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The Liberal Party began as a think-tank called the ‘Council for Liberal Democracy’, the first institution to criticize the all embracing statism of the colonial and immediate post-colonial periods. In espousing free economic policies together with wide-ranging political freedoms, the Council, and then the Party, opposed both the authoritarian crony capitalism of the United National Party and the socialism of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. Both major parties are now in theory in favour of wide freedoms, but to ensure that these are understood and entrenched there is still need of coherent Liberal activism.

The Care of Children 17 - The systemic changes needed to ensure the care of children

An important item on the legislative agenda over the last few years has been a change to the 1939 Children and Young Persons Ordinance. A few years back, when Milinda Moragoda was Minister of Justice, he had asked for reports in various areas where it seemed justice was not being served. Not all the committees appointed have reported as yet, and there seems to have been little concern to expedite these. However, the indefatigable Shirani Thilakawardhana headed the committee asked to report on children, and she did a typically thorough job.

The new draft is certainly an advance on what we had before, and if we cannot improve on it soon, we should go ahead with it anyway, simply to get rid of provisions for caning, and the generally punitive approach taken 70 years ago to children in need. However it would be best if we had some intense consultation and produced something better, since this would also help with introducing some general principles with legislation.

One is to make changes comprehensively, instead of approaching problems piecemeal. The proposed draft makes reference to the Orphanages Ordinance, whilst talking about Approved Voluntary Children's Homes (which is the politically correct term now for Orphanages) as well as Child Observation Homes and Community Homes and Places of Worship. It would make sense therefore to also amend the Orphanages Ordinance, and introduce contemporary ideas, based on the Universal Declaration of Children's Rights, with regard to standards of care as well as reform and rehabilitation in the case of those in conflict with the law.

Speech of Prof Rajiva Wijesinha At the Debate on the Prescription (Special Provisions) Bill - August 7th 2014

It is an honour, Mr Chairman, to have been asked to speak on this Bill, which I am very happy to support It is a necessary measure, and should have been introduced some years back. Indeed I recall six years ago, when I headed the Peace Secretariat, having a meeting with the Chair of the Law Commission about the need to introduce legislation of this sort, and being impressed because they too had already thought about this.

I had been unexpectedly drawn into public life from the rural pleasures of Sabaragamuwa University, but I thought it necessary to interpret my mandate widely, in the interests of peace and reconciliation. It seemed sensible then to also plan for the future. Though much was uncertain at the time, we had to hope that we could overcome terrorism, as indeed we successfully did a year or so later. But we also needed to eradicate the root causes of terrorism, which required, as the Secretary of Defence eloquently put it in those days, at a function at the Central Bank late in 2008, a political solution, which was not his area of concern.

Planning for the future then was of the essence, and I was pleased to find that the Law Commission had already thought of the problems the existing provisions regarding Prescription might cause. After all, it was manifestly unfair that those who had left their lands because of terrorism should have to lose these because others had occupied them for the period required to claim ownership. I recall being told that draft legislation was ready at the time, so it is sad that this lay forgotten for so long.

Eighteenth Death Anniversary of Dr.Chanaka Amaratunga


A Visionary of Our Time
Kamal Nissanka

Dr Chanaka Amaratunga, founder leader of the Liberal Party of Sri Lanka passed away under tragic circumstances 18 years ago on 1st of August 1996. In the formal years Chanaka's political affiliations were with the United National Party (UNP). Although he was a conservative democrat before at Oxford he identified himself as a liberal democrat and once returned to Sri Lanka in the early eighties he found that the referendum of 1982 which resulted in postponing due general election in the same year as undemocratic and against the norms of liberal democracy. Chanaka, with a small group of liberal agitated against the referendum of 1982.

Statement of the Liberal Party In support of the reforms proposed by the Hon Vasantha Senanayake To the Parliamentary Select Committee and to urge an interim report to promote consensus

When the Parliamentary Select Committee on the National Question was set up, the Liberal Party sent in several suggestions. We were finally asked to appear before the Committee late last year, and found the few members who attended receptive and encouraging of the new thinking we had brought to bear.

Unfortunately despite its sitting for several months, there has been no interim report. We urge that the PSC issue one, with recommendations as to action on areas as to which there is no controversy. Some of these are the establishment of a Second Chamber of Parliament based on Provinces, as well as the strengthening of local government institutions and consultation processes.

Whilst the Liberal Party is proud of the suggestions it made, it also feels that it is time to consolidate ideas to promote consensus. Having studied the proposals put forward by the Hon Vasantha Senanayake MP, based on consultations with young people and following discussions with the diaspora through the Young Political Leaders Forum, the Executive Committee of the Liberal Party has decided to endorse these proposals.

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