President Maithripala Sirisena dropped a bombshell when he addressed a public meeting on Wednesday after declaring open a new building for the Meegahatenna Police Station in the Kalutara District. He said that he did not recognise the Sri Lanka resolution adopted by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) last week in Geneva. He has publicly [...]


UNHRC resolution: President blasts those who bypassed him


President Maithripala Sirisena dropped a bombshell when he addressed a public meeting on Wednesday after declaring open a new building for the Meegahatenna Police Station in the Kalutara District.

He said that he did not recognise the Sri Lanka resolution adopted by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) last week in Geneva. He has publicly declared that troops did not commit war crimes and it was the Tiger guerrillas who did so.

He said that this resolution, which was co-sponsored by Sri Lanka for a second time, had been worked out without his knowledge and that of the Foreign Ministry. Yet, a joint UNF-SLFP delegation sent by President Sirisena that was in Geneva did not oppose it and the resolution was carried unanimously. The President revealed that he had not given his consent for co-sponsoring either the 2015 resolution (30/1) or the one passed last week. The latest resolution, moved by a core group including the United Kingdom, Canada, North Macedonia and Montenegro, was co-sponsored by Sri Lanka without his approval, he said. It pledged to implement remaining provisions of resolution 30/1, including the setting up of hybrid courts to try alleged war crimes by troops and Tiger guerrillas.

The President told the public meeting that it was Mano Tittawala, Secretary General of the Secretariat Co-ordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms (SCRM), and Advisor to the Finance Ministry, who had written to Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative at the UN in Geneva to co-sponsor the second resolution. It had been on the grounds that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had agreed to it.

President Sirisena bitterly criticised those responsible for the co-sponsorship saying it was done behind his back.

Suren Raghavan

Raghavan’s conduct rocks Foreign Ministry

The Foreign Ministry’s high officials stood aghast at the remarks made by Northern Province Governor Suren Raghavan, who was a member of the Sri Lanka delegation to the UN Human Rights Council’s sessions in Geneva.

Upon his return, Mr Raghavan who was only a member, held his news conference to declare that the UN Human Rights High Commissioner had admitted to errors in the report she presented to the Council. He said that during a meeting with the delegation, she had, in fact, pulled up two officials for the errors.

The first disenchantment for the Foreign Ministry came when they learnt of the Northern Governor’s remarks. A senior Foreign Ministry official said if indeed there were any comments on the meeting, it should have been made by the delegation or the Foreign Ministry. They pointed out that Mr Raghavan was only a member.

More was to come. UN Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Bachelot, in an official statement, denied the remarks made by Mr Raghavan and described them as a “spin.”

What did Mr Raghavan do? This time, he claimed he was misquoted by the media and heaped praise on High Commissioner Bachelot and the work she is doing. Does that mean he is now endorsing her report? So, it seems, at least for the veterans in the Foreign Ministry. A little knowledge, they say, is a dangerous thing. More so when fake stories are spread to gain exposure and later blame it on the media when they misfire.


Free chopper ride for critic of presidency

He is a known critic of the Presidency and all that comes under it. He would not only wax eloquent in Parliament but also put down all his frustrations on paper. However, Udaya Gammanpila, the leader of the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya and parliamentarian, did not hesitate to grab a free offer – a helicopter ride from Colombo to Galle this week.

It was offered to him by President Maithripala Sirisena who was attending a ceremony connected with the re-development of the Buona Vista College to mark its 200th anniversary as it was on the verge of closure. The man behind the exercise was Sarvodaya leader A.T. Ariyaratne.

The college lies atop the picturesque Buona Vista hill, on one end of the natural harbour in Galle. A palm fringed hilly promontory juts into the sea.

One of the school’s past pupils was former Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. His student days were when the Maldivian dhonis arrived in the small port of Hikkaduwa with bondi halva, a sweetmeat, riya hakuru, (boilt tuna head and other parts making a thick mix for sambols) and Maldive fish. A Customs unit was stationed there then.


Even SLFP did not  know about JO coup in Parliament
The “operation” on the floor of the House was conducted by “Joint Opposition” parliamentarians with such secrecy that no one knew.
They gathered outside the well of the House in small numbers giving the impression that “JO” members were not there in a larger group. It was well known that UNF (the government) MPs were taking things easy.

When it came to voting for the Committee Stage of the budget debate, they rushed in and voted. The votes of several sections of the Ministry of Public Administration were defeated. So were the votes of the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development.

The “JO” members did not confide in their Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) colleagues for fear it would reach the UNF. Worse, they did not even tell the Chief Opposition Whip, Mahinda Amaraweera.

Power cuts: People scolding us and even our mothers, says Sirisena

One of the subjects of heated discussion at last Tuesday’s weekly ministerial meeting was the power cut. This included the power cuts that are carried out after prior announcement and those that came without notice and shocked the people.

In his efforts to underscore the seriousness of the displeasure caused among the public, President Maithripala Sirisena, who chaired the meeting declared that in towns and villages, they were scolding government leaders and even their mothers.

However, for many decades now, the sons concerned have not been able to avert a power crisis except to blame it on the weather gods. Even most of the standby generators imported for use by key state establishments after a previous drought were not working now.

President Sirisena flew in for the ministerial meeting from Polonnaruwa. His Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) VVIP helicopter landed on the Parliament grounds from where he was driven in to the House.

Lal denies filing case against Gota in US

Lal Wickremetunga, Sri Lanka’s Consul General in Sydney (Australia), strongly denied speculation in political circles in Colombo that he sought to file a case in a United States Court against former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The case had related to the January 2009 killing of his brother, Lasantha Wickremetunga, editor of the now defunct Sunday Leader newspaper.

“Those reports are completely untrue. I have no plans to file any action in US Courts. I am awaiting the outcome of what the Sri Lankan courts would do once those responsible are indicted,” he told the Sunday Times.

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