US war crimes report on Sri Lanka deferred
By Munza Mushtaq
crucial report on Sri Lanka’s alleged war crimes, which
was to be released on September 21, by the US Department
of State, has been deferred owing to the non-finalisation
of the document and is now likely to be released next
month, it is learnt.
Meanwhile US Embassy Spokesman in Colombo Jeff Anderson
told The Sunday Leader that the State Department was
still working on the document and the US Congress has
extended the submission date.
however noted that no particular date has been decided
to release the report, “but the State Department expects
it would be ready by mid October,” Anderson said.
Stephen Rapp, US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes
Issues, in an interview with Time magazine mid this
month disclosed that his office was primarily focusing
on Sri Lanka and a report from the Department of State
on the war in Sri Lanka was due in Congress on September
Office of War Crimes Issues, together with the Secretary
for Global Affairs and the Secretary of State, has the
responsibility to collect information on ongoing
atrocities, and it is then the responsibility of the
President (Barack Obama) to determine what steps might
be taken towards justice. Like the canary in the coal
mine, we give the signal that something very serious is
occurring,” Rapp said.
continues to be hounded by the international community
over alleged war crimes, President Mahinda Rajapakse has
vowed to take on full responsibility and go before any
judiciary if the need for such a situation arose in
order to protect his troops.
meeting held at Temple Trees last week, he declared that
the military had nothing to worry about the allegations
made by the international community that the country’s
military had committed war crimes as he will never let
the sacrifices made by the country go in vain over such
President was addressing state bank officials and
representatives from the Galle District.
“Freedom won by sacrificing 26,000 youth lives will
never be betrayed to anybody,” he said.
Commander-In-Chief, the President noted he would take
“Soldiers fought bravely by taking orders from me and I
would go to any judiciary on behalf of them,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rajapakse this year stayed away from
attending the United Nations General Assembly and
delegated Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake to
lead Sri Lanka’s delegation, which included Foreign
Minister Rohitha Bogollagama.
Opposition parties have alleged that the President has
shied away from attending the General Assembly in
because he cannot face the international community who
have been accusing Sri Lanka of committing war crimes
against mainly Tamil civilians and have so far refused
to carry out any independent investigation on these
Sri Lanka’s ruling on Channel 4 video
not independent - UN envoy
By Munza Mushtaq
Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or
Arbitrary Execution, Philip Alston has expressed his
doubts over the independence of the Sri Lankan
Government’s ruling, which declared that the
controversial Channel 4 video footage was a fake and
doctored video clip.
interview with Radio Australia last week, Alston said he
was unconvinced over the government’s findings even
though the Sri Lankan government claimed to have carried
four independent investigations into the video clip,
which showed men in Sri Lanka military uniform executing
civilians who had been stripped.
criticised the President Mahinda Rajapakse led
government for hiring four personnel who were ‘close’ to
the administration to carry out the investigation on the
Sri Lankan Government has recently produced a statement
by four experts.
requirement under international law when there is an
ostensibly a valid allegation that a serious human
rights violation has been committed is to carry out a
thorough and impartial investigation of the allegations.
What the government has done, is to produce analysis by
two of the members of its own army — in other words, the
very body that is accused of carrying out the crime and
perhaps unsurprisingly, these two army officials say
that they don’t think the video is convincing,” Alston
also expressed his doubts over the independence of the
academic, who according to Alston has worked in the past
for the government.
have no quibble with his qualifications or with what he
said, but it’s still a very unsatisfactory approach when
it comes to showing real independence and impartiality,”
finally, they have used the analysis of another
gentleman who is apparently based in
but of Sri Lankan origin, who claims to have and appears
to have a significant technical credentials in this
area. He first wrote an opinion piece in one of the Sri
Lankan daily newspapers asserting that this (video) was
a fake, based on his own examinations. The government
then took him up, employed him as an expert to provide a
more detailed report,” he said.
envoy disclosed that apart from a brief summary, the Sri
Lankan Government has not submitted any detailed reports
on the findings.
bottom line is that you have got very serious
allegations and you have got a handful of experts who
are extremely close to the government who provide no
sense of an impartial investigation of the type
required,” he added.
investigations were carried out by international expert
and former head of Cisco’s global broadcast and digital
video practice Siri Hewawitharana, Senior Lecturer on
Computer Science and Director of the Centre for
Instructional Technology Dr. Chatura Ranjan de Silva,
Chief Signal Officer of the Sri Lanka Army Brigadier
Prasad Samarasinghe and Major P.A Bandara attached to
the Media Centre for National Security.
