Municipal Councils And Urban Councils (Amendment) Act No 20 of 1985

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Municipal Councils And Urban Councils (Amendment) Act No 20 of 1985

Public Act
Date of assent
Commencement

Contents

Part 0

Multimedia

Part 1

Law Category

Part 2

Labour Law

Part 3

Family Law

Part 4

Land Law

Part 5

Environmental law

Part 6

Language Rights

Part 7

Human Rights Law

Part 8

Criminal Law

Part 9

Civil Laws

Part 10

International Law

Part 11

Updates

Part 12

Constitution Making

Part 13

Resources

Part 14

Gazettes

Part 15

Circulars

Part 16

Forms

Part 17

Other Resources

Part 18

Administrative Law

Part 19

Other Law

Part 20

Subcommittees

Part 21

News

Part 22

Case Studies

Part 23

Language Right

    Part 24

    Uncategorized

    Part 25

    Acts

    Part 0

    Multimedia

    Part 1

    Law Category

    • Employees’ Provident Fund (Amendment) Act No 1 of 1985

      AN ACT TO AMEND THE EMPLOYEES’ PROVIDENT FUND ACT, No. 15 OF
      1953.

    • Act No. 22 of 1941 ORPHANAGES

      AN ORDINANCE TO PROVIDE FOR THE REGISTRATION AND
      CONTROL OF ORPHANAGES AND OTHER INSTITUTIONS FOR THE
      BOARDING, CARE AND MAINTENANCE OF ORPHANS AND
      DESERTED CHILDREN, AND FOR PURPOSES CONNECTED WITH
      THE MATTERS AFORESAID.

    • Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act

      An act to declare and define the privileges, immunities and powers of Parliament and of the members thereof; to secure freedom of speech and debate or proceedings in Parliament; to provide for the punishment of breaches of the privileges of Parliament; and to give protection to persons employed in the publication of the reports, papers, minutes, votes or proceedings of Parliament.

    • CONSUMER AFFAIRS AUTHORITY ACT, No. 09 OF 2003, 2003-44_E

      ACTING under the powers vested in it by Section 20(5) of the Consumer Affairs Authority Act, No. 09 of 2003, the Consumer Affairs Authority orders that no manufacturer, importer, packer, distributor or trader shall sell, expose or offer for sale, display for sale the items listed below, above the maximum retail prices given hereunder.

      CONSUMER AFFAIRS AUTHORITY ACT, No. 09 OF 2003, 2003-44_E

    • CONSUMER AFFAIRS AUTHORITY ACT, No. 09 OF 2003

      ACTING under the powers vested in it by Section 20(5) of the Consumer Affairs Authority Act, No. 09 of 2003, the Consumer Affairs Authority Orders that no producer, importer, distributor or trader shall sell, expose or offer for sale or display for sale the following varieties of rice above the Maximum Retail Price given here under

      CONSUMER AFFAIRS AUTHORITY ACT, No. 09 OF 2003

       

    Part 2

    Labour Law

    Part 3

    Family Law

    Part 4

    Land Law

    • Agrarian Development Act. No. 46 of 2000

      AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR, MATTERS RELATING TO LANDLORDS AND TENANT CULTIVATORS OF PADDY LANDS, FOR THE UTILIZATION OF AGRICULTURAL LANDS IN ACCORDANCE WITH AGRICULTURAL POLICIES ; FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF AGRARIAN DEVELOPMENT COUNCILS, TO PROVIDE FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A LAND BANK ; TO PROVIDE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF AGRARIAN TRIBUNALS, TO PROVIDE FOR THE REPEAL OF THE AGRARIAN SERVICES ACT, NO. 58 OF 1979 ; AND FOR MATTERS CONNECTED THEREWith or INCIDENTAL THERETO

    • Cultural Property Act No 73 of 1988

      AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE CONTROL OF THE EXPORT OF CULTURAL PROPERTY TO PROVIDE FOR A SCHEME OF LICENSING TO DEAL IN CULTURAL PROPERTY ; AND TO PROVIDE FOR MATTERS CONNECTED THEREWITH OR INCIDENTAL THERETO

    • Houses of Detention Ordinance No 05 of 1907

      AN ORDINANCE TO PROVIDE FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF HOUSES OF DETENTION FOR VAGRANTS

    • Housing (Special Provisions) Act No 18 of 1974

      A LAW TO PROHIBIT THE UNAUTHORIZED TRANSFER OF OCCUPANCY OF PREMISES PROVIDED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF NATIONAL HOUSING OR A LOCAL AUTHORITY OR THE COMMISSIONER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT OR A PUBLIC CORPORATION FOR OCCUPATION BY ANY PERSON, AND FOR MATTERS CONNECTED THEREWITH OR INCIDENTAL THERETO

    • The Constitution Of The Democratic Socialist Republic Of Sri Lanka of 1978

      The Constitution Of The Democratic Socialist Republic Of Sri Lanka of 1978

    Part 5

    Environmental law

    Part 6

    Language Rights

    Part 7

    Human Rights Law

    Part 8

    Criminal Law

    Part 9

    Civil Laws

    Part 10

    International Law

    Part 11

    Updates

    • WHO BROUGHT ABOUT THE TRILINGUAL NIC ?

      The Sinhala Tamil National Identity card -Whose victory is this?

      The Island Newspaper of 1st March 2014 published an article in the front page, with a photograph saying that a newly printed Sinhala and Tamil, Bilingual National Identity card including personal details was introduced by the Department for the Registration of Persons on the 28th February 2014.

      Other than the Island newspaper many other newspapers had published this news with some prominence. Some newspapers had shown an interest in this previously too. For example during the 1stweek of February the Lakbima newspaper had published a report, with a photograph, that work was in progress those days in the experimental stage of producing a new National Identity Card.

      All these newspaper reports publicized an idea that the introduction of the new National Identity Card was due to a requirement by the Department of Registration of Persons. This is how the Lakbima newspaper had reported this fact : “In order to prevent the problems that are incurred with the present National Identity Card work had commenced rapidly these days in the Department of Registrations of Persons to issue an new identity card  using modern technology according to the idea of the commissioner General Mr. R.M.S Sarath Kumara. “

      The Divaina newspaper reported the following about this on 1st of March.

      “The newly printed Sinhala and Tamil bilingual National Identity Card including personal details had been introduced yesterday (28thFebruary) by the Department of Registrations of Persons.”

      These newspaper reports indicate that the issuing of the new identity card was initiated due to the requirement of the Commissioner General of the Department of Registrations of Persons Mr. R.M.S Sarath Kumara. None of the reports that were published in the media stated that there had been any other citizen’s actions behind this. Therefore it is natural that the ordinary citizens of this country come to this conclusion. This is because they get news from reports that are published by the media. Yet, is it the truth? What actually happened? It is the right of the citizens of this country to know the correct information. By knowing this, the citizen gets an opportunity to realize the strength of the citizens actions in this country.

      The need for an Identity Card including bilingual personal details, has been prevalent for a long time in this country. This is because when the Sinhala language and the Tamil language are the Official Languages of a country, it is a violation of the language rights of that country, when the primary letter that a citizen possess, being the National Identity Card is issued in a single language.

      Due to this reason, although the citizens of this country, who had been persevering about language rights had published various ideas, there had been no decisive citizen action taking place about it.

      In the y ear 2013, an Advanced Level student took part in a decisive intervention. That student is Anuradha Prasad Dananajaya Guruge from Maharagama who is an advanced level student in Ananda Vidyala Colombo. This student submitted a petition to the Supreme Court asking for the National Identity Card to be issued in both the Sinhala and Tamil languages.

      Anuradha Prasad Dhananajaya Guruge, submitting his petition, to a three member bench  including Chief Justice, Mr Mohan Pieris, stated that, because the National Identity Card is issued in Sinhala only, immense difficulties are faced by him, when he travels to the Northern and Eastern Provinces, on official business , where administrative work is done only in the Tamil language.

      When this petition was heard again on the 21st October  last year, the Supreme Court issued an order to the Department of Registration of Persons to issue all National Identity Cards in both languages, from the 1st of January 2014.

      Furthermore according to orders issued by the Supreme Court regarding this petition ( STFR 93 of 2013) the Department of Registration of Persons should take steps to issue National Identity Cards in all three languages within the next three years.

      Yet the Commissioner General of the Department of Registration of Persons had been unable to fulfill the prescribed order. Although this order had stipulated that the bilingual National Identity Card should be issued from 01st January 2014, the Vibhasha Newsletter on investigation found out that those arrangements had not been completed by the month of February.

      Clearly it meant that the order from the Supreme Court had been disobeyed.  In any case, the fact that the Commissioner General had made a great effort to publicize himself as victorious in issuing such National Identity Card even  two months later than the stipulated date was evident from the news reports that were published later.

      The Commissioner General should honestly think about how ethical this (publicity) is. On the other hand, the manner in which the media acted in the matter is also clearly problematic. The issuing of Sinhala Tamil bilingual National Identity Card is a victory for the citizens of this country.

      Yet, when reporting this victory by not reporting correctly the true story behind it, many media of this country had avoided their responsibilities. It is a clear that the English media, as well as the Sinhala media had reported about this, without researching facts properly.

      This may not have been a wrong that was pre-planned. Yet when incomplete reporting has been done, knowingly or unknowingly it is the reader who has to suffer the bad consequences.

      When observing this situation, the most important part of this story has been deleted from the reporting.  The fact that knowledgeable citizens intervened and their rights were obtained by the action of citizens,  are facts that were thus missing.

      In particular, the fact that a national policy had been changed by the intervening of a school student shows a milestone in the history of this country.

      It is natural for the reader to have a new enthusiasm for his/her rights after reading this news. Such reporting would encourage the ordinary citizen to stand up for his / her rights.  This is why it is a social duty of the media to report such news correctly.

       

      Gaveshi- (Excerpt from Vibhasha Magazine )

      highway

      See anything wrong with this photo?

    • ADDRESSING CIVIL RIGHTS IN THE ESTATE SECTOR

      Their hard labour powers the multimillion dollar industry that is Sri Lankan tea. But the estate sector workers including those of the Badulla district are still some of the poorest, most marginalised people in Sri Lanka. Fostered by a system that does not want to let go its hold on cheap labour,  conditions in the estate sector of the Uva Province have remained almost unchanged by recent post war development drives. Exemplifying the administrative neglect of these communities is the fact that many plantation sector workers have never had a permanent contact address to their name.

      Meet Kamala*.  Her entire lifetime of  EPF savings in a cheque, was enchased by another woman of the same name, in the same estate who got hold of it, because her mail had been delivered to the wrong address. Her thoughtful countenance, while she is listening to the other sad stories her neighbors tell, is one of deep disillusionment.

      Who knows what would have happened to a very studious young man named Kumar.  if he had only received the letter that told him that he had in fact been selected for university admission? After studying very hard, amidst great odds, a chance of a lifetime, a way out of a life of deprivation and hardship, was missed because of a letter misdirected. He is now a teacher in a remote village, living a mundane difficult life, unheard of and hopeless.  Simply because one letter was lost.

      Many line rooms in the plantation sector are not numbered and letters are often delivered to other people with the same name. Whether a person receives a letter depends on the integrity of thekankami(official who organizes distribution of  these) the good will of ones neighbours , often sorely lacking, and sometimes, sheer chance…

      Safeguarding the civil rights of plantation sector workers

      Funded by the Australian High Commission, SL, the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) along with a local partner Uva Shakthi Foundation, has worked on a pilot project in Passara ,Badulla(Uva Province) aimed at bringing a modicum of dignity into the lives of this  marginalized  community whose human rights have been routinely denied. In the last six months this project has arranged to provide permanent addresses, for the first time ever in the plantation sector, for no less than 3000 families of estate workers. The project also organized setting up secure mail collection boxes in20 localities, selecting road names and providing signage for 40 of the estate by-roads in the area, in an endeavor to safeguard the delivery of correspondence.

      The lack of National Identity cards among some workers, another problem addressed by the project, leads to a number of serious issues, eg. limited freedom of movement, difficulty in making transactions, vulnerability in civil and criminal cases, lack of security, complications in obtaining official documentation and finding employment etc

      Mobile clinics were hosted to speed up the application process formore than 300 National Identity Cards, which may otherwise reach owners late or never.  The latter is particularly relevant to a large number of students who were due to sit for exams shortly.

      The right to safely receive one’s correspondence, taken for granted in the rest of the country but fraught with difficulty in this area, can make the difference between receiving a rare university admission, a job in Colombo, a desperately needed remittance from a relative abroad…or not. In the lives of estate worker communities such rare opportunities may come only once or twice in a lifetime and be the difference between hope and a life of regrets

      This project has been graciously sponsored by the Australian High Commission, SL 

      *not their real names.

    • HEALTH CAMP FOR JAYANTHIPURA CITIZENS

      As part of the work of Citizen Councils in Kantalai it has been identified that the issue of Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Origin(CKDU)  is taking a sizeable toll on the citizens of Jayathipura, Kantalai. More than 50 persons have died in that area alone in the last two years from CKDU.

      The Jayanthipura Citizen Council working with a partner organisation of the Centre for Policy Alternatives, the National Collaboration Development Foundation, Kantalai recently organised a One Day Health Clinic to meet families of the affected and citizens of the area to discuss the issue, and the strategy for tackling this, with the kind participation of a number of medical experts.

      Held  on 11th September 2015 at Jayanthipura Community Health Centre, Jayanthipura, the clinic provided services for testing of blood and urine, blood pressure and also hosted an eye-camp for donation of reading glasses to needy citizens. A number of doctors, MOH and hospital staff, media personnel and citizen council members participated, including representatives from military authorities who supported the free services clinic.

