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CPA Newsletter - December 2013

Published on January 2017 | Categories: Documents | Downloads: 5 | Comments: 0



December 2013

Outreach Unit
Promoting Language Rights of Minorities (PLRM) – Phase 3
Nov 14 -16 2013 PLRM TOT workshop Kandy A ‘Training of Trainers’ workshop was held Nov 14-16 for new trainers from the five districts newly added to the programme, namely Kandy, NuwaraEliya, Monaragala, Matale and Badulla. 14 trainers attended, 4 of them women. Partner organisation heads were also invited so as to ensure their commitment & support to the project. The workshop introduced the trainers to the objectives of the programme, the progress to date, the legal background to Language policy, and included practical exercises on how to plan and implement the targeted workload. A session was also reserved to brief the trainers on reporting requirements. A number of trainer experiences and suggestions surfaced from the workshop including that of preparing a Trilingual Resource CD of Common Signage. Nov 20 – 21 Trainers Meeting for Finalisation of Action plans Trainers from the 6 districts of the North and East met Talahena, Malabe in a two day workshop to finalise the Action Plans created at the regional level. Of 15 participants 4 were females. The aim of the workshop was to complete the formal profiles of villages and to finalise the Action plans for each area based on the profiles. Actions were categorized as those the LS members could initiate themselves and those that the CPA Outreach Team would need to assist with and monitor. An afternoon session on 21 November was dedicated to building the capacity of Trainers towards better news stories and project reporting and project progress was also evaluated at the Trainer meeting. PLRM Making of Profiles As part of the language audit of regions, village level profiling was carried out by Trainers based on input from LS members.

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Profiles were created by identifying the common institutions operating at the regional level, from 9 types of government offices, to village institutions, private outlets, nonprofit organizations, schools, clinics, common areas such as grounds, cemeteries and places of religious worship including any and every kind of regional body; state, private, common or community based, which could be included in the study. Action plans were subsequently drawn up based on the information collected for the profiling process. Project on Safeguarding Civil Rights of Plantation Sector Workers, 2013 Their hard labour powers the multi-million dollar industry that is Sri Lankan tea, but the estate sector workers of Badulla district are still some of the poorest, most marginalised people in Sri Lanka. Fostered by a system that does not want to let go of its hold on cheap labour, conditions in the estate sector of the Uva Province have remained almost unchanged by recent post war development drives. Exemplifying the administrative neglect of these communities is the fact that many plantation sector workers have never had a permanent contact address to their name. CPA Outreach and its local partner UvaShakthi Foundation, has worked on a pilot project in Passara, Badulla (in the Uva Province) in an endeavor to safeguard the delivery of correspondence reaching the plantation sector workers of the area. In the last six months this project has arranged to provide permanent addresses for 3000 families of estate workers. The project also organized setting up secure mail collection boxes in 20 localities, selecting new road names and providing trilingual signage for 40 of the estate by-roads in the area. Mobile clinics were also hosted to speed up the application process for more than 300 National Identity Cards, which may otherwise reach owners late or never. The latter is particularly relevant to a large number of students who are due to sit for exams shortly.

Numbering of the houses and assigning addresses is underway and will be completed soon, and a mini directory containing addresses and house numbers is being prepared with arrangements being made to gazette it legally. Preliminary discussions were also held for setting up of Language Societies basically in the targeted areas, within the programme of giving permanent addresses to the plantation community. As a result of this preliminary discussions have been started for establishing Language Societies in selected estates and 30 villages in Divisional Secretaries Divisions of Lunugala and Passara. An event is planned for 9 December where, in a historic first among the entire plantation sector community, permanent addresses secured under this project are to be officially handed over to beneficiaries, along with the presentation of certificates of appreciation for the many who volunteered to make this a success. Read more about the project here and view the short documentary here. Associated articles in the media: ‘Were Language Lessons Learnt?: Part 1’ and ‘Were Language Lessons Learnt: Part 2’ published in Ceylon Today. The Tamil daily Thinakkural published an article written by Mr.Manoharan, ‘Rights the Tamil language has in the Sri Lanka’s Constitution’.

The Outreach Unit is mandated with complementing CPA‐initiated interventions by spreading awareness among citizens to facilitate an informed public dialogue on relevant issue towards an overall goal of peace, democracy and good governance.

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Centre for Policy Alternatives: December 2013: http://www.cpalanka.org

Media Unit
Youtube video published 15 November 2013 by the BBC. The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) was held in Sri Lanka in November, with leaders of Canada, India and Mauritius boycotting the gathering and other official delegations downgrading their representation. This was in large part due to enduring concerns over the Human Rights record of the Sri Lankan government, particularly with the regard to the last few months of the end of the civil war in 2009. The BBC sent a special production team to cover CHOGM. Coverage of the gathering included an indepth report on the issues underlying the boycotts and other controversies by George Alagiah, followed by a studio discussion by Impact presenter Lucy Hockings with Sri Lankan Democracy Activist Nirmala Rajasingam, and Dushy Ranatunge, a London based journalist for the Sri Lankan newspaper, The Island. Sanjana Hattotuwa, Senior Researcher and Head of the Media Unit is featured in the video giving a short interview. . Access the video here. The following articles were published in the lead up to and during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), with the resulting spikes in traffic repeatedly leading to the site crashing temporarily. Together, these articles constitute some of the most read, shared and commented on the site since its inception seven years ago, over a comparable period of time. Access all CHOGM related updates are here.

