Posted on October 19, 2009 by srilankalawlessness
The people of Sri Lanka have always looked forward to the rainy season, which generally begins in October and ends in January, as it brings many blessings. It brings much needed water to the paddy fields and assures food for the year to come. It also fills the reservoirs. Many of the blessings for the year ahead also depend on rains from the heavens.
However, for the nearly 300,000 people in camps for internally displaced persons, the expectation of rain this year will not create such feelings of joy. In fact, for them it will bring enormous adversity. Leaking roofs, overflowing gutters and swamp-like conditions are what they will have to expect. Their relatives living outside, the people of goodwill in the country, (more…)
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Posted on October 8, 2009 by srilankalawlessness
“Does the law mean anything in Sri Lanka for such citizens? As almost every citizen belongs to similar categories as the persons mentioned above, it may be justified to ask, what the law means in Sri Lanka to its citizens who are entitled by law for protection but are deprived, in fact, of such protection.”
The two boys who were murdered by the Angulana police, Ranga Bandara, MP, or a child in an IDP camp, all have one thing in common as Sri Lankans; they have no protection in law.
Yet according to the legal enactments each is entitled to protection. The Angulana boys were entitled under the law to be arrested only on suspicion of a criminal charge, to be treated humanely during detention and if there were any charges, to be produced before a court within 24 hours. As for Ranga Bandara, MP, according to the law there were many kinds of protection available. As a Member of Parliament he had the right to special protection. As a citizen of the country he had the right to have his property protected. Further he had the right when a crime was committed against him to expect an independent and impartial inquiry by competent investigators and to have the perpetrators of the crime prosecuted. (more…)
Filed under: abductions, civil society, civil war, crime, extrajudicial killings, human rights, IDPs, illegal arrest, justice, police, politics, rule of law, Sri Lanka | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 1, 2009 by srilankalawlessness
The spread of the security apparatus helps to maintain a conflict time mentality, even in peace time. Why should such a tense mentality be maintained any longer?
Nearly five months have passed since the government claimed complete victory over terrorism by the defeat of the LTTE. And at the same time, it was claimed that peace had arrived. However, throughout the country the presence of the security forces and the operation of the security system go on in the same manner as before. This week the opposition demanded that the government security is brought to the level of peace time security and an end to the ‘war time’ measures.
The opposition complained that the road blocks in Colombo itself continue to be maintained in the same manner as before the victory. In fact, one of the opposition leaders claimed that things have even become worse. (more…)
Filed under: civil society, civil war, Defence Ministry, human rights, IDPs, justice, police, politics, rule of law, Sri Lanka, violations | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 30, 2009 by srilankalawlessness
“Can people who are displaced be kept in camps and deprived of the right to return to their homes? Can people be taken out of the camps of Internally Displaced Persons without leaving any trace of their removal from the camp? Can the government allow the abduction of persons to take place for ransom or for any other reason?”
The concept of the gulag, first used by Aleksandr Solzhenisyn it in the Gulag Archipelago 1918 – 1956, has come to mean a particular system of repression imposed on a whole country, and which has some definite characteristics.
In an earlier article, I described these characteristics as:
The loss of the meaning of legality within a particular country;
A predominant position played by the security apparatus;
The emergence of a propaganda apparatus that is not bound by any rules relating to truth or falsehood;
The emergence of a superman controller who manipulates all the three elements mentioned above in any way that he wishes;
A doomed citizenry reduced to zero status;
The position on which this article is based is that Sri Lanka is now such a gulag. All the above mentioned characteristics are now quite prominently visible within Sri Lanka. However, a phantom limb disorder still continues to exist. The people wish to believe that the old legal system and social system are still intact despite some unhappy new aspects that cannot be denied. (more…)
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Posted on September 29, 2009 by srilankalawlessness
This article is related to my previous articles on Sri Lanka, the gulag island
The degeneration of mind that can place in the midst of extraordinary forms of repression is unbelievable. One demonstration of that is the way in which forced disappearances are treated by some parts of the population in Sri Lanka. They not only support but are overjoyed to see such things happening. When the family members cry about it, they are told not to be hysterical or emotional about it.
Accepting cruel treatment silently is considered rational. To protest against it is considered hysterical, over emotional and irrational.
How has such an ugly mentality become part of the heritage-urumaya-of Sri Lankans?
From 1971 up to now, in all parts of the country, we have seen the worst form of cruelties. We have also seen so many who enjoy seeing and remembering such cruelties as triumphs. The causing of such cruelties is even seen as heroic.
Every attempt to express human reactions to such cruelties is talked about as hysteria. (more…)
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Posted on September 28, 2009 by srilankalawlessness
“The discussion on irrationality was relating to a remark by Dayan that his removal from the post of Ambassador to Geneva was an irrational act because it was not taken in terms of assessing merits. I did not disagree with him; I only said that it is as irrational as all other acts taken without regard to merit.”
