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  • Niqab Ban In France Violates Human Rights Of Muslim Women: UN Human Rights Committee
    The United Nations Human Rights Committee said France’s niqab ban violates the human rights of Muslim women and risks “confining them to their homes.” Women in France can be fined up to 150 euros for wearing the niqab, a full-face...
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  • Rathana At It Again; ACJU Is The Punching Bag For Everyone
    By Mass L. Usuf Mass Usuf Let this column begin with a Disclaimer. It is only an analysis and the writer is not holding a brief to defend or protect the All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulema (
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  • Democracy Threatened: Impunity, Political Patronage & Rollback Of Devolution
    By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole – R. Sasilan: Assistant Commissioner of Elections Today we are opening new living quarters for our Election Commission’s man-in-charge in Batticaloa. I am so glad because R. Sasilan is a man I am proud of. He stands up for what is right without fear or favor. When a minister distributed gifts in elections some years ago, he confiscated a gift pack and filed a complaint with the police. The police, as often happens, disappeared the evidence. Sasilan sent a report to the Commission and that too disappeared....
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  • Coronavirus funerals: Sri Lanka's Muslims decry forced cremation
      Image copyrightEPA Image captionSri Lankan Muslim women wait for a Covid-19 test. Some in the community are fighting cremation rules Sri Lankan authorities are insisting on cremation for coronavirus victims - a practice forbidden by Islam. The nation's minority Muslim community says they are using the pandemic to discriminate, writes BBC Sinhala's Saroj Pathirana. On 4 May, Fathima Rinoza, a 44-year-old mother of three from Sri Lanka's minority Muslim population, was admitted to hospital with a suspected case of Covid-19. Fathima, who lived in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, had been suffering from respiratory problems and the authorities feared she had caught the virus. On the day she was admitted to hospital, the family was "set upon" by the authorities, her husband Mohamed Shafeek said. "The police and military along with...
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  • ජිනීවා මානව හිමිකම් කවුන්සිලයේදී රටවල් 5කින් ලංකාවට චෝදනා
    පාස්කු ප්‍රහාර සම්බන්ධයෙන් සැකපිට අත්අඩංගුවට ගෙන සිටින නීතිඥ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා රඳවා තබාගැනීම, විශේෂ බළකායේ සැරයන් සුනිල් රත්නායකට ජනාධිපති සමාව ලබාදීම ඇතුළු කරුණු ගණනාවක් පදනම් කරගනිමින් එක්සත් රාජධානිය ඇතුළු රටවල් 5ක කණ්ඩායමක් එක්සත් ජාතීන්ගේ මානව හිමිකම් කවුන්සිලයේදී ශ්‍රී ලංකාවට චෝදනා එල්ල කර ඇතැයි ජිනීවා තානාපති...
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  • මුස්ලිම් නීතිඥයාට එරෙහිව 'ත්‍රස්ත සාක්කි' ගෙතූ රහස් පොලිසියට විනිසුරු විරෝධය

      පාස්කු බෝම්බ ප්‍රහාරයට සම්බන්ධ යැයි ජනමාධ්‍ය මගින් ප්‍රචාරය කරමින් ත්‍රස්තවාදය වැළැක්වීමේ පනත යටතේ අත්අඩංගුවට ගනු ලැබු මුස්ලිම් ජාතික නීතිඥවරයකුට එරෙහිව ව්‍යාජ සාක්ෂි ගෙතීමට රහස් පොලිසිය විසින් දරණ ලද උත්සාහයක් විනිසුරුවරයකුගේ මැදිහත්වීම නිසා ව්‍යර්ථ වී තිබේ.

    නීතිඥ හිජාස් ඕමර් හිස්බුල්ලාහ් රඳවා...
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  • Gnanasara Thero Once Again Inciting Sinhalese Against Muslims
    Malicious campaign pushing discriminated and frustrated Muslims to wall Few weeks ago Ven Galagoda Atte Gnanasara Thero, known for inciting Sinhalese and unleashing violence against Muslims, said he would dissolve his organisation Bodu Bala Sena as it has achieved its target of setting up a Sinhala Buddhist government without minority support. Latheef Farook Following the election of the present government to power on 15 November 2019, he was rather quiet. Now that the parliamentary election is forthcoming, he has started his campaign once again pitting the Sinhalese against Muslims.There were reports that during the presidential elections in November 2019 Buddhist monks and temples were used to demonize Muslims to win Sinhala votes assuring security. As part of this campaign to win Sinhala votes, he attempted to brand as extremist, several...
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  • Hejaaz: A lawyer for all seasons

    A year has passed since the deadly Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka. Victims, survivors, and the general public still await answers. Amidst these desperate demands for accountability, Hejaaz Hizbullah, a prominent Muslim lawyer, is suddenly – and most unexpectedly – arrested and detained.

    I met Hejaaz during the first-ever debating tournament I participated in. He led the team from S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia, and I represented St. Joseph’s College, Colombo. Our teams made it to the finals that year. I recall Hejaaz as a fierce competitor with the rare gift for conveying an argument with charisma and conviction. He also had a great sense of humour, taking friendly banter in good spirit. The Thomians triumphed that year, and deservedly so.

    What strikes me now is...
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  • Muslim writer in jail for 60 days without "explicit evidence"
    A group of activists in Sri Lanka has called upon the government for the unconditional release of a Muslim writer who has been held in detention for more than
    sixty days without “explicit evidence being produced”.

    In a letter to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim activists say that Ramzy Razeek arrested on April 09 for allegedly violating the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Cyber Crimes Legislation has also been denied medical treatment and legal access in detention.

    “Despite orders from the Magistrate to allow him access to medicine, reliable sources state that his health condition is deteriorating due to lack of access to specific medicines of which he is in dire need. A lawyer attempting to visit Razeek this week, was also denied...
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  • அடையாள அணிவகுப்புக்கு முன் ஹிஜாஸின் அடையாளத்தைக் காட்ட சிஐடியினர் முயற்சித்தார்கள்
    இரு சிறுவர்களிடமிருந்தும் வாக்குமூலம் பெறுவதற்கு முன்னர் சிஐடியினர் தனது அறையில் வைத்து ஹிஜாஸ் ஹிஸ்புல்லாஹ்வின் புகைப்படத்தை அவர்களுக்குக் காண்பிப்பதற்கு முயற்சித்தார்கள் என கோட்டை நீதவான் ரங்க திசாநாயக்க தெரிவித்துள்ளார்.

    புத்தளம் மத்ரஸாவொன்றின் மாணவர்களுக்கு தீவிரவாதத்தைப் போதித்தார் என சிஐடியினர்...
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A True Patriot will never Harm Minorities

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A True Patriot will never Harm Minorities
https://ceylontoday.lk/news/a-true-patriot-will-never-harm-minorities

By Mass L. Usuf | Published: 8:27 PM Jun 14 2020


“The concealed malignancy of hypocrisy is more harmful than open hostility.” (Ayatollah Agha Pooya).

Today, we live in a society where hypocrisy is seen in abundance.  In fact, two-facedness is common in many fields, be it party politics, religious persuasion, social interaction, inter-ethnic relations, family relationship and so on.  No one would admit his/her hypocrisy because it has, some way or the other, attained the status of an accepted ‘new normal’. The admittance of the ‘new normal’ per se proves the extent to which even the society itself has condescended. If necrophilism or cannibalism for whatever reason disgusts us, hypocrisy too should be disgusting to us. Hypocrisy, undoubtedly, is a spiritual and moral abomination and a disturbing mental condition that threatens society.  When it is said to them:

"Do not make mischief (corruption, conflict) on the earth, “they say: "We only want to make peace (reforms)." (Quran, Chapter 2 Verse 11).

It is said that the term hypocrite refers to a person whose inward reality differs from his outward appearance; One who is two-faced or a double-dealer. Hypocrites do not use logic or rational reasoning to achieve their personal goals or profits; instead, they unjustly oppose whichever is of benefit to them.. A hypocrite says something with his tongue that he does not believe in his heart.

Vulgarised Patriotism

This column will briefly examine the prevalence of hypocrisy in the vulgarised adaptation of ‘patriotism’ in Sri Lanka.  A style, definition and interpretation concocted fluidly to suit the agendas of our far-right politicians and the notoriously deviant monks. There was an amusing poster in the social media recently with a picture of police brutality and two onlookers.  One of them asks, “where did this happen?” The other person said, “In Sri Lanka”. The questioner replied, “Then don’t talk about it, you will be considered unpatriotic”. This gives us a sense of perceived ‘patriotism’. 

All stand up with respect and that innate sense of sanctity, when the national flag flutters, as if choreographed to the tune of the accompanying national anthem. We do experience a strange feeling when singing along. Sometimes even goose bumps.  Such sensations are stimulated by the flow of inner spirituality that lay deep within us. This affection reminds us of our natural link to the belly of the soil in which we were born – Mother Lanka. Just like the umbilical cord connecting the mother to her infant. Through the medium of the national anthem, we express this attachment by eulogising that sentiment of reverence and closeness.

Change the National Anthem

For a moment reflect on the following words in the anthem, eka mawakuge daru kela bewina (as children of one mother). The extreme right wingers ‘patriotically’ utter these words with unbounded passion.  Despite this, given an opportunity, they would not hesitate to cause mayhem in the society. Abusive allegations and accusations are relentlessly hurled at the Tamil Sankaralingam, the Muslim Abdullah and the Christian Joseph.  Hate statements are not censured but tolerated, for example; ‘They do not belong here. They need to be kept in their places. They are invasionists, terrorists, fundamentalists, separatists and dangerous conspiracists. They should not be given any recognition. They are minorities.’ Basically, denying the minorities their bond to the motherland.

If that is the limit of the understanding of these dumb heads about plurality and diversity in a 21st century globalised setting, they may need to change the words in the national anthem. 

It is interesting to analyse the display of blatant hypocrisy by such people in relation to the National flag. We have seen them standing up for the national anthem and bowing to the national flag with much respect.  However, when these extremists are in the act of violence, they hypocritically carry an altered or distorted national flag. The Orange stripe depicting the Tamil ethnicity and the Green stripe showing the Moor ethnicity is brazenly removed.  These stupids ignorantly and unashamedly retain the saffron border of the flag.  This saffron border has been aesthetically designed to depict Buddhism.  Not only that it also has another purpose and, that is, to symbolise ‘unity among the people’ of a plural Sri Lanka. Imagine the extent of confusion and barefacedness of these right-wing extremists when they chose to alter the Sri Lankan national flag.

Compulsive Liars

Buddha’s teachings on ethics and conduct especially, of the monks are of a very high standard.  To uphold such teachings and disseminate it to the layman is the responsibility of the clergy.  The majority of the clergy sincerely engage in this dharmic cause and have earned the respect and esteem of the people.

There is however, another bunch of few robed monks who are completely different from the respected venerables.  They add fuel to fire by craftily intervening to give prominence to the hypocrites from among the laymen.  By doing so opportunistically exploit to their favour and fame the reverence given to the saffron robe. The paragons who are expected to refrain from speaking lies, falsehood and fabricated information very commonly violate this precept unchallenged by anyone.  These monks continue to lie knowing well that you know that they are lying. The media and the general public respect the saffron robe. The police because of this respect, hardly apply the rule of law to the monks.

Of course, most of the people belonging to the Sinhala community are severely embarrassed by the behaviour of these monks. They know there is nothing in their hearts except to cause trouble. They are like hallow timber, which is useless by itself, and has to be propped up against other things. This is very evident because you see them showing up from hibernation given the slightest chance. Unfortunately, these monks very unkindly and callously also, dishonour by their ill-mannered conduct, the deep respect and reverence that is due to some of the most respected venerable monks. 

One may wonder if these ill-behaved monks are mentally diseased and, therefore, deserve our kindness, care and concern.  Charles Ford, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Alabama Birmingham and author of Lies! Lies!! Lies!!! says, when it comes to compulsive liars, "words seem to flow out of their mouths without them thinking about it."  Robert Reich, M.D., psychiatrist and expert in psychopathology, says compulsive lying is associated with a range of diagnoses, such as antisocial, borderline and narcissistic personality disorders.

“When you look at them, their physical appearance attracts you and when they speak, you carefully listen to them. In fact, they are like propped up hollow trunks of wood (unable to stand on their own).”

(Quran, Chapter 63 Verse 4).

Not Acceptance but Respect

Sankaralingam, Abdullah and Joseph are not pleading from these extremists and ethno-racist nationalists to accept them.  They are demanding that they be respected as human beings, respected as equal citizens, respected as those belonging to this soil and to be respected as equal to any true patriot of this soil.

The following lines picked from an article, ‘Buddhism and the race question’, explains:

“Buddhism from the first proclaimed the oneness of mankind and denied that birth in a particular race or caste was or should be an obstacle towards anyone developing his potentialities as a man or

as a spiritual being.  Such obsessions, which are the accumulated products of acquired erroneous beliefs, are among the intoxicants (avijjasava) of the mind and have to be got rid of by a process of self-analysis and conscious elimination. (G. P. Malalasekera and K. N. Jayatilleke.)

If you claim to be a true patriot, then respect the words in the national anthem and, also, do not distort the national flag.  Accept both of these honestly and with sincerity before making the grand claim of being a patriot.  Let us all unite to focus in directing our combined energy and efforts towards taking care of Mother Lanka.

__._,_.___
Posted by: Mass Usuf < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

 

Order to produce Hijaaz Hizbullah in court to be delivered on July 1

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An order to produce Attorney-at-Law Hijaaz Hizbullah, who is currently under detention, in Court will be delivered by Colombo Fort Magistrate on July 1.

Hijaaz Hizbullah was arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on April 14 for his alleged link to the Easter Sunday attacks.

However, the CID did not present him before Court after his arrest and detention.

When the matter was taken up before Colombo Fort Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake, the CID said that they are still recording statements and conducting investigations into the matter.

However, Wasantha Nawarathna Bandara PC with Hafeel Farisz, Pasan Weerasinghe, Ashan Bandara and Harshana Nanayakkara who are appearing on behalf of Hijaaz Hizbullah informed the Court that the detention order was signed by the President upon the fact for aiding and abetting a suicide bomber named Inshaf Ahmed.

"The CID had failed to present at least a single fact pertaining to the detention order and a political hand is suspected behind this issue," PC Wasantha Nawaratne Bandara said.

He raised questions as to how the two confidential statements given before the Magistrate earlier by two young children were leaked to the media.

