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Wednesday September 27th, 2023

Easter attacks: SF says the government has failed the Catholic community

ECONOMYNEXT – Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka is promising that a future government that will be formed by his party will ensure that the Catholics in the country get justice for the Easter Sunday attacks.

Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, the Opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya MP said that the current government promised to bring the masterminds behind the Easter Attacks before the law within two months of gaining power.

That promise has not been kept, it was a false political promise, the former Army Commander said.

“We should take a look at how the events played out before the April 21st attacks,” Fonseka told Parliament.

On April 4, the Indian Intelligence Bureau informed our State Intelligence Service (SIS) through the High Commission of India in Colombo that there will be attacks on Catholic Churches and Hotels on April 21 Fonseka said.

This information was conveyed to Deputy Inspector General of Police Nilanga Jayawardene along with the intelligence that it was to be perpetrated by Muslim extremists.

“The DIG took this information lightly and informed the Defense Secretary only on April 8,” Fonseka pointed out.

Fonseka, who was a member of the Parliamentary Committee that examined the Easter attacks said that it cannot be true that Jayawardene who used to speak with President Maithripala Sirisena several times a day had not informed the Head of State of this threat.

“The Presidential Commission also says it cannot believe this statement,” Fonseka said.

Fonseka pointed out that the National Security Council (NSC) had not been convened for two months, and a threat such as this should have been discussed and suitable instructions issued to Police and Armed Forces to respond to it at the NSC level.

“Although the government is seeking to say that Zaharan Hashim was the mastermind behind the Easter attacks so that they can close the chapter, we all know that he cannot be the person who played that role,” Fonseka said.

“Shortly after the attacks in a speech in Parliament, I said that Zaharan was not the mastermind. He has played a role in building up the organisation that carried out the attacks,” Fonseka who was the former Army Commander said.

The current government, including the Prime Minister and the Cabinet Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, has stated that Zaharan was on the government payroll.

Fonseka said that before the war ended there was no record of Zaharan being involved in any type of Intelligence activity during the war years.

He says the commission has reported that Zaharan and his supporters had visited Syria to meet Islamic State leaders between 2013 and 2014.

“Without convening the NSC, President Sirisena was lazy and did nothing to provide direction to the security apparatus,” Fonseka charged.

He also said that Sirisena falsely said he could not get seats on an aircraft to return to Colombo from Singapore where he had gone on a private visit when the blasts occurred.

Fonseka pointed out several flaws in the system that contributed to the security breach.

“We don’t have a proper Chief of Defence Staff now because the government that is power now changed the Act to make the position powerless so that when I took over I will not be given those rights,” Fonseka said.

Fonseka questioned as to why several volumes of the Presidential Commission report have not been released.

“The government has said they contain sensitive information. What sensitive information can there be after an attack has taken place?” (Colombo, March 11, 2021)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

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Sri Lanka’s sex workers face false charges: Women’s collective

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s sex workers have faced fundamental rights violations including unlawful detention and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, a representative of the Abhimani Women’s Collective said at a conference yesterday (26).

“Following their arrest, sex workers frequently experience the infringement of their fundamental rights, including the right to fair treatment, due process and protection from cruel and inhumane treatment,” said a report by the Abhimani Women’s Collective.

Soliciting on the street is currently illegal under section 7 1 (a) of the Vagrants Ordinance which criminalizes ‘any person in and about any public place soliciting any person for the commission of any act or of illicit sexual intercourse or indecency.

This provision along with section 2 of the Brothel’s Ordinance, which criminalizes the aiding and abetting of the management of a brothel, has been used to arrest sex workers in the country.

However, many sex workers claim that they have been presented before court on false charges of drug possession and have been subjected to harassment by both Police and customers.

“When inquiries are made over our arrest, the police say that we have been charged with drug possession,” Sakuni Mayadunna, a sex worker, said.

“Prostitution is not legal in Sri Lanka, so therefore, sex workers will face problems,” Chief of Police in charge of the Child and Women Abuse Prevention, Renuka Jayasundara, said.

“However, every citizen has fundamental rights in this country. We have not authorized the Police to carry out actions such as hitting detainees or not providing a female officer. If those actions happen, a complaint must be filed.”

Attorney-at-Law for the legal aid commission, Ganga Somarathna, said that the legal aid commission provides legal support for such victims whose income is below 45,000 rupees and also for women and children. (Colombo/Sep27/2023)

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Sri Lanka to introduce social security system: minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Labour minister has said that they are set to introduce a comprehensive national social security system, covering all workers.

“The system will address the weaknesses of the current system and provide much-needed support to workers and their families,” Manusha Nanayakkara, Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment said on X (formerly known as Twitter).
He did not specify the details.

Nanayakkara also spoke of the need for robust social security when he met with exporters last week to discuss labor law reforms, boosting female workforce participation and attracting FDI.

Sri Lanka plans to reform labour laws for an export-oriented economy.

The pandemic and the economic crisis highlighted the need to improve the coverage of social security.

Studies have shown that Sri Lanka’s women are kept out of formal employment by childcare, elderly care and housework, as day care and elderly homes are either too expensive or too few.

The government imposed a Social Security Contribution Levy to increase its revenue last year. (Colombo/Sep27/2023)

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Sri Lanka’s stocks up in trading on Wednesday morning

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka shares were picking up in trading on Wednesday morning.

Turnover was at 50 million. Trading in the Capital Goods Industry Group was driving turnover.

The All Share Price Index was up 0.37 percent or 41.78 points to 11,289.94, while the S&P SL20 was also up 0.68 percent or 21.66 points to 3,187.65.

Hatton National Bank, Commercial Bank and LOLC saw gains in morning trade, while Tokyo cement and Lanka Hospitals were trading down during morning trading. (Colombo/Sep27/2023)

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