      Key volunteer participants included MOH personnel, Dr Costa and Dr Shermila and Dr Bandara Seniviratne from Aranaganwilla, Mr. Terrence Gamini, Head of the Anuradhapura Protection Foundation, optician Dr Charith,  and Kidney Disease expert Dr Rajiv Dissanayake (Anuradhapura KPF). Ven Prof Pallegama Sirinivasa Himi, Chief Incumbent of the Jayanthipura Viharaya and Brigadier Kamal Pinnawala of the 222 Jayanthigama Brigade extended their blessing and support to the camp and Chairperson Ajith, and Jayatissa of the Jayanthipura Citizen Council, are among the many who contributed to the success of the clinic. The Lions Club of 306 donated 100 sets of eyeglasses and an OPD clinic was held for almost 200 citizens of the area.

      The Jayanthipura Citizen Council kindly offered midday snacks for all participants and CPA helped to facilitate the event.

      .

    • Enabling citizen consensus for the Constitution-making process

      By N. Sarasi 

      A CSO collective called the Citizens’ Initiative for Constitutional Change (CICC) organised a press conference on 12 January in Colombo, to give publicity to the process of collecting citizen input to feed into the government’s current constitution-making exercise.

      Speakers at the press conference included Attorney at Law and Chairman of the Public Representation Commission, Lal Wijenayake, Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) Executive Director Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi, Human Rights Activist S.G.Punchihewa, Women and Media Collective Coordinator, Kumudini Samuel, Rights Now Executive Director Attorney-at-law Sudarshana Gunawardana, as well as the Transparency International Senior Manager, Shan Wijetunge. CPA Senior Researcher, in charge of its Outreach Programs, Lionel Guruge chaired the briefing.

      Guruge urged the media to give maximum coverage to the process of facilitating citizen participation in constitutional reform and said it was most important that all citizens of the country, Sinhala, Tamil Muslim, young and old, and all minorities are be able to think of it as “Our Constitution.” It was important for detractors and diverse opinions to be given a voice, too, but the process should not be disturbed by them. 

      Committed to constitutional reform 

      CPA Executive Director Dr. Saravanamuttu said that CPA and similar organisations of the CICC had been committed to constitutional reform for over a decade, and it was now a historic and decisive moment to ensure that the country gets the constitution it deserves. Since the political developments of 2015 it remains to bridge the democratic deficit by addressing the areas that require reform, particularly abolishing the executive presidency and devolving executive power among the Cabinet and Parliament, bringing about a new electoral system, and constitutional settlement of the national question which remains at the heart of this country, as a functioning democracy, which accommodates and answers to the grievances and aspirations of all of its people. 

      Dr. Saravanamuttu gave the example of the constitution making process in South Africa which was inclusive to such an extent that poor villagers were able to voice their concern about their cattle being stolen– leading to a guarantee of the right to private property for citizens, being included in the constitution. “Every citizen should be encouraged to come forward and contribute,” he stressed, adding that the purpose of the Citizens Initiative was to take this awareness as far as possible and make the case for a new constitution, as well as to educate citizens on the structure of the state, the executive and overall framework of the process so that their submissions are focused, direct and deal with the principal concerns of the country. It was important to ensure that as many people as possible participated in this exercise. “This is a chance to be a part of decision making in terms of the supreme law of the land. Proactive participation in the constitution making process will ensure that we are full-fledged citizens in a functioning democracy.” 

      Specific provisions requiring strengthening

      Media has at times been good at causing controversy, retorting or stirring dissent, but now it has a chance to play a vital and positive role and make a real difference in the future of the country, according to human rights activist, author and Attorney-at-Law S.G. Punchihewa who spoke about specific provisions in the Constitution that had been identified as requiring strengthening. These included the sections on human rights, the five paragraphs on fundamental rights and different aspects of the 13th Amendment. 

      Punchihewa discussed the requirement to include “Right to life,” in the Constitution. Broader interpretation is required, as in India where this covers air, food, water and environment with recourse. It is important also to strengthen the Human Rights Commission by reinforcing its powers, he stressed. Language equality was another matter which needed to be unconditionally emphasised. 

      Transparency International Senior Manager Shan Wijetunge opined that “this is the best opportunity, not to be missed, that we have ever had to join together and be part of this historical process, as the current government is only in power for two years. In South Africa, for example, millions of suggestions were received.” 

      Wijetunge outlined four main categories of provisions that were under discussion, including the reform of the Executive Presidency, fundamental rights, power sharing, and electoral system reform, and said that they were ready to present recommendations to the government including such suggestions as: abolishing the Executive presidency, limiting the cabinet to 25 members, scientific categorisation of ministerial portfolios, having a fixed election calendar, holding LG and PC elections together to save on expenditure, setting a ceiling to the election expenditure on election campaigns.

      Electoral reforms 

      PAFFREL ED Rohan Hettiarachchi spoke on the much debated subject of electoral reforms, including women’s representation and stressed that a simple election system is needed which does not squander the country’s assets – approximately Rs. 4,000 million of public funds were spent on each election(by the Elections Department alone). Furthermore there should be a system of ensuring that all can vote, e.g. doctors, or prisoners, as was the case in Afghanistan where ‘mobile voting’ is available, although it cannot be said that their democracy was more advanced than in Sri Lanka. He recognised that there was a very small time period to get a lot of work done and said “we must all try our best”.

      Strengthen women’s rights

      Women and Media Collective Coordinator Kumudini Samuel spoke about the need to strengthen women’s rights through the constitution, and a more effective legal system, with a broader focus being placed on socio economic rights, the right to livelihood, right to housing, food, and health. She also advocated for an Independent Women’s Commission and enforcing political rights for women.

      Maximum public participation

      Attorney-at-Law and Chairman of the Public Representation Commission Lal Wijenayake said that CPA and a number of other CSOs have been requesting that the constitution making process is not limited to Parliament but should be with maximum public participation. 

      “There are mechanisms in place but is there enough time? The people are eager and enthusiastic to engage,” he said, adding that a newspaper advertisement in three languages had been issued on 12 January to invite the participation of the people, to a large scale program from 18 -22 in Colombo at Visumpaya at 9:30 a.m., which was for the purpose of gathering public input. In the rest of the country, the District Secretariats are organising such venues, and are to give notice at least a week prior to the events, although media has a very important role to play in increasing awareness on the exercise.

      He said that the questions people asked were “why do we need a (new) constitution?” and “Isn’t the existing one enough?” and he pointed out that in the last few years, people had been on their knees, and Government Servants had been tied to trees, as the existing Constitution was not able to protect them, and even six or seven years after a protracted war, it had not been able to help the people of Sri Lanka reconcile. “My duty now is to listen, rather than speak,” he said in closing. 

      Nation building 

      Rights Now Executive Director Sudarshana Gunewardana said that nation building usually starts after independence but the process of bringing people together as one nation has not been a success in Sri Lanka as evident from both the insurrection in the south by rural youth and the 30 year war in the north which were caused by people not feeling as though they were part of this nation. Finally it was now an opportunity to collect everyone’s views and make a completely new “agreement” that respected the needs of everyone. 

      Language barriers

      A media representative questioned as to how the challenge of language barriers would be overcome in this process and CPA Senior researcher Lionel Guruge assured that every measure would be taken to ensure that required translations would be provided in the field work of the Citizens Initiative, which was making arrangements to provide simplified translated primers. 

      Further media questions were answered and a CPA publication titled “Why do We Need a Constitution?” was distributed to attendees. This press conference was the latest in a series of events held by CPA bringing awareness to the process of garnering citizen engagement in the current Constitution drafting process.

      Citizens’ Initiative for Constitutional Change

      By pooling in the resources of all organisations involved in the CICC, the Initiative aims to conduct broad scale workshops across the country to raise awareness on the governments’ proceedings with regard to the Constitution process, as well as encourage and identify recommendations of the public for the new Constitution. As the Government declared the establishment of a Public Representation Commission entrusted with the task of compiling public submissions, the CICC at its various workshops will encourage citizens to contribute to this Commission. Parallel to this Initiative, a youth campaign titled ‘My Constitution; A Youth Movement for a New Sri Lankan Constitution’ has also been launched and aims to encourage youth populations to contribute to the new Constitution process. More information about the citizen initiative is available from ciccinitiative@gmail.com or lionel@cpalanka.org.

      Taken from – Daily FT e-Paper

    • Women are not custodians of Culture (Education Times 06.03.2016)

      Education Times 06.03.2016 Page 08

    Part 12

    Constitution Making

    • Citizens’ Initiative for Constitutional Change’

      What is the ‘Citizens’ Initiative for Constitutional Change’?

      A team of dedicated civil society organization representatives and other stakeholders advocating for the importance of public consultation in the process of promulgating a new Constitution. As the government proceeds with its plan to bring about prolonged change by redressing the issues prevalent in the current Constitution of Sri Lanka, and with the support given to include public submissions in the drafting process, civil society is presented with an opportune moment to ensure that the rights of citizens are safeguarded and represented by the Constitution; the supreme law of the land. With this in mind, a team of civil society organization representatives and other interested civilians conducted a

       

      preliminary meeting in November to discuss the possibility of coalescing to form a movement to advocate for public consultation in the Constitutional reform process. A number of meetings proceeded, and more organizations expressed their interest to enter into this Initiative, which has now resulted in a vast network of civil society advocates determined to ensure that public participation is included in the new Constitution process. One of the main outcomes of the preliminary meeting held on the 25th of November at the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian and Research Institute was the establishment of 2 sub-committees; the ‘Logistics/Steering Committee’ that looks into the logistical aspect of the CICC including which meetings to attend, where to conduct meetings etc. and a ‘Consensus Committee’ that deals with evolving consensus and the fundamental basis of the CICC. Another outcome of the meetings held on the 1st of December 2015 arose from the necessity to educate the populace on the need for a new Constitution as well as the fundamentals prevalent in a Constitution. To address this, a booklet was compiled and published by an editorial team selected from CICC membership and headed by prominent Human Rights activist and Attorney-At-Law S.G. Punchihewa, simplifying what a Constitution must entail and how citizens could contribute to the making of a new Constitution. The book was titled “Why do we need a New Constitution?” and will be made available to the public in Sinhala and Tamil soon.

      Our Goal

      The overarching goal of the Citizens’ Initiative for Constitutional Change (CICC) is ensuring that the new Constitution upholds its predominant duty of representing the needs of the people by including their suggestions in the Constitution draft document. After careful deliberation, the CICC agreed that public consultation and discussion would revolve around 4 thematic areas;

      •  Reform of the Executive
      • Strengthening of Fundamental Rights
      •  Meaningful power sharing/devolution
      Electoral Reform  

      Following a workshop held on the 22nd of December 2015 organized by Transparency International and the Centre for Policy Alternatives, the CICC expanded on the above four categories and developed its position in relation to the discussion. The core agreement of the CICC is as follows:

      Reform of the Executive

      Executive control should be transferred from the Presidency to the Cabinet.

      • A Bicameral system should be implemented with upper and lower houses.
      • The Upper house (‘Senate’) must include Provincial representation and unrepresented groups.
      •  Appointment of Head of State should be through an Electoral College, inclusive of Provincial Council membership.
      •  The Head of State should be an apolitical figure.
      •  The Head of State could be vested limited powers/portfolios.
      •  Cabinet membership should be strictly limited to 25 members, with 25 Deputy/State Ministers. The number of Ministries should also be specified.
      •  The Constitution must be considered supreme to Parliament.
      •  The Head of government should be the Prime Minister, whilst the Head of State being the President.
      •  The powers and duties of the Judiciary should be specifically compartmentalized, and must be separate to the Executive and Legislature.
      Power Sharing/Devolution 

      As this was a more convoluted topic, a difficulty arose with regard to reaching a specific decision. However, the discussion focused on the following topics.

      • Should terms such as ‘Unitary’ or ‘Federal’ be used in association with devolution?
      • How must this topic be addressed in relation to the new political culture that has been introduced?
      •  On what principles’ must devolution of power occur?Devolution could be seen as a solution to addressing the national question. Devolution must occur in a fashion that upholds and respects the rights of Tamil and Muslim communities in the North and East Provinces.
      • If a just society is built on the basis of securing fundamental rights of all citizens, devolution will not be a necessity.
      •  Devolution should not only focus on the ethnic issue but be constructed taking into consideration all populations of Sri Lanka.
      • It was also suggested that without addressing the needs of the Tamil population, devolution will not be feasible.
      • Devolution should occur keeping development in mind.
      • Devolution should occur in a manner that provides maximum power to the public.
      • Devolution cannot occur given this current political and social climate and in order to achieve successful devolution, these climates must be changed first.
      • The citizens of the South must be made aware of the content of devolution and be included into the discussion.

      Although everyone agreed that maximum devolution must occur, the mechanisms of implementation will be further deliberated.

      Strengthening Fundamental Rights
      •  The right to life should be recognized as a Fundamental Right.
      • The need to incorporate stronger language on Economic Social & Cultural rights was emphasized with special emphasis on the right to education and the right to health.
      • It was agreed that the Human Rights Commission needs to take into consideration, matters pertaining to violations of economic social & cultural rights as well. One way this could be done is by ensuring that members appointed to the commission are representative of fields related to economic social and cultural rights such as education and health so that these members could advise the government of Economic Social and Cultural rights issues.
      • It was also proposed that the powers of the Human Rights Commission should be increased. The Commission should have power to enforce its rulings.
      • Provincial High Courts should be allowed to hear Fundamental Rights cases.Another way in which the backlog of FR cases in the Supreme Court could be reduced is by creating a tribunal to hear grievances and disputes of civil service employees.
      • Gender should be added as grounds for non-discrimination. (It was also proposed during the plenary that sexual orientation & gender identity be added to this list).
      • It was proposed that specific language needs to be added on women’s rights such as the right to be free from violence.
      • It was proposed that those rights which are identified as non-derogatory should have specific exceptions for each respective right. Or agreed text from the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights could be used ‘necessary in a democratic society’.

      It was proposed to recognize that the judiciary has a prerogative to further human rights to further human rights.

      Electoral Reform

      Again, a final decision was difficult to achieve under this topic. Therefore discussion was focused on the following issues.

