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Mangala sets 03 proposals for Kamalesh to consider

Mangala sets 03 proposals for Kamalesh to consider

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Published by Sri Lanka Guardian
UNP communications head, Mangala Samaraweera charges that due to the 'single minded determination' of the Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma that 'President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the very man who has spent nearly eight years undermining the values and principles he is supposed to uphold will now become the public face of the Commonwealth for the next two years.'

UNP communications head, Mangala Samaraweera charges that due to the 'single minded determination' of the Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma that 'President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the very man who has spent nearly eight years undermining the values and principles he is supposed to uphold will now become the public face of the Commonwealth for the next two years.'

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Published by: Sri Lanka Guardian on Nov 13, 2013
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11/13/2013

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H.E. Kamalesh Sharma,
 
Secretary General,
 
The Commonwealth.
 
13th Nov. 2013
 
Your Excellency,
 
I saw pictures of you arriving in Sri Lanka , obviously a happy man, as your dream of holding the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting will come true in a few days time and Sri Lanka will be entrusted with the task of implementing and nurturing the newly signed commonwealth Charter for the next two years. Like the proverbial father - over anxious to get his ageing daughter married at any cost - who hides certain details of the groom's dubious past from the relatives , you too had to resort to many manoeuvrings to overcome the objections of some of your powerful members. In fact, in your enthusiasm to go ahead with this unholy alliance, steps were taken to conceal the legal opinion sought by you regarding the scandalous impeachment of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranaike, earlier this year. You invited two senior jurists to tell you whether removal of the chief justice was consistent with Commonwealth values and principles. Their responses were unequivocal. Jeffrey Jowell, a QC who directs the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, found that the chief justice had been ousted by an unfair process that ‘did not comply with … Commonwealth values and principles’. The second lawyer you consulted, the late Pius Langa, a former chief justice of South Africa’s Constitutional Court, was even more forthright. Sri Lanka’s government, he concluded, had not merely contravened Commonwealth values and principles: it was ‘sowing the seeds of anarchy’ and ‘directly violating the rule of law’. This opinion was also echoed by the International Commission of Jurists and the Commonwealth Lawyers Association. Not only did you ignore the opinions provided by these eminent jurists, but you failed to make these reports available to CMAG (Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group) when they met in London in April and September this year. Thanks to your single minded determination, President Mahinda Rajapakse, the very man who has spent nearly eight years undermining the values and principles he is supposed to uphold will now become the public face of the Commonwealth for the next two years. Like the kindly teacher who believes that the truant of the class can be rehabilitated by making him, the monitor, I am sure that you too believe that
 
President Rajapakse will mend his ways when given the task of upholding the Commonwealth Charter in 53 countries and this blue eyed optimism is reflected in a statement made by you to a British TV network last week when you say ".......significant advances have been made in the interests of the citizens of Sri Lanka." Instead of merely basing your assumptions on information provided by a few salaried members of the regime, you should at least now speak to members of the opposition and civil society as well as affected parties and ordinary citizens of this country to assess the prevailing situation. If at all, the drift towards authoritarianism continues unabated but as Dr. Nirmal Dewasiri, convenor of FUTA says in a statement on the closure of all universities during this period, ' .......this is part of the general programme of deception that has been launched by this regime to use CHOGM to whitewash its sins at considerable cost and inconvenience to its citizens.' In fact for the next few months, we are going to be tortured by the ubiquitous smile of our great/dear leader looking down benevolently from giant billboards that would have put Kim Il Jong of North Korea to shame.
 
Perhaps emboldened by apologists for this regime within the international community like you, the Rajapakse regime continue to violate the core values of the Commonwealth Charter with impunity. The witch hunt against the Chief Justice is continuing and the Supreme Court has now become a mere appendage of the executive. Shirani Bandaranayake was summoned to court in mid-September on charges that would be laughable if they weren’t so vindictive: her failure to disclose empty bank accounts, it is alleged, amounts to the corrupt concealment of valuable assets. The pliant figure that Rajapaksa chose to succeed her, Mohan Peiris, a former attorney-general and cabinet adviser, is meanwhile supervising Supreme Court judges who are soon going to be asked to rubber-stamp Bandaranayake’s removal and his appointment. If, as looks likely, some of the judges prefer instead to retire, the president will get to pick their successors, at which point the last significant obstacle to executive domination will disappear.
 
Violating the Lattimer principles even further, the legislature has become a mere rubber seal for executive action under the Chairmanship of yet another Presidential sibling. 47% of the budgetary allocations for 2014 are for the Ministries directly controlled by the Rajapakse brothers and Parliament has very little say on deciding on such allocations. Not only the references to the President but even references to the defence secretary - even by innuendo - are censored and expunged from the Hansard.
 
Despite reluctantly holding the Northern Provincial elections in September thanks to intense international pressure the situation in the North remains
 
tense with the militarisation process continuing unabated.However the militarisation is not confined to the North: in every district of Sri Lanka new army units have been formed and many of the key posts in the civil service are held by military personnel hand picked by the defence secretary. Even the permanent secretary of the new Ministry in charge of the police is a military man reporting directly to the defence secretary.
 
In the North lands are also being taken over forcibly in an insidious attempt to change the demography of the area. Instead of coming up with a genuine political settlement which can address the grievances of the long suffering Tamil people of the North and the East, a Parliamentary select committee has been appointed to keep International pressure at bay.
 
Tolerance, respect and understanding is yet another core value of the Commonwealth charter but religious and ethnic intolerance has been actively encouraged by the state run media since the conclusion of the war and many Muslim and Christian places have been attacked while the Police looked on. Some of these extremist groups fostering this culture of intolerance are openly seen with key members of this regime. Recently, on the 3rd of September, a statue sacred to the Hindus was vandalised in Dambulla and two weeks later the kovil was flattened to the ground after a visit to the temple by persons in Army uniform who claimed that the temple which has been there for over 30 years was on sacred Buddhist land! Until the advent of the present regime, Sri Lanka was renowned as a land of great tolerance and in many places Buddhist temples have coexisted with kovils, mosques and churches next to each other for decades if not centuries.
 
In yet another insidious plan to change the demography of the city of Colombo which remains unfavourable to the ruling party, the residents of the predominantly Muslim and Tamil neighbourhood of Slave Island are been resettled elsewhere against their will. This must be condemned as a violation of United Nations principles and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Accordingly human settlement planning must seek to improve the quality of the life of people with full respect for indigenous, cultural and social needs. Settlement planning and implementation for the purpose of prolonging and consolidating occupation and subjugation in territories and lands acquired through coercion and intimidation must not be undertaken .
 
The Police, since the abolition of the independent Police commission in 2010, is now nothing more than a servile and obliging security service catering to the whims and fancies of the ruling family. Last month, I too was a victim of a massive witch hunt against me and my supporters in my constituency in

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