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Thursday August 18th, 2022

TNA says Bachelet report on Sri Lanka does not exceed mandate, urges member states to pass resolution 46/1

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ECONOMYNEXT – UN Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet’s report on Sri Lanka does not exceed its mandate but has “very correctly” pointed out the country’s failures with regard to its international obligations, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) said.

Urging member states of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to pass resolution 46/1, the TNA said today that Bachelet’s report points out Sri Lanka’s failure to meet specific undertakings given to the UNHRC.

“Inquiring into the human rights situation through due procedures is a legitimate function of the UN and does not amount to violation of the country’s sovereignty or territorial Integrity,” the alliance said in a statement that appeared on The Sunday Times online edition today. The statement focuses on Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena’s remarks at the High- Level Segment on February 23 and at the Interactive Dialogue on the OHCHR report on February 24 during the ongoing 46th session of the UNHRC.

The TNA, Sri Lanka’s largest coalition of Tamil political parties representing the country’s north and east, questioned Minister Gunawardena’s assertion that Sri Lanka withdrew from its co-sponsorship of resolutions HRC 30/1 and HRC 40/1, adopted in October 2015 and March 2019 respectively.

“The State co-sponsored the above resolutions and another resolution HRC 34/1 in March 2017, at the different times they were adopted by the council. Once adopted, the passage of the resolution is complete and there can be no question of withdrawal on behalf of the State by the following government,” it said.

The alliance also questioned Gunawardena’s rejection of the high commissioner’s report.

“Again, he seems to have overlooked the fact that it is the council that had mandated that the High Commissioner should present a comprehensive report at the 46th sessions. This report has been welcomed by many member states and others,” it said.

“The Hon. Minister makes several incredulous assertions. An example of this is, his attempt to connect the co-sponsorship of HRC 30/1 and the Easter Sunday bombings of 2019,” it added.

The alliance further said that the foreign minister did not explain what Sri Lanka has done to account for the “tens of thousands” of alleged enforced disappearances of civilians during the armed conflict, including those who purportedly surrendered to the armed forces towards the end of the war.

“Sri Lanka has not conducted any investigations to ascertain the truth and dispense justice. Anything done to ascertain the truth has been through the investigations highlighted in the POE report of March 2011 (the report of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka), or the OISL (OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka) report of September 2015,” it said.

The rest of the statement, which according to The Sunday Times is signed by TNA leader R Sampanthan, ITAK leader Mavai S Senathirajah, TELO leader Selvam Adaikalanathan, and PLOTE leader D Sithadthan, is as follows:

No steps have been taken to dispense justice even on the basis of the said investigations. Sri Lanka also made a specific commitment to enact a new constitution with the consent of all the different Peoples who are citizens of the country, as the best guarantee of non-recurrence. The Parliament was converted into a constitutional assembly by a unanimous resolution by Parliament in March 2016.

Important consensus was reached with regard to power sharing arrangements, among other matters. However, the present regime seems determined to travel in the opposite direction.

The Hon. minister’s statement does not refer to a commitment to address the core issue – the sharing of powers of governance and is clearly indicative of a reversal to and recurrence of the earlier situation and gross violations.

It is in this background that the core group of countries led by the United Kingdom had presented resolution HRC 46/1 to be adopted at the current sessions. The Tamil National Alliance is the largest Tamil Party that represents the Tamil People of the North and East of Sri Lanka. We appeal to the member States of UNHRC, on behalf of our people, to ensure the passage of the HRC 46/1.

Sri Lanka attempts to obfuscate the issue by referring to the L.T.T.E. For over 30 years since independence, Tamils who made legitimate demands were subjected to state terror, around half the Tamil population left the country.

The L.T.T.E appeared only after that and would have never appeared if commitments made to democratic Tamil leaders were observed. In any event the L.T.T.E. is not a factor that needs to be reckoned with.

It must also be pointed out that gross violations of human rights in Sri Lanka occurred also in 1971, 1988/89 when tens of thousands of youth from the Southern parts of the country were subjected to ruthless violence amounting to gross violations of human rights and humanitarian laws but most unfortunately such occurrences were not investigated at all. Necessary actions must be taken to prevent such events.

The main aspirations of the victims are truth, justice, accountability, and reconciliation through the resolution of the main issues and non-recurrence. (Colombo/Mar9/2021)

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  1. sam says:

    Alliance party TELO and PLOTE not signed this letter

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Comments (1)

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  1. sam says:

    Alliance party TELO and PLOTE not signed this letter

Japan grants medical equipment worth 500-mn yen to Sri Lanka govt hospital

ECONOMYNEXT –  The  Japanese government has granted medical equipment worth 500 million Japanese yen to the Sri Jayawardenepura government hospital to improve the hospital’s treatment facilities under Japan’s Non-Project Grant Aid Programme.

A statement by the Department of External Resources said the grant was given in response to a request by Sri Lanka’s government.

Under the 500 million Japanese yen (approximately 1,265 million rupees) grant assistance, angio-CT machine, other radiology equipment, ophthalmic instruments, surgical instrument sets (stainless steel with satin finish), 15 dental units with accessories, liver transplant instrument sets, and a cardiac catheterization laboratory will be provided, a statement said on Thursday August 18.

Sri Lanka due to its worst economic crisis in its post-independence history is currently facing shortages of essential medicine, non-essential and lifesaving medicines pressuring the health sector to only attend to emergency cases to preserve available limited medicine stocks.

