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(Above)Attorney-at-Law Sumanthiram making a persentation and (below) participants at the Consultation
LANGUAGE RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS As part of a programme on the Promotion of the Language Rights of Minorities, A Public Consultation on Promoting Language Rights in Sri Lanka was held to mark the International Human Rights Day, at the Mahaweli Centre auditorium Colombo, on the 12th of December 2011 focusing on the theme- ‘Promoting Language Rights in Sri Lanka’. This event was attended by over 75 participants including representatives from diplomatic missions and civil society and stakeholders in the areas of language rights as well as members of the public. Panelists included Vasudewa Nanayakkara, Hon. Cont Pg 3
Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara takes a note
Jaffna Event 04th - 05th November 2011 G&ACP held an awareness raising workshop on Local Governance at the Thiyagigal Arakkodai Center of Nawalar Road in Jaffna district. Over 40 Local Authority Chairmen and Opposition Leaders from 19 local government bodies in both Jaffna and Kilinochchi districts , participated in this workshop. S. Rangarajah, former Chief Secretary of North Eastern province and former Secretary to the Hon. Governor of the Northern Province, M.S. Saravanabhava, Municipal Commissioner of Jaffna M.C , Dr. P. Saravanamuttu, Executive Director of CPA, Sudarshana Gunawardene, Attorney-At-Law, Executive Director of Rights
Media cover of the Jaffna LG Workshop
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Workhsop on Internet and Web Censorship in Sri Lanka A half day workshop on the Internet and web censorship in Sri Lanka was held on the 29th November 2011, at Renuka Hotel, Colombo. This workshop was organized In a context, where some of the news websites were arbitrarily blocked by the government. In addition to the blocking of the websites, government imposed a requirement for all the websites to register at the Government Information Department. In this situation, it was very important to convene the editors of the websites, journalists, representatives of the media organizations, civil society
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Protecting Language Rights
Outreach Unit worked in the field throughout the period October to December 2011, on a project on raising awareness about Language Rights in Sri Lanka. A Training of Trainers workshop was held in Kandalama, Dambulla from 7th- 9th Oct to build capacity and brief 12 Trainers from project partner organizations as diverse as National Fisheries Solidarity movement of Batticaloa to the Eastern United Women’s Organisations from Trinco. In this workshop the Trainers were given a thorough understanding of Language Rights violations and the institutions that can be approached in case of such. Instructions on setting up and tasking of bilingual local language societies were also given. Another segment of this programme was to host three workshops for a total of 73 provincial journalists, in Kalmunai, Trincomalee and Vavuniya respectively. Resource persons conducting the workshops were S. G. Punchihewa, C. Dodawatte, Jagath Lyana Arachchi, and Lionel Guruge and discussions were held on the themes of language and the law, the media’s role in language rights and on practical problems arising in enforcing language rights.
Another segment of this programme worked on raising awareness among public officials on the implications of the Official Languages policy and the importance of respecting language rights. Language related problems and issues faced by officials in the course of duty were analyze and tabled. Five such workshops were carried out in this quarter in Ampara, Trincomalee, Mannar, Batticaloa and Vavuniya
Language Rights in Sri Lanka
Debriefing with Language Societies
Work was also carried out in the field to a) set up a number of regional Language Societies and b) to debrief on targets, work plans and challenges, issues relevant to the Language Societies in the Ampara, Trincomale, Batticaloa, Vavuniya districts. 7 such debriefing sessions were held with chairmen and secretaries of the Language Societies in the area, in December. ...Budget Transparency Now, Prof. Sivachandran, Executive Director of Cinthani Koodam and Visiting Lecturer at University of Jaffna, Prof. S.K. Sithampalan and Sriyanie Wijesundara from G&ACP were resource persons in this workshop. Chairmen and opposition Leaders from Local Authorities and CSO Representatives also attended. The Movement for Free and Fair Elections and Cinthani Koodam (Thinkers Circle) of Jaffna were the local partners for this event.