PC Bandara claimed that the CID leaked the contents of the two confidential statements to the media. (Yoshitha Perera)


http://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/Order-to-produce-Hijaaz-Hizbullah-in-court-to-be-delivered-on-July-1/108-190198

 

இலங்கையில் கொரோனா, முஸ்லிம் சமூகத்துக்கு எதிரான வேறுபாடு, பயங்கரவாத தடைச் சட்டம், ஹிஜாஸ் ஹிஸ்புல்லாஹ்

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இலங்கையில் கொரோனா, முஸ்லிம் சமூகத்துக்கு எதிரான வேறுபாடு, பயங்கரவாத தடைச் சட்டம், ஹிஜாஸ் ஹிஸ்புல்லாஹ்

 

 

  • சரோஜ் பதிரண

சில மாதங்களுக்கு முன்பு இலங்கையின் உயர்நீதிமன்றத்தில் நடந்த வழக்கொன்றில் இளம் வழக்கறிஞர் ஒருவர் வாதாடிய விதம் அனைவரது உள்ளத்தையும் கொள்ளை கொண்டது. முழு நாட்டினதும் கவனத்தை ஈர்த்த இந்த வாதம், அவரது தரப்பினரால் மட்டுமன்றி எதிர்த்தரப்பினராலும் பாராட்டப்பட்டது. ஜனாதிபதி மைத்திரிபால சிரிசேன சட்டவிரோதமாக பிரதமரை பதவியில் இருந்து இறக்கி, பாராளுமன்றத்தைக் கலைத்தமைக்கு எதிரான அடிப்படை உரிமை மீறல் வழக்கே அது. தேசிய தேர்தல்கள் ஆணைக்குழுவின் உறுப்பினர் பேராசிரியர் ரத்னஜீவன் ஹூல் தாக்கல் செய்த மனு சார்பிலேயே இந்த இளம் வழக்கறிஞர் ஆஜராகியிருந்தார். இவரது வாதம் குறித்து த இந்து பத்திரிகையின் ஊடகவியலாளர் மீரா சிறீநிவாசன் குறிப்பிடும் போது, அத்தியாயம் 33(2)(இ) இல் குறித்துரைக்கப்பட்டுள்ள ஒரு நபரின் (ஜனாதிபதியின்) பார்வை, மக்களினதும் அவர்களது உரிமைபெற்றவர்களினதும் பார்வையை விட சக்தி வாய்ந்தது என்ற வாதம் முன்வைக்கப்பட்ட போது, அதற்கு ஒரே ஒரு வார்த்தை மட்டுமே உள்ளது, அது தான் சர்வாதிகாரம் என  ஹிஜாஸ் ஹிஸ்புல்லாஹ் அதனை எதிர்த்து வாதாடினார் எனக் குறிப்பிடுகின்றார். இவரது வாதம் எவ்வளவு பலமானது என்றால், விசாரணையின் முடிவில் மனுதாரர் சார்பில் ஆஜராகிய சட்டத்தரணிகள் உட்பட அனைத்து மூத்த வழக்கறிஞர்களும் சேர்ந்து எடுத்துக் கொண்ட புகைப்படத்தில் ஏனையவர்கள் நின்றிருக்க இவர் மட்டுமே இருக்கையில் அமர்ந்திருந்தார். அவரது திறமையை மதிக்கும் வகையிலேயே அவரை இவ்வாறு செய்வதற்கு ஏனையவர்கள் வற்புறுத்தியிருந்தனர்.

போராளி

இப்படி தேசிய அளவில் முக்கியத்துவம் வாய்ந்த பல வழக்குகளில் ஆஜராகிய இவர் அத்துடன் நிறுத்திக் கொள்ளாமல் அநீதி, அநியாயம் என அவர் காணும் எந்த விடயத்துக்காகவும் வீதியில் இறங்கிப் போராடுபவராக இருந்தார். சுழலும் நாற்காலியிலமர்ந்து போராட்டம் நடத்துபவராக அவர் இருக்கவில்லை. இப்படி நீதித்துறையிலும், ஜனநாயகத்தையும் மனித உரிமையையும் மதிக்கும் பலராலும் மதிக்கப்படும் இந்த இளம் வழக்கறிஞர் ஏப்ரல் 14 முதல் பொலிஸாரினால் தடுப்புக் காவலில் வைக்கப்பட்டுள்ளார். அவர் தான் ஹிஜாஸ் ஹிஸ்புல்லாஹ்.

அவருக்கு நீதி தேடி ஆரம்பிக்கப்பட்டுள்ள Justice for Hijaz என்ற டுவிட்டரில் அவரைப் பற்றி தெளிவாகக் குறிப்பிடப்பட்டுள்ளது. சட்டத்தின் ஆட்சியை உறுதிப்படுத்துவதும், ஜனநாயகத்தைப் பாதுகாப்பதும், விளிம்பு நிலையிலுள்ள குரலற்ற மக்களின் குரலாகச் செயற்படுவதும், நல்லிணக்கத்துக்காக உழைப்பதும், தீவிரவாதத்துக்கு எதிராக வாதிடுவதும் தேசப்பற்று என்றிருந்தால், ஹிஜாஸ் ஹிஸ்புல்லாஹ் உண்மையான தேசப்பற்றாளர் என அதில் குறிப்பிடப்பட்டுள்ளது.

இவருக்கு ஈஸ்டர் தாக்குதலுடன் தொடர்பிருப்பதாக தகவல் கிடைத்துள்ளதனால் தொடர்ந்தும் விசாரணை நடைபெற்று வருகிறது என பொலிஸார் தெரிவிக்கின்றனர். மூன்று மாத தடுப்புக் காவல் உத்தரவு பெறப்பட்டு அவர் தடுத்து வைக்கப்பட்டு விசாரிக்கப்படுவதாக பொலிஸ் ஊடகப் பேச்சாளர் ஜாலிய சேனாரத்ன பிபிசி சிங்கள சேவைக்குத் தெரிவித்துள்ளார். தமக்கு எதிராகச் சுமத்தப்பட்டுள்ள குற்றச்சாட்டுகள் தொடர்பில்  தமது வழக்கறிஞர்களுடன் சுதந்திரமாகக் கலந்துரையாடுவதற்குக் கூட அவருக்கு அவகாசம் வழங்கப்படவில்லை. ஈஸ்டர் தாக்குதலுடன் அவரைத் தொடர்புபடுத்துவதை அவரது குடும்பத்தினர் கடுமையாக மறுக்கின்றனர். பயங்கரவாதத் தடுப்புச் சட்டத்தின் கீழ் கைது செய்யப்பட்டு வழக்கறிஞர்களைச் சந்திப்பதற்குக் கூட வாய்ப்பு வழங்காமல் அவரை நீதிமன்றத்திலும் ஆஜர்படுத்தாமல் அரசாங்கம் முன்னெடுக்கும் செயற்பாடுகள் இலங்கையில் மட்டுமன்றி சர்வதேச அளவிலும் கண்டனத்துக்கு உள்ளாகியுள்ளன.

சர்வதேசத்தின் எதிர்வினை

சட்டத்தரணி ஹிஜாஸ் ஹிஸ்புல்லாஹ்வைக் கைது செய்து தடுத்து வைத்திருப்பது குறித்து ஆழ்ந்த கவலை தெரிவிக்கும் வகையில் இலங்கை அரசாங்கத்துக்கு தாம் கடிதம் அனுப்பியுள்ளதாக ஐரோப்பிய ஒன்றியம் மே 26 இல் டுவிட்டர் செய்தி வெளியிட்டிருந்தது. உலகெங்கிலும் உள்ள நீதிபதிகளைப் பிரதிநிதித்துவப்படுத்தும் சர்வதேச சட்ட ஆலோசகர்கள் கவுன்ஸில் (ICJ) சில நாட்களுக்கு முன் வெளியிட்ட அறிக்கையில், ஈஸ்டர் தாக்குதல் தொடர்பிலான விசாரணைகளின் போது, மனித உரிமைகளுக்கு மதிப்பளித்து ஹிஜாஸ் ஹிஸ்புல்லாஹ் தொடர்பிலான விசாரணைகளை நீதியாகவும் சரியான முறையிலும் நடத்துமாறு தாம் இலங்கை அரசாங்கத்தைக் கேட்டுள்ளதாகத் தெரிவித்துள்ளது. சட்டத்தரணி ஹிஜாஸ் ஹிஸ்புல்லாஹ் தொடர்பான வழக்கு விசாரணைகளில் சட்டத்தின் மூலவேர்களில் நின்று செயலாற்றுமாறு சர்வதேச சட்டத்தரணிகள் சங்கத்தின் மனித உரிமைகள் பிரிவு நீதியமைச்சர் நிமல் சிரிபால டி சில்வாவிடம் வேண்டுகோள் விடுத்துள்ளது.

முஸ்லிம் சமூகம் மீதான வேறுபாடு

கொரோனா தொற்று பரவுகின்ற நிலையில், அரசியல் எதிரிகளால் முஸ்லிம்கள் மீது வேறுபாடு காட்டப்படுகின்ற சூழ்நிலையிலேயே அவர் கைது செய்யப்பட்டதாக சர்வதேச சட்டத்தரணிகள் சங்கத்தின் மனித உரிமைகள் பிரிவு சுட்டிக் காட்டியுள்ளது. சிங்களப் பெண்களை மலடாக்குவதற்கான அறுவைச் சிகிச்சை செய்ததாக போலியாகக் குற்றஞ்சாட்டப்பட்ட (இந்தக் குற்றச்சாட்டை உறுதிப்படுத்துவதற்கான சாட்சிகள் இல்லை என குற்றப் புலனாய்வுத் திணைக்களம் நீதிமன்றத்துக்கு அறிவித்திருந்தது) டொக்டர் ஷாபி ஷிஹாப்தீன் சார்பில் ஆஜராகியவர் ஹிஜாஸ் ஹிஸ்புல்லாஹ் என்பது குறிப்பிடத்தக்கது. இன்னும் பல உள்நாட்டு வெளிநாட்டு அமைப்புக்கள், சட்டத்தரணிகள், சிவில் நிறுவனங்கள், சிவில் செயற்பாட்டாளர்கள் எனப் பல தரப்புக்களும் அரசாங்கத்தின் செயற்பாடு தொடர்பில் தீவிரமாக கேள்வி எழுப்பியுள்ளன.

ஹிஜாஸ் ஹிஸ்புல்லாஹ்வைக் கைது செய்வதுடன் தொடர்புடைய சம்பவங்கள் குறித்து ஊடகவியலாளர் ஜயனி அபேசேகர வரைந்துள்ள நீண்ட கட்டுரையில் கொரோனா வைரஸ் காவல்துறையினருக்கோ அரசாங்கத்துக்கோ சட்டத்துக்குப் புறம்பாகச் செயல்படுவதற்கு வழங்கப்பட்ட லைசன்ஸ் அல்ல எனக் குறிப்பட்டுள்ளார். இதற்கிடையில் ஒக்ஸ்போர்ட் பல்கலைக்கழகத்தில் கலாநிதிக் கற்கையில் ஈடுபட்டிருக்கும் சட்டத்தரணி கெஹான் குணதிலக, சந்தேக நபர்களைக் குற்றவாளியாக்க இலங்கை ஊடகங்கள் ஏன் இவ்வளவு ஆசைப்படுகின்றன என  டெய்லி எப்டியின் கட்டுரையொன்றை மேற்கோள் காட்டி கேள்வி எழுப்பியுள்ளார்.

ஹிஜாஸ் ஹிஸ்புல்லாஹ்வின் குடும்பத்தினர் சுட்டிக் காட்டுவதன்படி, பயங்கரவாத தடைச் சட்டத்தின் கீழ் அவர் கைது செய்யப்பட்டதிலிருந்து பாதுகாப்புத் துறையினர் நடந்து கொண்ட விதம் கடுமையான சந்தேகங்களைக் கிளப்பியுள்ளது. குடும்ப உறுப்பினர்களால் நீதிமன்றத்தில் தாக்கல் செய்யப்பட்ட ஆட்கொணர்வு மனு மற்றும் அவர்களால் வெளியிடப்பட்ட அறிக்கைகளின்படி, பொலிஸ் மற்றும் பெரும்பாலான ஊடகங்கள் செயற்படும் விதம் தொடர்பில் பின்வரும் விடயங்களைக் குறித்துக் காட்ட முடியும்.

  • அவரைக் கைது செய்வதற்கு பொலிசார் வருவதற்கு முன்னர் கிடைத்த தொலைபேசி அழைப்பில், தனிமைப்படுத்தலைக் கருத்திற் கொண்டு சுகாதார அதிகாரிகள் அவரது வீட்டுக்கு வருவதாகக் குறிப்பிடுகிறது
  • அதிகாரிகள் வீட்டுக்கு வந்ததும் அவரைக் கைவிலங்கிட்டு வாக்கு மூலம் பெற்றனர்
  • கைது செய்யப்பட்டதிலிருந்து இதுவரை அவர் நீதிமன்றத்தில் ஆஜர் செய்யப்படவில்லை
  • அவரது சட்டத்தரணியைச் சட்டத்தரணியைச் சந்தி்ப்பதற்கு இரண்டு தடவைகள் மட்டுமே அவர் அனுமதிக்கப்பட்டார். அதுவும் புலனாய்வுப் பிரிவு அதிகாரியின் முன்னால் வழங்கப்பட்ட 10 நிமிடங்கள் மாத்திரமே. அதிலும் அவர் மீதான குற்றச்சாட்டுக்கள் குறித்துப் பேசுவதற்கு அனுமதி வழங்கப்படவில்லை.
  • அவர் ஒரு மத்ரஸாவின் அதிபர் எனவும், ஈஸ்டர் தாக்குதல் சூத்திரதாரி ஸஹ்ரான் ஹாஷிம் அங்கு வந்து விரிவுரை நிகழ்த்தியுள்ளதாகவும் திடீரென ஒரு குற்றச்சாட்டு இவர் மீது முன்வைக்கப்பட்டது. இந்த மத்ரஸாவின் மாணவர் ஒருவர் நீதிமன்றத்துக்கு முன்வைத்ததாகச் சொல்லப்படுகின்ற இரகசிய வாக்குமூலமொன்றும் ஊடகங்கள் வாயிலாக வெளிப்படுத்தப்பட்டது.
  • இந்தக் குற்றச்சாட்டை அப்பட்டமான பொய்யென மறுத்த குடும்பத்தினர், இரகசிய அறிக்கையொன்று எப்படி ஊடகங்களுக்குக் கிடைத்திருக்கும் எனக் கேள்வி எழுப்புகின்றனர்.
  • இதற்கிடையில் பொலிஸார் பலவந்தமாக வாக்குமூலம் பெற்றதாக மத்ரஸா மாணவர்கள் இரண்டு பேரின் பெற்றோர் நீதிமன்றத்தில் முறைப்பாடு செய்துள்ளனர்.

சிங்கள ஊடக அறிக்கைகளை பகுப்பாய்வு செய்யும் ethics eye அமைப்பும் இந்த அறிக்கைகளின் நெறிமுறைகளை கேள்விக்குட்படுத்தியுள்ளது.

பொலிஸாரின் எதிர்வினை

விசாரணைகள் இன்னும் முடிவடையாததாலேயே சடடத்தரணி ஹிஜாஸை இதுவரை நீதிமன்றத்தில் ஆஜர்படுத்தவில்லை என பொலிஸார் தெரிவிக்கின்றனர். பயங்கரவாத தடுப்புச் சட்டத்தின் கீழ் பிடிவிராந்து இல்லாமல் வீடுகளில் நுழைந்து எவரையும் கைது செய்வதற்கு பொலிசாருக்கு அதிகாரம் இருக்கிறது. எனவே அவர் இன்னும் சிஐடியின் கீழ் தடுத்து வைக்கப்பட்டுள்ளதாக பொலிஸ் ஊடகப் பேச்சாளர் ஜாலிய சேனாரத்ன பிபிசிக்கு தெரிவித்திருந்தார். விசாரணை முடியும் வரை நாங்கள் அவரைத் தடுத்து வைக்க வேண்டி வரும் எனவும் அவர் குறிப்பிட்டிருந்தார்.