      •  A specific day must be agreed to for elections
      • A calendar that dictates specific election days in necessary
      • If local government elections and Provincial Council elections are conducted at the same time, funding required for campaigns could be significantly reduced
      • Donations and any other form of funding must be stopped a minimum of three months prior to receiving nominations
      • Campaign finances must be restricted to the amount of voters that come under an electorate
      • A mixed system of FPP and PR must be maintained
      • An Elections Commission is necessary
      Future Work

      By pooling in the resources of all organizations involved in the CICC, the Initiative aims to conduct broad scale workshops across the country to raise awareness on the governments’ proceedings with regard to the Constitution process, as well as encourage and identify recommendations of the public for the new Constitution. As the government declared the establishment of a Public Representation Commission entrusted with the task of compiling public submissions, the CICC at its various workshops will encourage citizens to contribute to this Commission. The submissions identified by the CICC will also be compiled into a report that would subsequently be handed over to the Public Representation Commission as well. The various organizations will work in their individual capacities as well as a coalition to further the goal of this Initiative. Parallel to this Initiative, a youth campaign titled ‘My Constitution; A Youth Movement for a New Sri Lankan Constitution’ has also been launched and aims to encourage youth populations to contribute to the new Constitution process.

    • Enabling citizen consensus for the Constitution-making process

      By N. Sarasi 

      A CSO collective called the Citizens’ Initiative for Constitutional Change (CICC) organised a press conference on 12 January in Colombo, to give publicity to the process of collecting citizen input to feed into the government’s current constitution-making exercise.

      Speakers at the press conference included Attorney at Law and Chairman of the Public Representation Commission, Lal Wijenayake, Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) Executive Director Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi, Human Rights Activist S.G.Punchihewa, Women and Media Collective Coordinator, Kumudini Samuel, Rights Now Executive Director Attorney-at-law Sudarshana Gunawardana, as well as the Transparency International Senior Manager, Shan Wijetunge. CPA Senior Researcher, in charge of its Outreach Programs, Lionel Guruge chaired the briefing.

      Guruge urged the media to give maximum coverage to the process of facilitating citizen participation in constitutional reform and said it was most important that all citizens of the country, Sinhala, Tamil Muslim, young and old, and all minorities are be able to think of it as “Our Constitution.” It was important for detractors and diverse opinions to be given a voice, too, but the process should not be disturbed by them. 

      Committed to constitutional reform 

      CPA Executive Director Dr. Saravanamuttu said that CPA and similar organisations of the CICC had been committed to constitutional reform for over a decade, and it was now a historic and decisive moment to ensure that the country gets the constitution it deserves. Since the political developments of 2015 it remains to bridge the democratic deficit by addressing the areas that require reform, particularly abolishing the executive presidency and devolving executive power among the Cabinet and Parliament, bringing about a new electoral system, and constitutional settlement of the national question which remains at the heart of this country, as a functioning democracy, which accommodates and answers to the grievances and aspirations of all of its people. 

      Dr. Saravanamuttu gave the example of the constitution making process in South Africa which was inclusive to such an extent that poor villagers were able to voice their concern about their cattle being stolen– leading to a guarantee of the right to private property for citizens, being included in the constitution. “Every citizen should be encouraged to come forward and contribute,” he stressed, adding that the purpose of the Citizens Initiative was to take this awareness as far as possible and make the case for a new constitution, as well as to educate citizens on the structure of the state, the executive and overall framework of the process so that their submissions are focused, direct and deal with the principal concerns of the country. It was important to ensure that as many people as possible participated in this exercise. “This is a chance to be a part of decision making in terms of the supreme law of the land. Proactive participation in the constitution making process will ensure that we are full-fledged citizens in a functioning democracy.” 

      Specific provisions requiring strengthening

      Media has at times been good at causing controversy, retorting or stirring dissent, but now it has a chance to play a vital and positive role and make a real difference in the future of the country, according to human rights activist, author and Attorney-at-Law S.G. Punchihewa who spoke about specific provisions in the Constitution that had been identified as requiring strengthening. These included the sections on human rights, the five paragraphs on fundamental rights and different aspects of the 13th Amendment. 

      Punchihewa discussed the requirement to include “Right to life,” in the Constitution. Broader interpretation is required, as in India where this covers air, food, water and environment with recourse. It is important also to strengthen the Human Rights Commission by reinforcing its powers, he stressed. Language equality was another matter which needed to be unconditionally emphasised. 

      Transparency International Senior Manager Shan Wijetunge opined that “this is the best opportunity, not to be missed, that we have ever had to join together and be part of this historical process, as the current government is only in power for two years. In South Africa, for example, millions of suggestions were received.” 

      Wijetunge outlined four main categories of provisions that were under discussion, including the reform of the Executive Presidency, fundamental rights, power sharing, and electoral system reform, and said that they were ready to present recommendations to the government including such suggestions as: abolishing the Executive presidency, limiting the cabinet to 25 members, scientific categorisation of ministerial portfolios, having a fixed election calendar, holding LG and PC elections together to save on expenditure, setting a ceiling to the election expenditure on election campaigns.

      Electoral reforms 

      PAFFREL ED Rohan Hettiarachchi spoke on the much debated subject of electoral reforms, including women’s representation and stressed that a simple election system is needed which does not squander the country’s assets – approximately Rs. 4,000 million of public funds were spent on each election(by the Elections Department alone). Furthermore there should be a system of ensuring that all can vote, e.g. doctors, or prisoners, as was the case in Afghanistan where ‘mobile voting’ is available, although it cannot be said that their democracy was more advanced than in Sri Lanka. He recognised that there was a very small time period to get a lot of work done and said “we must all try our best”.

      Strengthen women’s rights

      Women and Media Collective Coordinator Kumudini Samuel spoke about the need to strengthen women’s rights through the constitution, and a more effective legal system, with a broader focus being placed on socio economic rights, the right to livelihood, right to housing, food, and health. She also advocated for an Independent Women’s Commission and enforcing political rights for women.

      Maximum public participation

      Attorney-at-Law and Chairman of the Public Representation Commission Lal Wijenayake said that CPA and a number of other CSOs have been requesting that the constitution making process is not limited to Parliament but should be with maximum public participation. 

      “There are mechanisms in place but is there enough time? The people are eager and enthusiastic to engage,” he said, adding that a newspaper advertisement in three languages had been issued on 12 January to invite the participation of the people, to a large scale program from 18 -22 in Colombo at Visumpaya at 9:30 a.m., which was for the purpose of gathering public input. In the rest of the country, the District Secretariats are organising such venues, and are to give notice at least a week prior to the events, although media has a very important role to play in increasing awareness on the exercise.

      He said that the questions people asked were “why do we need a (new) constitution?” and “Isn’t the existing one enough?” and he pointed out that in the last few years, people had been on their knees, and Government Servants had been tied to trees, as the existing Constitution was not able to protect them, and even six or seven years after a protracted war, it had not been able to help the people of Sri Lanka reconcile. “My duty now is to listen, rather than speak,” he said in closing. 

      Nation building 

      Rights Now Executive Director Sudarshana Gunewardana said that nation building usually starts after independence but the process of bringing people together as one nation has not been a success in Sri Lanka as evident from both the insurrection in the south by rural youth and the 30 year war in the north which were caused by people not feeling as though they were part of this nation. Finally it was now an opportunity to collect everyone’s views and make a completely new “agreement” that respected the needs of everyone. 

      Language barriers

      A media representative questioned as to how the challenge of language barriers would be overcome in this process and CPA Senior researcher Lionel Guruge assured that every measure would be taken to ensure that required translations would be provided in the field work of the Citizens Initiative, which was making arrangements to provide simplified translated primers. 

      Further media questions were answered and a CPA publication titled “Why do We Need a Constitution?” was distributed to attendees. This press conference was the latest in a series of events held by CPA bringing awareness to the process of garnering citizen engagement in the current Constitution drafting process.

      Citizens’ Initiative for Constitutional Change

      By pooling in the resources of all organisations involved in the CICC, the Initiative aims to conduct broad scale workshops across the country to raise awareness on the governments’ proceedings with regard to the Constitution process, as well as encourage and identify recommendations of the public for the new Constitution. As the Government declared the establishment of a Public Representation Commission entrusted with the task of compiling public submissions, the CICC at its various workshops will encourage citizens to contribute to this Commission. Parallel to this Initiative, a youth campaign titled ‘My Constitution; A Youth Movement for a New Sri Lankan Constitution’ has also been launched and aims to encourage youth populations to contribute to the new Constitution process. More information about the citizen initiative is available from ciccinitiative@gmail.com or lionel@cpalanka.org.

      Taken from – Daily FT e-Paper

    • The Constitution Of The Democratic Socialist Republic Of Sri Lanka of 1978

       

      The Constitution Of The Democratic Socialist Republic Of Sri Lanka of 1978 

    • Suggestions for New Constitutional Change

      The goal of the Initiative is simple: spread the message that the
      government is asking for public submissions for the new Constitution
      throughout Sri Lanka, and encourage as many citizens to submit their
      opinions.
      This report is a compilation of many recommendations that came into the
      Citizens Initiative. The aim of this is to provide a reflection of a cross section
      of Sri Lanka’s society; their needs, their burdens, and their hopes for a
      better Sri Lanka. This can be used as a guiding document to build your
      recommendations on.
      We trust that this information will assist you in formulating your
      submissions for the new Constitution.

      By A PUBLIC PERSPECTIVE

      View the PDF

    • Suggestions for New Constitutional Change (II)

      The following suggestions were
      proposed by citizens from many
      Districts across Sri Lanka, during
      awareness sessions conducted by the
      CICC
      So far, the CICC has conducted awareness sessions in
      Mullativu, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya, Jaffna, Mannar,
      Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Dambulla, Matara,
      Galle, Ampara, Batticaloa, Tangalle, Kandy,
      NuwaraEliya, Kurunegala, Colombo, Matale, and
      Ratnapura.

       

      View the PDF

    Part 13

    Resources

    Part 14

    Gazettes

    Part 15

    Circulars

    Part 16

    Forms

    • Form No: CAA/PL/I/03

      CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY OF SRI LANKA

      APPLICATION FOR A COMMERCIAL PILOT LICENCE

      (AEROPLANES/HELICOPTERS)

    • Form No : CAA/PL/I/13

      CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY OF SRI LANKA

      APPLICATION FOR A GROUND INSTRUCTOR LICENCE

    • Form No: CAA/PL/E /06

      CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY OF SRI LANKA
      APPLICATION FOR CONVERSION OF FOREIGN LICENCES TECHNICAL EXAMINATION

    • Registration Of Consumer Organisation

      Consumer Affairs Authority
      Application for The Registration Of Consumer Organisation
      Under Section 9(b) Of Consumer Affairs Authority Act No.09
      Of 2003

    • FORM-MP/WRS/01

      SHIPBOARD WASTE RECEPTION SERVICE OF THE MEPA

      APPLICATION TO REGISTER AS A SERVICE PROVIDER FOR THE YEAR 2010

    Part 17

    Other Resources

    • Basic Communications Technology for Citizen Activists

      The “Basic Communications Technology for Citizen Activists” is a tri Lingual publication of the CPA, using simple language to introduce grassroots citizen activists to the most popular e-communications and new media platforms including G- Mail, YouTube, and Facebook among others.

    • Provincial Council Statutes of Sri Lanka

      A Comparative Analysis by Manjula Gajanayake

      Outreach Unit

      Centre For Policy Alternatives

    • Emergency Telephone Numbers

      View

    • PRESIDENTIAL SECRETARIAT, PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE AND MINISTRY OFFICES

      CONTACT INFORMATION

      ON PRESIDENTIAL SECRETARIAT, PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE AND MINISTRY OFFICES

       

      The President

      Presidential Secretariat,

      Colombo 01

      Tel : 0112866617

      Fax : 0112877288

       

      Prime Minister

      No.58, Sir Earnest de Silva Mawatha,

      Colombo 07

      Tel : 0112575317, 0112575318

      Fax : 0112575454

      E-Mail: pmo@pmoffice.gov.lk

       

      Ministry of National Integration & Reconciliation

      No 21, 3rd Floor, Standard Chartered Bank Building,

      Janadhipathi Mawatha,

      Colombo 01.

       

      Ministry of Defence

      No.15/5, Baladaksha Mawatha,

      Colombo 03.

      Tel : 011243860-79

      E-Mail: webinfo@defence.lk

       

      Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment

      No. 500, T.B. Jayah Mawatha, Colombo 10.

      No. 82, Rajamalwatta Road,

      Sampathpaya, Battaramulla

      Tel : 0112684710/ 0112882112-3

      Fax : 0112689548/ 0112878805

      E-Mail: mahawelienvmin@gmail.com

       

      Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs

      Miloda (Old Times Building), 1st Floor,

      Bristol Street,

      Colombo 01.

      Tel : 0113010214

      Fax : 0112473643

      E-Mail: rafeek57@gmail.com

       

      Ministry of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs

      6th Floor, Rakshana Mandiriya,

      No.21, Vaushall Street, Colombo 02

      Colombo 02.

      Tel : 0112321222

      Fax : 0112436672

       

       

      Ministry of Sustainable Development and Wildlife

      9th Floor, Sethsiripaya,

      Stage I,

      Battaramulla.

      Tel : 0112887421

      Fax : 0112887481

       

      Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation

      7th Floor, Sethsiripaya, Stage II,

      Battaramulla.

      Tel : 011-2187200, 011-2187201

      E-Mail: mintransport@sltnet.lk

       

      Ministry of Foreign Affairs

      Republic Building, Colombo 01.

      Tel : 0112325371, 0112325372, 0112325373, 0112325375

      Fax : 0112446091, 0112333450

      E-Mail: cypher@mea.gov.lk

       

      Ministry of Social Empowerment and Welfare

      1st Floor, Sethsiripaya,

      Stage II,

      Battaramulla.

      Tel : 0112887349, 0112887350, 0112887351

      Fax : 0112877127

      E-Mail: mssadmin@sltnet.lk

       

      Ministry of Labour and Trade Union Relations

      2nd Floor,

      Labour Secretariat,

      Colombo 05.

      Tel : 0112581991

      Fax : 0112368165

      E-Mail: info@labourmin.gov.lk

       

      Ministry of Higher Education and Highways

      Maganeduma Mahamedura, No.216,

      Denszil Kobbekaduwa Mawatha,

      Koswatta, Battaramulla.

