United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton issued a virtual 'ultimatum' to the government of Sri Lanka this week. In essence, it is a call to address accountability issues relating to the final stages of the separatist war in May 2009 or face a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva in the coming weeks.
“Thaaththa,” Bindu Udagedera asked, “are we really independent?”
“Why,” Bindu’s father Percy said, “do you think we are not independent?”
“Well,” Bindu declared, “I know that we gained independence from the British sixty four years ago.”
“So, what are you worried about then?” Percy inquired.
The 64 years of independence that we have just celebrated are years characterised by economic policy changes and lost opportunities. As a vibrant democracy we can take pride that the country changed its governments democratically. Yet each political change brought about economic policy changes that created uncertainty.
Appropriately for Independence Day, I just completed reading the letter of a young student who had gone abroad to pursue her postgraduate studies after benefiting from the country's free education systems and then returned home in the expectation of making up her mind whether to stay or return overseas. What prompted my interest was that the letter was written with feeling and with emotion.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPGT) in Britain's House of Commons sent out a note to their Parliamentary colleagues on "an exhibition and situation update on events in Sri Lanka" on January 31.
When the United States passed a law to impose sanctions on financial institutions dealing with Iran's central bank, thereby effectively obstructing other countries buying Iranian oil, it claimed its intention was to hurt Iran and not others. But clearly things have not worked out this way, if President Mahinda Rajapaksa's remarks to foreign correspondents at Temple Trees on Tuesday are anything to go by. The president protested that the US and EU combined sanctions were not punishing Iran, but "punishing us, small countries."
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