CHOGM related video series by Vikalpa can be accessed here.

The Media Unit in CPA was constituted to inform and shape the practice and culture of governance in Sri Lanka through strengthening professional media as well as through innovations in new and digital media, including mobile telephony.

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Centre for Policy Alternatives: December 2013: http://www.cpalanka.org

Governance and Anti-Corruption Programme
Introductory meeting on recent Local Authority Acts The Governance programme of CPA, recently organized a one day introductory session on the Local Authorities (special provisions) Act, No.21 and Elections (Amendment) Act, No.22 of 2012, for the elected members and officials of Trincomalee Town & Gravet Pradeshiya Sabha as well as the community leaders representing Pradeshiya Sabha committees the area. The event was held in Trincomalee on 27 November 2013. Over 45 participants attended this workshop and Mr. N.A. Dharmasiri, Former Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Local Government (Western province), Sriyanie Wijesundara, Manjula Gajanayake and Chandrsekaran Manimaran of CPA were present. Dissemination of recent publications More than 5,000 copies of 7 new publications published by Governance Programme of CPA were handed over to the Leaders of all Pradeshiya sabhas in the Northern Province on 25 November in Jaffna. These publications were produced with the financial support of USAID and the majority of elected council members of Pradeshiya Sabhas in the Northern Province have contributed their valuable suggestions and critiques through attending consultation workshop organized by CPA, prior to the production of the publications. Additionally, copies of those publications were presented to the libraries of Pradeshiya Sabha sub offices in the North, the Jaffna library, Jaffna University and the Provincial Council among other institutions.
Secretary of Town & Gravet Pradeshiya Sabha (extreme right) and other two elected council members are attending to the introductory meeting on recently approved new local authorities acts organized by CPA at Town & Gravet P.S. auditorium in Trincomalee.

Chandrasekaran Manimaran, a staff member of CPA is handing over a parcel of publications to Mr. P.Sanjeewan, Chairman of Point-Pedro Pradeshiya Sabha in Jaffna.

The Governance & Anti-Corruption programme commenced in July 2007, the unit focuses on Governance issues. Other important areas of concern are procurement, Right to Information and accountability. More information on the Governance & Anti-Corruption programme here. Access Flickr site here.

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Centre for Policy Alternatives: December 2013: http://www.cpalanka.org

VILAASAMA which in olden day Sinhala means a ‘Missive’, and is translated into Tamil as VILAASAM, is the Report of the Project on Safeguarding Civil Rights of Plantation Sector Workers and highlights moments from the project and interviews with many of the stakeholders and beneficiaries involved. Access links to the VILAASAMA magazine in English, Tamil and Sinhala here. Vibhasha issues number 11 in Sinhala and number 10 in Tamil were published in November. Work on English issue number 9 is underway.

Media Coverage
On web and mainstream media
        Five-judge Bench reserves order, Ceylon Today, Published 1 November 2013 CPA challenges 2014 budget, TBC London, Published 2 November 2013 CHOGM Journalist Guide,, Human Rights Watch, 8 November 2013 CHOGM traffic plans: Colombo in chaos?, The Republic Square, 7 November 2013 Shocking Threats to Civil Society in Sri Lanka - says New Report, Civicus, 11 November 2013 PM Attends Meeting Amid Calls For Boycott, The Tribune, 14 November 2013 Commonwealth hits human rights controversy in Sri Lanka, RFI, 15 November 2013 Sara Demands Apology From Lankadeepa; Denies CBK – Sunethra – Special Canadian Rep Meeting Story   Not quite paradise?, Nouse, 26 November 2013 Sri Lanka's Potemkin Peace: Democracy Under Fire, Refworld, 13 November 2013

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Centre for Policy Alternatives: December 2013: http://www.cpalanka.org