      Tel : 0112871821 – 30

      Fax : 0112863296

      E-Mail: sec@mohsl.gov.lk

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Ministry of Special Assignments

      6th Floor, Sethsiripaya,

      Battaramulla.

       

      Ministry of City Planning and Water Supply

      Lakdiya Medura, No.35,

      New Parliament Road, Pelawatta,

      Battaramulla.

      Tel : 0112177240-1

      Fax : 0112177242

      E-Mail: ministryofwatersupply@gmail.com

       

      Ministry of Disaster Management

      Vidya Mawatha,

      Colombo 07.

      Tel : 0112665170

      Fax : 0112665170

       

      Ministry of Science, Technology and Research

      3rd Floor,

      Stage I, Sethsiripaya,

      Battaramulla.

      Tel : 0112374700

      Fax : 0112374765

      E-Mail: secretary@trmin.gov.lk

       

      Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine

      385, Rev. Baddegama Wimalawansa Thero Mawatha,

      Colombo 10.

      Tel : 0112669192

      Fax : 0112692815

      E-Mail: postmaster@health.gov.lk

       

      Ministry of Finance

      The Secretariat, Colombo 01.

      Tel : 0112484500, 0112484600, 01124 84700

      Fax : 0112449823

      E-Mail: info@mo.treasury.gov.lk

       

      Ministry of Skills Development and Vocational Training

      Nipunatha Piyasa, 354/2,

      Elvitigala Mawatha,

      Colombo 05.

      Tel : 0112136500

      Fax : 0112597804

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Ministry of Home Affairs

      Independence Square,

      Colombo 07.

      Tel : 0112682900

      Fax : 0112683665

      E-Mail: secretary-ha@pubad.gov.lk

       

      Ministry of Internal Affairs, Wayamba Development and Cultural Affairs

      8th Floor, Sethsiripaya,

      Battaramulla.

      Tel : 0112872001, 0112876586, 0112872023

      Fax : 0112872024

      E-Mail: culturalmin@gmail.com

       

      Ministry of Industry and Commerce

      P.O.Box 570, 73/1,

      Galle Road, Colombo 03.

      Tel : 0112327554, 0112392149, 0112392150

      Fax : 0112434034

      E-Mail: Secretarymid@gmail.com

       

      Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development

      17th and 18th Floors, “SUHURUPAYA”,

      Subhuthipura Road,

      Battaramulla.

      Tel : 0112864770, 0112864479

      Fax : 0112871909

       

      Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development

      New Secretariat, Maligawatta,

      Colombo 10

      Tel : 0112446184

      Fax : 0114241184

      E-Mail: secretary@fisheries.gov.lk

       

      Ministry of Plantation Industries

      11th Floor, Sethsiripaya,

      2nd Stage, Battaramulla.

      Tel : 0112186160

      Fax : 0112186076

      E-Mail: mpiadas@sltnet.lk

       

      Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy

      No.72, Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha,

      Colombo 07

      Tel : 0112574922

      Fax : 0112574741

      E-Mail: infor@powermin.gov.lk

       

       

       

       

      Ministry of Agriculture

      Govijana Mandiraya, 80/5,

      Rajamalwatta Avenue,

      Battaramulla.

      Tel : 0112888902

      Fax : 0112887400

      E-Mail: sec.agri@yahoo.com

       

       

       

      Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources Management

      No.11, Jawatta Road,

      Colombo 05.

      Tel : 0112081346, 0112081510

      Fax : 0112081346

      E-Mail: irrigationwm@gmail.com

       

      Ministry of Buddha Sasana

      No.135, Sreemath Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatha,

      Colombo 07.

      Tel : 0112307674

      Fax : 0112307406

      E-Mail: mbsecoffice@gmail.com

       

      Ministry of Justice

      Superior Court Complex,

      Colombo 12.

      Tel : 0112323022

      Fax : 0112320785

      E-Mail: justiceministry.gov.lk

       

      Ministry of Rural Economy

      CWE Secretariat Building, 3rd Floor,

      No.27, Vauxhall Street,

      Colombo 02.

      Tel : 0112300341

      Fax : 0112447669

      E-Mail: info@trade.gov.lk

       

      Ministry of Public Enterprise Development

      Levels 13 & 37, West Tower,

      World Trade Centre,

      Echelon Square, Colombo 01.

      Tel : 2437805, 2437828

      Fax : 2437823

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Ministry of Public Administration and Management

      Independence Square,

      Colombo 07.

      Tel : 0112696211, 0112696212, 0112696213

      Fax : 0112695279

      E-Mail: info@pubad.gov.lk

       

      Ministry of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media

      Asidisi Medura, No.163,

      Kirulapone Mawatha, Polhengoda,

      Colombo 05.

      Tel : 0112513459, 0112513460

      Fax : 0112513462

      E-Mail: info@media.gov.lk

       

      Ministry of Housing and Construction

      02nd Floor, Sethsiripaya,

      Battaramulla.

      Tel : 0112882412

      Fax : 0112867952

      E-Mail: info@houseconmin.gov.lk

       

      Ministry of Ports and Shipping

      No.19, Chaithya Road,

      Colombo 01.

      Tel : 0112439352

      Fax : 0112435134

      E-Mail: mpsasec@slpa.lk

       

      Ministry of Lands

      Mihikatha Medura, Land Secretariat,

      1200/6, Rajamalwatte Avenue,

      Battaramulla.

      Tel : 0112797500

      Fax : 0112887445

      E-Mail: general@landmin.gov.lk

       

      Ministry of Hill Country New Villages, Infrastructure and Community Development

      No.45, St. Michaels Road,

      Colombo 03.

      Tel : 0112541369

      Fax : 0112322526

      E-Mail: smpid@sltnet.lk

       

      Ministry of Women and Child Affairs

      Sethsiripaya ( Stage II),

      5th Floor, Battaramulla.

      Tel : 0112186055

      Fax : 0112187199

      E-Mail: secycdwa@gmail.com

       

      Ministry of Foreign Employment

      No. 51/2/1, 2nd Floor, Assert Building,

      York Street,

      Colombo 01.

      Tel : 0112331336, 0112330307

      Fax : 0112330559

      E-Mail: fepwministry@gmail.com

       

      Ministry of Education

      Isurupaya, Pelawatta,

      Battaramulla.

      Tel : 0112785141

      E-Mail: info@mov.gov.lk

       

       

       

      Ministry of Posts, Postal Services and Muslim Religious Affairs

      6th & 8th Floors, Postal Headquarters Building,

      310, D.R. Wijewardana Road,

      Colombo 10.

      Tel : 0112422591, 0112422592, 0112422593

      Fax : 0112323465, 0112541531

      E-Mail: min.info@slpost.lk

       

      Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Government 

      No.330, Union Place,

      Colombo 02.

      Tel : 0112305326, 0112305327

      Fax : 0112347529

       

      Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs

      No.146, Galle Road,

      Colombo 03.

      Tel : 0112395522

      Fax : 0112395521

      E-Mail: smrrha@sltnet.lk

       

      Ministry of Petroleum Resources Development

      No.80, Sir Earnest De Silva Mawatha,

      Colombo 07.

      Tel : 0112564363

      Fax : 0112375163

      E-Mail: admin@petroleummin.gov.lk

       

      Ministry of Sports

      No.9, Philip Gunawaardana Road,

      Colombo 07.

      Tel : 0112697934

      Fax : 0112680277

      E-Mail: secretary@sportsmin.gov.lk

       

      Ministry of Law & Order and Southern Development

      No.25, Whiteaways Building,

      Sir Baron Jayathilake Mawatha,

      Colombo 01.

      Tel : 0114354865

      Fax : 0114354865

      E-Mail: southern.development.ministry@gmail.com

       

      Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure

      79/1, 5th Lane, Colombo 03.

      Tel : 0112577777

      Fax : 0112301710

      E-Mail: info@ictmin.gov.lk

       

       

       

      Ministry of National Co-existence Dialogue and Official Languages

      40, Buthgamuwa Road,

      Rajagiriya, P.O. Box 1566,

      Colombo.

      Tel : 0112883926, 0112883927, 0112883928

      Fax : 0112883929

       

      Ministry of Primary Industries

      No.80/5, Govijana Mandiriya,

      Rajamalwatta Avenue,

      Battaramulla.

      Tel : 0112877841, 0112877842

      Fax : 0112885380, 0112877845

      E-Mail: sprojects20@gmail.com

       

      Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade

      6th Floor, West Tower,

      World Trade Centre,

      Colombo 01.

      Tel : 0112337629

      Fax : 0112337627

      E-Mail: info@modsit.gov.lk

    • Contact Ministers and Ministries

      Cabinet Ministers 

      Hon. Maithripala Sirisena

      President

      Presidential Secretariat ,

      Colombo 01

       

      Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe

      Prime Minister

      No. 58 , Sir Ernest de Silva Mawatha ,

      Colombo 07

       

      Hon. John Amarathunga

      Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs

      6th Floor, Rakshana Mandiriya,

      No.21, Vaushall Street, Colombo 02

       

      Hon. Gamini Jayawickrema Perera

      Minister of Sustainable Development and Wildlife

      9th Floor, Sethsiripaya,

      Stage I,

      Battaramulla.

       

      Hon. Nimal Siripala de Silva

      Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation

      7th Floor, Sethsiripaya, Stage II,

      Battaramulla.

       

      Hon. Mangala Samaraweera

      Minister of Foreign Affairs

      Republic Building, Colombo 01.

       

      Hon. S.B. Dissanayake

      Minister of Social Empowerment and Welfare

      1st Floor, Sethsiripaya,

      Stage II,

      Battaramulla.

       

       

      Hon. W.D.J. Seneviratne

      Minister of Labour and Trade Union Relations

      2nd Floor,

      Labour Secretariat,

      Colombo 05.

       

      Hon. Lakshman Kiriella

      Minister of Higher Education and Highways

      Maganeduma Mahamedura, No.216,

      Denszil Kobbekaduwa Mawatha,

      Koswatta, Battaramulla.

       

      Hon. (Dr.) Sarath Amunugama

      Minister of Special Assignments

      6th Floor, Sethsiripaya,

      Battaramulla.

       

       

      Hon. Rauff Hakeem

      Minister of City Planning and Water Supply

      Lakdiya Medura, No.35,

      New Parliament Road, Pelawatta,

      Battaramulla.

       

      Hon. Anura Priyadharshana Yapa

      Minister of Disaster Management

      Vidya Mawatha,

      Colombo 07.

       

      Hon. Susil Premajayantha

      Minister of Science, Technology and Research

      3rd Floor,

      Stage I, Sethsiripaya,

      Battaramulla.

       

       

      Hon. (Dr.) Rajitha Senaratne

      Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine

      385, Rev. Baddegama Wimalawansa Thero Mawatha,

      Colombo 10.

       

      Hon. Ravi Karunanayake

      Minister of Finance

      The Secretariat, Colombo 01.

       

      Hon. Mahinda Samarasinghe

      Minister of Skills Development and Vocational Training

      Nipunatha Piyasa, 354/2,

      Elvitigala Mawatha,

      Colombo 05.

       

      Hon. Vajira Abeywardena

      Minister of Home Affairs

      Independence Square,

      Colombo 07.

       

      Hon. S.B. Navinne

      Minister of Internal Affairs, Wayamba Development and Cultural Affairs

      8th Floor, Sethsiripaya,

      Battaramulla.

       

      Hon. Rishad Bathiudeen

      Minister of Industry and Commerce

      P.O.Box 570, 73/1,

      Galle Road, Colombo 03.

       

      Hon. Patali Champika Ranawaka

      Minister of Megapolis and Western Development

      17th and 18th Floors, “SUHURUPAYA”,

      Subhuthipura Road,

      Battaramulla.

       

       

      Hon. Mahinda Amaraweera

      Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development

      New Secretariat, Maligawatta,

      Colombo 10

       

      Hon. Navin Dissanayake

      Minister of Plantation Industries

      11th Floor, Sethsiripaya,

      2nd Stage, Battaramulla.

       

      Hon. Ranjith Siyambalapitiya

      Minister of Power and Renewable Energy

      No.72, Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha,

      Colombo 07

       

      Hon. Duminda Dissanayake

      Minister of Agriculture

      Govijana Mandiraya, 80/5,

      Rajamalwatta Avenue,

      Battaramulla.

       

      Hon. Vijith Vijayamuni Zoysa

      Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Management

      No.11, Jawatta Road,

      Colombo 05.

       

      Hon. (Dr.) Wijayadasa Rajapaksa

      Minister of Buddha Sasana

      No.135, Sreemath Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatha,

      Colombo 07.

       

      Hon. (Dr.) Wijayadasa Rajapaksa

      Minister of Justice

      Superior Court Complex,

      Colombo 12.

       

      Hon. P. Harison

      Minister of Rural Economy

      CWE Secretariat Building, 3rd Floor,

      No.27, Vauxhall Street,

      Colombo 02.

       

      Hon. Kabir Hashim

      Minister of Public Enterprises Development

      Levels 13 & 37, West Tower,

      World Trade Centre,

      Echelon Square, Colombo 01.

       

      Hon. Ranjith Madduma Bandara

      Minister of Public Administration and Management

      Independence Square,

      Colombo 07.

       

       

       

      Hon. Gayantha Karunathilaka

      Minister of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media

      Asidisi Medura, No.163,

      Kirulapone Mawatha, Polhengoda,

      Colombo 05.

       

      Hon. Sajith Premadasa

      Minister of Housing and Construction

      02nd Floor, Sethsiripaya,

      Battaramulla

       

      Hon. Arjuna Ranatunga

      Minister of Ports and Shipping

      No.19, Chaithya Road,

      Colombo 01.

       

      Hon. U. Palani Digambaram

      Minister of Hill Country New Villages, Infrastructure and Community Development

      No.45, St. Michaels Road,

      Colombo 03.

