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22 Sunday Feb 2015
Posted Random Moments of Lifein
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22 Sunday Feb 2015
Posted Random Moments of Lifein
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21 Saturday Feb 2015
Posted Climate Change, Featuresin
President Sirisena during his first official visit since becoming President, entered into a bilateral on nuclear energy with the Sri Lanka’s neighbour India. The bilateral agreement signed on cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy 16th February 2015, envisages transfer and exchange of knowledge, expertise as well as capacity building and training of personnel on several areas relating to the use of nuclear energy. These include basic and applied research in the peaceful uses of nuclear technology, production and utilisation of radioactive isotopes for use in industry, agriculture and water management, nuclear security, treatment and management of radio wasters as well as the use of radioactive isotopes for health care including nuclear medicine.
The discussions on this cooperation began with India as early as 2012, with three additional bilateral consultations between the two countries held 2014. All activities under this agreement is expected to be in complying to standards and guidelines set by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Further, it is expected that the Sri Lankan government will reach out to other countries in it’s use of nuclear as an energy source, and an MOU has already been signed by Sri Lanka with ROSATOM, a Russian state owned atomic energy company while another is said to be ready for signing with Pakistan to establish cooperation for the development of nuclear applications.
New Policies for Nuclear Energy
Using nuclear energy in Sri Lanka will be governed by the Atomic Energy Board (AEB) of Sri Lanka, a statutory body functioning under the Ministry of Power and Energy and established by the Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Act No.40 of 2014. Its mandate includes fields that can make a significant contribution to the development of medical, agricultural, industrial, as well as energy and environmental sectors in Sri Lanka.
November 7th, 2014 the law establishing the Atomic Energy Authority (AEA), the Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Authority Act, Number 19 of 1969, was repealed, and the Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Act, No.40 of 2014 was adopted. This established two institutions: the Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Board and the Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Regulatory Council. The Act also empowers Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Board (AEB) to carry out activities to promote and encourage the use of nuclear science and technology for national development purpose. And the Atomic Energy Regulatory Council is set up for the regulation of practices involving ionizing radiation, the safety and security of sources and the Non- Proliferation of nuclear weapons and the safeguards.
Use of nuclear power is permitted only for beneficial and peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology in health, industry, environment and agriculture, for national development within Sri Lanka.
While nuclear energy is without fossil fuel emissions it has its own demons. One of these being the risk it poses in case of an accident, as well as the question of disposing waste.
The task of ensuring protection from these is allocated to the Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Regulatory Council. This includes adequate protection of individuals, society and the environment now and in the future, against the potentially harmful effects of ionizing radiation, for the safety and security of radiation sources. This is to be achieved through the establishment and maintenance of a regulatory control system, including the adoption of standards, licensing system, inspection and enforcement to govern all practices involving ionizing radiation.
Restriction of nuclear power for the use of peaceful and beneficial means ensures that Sri Lanka fulfills its international obligation under international instruments in the field of nuclear energy, including that of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the Safeguards Agreements.
No to Nuclear
While nuclear energy is without fossil fuel emissions, incidents of the past such as the Chernobyl disaster is a souvenir that when things go wrong with nuclear energy, they go really wrong. in the Chernobyl incident there were thousands of deaths, with an estimated cost of the consequences of that accident at 350 billion dollars. The accident has further caused permanent contamination of food and water leaving behind consequences that are faced even today. Prior to putting up a nuclear plant it will be necessary to check the protection which is prepared, and the risk assessment of a potential accident, how it would impact the people and country’s environment, as well as how the country has the capacity to address such an issue.
In addition to this, radioactive waste generated through a nuclear plant is also an issue that needs to be addressed. Radioactive waste is highly dangerous, and has impacts such as causing cancer and genetic mutation. This again highlights the need for a clearly planned process of on where this radioactive waste will be dispatched, and what will become of it.
Clean Energy Not Risky Energy
Addressing energy issues can deliver long-term benefits only if they focus on reducing impacts on the environment, and not merely displace humanity’s damaging impacts on the environment. Nuclear energy is still unsafe – for both humans and nature which highlights the great need to address the energy issues based on renewable energy and not nuclear energy.
With the risks that nuclear energy poses, replacing fossil fuel based energy sources with nuclear energy is only a way of replacing one fundamental environmental problem with another. The dangers that result through use of nuclear power is visible from history, which is not too long ago as well from examples such as accidents at Chernobyl, Russia, in 1986 and at Tokaimura, Japan, in 1999.