கைது செய்யப்படுவதற்கு முன்னர் சுகாதார அதிகாரிகளாகச் சொல்லப்பட்டவர்கள் எவரும் அவருக்கு தொலைபேசி அழைப்பு எடுத்ததாக தமக்கு எந்தவித தகவல்களும் அறிவிக்கப்படவில்லை எனக் கூறும் பொலிஸ் ஊடகப் பேச்சாளர், விசாரணைகள் தொடர்ந்தும் நடைபெறுவதால் தம்மால் வெளிப்படுத்த முடியுமான தகவல்களை மாத்திரமே ஊடகங்களுக்கு வழங்க முடியும் எனவும் தெரிவித்தார்.

பொலிஸ் அதிகாரி ஜாலிய சேனாரத்ன தெரிவிப்பதன்படி, ஈஸ்டர் தாக்குதல் தொடர்பான விசாரணைகள் அரசியல் நோக்கம் கொண்டவையல்ல, எனவே அதற்கு அரசியல் அழுத்தங்கள் ஏதும் இல்லை. ஈஸ்டர் தாக்குதலில் சம்பந்தம் இருப்பதாகச் சந்தேகம் இருந்தால் ஹிஜாஸைக் கைது செய்வதற்கு ஏன் ஒருவருட காலம் எடுத்தது என பிபிசி சிங்கள சேவை கேட்டதற்கு, தாக்குதல் தொடர்பில் விசாரணைகள் தொடர்ந்தும் நடைபெற்று வருவதால் மேலும் சந்தேக நபர்கள் தொடர்பிலும் முன்வரும் காலங்களிலும் தகவல்கள் வெளிவரக் கூடும் என அவர் தெரிவித்தார். – பிபிசி சந்தேசய

 


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පාස්කු ඉරුදින ප්‍රහාරය සම්බන්ධයෙන්  නීතීඥ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා මහතා සැකපිට  අත්අඩංගුවට ගෙන රඳවා තබා ගැනීමෙන් ඔහුගේ මූලික අයිතිවාසිකම් කඩ වී ඇති බවත් , ඔහුව මුදා හරින නියෝගයක් නිකුත් කරන්නැයි ඉල්ලා ගොනු කළ මූලික අයිතිවාසිකම් පෙත්සම සම්බන්ධයෙන්  වන විරෝධතා සතියක් ඇතුළත ගොනු කරන්නැයි ශ්‍රේෂ්ඨාධිකරණය අද (01) වැඩබලන පොලිස්පතිට සහ නීතිපතිවරයාට නියෝග කළේය .

එසේම එම විරෝධතා වලට එරෙහි සීමිත විරෝධතා ද සතියක් ඇතුළතදී ගොනු කරන්නැයිද අධිකරණය පෙත්සම්කාර පාර්ශවයේ නීතීඥවරුන්ට නියම කළේය.

මෙම පෙත්සම ත්‍රිපුද්ගල   ශ්‍රේෂ්ඨාධිකරණ විනිසුරු මඩුල්ල හමුවේ සලකා බැලූ අතර එහිදී මෙම නියෝගය ලබා දෙන ලදී.

එල්.ටී.බී.දෙහිදෙණිය , ප්‍රීති පද්මන් සූරසේන සහ ගාමිණී අමරසේකර යන මහත්වරුන් ගෙන් යුතු විනිසුරු මඩුල්ලක් හමුවේ පෙත්සම කැදවිණි.

නීතීඥ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා මහතා වෙනුවෙන් නීතීඥ ගෞරී සංගරී තවරාසා මහත්මිය ගොනු කල මෙම පෙත්සමේ වගඋත්තරකරුවන් වශයෙන් අපරාධ පරීක්ෂණ දෙපාර්තමේන්තුවේ අධ්‍යක්ෂ , එහි ස්ථානාධිපති ,නීතිපති ඇතුළු හය දෙනෙකු නම් කරනු ලැබ සිටිති.

සැකපිට අත්අඩංගුවට ගෙන රඳවා  ගැනීම නීතිවිරෝධී බවට ප්‍රකාශ කරන ලෙසත් , නීතීඥ  හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා මහතා බැලීමට  ඔහුගේ පවුලේ ඥාතීන්ට හා නීතීඥවරයෙකුට අවසර ලබා දෙන අතුරු නියෝගයක් නිකුත් කරන්නැයි ද මෙම පෙත්සම මගින් ඉල්ලා ඇත.

ගොනු කළ පෙත්සමේ මෙසේද සදහන් වේ.

අප්‍රේල්  14 වන දා රහස් පොලිසිය විසින් නීතිඥ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා මහතා අත්අඩංගුවට ගනු ලැබීය.එම අත්අඩංගුවට ගැනීමට හේතු කිසිවක් ඉරිදිපත් නොකර  තිබිණි.නීතීඥ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා මහතා අත්අඩංගුවට ගත් දිනට පසුදා එනම් අප්‍රේල් 15 වැනිදා  මාධ්‍ය හමුවක් පවත්වමින් පොලිස් මාධ්‍ය ප්‍රකාශකවරයා පාස්කු දින එල්ල කරන ලද ත්‍රස්ත ප්‍රහාරය සම්බන්ධයෙන් සැකපිට තම සේවාදායකයා අත්අඩංගුවට ගත් බව ප්‍රකාශ කර තිබිණි.ඊට අමතරව එහිදී මාධ්‍යවේදියෙකු යොමු කල ප්‍රශ්නයකට පිලිතුරු දෙමින් පොලිස් මාධ්‍ය ප්‍රකාශකවරයා කියා සිටියේ නීතිපති උපදෙස් නොමැතිව මේ සිද්ධිය සම්බන්ධයෙන් නීතීඥ හිස්බුල්ලා මහතා ඇතුළු  සැකකරුවන් අත්අඩංගුවට ගත් බවය.

පෙත්සම්කරුව බැලීමට නීතීඥවරයෙකුට අවසර ලබා දෙන්නේ නැත.එසේම එම නීතීඥවරයා මෙතෙක් කිසිදු මහේස්ත්‍රාත්වරයෙකු හමුවට ඉදිරිපත් කොට නැත.

තවද පෙත්සම්කරු අත්අඩංගුවට ගෙන රදවා තබා ගැනීමට කිසිදු හේතුවක් නොමැත.ජනාධිපතිවරයා නොමඟ යවමින් අපරාධ පරීක්ෂණ දෙපාර්තමේන්තුව මෙම ක්‍රියාව සිදු කර ඇත. එබැවින් නීතීඥ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා මහතා අත්අඩංගුවට ගැනීමට නීතියට පටහැනි වේ.

පාස්කු ඉරුදින ප්‍රහාරයට සම්බන්ධ යැයි කියන ප්‍රකට කුළුබඩු ව්‍යාපාරිකයෙකු වන මොහොමඩ් යූසුෆ් ඊබ්‍රාහිම් නැමැත්තගේ සිවිල් නඩු දෙකකට නීතීඥ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා මහතා පෙනී සිට ඇත.එම නඩු කොළඹ දිසා අධිකරණය හමුවේ විභාග වෙමින් පවතී.

නීතීඥ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා මහතා "සේව් ද පර්ල් " නැමැති භාරයේ භාරකරු වේ.මෙම සංවිධානය මෙරට මුස්ලිම් ප්‍රජාව පිළිගත් බොහෝ දෙනෙකු මෙම භාරයේ සාමාජිකයන් වෙති.සේව ද පර්ල් භාරයෙන් ආධාර ලබන ළමුන් පිරිසකටද අපරාධ පරීක්ෂණ දෙපාර්තමේන්තුවේ නිලධාරීන් විසින් හිරිහැර හා තර්ජන සිදු කර අඅති බවද දැනගන්නට තිබේ.

ඔහු නිතියට පටහැනි කිසිවක් කර නොමැත එසේම නීතීඥ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා මහතා සද්භාවයෙන් තමන් දන්නා සියල්ල අපරාධ පරීක්ෂණ දෙපාර්තමේන්තුවට ප්‍රකාශ කර ඇත.ඔහු හිටපු අමාත්‍ය රිෂාද් බදුද්දීන් මහතාගේ නීතීඥවරයා ලෙස දීර්ඝ කාලයක් කටයුතු කළ අයෙකි. එසේම ප්‍රකට සිවිල් හා දේශපාලන ක්‍රියාකාරකම් වෙනුවෙන් පෙනී සිටි නීතීඥවරයෙකි.

එම අත් අඩංගුවට ගැනීම තුළින් නීතිඥ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා මහතාගේ මූලික අයිතීන් කඩ වී ඇති බවට තීන්දුවක් ලබාදෙන ලෙසත් , මෙම පෙත්සම විභාගයට ගැනීමට අවසර ලබා දෙන ලෙසද පෙත්සමෙන් ඉල්ලා තිබේ.තවද රදවා සිටින නීතීඥවරයා හමුවීමට ඔහුගේ පවුලේ ඥාතීන්ට හා නීතීඥවරයාට අවසර ලබා දෙන අතුරු නියෝගයක් නිකුත් කරන්නැයිද පෙත්සමින් ඉල්ලා ඇත.

එමෙන්ම අත්අඩංගුවේ පසුවන එම නීතිඥවරයා මහේස්ත්‍රාත්වරයෙකු සහ ශ්‍රේෂ්ඨාධිකරණයට හමුවට වහාම ඉදිරිපත් කරන ලෙසට අතුරු නියෝගයක් නිකුත් කරන ලෙසත් ,ඔහුව මුදා හැරීමේ නියෝගයක් නිකුත් කර ඔහුගේ මූලික අයිතිවාසිකම් කඩ වී ඇති බවට ප්‍රකාශ කර ඔහුට සුදුසු වන්දි මුදලක් ලබා දෙන්නැයි  පෙත්සම්කාර නීතිඥවරිය සිය පෙත්සමෙන් ශ්‍රේෂ්ඨාධිකරණය වෙත වැඩිදුරටත් ඉල්ලා තිබේ.

පෙත්සම්කාර නීතීඥ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා මහතා වෙනුවෙන් ජනාධිපති නීතීඥ ඉක්‍රාම් මොහොමඩ් , නීතිපති වෙනුවෙන් නියෝජ්‍ය සොලිසිටර් ජනරාල් නෙරින් පුල්ලේ සහ රජයේ නීතීඥ අවන්ති පෙරේරා යන මහත්ම මහත්මීහු පෙනී සිටියහ.

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Hejaaz Hizbullah, The Shining Young Attorney Held Incommunicado By Mass L. Usuf

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The dreaded Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act No. 48 of 1979 (PTA) has been in public discussion ever since it was enacted. It was initially introduced in Parliament as ‘Temporary Provisions’ vide Section 29 of the Act which read:

“The provisions of this Act shall be in operation for a period of three years from the date of its commencement.”
Thereafter, this Temporary Provision paradoxically found a permanent abode, approximating four decades, by virtue of an amendment; “Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Amendment Act, No. 10 of 1982. It now reads:

“Section 29 of the principal enactment is hereby repealed.”

Widely condemned as an equivalent of Draco’s law, this statute was passed under the watch of the JR Jayewardene Presidency. It was specifically designed to confer on the police wide powers relating to search, arrest and detention of suspects. United Nations and International Human Rights organisations have been campaigning for long calling the State to institute reforms to this abusive Act.

This column should not be construed as an effort or campaign supporting Hejaz or any others who had been arrested at different times since 1979.

Rule Of Law Or Rule By Law

 

Sri Lanka is known to be a democratic country. In keeping with that spirit, she has inter alia, judicial institutions, where it is ideally expected that the rule of law Supremes. At a High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Rule of Law on 19 September 2012, it reaffirmed that “human rights, the rule of law and democracy are interlinked and mutually reinforcing and that they belong to the universal and indivisible core values and principles of the United Nations.” The diktat is for world governments to ensure that accountability, equality and justice are upheld and promoted in order to protect and secure the rights of citizens. These comprise the utilitarian aspects of strengthening democracy.

Sri Lanka has showcased its idea of the rule of law in Chapter III of the constitution, dedicating it to Fundamental Rights. The universal norm is that no law can supersede the Constitution of the country. It is said, ‘The judiciary, which applies the law to individual cases, acts as the guardian of the rule of law. Thus, the need for an independent and properly functioning judiciary becomes a prerequisite for the rule of law which requires a just legal system, the right to a fair hearing and access to justice.’

Consequence Of Rule By Law

Statutes, Rules and Regulations, executive actions and policies of a government must be regimented to function under the rule of law. Where there is unconstrained substantive or procedural abuse disregarding law such exploits cease to be governed by this precept. In these instances, the doctrine of rule of law dissipates giving way to the repressive and cruel rule by law. The beginning of abuse is from this point.

In the background of the aforesaid, to quote a dictum from the British Legal Philosopher, H.L.A. Hart is appropriate. It illustrates the timeless limbo of persons like Hejaaz Hizbullah and the many others who have been incarcerated under the dreaded PTA, at different times:

“A paralysed man watching a thief’s hand close over his gold watch is properly said to have a right to retain it as against the thief, though he has neither expectation nor power in any ordinary sense of these words.” (Hart, Essays in Jurisprudence and Philosophy, 1983).

Hart using the analogy of a paralytic draws attention to the condition of a person who has a right but cannot expect to assert that right and, the same person having no power to proclaim his right. How many such ‘paralysed’ persons are languishing in custody? The distressed family members are asking where are the democratic minded citizens who are supposed to act to strengthen equity and justice?

Communication, A Basic Right

This column does not intend to traverse the gamut of the right to communicate. It would suffice to suggest a few markers to get an understanding.

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” (United Nations, 1948).

Our Constitution, 14. (1) (a), states:

“Every citizen is entitled to the freedom of speech and expression including publication”.

This is a restricted right by virtue of Article 15 (7) (2) of the Constitution:

“The exercise and operation of the fundamental right declared and recognized by Article 14(1)(a) shall be subject to such restrictions as may be prescribed by law in the interests of racial and religious harmony or in relation to parliamentary privilege, contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.”

It is clear as daylight that this restriction does not contemplate a situation where a detainee wants to consult with his or her Attorney.

Role of the Judiciary

It is well known, at least theoretically, that the pillars of democracy consist of the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary and the strict separation of their functions. The objective is to ensure proper checks and balances and to prevent the concentration of power. Due to novel developments in the political landscape, there has evolved hybrid versions of this foundation. For example, the separation of powers has significantly become diluted between the legislature and the executive. It is only the judiciary that has been able to stand alone and maintain its independence although, several attempts have been made in the past to inhibit its authority.

At the Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union conference held in Helsinki in September 2019, much emphasis was placed on the protection of the rule of law with special responsibility placed on the judiciary. It resolved:

“Rule of law is the cornerstone of all democratic societies. A proper system of checks and balances maintains the separation of powers, ensures accountability and enhances resilience. In order to maintain trust in public institutions, the principles of legality, legal certainty, prohibition of arbitrariness of the executive powers, judicial independence, impartiality, and equality before the law need to be respected. The role of national and European courts is crucial for ensuring effective judicial protection.”

Animal Rights

With regard to the Rights of Animals, Mahatma Gandhi said: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated.” Interestingly, he juxtaposes the way animals are treated as a measurement of value to judge the greatness and moral progress of a nation. What characteristics of a nation can be judged based on the way humans are treated?

The rights of freedom and liberty of any person are too sacred to be sacrificed at the drop of a hat. American Jurist Ronald Dworkin argues, “If someone has a right to moral independence, this means that it is for some reason wrong for officials to act in violation of that right, even if they (correctly) believe that the community as a whole would be better off if they did.” (Lloyds Jurisprudence, 6th Edition, P. 434).

At a time when man is being silenced by man, it is strange to see and hear some people talking in the following terms, as seen in a poster with a picture of a dog:

“Animals have no voice.

