrete evidence that the core of the LLRC's recommendations is being implemented and the news is most welcome that some progress is being made in addressing Human Rights issues; a most sensitive area in current public affairs. It is to the extent to which Human Rights issues are resolved that the democratic system of this country could be said to be progressively enriched and our hope is that the state would be steady on this course.

Our front page lead story of last Saturday also quoted the former Attorney General on the measures which could be adopted by the critics of the Lankan state, such as some sections of the NGO sector, on Human Rights questions, if they are not satisfied with the formal systems which are already in place to address these issues and we hope adequate attention has been paid to them. In fact, all available avenues of redressing Human Rights questions should be thoroughly exhausted before criticisms are leveled against the state.

We hope those sections which are mindlessly and destructively critical of the state on questions deriving from the issues facing our communities would see the futility of such exercises. Some of these sections are paid fabulously for what they are up to and it would be wishful thinking to expect them to arrive at a more balanced view of the matters currently at the centre of national discourse.

But the NGO sector could not be described as a monolith, in terms of outlook on public issues, and the time is ripe for those NGOs and civil society organizations which are more balanced in their perceptions to engage the state in making progress on some of our outstanding issues. They should shun what could be described as a 'daggers drawn' stance on the state and on matters of the moment. That is, they should not be on a needlessly confrontational course with the government because nothing good ever comes out of these wasteful exercises. On the other hand, the national good would be served better through a cooperative policy stance.

On its part, the state should seek to increasingly engage those sections which are balanced in policy outlook and are strongly inclined to work cooperatively with it. It should be obvious by now that not all actors on the public stage are 'traitors.' We know for a fact that the state is not irrational when it comes to dealing with those sections which are seeking to engage with it cooperatively, but there needs to be a change in the nature of public discourse. Needless, confrontations and polarizations should be avoided.

However, there is no denying the value of progressively developing and strengthening local mechanisms that help in fostering and consolidating Human Rights. Arrangements need to be in place to inculcate a Human Rights awareness over the length and breadth of the polity. The state's Human Rights Action Plan is likely to prove an important catalyst in this process.

SL on remarkable recovery track - Part II:

LLRC critics and ‘goal post-shifting’

The multitude of voices that earlier questioned the credibility of the LLRC and expressed doubts as to whether the report would ever see the light of day, who are ironically now asking that the LLRC report be implemented, are only exposing their previous poor judgement and re-affirming their practice of constantly shifting goal posts.

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US shores up ties in Asia push

The United States is embarking on two weeks of intense diplomacy on Asia as it seeks to rekindle friendly ties with Japan and India while managing an often fractious relationship with China. President Barack Obama's administration has repeatedly said it has no strategy to contain China but it has been shoring up relations with neighboring countries, many of which are nervous about Beijing's rapid growth.

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The Groundview’s use of Cluster Bombs

I have just been sent a typical distortion by Groundviews of what I said three years ago with regard to an Amnesty claim about cluster bombs. Groundviews declares that ‘Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, in February 2009, called those in Amnesty International 'lunatics' and their concern over the use of cluster bombs by the Sri Lankan army ‘rank idiocy’....... What new levels of spin, deception, counter-claims, propaganda and hate speech through spokesmen, ambassadors, advisors and other assorted apologists will the government employ to counter this damning new evidence of what can constitute war crimes by the armed forces?’

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Former Speaker K B Ratnayake - sportsman cum honest politician

A great son of Sri Lanka, an honest politician, one of the leading lights of North Central Province, the highly respected former Minister of Sports and the Speaker of Parliament, K B Ratnayake, passed away eight years ago, on April 30, 2004, at the age of 80. He was a fine gentleman, a man of honesty and integrity, a fine cricketer, soccerite, athlete, tennis player - a versatile sportsman and a thorough gentleman. Like his 'political guru', that fine son of Rajarata, great leader, Maithripala Senanayake, this son of 'Wevu Bandi Rata' - K B Ratnayake, served the innocent people.

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