       

      Hon. (Mrs.) Chandrani Bandara

      Minister of Women and Child Affairs

      Sethsiripaya ( Stage II),

      5th Floor, Battaramulla.

       

      Hon. (Mrs.) Thalatha Atukorala

      Minister of Foreign Employment

      No. 51/2/1, 2nd Floor, Assert Building,

      York Street,

      Colombo 01.

       

      Hon. Akila Viraj Kariyawasam

      Minister of Education

      Isurupaya, Pelawatta,

      Battaramulla.

       

      Hon. M.H.A. Haleem

      Minister of Posts, Postal Services and Muslim Religious Affairs

      6th & 8th Floors, Postal Headquarters Building,

      310, D.R. Wijewardana Road,

      Colombo 10.

       

      Hon. Faiszer Musthapha

      Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government

      No.330, Union Place,

      Colombo 02.

       

      Hon. D.M. Swaminathan

      Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs

      No.146, Galle Road,

      Colombo 03.

       

       

       

      Hon. Chandima Weerakkody

      Minister of Petroleum Resources Development

      No.80, Sir Earnest De Silva Mawatha,

      Colombo 07.

       

      Hon. Dayasiri Jayasekara

      Minister of Sports

      No.9, Philip Gunawaardana Road,

      Colombo 07.

       

      Hon. Sagala Ratnayake

      Minister of Law & Order and Southern Development

      No.25, Whiteaways Building,

      Sir Baron Jayathilake Mawatha,

      Colombo 01.

       

      Hon. Harin Fernando

      Minister of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure

      79/1, 5th Lane, Colombo 03.

       

      Hon. Mano Ganesan

      Minister of National Co-existence Dialogue and Official Languages

      40, Buthgamuwa Road,

      Rajagiriya, P.O. Box 1566,

      Colombo.

       

      Hon. Daya Gamage

      Minister of Primary Industries

      No.80/5, Govijana Mandiriya,

      Rajamalwatta Avenue,

      Battaramulla.

       

      Hon. Malik Samarawickrema

      Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade

      6th Floor, West Tower,

      World Trade Centre,

      Colombo 01.

       

       

      State Ministers 

      Hon. A.H.M. Fouzie

      State Minister of National Integration & Reconciliation

      No 21, 3rd Floor, Standard Chartered Bank Building,

      Janadhipathi Mawatha,

      Colombo 01.

       

      Hon. Dilan Perera

      State Minister of Highways

      Maganeduma Mahamedura, No.216,

      Denszil Kobbekaduwa Mawatha,

      Koswatta, Battaramulla.

       

      Hon. T.B. Ekanayake

      State Minister of Lands

      Mihikatha Medura, Land Secretariat,

      1200/6, Rajamalwatte Avenue,

      Battaramulla.

       

      Hon. Piyankara Jayarathne

      State Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government

      No.330, Union Place,

      Colombo 02.

       

      Hon. Lakshman Yapa Abewardana

      State Minister of Finance

      The Secretariat, Colombo 01.

       

      Hon. Ravindra Samaraweera

      State Minister of Labour & Trade Unions Relations

      2nd Floor,

      Labour Secretariat,

      Colombo 05.

       

      Hon. V. Radhakrishnan

      State Minister of Education

      Maganeduma Mahamedura, No.216,

      Denszil Kobbekaduwa Mawatha,

      Koswatta, Battaramulla.

       

      Hon. Palitha Range Bandara

      State Minister of Skills Development & Vocational Training

      Nipunatha Piyasa, 354/2,

      Elvitigala Mawatha,

      Colombo 05.

       

      Hon. Dilip Wedaarachchi

      State Minister of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources Development

      New Secretariat, Maligawatta,

      Colombo 10

       

       

      Hon. Niroshan Perera

      State Minister of National Policies & Economic Affairs

      Miloda (Old Times Building), 1st Floor,

      Bristol Street,

      Colombo 01.

       

      Hon. Ruwan Wijayawardene

      State Minister of Defence

      No.15/5, Baladaksha Mawatha,

      Colombo 03.

       

      Hon. M.L.A.M. Hisbullah

      State Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs

      Asidisi Medura, No.163,

      Kirulapone Mawatha, Polhengoda,

      Colombo 05.

       

      Hon. Mohan Lal Grero

      State Minister of Higher Education

      Maganeduma Mahamedura, No.216,

      Denszil Kobbekaduwa Mawatha,

      Koswatta, Battaramulla.

       

      Hon. A.D. Champika Premadasa

      State Minister of Industry & Commerce

      P.O.Box 570, 73/1,

      Galle Road, Colombo 03.

       

      Hon. Maheswaran Wijayakala

      State Minister of Child Affairs

      Sethsiripaya ( Stage II),

      5th Floor, Battaramulla.

       

      Hon. Arjuna Sujeewa Senasinghe

      State Minister of International Trade

      6th Floor, West Tower,

      World Trade Centre,

      Colombo 01.

       

      Hon. Wasantha Naresh Parakkrama Senanayake

      State Minister of Irrigation & Water Resources Management

      No.11, Jawatta Road,

      Colombo 05.

       

      Hon. Wasantha Aluwihare

      State Minister of Agriculture

      Govijana Mandiraya, 80/5,

      Rajamalwatta Avenue,

      Battaramulla.

       

       

      Hon. Sudarshini Fernandopulle

      State Minister of City Planning & Water Supply

      No.11, Jawatta Road,

      Colombo 05.

       

       

      Deputy Ministers  

      Hon. Sumedha G Jayasena

      Deputy Minister of Sustainable Development & Wildlife

      9th Floor, Sethsiripaya,

      Stage I,

      Battaramulla.

       

      Hon. Susantha Galgamuwa Punchinilame

      Deputy Minister of Public Administration & Management

      Independence Square,

      Colombo 07.

       

      Hon. Ammer Ali Seyed Mohammad Sihabdeen

      Deputy Minister of Rural Economy

      CWE Secretariat Building, 3rd Floor,

      No.27, Vauxhall Street,

      Colombo 02.

       

      Hon. Lasantha Alagiyawanna

      Deputy Minister of Megapolis & Western Development

      17th and 18th Floors, “SUHURUPAYA”,

      Subhuthipura Road,

      Battaramulla.

       

      Hon. Indika Bandaranayaka

      Deputy Minister of Housing & Construction

      02nd Floor, Sethsiripaya,

      Battaramulla.

       

      Hon. Mohomed Casim Mohomed Faizal

      Deputy Minister of Health, Nutrition & Indigenous Medicine

      385, Rev. Baddegama Wimalawansa Thero Mawatha,

      Colombo 10.

       

      Hon. Arachchige Ganepola Dulip Pandula Perera Wijesekara

      Deputy Minister of Post, Postal Services & Muslim Religious Affairs

      6th & 8th Floors, Postal Headquarters Building,

      310, D.R. Wijewardana Road,

      Colombo 10.

       

      Hon. Lakshman Wasantha Perera

      Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries

      11th Floor, Sethsiripaya,

      2nd Stage, Battaramulla.

       

      Hon. Nishantha Muthuhettigamage

      Deputy Minister of Ports & Shipping Affairs

      No.19, Chaithya Road,

      Colombo 01.

      Hon. Dunesh Gankanda

      Deputy Minister of Disaster Management

      Vidya Mawatha,

      Colombo 07.

       

      Hon. Anoma Gamage

      Deputy Minister of Petroleum Resources Development

      No.80, Sir Earnest De Silva Mawatha,

      Colombo 07.

       

      Hon. Harsha de Silva

      Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs

      Republic Building, Colombo 01.

       

      Hon. Ajith P. Perera

      Deputy Minister of Power & Renewable Energy

      No.72, Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha,

      Colombo 07

       

      Hon. Eran Wickramaratne

      Deputy Minister of Public Enterprise Development

      Levels 13 & 37, West Tower,

      World Trade Centre,

      Echelon Square, Colombo 01.

       

      Hon. Ranjan Ramanayake

      Deputy Minister of Social Empowerment & Welfare

      1st Floor, Sethsiripaya,

      Stage II,

      Battaramulla.

       

      Hon. Ashoka Abeysinghe

      Deputy Minister of Transport

      7th Floor, Sethsiripaya, Stage II,

      Battaramulla.

       

      Hon. Arundika Fernando

      Deputy Minister of Tourism Development & Christian Religious Affairs

      6th Floor, Rakshana Mandiriya,

      No.21, Vaushall Street, Colombo 02

      Colombo 02.

       

      Hon. Basnayake Mudiyanselage Dilhan Tharanath Basnayake

      Deputy Minister of Telecommunication & Digital Infrastructure

      79/1, 5th Lane, Colombo 03.

       

       

       

      Hon. Habeeb Mohamed Mohamed Harees

      Deputy Minister of Sports

      No.9, Philip Gunawaardana Road,

      Colombo 07.

       

      Hon. Karunarathna Paranavithanage

      Deputy Minister of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media

      Asidisi Medura, No.163,

      Kirulapone Mawatha, Polhengoda,

      Colombo 05.

       

      Hon. Antony Nimal Lansa Warnakulasuriya

      Deputy Minister of Home Affairs

      Independence Square,

      Colombo 07.

       

      Hon. Anurudha Lanka Pradeep Jayarathne

      Deputy Minister of Mahaweli Development & Environment

      No. 82, Rajamalwatta Road,

      Sampathpaya, Battaramulla

       

      Hon. Sarathi Dushmantha

      Deputy Minister of Justice

      Superior Court Complex,

      Colombo 12.

       

      Hon. Sarathi Dushmantha

      Deputy Minister of Buddha Sasana

      No.135, Sreemath Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatha,

      Colombo 07.

       

       

       

    Part 18

    Administrative Law

    Part 19

    Other Law

    • Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act

      An act to declare and define the privileges, immunities and powers of Parliament and of the members thereof; to secure freedom of speech and debate or proceedings in Parliament; to provide for the punishment of breaches of the privileges of Parliament; and to give protection to persons employed in the publication of the reports, papers, minutes, votes or proceedings of Parliament.

    Part 20

    Subcommittees

    • Good Governance

      Citizens need to engage with governments to ensure that their rights are protected and their aspirations reached.
      The role of the Good Governance SubCommittees of Citizen Councils are as follows:

      1. To provide information about the role of institutions serving the people eg The Police, DS, Family Health Service, Grama Niladhari, Agrarian Officer, Samurdhi Development Officer, Estate Superintendent, Fisheries Society, Women’s organizations, Funeral Assistance Societies, Three- wheelers Associations, Religious organizations, Public Health inspectors, LG institutions, Provincial Councils and Central Government.
      2. To educate the citizen on his/her right to question these institutions
      3. To initiate a discussion on the various improvements that can be made in the service provision of these and initiate necessary

    • Environment

      Citizens need to understand the geopolitical forces that affect their environment and be able to monitor and hold their governments accountable in this regard. Environmental justice needs to be upheld as integral to human rights.

      “When the last tree is cut and the last fish killed, the last river poisoned, then you will see that you can’t eat money.”
      ― Chief Seattle

      Environment subcommittees aim

      1. To spread awareness of the sustainability of progress in agriculture, dairy and fisheries projects
      2. To give attention to appropriate agricultural methods
      3. To promote organic farming, reducing harmful side effects in agricultural production and identifying alternatives
      4. To conserve and promote indigenous medicinal plants, endemic seeds,& biodiversity.
      5. To host programmes protecting the environment, alerting on mining, sand mining, garbage disposal, burning/felling of forests.
      6. Monitor and ensure environmental justice in the village

    • Women and Children

      All around the civilised world, gender equality is at the heart of the move towards better society. Children are the citizens of the future, they should be cherished protected and guided. See what the citizen’s councils are doing to empower women and to safeguard children.

      “Our children have a right to equal opportunities, to strive, to be happy, and healthy and safe”

      -Shakira at the UN General Assembly 2015

      The role of the Women’s and Children’s SubCommittee is

      1. To ensure that children have a safe & happy childhood
      2. To involve women and children in social development activities of the village
      3. To protect the rights of women and children
      4. To encourage and promote handicrafts/cottage industries/arts by women and children.
      5. To organize free nutrition, physical and mental health clinics and access to legal advice for women, people with special needs, and children

    • Youth Affairs

      Youth are the leaders of tomorrow. They need to be informed, guided and shaped so that they reach their maximum potential. The youth of Sri Lanka in particular have suffered much due to revolution and intolerance, and yet it is within their hands that lie the greatest potential for understanding, reconciliation and advancement.
      Youth SubCommittees aim

      1. To promote respect for language rights among youth
      2. To encourage youth in critical & analytical thinking
      3. To use creative input of youth in development
      4. To get input from youth in planning and decision making
      5. To give youth opportunities for skills development and chances to demonstrate their creativity
      6. To promote youth participation in governance

    • Language and Culture

      We believe that in order to understand each other and to live in harmony with other cultures and religions, we must first respect people’s mother tongue.
      Read about the official language policy of Sri Lanka and make a PLEDGE to respect language rights.

      “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

      -Nelson Mandela

      The Language and Culture Subcommittee aims

      1. To protect Language Rights, recognising that they are fundamental to the safeguarding of human rights
      2. To promote a trend against discrimination due to caste difference, status, religion and ethnicity etc
      3. To launch religious, inter-religious exchange programmes and discussions that focus on the core values of religions.
      4. To protect ancient artistic traditions and traditional artisans
      5. To initiate a discussion on literature, visual art, and folk art, to promote appreciation.
      6. To take steps to initiate a mini library of writings, books and papers, literature, cinema and Teledrama DVDs etc that are useful for the active Citizen Council.

       

    Part 21

    News

    • WHO BROUGHT ABOUT THE TRILINGUAL NIC ?

      The Sinhala Tamil National Identity card -Whose victory is this?

      The Island Newspaper of 1st March 2014 published an article in the front page, with a photograph saying that a newly printed Sinhala and Tamil, Bilingual National Identity card including personal details was introduced by the Department for the Registration of Persons on the 28th February 2014.

      Other than the Island newspaper many other newspapers had published this news with some prominence. Some newspapers had shown an interest in this previously too. For example during the 1stweek of February the Lakbima newspaper had published a report, with a photograph, that work was in progress those days in the experimental stage of producing a new National Identity Card.

