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Sri Lanka

The recent decision of the Sri Lankan Supreme Court, coming in the wake of the first ever election to the Northern Provincial Council, has aroused much concern and mixed reaction that it is in the public interest to make with due respect to the court, a realistic analysis of its content


Many Sinhala observers of the provincial elections in northern Sri Lanka had heralded the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) candidate, C.V. Wigneswaran, as someone who would forge a link between Tamil and Sinhala political discourse. But they have been largely disappointed with what would appear to be pro-LTTE revivalism sponsored by the TNA in the run up to the elections on September 21.


Restoring the image of the Sri Lanka Army is a daunting task but not one alien to newly appointed Army Commander Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake, a man who spent all his working life in the military and that was precisely what he did as military spokesman at the height of the Eelam War.


The Northern Provincial Council (NPC) election in Sri Lanka is expected to take place later this year. Colombo is entertaining hopes that holding the elections will help win India’s support in multilateral venues. New Delhi has made the 13th amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution — a by-product of the 1987 Indo-Lanka Accord — the centrepiece of a political solution. The Indo-Lanka Accord purportedly addresses the Tamil issue but most importantly for India, also contains important provisions on security-related matters between the two states. Safeguarding the 13th amendment in some form is important to keep the Indo-Lanka Accord alive. The Sri Lankan government has been playing the “China card” to lessen pressure from India. New Delhi returned the favour by its qualified support to the two U.S.-sponsored resolutions on Sri Lanka at the U.N. Human Rights C


The final report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) recommends, among other things, formulation of a political solution acceptable to all communities.


That the Rajapaksa regime is in a mighty hurry to dismember and roll back the clock on the limited devolution of power accorded in Sri Lanka under the 13th Amendment is borne out by the fact that the Cabinet of Ministers two weeks ago approved as an urgent bill, a Constitutional Amendment which would eliminate the ability of two or more provinces to amalgamate (merge to use the popular terminology) and work together for the public good. However, within a week the government had paused in its rush to destroy devolution and decided to not proceed with what it had deemed was urgent in the national interest. How and why it paused in its rush to destroy devolution deserves an analysis.


The Government of Sri Lanka recently revealed its agenda to further restrict minority freedoms and autonomy in the country. It seeks to: (1) repeal constitutional provisions granting people the freedom to determine administrative boundaries (2) amend the Constitution, so as to permit the Central government to freely and arbitrarily legislate on provincial matters — even without the consent of the people of a particular province and (3) remove altogether provincial powers over land and police. These constitutional features were first introduced through the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, constituent to the Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987. Hence, the government’s agenda is in fact to dilute the Thirteenth Amendment.


The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has repeatedly pointed out the consistent and continuing failure of the Sri Lankan government to fulfill its promises to the people of Sri Lanka. The proposed amendment to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution – currently the only concession to any form of devolution in Sri Lanka - is yet another example of this.


United National Party (UNP) MP for the Kandy district Lakshman Kiriella in an interview with Daily Mirror’s Kelum Bandara


In what precise manner can a Government prescribe a Code of Ethics for the media? This is a highly relevant question given recent bombastic claims by the Government Spokesman that a draft Bill on Media Ethics is being circulated prior to implementation.


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