Invest in Renewable Energy
President Sirisena’s election manifesto speaks of a shift to renewable energy. And the implementing of this policy would be a solution which is long term than the nuclear plants which will be put up in the country.
A shift to nuclear energy can be seen as not the best solution on economic grounds as well, on general terms. Investment in a nuclear plant can divest the money that could be invested in renewable energy which would be a better solution to the energy crisis in the longer term. Nuclear energy provision could add up additional costs as well, which include an opportunity cost that is even bigger than the actual investment, need to maintain large power grid systems, displacement of investment in more efficient small-scale power supply and energy services.
With the risks above highlighted, and the impacts on the economy it is obvious that nuclear power is not the best solution for Sri Lanka to address energy issues which will cut the impacts on global warming. The solution needs to be renewable energy, and investment in that sector with the objective of phasing out on fossil fuel dependency of the world.
20 Friday Feb 2015
Posted Features, Random Moments of Lifein
Are you a single parent? Have you gone through years of trying to make ends meet with your priorities tilted towards your child and then be judged by people who think they know what is best for you, try to boss you, and think they know what’s better for you then you do, and also try to exploit you? Then you know what I am speaking here. (More of these might ring better with those mums living in the South Asian region.)
Dealing with motherhood
You have a kid. You know how the drill goes. People are happy. Everyone wants to see the kid, comment on the kid, get to know what your plans are for the kid. They would tell you how much the kid looks like the father, one of those things you wish they could shut up on, and they would not. In the midst of the big twirl of those who pop in and pop out to see “the kid” you lose track of time, and reality hits only when immediate festivities over. You are with a kid for whom you are to fend, and need to figure out how to spend enough time between your child and the money venture which will ensure that he is not starved. You have no time to sit and think of what just happened in your life, why you are stuck to deal with most of the drama of bringing up a kid on your own (if you did not plan for it, and expected for your partner to be there in the process) but you know you will manage. (Even if you do not thinking you would sure makes a better choice.) You would take up a job that seems decent enough (you cannot be picky as you used to be) and then try to finish up the work and put up with shit you never would have put up. Feeding and clothing your child has become your priority, and you forget most of the rest. All the idiots who come with it, and the bullshit you need to put up with. You have become a mum, a single mum at it!
Putting up with shit
You are usually not the type to put up with anyone’s shit. (Probably why you decide to become a single parent and not to tolerate your partner giving you shit.) But that life style on other fronts in yoru life seems to have changed. You will find yourself working without contracts, without pay on time, with people giving you shit over god knows what. You decide your career becomes based on whether you are capable of taking care of the child. In the process of doing that you try not to lose track of what you believe in, not to lose yourself, and not to end up in jail by killing someone. So in the process you realise Buddha would have been proud of you if he were around: All that patience and tolerance (though you aren’t necessarily one of his disciples) and you find your friends asking you “why are you in a Buddha mood?” You wish to reply with many reasons, but instead you choose to smile. You go into your deep trance of I don’t give a fuck, and realise you have so much endurance when you see some people alive in front of you and talking rubbish away. You name putting up with shit with a better term: patience!
Shopping lists filled with diapers
If you ever were one to make shopping lists, then your lists would be completely different. If you were never to make one and were the spontaneous one, then you have started to believe in lists. Spontaneity seems a relic of late when it comes to your shopping. Your list is filled with baby products, kids products or even teen products depending on how old your kids are, and you become an expert in mind calculations. You know exactly how much you have spent as you spend it at the super market. (The older version of you would have been surprised that you had a clue as to how much you had in your account.) Your purchases for you are calculated, decided with care while you will still have some busy body asking you how you manage to spend so much money on yourself with a kid to be taken care of. You smile with all the desire to stick a sock down that person’s throat without doing that of course. (Older version of you would have been so proud of you!) You smile, walk away thinking of that new way to put up with shit called practicing patience.
Everyone is an expert at bringing up your kid
Everyone seems to know what to do with your kid better than you do. They would advise you on what to call your kid, what to feed your kid, how to dress your kid. In short how to bring up your kid. They will tell you how much time you need to spend with your kid and money does not make children happy. You wonder whether they think you are stupid, or they are smart or whether they intend to feed your kid when you decide to quit work and stay home with the kid. You think of all the money you could have spent on socks which should have been stuffed in these mouths, and decide it would be under that list of things that would not be featured on the priority column on your shopping list. You decide to put them on mute mode, nod your head hoping you nod it at the appropriate time and switch off. Bliss!