NEWS From the Field
A number of awareness raising workshops were held for Grama Niladharis on Good Governance. The objectives of these workshops are to highlight the importance of good governance and mobilising the participation of the community in that process, discussing the role of the GNs in finding solutions to the problems affecting the community relating it to the principles of Good Governance and guiding the community with a vision of Good Governance for an informed participation in the process of regional governance. They were held, on on Nov 1st in Veeraketiya for 40 GNs and Nov 23 for 35 GNs in Mannar These were followed by evaluations in which World Vision participated to asses the effectiveness of the workshops. Separate workshops were also held for Samurdhi development officers on Nov 1st at Veeraketiya, followed by joint meetings of Grama Niladharis, Samurdhi Niladharis and Field Officers in the Navithanveli and Vellavali DS Divisions in the Batticaloa district (Nov 4th) and at the Ahatuwewa Divisional Secretariat (Nov 25th). These were held with the objective of providing guidance for an informed community participation in regional development with a vision incorporating the principles of Good Governance.
Press releases were issued on a new publication titled Land Issues in the Northern Province: Post-War Politics, Policy and Practices,(Dec 6th,) on Arbitrary Blocking and Registration of Websites: The Continuing Violation of Freedom of Expression on the Internet (Nov 9th) and on Freedom of Expression on the Internet in Sri Lanka, (Nov 22nd).
The Navanturai Incident
More details of the Navanturai Incident at http://tinyurl.com/ 7usu8de or www.thepeoplesrights.org ...LANGUAGE RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS Minister of National Languages and Social Integration, who spoke on Implementation of the State language policy, Mr. S.G. Punchihewa, Attorney at Law/ Human Rights Activist who spoke on Policy vs. Reality of Language Rights in Sri Lanka, and Hon. M.A. Sumanthiran – MP, Attorney at Law who spoke on “Social integration through bilingualism”. Opening Remarks on “The Concept of Language Rights” were made by Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, Ed, CPA. Wide publicity was given to this event in print and electronic media.
CPA supported the filing of 22 FR applications in the SC in September 2011 related to the Navanthurai incident in Jaffna. The Petitioners were those assaulted and arrested who filed seeking relief and effective redress in respect of the infringement of their fundamental rights and language rights. The case is presently ongoing.
Public awareness raising on the Land Circular
The Government recently unveiled a policy regarding land in the North and East by a Land Circular titled ‘Regulating the Activities Regarding Management of Lands in the Northern and Eastern Provinces’ (Circular No: 2011/04) issued on 22nd July by the Land Commissioner Generals Department in Colombo. CPA has been informed that the process of applications has commenced and is to extend till November 2011. CPA recognizes the necessity to formulate policies and processes to address the complex land issues in conflict-affected areas and thus welcomes the overall aim of this current initiative. CPA is, however, concerned with the present circular that contains certain provisions, which are problematic and unclear and may exacerbate fear and apprehension among affected communities. See pg 4 for more informatin about awareness raising publications
Land Circular Petition In October 2011 the Court of
Appeal presided over by Justice W.L.R Silva heard the petition filed by TNA National List M.P and lawyer M.A. Sumanthiran seeking an interim order restraining the Land Commissioner General and other respondents from implementing the Land Circular No. 2011/04. This Circular deals with land in the Northern and Eastern provinces in Sri Lanka. The Court of Appeal issued a stay on the operation of the Public Notice issued requiring people from the North and East to register lands by 20th November 2011. DSG Ms. Murdu Fernando informed Court that the State is reconsidering the Land Circular and that a committee may be appointed for this purpose. This matter is to be taken up in the Court of Appeal on 19th January 2012. Mr. K. Kanag-Isvaran P.C, and Attorneys-at-Law Viran Corea, Bhavani Fonseka and Gehan Gunatilleke appeared for the Petitioner and were instructed by Mohan Balendra.
Outreach Unit published the November /December issue of the Vibasha Newsletter in December 2011. Contributors to the publication included Thimbiriyagama Bandara, journalist and Jagath Liyana Arachchi ,Attorney-atLaw. 800 copies in Sinhala, 800 in Tamil and 350 in English were printed. Land in the N&E
A Short Guide was published, titled ‘Regulating the Activities Regarding Management of Lands in the Northern and Eastern Provinces’ Circular: Issues & Implications by Bhavani Fonseka & Mirak Raheem. This brief guide attempts to map out some of the key elements in that circular and provide recommendations.