Suicides galore in Sri Lanka
By Raisa Wickrematunge
average of 12 people commit suicide a day in Sri Lanka,
and there are 10 times more attempted suicides,
according to Director of Sumithrayo Sri Lanka, Surangi
However Gunawardena said that the suicide rate has
actually declined since 1995.
had one of the highest suicide rates, with around 47
suicides per 100,000 persons. Now, Gunawardena estimated
the rate at about 20 suicides per 100,000 persons.
rate has declined, but it is still too high.”
Gunawardena said the highest suicide rates were among
the younger age groups, particularly tho
between the ages of 18 and 30. The rate also increased
after the age of 60, according to the Director.
Gunawardena added that it was usually a combination of
psychological and social reasons, which lead to a
suicidal situation. The three main factors, she noted
were “inability to cope with difficult situations,
mental health problems, and drug or alcohol abuse.”
noted that social and peer pressures were leading
factors for teen suicides. However, even children as
young as seven or eight have been known to attempt
are also differences according to gender. More women
than men say they have contemplated suicide, although
more men have taken their own lives.
Gunawardena noted that media reports, which
sensationalised suicide and gave details about the
methods used often lead to “copycat suicides.”
Gunawardena noted that the current rate of 120 attempted
suicides a day was worrying.
Meanwhile, Sumithrayo Sri Lanka, in a press release
recently said that as attempted suicide was no longer
considered a criminal offence, the majority of attempts
were unrecorded. Gunawardena attributed the rising
number of attempts to a lack of knowledge about
resources available to the depressed.
Sumithrayo Sri Lanka has been operating for around 35
years, as a suicide prevention organisation. Their
services are offered free of charge. They claim to
“provide emotional support to people who are
experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including
those that may lead to suicide.”
Globally, one person commits suicide every 40 seconds,
while there is an attempted suicide every three seconds.
Foreign nationals trapped in IDP
By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
Government statistics have revealed that 12 foreign
nationals are still trapped amongst thousands of war
displaced in IDP camps in Vavuniya.
foreign nationals of Tamil origin have been trapped in
the IDP camps since the end of the war in May this year.
senior government official told The Sunday Leader that
the foreign nationals included one British citizen,
three Australians, one German, three Dutch, two Indians,
one Canadian and one Norwegian.
official also said that representatives from the
respective foreign missions in Colombo are in discussion
with the Foreign Ministry officials, who in turn would
take the matter up with the Defence Ministry, to secure
the release of these foreign nationals.
foreign nationals will be released when the Defence
Ministry approves it after the screening process is
concluded,” the official said.
issue of foreign nationals trapped in IDP camps in
Vavuniya came to light in June this year and the
government at the time said that the judicial process
was on track with regard to these foreign nationals and
that they would be released after being screened for
links with the LTTE.
Spokesperson for the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo,
Rannveig Skoftland told The Sunday Leader that the
embassy was trying to secure the release of the
Norwegian national in the IDP camp acording to the laws
of the Vienna Convention.
added that the embassy has been denied access to meet
with the individual by the government.
have requested the government of Sri Lanka to grant us
access to meet the Norwegian nationals,” Skoftland said.
Meanwhile, British citizen Damilvany Gnanakumar, who was
recently released from the IDP camps in Vavuniya,
released damning details about the plight of the IDPs
and the camps to the media back in the UK.
asked if the government was apprehensive about releasing
the other foreign nationals in the IDP camps following
Gnanakumar’s actions, the official said Gnanakumar’s
case was a unique one and that the others in the camps
were not of that calibre.
AIADMK has threatened to launch a mass agitation along
with like-minded parties if the Union government failed
to press the international community to force the Sri
Lankan Government to put an end to the rights violations
against Tamils on its land.
statement, Party General Secretary J. Jayalalithaa said
that the AIADMK and people of Tamil Nadu expect the
Centre to raise its voice against the human rights
violations in the refugee camps in Sri Lanka.