      All these newspaper reports publicized an idea that the introduction of the new National Identity Card was due to a requirement by the Department of Registration of Persons. This is how the Lakbima newspaper had reported this fact : “In order to prevent the problems that are incurred with the present National Identity Card work had commenced rapidly these days in the Department of Registrations of Persons to issue an new identity card  using modern technology according to the idea of the commissioner General Mr. R.M.S Sarath Kumara. “

      The Divaina newspaper reported the following about this on 1st of March.

      “The newly printed Sinhala and Tamil bilingual National Identity Card including personal details had been introduced yesterday (28thFebruary) by the Department of Registrations of Persons.”

      These newspaper reports indicate that the issuing of the new identity card was initiated due to the requirement of the Commissioner General of the Department of Registrations of Persons Mr. R.M.S Sarath Kumara. None of the reports that were published in the media stated that there had been any other citizen’s actions behind this. Therefore it is natural that the ordinary citizens of this country come to this conclusion. This is because they get news from reports that are published by the media. Yet, is it the truth? What actually happened? It is the right of the citizens of this country to know the correct information. By knowing this, the citizen gets an opportunity to realize the strength of the citizens actions in this country.

      The need for an Identity Card including bilingual personal details, has been prevalent for a long time in this country. This is because when the Sinhala language and the Tamil language are the Official Languages of a country, it is a violation of the language rights of that country, when the primary letter that a citizen possess, being the National Identity Card is issued in a single language.

      Due to this reason, although the citizens of this country, who had been persevering about language rights had published various ideas, there had been no decisive citizen action taking place about it.

      In the y ear 2013, an Advanced Level student took part in a decisive intervention. That student is Anuradha Prasad Dananajaya Guruge from Maharagama who is an advanced level student in Ananda Vidyala Colombo. This student submitted a petition to the Supreme Court asking for the National Identity Card to be issued in both the Sinhala and Tamil languages.

      Anuradha Prasad Dhananajaya Guruge, submitting his petition, to a three member bench  including Chief Justice, Mr Mohan Pieris, stated that, because the National Identity Card is issued in Sinhala only, immense difficulties are faced by him, when he travels to the Northern and Eastern Provinces, on official business , where administrative work is done only in the Tamil language.

      When this petition was heard again on the 21st October  last year, the Supreme Court issued an order to the Department of Registration of Persons to issue all National Identity Cards in both languages, from the 1st of January 2014.

      Furthermore according to orders issued by the Supreme Court regarding this petition ( STFR 93 of 2013) the Department of Registration of Persons should take steps to issue National Identity Cards in all three languages within the next three years.

      Yet the Commissioner General of the Department of Registration of Persons had been unable to fulfill the prescribed order. Although this order had stipulated that the bilingual National Identity Card should be issued from 01st January 2014, the Vibhasha Newsletter on investigation found out that those arrangements had not been completed by the month of February.

      Clearly it meant that the order from the Supreme Court had been disobeyed.  In any case, the fact that the Commissioner General had made a great effort to publicize himself as victorious in issuing such National Identity Card even  two months later than the stipulated date was evident from the news reports that were published later.

      The Commissioner General should honestly think about how ethical this (publicity) is. On the other hand, the manner in which the media acted in the matter is also clearly problematic. The issuing of Sinhala Tamil bilingual National Identity Card is a victory for the citizens of this country.

      Yet, when reporting this victory by not reporting correctly the true story behind it, many media of this country had avoided their responsibilities. It is a clear that the English media, as well as the Sinhala media had reported about this, without researching facts properly.

      This may not have been a wrong that was pre-planned. Yet when incomplete reporting has been done, knowingly or unknowingly it is the reader who has to suffer the bad consequences.

      When observing this situation, the most important part of this story has been deleted from the reporting.  The fact that knowledgeable citizens intervened and their rights were obtained by the action of citizens,  are facts that were thus missing.

      In particular, the fact that a national policy had been changed by the intervening of a school student shows a milestone in the history of this country.

      It is natural for the reader to have a new enthusiasm for his/her rights after reading this news. Such reporting would encourage the ordinary citizen to stand up for his / her rights.  This is why it is a social duty of the media to report such news correctly.

       

      Gaveshi- (Excerpt from Vibhasha Magazine )

      highway

      See anything wrong with this photo?

    • ADDRESSING CIVIL RIGHTS IN THE ESTATE SECTOR

      Their hard labour powers the multimillion dollar industry that is Sri Lankan tea. But the estate sector workers including those of the Badulla district are still some of the poorest, most marginalised people in Sri Lanka. Fostered by a system that does not want to let go its hold on cheap labour,  conditions in the estate sector of the Uva Province have remained almost unchanged by recent post war development drives. Exemplifying the administrative neglect of these communities is the fact that many plantation sector workers have never had a permanent contact address to their name.

      Meet Kamala*.  Her entire lifetime of  EPF savings in a cheque, was enchased by another woman of the same name, in the same estate who got hold of it, because her mail had been delivered to the wrong address. Her thoughtful countenance, while she is listening to the other sad stories her neighbors tell, is one of deep disillusionment.

      Who knows what would have happened to a very studious young man named Kumar.  if he had only received the letter that told him that he had in fact been selected for university admission? After studying very hard, amidst great odds, a chance of a lifetime, a way out of a life of deprivation and hardship, was missed because of a letter misdirected. He is now a teacher in a remote village, living a mundane difficult life, unheard of and hopeless.  Simply because one letter was lost.

      Many line rooms in the plantation sector are not numbered and letters are often delivered to other people with the same name. Whether a person receives a letter depends on the integrity of thekankami(official who organizes distribution of  these) the good will of ones neighbours , often sorely lacking, and sometimes, sheer chance…

      Safeguarding the civil rights of plantation sector workers

      Funded by the Australian High Commission, SL, the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) along with a local partner Uva Shakthi Foundation, has worked on a pilot project in Passara ,Badulla(Uva Province) aimed at bringing a modicum of dignity into the lives of this  marginalized  community whose human rights have been routinely denied. In the last six months this project has arranged to provide permanent addresses, for the first time ever in the plantation sector, for no less than 3000 families of estate workers. The project also organized setting up secure mail collection boxes in20 localities, selecting road names and providing signage for 40 of the estate by-roads in the area, in an endeavor to safeguard the delivery of correspondence.

      The lack of National Identity cards among some workers, another problem addressed by the project, leads to a number of serious issues, eg. limited freedom of movement, difficulty in making transactions, vulnerability in civil and criminal cases, lack of security, complications in obtaining official documentation and finding employment etc

      Mobile clinics were hosted to speed up the application process formore than 300 National Identity Cards, which may otherwise reach owners late or never.  The latter is particularly relevant to a large number of students who were due to sit for exams shortly.

      The right to safely receive one’s correspondence, taken for granted in the rest of the country but fraught with difficulty in this area, can make the difference between receiving a rare university admission, a job in Colombo, a desperately needed remittance from a relative abroad…or not. In the lives of estate worker communities such rare opportunities may come only once or twice in a lifetime and be the difference between hope and a life of regrets

      This project has been graciously sponsored by the Australian High Commission, SL 

      *not their real names.

    • HEALTH CAMP FOR JAYANTHIPURA CITIZENS

      As part of the work of Citizen Councils in Kantalai it has been identified that the issue of Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Origin(CKDU)  is taking a sizeable toll on the citizens of Jayathipura, Kantalai. More than 50 persons have died in that area alone in the last two years from CKDU.

      The Jayanthipura Citizen Council working with a partner organisation of the Centre for Policy Alternatives, the National Collaboration Development Foundation, Kantalai recently organised a One Day Health Clinic to meet families of the affected and citizens of the area to discuss the issue, and the strategy for tackling this, with the kind participation of a number of medical experts.

      Held  on 11th September 2015 at Jayanthipura Community Health Centre, Jayanthipura, the clinic provided services for testing of blood and urine, blood pressure and also hosted an eye-camp for donation of reading glasses to needy citizens. A number of doctors, MOH and hospital staff, media personnel and citizen council members participated, including representatives from military authorities who supported the free services clinic.

      Key volunteer participants included MOH personnel, Dr Costa and Dr Shermila and Dr Bandara Seniviratne from Aranaganwilla, Mr. Terrence Gamini, Head of the Anuradhapura Protection Foundation, optician Dr Charith,  and Kidney Disease expert Dr Rajiv Dissanayake (Anuradhapura KPF). Ven Prof Pallegama Sirinivasa Himi, Chief Incumbent of the Jayanthipura Viharaya and Brigadier Kamal Pinnawala of the 222 Jayanthigama Brigade extended their blessing and support to the camp and Chairperson Ajith, and Jayatissa of the Jayanthipura Citizen Council, are among the many who contributed to the success of the clinic. The Lions Club of 306 donated 100 sets of eyeglasses and an OPD clinic was held for almost 200 citizens of the area.

      The Jayanthipura Citizen Council kindly offered midday snacks for all participants and CPA helped to facilitate the event.

      .

    • Enabling citizen consensus for the Constitution-making process

      By N. Sarasi 

      A CSO collective called the Citizens’ Initiative for Constitutional Change (CICC) organised a press conference on 12 January in Colombo, to give publicity to the process of collecting citizen input to feed into the government’s current constitution-making exercise.

      Speakers at the press conference included Attorney at Law and Chairman of the Public Representation Commission, Lal Wijenayake, Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) Executive Director Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi, Human Rights Activist S.G.Punchihewa, Women and Media Collective Coordinator, Kumudini Samuel, Rights Now Executive Director Attorney-at-law Sudarshana Gunawardana, as well as the Transparency International Senior Manager, Shan Wijetunge. CPA Senior Researcher, in charge of its Outreach Programs, Lionel Guruge chaired the briefing.

      Guruge urged the media to give maximum coverage to the process of facilitating citizen participation in constitutional reform and said it was most important that all citizens of the country, Sinhala, Tamil Muslim, young and old, and all minorities are be able to think of it as “Our Constitution.” It was important for detractors and diverse opinions to be given a voice, too, but the process should not be disturbed by them. 

      Committed to constitutional reform 

      CPA Executive Director Dr. Saravanamuttu said that CPA and similar organisations of the CICC had been committed to constitutional reform for over a decade, and it was now a historic and decisive moment to ensure that the country gets the constitution it deserves. Since the political developments of 2015 it remains to bridge the democratic deficit by addressing the areas that require reform, particularly abolishing the executive presidency and devolving executive power among the Cabinet and Parliament, bringing about a new electoral system, and constitutional settlement of the national question which remains at the heart of this country, as a functioning democracy, which accommodates and answers to the grievances and aspirations of all of its people. 

      Dr. Saravanamuttu gave the example of the constitution making process in South Africa which was inclusive to such an extent that poor villagers were able to voice their concern about their cattle being stolen– leading to a guarantee of the right to private property for citizens, being included in the constitution. “Every citizen should be encouraged to come forward and contribute,” he stressed, adding that the purpose of the Citizens Initiative was to take this awareness as far as possible and make the case for a new constitution, as well as to educate citizens on the structure of the state, the executive and overall framework of the process so that their submissions are focused, direct and deal with the principal concerns of the country. It was important to ensure that as many people as possible participated in this exercise. “This is a chance to be a part of decision making in terms of the supreme law of the land. Proactive participation in the constitution making process will ensure that we are full-fledged citizens in a functioning democracy.” 

      Specific provisions requiring strengthening

      Media has at times been good at causing controversy, retorting or stirring dissent, but now it has a chance to play a vital and positive role and make a real difference in the future of the country, according to human rights activist, author and Attorney-at-Law S.G. Punchihewa who spoke about specific provisions in the Constitution that had been identified as requiring strengthening. These included the sections on human rights, the five paragraphs on fundamental rights and different aspects of the 13th Amendment. 

      Punchihewa discussed the requirement to include “Right to life,” in the Constitution. Broader interpretation is required, as in India where this covers air, food, water and environment with recourse. It is important also to strengthen the Human Rights Commission by reinforcing its powers, he stressed. Language equality was another matter which needed to be unconditionally emphasised. 

      Transparency International Senior Manager Shan Wijetunge opined that “this is the best opportunity, not to be missed, that we have ever had to join together and be part of this historical process, as the current government is only in power for two years. In South Africa, for example, millions of suggestions were received.” 

      Wijetunge outlined four main categories of provisions that were under discussion, including the reform of the Executive Presidency, fundamental rights, power sharing, and electoral system reform, and said that they were ready to present recommendations to the government including such suggestions as: abolishing the Executive presidency, limiting the cabinet to 25 members, scientific categorisation of ministerial portfolios, having a fixed election calendar, holding LG and PC elections together to save on expenditure, setting a ceiling to the election expenditure on election campaigns.

      Electoral reforms 

      PAFFREL ED Rohan Hettiarachchi spoke on the much debated subject of electoral reforms, including women’s representation and stressed that a simple election system is needed which does not squander the country’s assets – approximately Rs. 4,000 million of public funds were spent on each election(by the Elections Department alone). Furthermore there should be a system of ensuring that all can vote, e.g. doctors, or prisoners, as was the case in Afghanistan where ‘mobile voting’ is available, although it cannot be said that their democracy was more advanced than in Sri Lanka. He recognised that there was a very small time period to get a lot of work done and said “we must all try our best”.

      Strengthen women’s rights

      Women and Media Collective Coordinator Kumudini Samuel spoke about the need to strengthen women’s rights through the constitution, and a more effective legal system, with a broader focus being placed on socio economic rights, the right to livelihood, right to housing, food, and health. She also advocated for an Independent Women’s Commission and enforcing political rights for women.

      Maximum public participation

      Attorney-at-Law and Chairman of the Public Representation Commission Lal Wijenayake said that CPA and a number of other CSOs have been requesting that the constitution making process is not limited to Parliament but should be with maximum public participation. 

