The Lanka Academic

VOL. 4, NO. 281

2004: TLA wishes you a very Happy New Year!
Headline Summary
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Refugees Fear To Return to LTTE Areas
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 7.00 A.M Tuesday 13 January. The latest report released by the Refugees International Say that one important factor keeping many refugee families from returning is the fear of many families that their sons, including teenagers, will be induced to join or will be impressed into the LTTE's army. The report say that the use of child soldiers by the LTTE is well documented and, according to some observers, recruitment has increased since the ceasefire. They point out that many of the displaced may have fled in the first place to keep their sons out of the ranks of the rebel army.

The report adds that another important factor discouraging many displaced persons from returning to their former homes is that many of the displaced are from areas under LTTE control or influence and Living standards and economic opportunities in LTTE-controlled areas are lower than in the rest of Sri Lanka, and the poor quality of schools in those areas is another factor keeping many families from returning.

Refugees International (RI) calls upon the international community step up pressure on the LTTE to cease recruitment of child soldiers. RI says if the LTTE wishes to escape the stigma of being a terrorist organization, one of the most positive moves it can make is to demonstrate that it is not recruiting or utilizing child soldiers.

Refugees International released its latest report last week, having traveled throughout the former war zone in northern Sri Lanka in December, including areas under the control of the LTTE. The report points out though the ceasefire agreement has been in operation for nearly two years only little progress has been made in achieving a lasting peace between the government and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). They also point out that the peace dividend are fragile and most of the international aid pledged is dependent upon progress toward peace and the government is in disarray about its policy for dealing with the LTTE.

The report say t that the international commitment to the displaced seems to be declining rather than increasing and the UNHCR's 2004 budget is being cut to about one-half its 2003 budget. The organization laments that other UNHCR projects for returnees will also be eliminated or reduced and, despite much discussion among aid agencies, there appear to be no other organization ready to fill the gaps that UNHCR's reduced program are likely to create. Refugees International calls on UN agencies to move quickly to fill gaps in assistance for displaced persons and returning refugees caused by UNHCR's reduced budget for 2004.

Speaking of the US involvement in the country the report says "The U.S. Agency for International Development's impressive aid programs in Sri Lanka suffer from an important constraint. Under U.S. law, USAID cannot fund programs in LTTE areas because the LTTE is considered a terrorist organization. Unfortunately, in practical terms, that means that the U.S. cannot lend its political weight or provide aid to terrorist-abating activities in LTTE areas such as demobilization of child soldiers, human rights education, or peace and reconciliation programs." Refugees International calls upon USAID seek flexibility in its use of aid resources so that it may fund human rights, democracy-building, and similar programs in LTTE-controlled areas. They say that the U.S. State Department (Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration) should also consider funding to help displaced persons and refugees return to their homes.
Published: Mon Jan 12 19:53:43 EST 2004

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Public trustee banned from leaving the country
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, January 12, 2004, 7.56 pm. Public Trustee N.S.A.S. Seneviratne has been banned from leaving the country until further notice; the order was issued today by the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court.

The court also ordered the Immigration and Emigration Controller not to Permit Mr. Seneviratne to leave the country, following allegation of corruption levelled against him. The order was issued today after considering an application submitted by the Bribery Commission to issue an injunction preventing the public trustee from going abroad.

The court also ordered the Immigration Emigration Controller and the National Intelligence Division to inform the Bribery Commission if Mr. Seneviratne attempts to leave the country.

The bribery commission told courts that investigations made on a complaint by the Central Bank had revealed that Mr. Seneviratne had obtained a bribe of 1.9 million rupees after depositing 400 million rupees of the public trustee department in the Pramuka Bank. The court was informed that Mr. Seneviratne did not appear before the commission although he was ordered to do so on January 5th, this year.
Published: Mon Jan 12 08:51:43 EST 2004 Back to the top

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S.Lankan president says snap poll under consideration with leftist alliance, XINHUA
Associated Press, Mon January 12, 2004 14:23 EST . COLOMBO, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga has said that she was considering a move to hold a snap parliamentary poll by forging an alliance with main leftist party, state radio announced here Monday. The Sri Lanka - Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) controlled by Kumaratunga said in its nightly news that President Kumaratunga while addressing a group of provincial politicians of her main opposition People's Alliance (PA) had advised them to be ready for a snap parliamentary election.

She, however, had dismissed press speculations that she would dissolve the parliament on Jan. 27 to order a snap poll. The radio added that Kumaratunga's PA would go into an alliance with the main leftist party JVP or People's Liberation Front on Jan. 15.

The country was plunged into a political crisis on Nov. 4 last year when Kumaratunga exercising her constitutional authority took over three key ministries from the government of her rival Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Wickremesinghe's United National Party defeated Kumaratunga's PA in December 2001 and gained control in the 225-member assembly.

The two main political parties have entered into an uneasy co- habitation ever since. Kumaratunga who was elected separately in 1999 continues to hold executive presidency until 2005.

