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R Sampanthan | Zaid Al-Hussein

Sri Lanka and India united once again last week to reopen the newly refurbished Durayappah stadium. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena was joined by Indian Premier via video conference.

The stadium equipped with the latest facilities and several improvements is expected to be utilized by schools, youth organizations and other institutions.

The opening of the renovated stadium is a positive thing especially for the students and youngsters. The recent developments where youngsters have been involved in acts of crime had created concerns among the public. The renovation of the stadium was funded by the Indian Government.

Programmes need to be initiated to ensure that the youth spend quality time in learning and indulging in extracurricular activities that would help build their character and confidence.

Arthur WamananAs far as politics is concerned, India’s involvement in affairs related to Sri Lanka goes back centuries. In the recent times however, the country’s involvement in Sri Lanka’s internal politics has been much debated, argued, welcomed, and criticized.

The biggest and the most important role came in the form of the Indo-Lanka peace accord of 1987 through which the much debated 13th Amendment came into being.

While Sri Lanka continues to be on two minds on the full implementation of the 13th Amendment, India has been adamant that it be implemented to the letter.

On the other hand, Sri Lanka has its troubles on the international arena where it is tightly scrutinized by the UN Human Rights Council.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Al-Hussein is expected to present his oral submission at the ongoing 32nd sessions of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on June 29.

Progress
The High Commissioner will brief the council on the progress made by the Sri Lankan Government on several key issues raised by the UN. Zeid Al-Hussein had also visited Sri Lanka earlier this year to gain firsthand knowledge of the ground situation.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) had met with Zeid on the sidelines of the ongoing sessions and had briefed the High Commissioner on the progress made by the Government.

Its Media Spokesperson and Parliamentarian, M.A. Sumanthiran while mentioning that the current Government was treading the right track in terms of addressing the issues of the Tamil people pointed out that the lethargic manner in which these steps were being taken had frustrated the people.

The Presidential Commission appointed to look into the issue of missing persons recently revealed that the Defence Ministry had failed to provide the list of names of those who had surrendered to the military during the final phase of the war.

Chairman of the Commission, Justice Maxwell Paranagama stated that the failure of the Government to provide the details would delay the entire process. The mandate of the commission would expire by July 15. However, Justice Paranagama said that they had requested for an extension from the government owing to the enormous workload.
This is just one example. The TNA had pointed out exactly this. Even though the Government had taken steps to hand over lands held by the military to its owners and release the detainees, the TNA said that it was inadequate and more could be done.

Leaked images
While Sri Lanka is focused on the ongoing Geneva sessions, the Guardian of the UK had published leaked images claiming the possibilities of the usage of cluster bombs during the final stages of the war. The Government rubbished these claims by stating that the report was timed to coincide with the Geneva sessions.

However, the Defence Ministry said that it would commence investigations to ascertain the authenticity of the images that were published in the report.