Dayan Jayatilleka begins his article with the words, “I am proud of my country, Sri Lanka.” To demonstrate the differences in our points of view I would like to begin by stating that, while I am proud of some aspects of Sri Lanka I am also very ashamed of many other aspects of my country, Sri Lanka. I have publically stated that many times, over many years, beginning particularly from the cruel repression of the innocent in 1971 under the pretext of dealing with the JVP insurgency. In my book of poems, The sea is calm behind your house, I have expressed many times that when a motherland turns into a ‘murder land’ it is a matter that the citizens should begin to recognize. This theme of the motherland turning into a cruel land towards its own children is also one of the themes in the Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenisyn (my book of poems is available at: www.basilfernando.net, kindly see particularly the introductory essay by Professor K.G. Sankara Pillai of India). (more…)
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Posted on September 28, 2009 by srilankalawlessness
“The issue that concerns me is something a little different. Why is it that many people still do not grasp that the system in this country has gotten so warped that it is not capable of what is normally known as rational behavior?”
There are several video clips of Dayan Jayatilaka, a former ambassador to Geneva, talking about his removal from his post. He talks about the removal as a virtual dismissal. Further, he points out that the manner in which it was done was irrational.
Why should he find an act of irrationality in the treatment of people in Sri Lanka a matter of surprise? In fact, everyone is treated irrationally all the time. The very concept of merit in the making of decisions about people is alien. This was what the whole debate about the implementation of the 17th Amendment was all about. The parliament made an attempt to introduce some form of recognition of merit in appointments, dismissals, transfers and disciplinary process of all civil servants. The implementation of this amendment was abandoned. The principle now is that irrationality in appointments, dismissals and all such matters is the normal course of treatment for anybody. (more…)
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Posted on September 4, 2009 by srilankalawlessness
Several events have had a shocking effect on democratically-minded people in Sri Lanka this week. J.S. Tissainayagam, a well-known journalist who was prosecuted by the government under draconian anti-terrorism laws on charges of aiding and abetting terrorism and trying to provoke racial hatred, was sentenced to 20 years rigorous imprisonment. The case of the journalist has drawn international attention and many governments have intervened on his behalf. However, the Sri Lankan government persisted in pursuing the charges, which are described by many sources as unfounded.
In the north, the news that 10,000 IDPs have gone missing during the last three months has also given rise to many fears and queries. The source of information was the government agent of Vavuniya itself. However, the government has not given any credible explanation as to how these 10,000 persons have come to be missing. Unofficially, there has been a statement given to the effect that some IDPs who had gone to hospitals for medical treatment have not returned; while other reports stated that some IDPs may have fled from the camps after paying bribes. (more…)
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Posted on August 24, 2009 by srilankalawlessness
“Has protection of the minorities improved? What about those detained because they are suspected of having had links to the LTTE, without any evidence to that effect? What about the human rights of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)?”
As some claims have been made about improvements of human rights in Sri Lanka, it may be useful to consider some basic criteria in judging human rights improvements.
There are many factors that determine the possibility of improvement of respect for human rights within a particular country. These factors are
1) Constitutional matters,
2) Other legislative matters,
3) Institutional matters,
4) Budgetary measures, and
5) Matters relating to some of the most ingrained violations of rights within the particular context.
The constitution of Sri Lanka is the greatest obstacle to the achievement of human rights. The Executive Presidency has absolute impunity, power to dissolve parliament at any time after one year of election without following any procedure, virtually subordinating the parliament and the judiciary. This has undermined the separation of powers. The executive has monstrous power. There are no checks and balances. (more…)
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Posted on August 5, 2009 by srilankalawlessness
Constitutional change without constitutionalism?
How much sterile and empty debate people can engage in is illustrated by Sri Lankan debates about the 17th Amendment and to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. Throughout long years of debate, the question as to whether there can be a constitutional amendment when constitutionalism itself doesn’t exist does not seem to have occurred to anybody.
At least the 17th Amendment was an attempt to recreate constitutionalism by indirect means. It aimed to bring reduction of the power of the president that the Executive Presidential system in Sri Lanka has given.
In 1978 Sri Lanka walked out of the orbit of constitutionalism as known to the liberal democratic world. The document that was adapted as Sri Lanka’s constitution was not a constitution when judged from the fundamental basis of a democratic constitution.
That “constitution” was mumbo jumbo, correctly described by late Dr. Colvin R. De Silva as the type of constitution made by Jean-Bédel Bokassa of Central Africa. This comic figure once declared himself the emperor of his country and made a “constitution” to suit just himself. (more…)
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