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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Gota’s henchmen write to Ranil Rajapaksa against the HRCSL Chair Justice Marasinghe.

Image: Justice Marasinghe.

Three commissioners appointed by former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa have asked an appointment with Ranil Rajapaksa to complain against the Chairperson, retired Supreme Court Judge, Justice Rohini Marasinghe. In their letter they have accused chairperson Marasinghe of taking decisions at her discretion without listening to the opinions of other members.

One of the examples they have cited is the incident of summoning Public Security Minister, Tiran Alles. The three has threatened not to participate decision making process in the future.

Three Commissioners who have complained against the Chairperson are Dr. Nanayakkara, Dr. Karunasiri and Piyarathana Thera. All of them are politically affiliated to Rajapaksa family.

Dr. Nimal Karunasiri is an Ayurvedic physician by profession and was the president of the pro Rajapaksa Ayurvedic  Physicians Union of Sri Lanka. He had been promoting unverified and mythological local concoction “ Dammika Paniya” as a remedy for the new corona virus. During the 2020 general election he supported President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s  intellectual outfit “ Viyath Maga” and tried to get nomination from  Rajapaksa led Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) for the Kurunagala District.

Dr. Vijitha Nanayakkara was University teacher by profession. He contested for the Kandy district from Rajapaksa led UPFA in 2010 General election and lost. Soon after the general election he was appointed as the Vice-Chancellor of the Open University of Sri Lanka by president Mahinda Rajapaksa. During the 2020 Presidential and General elections he actively supported the Rajapaksa led SLPP. In 2019 he applied to register a political party.

Ven. Kalupahana Piyarathana Thero was a member of the Governing Council of the National Peace Council headed by Dr. Jehan Perera at the of appointment.  At that time, Dr. Jehan Perera was leading  a group of civil activists to start a dialogue with the discredited Gotabaya Rajapaksa government. In it reports to UNHRC Sri Lanka government cited  dialogue with Jehan Perera led group as its engagement with the civil society. That means he was giving a cover to Gotabaya’s suppressive rule. The parliamentary opposition proposed Dr. Gehan Gunatilleke to the vacant post Of member Harasha Kumara but Gotabaya selected NPC candidate Kalupahana Piyarathana Thero.

Gotabaya first appointed Dr. Jagath Balasuriya as the Chairperson who was also a Rajapaksa Family loyalist. He has been a full time politicians for decades. Since 1977 he  has engaged in active politics and contesting at various elections. He served as a member of parliament  in 1989-2000 from United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA); Served as Governor North Central Province (August 2003 – November 2006) and as a Cabinet Minister (2010 – 2015) representing same political party of Mahinda Rajapaksa. UPFA.  His wife Kumari Balasuriya, also served as the Governor of the Southern Province under Rajapaksa government and at the time of appointment was the private secretary to the her Minister son Tharaka Balasooriya.

After his resignation in November 2021 president Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed Rohini Marasinghe as the Chairperson. Since then she has led the commission in defending human rights during one of the most the volatile political situation Sri Lanka has experienced. HRCSL has been proactive in defending peoples right to protest, free expression etc.

Reacting to the letter sent by 3 political commissioners Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) Chairperson,  Justice Rohini Marasinghe has told media that appointment of individuals who have little or no understanding of human rights as HRCSL Commissioners did little to further the human rights situation in the country. She has said that the cause of such problematic situations is the appointment of those who have no understanding of human rights as HRCSL Commissioners.

Responding to a question about the allegations levelled against her by the said three Commissioners that certain decisions that they had taken had not been implemented, she has said: “There should be decisions to be implemented, and they should come to make decisions. They have not made any decisions to be implemented. The Ven. Thera attends Commission only once a month, and others once a week. There is no contribution from them at all. My idea is that this is because they do not have an understanding of human rights. If they have made decisions, ask them to explain what those decisions are. The Human Rights Commission Act No. 21 of 1996 itself states that those with a sound understanding of human rights should be appointed to the Commission, but these persons do not have any understanding.”




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