They can’t ask for help.

They can’t ask for freedom.

They can’t ask for protection.

HUMANITY MUST BE THEIR VOICE.”

How confused can we be between the imperatives of treating animals and human beings? It is ironic to note that in Sri Lanka, we are excessively worried about the rights of animals than the rights of human beings.

State Of Limbo Unethical

Hejaz and many others who are under detention, most of them without the due process of law, also deserve this Voice Of Humanity. Apparently, the voice of humanity for the welfare of the humans themselves, seems pathetically lost or hypocritically ignored! Apart from the voice of humanity, it is the duty of the government to treat its subject with equality and concern.

The writer is clearly not campaigning for Hejaz or, for the others in custody under the PTA, that they are innocent. If they are found guilty by a court of law, let them be punished.The emphasis of this column is that suspects should be handled in accordance with the laid down legal procedures. Apply the rule of law and avoid rule by law. Arbitrary actions are prohibited even under international law. Sri Lanka is an unconditional signatory to many international instruments protecting equality in multiple fields. See, Right to equality: The new frontier of judicial activism, by Deepika Udagama.

The Geneva based Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) in its monitoring guidelines on detention centers, states:

“Depriving a person of his or her liberty is a serious coercive act by the State, with inherent risks of human rights abuses. Through the loss of liberty, the detained person comes to depend almost entirely on the authorities and public officials to guarantee his or her protection, rights, and means of existence. The possibilities for persons deprived of their liberty to influence their own fate are limited, if not non-existent.”

Never Deprive

Neither does acceptance of the right of a person make that person noble nor does non-acceptance make that person ignoble. The basic rights of a person are intrinsic to his self as a person and is deep-rooted in the nucleus of his naturally endowed liberty. He should never be deprived of it by arbitrary action or the denial of justice but by the due process of the law.

https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/hejaaz-hizbullah-the-shining-young-attorney-held-incommunicado/

 

ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ කොරෝනා වසංගතය, 'මුස්ලිම් ප්‍රජාවට එරෙහි වෙනස්කම්', ත්‍රස්ත විරෝධී නීතිය සහ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා

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හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා (අසුන්ගෙන)Image copyrightTWITTER/ JUSTICE FOR HEJAAZ

අදින් මාස කිහිපයකට පෙර ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ ශ්‍රේෂ්ඨාධිකරණය ඉදිරියේ පැවති විභාගයකදී තරුණ නීතිඥවරයෙක් පෑ වාග් පෙළහර එහි සිටි බොහෝ දෙනාගේ සිත් ඇදගැනීමට සමත්විය.

රට පුරා මහත් ආන්දෝලනයකට ලක් වූ ඒ නඩු විභාගයේදී ඔහු මතු කළ තර්ක කෙතරම් අවධානයට ලක් වූයේ ද යත් ඔහුගේ මිතුරන් මතු නොව, අධිකරණයේ දී ඔහුගේ ප්‍රතිවාදීන් වූ සගයින් ද ඔහු පැසසීමට පසුබට නොවූහ.

නඩුව, ජනාධිපති මෛත්‍රීපාල සිරිසේන විසින් නීති විරෝධී ලෙසින් අගමැතිවරයා පදවියෙන් පහකොට පාර්ලිමේන්තුව විසුරුවා හරිනු ලැබීමට එරෙහිව පැවති මූලික අයිතිවාසිකම් පෙත්සම් පිළිබඳ විභාගයයි.

එම තරුණ නීතිඥයා පෙනී සිටියේ ජාතික මැතිවරණ කොමිසමේ සාමාජික මහාචාර්ය රත්නජීවන් හූල් ඉදිරිපත් කළ පෙත්සම වෙනුවෙනි.

ශ්‍රේෂ්ඨාධිකරණය ඉදිරියේ ඔහු එදා තර්ක කළ ආකාරය The Hindu පුවත්පතේ මාධ්‍යවේදිනී මීරා ශ්‍රීනිවාසන් මෙසේ වාර්තාකර තිබුණි.

එදා නීතිවේදියාගේ තර්ක පෙළහර කෙතරම් සුවිශේෂී වූයේ ද යත් නඩු විභාගය අවසානයේ පෙත්සම්කරුවන් වෙනුවෙන් පෙනී සිටි ජනාධිපති නීතිඥවරුන් ඇතුළු අනෙක් සියලු ජ්‍යෙෂ්ඨ නීතිවේදීන් නැගිට සිටියදී සමූහ ඡායාරූපයේ අසුන්ගෙන සිටියේ ඔහු පමණය.

එසේ අසුන් ගන්නා මෙන් ජ්‍යෙෂ්ඨ නීතිවේදීන් ඔහුගෙන් පෙරැත්ත කොට ඉල්ලා සිටියේ ඔහු පෑ දස්කමට ගරු කිරීමක් වශයෙනි.

'සටන්කාමියෙක්'

එලෙස ජාතික වශයෙන් වැදගත්කමක් පවතින නඩු විභාග ගණනාවකට පෙනී සිටීමෙන් නොනැවතුණු ඔහු අසාධාරණය සහ අයුක්තිය ලෙසින් ඔහු දුටු දේට එරෙහිව වීදි බට 'හාන්සි පුටු සටන් කාමියෙකු' නොවූ සැබෑ සටන්කාමියෙක් ද විය.

එසේ නීති ක්ෂේත්‍රයේත්, ප්‍රජාතන්ත්‍රවාදය සහ මානව හිමිකම් ගරු කළ බොහෝ දෙනාගේත් නොමඳ ප්‍රසාදයට ලක් වූ ඒ තරුණ නීතිඥයා පසුගිය අප්‍රේල් 14 වෙනි දින සිට පොලිස් අත්අඩංගුවේ පසුවේ.

ඔහු හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලාය.

ඔහුට යුක්තිය පතා ආරම්භ කර තිබෙන Justice For Hejaaz ට්විටර් ගිණුම අනුව ඔහු 'සියලු ආකාරයේ අන්තවාද ප්‍රසිද්ධියේ හෙලා දුටු, ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ ජාතීන් අතර සංහිඳියාව උදෙසා පෙනී සිටි, අසරණයන්ට සරණ වූ' නීතිවේදියෙකි.

පොලිසිය පවසන්නේ ඔහු පාස්කු ඉරිදා ප්‍රහාරයට සම්බන්ධ වූයේ යයි ලැබී තිබෙන තොරතුරු මත තවදුරටත් විමර්ශන පැවැත්වෙන බවය. මාස තුනක රඳවා ගැනීමේ නියෝගයක් මත ඔහු රඳවාගෙන තවදුරටත් ප්‍රශ්න කරමින් සිටින බව ද පොලිස් ප්‍රකාශක, පොලිස් අධිකාරී ජාලිය සේනාරත්න බීබීසී සිංහල සේවයට පැවසීය.

තමන්ට එරෙහිව එල්ල වී තිබෙන චෝදනා සම්බන්ධයෙන් සිය නීතිවේදියා සමඟ නිදහසේ අදහස් හුවමාරු කරගැනීමට පවා නීතිවේදී හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලාට මෙතෙක් අවස්ථාවක් ලැබී නැති අතර, පාස්කු ප්‍රහාරයට ඔහු සම්බන්ධ බවට එල්ලවන චෝදනාව ඔහුගේ පවුලේ සාමාජිකයෝ තරයේ ප්‍රතික්ෂේප කරති.

ත්‍රස්තවාදය වැළැක්වීමේ පනත යටතේ අත්අඩංගුවට ගෙන, නීතිවේදීන්ට පවා ඔහු හමුවීමට අවස්ථාවක් නොදෙමින් සහ ඔහු අධිකරණයට ඉදිරිපත් නොකරමින් ආණ්ඩුව ගෙන යන ක්‍රියාදාමය ශ්‍රී ලංකාව තුළ පමණක් නොව ජාත්‍යන්තර වශයෙන් ද හෙලා දැකීමට ලක්වෙමින් පවතී.

ජාත්‍යන්තර ප්‍රතිචාර

මැයි 26 වෙනි දින ට්විටර් පණිවුඩයක් නිකුත් කළ යුරෝපා සංගමය, නීතිවේදී හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා අත්අඩංගුවට ගෙන රඳවාගෙන සිටීම පිළිබඳව ප්‍රබල අවධානය පළකරමින් තමන් ශ්‍රී ලංකා ආණ්ඩුවට ලිපියක් යොමු කළ බව සඳහන් කර තිබුණි.

ලොව පුරා රටවල විනිසුරුවරුන් නියෝජනය කරන ජාත්‍යන්තර නීති විශාරදයින්ගේ කොමිසම ද (ICJ) එයින් දින කිහිපයකට පෙර නිකුත්කළ නිවේදනයක දැක්වුණේ, පාස්කු ඉරිදා ප්‍රහාරය සම්බන්ධයෙන් පරීක්ෂණ පැවැත්වීමේ දී මානව හිමිකම්වලට ගරු කරමින් හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා සම්බන්ධ විමර්ශන සාධාරණ සහ නිසි ක්‍රමවේදයට අනුකූලව පවත්වන මෙන් තමන් ආණ්ඩුවෙන් ඉල්ලා සිටින බවය.

නීතිවේදී හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා සම්බන්ධයෙන් පැවැත්වෙන විමර්ශනයේදී නීතියේ ආධිපත්‍යයට අදාළ මූලධර්ම මත පිහිටා කටයුතු කරන ලෙස ඉල්ලා සිටිමින්, ජාත්‍යන්තර නීතිවේදීන්ගේ සම්මේලනයේ මානව හිමිකම් ආයතනය ද, අධිකරණ ඇමති නිමල් සිරිපාල ද සිල්වා වෙත විවෘත ලිපියක් යොමුකර තිබිණි.

'මුස්ලිම් ප්‍රජාවට එරෙහි වෙනස්කම්'

ඔහු අත්අඩංගුවට ගන්නා ලද්දේ, පවතින කොරෝනා වෛරස් වසංගත සමයෙහි, දේශපාලන ප්‍රතිවාදීන් සහ මුස්ලිම් ප්‍රජාවට එරෙහිව වෙනස්කම් සිදුකෙරෙමින් ඇති කාලයක බවත් ජාත්‍යන්තර නීතිවේදීන්ගේ සම්මේලනයේ මානව හිමිකම් ආයතනය පෙන්වා දී තිබිණි.

විශේෂයෙන්ම සිංහල කාන්තාවන්ට 'වඳ සැත්කම්' කළ බවට ව්‍යාජ චෝදනා එල්ල වූ වෛද්‍ය ෂිහාබ්දීන් මොහොමඩ් ෂාෆි වෙනුවෙන් පෙනී සිටි නීතිවේදියා ද ඔහුය. (එම චෝදනාව සනාථ කිරීම සඳහා සාක්ෂි නොමැති බව අපරාධ විමර්ශන දෙපාර්තමේන්තුව අධිකරණයට දැනුම් දී තිබේ)

වෛද්‍ය ෂිහාබ්දීන් මොහොමඩ් ෂාෆිImage copyrightTWITTERImage captionවෛද්‍ය ෂිහාබ්දීන් මොහොමඩ් ෂාෆි

තවත් බොහෝ දෙස්, විදෙස් සංවිධාන සහ නීතිවේදීන්, සිවිල් සංවිධාන සහ ක්‍රියාධරයෝ ආණ්ඩුවේ ක්‍රියාකලාපය දැඩි ලෙස ප්‍රශ්න කළහ.

හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා අත්අඩංගුවට ගැනීම හා බැඳුනු සිදුවීම් ගැන දීර්ඝ ලිපියක් ලියමින් මාධ්‍යවේදිනී ජයනි අබේසේකර අවධාරණය කර තිබුණේ, කොරෝනාවෛරස වසංගතය යනු නීතියට පිටින් කටයුතු කිරීමට පොලිසියට හෝ ආණ්ඩුවට දුන් බලපත්‍රයක් නොවන බවය.

මේ අතර, ඩේලි එෆ්ටී පුවත්පතේ ලිපියක් උපුටා දක්වමින් ඔක්ස්ෆර්ඩ් විශ්වවිද්‍යාලයේ ආචාර්ය උපාධියක් හදාරන නීතිවේදී ගෙහාන් ගුණතිලක, සැකකරුවෙකු වැරදිකරුවෙකු කිරීමට ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ ජනමාධ්‍ය මෙතරම් කැසකවන්නේ මන්දැයි ප්‍රශ්න කර තිබිණි.

හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලාගේ පවුලේ සාමාජිකයින් පවසන පරිදි, ත්‍රස්ත විරෝධී පනත යටතේ ඔහු අත්අඩංගුවට ගැනීමේ සිට මේ දක්වා පොලිසිය හැසිරුණු ආකාරය බරපතල සැක සංකා ගණනාවක් මතු කරන්නකි.

පවුලේ සාමාජිකයින් ගේ ලිපිය

පවුලේ සාමාජිකයින් විසින් අධිකරණයේ ගොනු කරන ලද හිබයාස් කෝපුස් පෙත්සම් සහ ඉන් අනතුරුව නිකුත් කරන ලද ඉහත දැක්වෙන නිවේදනයට අනුව, පොලිසිය මෙන්ම බොහෝ ජනමාධ්‍ය ද හැසිරෙන ආකාරය පිළිබඳ පහත දැක්වෙන කරුණු අවධානයට ලක් කර තිබේ.

  • ඔහු අත්ඩංගුවට ගැනීම පිණිස පොලිසිය පැමිණීමට පෙර ලැබුණු දුරකතන ඇමතුමක සඳහන් වූයේ නිරෝධායන කටයුත්තක් සලකා බැලීම පිණිස සෞඛ්‍ය බලධාරීන් නිවසට පැමිණෙන බවකි.
  • නිලධාරීන් නිවසට පැමිණි වහාම ඔහුට මාංචු දමා ප්‍රකාශයක් සටහන් කරගත්හ.
  • අත්ඩංගුවට ගත් අවස්ථාවේ සිට මෙතෙක් ඔහු අධිකරණයක් වෙත ඉදිරිපත් කොට නැත.
  • ඔහුට සිය නීතිවේදියා හමුවීමට අවසර ලැබුණේ අවස්ථා දෙකකදී පමණි. ඒ, විමර්ශන නිලධාරියෙකු ඉදිරිපස දී විනාඩි 10 ක පමණ කාලයකටය. එහිදී ඔහුට තමන්ට එරෙහි චෝදනා ගැන අදහස් දැක්වීමට අවසර නොලැබුණි.
  • ඔහු මද්රාසා පාසලක විදුහල්පති බවටත්, පාස්කු ප්‍රහාරයේ මහ මොලකරු වූ සහ්රාන් හෂීම් එහි පැමිණ දේශන පැවැත්වූ බවටත් හදිසියේම මාධ්‍ය වාර්තා පළවිය. එම පාසලේ ඉගෙනුම ලබන සිසුවෙක් මහේස්ත්‍රාත්වරයෙකු ඉදිරියේ කරන ලද බව පැවසෙන රහසිගත ප්‍රකාශයක් ද මාධ්‍ය වාර්තාවලට ඇතුළත් විය.
  • අදාළ චෝදනාව සම්පූර්ණයෙන්ම අසත්‍යයක් බව පවසන පවුලේ සාමාජිකයෝ, එසේ රහසිගත ප්‍රකාශයක් කළේ නම් එය මාධ්‍ය වෙත ලැබුණේ කෙසේ දැයි ප්‍රශ්න කරති.
  • මේ අතර පොලිසිය තමන්ගෙන් බලහත්කාරයෙන් ප්‍රකාශයක් ලබාගත් බවට මද්රාසා පාසලේ සිසුන් දෙදෙනකුගේ දෙමාපියන් අධිකරණයට පෙත්සමක් ඉදිරිපත් කර තිබේ.

