fails to appear in LTTE 'court'
The driver involved in a fatal accident in Puliyankulam
last month, and released on bail by an LTTE 'court', was due to
appear once again in the Tiger 'courts' in Kilinochchi on Friday,
but failed to do so and the case was postponed for November 8.
The LTTE 'lawyer'
retained by the Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) had
telephoned from Jaffna on Friday night and informed LPBOA officials
that the next date of hearing was November 8.
Indika Perera (25) was reported to have got frightened by the time
he reached Vavuniya and decided not to appear in 'courts', LPBOA
Perera was produced
before an LTTE 'court' and released on Rs. 50,000 bail on September
27, after nine days of detention. He was asked to appear before
'court' on October 18 for the next hearing.
The bus was
released to the owner W.A.A. Wasantha on October 1, following the
payment of Rs. 100,000 bail.
bus carrying 43 passengers was on its journey back from Naga Vihare
when it crashed into a van carrying passengers at Puliyankulam.
The accident took place around 4.30 p.m. on September 19.
child was killed in the crash, leading to the arrest of the driver
and seizure of the bus by the LTTE.
The next day
being a Poya day the driver had to remain with the LTTE 'police'
until Saturday when he was refused bail unless he paid Rs. 150,000.
The LPBOA sent
a five man team to Kilinochchi to secure the release of the driver
and bus involved in the fatal accident.
Gemunu Wijeratne told The Sunday Times, a team of seven representing
the LPBOA is once again making preparations to visit Kilinochchi
this week to discuss matters regarding the case.
We need to
get the Rs. 100,000 released. We will visit the 'courts' and also
speak to Kutti, the LTTE officer in charge of transport, he said.
Alliance flogging PTA removal
National Alliance is to meet the Attorney General next week to discuss
the PTA following the appointing of a Committee by Prime Minister
Ranil Wickremesinghe to make amendments to its provisions.
The TNA which
is lobbying for the repealing of the PTA has called on the Government
to withdraw it instead of bringing in amendments. TULF General Secretary
R Sampathan told The Sunday Times that TNA is demanding the repeal
of the PTA.
' It is an obnoxious
law and it should be repealed. We have always stated that the PTA
does not serve its purpose. It is a draconian law to suppress human
rights. The protest carried out by the prisoners clearly showed
this. There were some prisoners who were in custody for 11 years
for minor offences," he said.
Government position is that as terrorism is a global phenomenon,
all aspects have to be taken into consideration and as there is
no emergency in force, the PTA cannot be withdrawn.
Rs. 81.6 billion required for R and
R in North and East
The Government has estimated that it would need Rs. 81.6
billion ( US $ 850 million) for rehabilitation and reconstruction
work in the Northern and Eastern provinces.
In a recent
assessment of pledges for rehabilitation and reconstruction it has
been found that Rs. 48 billion (US $ 500 million) more would be
needed to reach the target.
"Mr. Bradman Weerakoon had prepared an assessment which shows
a shortfall of around US $500 million to make up an estimated financial
need of US $ 850 million," Dr. K.U. Kunasingham, Senior Advisor
to the Prime Minister's Office said.
requirement was assessed not only for the North and East but also
other areas that have been affected by the conflict such as Moneragala
and Puttalam, Secretary to the Prime Minister and Commissioner General
for Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation (Triple R) Bradman
Resident Representative Neill Wright said with humanitarian and
developmental agencies already in play, the deficit of funds wasn't
a challenge, but the balance between rising needs and available
resources to meet them, was of concern.
of Sri Lanka lacks adequate mechanisms to respond to the increasing
needs," he said adding that if this situation was not set right,
it could undermine durable solutions for the returning population
and sustainable development in the conflict area and risked loss
of popular support for the peace process.
UNHCR has called
for a needs-based provision of relief activities planned with long
term sustainability and development in mind, coupled with closer
cooperation to ensure a smooth transition from relief to development.
Sri Lanka has been selected by the Headquarters of the World Bank,
UNDP and UNHCR as one of three countries in which all three bodies
will work together, along with other stakeholders, on the implementation
of the Repatriation, Reconciliation, Recovery and Reconstruction
(4Rs) concept. The 4Rs concept is a pilot initiative that is designed
to bridge the gap between relief and development. The expectation
is that the World Bank, UNDP and UNHCR will expand the 4Rs concept
and develop a set of principles in relation to needs in Sri Lanka.
that the relief-development gap was especially pronounced in the
immediate transitional phase from conflict to post-conflict situations.
The gap undermined potential progress that could be made towards
finding and implementing durable solutions for displaced persons
and affected communities.
Even with immediate
relief activities, the displaced require sustained and formulated
reintegration and development support if they are to be given a
chance to become productive members of society, UNHCR said.
intends implementing a Supplementary Programme to address four areas
of concern - 1) promote and protect rights of returnees, assist
IDPs with emphasis on vulnerable and risk groups 2) address immediate
humanitarian needs of spontaneous returnees 3) influence policies,
improve/protect rights of IDPs, returnees and victims of conflict
through capacity building of government institutions and national
NGOs and 4) facilitate the stabilisation of returnees and contribute
to building a base for economic recovery.
to implement the programme over a 15-month period from October 1,
2002 to December 31, 2003. Accordingly, the agency is appealing
for a Supplementary Programme budget totalling US $ 10,028,010 to
support the return of a target beneficiary population comprising
60,000 families (240,000 persons).
Ambassador in Sri Lanka Susan Blankhart said the Netherlands Government
was giving Sri Lanka a total of 10.5 million Euros of which 50%
is to be used for activities in the North and East and the balance
for development in the South.
In a bid to
meet its deficit, the Government has planned to lobby for immediate
funding from donor countries at the aid pledging conference in Oslo
on November 25 to be attended by bilateral donors where the Prime
Minister and the government delegation to the Thai talks will participate.
This will be followed by an extensive pledging conference in Tokyo
the Executive Committee of the UNHCR in Geneva on October 2, Mr.
Bradman Weerakoon called for early assistance from the international
community to rebuild Sri Lanka.
He gave a briefing
to representatives of 61 countries that comprised the ExCom on "Prospects
for Solutions for the Uprooted in Sri Lanka."
task of rebuilding and reconciling is too large for Sri Lanka to
handle on her own," he said.
Government-LTTE sponsored needs assessment programme is expected
to take off from November 1 to identify priorities in the North
and East. The configuration of this collaborative effort which is
yet to be finalised, is expected to come out with a single plan
over a period of six to seven weeks, on the needs in the North and
East, Mr. Wright said.