Centre does not act immediately, “the AIADMK, along with
like-minded political parties, will be forced to launch
a mass agitation to focus world vision on the brutal
civil liberties violations in Sri Lanka.”
former chief minister said “The gruesome footage,
reportedly filmed by a soldier on a mobile phone camera,
reinforces my earlier claim that civil liberties are
non-existent in Sri Lanka and that the Tamil population
there is subject to barbaric atrocities at the hands of
the Sri Lankan Army.”
Lanka claims to be a democratic country, where the rule
of law prevails. No democracy sanctions this sort of
summary mass execution, where human dignity is wantonly
trampled upon,” she added.
Jayalalithaa said the AIADMK has never been a votary of
terrorism or terrorist outfits. “I have personally been
a very vocal critic of the LTTE, ever since that outfit
degenerated from being valiant fighters for the
liberation of Tamils into a terrorist organisation that
annihilated political opponents, murdered anyone who did
not toe their line and heaped suffering on the Tamil
people whose cause they were claiming to espouse.”
assuming that the persons being shot dead in the footage
telecast were LTTE activists, executing them summarily
without a trial is barbaric, inhuman and contrary to
civilised norms. It also violates international law
relating to treatment of prisoners of war.”
Slamming the DMK government, she said “As such, the
AIADMK does not expect the DMK government to even make a
whimper of protest against the atrocities being
perpetrated upon the Tamil people.”
Express News Service
Hilary, Krishna wants IDPs
United States and India on Friday agreed on the
importance of resettling
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia
Robert Blake told journalists that
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and
External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna during a
bilateral meeting in New York touched on the IDP
situation in Sri Lanka.
touched on the situation in Sri Lanka, where I think we
have very similar views. The
particularly I think both of us agree on the importance
of Sri Lanka resettling almost 300,000 internally
displaced people who remain in the camps,” Blake said.
Meanwhile, during meeting with Foreign Minister Rohitha
Bogollagama late last week, Krishna had emphasized the
need to speed up the Sri Lankan government’s
Government sneers at grand
government has sneered at the much-hyped opposition
grand alliance saying the forthcoming alliance has
absolutely no capacity to overthrow the reigning
Addressing the weekly cabinet news briefing, Cabinet
spokesman Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa laughed off
the opposition alliance, which is expected to combine
some seven parties.
have no power. Why should we be scared of them? We have
defeated them handsomely in every election. These
people who accuse us of not looking after the IDPs have
not even gone to see them or help them,” Yapa claimed.
Bar Association says…
Executive Committee of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka
is of the unanimous view that several criticisms made
regarding the judgment in the Tissainayagam case are
unwarranted. Such criticisms are from sections of the
local and foreign public.
Tissainayagam was convicted by a court of law and has a
right of appeal. The Superior Courts can and will
reverse the verdict/sentence in the event of an error in
persons have rights to constructively analyse judgments,
the comments made do not amount to this. Thus such
comments are unjustified and would prejudice the proper
administration of law.
Bar Association of Sri Lanka is strongly committed to
the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary
and condemns statements which tend to undermine either
of the aforesaid.
The Bar Association of
Editor’s Note: The Sunday Leader has at all times
CONSTRUCTIVELY analysed and discussed judgments
including the sentence given in the Tissainayagam case.
Our comments do not under these circumstances prejudice
the proper administration of the law. If criticisms have
been made they have been fully justifiable and at no
time undermined the judiciary.
Colombo delays responding to India
has delayed responding to India’s request to send a
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team to carry out
its own interrogation on LTTE leader Kumaran
Pathmanathan alias KP over the murder of former Indian
Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Indian High Commission in
last week said it requested the government on the visit
of the CBI team but had not received any response from
the government so far.
Spokesperson for the High Commission, Dinkar Asthana
told The Sunday Leader that a request had been sent to
the Foreign Ministry.
However, Foreign Ministry officials said that they are
yet to receive an official request with regard to the
had earlier said that it planned to send a special CBI
team to Sri Lanka to question KP on the murder of Rajiv
took over the LTTE leadership after the death of
Velupillai Pirapaharan in May. KP was accused of several
crimes including drug and human trafficking and was
wanted by Interpol for arms procurement for the LTTE. KP
was arrested in August and was brought to
Hoteliers unhappy over new room
By Nirmala Kannangara
hoteliers have warned that the Tourism Ministry’s new
minimum room rates, which will come into effect from
November 1, will prove to be more detrimental to the
industry than beneficial.