සිංහල මාධ්‍ය වාර්තා විශ්ලේෂණය කරන ethics eye ආයතනය ද එම වාර්තාවල සදාචාරාත්මක බව ප්‍රශ්න කර තිබිණි.

පොලිසියේ ප්‍රතිචාරය

පොලිසිය පවසන්නේ, නීතිවේදී හිජාස් තවමත් අධිකරණයට ඉදිරිපත් නොකළේ අදාළ විමර්ශන කටයුතු තවමත් අවසන් වී නොමැති නිසා බවය.

ත්‍රස්තවාදය වැලැක්වීමේ පනත යටතේ, වරෙන්තුවකින් තොරව නිවාසවලට පිවිස සෝදිසි කිරීමට සහ පුද්ගලයන් අත්අඩංගුවට ගැනීමට පොලිසියට බලය පැවරේ.

එබැවින් ඔහු තවදුරටත් අපරාධ විමර්ශන කාර්යාංශය යටතේ රඳවාගනු ලැබ සිටින බීබීසී සිංහල සේවය සමඟ කියා සිටි පොලිස් ප්‍රකාශක පොලිස් අධිකාරී ජාලිය සේනාරත්න, "විමර්ශන ඉවර වෙනතුරු අපිට ඔහු රඳවාගන්න වෙනවා," යනුවෙන් ද සඳහන් කළේය.

අත්අඩංගුවට ගැනීමට පෙර සෞඛ්‍ය නිලධාරීන් ලෙසින් හඳුන්වා ගනිමින් ඔහුට ඇමතුමක් දුන් බවක් විමර්ශන නිලධාරීන් තමන්ට දැනුම් දී නැතැයි පවසන පොලිස් ප්‍රකාශකවරයා, විමර්ශනය තවමත් පැවැත්වෙන බැවින් පොලිස් මාධ්‍ය ඒකකය මාධ්‍ය වෙත ලබා දෙන්නේ තමන්ට හෙළි කළ හැකි තොරතුරු පමණක් බව ද පැවසීය.

පොලිස් අධිකාරී ජාලිය සේනාරත්න පවසන පරිදි, පාස්කු ඉරිදා ප්‍රහාරය සම්බන්ධයෙන් පැවැත්වෙන විමර්ශන දේශපාලන අරමුණකින් යුතුව කෙරෙන්නක් නොවේ. එබැවින් එයට කිසිදු දේශපාලන බලපෑමක් නැත.

පාස්කු ප්‍රහාරයට සම්බන්ධ බවට සැකයක් තිබුණේ නම් නීතිඥ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා අත්අඩංගුවට ගැනීම පිණිස ප්‍රහාරයෙන් වසරකට ආසන්න කාලයක් ගත වූයේ මන්දැයි බීබීසී සිංහල සේවය කළ විමසීමට පිළිතුරු දෙමින් ඔහු කියා සිටියේ, ප්‍රහාරය සම්බන්ධ විමර්ශන තවමත් පැවැත්වෙන බැවින් තවත් සැකකරුවන් ගැන ඉදිරියේදී පවා තොරතුරු අනාවරණය වීමට ඉඩ තිබෙන බවය.

කියවන්න:

 

NEC Chairman continuing as one-man commission: Hoole

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August, September dates  discussed for polls 
Bills from 2019 presidential  election not paid
My US citizenship oath nothing to  be ashamed of


National Elections Commission (NEC) member Ratnajeevan H. Hoole has not been in good terms with NEC Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya in recent times and this has been evident in statements Hoole has made to the media. In an interview with Dailymirror, Hoole opens up on his issues with Deshapriya, concerns over the proposed dates for the parliamentary election and several other matters. Excerpts:

Q  There was a lot of debate with regard to the postponed parliamentary poll and now the NEC has picked June 20 to hold the election. Why June 20?


Many have asked why we chose the President’s birthday. I was not aware it is his birth date. Superstition is suggested because the President who did well on November 16 (1+6=7) had set April 25 (2+5=7) for the parliamentary election.
However, on the morning of April 20, as soon as I came to my commission office, Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya (MD) took issue with me over my letter to the commission which he claimed I had given to the press. I responded that a newspaper had it and asked me to confirm I had written the memo, which I did. I added that after that, since it was public anyway, I gave copies to a few who asked for it.
Fortunately, as the argument heated up, Nalin Abeyesekere, PC (NA), crashed in and he was upset that the chairman asked me to agree to May 28 and he knew nothing of it till he read my memo (I feel free to discuss this because a senior journalist who called me that noon recounted every detail of our conversations on the 20th, telling me “I have three good sources in the commission offices.”)
NA held, and I agreed, that we had postponed the April 25 date because of COVID-19 which as of the twentieth morning had got worse and there was no reason to go back on that. Both NA and I said the June 2 deadline for the new Parliament to meet was impossible and a new date should be as late as possible due to COVID-19. MD insisted on a rationale for a date. It was time for our 11 o’clock meeting but I insisted on finishing this matter before leaving my office. All three agreed it should be September 2 (five years after Parliament had met) or August 17 (five years after Parliament had been elected).


"The press too played a subservient role. You folk call the Chairman Head of the Commission. The Commonwealth Secretariat calls him Chief. Editors continue to call him Commissioner when there is no Commissioner. You thrive on sucking up"


After the meeting, MD reopened the date and wanted July 15 with no particular rationale. Then, after another meeting, as if to give a rationale, he had a handwritten paper on which he marked dates April 27 (curfew listed as stated by the government), May 2 to ensure COVID-19 was easing and then 7 weeks (5-7 weeks for campaigning as in the Act) taking us to June 20.
At the commission, he banged the table and said he owes his loyalty only to one country and he never went about swearing allegiance to another. Was he meaning Basil and Gotabaya Rajapaksa or me? I must note that my US citizenship oath “to support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States” has nothing for me to be ashamed of, and I can proudly do that for any democratic state. In contrast, MD was a member of the JVP in its most violent days, committed to overthrowing our democratically-elected government.At that point, I was so relieved to get away from the madness of a May election that I was happy to agree to June 20 and be done with it.
Then in the evening, medical experts met us and were emphatic that no one knew where COVID-19 was going. Dr. Paba Palihawardene, Deputy Director General of Health Services, said “it is highly likely” that COVID-19 would last at least for two years with ups and downs. Dr. Jasinghe was non-committal asking us to decide and that curfews are being lifted.
Later, the commission met again to draft the gazette. The chairman drafted it and gave it to NA who assumed it was as agreed. I had to study the Tamil draft which had the date May 30 for the election. It had to be redone with the right date.
As reported in Dailymirror, (22.4.2020), “the EC yesterday agreed to review [the poll date of 20.4.2020], Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said.” There was no commission meeting from 20.4.2020 6:00 p.m. till now.
SLMC’s Rauff Hakeem and Nizam Kariapper have declared our decision unconstitutional. Not quite. Yes, Article 70(5) is violated. It is violated not by us but because it is impossible for the new Parliament to meet by 02.06.2020 given COVID-19. Even where curfew is relaxed, only 50% of the workforce is to be called. And then we must keep a one-meter distance. How when during elections we commandeer a workforce as large as 300% of the norm? Violation of 70(5) is a fait accompli. The doctrine of necessity justifies that violation. 

Q  With some restrictions likely to still be in place by June as a result of coronavirus, do you really think the environment will be conducive to hold an election or is it too soon?

New ways of bypassing these problems of restrictions are possible. But for innovative solutions, laws need to be amended. Examples are internet voting, multiple voting days to ease staff shortages, real powers to punish polls-law violators (at the commission no one knows of anyone who has been punished since the enactment of the 1981 Act, except for little boys who put up posters), making it necessary for the Attorney General to act within a timeframe when we refer a matter to him. And that requires Parliament to be back. 

Q  Should the old Parliament be convened, in your opinion, on or after June 2 since the election has been postponed from the original date?

It really is the easiest solution. To be a democracy, we need a Parliament of our representatives. Today itself if the President would cancel his gazette of 02.03.2020, everything that flowed from it – particularly the dissolution of Parliament and nomination papers filed – would be nullified. Parliament can then make right all unlawful measures like curfew declaration and the drawing of funds that have been drawn without Parliament.

Q  The election is likely to cost more than earlier estimated with election staff having to need protective gear. Has the commission done an estimate on this?

No. We need to decide on new measures. Our offices have been mostly shut during the pandemic. This is why the election to enable Parliament to convene by June 2 is impossible. Even our bills from the presidential election of November 2019 have not been paid.

Q  You have been very outspoken in recent times on matters related to the work of the commission. And this gives the impression that all is not well among the three members. Is that the case?

Nowhere do we have three people sitting down together and having the same ideas. But it is important to have trust and courtesy to be able to work together. My main issue is the chairman continuing as a one-man commission. As you know, he was commissioner before the 19th Amendment. After his retirement age, he was kept on extension till 19A was ready.
The intention, if you carefully read the law, is to have three members with one as chairman. The only difference was that the chairman had an extra vote if there is a tie, an unlikely event with three members. The commissioner with czar-like powers could not settle into being a co-equal chairman.
The press too played a subservient role. You folk call the Chairman Head of the Commission. The Commonwealth Secretariat calls him Chief. Editors continue to call him Commissioner when there is no Commissioner. You thrive on sucking up.
Then, the Cabinet messed up the commission. They gave a car to the chairman and only a travel allowance to the two members. This was hardly enough for a few meetings. So the other two members could not travel to the commission on a daily basis nor to faraway meetings. Only the chairman could order a commission car for us and we developed a dependent relationship. Nowadays to come during curfew and COVID-19, I need the chairman to arrange my transport. It seemed that the government and press preferred to deal with one man.
Almost all decisions were by the chairman. Staff who were used to a commissioner still treat the chairman as commissioner. He did their performance evaluations without showing us. He gives press conferences where there is no agreement as a commission on what is to be said and we two sit on either side like dummies.



"Nowhere do we have three people sitting down together and having the same ideas. But it is important to have trust and courtesy to be able to work together. My main issue is the chairman continuing as a one-man commission"


The association of all 25 regional assistant/deputy commissioners has been struggling with issues. Here is their email from August 2018 to the two members but we have not got the appointment they wanted:“This is to kindly inform you that we have made a written request to the Secretary - Elections Commission to get an appointment from two commission members. Even though we made the request to meet you, we did not receive any positive response up to now. Instead, we receive several calls from the chairman regarding this appointment and dictating terms for this meeting.  
“Mainly, we do not want to be governed by the chairman’s arbitrary decisions and unethical pressure. This pressure has penetrated our family lives as well. The communication and physical gaps we had with two members is the main reason for these issues according to our knowledge. We never wanted to maintain a gap but someone did.
“Even now, the chairman is trying to limit our representation which is going to meet you. At least we beg you to give us a reasonable time to talk freely. Almost all other District DCs and ACs are willing to express their views on this meeting.
“Our request letter with the Secretary, which we have a doubt whether it communicated to you sirs.”
A meeting was fixed in Colombo on a Sunday. I went there and found the chairman had moved it to Kandy and without transport I could not go.
“This gap” is to have selected subservient staff in Colombo. A minute was generated that the commission devolves its powers to the staff. Since corrected minutes are not given to us, my corrections never came back to me. These selected staff take decisions the chairman dictates. The worst manipulation was the appointment of the Commissioner General through manipulated selection criteria, a closing date advanced and sending the interview invitation late to a good candidate. But Mr. Abeyesekere who was on the interview team withdrew. The chairman now has suggested that the CG be allowed to run the elections.
Although MD denies it, I am informed by senior staff that the gazette dissolving Parliament in October 2018 was prepared by Director Channa de Silva, the two went together to the Presidential Secretariat up to the gate where de Silva alighted from the car and returned, leaving MD to proceed alone.

Q  Is NEC really independent as it is supposed to be or is there bias?


You be the judge.

Q  There had been calls in the past for the commission to be given more powers. Is that still a key requirement?


We do need more powers, but as writer Tisaranee Gunasekera told me, with independent commissions we also need independent members.

http://www.dailymirror.lk/opinion/NEC-Chairman-continuing-as-one-man-commission-Hoole/172-187114

 

Sri Lanka’s Muslim Coronavirus Victims Deserve Honorable Religious Funeral

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While Sri Lankan government remains adamant on cremating bodies of Muslim coronavirus victims, despite an earlier decision to allow burials, doctors worldwide have come out with scientific facts to prove that   burials, now taking place in more than 180 countries worldwide, do not cause any harm to anyone.

Burial for Muslim corona virus dead victims, according to World Health Organization guidelines and local funeral laws, was agreed all over the world  

In a 16 minute video Dr Feroze M Mubarak, COVID-19 Practice Strategy Lead, Clinical Director, SAS North & Central London on scientific facts-Cremation of Covid 19 infected bodies, has explained clearly why in the case of Muslims, Christians and Jews burial should be permitted.

https://youtu.be/NQQxvmgRp08

 

However here in Sri Lanka the government, contravening its own previous guidelines, remains adamant on cremating bodies of Muslim corona victims. Third Muslim corona victim from Kalutara who died on Wednesday 8 April 2020   was cremated in complete secrecy though Muslims view it as desecration of the deceased.

This was not reported in the mainstream local media known for its hostility towards Muslims. Instead ,perhaps to justify the cremation, a section of the media published a fake news saying that the Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates has cremated Muslim corona virus dead.

This misleading report was categorically rejected by the UAE Embassy in Colombo.

There were also increasing reports from Human Rights Watch and numerous local organizations accusing the local media of undertaking a planned campaign to associate Muslims with corona virus, as it is happening in India, to poison the Sinhalese minds against Muslims.

The island’s helpless and voiceless Muslims community is seething with anger. 

In view of the growing pressure from the Muslim community, Muslim parliamentarians met Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to appeal to him to allow burial   as it is done in many parts of the world.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa met them after party leaders meeting at Temple Trees during the first week of this month. When the meeting was about to start Muslim parliamentarians pointed out they would like to meet separate. However the Prime Minister insisted on having the meeting there itself in the presence of others.

Muslim parliamentarians felt uncomfortable with the presence of parliamentarians Wimal Wirawansa and Udaya Gammanpila whose hostilities towards Muslims were common knowledge.

During the meeting SLMC Chairman Rauf Hakeem pleaded not to cremate Muslim corona victims as it violates the religious principles. He supported his plea by citing the World Health Organization circular, government’s own circular and the decision taken by numerous European countries to allow burial of Muslim corona dead bodies.

But, as expected, both Wimal Wirawansa and Gammanpila, opposed and read out statements insisting on cremating Muslim corona victims. This was backed by health ministry officials and the prime minister, insisted on cremating.

Muslims feel that this decision was to punish them for not voting for the government and please the Sinhalese hardliners. They also pointed out that Rajapaksa governments were responsible for Muslims not voting for their governments as memories of their sufferings   under them remain fresh.

There were appeals from Muslims and non-Muslims alike to allow the burials of Muslim corona victim’s dead bodies. 

For example in a statement issued on 7 April 2020  a collective of citizens and organizations comprising leading civil society members, academics and activists, has written to President Gothabaya to follow WHO guidelines and allow burial.

