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The Issue ofaccountability

The most recent attempt to raise the issue of accountability concerning events that occurred during the final stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka was by the United States Senate. Of the 4 issues contained in the US Senate Resolution 84, this paper intends to focus on the first two. The first resolution: "commends United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) Ban Ki-moon for creating the three person panel to advise the Secretary-General on the implementation of the commitment of the Government of Sri Lanka to human rights accountability", and the second resolution: "calls on the Government of Sri Lanka, the international community, and the United Nations to establish an independent international accountability mechanism to look into reports of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other human rights violations by both sides during and after the war in Sri Lanka and to make recommendations regarding accountability".

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Government reassurance regarding NGO probe

Reference article by Jehan Perera (JP), in The Island of 28th March titled, ‘Govt. reassurance regarding NGO probe’. JP had made some observations about the investigations on the massive amounts of foreign assistance received by NGO’s in the past. This flow had continued even after the war ended.

In the past, NGO’s had a free hand with regard to obtaining foreign funds and using them without any transparency. So based on previous records, govt. claims that it has a right to monitor NGO funds, as in other countries. It is an open secret that NGO funds had gone into the hands of the LTTE. As such, the beneficiaries had been the LTTE and not the people who deserve them.

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Nullification of 1818 British Declaration

As the saying goes "every dog has its day". I am no dog, yet the above news made my day that I am compelled to pen these few words. My only fear at this moment of joy is that this will be a short-lived political fiasco intended to slight a nation that has given us plenty of aid in the past and present. It should be a planned negotiated exercise seeking a Crown Apology from the British for the many atrocities committed by their colonial ancestors on the Sri Lankan nation. The erudite editor of The Island has in today’s (14th March. summarized the nasty and beastly deeds committed by the colonial British. The Colonial Office documents are the primary sources for those wishing to know more about those many atrocities. In a small way I too have contributed to sum total of this knowledge in my two books, "The Rebels, Outlaws and Enemies to the British" and "The Kandyans’ Last Stand Against the British". In the first part of my recent book, "In Defence of the Independence and Sovereignty of the Nation" I have put together my efforts in the past to get the British to apologize for their depredations in our country.

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The destruction of the Foreign Service

The Ides of March for the Foreign Service has come on the 9th of March before the traditional March 15.

On this day, a fatal blow is to be struck by the Cabinet of Ministers to the professional Foreign Service. The cabinet is scheduled to approve the recruitment of 12 persons into the permanent cadre, outside the approved scheme of recruitment.

They would without doubt be sons and daughters of politicians and other so-called supporters of the government, some of them could even be presently living abroad. The practice hitherto has been to make short term appointments on contract and not to recruit into the permanent cadre through the back door. The government may of course come up with the flimsy excuse that there are a large number of vacancies in our missions abroad and that following the established practice of holding competitive examinations would take time. All I can say in response is; "say that to the Marines."

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Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission The Economic impact of the conflict

The primary perspective or point of view of the Ceylon Chamber in making this submission is to highlight the negative impact of the conflict on the economy, business, employment and poverty and then focus on what we feel are the necessary remedial measures to prevent any recurrence. So our submission has 3 parts or sections. One is about economic and social infrastructure development followed by measures required for post conflict reconstruction and reconciliation and then finally constitutional provisions to promote good governance and devolution.

Let me start with the economic impact. We note that the conflict resulted in a range of direct and indirect impacts on the economy of Sri Lanka. Now although it is generally understood that conflicts result in loss of economic output and opportunity, the scale and magnitude of such losses are hard to measure and therefore not well known, and this is an area I want to dwell on a little bit. It is particularly so when the economy has been growing in absolute terms at an apparently reasonable rate of growth year on year. We all know that the economy of Sri Lanka grew at an average rate of about 5% per annum over the period concerned and this may have led most people to believe that the cost of war were mostly localized to the war zone and that it had no impact on the entire economy. However, our position is that the cost of the war was economy wide and was of great magnitude.

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