Copyright 2004 XINHUA all rights reserved as distributed by WorldSources, Inc.
Published: Mon Jan 12 21:31:57 EST 2004 Back to the top

Japan supports de-mining project in Sri Lanka +
Associated Press, Mon January 12, 2004 12:00 EST . COLOMBO, Jan. 12 (Kyodo) A Japanese nongovernmental organization with support from the Tokyo government will launch a de-mining program in Sri Lanka - 's war-devastated northeast in March, the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention (JCCP) announced Monday. It said that Japanese specialists trained in Denmark by the Danish De-mining Group (DDG), an international mine clearance organization, will join a 45-strong Sri Lankan team in the de-mining work in the Vavuniya area in northeastern Sri Lanka - ... Back to the top

TRADE PUSH: Govt urged to speed Lanka FTA
com, Tuesday, January 13, 2004 . Agreement seen as model for South Asia Business leaders have called on the government to expand its freetrade agreements to cover member countries of the BIMSTEC in anticipation of a marked increase in trade within the South Asian grouping... Back to the top

National movement tells President to dissolve Parliament immediately
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, January 11, 2004, 9.35 pm. The National Patriotic Movement today morning called upon President Chandrika Kumaratunga to immediately dissolve parliament and call for a general election... Back to the top

President extends support to Foreign Minister
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, January 11, 2004, 8.12 pm. President Chandrika Kumaratunga has extended her fullest support to Foreign Minister Tyronne Fernando’s candidature for the post of United Nations Secretary General... Back to the top

Sri Lanka rebels warn power struggle threatens peace, January 12, 2004. KILINOCHCHI, Sri Lanka (Reuters) - A feud between Sri Lanka's president and prime minister was testing the patience of Tamil Tiger rebels in their bid to end 20 years of war but they would not break the island's truce, a rebel leader said... Back to the top

Cricket-Case against Sri Lanka Cricket chief takes new turn with ..., January 11, 2004. COLOMBO (AFP) - A high-profile court case against Sri Lanka's cricket chief took a new twist with the killing of an underworld gang leader who was a co-accused, police Back to the top

Rs 1 cr heroin seized, Sri Lankan held
com, 12 January. A 40-year-old Sri Lankan man was arrested after he was found to be in possession of one kg of heroin worth Rs one crore... Back to the top

From Sri Lanka to Ballarat - a sign of things to come, January 12, 2004, 11:00. Two years ago Dr Shirani Gamlath and her husband Jayantha moved from Sri Lanka to Ballarat - and they couldn't be happier... Back to the top

World News : Sri Lanka Sri Lanka disagrees with most LTTE ..., January 12, 2004, 7:35 EST. The Sri Lankan government has acknowledged it does not agree with most proposals of the Tamil guerrillas on an interim administration in the country's north and east, a newspaper said Monday... Back to the top

Colombo Talks between President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to work out modalities for an understanding on the peace process with the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) and on how to run a cohabitation government have all but collapsed, Gulf News was told. An official communication from the President's Office to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe asking Cabinet ministers who were recently stripped of some of their portfolios to present themselves to be sworn-in again by Chandrika for their reshuffled subjects has drawn an angry response from the Wickremesinghe government. Lanka president, premier reaching point of no return, Dubai:Monday, January 12, 2004. Colombo Talks between President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to work out modalities for an understanding on the peace process with the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) and on how to run a cohabitation government have all but collapsed, Gulf News was told... Back to the top

Sri Lanka power struggle threatens peace, rebels say 12 Jan 2004 09:37 By Scott McDonald KILINOCHCHI, Sri Lanka (Reuters) - A feud between Sri Lanka's president and prime minister was testing the patience of Tamil Tiger rebels in their bid to end 20 years of war but they would not break the island's truce, a rebel leader said... Back to the top

How Lanka paved the way for Indo-Pak dialogue, January 12, 2004, 7:35 EST. India and Pakistan seem to have made a breakthrough towards a historic rapprochement on the sidelines of the SAARC summit at Islamabad... Back to the top

India News: Karunanidhi raps Vajpayee over DMK-LTTE ties, January 12, 2004, 7:35 EST. Chennai, DMK leader Muthuvel Karunanidhi Monday gently took on Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee after the latter mentioned the DMK's alleged links with Sri Lankan Tamil guerrillas while attacking the Congress party... Back to the top

Caring for Sri Lanka's wounded rebels, Last Updated: Sunday, 11 January, 2004, 07:37. By Frances Harrison BBC correspondent in northern Sri Lanka It is just after dawn and a group of Tamil Tiger fighters lines up in front of the flagpole at a camp in rebel-controlled northern Sri Lanka... Back to the top

Lanka Oppn seeks dialogue with LTTE, [ SUNDAY, JANUARY 11, 2004 02:23:04 PM ]. COLOMBO : Sri Lanka 's main Opposition party led by President Chandrika Kumaratunga has made informal contacts with Tamil guerrillas to pave the way for direct talks between the two sides, reports Xinhua... Back to the top

LTTE arrests Indian on spying charges, says report, January 11. The LTTE has arrested a south Indian businessman on the suspicion that he is a spy for India, according to a report in The Sunday Times... Back to the top

Marxists, Chandrika to finalise coalition accord
Gulf News, January 11, 2004, 1:30 EST. President Chandrika Kumaratunga's Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the Marxist JVP (People's Liberation Front) are on the verge of finalising a coalition agreement on contesting future elections and the formation of a future government... Back to the top

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