Sunday Leader learns that several leading hotels have
opposed the new pricing formula and in protest even
boycotted Wednesday’s meeting convened to announce the
new room rates organised by the Tourism Promotions
Continental Hotel Chairman Nahil Wijesuriya pointed out
that although the Ministry was trying to boost the
industry by introducing the minimum rates, it would
result in negative consequences.
could the Ministry say that by introducing the minimum
rates for rooms not only the city hotels but even the
Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) would benefit and the
employees would receive a good service charge? With the
increase in room rates, it is certain that occupancy
will decline resulting in employees getting far less in
service charges than at present,” Wijesuriya told The
queried as to how the Ministry asks foreign tourists to
visit Sri Lanka, a supposedly peaceful country when
there are roadblocks all over the city.
suggested that unless Sri Lanka works on getting more
charter flights to the country, the number of tourist
arrivals will not increase and the new price structure
would severely affect the hotel industry.
Several other hoteliers who wished to remain anonymous
echoed similar sentiments.
However Mount Lavinia Hotel General Manager Anura
Devapura told The Sunday Leader that the re-introduction
of the minimum room rates would help boost the industry
and added that it would get rid of the ‘cheap
destination’ tag labeled to the country.
order to safeguard the hotels that comes under the Small
and Medium Enterprise (SME) in the country, the Tourism
Ministry in consultation with the 28 member City Hotels
Association decided to re-introduce the minimum room
rates in accordance with the Tourism Act of 2005.
Tourism Promotions Minister Faizer Mustapha said unless
the minimum rates are introduced, the reputation of Sri
Lanka’s leisure industry would decline and will also
affect the SME sector hotels in the country that have
already suffered due to low room rates in all star class
hotels in the country.
“Despite the Tourism Ministry imposing the minimum room
rates earlier the star class hotels blatantly violated
the directives and as a result the SME sector hotels
could not sell their products since the five star hotels
were going cheap. This badly affected the resorts and
SME hotels but by re-introducing the minimum rate to all
hotels including five star hotels and SME hotels in
Colombo and Mount Lavinia municipal areas, will not only
protect all hotels but will also help employees to
receive an attractive service remuneration,” Mustapha
told The Sunday Leader.
Muslims accuse the govt. of
By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
Thousands of irate Muslims have accused government
ministers of “stealing” a couple of hundred tonnes of
dates which were imported to the country during the
complain that many mosques and other Muslim institutions
have not received dates during the month of fasting this
Muslims told The Sunday Leader that thousands of dates
“had gone missing” which should have by right been
handed out to devotees at mosques. They accused
government officials of having stolen dates by the crate
However, the government says the reason for the non
receipt of dates by certain sections of Muslims in the
country has been due to a decline in the quota of dates
received by the country this year.
Petroleum and Petroleum Resources Minister A.H.M. Fowzie
told The Sunday Leader that the country usually received
300 metric tonnes of dates to be distributed among the
Muslims during the fasting period.
said the government received only 150 metric tonnes of
dates from the Saudi Arabian government three months
prior to Ramazan for general use. These dates had been
distributed mainly among the displaced persons.
giving 50% of the consignment to the displaced, the
balance was given to mosques to be distributed among
devotees,” he said.
added that the government had also received 20 tonnes of
dates from Bahrain following a request made by him, 15
tonnes from the UAE and 15 tonnes from Iran, which were
distributed among orphanages.
dates were distributed among mosques to be given to
devotees who break fast in the mosques,” he said.
asked for the reason for the decline in the dates
received by the country, Fowzie said the government
requested for an additional 75 metric tonnes of dates
from the Saudi Arabian government, which was not
the 150 metric tonnes given by the Saudi government was
not given only for Ramazan, it was given for general
use. All these resulted in a shortfall,” he said.
said if the government received its usual 300 metric
tonnes of dates, they would have been distributed among
the Muslim households as well.
Police turning blind eye to
election law violations in the south
of state property and other election related incidents
are on the rise with the impending Southern Provincial
Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CAFFE) Media
Spokesman Keerthi Tennekone said the Southern Provincial
Council election was “not peaceful at all.” Tennekone
referring specifically to Hambantota and Galle alleged
that from nomination day onwards, there were many
incidents reported of systematic acts of violence
committed against opposition parties.