On Thursday at the policy rate announcement media briefing by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL), Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said, with the strict measures taken in the recent past, Sri Lanka is currently managing the limited forex income coming into the country to purchase essential goods such as fuel and medicine.

Sri Lanka has received various grants from several countries including China and India which gave a 200 million US dollar credit line to purchase medicine from India.

In June, Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella said there is no shortage of vital medicines in the country and all medicines will be restocked by August 2022. However, shortages of medicine aer still being reported in various hospitals islandwide.

“This improvement at the hospital will facilitate the enhancement of the quality of the care provided especially to the patients with non-communicable diseases while enabling high quality medical professional training to medical undergraduates and postgraduates from the National School of Nursing at the aculty of Medical Sciences of the University of Sri Jayawardenepura,” the External Resources Department statement said.

“This project will eventually assist the development of human resources of the health sector in Sri Lanka,” it said. (Colombo/Aug18/2022)

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Sri Lanka immigration on the hunt for Scotswoman who documented protests

Kayleigh Fraser via @kayzfraser Instagram

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Immigration and Emigration Department is attempting to track down Kayleigh Fraser, the Scotswoman who documented the country’s anti government protests.

Fraser was ordered to leave the island on or before Monday August 15 after officials cancelled her visa. She and her lawyer had filed a writ petition against her deportation with the Supreme Court, which was dismissed on the grounds that she was not being deported deported, only had her visa cancelled.

“The learned State Council submits that the impugned document ‘X4’ is not a deportation order as claimed by the petitioner and she confirmed that no deportation order has been made up to date by the authorities against the petitioner,” a court document shared by Fraser said.

Immigration officials stated that the police and SSD were on the lookout for Fraser.

“Her visa was cancelled on August 15, so we are looking to put her in a detention camp until she can get a ticket to leave the country,” the official told EconomyNext, confirming that Fraser was not getting deported but that her visa was cancelled.

“Legally we cannot give her a grace period, but on a humanitarian basis, we can give her the time to get a ticket,” the official said.

Fraser had used her social media to share pictures and videos of the anti-government protests in front of the Presidential Secretariat, and has been vocal against state sanctioned violence against protestors.

“Given what I have witnessed here in Colombo – the chemical weapons attacks on protestors, the government instructing the military to beat and torture protestors, the arbitrary arrests and blackmailing of prominent faces from the protests, intimidation tactics and threats etc – I should not be surprised at what has happened today,” she said, speaking to the Daily Record, a Scottish tabloid.

There were no reports of chemical weapons being used against any protestors in Sri Lanka, and it is unclear whether Fraser was erroneously referring to tear gas which was used to disperse crowds.

Fraser also called out media channels who she claimed had attempted to misrepresent peaceful protests as violent.

“It became very clear to me early on that this was not being reported. There was no international coverage on what was happening, and the media here were very much trying to say that it was violent, but that is the absolute opposite of what I saw,” she said over social media.

“What I saw was a beautiful union [of people] coming together in absolute unity. It was a beautiful movement and I’ve never seen anything like that in my life and that kept me coming back.”

However, Sri Lanka’s authorities maintain that the arrests so far have been legal and that violence did occur on the part of some protestors, though activists and some civil society groups disagree. On May 09, after supporters of then Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa launched an unprovoked attack on peaceful protestors in Colombo, a wave of retaliatory mob-violence erupted across the country which saw the residences of some parliamentarians torched to the ground. One government MP was killed.

Authorities say many of the arrests so far have been of protestors who had violated court orders or had illegally occupied government buildings.

Fraser continues to post on her social media. (Colombo/Aug18/2022)


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Selling price in Sri Lanka’s apartments increase by over 47 pct: property tracker

ECONOMYNEXT – Overall selling prices of apartments in Sri Lanka increased by 45.17 percent when compared to June 2021, according LankaPropertyWeb’s housing price index.

Devaluation of the Sri Lankan rupee against the US dollar which has resulted in shortages of raw materials for construction which has in turn led to skyrocketing costs of construction and rising interest for housing loans, a report said, has prevented the construction of new houses leading to an increase in the purchase of houses and apartments.

The overall asking prices of houses in Sri Lanka had increased by 21.85 percent and prices of apartments for sale in Colombo had increased by 32.9 percent when compared to June 2021.

The Construction Industry Development Authority showed that the average price of a 50Kg cement bag sold by public and private dealers has increased by 187 percent from June 2021 to June 2022.

LankaPropertyWeb’s Development Consultancy and Research Team data showed that the top five searches for apartments for sale were from Colombo 2, Colombo 3, Colombo 5, Colombo 6 and Rajagiriya.

A resident from an apartment in Colombo 06 said, “We moved to this area due to the convenience, we spend less on transport and can go by bus, train or even walk to destinations. This was a massive save for us during the peak of the fuel crisis.”

Sri Lanka’s overall residential land price has dropped by 62.90 percent, a seasoned constructor told EconomyNext. This is because people are no longer interested in investing in lands and are less motivated to build houses because of the high rates of interest for housing and loans and there is value for money, he said.

Geethal Perera, an apartment builder in Colombo said: “Locals are not investing in assets or real estate because of the tumor in the economic conditions. However many overseas are investing because the international value for money on the rupee is favorable.”

The website also recorded a surge in search traffic from countries such as the UK, Australia, the US, Canada, and the UAE, said Tharindu Jayarathne, Head of Research at LankaPropertyWeb. (Colombo/Aug18/2022)

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