The Sri Lankan government is committed to fully implementing the 13th amendment to the constitution mooted in 1987 as a solution to the island’s ethnic conflict, a senior government spokesman said Thursday.
“The government is committed to the 13th amendment and the provincial councils,” the cabinet spokesman and Minister of Media and Information Anura Yapa told reporters. Yapa said some debates have begun with regard to conferring the councils with police and land powers.
“These issues can be sorted out through discussion,” Yapa stressed.
Fully implementing the provisions of the 13th amendment is currently being seen as the engine to offer some form of political power to the island’s Tamil minority.
Since the government’s comprehensive military success over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil last month the government has come up with calls to settle for power sharing with the Tamil minority.
Sri Lanka’s top rights panel said Thursday it has concluded investigations into the murder of 17 local employees of a French charity and six other high profile cases from the island’s civil war.
The head of the probe, however, refused to say who had been found responsible for the 2006 massacre of the aid workers, which international monitors and rights groups have blamed on Sri Lankan government forces.
“We have completed seven cases, including the ACF (French charity Action Against Hunger) case, and we have asked for a date to hand over the report to the president,” Nissanka Udalagama said.
“I can’t discuss our findings because it is up to the president to decide,” he added, saying his panel would ask the president to establish a more permanent body to keep up investigations.
Reports AFP, via Google News.
The Economist takes a look at the response from the state and political parties et al, following the defeat of the LTTE: the speeches, the parades, the hailing of Mahinda Rajapakse as a king.
In the third of his big set-piece victory speeches early this month, Mr Rajapaksa asserted that the war had been fought to liberate the Tamil people. Unaccountably, he made no reference to the sufferings of Sri Lankan Tamils even though nearly 300,000 of them have been displaced from their homes and are now miserably interned in camps. The president also harked back to ancient Sinhalese martial heroes. Marking victory with plans to build stupas all over the mainly Buddhist country, and relishing songs, posters and newspaper articles hailing him as a “king”, Mr Rajapaksa seems to be cultivating the image of an elected monarch. In particular, he likes to recall Dutugemunu, a famous warrior-king of the second century BC, who defeated Elara, a Tamil usurper from India.
This foolish oratorical provocation has been matched by increasing intolerance of dissent, suspicion of many Tamils and threats against those seen as Tiger “collaborators”. The government refuses to bow to calls for an independent investigation into the final weeks of the war, in which thousands are believed to have been killed by government shelling. It blames nearly all the civilian deaths on the Tigers. But in the absence of any inquiry a decades-old culture of impunity will persist, as will Tamil grievances and a sense of injustice.
Read the entire article here.
In an interesting addendum, ICT4Peace reports that “This week’s Economist has apparently (as per Vijitha Yapa – to whom I pay a bloody 11,000 bucks for the magazine) been “held up” at Customs.”
BBC’s Hard Talk has an interview with Des Browne, the special envoy for Sri Lanka of the British Government on Britain’s involvement and relations with Sri Lanka during and immediately after the last phase of the military conflict. An interesting conversation.
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After a military victory for the government in a civil war that has torn the country apart for decades, Sri Lanka now begins a process of national reconciliation. Al-Jazeera’s Riz Khan explores.
Ajit Gunawardene, Deputy Chairman of John Keells Holdings talks to Bloomberg TV on the business prospects of a post-war Sri Lanka.