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SB Dissanayake

I do not suppose it is essential to write much more about the 2010 US Report on Human Rights in Sri Lanka. I hope I have shown that, while details of particular cases are of interests, and these should be gone into by government, and redress provided where appropriate, the bulk of the report is emphatically political in nature. It seems designed mainly to throw suspicion onto government, primarily with regard to treatment of the Tamils.

There are however a few other areas which are particularly worrying, which I should mention. Most surprising to me was the implicit critique of S B Dissanayake, wrongly described as the Minister of Education. Only two Ministers are named, Wimal Weerawansa and Douglas Devananda (also wrongly described), obviously two individuals the Americans would love to hate, for very different reasons.

There seems no obvious reason to hate S B, but he is the only other Minister whose actions are criticized, inasmuch as there is a paragraph in the section on ‘Arbitrary Arrest or Detention’ of which he is the centerpiece – ‘Some arrests appeared arbitrary. In September several university students were detained for hooting at the Minister of Education during a public event. These arrests contributed to a wave of student protests in September and October, resulting in additional arrests and detentions of students. By year’s end 76 university students were banned from attending lectures because of participation in protests and related incidents. The government blamed the protests and incidents on left-wing opposition parties’ Read the rest of this entry »

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The Director

Friedrich Ebert Stiftung

Dear Sir,

My attention was drawn yesterday by two people to the following news item which appeared in Lanka News Web.

Governing party parliamentarian Rajiva Wijesinghe has intervened and got a scholarship for UNP parliamentarian Buddhika Pathirana through the German NGO Ebert Stiftung.

Buddhika is scheduled to travel overseas on the 10th of May. However, several members of Sajith Premadasa’s group had asked Buddhika to postpone the visit since an article was published in the Lankadeepa newspaper stating that a German NGO had provided funds to Sajith against UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Buddhika received the support and financial support of German NGO Frederic Neumann, which stands for liberal democratic ideals, for several years. However, Buddhika has been introduced to the Ebert Stiftung NGO by Rajiva Wijesinghe.

I was astonished by this, since I have had almost no contact ever with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. Indeed, except when recently I was invited to an event at the suggestion of my sister who was speaking, I believe I have never been invited to programmes you have.

I believe Lanka News Web was started by associates of Mr Mangala Samaraweera, who is currently in the United National Party, and it is likely that this news item is part of the ongoing struggle within that party. I believe Mr Buddhika Pathirana is seen as a supporter of Mr Sajith Premadasa for the leadership, which is understandable.

Mr Pathirana had a leading position in the Liberal Youth Leagues which were funded by the Friedrich Naumann Stiftung through the Institute for Democracy and Leadership which is headed by Mr Ravi Karunanayake. It is true that the FNS in Sri Lanka, having previously funded the Council for Liberal Democracy, which was associated with the Liberal Party, decided to plump for Mr Ravi Karunanayake a decade or so back.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

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