Legal & Constitutional Unit
CPA in its policy brief titled ‘Politics, Policies and Practices with Land Acquisitions and Related Issues in the North and East of Sri Lanka’ issued 20 November 2013 draws attention to several disturbing trends of land acquisition and related issues in the North and East. The brief makes the case that since the end of the war, instead of using land policies to further reconciliation, the Government of Sri Lanka has abused provisions within the Land Acquisition Act among other pieces of legislation to take over thousands of acres of land in a manner that predominantly affects minority communities and facilitates entrenched militarisation in the North and East. Download as a PDF here or read online here. The matters and concerns emphasised in the case include the reality that the Sovereignty of the People, the Rule of Law and the Supremacy of the Constitution would be imperiled through the provisions of the said Bill that are inconsistent with and / or in contravention of the provisions of the Constitution, and thus ought not be permitted to pass validly into law through a simple majority in Parliament alone. CPA has on several occasions in the past challenged Bills- including the Appropriation Bill for the financial year 2013- which had a direct impact on Parliaments full control over public finance. The said same provisions were challenged by CPA and its Executive Director in 2012 and subsequent to the determination by the Supreme Court the budget had to be passed by a majority of two-thirds of the whole number of Members of Parliament voting in favour of it. CPA is concerned that the proposed Bill is part of a continued effort to denude Parliamentary oversight over public finance which is essential to promote accountability and transparency in the manner in which tax payer money is utilised. The resulting position would be that Parliament would be rendered impotent to curb the excesses of the Executive arm of government, and thereby consolidate Executive control over the other arms of government. The matter (SC SD 19/2013) was taken up in the Supreme Court on 4th November 2013. Written Submissions were filed on the 7th November 2013. The Supreme Court sent its determination on this matter to the Speaker on the 21st of November 2013. The Legal and Constitutional Unit leads CPA’s programming on issues of Constitutional Reform, Law Reform, Electoral Reform and Human Rights. Rs.1100 billion (in the next financial year) without any requirement for Parliament to scrutinize and approve the terms related to the raising of each of such loans. CPA in its Petition contended that the Bill amounts to a clear violation of the Constitution which mandates that Parliament shall have full control over Public Finance. Sovereignty, which includes the powers of government, fundamental rights and the franchise, is in the People and is inalienable. The removal of specific public funds from within the control of Parliament is directly inconsistent with the Constitution and amounts to a grave violation of the inalienable sovereignty of the People.

The Centre for Policy Alternatives Vs. Attorney General (Appropriation Bill) (SC SD 19/2013) The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and its Executive Director challenged the provisions of the Appropriation Bill for the financial year 2014 which was placed on the order paper of Parliament on the 22nd of October 2013. In its Petition CPA challenged the constitutionality of Clause 5, 6, 7 and 2(1) b of the Bill. Clause 5 and 6 of the Bill permits the Secretary to the Treasury or any authorised officer to reallocate funds between heads/programmes without prior permission or subsequent ratification by Parliament. Furthermore Clause 7 permits the Finance Minister, with the approval of the ‘Government’- as opposed to Parliament- to withdraw monies allocated to a particular purpose, if he thinks such monies are not required. Clause 2(1)(b) of the Bill grants blanket authorisation to the Executive to raise foreign or local loans up to

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Centre for Policy Alternatives: December 2013: http://www.cpalanka.org

Social Indicator
In November, Social Indicator released ‘Democracy in post-war Sri Lanka’ which sought to record public perspectives on democracy in Sri Lanka today. The findings were presented under seven key sections – Economy and Development, Post War Sri Lanka, The Government, Media, Tolerance, Identity, and Role of Religion and Ethnicity in Politics. This survey is a follow up to the first survey which was conducted in 2011. Conducted in the 25 districts of the country, the survey captured the opinion of 2045 Sri Lankans from the four main ethnic groups. The selection of respondents was random across the country except in a few areas in the Northern Province where access was difficult. Fieldwork was conducted from August – September 2013. Three info graphics on the topics of Economy, Tolerance and Post War Sri Lanka were also created using data from the survey.

Links to the infographics can be found here and here. Read the full report, the data from which the info graphics were created, here. The top line survey report is available for immediate download here as a PDF. It can also be read online here. Social Indicator is the survey research arm of CPA. Socio-economic and political issues constitute the predominant focus of its research. Access Flickr site here.

Centre for Policy Alternatives (Guarantee) Ltd. (CPA) 24/2, 28th Lane Off Flower Road Colombo 7, Sri Lanka Tel: +94 11 2565304-6, 5552746, 5552748 Email: [email protected] Legal & Constitutional Unit Tel: +94 11-2565304-6 E-mail: [email protected] Media Unit Tel: +94 11 2375239 E-mail: [email protected] Social Indicator Tel: +94 11 2370472/4 – Ext 14 E-mail: [email protected] Governance & Anti-Corruption Programme Tel: +94-11-2564404 E-mail: [email protected] Outreach Unit Tel: +94 11 5540146, 5540141 E-mail: [email protected] Conflict and Peace Analysis Unit Tel: +94-11-2565304-6

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The Centre for Policy Alternatives was formed in the firm belief that there is an urgent need to strengthen institution and capacity-building for good governance and conflict transformation in Sri Lanka and that non-partisan civil society groups have an important and constructive contribution to make to this process. If you are not already subscribed to the CPA Newsletter, subscribe on the CPA website to keep up with the latest updates from the Centre for Policy Alternatives.

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Centre for Policy Alternatives: December 2013: http://www.cpalanka.org

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