Tennekone noted that no proper measures had been taken
to remove the ruling party’s banners and cutouts,
although those of opposition parties had been removed.
Tennekone alleged that certain UPFA members were given
preferential treatment, and were allowed to violate
election laws with impunity.
went on to say that while the Road Development Authority
was taking legal action against the JVP for painting
their party logo on the roads, no action had been taken
against UPFA and UNP nominees who were doing the same
thing. “There is widespread misuse of state property and
resources used by candidates to campaign for votes,”
CAFFE spokesman further said that state media was
destroying the credibility of some opposition candidates
by making baseless allegations. Tennekone also said the
Election Commissioner was out of the country, and the
Election Commissioner’s Department was not accepting any
complaints. Tennekone added that there had been
instances when the police had not allowed opposition
party members to lodge complaints at the police station.
went on to predict that there would probably be many
more incidents on election day.
However, Executive Director, People’s Action for Free
and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) Rohana Hettiarachchi was
more cautious, saying that there had been no major
Hettiarachchi said that PAFFREL had received 20
complaints from Hambantota, 13 of which were serious. In
7 of the 11 reported complaints were grave. Matara
however was calm and quiet, according to the Executive
Hettiarachchi charged that the party members in Galle
were indulging in illegal propaganda activity. He said
that the national level leaders should take action
against their own party members. There were many
allegations of misuse of state property made against the
government, but none of them could be proved,
Hettiarachchi observed. He went on to say that if the
police continued to ignore complaints of election
related incidents, PAFFREL would take legal action
against the perpetrators.
Chief Ministerial candidate Sisira Kumara said that the
police were “biased.” He charged that former DIG
Prathapasinghe, contesting in Matara, was committing all
sorts of election violations, while the police turned a
also spoke of Dulles Alahapperuma, campaigning on behalf
of Chandima Rasaputhra, who had made use of 100 buses
from the Matara, Akuressa and Hakmana depots and had
still not paid for them. Kumara alleged that UPFA
candidates had displayed cutouts at the Akuressa
Pradeshiya Sabha premises.
alleged that Chairman, Kotakola Cooperative Society,
contesting under the UPFA ticket, was using Cooperative
Society vehicles for his campaign. Kumara further spoke
of an incident involving Hemal Gunasekara, former
Minister of Agriculture, whose wife had addressed a
meeting of Samurdhi beneficiaries in Devinuwara,
campaigning on behalf of her spouse. When one listener
had protested, he had been detained for over five hours.
Kumara said that in his opinion the government was
planning further acts of “thuggery” on election day.
Meanwhile Matara UNP District Leader Gajendra Ratnayake
said that although thankfully there had not been much
violence, misuse of state property was rife. He spoke of
a lunch given at Temple Trees for 3500 supporters from
the Matara District, and said that to his knowledge the
CTB buses and the lunch had never been paid for.
police are turning a blind eye to election decorations
and cutouts,” Ratnayake added. He went on to say that
according to election law there could only be one party
office per electoral booth, yet many UPFA members had 8
or 9. He said some members even resorted to handouts in
temples, and said that was unconscionable. In addition
he charged that there was a lot of “shuttered” threats
discouraging opposition supporters from voting.
time of going to press, the UPFA district elections
representatives were unavailable for comment.
Although there has been little bloodshed, it appears
that corruption is widespread in the run up to the
Southern Provincial Council elections, with most of the
blame squarely laid on the UPFA candidates.
Was Ratnasiri’s Asia Society address
By Munza Mushtaq
Eyebrows have been raised over Sri Lankan Prime Minister
Ratnasiri Wickremanayake’s Thursday night address at the
Asia Society headquarters in New York with observers
questioning the ‘independence’ of the much-acclaimed
event held during the UN General Assembly week, usually
encourages hardcore questions during the question and
answer session following the lecture, but this time
around saw a change of stance with Wickremanayake being
served with ‘dainty’ questions in what some claimed had
already been pre-screened during the 56 minute long
Foreign journalists who had been present at the event
and had put forward questions to Wickremanayake were in
for a surprise when the moderator of the session, Asia
Society’s Executive Vice President Jamie Metzl appeared
to have overlooked almost all hardcore questions and had
instead posed very light softball questions to the Sri
to the surprise of everyone, several of the questions
posed to the Prime Minister were from ‘anonymous
individuals’ while more serious and topical questions
posed by foreign journalists with their names provided
had been ignored.