Everyone is an expert on what you should do
You think they would know better on what you need to know with the kid. Oh NO! They know what you need to do with your life. When to date, not to date, to marry or not to marry. You have so many people having opinions on even what you should wear or not, that you probably could put up a poll every time you decide on something in your life. It would have been an interesting venture too, and helpful in social analysis. I should start doing this for a change, and see how many blogs I could write based on people’s polls on what I need to do with my life. A new thought, actually this should constitute cheap entertainment given the financial difficulties of going out for constant amusement with the prices of diapers sky-rocketing these days.
Dating. Hold on, you said “dating?”
You have lost the notion of what constitutes dating. Dating might not be a fun affair, nor something easy going. It becomes part of life analysis. Would you waste a few moments with a man who is not going to play any role in your life? You probably would not because you would rather stay home and play with your kid. Coffee or any meal spent on anything not worthwhile (of course you have your own judgement and what not constitutes worthwhile) is a waste. So dating becomes not the easiest thing you realise. And you even try to define what dating is, what the other person thinks dating is, and realise most men have no clue what they are doing even at the age of 60! You honestly hope you would not be that clueless when you reach that age, or wonder whether you would be that good at playing clueless at that age. (For those wondering whether I dated a 60 year old, no I have not. At least not yet. Maybe when I am 55 or 62, who knows. Always leave my options open. This has been the better choice in life.) On top of all that you have a kid sometimes who hate your date, and goes “No no naughty uncles!” or you have one who wants to know why the play mate is lost when you calls dating off. Too much drama, you most likely decide not to date anyone for a while. Just to give a break to your brain. Too much analysis and putting up with shit on many fronts could be bad for it.
The list could be longer. But I think you get the drift. Then again you know it’s all worth it when you see your child and he/she smiles. Mummy can be there hero, the one who is around at least at night or few hours and makes sure that life for them is as comfortable as it can be on any level of life that any single parent reading this lives on. You decide to smile for the world, for your child and yourself and move on. Because life moves on be it whether you are single parent, a married parent, or a parent at all!
17 Tuesday Feb 2015
Posted Random Moments of Life, Relationshipsin
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15 Sunday Feb 2015
Posted ADP 2015, Climate Changein
ADP2015, Ahmed Sareer, Ambassador Sareer, AOSIS, climate change, Legally Binding Agreement, Maldives, Paris Agreement
The first session of climate talks for the year wraps up with structure and form of the new climate agreement left to be decided. The Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) Ambassador Ahmed Sareer, the Maldives’ Permanent Representative to the U.N. spoke on his expectations for the year ahead, and his thoughts on the Geneva climate talks.
Addressing the Needs of the Most Vulnerable
AOSIS is among the most vulnerable states to impacts of climate change, with the increase of global temperature resulting in sea level rise which leads to many issues to communities living in small islands among which loss of homes, livelihoods as well as lack of drinking water. Ambassador Sareer highlighted the importance of addressing climate change as an immediate issue, which threatens the life of vulnerable communities across the world.
“As representatives of some of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, including total inundation from sea level rise, our primary motivation is to make sure the global community moves as quickly as possible to cut the emissions responsible for climate change, and provides the support necessary to help vulnerable communities build sustainable futures and adapt to climate impacts that can no longer be avoided,” he said.
Dealing with Differentiation
He further added that differentiation of countries obligations in the new Agreement is a key aspect from which there can be deviation. Speaking on Common But Differentiated Responsibility and Respective Capabilities (CBDR & RC) he said, “CBDR should be well emphasised in the negotiations and should form its basis. Questioning differentiation between countries is backtracking as CBDR & RC is something already well documented.” However AOSIS has not yet reached a position on how the differentiation of countries and the fair share of each countries contribution needs to be made.
Legal Structure and Bindingness
One of the key issues that surrounded the Geneva talks as well as the rest of the sessions leading up to Paris is the legal nature of the Agreement. Explaining AOSIS position in this regard, Ambassador Sareer added, “Our view is that a legally binding protocol under the convention that is applicable to all Parties, and in line with keeping global temperature increase to below 1.5 degrees Celsius, is the best way to achieve that objective. Additionally, it will need to give balanced treatment to key areas, including mitigation, finance, capacity building, technology, adaptation, and loss and damage to manage impacts that can no longer be adapted to. Loss and damage is qualitatively different than adaptation and should be treated separately under the agreement.”