They urged to consider the MOH Circular of April 1, 2020 and amendments dated March 31, 2020 to the MOH Provisional Clinical Practice Guidelines, and instead follow WHO Guidance on the disposal of bodies. They also called upon the president to address the country’s greatly distressed Muslims and put to rest their fears that they are somehow being punished, or that the country has little respect for their concerns.

The letter has been copied to Health Minister Pavithra Waniarachchi, Director General Health Services Dr. Anil Jayasinghe, Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Sudath Samaraweera, Director of the Infectious Diseases Hospital Dr. Hasitha Attanayake, Chief Judicial Medical Officer Dr. Ajith Tennakoon, Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission Dr. Deepika Udagama and WHO Sri Lanka Representative Dr. Razia Pendse.

They pointed out worldwide, including the Chinese province of Wuhan where the disease was first reported, corona victims were buried,

For example The British government assured Muslim and Jewish communities that they will have their religious burial rights respected and there will not be mandatory cremations.

French President Emmanuel Macron assured that Muslims who die in France during the coronavirus pandemic will be buried in accordance with their religious beliefs and traditions.     

In Italy Muslim Covid-19 victims were accorded an honorable Islamic burial and up to ten family members and friends were allowed to attend the funeral prayer from a distance.

In India the Mumbai civic body’s order – that bodies of coronavirus patients can only be cremated, was withdrawn within hours after the state government intervened in the matter.

Urging governments and political leaders not to politicize corona virus issue World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned against using Covid-19 to “score political points”, stating that that he had received deaths threats and has been subjected to racist abuse.

Meanwhile Mariam Ardati, funeral and cemeteries advisor to the Australian National Imams Council (ANIC), said in a statement that Coronavirus cremations would be ‘horrific’

for Muslims, but it was permissible for bodies to be buried in leak-proof plastic bags. This measure was approved by the Islamic body known as the Fatwa Council. 

She said” For Muslims, cremation is not only prohibited, it’s viewed as a desecration of the deceased.

“There remains a connection between the body and soul even in death, so this is something that is quite metaphysical, and it’s a very strongly held belief,” explains Mariam Ardati.

“To inflict that type of treatment on the body in death, it’s quite horrific to even consider.” And, according to Ms Ardati, it’s causing panic, “because these are rights that are afforded to people in death, just as someone has rights afforded to them while they’re alive”.

When a Muslim person dies, their body is honoured with four rituals.

First, the body is washed — with soapy water, clean water, then camphor-infused water — then it is wrapped in a funeral shroud, perfumed with incense.

“Then there’s a communal prayer that’s offered for the deceased, and that’s when the whole community comes together,” explains Ms Ardati.

The fourth rite is that the deceased is buried, not in a coffin, but laid directly onto the earth  

Meanwhile in an appeal to Director General WHO, Organization of Islamic Countries, OIC, and the United Nations, Furkan Careem from Beruwala has appealed to prevail on Sri Lankan government to allow burial of Muslim corona victims.

https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/sri-lankas-muslim-coronavirus-victims-deserve-honorable-religious-funeral/

 

Respect Burial Rights; Stop Hate Speech Against Muslims: UN Tells Gota

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The United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief has urged President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to follow WHO guidelines on the disposal of deceased persons.

Writing to the President, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion said: We would like to encourage your Excellency’s Government to reconsider the provisions in the MoH Guideline by taking into account of the key considerations provided by WHO Guideline for the disposal of the bodies of human beings deceased from the COVID-19, and revise the circular accordingly. In view of the challenges posed by the pandemic it is important that the Government avoids any unnecessary measures that are likely to raise tension and are running contrary to the respect of the fundamental human rights of the persons belonging to different communities that exist in Sri Lanka. Arbitrary decisions concerning the disposal of bodies of victims of the COVID-19 may also have the opposite effect to provoking the reluctance of families and communities to report COVID-19 cases in fear that they may be unable ensure proper funeral or burial rites for their loved ones. Ideally, such provisions should be revised in consultation with all the concerned ethnic and religious communities and other relevant health experts and stakeholders.

“We respectfully reiterate the importance that the Government continues to uphold the right of freedom of religion or belief as well as the right of the minorities even during this challenging time. The protection of the privacy and identity of the patients or deceased without identifying their ethnicity or religious background in public would prevent their stigmatisation as individuals or member of a specific community.

“We are taking the opportunity to stress that it is equally important that your Excellency’s Government firmly condemn any attempt by anyone, irrespective of status, to issue or spread hate messages that are of a nature to instigate ethnic or religious tensions or violence, including through accusations or blame that any particular ethnic or religious community is responsible for the pandemic of COVID-19.”

Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief also ask the President to;

* Clarify the rationale for the decision to limit the method of the disposal of the dead bodies to cremation. Has any consultation been held with relevant health experts, civil society and community members in order to ensure that the decision to prohibit the burial of COVID-19 victims is non-discriminatory, necessary and proportionate to the objective pursued?

* The information if relevant personnel dealing with the disposal of bodies of victims of the COVID-19 have been trained or informed to ensure that the close family member of the deceased get to see the body before it is sealed and that they are informed of the cremation of the body well in advance.

* The measures undertaken to ensure that ethnic and religious minorities, are not discriminated against in the implementation of this MoH Guideline and that their right to freedom of religion or belief with regard to burial rites and practices is upheld and respected.

* The information on the steps taken to tackle potential rise in hate speech against Muslims and other ethnic or religious minorities in Sri Lanka, including by protecting the identity of the COVID-19 patients or deceased?

We publish below the letter in full:

PALAIS DES NATIONS • 1211 GENEVA 10, SWITZERLAND

Mandates of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief; the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; the Special Rapporteur on minority issues; and the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism

REFERENCE: AL LKA 2/20208

April 2020

Excellency,

We have the honour to address you in our capacities as Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief; Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; Special Rapporteur on minority issues; and Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, pursuant to Human Rights Council resolutions 40/10, 42/16, 34/6 and 40/16.

In this connection, we would like to bring to the attention of your Excellency’s Government information we have received concerning the circular by the Ministry of Health of Sri Lanka providing standard guidance on the autopsy practice and the disposal of COVID-19 related dead body.

According to the information received:

In March 2020, the Ministry of Health published Provisional Clinical Practice Guidelines on COVID-19 suspected and confirmed patients (MoH Guideline). This circular includes a chapter on the autopsy practice and the disposal of dead bodies.

Up till the third version of the MoH Guideline published on 27 March 2020, it was provided that a body related to death either confirmed (Category I) or suspected (Category II & III) of COVID-19, should be disposed within 24 hours (preferably within 12 hours) according to the guidance listed below:

• The body should never be washed under any circumstance.

• Cremation or burial is allowed. However, burial is allowed provided that all steps to prevent contact with body [are] ensured.

• The body has to be placed in an airtight sealed body bag and a sealed coffin.

• The grave should have a depth of 6 feet (deep burial). It should not contaminate with ground water.

• The grave should be identifiable and traceable.

• The disposal of bodies must be monitored by police, Ministry of Health and Public Health Inspector.

• The police and other government agencies must follow the legal aspect and their procedures.

However, on 31 March 2020, the Ministry of Health amended the Guideline and the fourth version with the amendments provided that a body related to death either confirmed (Category I) or suspected (Category II & III) of COVID-19, should be cremated within 24 hours (preferably within 12 hours) according to the guidance listed below:

• The body should never be washed under any circumstance.

• The body has to be placed in a sealed body bag and a coffin.

• Exclusive cremation.

• The disposal of bodies must be monitored by police, Ministry of Health and Public Health Inspector.

We understand that this fourth amendment of the MoH Guideline came following the cremation of a COVID-19 victim of a Muslim community on 31 March 2020 in Negombo, without consultation with and against the wishes of his family. We are concerned that the amendment is inconsistent with the Infection Prevention and Control for the safe management of a dead body in the context of COVID-19 guideline provided by World Health Organisation (WHO Guideline). Furthermore, we are concerned of the lack of consideration provided and the lack of sensitivity in the MoH Guideline to different communities and their religious and cultural practices.

We recognize that the pandemic of COVID-19 has posed serious public health challenges and that there is a need to take various factors into consideration in making sure the spread of COVID-19 is contained. While the reasons for the decision of the Ministry of Health to make such amendment have not been communicated, and do not seem to have been decided with any consultation with the relevant communities, we would like to stress that the legitimacy for such amendments should be based on the principles of legality, necessity, proportionality and non-discrimination. Indeed, when cultural or religious sensitivities are involved, an inclusive and participatory dialogue or consultation with relevant stakeholders, including the civil society and different ethnic or religious communities must be conducted before a decision is taken. Such a participatory approach and clear communication to all stakeholders of the steps taken and the reasons for taking such steps, are also more likely to increase public confidence in such measures and minimise public disquiet over such restrictions.

In this regard we would like to bring specific attention to the following:

1. Method of the disposal of dead body- Under the section on Burial, WHO Guideline provides that people who have died from COVID-19 can be buried or cremated. Under the section on Burial by family members or for deaths at home, it further indicated that in contexts where mortuary services are not standard or reliably available, or where it is usual for ill people to die at home, families and traditional burial attendants can be equipped and educated to bury people under supervision. Besides, the WHO Guideline clearly outlined that one of the key considerations is to avoid hasty disposal of a dead from COVID-19.

2. Handling of the dead body- MoH Guideline instructed that the dead body should never be washed under any circumstance and that the body has to be placed in a sealed body bag and in coffin. WHO Guideline does not preclude that a person such as family member or religious leader can prepare the deceased that involved washing, cleaning or dressing body, tidying hair, trimming nails or shaving. It only instructed the necessary safety and health precautions to be taken when any person decided to do so according to their customs or religious rites. It also allows for cloth wrapping.

3. Viewing of body- WHO Guideline also provided that the family wishes only to view the body may do so, as long as the family is given clear instructions not to touch or kiss the body and to use standard precautions at all times. It was furthermore indicated that family and friends may view the body after it has been prepared for burial, in accordance with customs.

By contrast, the MoH Guideline allows the viewing of the body only by close relative/s in a pre-designated area in hospital and it forbids viewing after the body is sealed. Even with this provision in place, some family members of deceased allegedly did not get to see the body before the cremation took place. This has reportedly created a lot of stress to the deceased’s family.

4. Sensitivity to local, customary and religious practices – WHO Guideline has highlighted that the dignity of the dead, their cultural and religious traditions, and their families should be respected and protected throughout. It was advised the need to apply principles of cultural sensitivity or to handle the burial or dead body in accordance with customs while ensuring standard precautions are followed at all time.

We recommend that attention be given in the MoH Guideline to existing cultural and religious sensitivity or traditions in the country. Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) protects everyone’s right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The Human Rights Committee in its General Comment 22 paragraph 4 advises that the freedom to manifest religion or belief may be exercised “either individually or in community with others and in public or private”. It elaborates that the freedom to manifest religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching encompasses a broad range of acts and the concept of worship extends to ritual and ceremonial acts giving direct expression to belief, as well as various practices integral to such acts, including ritual formulae or ceremonial acts.

While the manifestation of religion or belief may be restricted as per Article 18(3) of the ICCPR, to protect public safety, order, health, morals and the fundamental rights and freedoms of others any such limitation must fulfil a number of obligatory criteria including being non-disriminatory in intent or effect and constituting the least restrictive measure. Even in the face of overwhelming public necessity that falls on one or more of the five grounds for permissble limitations noted in Article 18(3), if there is a less restrictive measure, a greater interfernce with the right to manifest one’s beliefs will not be permissible. Given that the WHO Guideline does not discard burial, albeit under specific conditions for the preparation of the body, as one of two means for the disposal of the body, prohibiting burial would not be permissible according to the ICCPR.

Article 27 of ICCPR provides that “In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practise their own religion, or to use their own language.” The 1992 Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities also emphasised that persons belonging to minorities have the right to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, and to use their own language, in private and in public, freely, without any interference or any form of discrimination (article 2.1), and persons belonging to minorities have the right to participate effectively in cultural, religious, social, economic and public life (article 2.2). Moreover, States are required to ensure that persons belonging to minorities may exercise their human rights without discrimination and in full equality before the law (article 4.1) and create favourable conditions to enable persons belonging to minorities to express their characteristics and to develop their culture, language, religion, traditions and customs (article 4.2).

In conclusion, we would like to encourage your Excellency’s Government to reconsider the provisions in the MoH Guideline by taking into account of the key considerations provided by WHO Guideline for the disposal of the bodies of human beings deceased from the COVID-19, and revise the circular accordingly. In view of the challenges posed by the pandemic it is important that the Government avoids any unnecessary measures that are likely to raise tension and are running contrary to the respect of the fundamental human rights of the persons belonging to different communities that exist in Sri Lanka. Arbitrary decisions concerning the disposal of bodies of victims of the COVID-19 may also have the opposite effect to provoking the reluctance of families and communities to report COVID-19 cases in fear that they may be unable ensure proper funeral or burial rites for their loved ones. Ideally, such provisions should be revised in consultation with all the concerned ethnic and religious communities and other relevant health experts and stakeholders.

We respectfully reiterate the importance that the Government continues to uphold the right of freedom of religion or belief as well as the right of the minorities even during this challenging time. The protection of the privacy and identity of the patients or deceased without identifying their ethnicity or religious background in public would prevent their stigmatisation as individuals or member of a specific community.

We are taking the opportunity to stress that it is equally important that your Excellency’s Government firmly condemn any attempt by anyone, irrespective of status, to issue or spread hate messages that are of a nature to instigate ethnic or religious tensions or violence, including through accusations or blame that any particular ethnic or religious community is responsible for the pandemic of COVID-19.

The full texts of the human rights instruments and standards recalled above are available on www.ohchr.org or can be provided upon request.

As it is our responsibility, under the mandates provided to us by the Human Rights Council, to seek to clarify all cases brought to our attention, we would be grateful for your observations on the following matters:

1. Please provide any additional information and any comment you may have on the above-mentioned allegations and concerns.

2. Please provide the rationale for the decision to limit the method of the disposal of the dead bodies to cremation. Has any consultation been held with relevant health experts, civil society and community members in order to ensure that the decision to prohibit the burial of COVID-19 victims is non-discriminatory, necessary and proportionate to the objective pursued?

3. Please provide information if relevant personnel dealing with the disposal of bodies of victims of the COVID-19 have been trained or informed to ensure that the close family member of the deceased get to see the body before it is sealed and that they are informed of the cremation of the body well in advance.

4. Please indicate the measures undertaken to ensure that ethnic and religious minorities, are not discriminated against in the implementation of this MoH Guideline and that their right to freedom of religion or belief with regard to burial rites and practices is upheld and respected.

5. Please provide information on the steps taken to tackle potential rise in hate speech against Muslims and other ethnic or religious minorities in Sri Lanka, including by protecting the identity of the COVID-19 patients or deceased?

This communication, as a comment on pending or recently adopted legislation, regulations or policies, and any response received from your Excellency’s Government will be made public via the communications reporting website within 48 hours. They will also subsequently be made available in the usual report to be presented to the Human Rights Council.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of our highest consideration.

Ahmed Shaheed

Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief

https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/respect-burial-rights-stop-hate-speech-against-muslims-un-tells-gota/

 

Anguish as Sri Lanka forces Muslims to cremate COVID-19 victims

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Rights group and activists accuse gov't of forcing cremation of Muslim COVID-19 victims in disregard to WHO guidelines.