According to Inner City Press correspondent Matthew
Russell Lee, Metzl had very gently raised the issue of
the IDP situation in Sri Lanka to which. Wickremanayake
very briefly said that the only problem was demining.
were doing it manually,” he said, “until quite
recently.” He said now some machines have arrived. “It
would have taken years,” he said.
President Mahinda Rajapakse has vowed to resettle at
least 80 percent of the nearly 300,000 IDPs before end
of this year.
the issue of press freedom in Sri Lanka came up, the Sri
Lankan Premier had claimed there were no problems of
freedom of the press back home, to which an audience
member shouted out, “20 years of hard labour” when he
was quickly hushed down by another audience member in
the front row.
Lankan court recently sentenced journalist J. S.
Tissainayagam to 20 years Rigorous Imprisonment over two
articles he had written several years back.
the moderator asked whether Sri Lanka was guilty of
committing human rights violations, Wickremanayake
bluntly said “No crimes were committed by the army.”
Premier’s answers apparently did not seem to impress the
audience, with only a certain section of the observers
heard applauding during the less than one hour long
his article published in the Inner City Press website
said the entire exercise was wastage of his 20 dollars,
which he had paid to attend the event due to the
weaknesses of the questions, and so a refund would have
been in order.
President Mahinda Rajapakse who usually attends the UN
General Assembly delegated his Premier to attend the
annual event, amidst allegations from the opposition who
claimed that the President shied away from New York, as
he could not face growing allegations of war crimes,
which has been highlighted by the international
Former CJ challenged to a live
District Judge, C.D. Kulathileka has challenged former
Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva to a live debate to
discuss Silva’s contribution to the country’s judiciary
during his term in office.
Kulathileka told The Sunday Leader that Silva had
ignored a challenge made by him on an earlier occasion
for a debate on Silva’s role as the Chief Justice.
alleged that Silva was responsible for the deterioration
of the country’s judicial system and violating the
proper legal process with regard to cases heard by him.
Water crisis looms as employees
threaten to agitate
By Nirmala Kannangara
Employees at the National Water Supply and Drainage
Board (NWSDB) have threatened to cripple the water
supply within the next few weeks, over the government’s
failure to grant them their due salary increase for this
Supply and Drainage Employees’ Union (WSDEU) General
Secretary Upali Rathnayake told The Sunday Leader that
President Mahinda Rajapakse’s directive to stop salary
increments to public servants for 2009 has resulted in
the Water Board employees having to initiate trade union
action early next month.
“Unlike other public institutions the CEB, CPC, Ports
Authority and the NWSDB get their salary increments once
in three years. It was in 2006 that we got the last
salary increment and it is unfair by the government to
cancel our increments at a time when the cost of living
has gone beyond our reach,” Rathnayake said.
According to him, all requests made to Water Supply and
Drainage Minister A.L.M. Athaullah for a meeting to
discuss the matter have fallen on deaf ears and since
the Ministry has failed to address the grievances, the
Water Board employees have decided to initiate trade
“Overtime given to employees has been reduced and even
other basic facilities provided to employees have
decreased considerably. Since 2006, the cost of living (CoL)
has gone up by more than 50% but the salary we receive
is still the same as in 2006,” Rathnayake said.
According to Rathnayake, Minister Athaullah has said
that this was not the right time for employees to talk
about salary increments as the government is spending
more money to develop the north and the east and also to
look after the IDPs.
it is the responsibility of a government to look after
its own people and to carry out development activities
but at the same time, the workers rights have to be
safeguarded,” Rathnayake noted.
Minister Athaullah was not available for comment.
By Raisa Wickrematunge
United National Party (UNP) said yesterday that it was
‘baffled’ as to why President Mahinda Rajapakse had
refrained from attending the 64th United Nations General
Assembly (UNGA) in New York this year.
Ravi Karunanayake told The Sunday Leader that the
General Assembly would have been the best platform for
the President to air his views and respond to concerns
put forward by the international community.
surprised that the President did not make use of this
opportunity, it would have done good to the country,”
Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake led Sri Lanka’s
delegation to New York..