Human Rights & Climate Talks
He also spoke on the issue of human rights in his capacity as a representative of Maldives and said, “Human rights is a very important issue which needs to be addressed. Maldives having understood this fact, hosted a conference in 2007 focusing on the human dimension and climate change. This later succeeded in pushing for a UN resolution that made links on human rights and climate change. There cannot be sustainable development which does not respect the rights of people. It is important that human rights are respected in making policies on climate change.”
For an Agreement in Paris
Ambassador Sareer expressing his opinion on the outcome of the Geneva session of climate talks for 2015 said, “We leave Geneva with a lengthy text to work on in the coming months, but it importantly reflects the views and enjoys support from all Parties. After years of false starts and broken promises, restoring ownership and trust in the process is no small achievement and I think we have come a long way toward doing that.”
He also emphasised that the duties of the Parties is to work in between the sessions to understand the priorities, and the choices that exist in reaching a common objective of the climate agreement in Paris.
“Our job now is to take every opportunity at the remaining meetings, and the time in between, to understand each other’s concerns and interests as we look for common ground on the road to Paris,” he said .
14 Saturday Feb 2015
Posted Random Moments of Life, Relationshipsin
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13 Friday Feb 2015
Posted ADP 2015, Climate Change, Featuresin
Delegates from 194 countries who gathered in Geneva for a week long process of climate negotiations will return home with a negotiating text for the 2015 Climate Agreement which is set to reach in Paris end of this year, and to come to effect in 2020.
With the 5th Assessment Report of the IPCC highlighting the need for immediate actions to address climate change, the negotiators discussed ways to accelerate action on climate change before 2020. They started to outline ideas on a possible pre-2020 actions that will be decided in Paris. With floods and droughts to hurricanes, typhoons and heat waves, the impacts of climate change are felt they have been ever before. This in turn highlights the need all all over the world. Negotiators, ministers, and national leaders to actively engage with each other in the months ahead to get the strongest deal possible in Paris.
“I am extremely encouraged by the constructive spirit and the speed at which negotiators have worked during the past week,” said Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
“We now have a formal negotiating text, which contains the views and concerns of all countries. The Lima Draft has now been transformed into the negotiating text and enjoys the full ownership of all countries,” she added.
Speaking on the process of reaching this end in Geneva, Figueres said, “The text was constructed in full transparency. This means that although it has become longer, countries are now fully aware of each other’s positions.”
The Negotiating Text
The text that is to be used as the ground for negotiations for the 2015 Agreement covers the substantive content of the new agreement including mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology and capacity-building. While there were divergences on certain matters, the countries worked together in order to identify the main choices
The text will be edited and translated into the UN’s official languages, after which the text will be communicated to the world’s capitals by the UNFCCC secretariat in the first quarter of 2015 which would respect the internationally-accepted timetable for reaching a possible treaty because it alerts capitals to the fact that a legal instrument could be adopted in Paris.
A Legally Binging Agreement in Paris?
The mere fact that the negotiating text is finalised does not ensure that there will be a legally binding outcome reached in Paris.
Speaking on this possibility, Ms Figueres said, “It does not, however, set this possibility in stone – it merely opens the door for this possibility. As for the legal nature of the agreement, this will only be clarified later in the year,” Ms. Figueres explained.
“Our view is that a legally binding protocol under the convention that is applicable to all Parties, and in line with keeping global temperature increase to below 1.5 degrees Celsius, is the best way to achieve that objective. We certainly have our work cut out when we convene again in June, but we have made important progress here, and AOSIS is committed to working with all parties, groups, and the ADP co-chairs to transform the negotiating text into an ambitious agreement in Paris,” said Ambassador Ahmed Sareer, the Maldives’ Permanent Representative to the U.N. and Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS)
The negotiating text is not a narrowed down text, and has many options proposed down by country Parties. This requires that the negotiators to narrow down options and reach consensus on the content. Further work on the text will continue in Bonn in June, and two more formal sessions (with many other informal sessions being held) planned for later in the year ahead of the Paris climate negotiations.