The forced cremation of two COVID-19 infected Muslims in Sri Lanka has sent shock waves among the minority community, which accused the authorities of violating Islamic burial rites.

Bishrul Hafi Mohammed Joonus, a 73-year- old  man from the capital Colombo who died of COVID-19, was the second Muslim to have been cremated in the Indian Ocean island nation, which has registered 151 cases so far.

Bishrul's son Fayaz Joonus, 46, said his father who had a kidney disorder tested positive for the virus about two weeks ago. He died on April 1 and was cremated the following day.

Fayaz said they could not perform congregational funeral prayers, called the Janazah, for his father due to fear of infections.

"My father was taken in a vehicle under the supervision of the police force and was cremated. We did some prayers outside the morgue, but it was not a Janazah that us Muslim typically do," Fayaz told Al Jazeera.

"The government needs to make arrangements for us Muslims to be able to bury our loved ones in accordance with our Islamic burial rites."

 

"If there is an option of burial, our government should accommodate. Cremation is not the only option, we want to bury our loved ones as per the Islamic way," he told Al Jazeera.

Sri Lanka's Ministry of Health on Tuesday issued COVID-19 guidelines saying the standard procedure of disposing bodies should be cremation. It reversed an earlier guideline that allowed traditional Muslim burial.

It also said the body should not be washed and placed in a sealed bag and a coffin, as against the Islamic practice of washing the body.

Amnesty calls on authorities to stop forced cremation

Muslim leaders and activists have pointed out that the World Health Organization (WHO) allows both burial or cremation for people dying due to the pandemic.

Prominent lawyer Ali Sabry said in a Facebook post that he was disappointed with authorities' decision to cremate bodies of Muslims, as it was in disregard to the WHO guidelines, which say that a body can be either buried or cremated.

Out of the four people who died due to COVID-19, two were Muslims. The cremation of Muslims has caused anguish in the community.

"The Muslim community sees this as a racist agenda of extremist Buddhist forces that seem to hold the government to ransom," Hilmy Ahamed, vice president of Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, told Al Jazeera.

"The guidelines issued by the WHO is practised by Britain, most of the European countries, Singapore, Hong Kong and all the Muslim nations [except for Sri Lanka]," he told Al Jazeera.

Amnesty International has also called on authorities to "respect the right of religious minorities to carry out the final rites" according to their own traditions.

"At this difficult time, the authorities should be bringing communities together and not deepening divisions between them," Biraj Patnaik, South Asia director at Amnesty International, said in a statement.

"Grieving relatives of people who have died because of COVID-19 should be able to bid farewell to their loved ones in the way that they wish, especially where this is permissible under international guidelines."

Muslims account for 10 percent of Sri Lanka's 21 million population. But their relationship with the majority Sinhala Buddhists deteriorated in the years after the end of civil war in 2009 during which hardline Buddhist groups were blamed for several attacks against Muslims' businesses and places of worship.

Following the deadly attacks in April 2019 that killed more than 250 people, Muslims have faced increased hostility from the Sinhala majority.

A little-known Muslim organisation was blamed for the island nation's worst attack since the civil war fought between the government forces and the Tamil separatist fighters.

"This is just to hurt the feelings of the minority," Azath Salley, leader of the National Unity Alliance political party and the former governor of Western province, told Al Jazeera.

'Anti-Islamic sentiments'

The method of the disposal of the body has become a big talking point in the country, with a section of the media accused of running "anti-Muslim hysteria" and pointing fingers at Muslims for the spread of the virus.

Nalaka Gunawadenne, a media analyst said amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it is very disturbing and disheartening to see anti-Islamic sentiments and anti-Muslim hate speech "raise their ugly head again in Sri Lanka".

“This is national and global emergency shared by all humans, and not a time highlighting our cultural divisions. The coronavirus does not care about our ethnic or religious differences. We need to fear the virus - not each other - and unite in containing and battling the disease." he told Al Jazeera.

Government officials from the health services department did not respond to repeated calls from Al Jazeera for comment.

Meanwhile, Fayaz, who is in a makeshift quarantine centers in Punani in the eastern province, said he did not inform his mother of his father's death and cremation.

"She has heart disease and we don't want to risk it. She won't be able to bear it."

Both & racism are killer contagions, that sicken anyone who catches them. Ironically, we lock down on one, but open floodgates to the other. Only way to save us is to improve immunity to them, as individuals and a nation. media should responsibly help the recovery.

207 people are talking about this

Now 's Hon. Politicians are trying to protect their baby rather than trying to protect the country or nations from .

This is very clear, this is only the option to sustain their career if they protect baby.

Shame!

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SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS


https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/anguish-sri-lanka-forces-muslims-cremate-covid-19-victims-200403053706048.html

 

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ඊයේ දින ‌කොරෝනා නිසා මරණයට පත් වූ මීගමුවේ පුද්ගලයාගේ මිනිය භූමිදානය කිරීමට කළ උත්සාහයන් අසාර්ථක වීම ගැනත් ඒ පිළිබඳව රවූෆ් හැකීම් වැනි ‌අය නිකුත් කළ මාධ්‍ය නිවේදනය ගැනත් විවිධ අදහස් සමාජ මාධ්‍යය ඔස්සේ ඉදිරිපත් ‌වෙමින් පවතී. ඒ අය නීතියට පටහැනිව කිසිවක් ඉල්ලුුුුවේ නැත. ‌‌‌‌ලෝක ‌‌‌සෙ‍ෳඛ්‍ය සංවිධානයේ මාර්ගෝපදේශය සහ ඒ අනුව ‌‌‌සෙ‍ෳඛ්‍්‍ය අමාත්‍යාංශය නිකුත් කළ ‌‌‌චක්‍ර ‌ලේඛනය අනුව ආදාහනය ‌‌‌නොකර භූමිදානය කිරීමට අවසර දී ඇත. සමස්ථ මුස්ලිම් සමාජයම ඉල්ලා සිටින්නේ එම විධිවිධාන අනුව භූමිදානය කිරීමට පමණයි. අනිත් හැම රටකම පාහේ ඒ අනුව කටයුතු කිරිමට අවස්ථාව ලබා දී ඇත. නමුත් අවාසනාවකට ‌‌‌‌‌‌මෙන් අපේ රටේ ජඩ මාධ්‍ය එය ‌ප‌ෙන්වා දී, අසාධරණයට ලක්වූ ජන ‌කොටසේ හැඟීම්වලට ගරු කර රජය නිවැරිදි මාර්ගයට ‌‌‌‌ග‌ෙන ඒමට කටයුතු කරන්නේ නැත. ඔවුන් කරන්නේම එම සිදුවිම හරහා අසාධරණයට ලක් වූ ‌ජන ‌ක‌ොටසට එරෙහිව ජාතිවාදයක් ‌ගොඩ නැඟීමයි. ඒ අය නීතියට පටහැනිව කිසිවක් ඉල්ලුුුුවේ නැත. ‌‌‌‌ලෝක ‌‌ස‌ෙ‍ෳඛ්‍ය සංවිධානයේ මාර්ගෝපදේශය සහ ඒ අනුව ‌‌‌ස‌ෙ‍ෳඛ්‍ය අමාත්‍යාංශය නිකුත් කළ ‌‌‌චක්‍ර ‌ලේඛනය අනුව ආදාහනය ‌‌‌නොකර භූමිදානය කිරීමට අවසර දී ඇත. සමස්ථ මුස්ලිම් සමාජයම ඉල්ලා සිටින්නේ එම විධිවිධාන අනුව භූමිදානය කිරීමට පමණයි. අනිත් හැම රටකම පාහේ ඒ අනුව කටයුතු කිරිමට අවස්ථාව ලබා දී ඇත.නමුත් අවාසනාවකට ‌‌‌‌‌‌මෙන් අපේ රටේ ජඩ මාධ්‍ය එය ‌ප‌ෙන්වා දී, අසාධරණයට ලක්වූ ජන ‌කොටසේ හැඟීම්වලට ගරු කර රජය නිවැරිදි මාර්ගයට ‌‌‌‌ග‌ෙන ඒමට කටයුතු කරන්නේ නැත. ඔවුන් කරන්නේම එම සිදුවිම හරහා අසාධරණයට ලක් වූ ‌ජන ‌ක‌ොටසට එරෙහිව ජාතිවාදයක් ‌ගොඩ නැඟීමයි. එවැනි ‌‌‌‌ද‌ේවලින් උසිගැන්‌ව‌ෙන පිරිසක් සිදුවීම්වල පිටුපස තිබෙන කූට අරමුණු සහ ‌‌ද‌ේශපාලනය ‌තේරුම්‌ග‌ෙන ‌හ‌ෝ ‌‌නොගෙන ඒ පිටුපස යමින් ජාතිවාදය වපුරයි. සෑම ජන‌‌කොටසකම ජාතීවාදීන් සිටියි. අන්‍ය ආගමිකයින් ‌කෙරෙහි ‌අකමැත්තක් දක්වන අය සිටියි. ‌‌කලින් කලට ඔවුන් විවිධ සිදුවීම පදනම් කරගෙන එක් එක් ප්‍රශ්න ඇති කිරීමට සහ එමඟින් විවිධ ප්‍රයෝජන ලබා ගැනීමටත් උත්සාහ කරයි. එවැනි අවස්ථාවක ඒවා පාලනය කිරීම සඳහා රජයේ වගකීම ‌‌‌වේ. එම තත්ත්වය පාලනය කිරීමට, ජන ‌‌කොටස් අතර ‌බෙදීම් ඇති කරන මතවාද පතුරවන විට ඒවාට එරෙහිව කියාමාරග ගැනීම රජයේ වගකීමයි. රජය එය නිසි ‌ලෙස සිදු ‌‌‌නොකරන අවස්ථාවක සමාජ මතවාද ‌ගොඩ නඟමින් තත්ත්වය ‌හොඳ පැත්තකට හරවීමට බද්ධිමත් උගත් පිරිස කටයුතු කළ යුතුයි. නමුත් ලංකාවේ සිදුවන්නේ එයට හාත්පසින් ‌‌වෙනස් ‌දෙයකි. ‌‌බොහෝ උගතුත් ද, උසස් නතතුරු දරන අය ද, ඒ රැල්ලට හසු වී ‌ඒවා තව තවත් වර්ධනය වීමට දායක වීමයි. එබැවින් මා කාරුණිකව ඉල්ලා සිටින්නේ ආගමෙන් ‌‌වෙනස් වුනත් අපිත් ශ්‍රී ලාංකිකයෝ ‌වෙමු. ඔබට තිබෙන සෑම අයිතියක්ම සෑම අයුරකින්ම අපටත් ඇත. අපේ හැඟීම්වලටත් ගරු කරන්න. අපි බුදු රජානන් වහන්සේට බුද්ධාගමට බනින්නේ නැත. අගෙ‍ෳරව කරන්නේ නැත. ඒ වගේ අපි අදහන අල්ලාහ් ‌‌දෙවියන්ට අපි අනුගමනය කරන නබි තුමාට අපහාස කරන්න ‌එපා. එවැනි අදහස් ඇති පළකිරීම් සමාජ මාධ්‍ය ඔස්සේ ‌බෙදා ගන්න එපා. අපි කිසිවිටක සිංහල සමාජයත් එක්ක තරහ නැත. අපි හැමවිටම උත්සාහ කරන්නේ සිිංහල සමාජයත් එකට ජීවත් වීමටයි. ‌ගත වූ දශකය තුළ සිදුවූ සිදුවිම්වලින් පසුව මුස්ලිම් සමාජයේ සිටින විද්වතුන් මුස්ලිම්වරු අතර පවතින ආකල්ප ‌ව‌ෙනස් කිරීමටත් සැබෑ සංහිදියාවක් ඇති කිරීමටත් උත්සාහ කරමින් සිටියි. අතිබහුතර සිංහල සමාජය තුළ ජාතිවාදය නැත. නමුත් ‌මෙවැනි මාධ්‍ය සහ පළ කිරීම නිතර නිතර ඇසෙන විට ඔවුනුත් ‌‌මොහොතකට ‌හෝ දැනුවත්ව ‌හෝ ‌නොදැනුවත්ව ජාතිවාදීන් වීමේ ප්‍රවණතාවය වැඩිව‌ෙමින් පවතියි. නති සිංහල පතන ‌ගෙන ආ ‌‌වේලාවේ රැල්ලට හසුව් උගත් නුගත් සියලුදෙනා සහාය පළ කළා. නමුත් අන්තිමට සිදු වුනේ කුමක් ද? එයින් සිංහල සහ ‌දෙමළ ජනක ‌කොටස් අතර ඇති වූ පරතරය දශක කිහිපයක් තිස්‌සේ ටික ටික වර්ධනය වී රට ‌බෙදීමේ යුද්ධයක් දක්වා වර්ධනය විය. අන්තිමට ‌දෙපැත්තේම විශාල පිරිසක ජීවිතය අහිමි වුනා.එවැනි තත්ත්වයක් ඇති කිරීමට 1980 අසූව දශකයතුල අප‌ේ

ඊය‌ේ ‌කොරෝනා නිසා මරණයට පත් වූ මීගමුවේ පුද්ගලයාගේ මිනිය භූමිදානය කිරීමට කළ උත්සාහයන් අසාර්ථක වීම ගැනත් ඒ පිළිබඳව රවූෆ් හැකීම් වැනි ‌අය නිකුත් කළ මාධ්‍ය නිවේදනය ගැනත් විවිධ අදහස් සමාජ මාධ්‍යය ඔස්සේ ඉදිරිපත් ‌වෙමින් පවතී. ඒ අය නීතියට පටහැනිව කිසිවක් ඉල්ලුුුුවේ නැත. ‌‌‌‌ලෝක ‌‌ස‌ෙ‍ෳඛ්‍ය සංවිධානයේ මාර්ගෝපදේශය සහ ඒ අනුව ‌‌‌ස‌ෙ‍ෳඛ්‍ය අමාත්‍යාංශය නිකුත් කළ ‌‌‌චක්‍ර ‌ලේඛනය අනුව ආදාහනය ‌‌‌නොකර භූමිදානය කිරීමට අවසර දී ඇත. සමස්ථ මුස්ලිම් සමාජයම ඉල්ලා සිටින්නේ එම විධිවිධාන අනුව භූමිදානය කිරීමට පමණයි. අනිත් හැම රටකම පාහේ ඒ අනුව කටයුතු කිරිමට අවස්ථාව ලබා දී ඇත. නමුත් අවාසනාවකට ‌‌‌‌‌‌මෙන් අපේ රටේ ජඩ මාධ්‍ය එය ‌ප‌ෙන්වා දී, අසාධරණයට ලක්වූ ජන ‌කොටසේ හැඟීම්වලට ගරු කර රජය නිවැරිදි මාර්ගයට ‌‌‌‌ග‌ෙන ඒමට කටයුතු කරන්නේ නැත. ඔවුන් කරන්නේම එම සිදුවිම හරහා අසාධරණයට ලක් වූ ‌ජන ‌ක‌ොටසට එරෙහිව ජාතිවාදයක් ‌ගොඩ නැඟීමයි.
ඒ අය නීතියට පටහැනිව කිසිවක් ඉල්ලුුුුවේ නැත. ‌‌‌‌ලෝක ‌‌ස‌ෙ‍ෳඛ්‍ය සංවිධානයේ මාර්ගෝපදේශය සහ ඒ අනුව ‌‌‌ස‌ෙ‍ෳඛ්‍ය අමාත්‍යාංශය නිකුත් කළ ‌‌‌චක්‍ර ‌ලේඛනය අනුව ආදාහනය ‌‌‌නොකර භූමිදානය කිරීමට අවසර දී ඇත. සමස්ථ මුස්ලිම් සමාජයම ඉල්ලා සිටින්නේ එම විධිවිධාන අනුව භූමිදානය කිරීමට පමණයි. අනිත් හැම රටකම පාහේ ඒ අනුව කටයුතු කිරිමට අවස්ථාව ලබා දී ඇත.