Land Issues in the Northern Province: Post-War Politics, Policy and Practices, a document by CPA senior researchers Bhavani Fonseka and Mirak Raheem, critiques and provides alternatives in land related issues in the post-war Northern Province in Sri Lanka. Download the PDF at http:// tinyurl.com/7qukbhj or at www.cpalanka.org
....Internet and Web Censorship activists, human rights defenders, lawyers etc. and discuss the issues involved. The workshop focused on the nature of the growing content regulation online, attempt to project how such censorship may evolve, the implications of censorship for activism and advocacy, the evolution of media ethics to deal with web media, legal aid, potential public interest litigation on existing blocks and finally, aspects of online safety and issues of security. CPA published its Report on Freedom of Expression and the Internet in Sri Lanka, which is available as a PDF at cpalanka.org A Brief Guide to Land Rights 20,000 copies of the trilingual booklet titled ‘A Brief Guide to Land Rights in SL’ were printed by CPA. This booklet raises awareness and inform readers regarding key issues related to state and private land in Sri Lanka. 12,000 copies of the booklet were handed over to Oxfam CMB for distribution to ACAP and EIDHR partners in the districts which will be shared with the communities they work with as well as for OGB to share with their own networks. Copies are to be distributed to the general public, public officials, humanitarian agencies and civil society and the soft copy was uploaded to the CPA website . Vikalpa 6th Issue
This was released in October 2011. For more information on any of these publications please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or access http://bookscpa.wordpress.com/ http://bookscpa.wordpress.com/
Washington, Nov 29 Sanjana Hattotuwa, Senior Researcher, CPA was part of a panel of judges who selected winners at the Ashoka Changemakers Citizen Media: A Global Innovation Competition. . The winners are breakthrough innovations that boost media access and participation around the world. This competition was supported by Charitable giving and advocacy at Google.org. Esther Wojcicki, Vice Chair of the Board of Directors, Creative Commons, was among the judges on the expert panel.
“The Citizen Media competition has uncovered exciting new strategies for enabling all global citizens to have a voice,” said Jacquelline Fuller, director of charitable giving and advocacy at Google.org. “We were especially thrilled to see so many solutions working to help underserved communities engage freely and powerfully with information.”
Centre for Policy Alternatives 24/2 28th Lane Off Flower Rd Colombo 7 Sri Lanka Tel +94-112-565304-6 Fax +94-114-714460 Governance and Anti Corruption Programme +94-113-030461-2 Legal Unit +94-112-565304-Ext 100 Media Unit Tel +94-112-2375263 Outreach Unit +94-112-370801-4 P&CA Unit +94-112-2565304-6 Ext 111 Social Indicator +94-112-370474
Circular designed & compiled by Chandrika Gadiewasam email@example.com
Aug - Oct Mirak Raheem, Bhavani Fonseka and Dr Saravanamuttu
were involved in a consultation for USAID to develop a system for monitoring reconciliation and inclusion. Oct 3rd -5th Mirak Raheem participated in the Oslo Governance Forum organised by the UN Democracy Fund, Action Aid, Act Alliance, PRIA Global Institute and World Bank Institute in Oslo, Norway. Oct 18th Thilini Pieris attended the Food Security Meeting/ Grow Campaign organized by Oxfam GB and Oxfam Australia at SLFI Colombo. The objective of this campaign was introduction of environment friendly agricultural techniques and awareness raising on food security of the country.
Regional Convention, Kathmandu
Nov 3rd-4thNigel Nugawela, Researcher, CPA and the coeditor of Groundviews, attended the Regional Convening of the Representatives of Selected Civil Society Organizations from South Asia, organized by the Global Partners, and held in Kathmandu. This regional Convening, was held to discuss research findings, compare national experiences and examine tactics for achieving compliance, drawing on each others’ experience and expertise.
Presentation on Land Circular Oct 12th-13th Bhavani and Mirak made a presentation on the Land Circular at the Oxfam EIDHR held a national level training on protection issues for staff of partner organisations and selected CSOs at Global Towers, in Colombo. The objective of this programme was to gain a better understanding on selected protection issues (Land/GBV/Mine Risk Education), that are important in the present return and resettlement process. Thilini and Mehala from CPA participated in the programme.
The Citizen Media winners are: 5th Pillar Empowering Citizens to Tackle Corruption (India), CrowdVoice.org Tracking Voices of Protest (Bahrain), One Bite at a Time (Argentina), and FreedomBoxAnonymous, Secure Communication in a Box (United States) (source Washington Post) More info at h t tp : / / t i n y u r l. c o m / 7qsr5od
CPA AFFILIATED WEBSITES
Nov 28th Sanjana Hattotuwa Senior Researcher, CPA presented a lecture titled “Shooting Revolutions: Using photography for social & political change” hosted by the the Fulbright Alumni Association of Sri Lanka (FAASL.) -5-
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