In addition to the meetings of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, there will also be ministerial-level meetings throughout the year that will include climate change on their agendas, among these being the Major Economies Forum; the Petersburg Climate Dialogue and the African Ministerial Conference of the Environment with the upcoming G7 and G20 meetings affording further political engagement on climate change and the Paris agreement.
Climate Change: Not a Stand-alone Issue
Observing climate change impacts across the globe point to the fact that addressing climate change cannot be a stand-alone action. It overlaps with many other aspects such as economy, human rights and development. In 2015 given the key actions that converge it is important that countries work on building links to elements of developmental agenda, and treat climate change as a key issue which would impact the country’s growth.
“We leave Geneva with a lengthy text to work on in the coming months, but it importantly reflects the views and enjoys support from all Parties. As representatives of some of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, including total inundation from sea level rise, our primary motivation is to make sure the global community moves as quickly as possible to cut the emissions responsible for climate change, and provides the support necessary to help vulnerable communities build sustainable futures and adapt to climate impacts that can no longer be avoided,” said Ambassador Sareer.
The countries will convene in Bonn, in June where the next formal negotiations on the climate Agreement will be held.
02 Monday Feb 2015
Posted current updates, Featuresin
Today I was woken up to the howling of a poor puppy who the neighbour had decided to adopt by picking it off the street. The animal was probably days old and the mother of the puppy having spent a day walking around the wall as its pup howled trying to find its mother from a cage he was unfamiliar had decided to lie on the road helpless, with no custodial rights over its pup (now that would unimaginable, a dog to have rights?) while the whole neighbourhood listened to the crying which went over night, and then to the morning as well.
Many assumed that the poor animal was locked up and the wonderful neighbour had gone out for a walk. But on giving them a call I find that they were in the house, and was quite courteous enough to rudely hang up the phone on me. I try to dig out my law books to find out where the animal rights would be protected in this country, though not very hopeful having read a bit on it last night and realised that it most likely would not be much of help. And as usual like many other things in this land the direction is clear: treating animals humanely seems to be something that needs to be added to the country’s list of “to-dos” though we claim we are a very compassionate land where we treat everyone with dignity (everyone not every being of course, which excludes animals).
Me being the not going to courts lawyer, I call up a friend who works for the Attorney General’s and ask him what might be the best move in this situation to ensure that the poor animal be released from this suffering. He advises me to file a complaint on nuisance. His theory being: the police would have to come and check on it, and if the animal is being a nuisance with its howling, then the howling would be stopped. Though my expectation was not to prove that the dog was a nuisance, (rather that my neighbours were inhuman) I realise that most of us in our legal education had skipped studying the section on animal protection in detail.
I started writing an article with the law and its efficiency on not addressing this issue, but then on reading a bit more realise that it is not necessarily the nonexistence of the law that prevents animals from being protected, but the oblivion of its implementation. To do justice to the cause, I think I will be writing a bit on animals and their rights in the coming days, that too with a bit more legal analysis than this article would have carried had I just typed it out from my few hours of reading last night.
My next few days (be it in this land, in transit or some other land) will be about getting a few people together who might be interested in this topic, if you are reading this and are a person who had done a bit of thinking on animal rights protection and legal reform, do drop a comment. Your opinions are most welcome, (constructive ones of course).
PS. I am not a tree hugger, nor an animal hugger. But I do believe that animals are not in the world to carry humans, and be tormented for insecurities and psychopathic disorders that humans possess (this would bring me to write on another issue which is on mental health which would be for a different blog post I think).
01 Sunday Feb 2015
Posted current updates, Featuresin
by Vositha Wijenayake and Vidya Nathaniel
Punishing by flogging has come to the forefront of legal and political discussions due to the attention brought to it through the case of Raif Badawi, a Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to ten years and 1000 lashes for setting up a blog by the name of Saudi Free Liberals Forum which promoted free speech on religion and governance. While world calls for freedom of speech for journalists following the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, the conduct of the Saudi government on flogging Badawi has created a lot of criticism. However the country is not alone in its practice of flogging as a judicial sanction. Other countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Nigeria, Iran, Maldives, Qatar, Brunei and Indonesia also practice flogging, though it is seen as a form of torture, and a violation of international law.
International Law on Flogging/Flagellation
The terms ‘flogging’ or ‘flagellation’ is not explicitly referred to in the international legislations. However the interpretation of torture provided through many international legislations succeed in bringing it within the acts that are violations of international law. Among these legislations are the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of which Article 5 states, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Article 7 which provides, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”.