නමුත් අවාසනාවකට ‌‌‌‌‌‌මෙන් අපේ රටේ ජඩ මාධ්‍ය එය ‌ප‌ෙන්වා දී, අසාධරණයට ලක්වූ ජන ‌කොටසේ හැඟීම්වලට ගරු කර රජය නිවැරිදි මාර්ගයට ‌‌‌‌ග‌ෙන ඒමට කටයුතු කරන්නේ නැත. ඔවුන් කරන්නේම එම සිදුවිම හරහා අසාධරණයට ලක් වූ ‌ජන ‌ක‌ොටසට එරෙහිව ජාතිවාදයක් ‌ගොඩ නැඟීමයි. එවැනි ‌‌‌‌ද‌ේවලින් උසිගැන්‌ව‌ෙන පිරිසක් සිදුවීම්වල පිටුපස තිබෙන කූට අරමුණු සහ ‌‌ද‌ේශපාලනය ‌තේරුම්‌ග‌ෙන ‌හ‌ෝ ‌‌නොගෙන ඒ පිටුපස යමින් ජාතිවාදය වපුරයි.

සෑම ජන‌‌කොටසකම ජාතීවාදීන් සිටියි. අන්‍ය ආගමිකයින් ‌කෙරෙහි ‌අකමැත්තක් දක්වන අය සිටියි. ‌‌කලින් කලට ඔවුන් විවිධ සිදුවීම පදනම් කරගෙන එක් එක් ප්‍රශ්න ඇති කිරීමට සහ එමඟින් විවිධ ප්‍රයෝජන ලබා ගැනීමටත් උත්සාහ කරයි. එවැනි අවස්ථාවක ඒවා පාලනය කිරීම සඳහා රජයේ වගකීම ‌‌‌වේ.
එම තත්ත්වය පාලනය කිරීමට, ජන ‌‌කොටස් අතර ‌බෙදීම් ඇති කරන මතවාද පතුරවන විට ඒවාට එරෙහිව කියාමාරග ගැනීම රජයේ වගකීමයි.
රජය එය නිසි ‌ලෙස සිදු ‌‌‌නොකරන අවස්ථාවක සමාජ මතවාද ‌ගොඩ නඟමින් තත්ත්වය ‌හොඳ පැත්තකට හරවීමට බද්ධිමත් උගත් පිරිස කටයුතු කළ යුතුයි.

නමුත් ලංකාවේ සිදුවන්නේ එයට හාත්පසින් ‌‌වෙනස් ‌දෙයකි. ‌‌බොහෝ උගතුත් ද, උසස් නතතුරු දරන අය ද, ඒ රැල්ලට හසු වී ‌ඒවා තව තවත් වර්ධනය වීමට දායක වීමයි.
එබැවින් මා කාරුණිකව ඉල්ලා සිටින්නේ ආගමෙන් ‌‌වෙනස් වුනත් අපිත් ශ්‍රී ලාංකිකයෝ ‌වෙමු. ඔබට තිබෙන සෑම අයිතියක්ම සෑම අයුරකින්ම අපටත් ඇත. අපේ හැඟීම්වලටත් ගරු කරන්න. අපි බුදු රජානන් වහන්සේට බුද්ධාගමට බනින්නේ නැත. අගෙ‍ෳරව කරන්නේ නැත. ඒ වගේ අපි අදහන අල්ලාහ් ‌‌දෙවියන්ට අපි අනුගමනය කරන නබි තුමාට අපහාස කරන්න ‌එපා. එවැනි අදහස් ඇති පළකිරීම් සමාජ මාධ්‍ය ඔස්සේ ‌බෙදා ගන්න එපා.
අපි කිසිවිටක සිංහල සමාජයත් එක්ක තරහ නැත. අපි හැමවිටම උත්සාහ කරන්නේ සිිංහල සමාජයත් එකට ජීවත් වීමටයි. ‌ගත වූ දශකය තුළ සිදුවූ සිදුවිම්වලින් පසුව මුස්ලිම් සමාජයේ සිටින විද්වතුන් මුස්ලිම්වරු අතර පවතින ආකල්ප ‌ව‌ෙනස් කිරීමටත් සැබෑ සංහිදියාවක් ඇති කිරීමටත් උත්සාහ කරමින් සිටියි. අතිබහුතර සිංහල සමාජය තුළ ජාතිවාදය නැත. නමුත් ‌මෙවැනි මාධ්‍ය සහ පළ කිරීම නිතර නිතර ඇසෙන විට ඔවුනුත් ‌‌මොහොතකට ‌හෝ දැනුවත්ව ‌හෝ ‌නොදැනුවත්ව ජාතිවාදීන් වීමේ ප්‍රවණතාවය වැඩිව‌ෙමින් පවතියි.
නති සිංහල පතන ‌ගෙන ආ ‌‌වේලාවේ රැල්ලට හසුව් උගත් නුගත් සියලුදෙනා සහාය පළ කළා. නමුත් අන්තිමට සිදු වුනේ කුමක් ද? එයින් සිංහල සහ ‌දෙමළ ජනක ‌කොටස් අතර ඇති වූ පරතරය දශක කිහිපයක් තිස්‌සේ ටික ටික වර්ධනය වී රට ‌බෙදීමේ යුද්ධයක් දක්වා වර්ධනය විය. අන්තිමට ‌දෙපැත්තේම විශාල පිරිසක ජීවිතය අහිමි වුනා.
එවැනි තත්ත්වයක් ඇති කිරීමට 1980 දශකයතුල අප‌ේ යුද හමුදාවටත් ‌කොටි සංවිධානයටත් එකම කඳවුරක් තුළ පුහුුණුව ලබා දුන් උදවිය ඉතා උවමනාවෙන් බලා සිටියි.
එවැනි ‌දෙයක් කිසිවිටක ‌නොවේවා.

මෙයට
අනස් හුසෙයින්

 

Coronavirus toll in New York state passes 1,000: Live updates

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00:50 GMT - Death toll in New York state surpasses 1,000

More than 1,000 people have died from the coronavirus outbreak in New York state, according to a tally by The Associated Press  (AP) news agency.

On Sunday evening, New York City said its toll had risen to 776. The total number of statewide deaths is not expected to be released until Monday, but with at least 250 additional deaths recorded outside the city as of Sunday morning, the state's total fatalities was at least 1,026, AP said.

00:30 GMT - China reports 31 new cases in mainland

The number of COVID-19 infections in China continues to slow with health authorities in Beijing reporting 31 new cases at the end of Sunday.

The figure includes one locally transmitted infection and marks a drop from the 45 cases reported a day earlier. There were no new cases for a sixth consecutive day in central Hubei province, where the coronavirus outbreak was first detected in December last year. 

In mainland China, the total number of cases to date rose to 81,470 in the mainland, while the cumulative death toll increased to 3,304.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/death-toll-york-state-passes-1000-live-updates-200329234257896.html

US President Donald Trump has extended federal guidelines on social distancing until April 30 after a top health official warned more than 100,000 people could die from the coronavirus in the United States.

The announcement on Sunday evening came as the death toll in hard-hit New York state passed 1,000.

"The modeling estimates that the peak in death rate is likely to hit in two weeks," Trump told reporters at the White House. "Therefore, the next two weeks and during this period it's very important that everyone strongly follow the guidelines ... We will be extending our guidelines to April 30th to slow the spread."

The initial 15-day period had been due to expire on Monday.

The US has 139,000 confirmed infections from the coronavirus, more than any other country in the world, while more than 2,400 people have died from the respiratory illness caused by the pathogen.

Worldwide, the number of cases has reached more than 718,000. Some 149,000 people have recovered, and more than 33,000 have died.

Here are all the latest updates:

Monday, March 30

06:30 GMT - EasyJet grounds fleet, furloughs cabin crew for two months

British low cost airline easyJet said it had grounded its entire fleet and reached a deal with its cabin crew for employees to be furloughed for two months under a government job retention scheme.

The airline said that its entire fleet of over 300 aircraft was parked up and there was no certainty for the date of restarting commercial flights.

EasyJet said that under a deal with Unite, the union which represents its cabin crew, they would not work for two months from April 1 and will be paid 80 percent of their average pay under the government job retention scheme.

06:00 GMT - Guatemalan deported from US tests positive

A Guatemalan man who was deported from the US last week has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to a spokeswoman for the Guatemalan health ministry.

The 29-year-old man was deported last Thursday on a flight chartered by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. The flight, with at least 40 others on board, originated in Mesa, Arizona, according to the Guatemalan Migration Institute.

Read more on this story here.

A curfew to combat the spread of the virus in Guatemala has been extended until April 12.

05:50 GMT - Nepal extends lockdown until April 7

The government of Nepal extended a nationwide lockdown put in place on March 23 by another week. International flights will also be banned until April 15.

The Himalayan country has recorded a total of five infections from the new coronavirus.

05:35 GMT - Japan to 'ban all travellers from US, China, Europe'

All visitors from the United States, China, South Korea and most of Europe will be denied entry to Japan under new rules to curb coronavirus infections, according to the Asahi newspaper.

Citing government sources, Asahi said Japan's foreign ministry is expected to also advise Japanese nationals to refrain from travelling to those countries.

05:00 GMT - India lockdown hits chronic patients hard

Strict restrictions on movement in India has hampered access to healthcare for people with chronic illnesses such as HIV, kidney and autoimmune diseases.

One 15-year-old HIV patient's parents walked 32km to obtain her medication in New Delhi.

"We could quickly be facing a non-COVID humanitarian crisis if the government fails to act to restore health services, particularly for those with critical conditions that require sustained medication/treatment," said Malini Aisola, public health activist and co-convenor of the All India Drug Action Network.

04:51 GMT - Australia tightens curbs on public gatherings

New rules limiting public gatherings to just two people in Australia will come into effect at midnight on Monday, with the states of New South Wales and Victoria introducing hefty fines for people violating those restrictions.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said members of the public should leave their house only to buy food, attend medical appointments and for exercise.

Skate parks, outdoor gyms and public playgrounds across the country, he said.

04:20 GMT - Fears of a second wave of infections in China

Concern of a second wave of infections is growing in China amid official pressure to resume normal life, according to Al Jazeera's Katrina Yu.

"In Wuhan, the epicentre of China's coronavirus outbreak, some shops are open, and malls are starting to open their doors after two months. People who work in essential industries, such as the cement, steel and car industries, are also starting to go back to work," Yu said from Beijing.

Our correspondent said officials are under "tremendous pressure to resume normal life" with President Xi Jinping travelling on Sunday to a port and an industrial park in eastern Zhejiang Province to inspect the resumption of work and production there.

"He wants to get the economy going after two months at a standstill. And because of this urgency to get things going, there are fears it may be too soon and could result in a second wave of infections," she said. "Officials are also under pressure to keep numbers down, and that's causing fears they may not be transparent when it comes to reporting new cases."

02:00 GMT - Argentina extends quarantine

Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez extended a nationwide quarantine until mid-April to stem the spread of the new coronavirus.

"We are going to extend the quarantine until the end of Easter. What do we aim to achieve? To keep the transmission of the virus under control," he said in a televised message.

The mandatory measures were due to expire at the end of March. The lockdown will be lifted on April 12.
Argentina has 820 confirmed cases and 20 deaths from COVID-19.

01:40 GMT - South Korea reports 78 new cases; total at 9,661

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 78 new cases in South Korea on Monday, down from 105 confirmed infections a day earlier.

The figure brings South Korea's total infections to 9,661.

The KCDC said the new cases marked the 18th consecutive day that new infections hovered about 100 or fewer additional cases.

01:30 GMT - Japanese comedian dies

Ken Shimura, one of Japan's best-known comedians, died from COVID-19 at a hospital in Tokyo, according to the public broadcaster NHK.

He was 70 years old. Many fans took to social media to pay tribute.

   

Iran urges US to free Iranian prisoners amid coronavirus pandemic

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Iran's government has urged the United States to release Iranians held in US jails on sanctions-related issues due to fears about the coronavirus outbreak.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused Washington of holding a number of Iranians in its prisons and said under these circumstances they should be set free.

Meanwhile, the death toll in Iran from the coronavirus rose to 2,378 on Friday, a jump of 144. Iran is one of the worst hit countries in the world.

Zarif also referred to a report by The Guardian newspaper about Sirous Asgari, a science professor, who it said was still being held in a crowded facility after being acquitted in November on US federal charges of stealing trade secrets.

"US has taken several Iranian scientists hostage - without charge or on spurious sanctions charges - & not releasing them; even when its OWN courts reject the absurd charges," Zarif tweeted.

On Thursday, the US blacklisted five Iran and Iraq-based companies and 15 individuals accused of supporting "terrorist groups", its third round of sanctions on Iranian targets in the last two weeks even as Tehran battles the coronavirus outbreak.

Humanitarian supplies are exempt from sanctions Washington reimposed on Tehran after US President Donald Trump abandoned the 2015 international agreement curbing Iran's nuclear programme.

However, broader US sanctions deter many firms from humanitarian trade with Iran.

Earlier, Iran's health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said 144 people had died in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 2,378, while the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases increased by 2,926 to 32,332.


https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/iran-urges-free-iranian-prisoners-coronavirus-pandemic-200327153011806.html

 

Palestinian groups cancel mass Gaza rallies due to coronavirus

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Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip have cancelled mass rallies planned for next week along the border with Israel amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus in the densely-populated territory, organisers said on Saturday.

The rallies were called for March 30 to mark the second anniversary of the so-called "Great March of Return" which had prompted weekly protests by Palestinians seeking to regain access to land, now in Israel, from which their ancestors were forced to flee during the Nakba, the Palestinian exodus, in 1947-48.

They also mark Palestinian Land Day which commemorates the events of March 30, 1976, when Israeli police shot and killed six Palestinian citizens of Israel as they protested against the Israeli government's expropriation of land.

"We call upon our people not to go to the Return encampments on March 30 and to stay home in order to maintain the safety of our people in the face of this lethal pandemic," said Khaled al-Batsh, a senior member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) armed group.

Instead, al-Batsh called on Palestinians in Gaza to mark the day by raising Palestinian flags on their rooftops and burning Israeli ones.

Traffic will also be stopped for an hour and sirens will sound across the territory to mark the occasion, the statement said, adding that a news conference would also be held for a limited number of attendees.

According to Gaza medical officials, 215 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli soldiers firing from the other side of the border during the protests, with another 8,000 suffering gunshot wounds. In the past few months, the weekly protests have been smaller.

One Israeli soldier was killed by a Palestinian sniper during the demonstrations.

In 2019, UN Human Rights Council investigators said Israeli forces may have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, with children and paramedics among the casualties.

So far, nine out of the 97 coronavirus cases in the Palestinian territories have been confirmed in the Gaza Strip.

Gaza's hospitals, which were overwhelmed during the protests by gunshot wounds and amputations, are now gearing up for the challenge of containing the coronavirus in the coastal enclave of two million Palestinians, many living in refugee camps.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/death-toll-york-state-passes-1000-live-updates-200329234257896.html

   

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