Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Election violence very high in the UPFA: PAFFREL

By Olindhi Jayasundere - In the days leading up to the Southern Provincial Council election, the UPFA has had eight internal conflicts within the party and has had the highest number of complaints made against them in the past several months, the elections monitor PAFFREL said yesterday.

PAFFREL Executive Director, Rohana Hettiarachchi told the Daily Mirror that there were 29 complaints made against the UPFA, four made against the UNP, one made against the JVP and a total of 15 made against all the other parties competing in the election The Executive Director said the highest number of complaints was made in the Hambantota district where 22 complaints were made. However, he said in Galle, where there had been 18 complaints, the level of violence was also quite severe.

“The situation in Galle had been very serious. We had 18 complaints there, out of which four were for assault, three for threats and intimidation, three for damaging party offices, two for misusing government resources and six were made for illegal propaganda,” he said.

Hettiarachchi said that most of the complaints made in the Galle district were against the UPFA by the JVP party.

He said the most amount of hostility between parties took place in Hambantota and Galle. “In Matara the situation has been very stable. There have been only 10 complaints made in the district and things are looking well there,” he said.

The PAFFREL Director said that although several complaints had been made against certain political parties, it was only a few that were acting violently. “There are 1090 candidates taking part in the upcoming Southern Provincial council election, but it was just a mere five or six candidates who were creating chaos. Of these few candidates, several of them are UPFA members,” he said.

Hettiarachchi said the number of cases of hostility within parties had not been as high as those between political parties, but this time there was much significance to the number of internal cases because they had been highlighted due to recent events that had taken place.

“Certain internal party matters such as the incidents involving UPFA candidate Nishantha Muthuhettige that had been highlighted in the public eye would prove to have an adverse effect on other members of the party as well as other political parties,” he said.

Meanwhile, Police Spokesman, Nimal Madiwake told the Daily Mirror that the President had made a firm order for every individual taking part in provincial elections, irrespective of which party they were from, to maintain law and order and to ensure that a free and fair election takes place next month.

© Daily Mirror

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

PTA detainees 'not political prisoners'

Tamil detainees held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), say that they should be treated as political prisoners.

266 detainees, arrested under PTA, handed over a petition following a hunger strike at Welikada Magazine Prison.

They said “government should take immediate legal action.”

“We should be produced before a court or released,” they added.

Deputy Minister of Justice V. Puthirasigamani told BBC Sandeshya “these people who were held under detention orders are suspects of various terrorist activities".

“Even though the prisoners claim they are political prisoners we cannot treat them as such”.

Daya and George

“George Master and Daya Master were released because they surrendered; they were released after they surrendered.”

LTTE media co-ordinator, Velayudam Dayanidhi widely known as Daya Master and translator, Kumar Pancharatnam known as George Master who surrendered to Sri Lanka military in April were released on bail this month.

Minister Puthirasigamani further stressed that the government will consider their appeal in the future.

© BBC Sinhala

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ruling UPFA minister abducts two JVP supporters

Two supporters of the JVP engaged in propaganda campaign for the Southern PC election have been abducted by a gang of thugs of a powerful minister of the UPFA states the media unit of the JVP.

Manjula and Devapriya, the two supporters of the JVP who had been pasting posters announcing an election meeting to be held tomorrow (23rd), were abducted by the minister’s gang at the Katuwewa bridge near Hambantota town.

The JVP has lodged a complaint at Hambantota Police regarding the incident but so far the police have not taken any action states the media unit of the JVP.

The Leader of the group of candidates of the JVP for the Southern PC election from Hambantota District Sisisra Wahalathanthri speaking to the media said, “Two supporters of the JVP who were engaged in pasting posters announcing the rally to be held tomorrow have been abducted by a group of thugs of the UPFA. We have information that a powerful minister is behind this incident. There is no information regarding the two JVP supporters who were abducted.”

Speaking further Mr. Wahalathanthri said “These are moves carried out by Rajapakse government to change the standpoint of the people in the South. This move towards a dictatorship should be stopped immediately. We call upon the people in Hambantota District and people throughout the island to condemn these acts carried out by Rajapakse government to plunder the public opinion and rally with us to stop the move towards a dictatorship.”

© Lanka Truth

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

UN Sends Envoy to Survey Camps Housing Sri Lanka War Refugees

By Jay Shankar - The United Nation human-rights envoy will survey camps housing Tamils who fled the civil war in Sri Lanka, after the UN’s political chief said the pace of their release from the sites is “too slow.”

Under-Secretary-General Walter Kalin, who arrives today (22), will meet officials and travel to the camps in the north of the country to “see for himself the conditions of the displaced,” Gordon Weiss, spokesman for the UN in the capital, Colombo, said by phone. Kalin also visited the country in April.

Sri Lanka has been criticized for keeping more than 280,000 displaced Tamils in camps since the last forces of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam were routed in May on the northeastern coast. The government says people will be resettled after landmines are cleared from former conflict zones and the northern region is secure.

Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe, during a visit to the island nation last week, said “very clearly” that he hasn’t seen enough progress toward the terms of agreements between the UN and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, according to Weiss. “Some of those things relate to the displaced and the pace at which people are being released from the camps, which is too slow,” Pascoe said, according to Weiss.

Western nations should help Sri Lanka rebuild war-torn areas and stop criticizing the country over human rights and the treatment of displaced people, Rajapaksa said this month in an interview with France’s Le Figaro daily newspaper.

Rajapaksa’s government and the Tamil Tigers have been criticized by the UN over alleged human rights abuses during the conflict. The UN’s Philip Alston, an envoy looking into executions, on Sept. 7 called for an independent investigation into the authenticity of a video that is purported to show the army executing nine people.

The government has said it will cooperate with any UN inquiry and that four investigations it has carried out show the tape is a fake.

© Bloomberg

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