Prohibition against Torture is well established under customary international law as jus cogens which in turn make it supersede all other treaties and customary law. Jus cogens are a body of peremptory principles or norms from which no derogation is permitted; those norms recognised by the international community as a whole as being fundamental to the maintenance of an international legal order. Elementary rules that concern the safeguarding of peace and notable those that prohibit recourse to force or the threat of force. Norms of a humanitarian nature are included, such as prohibition against genocide, slavery and racial discrimination. Jus Cogens may therefore operate to invalidate a treaty or agreement between states to the extent of the inconsistency with any such principles or norms.
Convention Against Torture
September 27, 1997 Saudi Arabia acceded to the Convention against Torture or Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Convention against Torture). Article 1 (1) of this Convention defines torture to be “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.” However the same section provides that torture does not “include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.” It is this aspect of the interpretation which is leaves a grey area on how the grievance of victims of state administered torture will be addressed.
Flogging can be easily brought under the definition of torture, as it does cause “severe pain” as well as “suffering”. Badawi is punished for an act he is claimed to have committed. It is also clear that the punishment to be executed in public in front of many on lookers is a form of “intimidating” any other who seeks to challenge the same grounds that Badawi challenged through his blog. Yet the imposing of flogging on Badawi has been done through the judicial system of Saudi Arabia, and as a sanction imposed by the court. Would this in turn evade it constituting torture? And if an act that fits the description of torture is to be removed from constituting torture as it is “arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions,” then would this not provide a free pass to governments to claim that as it is imposed by the country’s judicial system, which in that country is a lawful sanction, making it not an act of torture?
If this argument is to be upheld, then we are facing a grey area where countries are provided the green light to act as they please, and bring it under the loophole of claiming as a lawful sanction. The best way to address this would be to base flogging as a violation of international law under jus cogens. Torture is a violation of jus cogens, and any act that is in violation of it even mandated by any treaty would be invalidated and will be a violation of international law. However cases such as Jones V Saudi Arabia case does not shed positive light as it provides that state immunity takes precedence over torture or any claim in international law which is considered to be jus cogens.
Obligations on Parties to the Convention Against Torture
Article 2 of the Convention Against Torture states, “Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction,” which in turn creates the obligation on Saudi Arabia to remove punishments such as flogging from the list of lawful sanctions by their judiciary. The Article further elaborates that “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”
Article 4 (1) also provides that “Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law,” which creates an ironic situation for Saudi Arabia where there criminal law sanctions such as flogging is an act of torture which needs to be categorized as offences under criminal law.
Flogging as a Punishment in Sri Lanka
In the Penal Code of Sri Lanka, whipping used to be a punishment. However this has been repealed through Section 3 of the Corporal PunishmentAct No. 23 of 2005 which states “Wherever in any written law, there is included as part of a sentence of whipping, such law shall from and after the date of the coming into operation of this Act, be deemed to be amended by the omission therefrom of such part of such sentence as relates to whipping ”
Further, Children and Young Persons Ordinance Section 29 (1) provides, “Where a child or young person who is a male is found guilty by any court of any offence, the court may, if it is for any reason of opinion that the case is one in which corporal punishment should be inflicted, make order that the child or young person shall receive not more than six strokes with a light cane or rattan,- such strokes to be inflicted in the presence of the court and, if the parent of the child or young person desires to be present, in his presence.” This punishment is no longer practiced by the Sri Lankan judiciary.
Previously, whipping was allowed under the Corporal Punishment Ordinance No. 16 of 1889. According to Section 7 of the Act, the following offences were punishable by whipping:
These provisions are only applicable with respect to a male offender above the age of 16 years (Section 7(2) of Corporal Punishment Ordinance). This Act was repealed by the Corporal Punishment (Repeal) Act No. 23 of 2005.
Badawi and the 950 Remaining Lashes
Raif Badawi received his first 50 lashes 9th January, 2015, and has a remaining 950 lashes of his punishment which is expected to be administered on him in 19 sessions. However following the first execution of his punishment he has been considered as not been medically fit to undergo the next session of 50 lashes, and the punishment has since been postponed for a third time this week. The global community calls for his pardon, and his release from charges that are viewed a violation of his freedom of expression. How does one justify such inhuman treatment?