      “There are mechanisms in place but is there enough time? The people are eager and enthusiastic to engage,” he said, adding that a newspaper advertisement in three languages had been issued on 12 January to invite the participation of the people, to a large scale program from 18 -22 in Colombo at Visumpaya at 9:30 a.m., which was for the purpose of gathering public input. In the rest of the country, the District Secretariats are organising such venues, and are to give notice at least a week prior to the events, although media has a very important role to play in increasing awareness on the exercise.

      He said that the questions people asked were “why do we need a (new) constitution?” and “Isn’t the existing one enough?” and he pointed out that in the last few years, people had been on their knees, and Government Servants had been tied to trees, as the existing Constitution was not able to protect them, and even six or seven years after a protracted war, it had not been able to help the people of Sri Lanka reconcile. “My duty now is to listen, rather than speak,” he said in closing. 

      Nation building 

      Rights Now Executive Director Sudarshana Gunewardana said that nation building usually starts after independence but the process of bringing people together as one nation has not been a success in Sri Lanka as evident from both the insurrection in the south by rural youth and the 30 year war in the north which were caused by people not feeling as though they were part of this nation. Finally it was now an opportunity to collect everyone’s views and make a completely new “agreement” that respected the needs of everyone. 

      Language barriers

      A media representative questioned as to how the challenge of language barriers would be overcome in this process and CPA Senior researcher Lionel Guruge assured that every measure would be taken to ensure that required translations would be provided in the field work of the Citizens Initiative, which was making arrangements to provide simplified translated primers. 

      Further media questions were answered and a CPA publication titled “Why do We Need a Constitution?” was distributed to attendees. This press conference was the latest in a series of events held by CPA bringing awareness to the process of garnering citizen engagement in the current Constitution drafting process.

      Citizens’ Initiative for Constitutional Change

      By pooling in the resources of all organisations involved in the CICC, the Initiative aims to conduct broad scale workshops across the country to raise awareness on the governments’ proceedings with regard to the Constitution process, as well as encourage and identify recommendations of the public for the new Constitution. As the Government declared the establishment of a Public Representation Commission entrusted with the task of compiling public submissions, the CICC at its various workshops will encourage citizens to contribute to this Commission. Parallel to this Initiative, a youth campaign titled ‘My Constitution; A Youth Movement for a New Sri Lankan Constitution’ has also been launched and aims to encourage youth populations to contribute to the new Constitution process. More information about the citizen initiative is available from ciccinitiative@gmail.com or lionel@cpalanka.org.

      Taken from – Daily FT e-Paper

    • Women are not custodians of Culture (Education Times 06.03.2016)

      Education Times 06.03.2016 Page 08

    Part 22

    Case Studies

    • Standing Tall

      A study of one organisation’s dedication to fighting violence against women.

      Anupama’s* arms are folded, unconsciously protecting herself as she tells her story.

      “Since we have two small children, I bore it for some time, thinking he is not a bad person. He will change. Once he is in his senses, maybe he’ll be back to normal.”

      That didn’t happen.

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      It all went downhill after her new husband lost his job while Anupama was still on maternity leave. Her mother in law then began setting her new husband against her. Suddenly, the young family found themselves in the midst of escalating tension, eventually erupting into violence. Initially, Anupama felt powerless.

      “I didn’t know anybody here, since I am from a different country, and had the language barrier to face. I didn’t know who to approach,” Anupama said.

      In the end, it was her country’s high commission who referred her to Women in Need (WIN) a centre dedicated to eliminating violence
      against women, particularly domestic violence.

      WIN was trying to mediate a settlement, when suddenly Anupama’s husband filed a court order and took her two young children away
      from her. She approached the police, who told her they couldn’t help her without a court order. In the end, Anupama won back temporary custody rights, thanks to WIN’s intervention.

      Anupama isn’t alone. Like her, there are many others who are afraid to ask for help. Much of this stems from shame. As Priya* put it, “Often, you are too embarrassed to talk about domestic issues [to outsiders].”

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      Priya’s son was still in nursery school when her husband turned abusive – and witnessed much of it. Priya’s husband was initially a pavement vendor, but lost his job when the pavement was demolished to make way for a new shop. He then found work at a small ‘hotel’ and began an affair with a much older woman – right in front of Priya and her young son.

      Priya too had to fight for custody of her son. What’s more, her husband wasn’t just violent towards his family; he had also killed a boarder who had been staying with him. “I was shattered when I first came here. I had no money, and was living with my mother, who was supporting me. Every morning when I woke up… I couldn’t think of the future. I thought we would die,” she said, recalling those dark days.

      Today, Priya has a job at Women in Need, and is able to support herself – she even paid her son’s nursery school fees by herself.

      “I’m not afraid any more. Now I can survive on my own,” she says, proudly.

      Priya says part of the reason she is able to get up in the morning is her counsellor, who is ‘like a second mother.’

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      Accessibility view
      Chief Counsellor Padma Kahaduwa has been working at WIN for 25 years. She initially joined as a volunteer, but once she received her diploma in Psychiatric Counselling, she joined as a permanent staff member.

      Padma’s job never ends. After hours, calls to WIN’s hotline are often redirected to counsellors’ mobile phones. It is the counsellor who is the first point of contact at WIN, talking to the patient and assessing whether they need legal help.

      At times, suspicious husbands even call up the WIN hotline, demanding to know why there were missed calls to them. “We had one such call just yesterday, from a man who’s an unemployed drug addict. The wife wants to leave him, but she has two young children. The court has given her a three month period to see if they can settle their differences – but they can’t be settled. Every evening, he takes drugs. He won’t leave her alone,” Padma said.

      WIN’s first priority is to try and settle the dispute between an arguing couple. “We talk to both parties to try and negotiate a settlement. If it becomes clear that one can’t be reached, it’s only then that we resort to legal measures,” Padma said. This is to try and disrupt the family as little as possible, since removal of the breadwinner of the house can cause numerous social and financial issues, which can affect young children, Padma explains.

      Apart from this, counsellors conduct many activities, from sewing circles to support groups. The groups have been particularly powerful for those recovering from domestic violence, since they can see others in their situation supporting themselves successfully, Padma says. In addition, the group members often meet and support each other even outside therapy sessions.

      The Legislation Regulating Domestic Violence

      Each year, WIN’s legal department files an average of 15 to 20 domestic violence cases. Currently, there are 25 ongoing. According to the Women and Children’s Bureau, 499 domestic violence cases were filed with the police in 2013 alone. Most people think that the court system in Sri Lanka is fundamentally flawed, with cases dragging on for years.

      This isn’t actually true for domestic violence cases, however, which fall under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. Most of the women who call the hotline are married and between the age of 20 and 50 years. There are far more calls now than in the past, but the stigma of talking to a stranger about personal issues at home is still strong.

      Once it is decided that legal action needs to be taken, a legal officer will attempt to get a protection order from the abusive husband. Usually, an attempt is made to bring the protection order ex parte, i.e. without the husband’s presence. Though not guaranteed, this is usually granted. After this, the husband has to appear before the courts within a period of 2 weeks. Next, a decision needs to be made whether the interim protection order be made permanent. Unlike other cases, domestic violence cases are processed relatively fast thanks to this law. However, this only applies to victims of domestic violence – i.e. wives, ex-wives and co-habitees. What’s more, there needs to be proof of abuse – ideally hospital and police reports. Showing evidence of mental and emotional trauma is also possible under the Act but there are practical difficulties, since a judge has to be satisfied that there is a definite threat.

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      While domestic violence cases are processed relatively quickly, the emphasis is still on attempting to maintain the family unit. Often, the courts will suggest a short period at home in order to ascertain whether the conflict between a couple can’t be resolved. This results in many victims of violence, like Kumari* going back to their abusive husbands while the court cases are ongoing.

      “I was just 19 when I eloped. He told me he was a Sales Executive at Suntel. It was only after I married him that I found out he was a drug dealer,” she said.

      When Kumari was admitted to hospital to deliver her first child, the doctor noticed she showed signs of sustained sexual abuse. The ward nurse, a family friend, alerted Kumari’s father, who took her in. Kumari made several police entries, to little effect. She then went to court, and returned home for a 6-month period to try and reconcile with her husband, for the sake of her child, on court orders. She was soon pregnant again.

      The doctor who delivered her second child was less sympathetic. In fact, he told other nurses and patients on the ward that Kumari was promiscuous.

      “Now I can’t leave the house… I can’t take my children to Montessori. It’s really affected me,” she said, breaking down. “Only the first doctor who spoke to me knows the truth.”

      Kumari’s case is still ongoing. She has also been given a job at WIN and is grateful for the support she has received. “My father was supporting me, but I can’t always depend on him.”

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      One striking similarity between all the women interviewed for this piece was that every one of them asked not to be photographed. They feared that their children would somehow suffer repercussions after they shared their stories.

      Apart from their reluctance to be photographed, most of the women interviewed had another thing in common – their reaction upon being asked what they would say to other women in their position.

      “Speak up. Don’t stay silent,” Anupama said. “Initially I thought, if the person who I came to this country for, the person I gave my life to, doesn’t understand me, then how can anyone understand me? That was wrong. There are people who understand and care. WIN is one such organisation who gives you confidence and everything is done in a human way.”

      “Don’t hide your problems. If you do, you will suffer [in the end]” Priya said. “I have no words to thank WIN for all they have done for me. It is thanks to them that my son and I are alive today.”

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      WIN’s Services

      WIN offers many services apart from counselling and legal assistance.

      Crucially, they operate a 24-hour hotline (0114 718585) where women can call in to report incidents of violence. They also offer counselling, legal services, and temporary shelters in Colombo and Matara, providing safe spaces to victims of violence. Going the extra mile, they also have a dedicated desk in several key police stations in Colombo (at the Kirulapona Police Station, Women and Children’s Bureau at the Police Headquarters as well as the Kandy and Weligama Police Stations). Recognising that many abused women do not want to reveal the true source of their injuries, WIN also operates 8 one-stop crisis centres offering counselling in hospitals across the island. 8 more women’s resource centres offer not just a safe space but also library facilities, skills development and outreach programmes for women in Anuradhapura and Matara. In addition, WIN’s successful recycled paper greeting card project gives women recovering from domestic violence the means with which to support themselves.

      WIN also provides psychological counselling services, legal advice, awareness programmes, skills development trainings and court representation to female inmates at the Welikada, Kalutara, Anuradhapura, Badulla, Kandy, Jaffna and Tangalle prisons.

      *Names changed to protect privacy

    • Bring them home: The long search for Sri Lanka’s ‘disappeared’

      13 November 2015: The crowd consists primarily of women, but several men are also present. They are young and old, some with children and some needing help to walk. A quick ear to the conversations flying around indicates that they are largely Tamil speaking. In certain areas, there are Muslim women and in others Sinhalese women, though fewer in number. They are all united in their search for missing loved ones.

      These women wait for their turn, sometimes for hours, to tell their story before the Presidential Commission to Investigate into Cases of Missing Persons – often referred to as the Commission of Inquiry or COI. Since 2013, the COI has been looking into cases of enforced disappearances during the Sri Lankan civil war. It has been mandated to address cases between 1983 and 2009. The 3-member Commission began hearing complaints in Kilinochchi in January 2014.

      “My son was taken from Pesalai in 1989. He was 26 at the time, after his A/Ls he went in search of jobs to Colombo and stayed with my sister-in-law. He sent word through a lorry driver saying he needs 5000 to go abroad but my son didn’t go to claim the money. I heard from relations that Army had taken him in and put him in Magazine prison. I went there, wrote down his name and asked them to show him to me but they said no such person has been brought there. I then went to Bogambara prison; same reply. Welikada prison; same reply. Thalaimannar prison; same reply. I finally reported the incident.”

      The response to the call for complaints was overwhelming; thousands of citizens came forward with cases of missing loved ones. Many of the complainants had gone before several state initiatives including previous commissions. With the overwhelming number of complaints made and the need for more time for investigations and inquiries, the Commission’s mandate was extended till August 2014.

      Following the extension to the Commission’s mandate, another amendment was made regarding the period they were authorised to investigate – the Gazette provided that they would investigate cases that had occurred between 1st January 1983 and 19th May 2009.

      July 2014 saw a further expansion of the Commission’s mandate; ‘to include inquiring into a wide range of issues spanning from violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and International Human Rights Law (IHRL) including the recruitment of child soldiers and suicide attacks, to the criminality of financial and other resources obtained by the LTTE.’

      CPA initially expressed concerns at this stage when the expanded mandate was presented, stating that it ‘fears for the integrity of the Commission, in particular, that its primary task of investigating and inquiring into the thousands of missing persons in Sri Lanka will be severely curtailed by the present gazette.’ [Read the statement in full.]

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      ‘We were crossing from Mullivaikkal to Vattuvaikkal point. The Army stopped my son. I wanted to take him with me, but the Army said they will inquire and send him back, so we trusted what they said. We were taken in a van and dropped at the camp. Until now my son is missing. My son wasn’t involved in the movement, he came fishing with me. Is is safe with the Army around? I don’t know…..’

      At the same time an Advisory Council was appointed to advise the Commission. Issues were raised as to the independence of this Council and questions still remain as to the nature of the work it set out to do and how this work will support that of the Commission.

      Concerns were raised by CPA and other members of the civil society on the appointment of Sir Desmond de Silva to this advisory panel, claiming that it ‘further discredited a Commission of Inquiry that has failed to earn the confidence of victims and overburdened it with a mandate that was meant to address the overwhelming cases of missing persons from across Sri Lanka, raising serious questions about the willingness of the government to address the issue of enforced disappearances.’ [Read the statement in full]

      Though the mandate of this Council was not made known, their report was made public at the end of October – read it in full here.

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      “He went missing from the Savanagara area in 1994; 3 others had joined him and they had gone fishing. They were coming down the road when they went missing. Army and terrorists were both moving around the area – I don’t know who to blame. I went to 3 LTTE camps in Mannar looking for him. Those at the LTTE camp during Chandrika’s time told me that there’s a UNP government and that I should go ask them. We were told they are free to move around and to look for him ourselves. We searched first at the Thalaimannar camp and then at the Alayadivembu camp. During our search, we heard that there was a problem between Prabhakaran and Karuna and we were ordered to go home.”

