COLUMNS

Whither the Government’s Sustainable Environment Policy?

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Just a year into the Gotabaya Rajapaksa Presidency,environmentalists are up in arms over the apparentassault on the country’s Wildlife and Forest Reserves.   Recent actions of the government’s Ministers’ and associates belie the promise of his election Manifesto, “Vistas of Splendour and Prosperity’, they say, where a variety of actions have been identified under the topic ‘A Sustainable Environment Policy.’   Amongst those are ‘Biodiversity: The sustainability of land and water resource management will be ensured while taking proactive measures to increase national forest cover ...Continued

Disposal of the COVID Dead; Will Govt. Heed HRCSL Recommendations?

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The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) is calling on the health authorities to amend an April 2020 Gazetteto incorporate its recommendations and resolve the vexatious issue of the disposal of bodies in the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic. Writing to both the Secretary of the Ministry of Health as well as to the Director General of Health Services, the Commissioner in Charge of Investigations and Inquiries, RamaniMuttettuwegama points out that, the HRCSL believes that the governments ruling of mandatory cremation, imposed through ...Continued

COVID 19 Raises the Urgent Need to Ease Congestion in...

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It goes without saying, that currently, the COVID-19 Virus has become the most feared of illnesses the world over.  Apart from wearing masks and constant washing of hands, maintaining at least a meter’s distance between people has become our new normal. For those who have access to uninterrupted water supply, sanitizers and large areas of space, observing such guidelines is not an issue.  Not so, for those who live in less privileged circumstances.  And amongst all of these persons, the right to enjoy or maintain ...Continued

A more Holistic approach to Mental Well- Being

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    Even at the best of times, mild incidents of trauma could upset our equilibrium.  And dealing with a pandemic situation as we are now, has its own peculiar challenges, when even interaction with family and friends has been reduced to connecting through social media.   For most people though, especially in Sri Lanka, even keeping in touch through social media is not possibility.  And thus, the COVID related lockdowns has affected a fundamental lifestyle. The situation is worse for those coping with mental ...Continued

Should there be another entrance to Horton Plains?

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The Imbulpe Pradeshiya Sabhawa wants to open up a Belihuloya entry way to Horton Plains. But Wildlife officials are not enthusiastic about that plan. Declared a National Park in 1988, Horton Plains is currently accessed through two entrances; the Ohiya and Pattipola Gates. Rich in biodiversity this montane grassland and cloud forest is where three of Sri Lanka’s major rivers, the Kelani, the Walawe and the Mahaweli begin.   It is home to many endemic species, some that are only found within the Horton Plains. ...Continued

Gender Parity and Inclusivity only a Dream in Asia’s oldest...

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New Zealanders elected a new parliament a few days ago and with it they’ve got themselves a well-represented legislature in terms of inclusivity. Indeed the 53rd Parliament of New Zealand consists of not only several members of colour and of the LGBTQ+ community butalso a higher number of women parliamentarians.   Prime Minister Jacinda Arden’s Labour Party bagged 64 of the 120 seats and more than half of those members are women. One of them is Sri Lanka born Vanushi SitanjaliWalters née Rajanayagam.  A lawyer by profession, ...Continued

Ragging; Is deploying Intelligence Services on Campuses the Answer?

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    In September this year, Defence Secretary, Major General Kamal Guneratne told the Sunday Times that ragging in Universities will be eradicated with the assistance of the State Intelligence Services (SIS) and other such Intelligence agencies.  The newspaper also quoted the new chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Professor Sampath Amaratunga as saying that the Vice Chancellors of universities had been consulted and they too were in agreement with this plan. He had stated that the reason to involve the State intelligence apparatus ...Continued

CWC Seeks New Horizons for Plantation Community

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Current leaders of the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) believe it’s time they stepped up their efforts to bring plantation workers on par with all other Sri Lankans in terms of economic and educational standards. Even as the country and the world moved on, life on the plantations have barely changed, they say.  “The CWC was primarily concerned with winning citizenship rights, and then protecting that hard won privilege.  It is now time to move on and improve all other living conditions,’ explained Assistant Secretary, International ...Continued

In Pursuit of a genuine Republic

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In 1972 Sri Lanka cut its ties to the British Monarchy, and officially became a Republic.   Yet, it seems that both citizens and administrators continue to live in the frame of mind of the ruler and the ruled, even though being a Republic is an opposing form of government to Monarchic rule. Co-authors of the “Sri Lankawe Swadeena Rajya Komisan Sabha (Independent Commissions of Sri Lanka), published by the People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections  (PAFFREL) which was released in Colombo on Monday, September ...Continued

Unless Regulations are Enforced More Buwelikada Tragedies will Recur

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Unless Regulations are Enforced More Buwelikada Tragedies will  Recur In Buwelikada, Kandy, the collapse of a five-storied residence resulted in the untimely death of a weeks old infant and her young parents, on Sunday, September 20. The victims were not residents of the house that collapsed, but neighbors, whose house was partly buried by the rubble. Reports and photos of the collapse are raising more questions than answers as rumours of the events that led to the collapse spread.  But what is certain is that ...Continued

Preventing Suicide amongst Senior Citizens

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Preventing Suicide amongst Senior Citizens Sri Lanka no longer tops the world ranking in suicide and that is good news. While that is a thing of the past, successfully managed through a Presidential Task Force appointed in 1997 to bring down the rate of suicide in the country, we cannot pat ourselves on the back.  No, not yet.  Not when our world ranking on suicide is at 29 out 157 countries, and still showing up ‘Red’ on the World map with approximately 14.2 deaths by ...Continued

Not too late to Halt Destruction of Our Natural Resources

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Allegations of misappropriation of monies running into millions of rupees, be it the bond scam, Helping Hambantota or pay-offs on projects are not uncommon in Sri Lanka.  Whether it’s aid or public funds, it has a value, both monetary and fixed. The same however is not the case when it involves natural resources, for the loss is not financial, rather, the negative impacts of such destruction will be felt for generations to come for all of humanity. This past month, two of Sri Lanka’s, nay, ...Continued

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