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      “She was 18 at the time and going to school when she went missing in 2006. It was a very problematic time; she was taken by force on her way home, by the LTTE in June that year. We were also displaced, but I met her in Kilinochchci; she said she was alright and not to worry about her. She was studying computing under the LTTE. She came home once after being taken. We ended up at Pudumatalan refugee camp. My other daughter got
      wounded in a shell attack and I went with her to hospital. It was under LTTE control and there was shelling so they shifted us to Mannar hospital for treatment. At Omanthai checkpoint, my eldest daughter had surrendered – the village girls had seen and spoken to her. I want her back. My other wounded daughter was sent to Dambulla hospital, but since it was a military hospital I wasn’t allowed to see her. Maxwell [Paranagama] said he will check with the hospital records but I have heard nothing.”

      An interim report by the Commission was submitted to the President in March 2015 but this report was not made public until very recently. Initially, a statement on the report was sent, to the media, stating that responsibility for 60% of the cases in the Northern Province were attributed to the LTTE, 30% to the security forces, 5% to armed groups and 5% to unknown groups.

      CPA wrote to the commission in this regard, stating ‘the lack of transparency regarding this report which one hopes sheds light on the progress of the work of the Commission.’ [Read full statement here.]

      The sittings after the submission of this report saw the addition of two more commissioners to hear the ever-increasing number of complaints made by affected citizens.

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      “There are 5 camps in that area. Whoever goes on that road, they must pass this area. As you pass the camps and go through the Sinhala area, there are cut outs, road blocks and a Police station. Maoya junction, we were able to search upto there but not further. Records showed that my son had signed in at one check point and the police are aware of this incident but no one knows what happened after that. My son’s telephone is still functioning.”

      Each Commission hearing witnessed hundreds of women coming before sittings, many facing hardships that range from the economic to the physical and emotional. Some make long journeys just to be heard by the Commission and to continue their search for missing loved ones. While many women recount
      narratives of missing male family members, there are also men who come before the commission in search of missing female family members. Details available also range from specific names of people in power and camps to where people were taken, to anecdotes such as ‘he was on his way home and he was taken’ or ‘he left for school and never came back.’

      An Investigation Team was appointed earlier this year, but its role and functions regarding investigation of cases has not been made known, though Commissioners assure that they have commenced work.

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      “She was 18 at the time, when the LTTE took her. I saw her at the Vellipuram but that was the last time. I went looking for her when I heard that my child was at the detention camp, my only girl. We couldn’t find her. So far I haven’t gotten any information. I want my child back; I plead with you in all affection, please find my child. No, my housing and livelihood can wait – my search is for my child.’

      Further, as the Commission heard about cases across the Northern and Eastern provinces, observers noted errors in the translation.

      CPA noted ‘translators’ and the Commission’s lack of contextual knowledge of the affected areas and key issues related to the incidents before the Commission. [Read the report here.]

      CPA questioned whether ‘the failure to genuinely address the grievances of over 19,000 complainants a stark reminder of the flaws in and failures of domestic processes that are meant to investigate violations?’ [Read the statement in full here.]

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      ‘My husband was 25 years old at the time. One day, armed Air Force personnel took him away for inquiries – they were in civilian clothing. A Buddhist monk at the China Bay temple helped us – he went and saw that he was being kept in the China Bay Air Force camp. The next time we went there, we were told he had been taken to the Plantain Point Army Camp but when we inquired there, they denied it. I reported it to the ICRC
      and the HRC. Later, officers came home to make inquiries and I went to the 4th Floor for this. I faced so many inquiries yet nothing happened. I’m here to request his death certificate and due compensation.’

      At present, a death certificate is required to claim compensation. This has resulted in many families not having a choice and having to accept missing loved ones as dead and requesting that the issuing of the death certificate be expedited to ensure they are able to obtain assistance. The economic situation for most families in the North and East is difficult – most work in agriculture and in small shops to make ends meet. Most accept a death certificate purely to receive state social welfare payments that will help them in their daily lives.

      CPA proposed a policy recommendation – the issuing of a ‘Certificate of Absence’ to families of the disappeared. This would be ‘an official document issued to family members of the disappeared persons, affirming their status as “missing” as opposed to “deceased.” This option has been used in countries that experienced high numbers of disappearances, based on the perception that it is better tailored to balance family members’ emotional and psychological needs without dismissing the need for active investigation into cases of disappearances.’ [Read full paper here.]

      This recommendation was well received and during the recently concluded sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, the Government of Sri Lanka stated that it would issue this certificate to the families of the missing. Soon thereafter, a cabinet paper proposing the introduction of such certificates was approved by the cabinet based on CPA’s recommendations.

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      Civil society across Sri Lanka including groups from the North and East have criticized the working methods of the Commission and some have engaged in protests. There have also been several calls to expedite investigations on cases of enforced disappearances.

      The government mentioned plans to abolish the Commission, but Chairman Maxwell Paranagama has stated that it will continue investigating cases. This
      statement was followed by the release of the Commission’s final report in Mid-October and the news that a round of sittings has been scheduled to take place in Jaffna, mid-November.

      The UNHRC resolution, co-sponsored by Sri Lanka, also welcomed the suggestion to establish an ‘Office of Missing Persons’, although its tasks and responsibilities have not been made known to the public.

      Consultation with civil society and families of the disappeared, essential to making this a victim-centric mechanism of transitional justice, is key but yet to materialize.

    • Up-country Tamils: The Forgotten 4.2%

      Sri Lanka has long been synonymous with fine tea; witha plantation history dating back to 1862 to an export value estimated to reach US$ 2,500 million this year, the humble beverage is the island’s pride across the globe. Accounting for nearly 14% of the country’s total export earnings, it is among the nation’s most valuable and prized produce.

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      This journey to international fame begins in the central hills, ‘Mayarata’, as it was called, the Country of Illusions. Once thickly forested and inaccessible to humans, settlements were limited to open valleys and the city of Kandy. The British cleared these acres of virgin forest and, once their experiment with coffee crops failed, began planting tea; the rest is history.

      However, history has and might continue to overlook the most important cogs in the large machine that is the tea industry of Sri Lanka; the people without whose tireless labour this process would grind to a screeching halt – the workers on the tea estates.

      Descendants of South Indian labourers first sent here in the 19th and 20th centuries to work in the first British plantations, the ‘up-country Tamils’ or ‘Indian Tamils’ constitute 4.2% of the Sri Lankan population.

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      Over the years, they have been marginalised by the very country that they devote all their energy to. The Sinhala nationalism that fuelled the Ceylon Citizenship Act of 1948 set such precise terms of identity that even though they had lived on the island for decades, lack of proper documentation meant they were not recognised as citizens of Sri Lanka and left stateless.

      A handful of agreements between India and Sri Lanka over next few decades laid out plans to repatriate some while granting citizenship to a select few. Finally, it was the J.R Jayawardene government that came into power in the 1970s that revised the Citizenship Act, adding in a Special Provisions in the form of the Grant of Citizenship to Stateless Persons of Indian Origin, accepting all remaining Indian Tamils as citizens of Sri Lanka, equipping them with a nationality and a vote.

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      It has been almost 200 years since the first migrant workers made the hill country their home. But is it really a home?

      The ‘line’ system that exists in estate housing is the same one established in the late 19th century – a row of small houses, each more similar in size to a single room, that share a roof. These were initially meant to be temporary shelters for the workers yet estate management over the years never sought to develop the living conditions of the workers.

      Each family is allocated one of these ‘houses’, meaning everyone lives in uncomfortably close quarters, severely distorting family dynamics. Should a child marry, reproduce and come to live in his/her parents’ house, as it does frequently happen, the situation worsens.

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      Yet the estate worker is not the owner of his house, even though it is that small. Since the plantation land belongs entirely to the estate, the worker is not provided with a deed or permit that proves that the house is his/hers. Should he plant a tree outside the line, even its fruits would technically belong to the estate management. Because of this system, where the housing comes under the control of the management, individual houses are not provided with an address. This results in administrative issues, problems for the police and issues during voting.

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      The lack of an address also means important correspondence doesn’t reach the house – all mail must be addressed to the estate’s head office and is distributed at the management’s convenience. Workers don’t receive time-sensitive EPF notices, students who persevere enough to complete their AL education don’t receive their university letters in time and most personal correspondence never reaches the person it was meant for.

      Estates, being private lands, do not fall under the Pradeshiya Sabha Act therefore local authorities do not have the power to provide addresses in these areas as the roads too are the estate’s property; their maintenance is the responsibility of the estate.

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      Tea contributes to a large portion of Sri Lanka’s export revenue yet the infrastructure in place in the tea-growing regions is hardly conducive to the smooth production of the main export of the country. Taking into consideration how important transport is in the tea process, there has been no development of estate roads undertaken by the respective estate management.

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      This feeds into a range of obstacles in the worker’s daily life. Walking from their line house to the particular area of the plantation they are required to work at, both places sometimes on two different hills, is laborious enough without the badly-maintained road. The walk back after a day’s backbreaking work is hellish.

      Classes in estate schools are limited and students who wish to study further have to go into the main town. Hospitals, long since neglected, are not adequate for all emergencies and again, they are forced to resort to services in the town. Access to these are made additionally time-consuming because the roads are so badly damaged and the limited bus services available to estates are irregular.

      Youtube link goes here…

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      Estate schools extend to Grade 5 or Grade 9 in most cases and students who wish to study beyond that resort to making the journey from the estate to the closest city to complete their education. Kids talented in sports or the arts don’t have as many options for progression in their fields as a child in the town would. While most schools would employ teachers who are specialists in their subjects to teach children, some of the young women appointed to estate schools only have an Advanced Level qualifications.

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      “There’s one bus; if they miss the one bus to school then the children have to walk between the tea bushes, on trails that are so steep and jagged that it’s life threatening. So, most often, they stop going to school. Children start working on the estates early or get married at a young age and have families of their own. Because these conditions are so bad, most government teachers appointed to estate schools don’t even come to teach for so long – they prefer places where they are familiar with the culture and where conditions are not so harsh. These schools are just forgotten.”

      Though there are hospitals buildings in the estates, most of them have fallen to disarray after years of neglect and those that do function can only administer treatment for the most basic ailments. Surgeries and delivery of babies has to be done by trained doctors in a town hospital.

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      “She’s pregnant now and when my wife has to give birth, it will be very difficult for us. I have to take her almost 40 kilometres away to the hospital in the main town at the bottom of the mountain along these roads that are so damaged, the journey will be very uncomfortable for her.”

      Health issues are constantly mounting in the cramped living conditions. A single line with five or so houses share a wall and with more than five people living in a single room, contagious diseases spread rapidly. In addition, most estates don’t have a proper toilet system for the inhabitants of the line houses to use. Water distribution in some plantations is such that the same water used by lines higher up the mountain makes its way down a channel to the lower divisions and the individuals there are left having to use water that is far from pure. Even in places where this particular system is not used, irregular water distribution methods and lack of basic hygiene facilities contribute to prevailing health dilemmas.

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      The options available to women who wish to work outside the estate are very limited. Aspiring to reach greater heights than the generations before them, idealistic women look for jobs in Colombo – working in someone’s house or in a garment factory. Their other option is to look for labour work abroad, which they sometimes find difficult to adjust to because of the culture differences. Eventually, most of them return only to marry and begin their own families and start, inevitably, working on the estate.

      Though some do make these journeys, some fall into the cycle of the culture and are married as soon as they come of the legal age. Young brides bear children at a young age and are thereby compelled to stop schooling to take care of and provide for the children.

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      The consumption of alcohol by men, to beat the cold of shivering temperatures around the mountains and as an antidote to a day’s hard work, has resulted in an increased number of cases of violence against women and children.

      This habit has spread among the women too. Because the communities consume illicit alcohol that is not manufactured properly, sickness results.

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      To approach the relevant authorities that could possibly help address their concerns is also difficult for the workers; even though the communities are Tamil, government agents appointed to offices in these areas are mostly Sinhala and the language barrier creates more confusion. Police stations, hospitals and other entities working directly with the people are not able to communicate using the language of the region’s majority.

      This is one of the many factors that contribute to lack of proper documentation in the estate communities. Birth certificates are not issued or don’t carry accurate information, individuals do not have national identity cards and when couples marry, they do not seek to obtain a marriage certificate. Lack of awareness of the administrative procedures due to being cut off from society reinforces these inactions.

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      Tea country is a maze of bushes set on the face of steep mountains, along trails of jagged ground that drop sharply down the slope. The prevailing chill and freezing cold at some times of the year make for a challenging climate on the best of days.

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      Manufacturers will justify the use of human labour for the tea-plucking process due to the need for meticulous attention to detail in the quality of the leaves that result in a world-class beverage.

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      The average wage an estate worker is paid is Rs. 600 for 21 complete days of work.

      However, superintendents hold back in giving work, asserting that the leaves are not yet ready for plucking; this means some workers can’t fulfil the quota and thereby have their pay reduced. Estates have taken to hiring workers on a ‘temporary’ basis, where they are paid by the kilogram at a rate that is much lower than the wages of the permanent worker; all far too little considering the harsh working conditions and the denial of any other labourer benefits to the workers.

      This is where the youtube link goes…

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      Over the years, the estate Tamils have been a community marginalised by the state and mistreated by the corporations that employ them. The distance from an estate to the nearest town and the tight working schedules helps the estate management to keep them cornered from and uneducated about society. Unions, who should be advocating worker’s demands for benefits, shy away from their responsibility due to political influence. These workers have not been made aware of the benefits they should be receiving as employees and rights they are able to exercise as citizens of Sri Lanka.

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      The Centre for Policy Alternatives has worked with local government on gazettes and policies to develop estate roads, provide addresses to these communities and to furnish several individuals with identity cards. Information and anecdotes were gathered during a field study carried out during the months of March and April in estates across the Central and Uva provinces.

      Text and photographs by Amalini De Sayrah.

    Part 23

    Language Right

      Part 24

      Uncategorized

      Part 25

      Acts