The province has accepted all 13 recommendations of an expert panel that looked into how Halifax Regional School Board and associated agencies handled events leading to the death of high school student Rehtaeh Parsons. Debra Pepler and Penny Milton delivered their final report to the province today, June 14. “Rehtaeh’s story is not an easy one to listen to, but it’s important that we hear it,” said Marilyn More, lead Minister for the Action Team on Sexual Violence and Bullying. “Dr. Pepler and Ms. Milton have written a thorough report on her experiences and implementing their recommendations will help prevent another tragedy. This is not the end of our work; far from it. The review and its recommendations will be added to the efforts currently underway.” Ms. More met with the Parsons family this morning. The family has been involved throughout the review and has had a chance to read the report. The province has asked the Department of Health and Wellness to prepare options to review the IWK Health Centre’s mental-health programs, services and policies as it relates to Rehtaeh’s case, a move supported by the reviewers. The province is conducting an independent review by out-of-province experts into the actions of the Public Prosecution Service and police. This will begin immediately after police release the results of their criminal investigation. An action plan in response to the all of the recommendations will be completed in the next few weeks. “If there is one message we want to emphasize, it is this: work together. Good relationships will be essential for finding solutions that work,” Dr. Pepler and Ms. Milton said in their report. “We need to listen, learn from each other, and build a body of evidence that will help us all to respond effectively in crisis situations.” The reviewers were appointed by the province April 18. It was one of the first actions by the Action Team on Sexual Violence and Bullying, which was created by Premier Darrell Dexter after Ms. Parsons’s death. Dr. Pepler is a professor of psychology at York University. She is co-founder of PREVNet, Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network, and has been on the Ontario Minister of Education’s Safe Schools Action Team since 2004. One of her research areas is bullying. Ms. Milton is former CEO of the Canadian Education Association and a former deputy minister of the Premier’s Advisory Council on Health, Wellbeing and Social Justice in Ontario. Her primary area of interest is the engagement of young people in learning. The report can be found at www.ednet.ns.ca .
“From the moment disturbances broke out in Ampara and Kandy, the government has been trying to lay the blame for these incidents on the SLPP. We have already issued two statements pointing out among other things that these Sinhala-Muslim disturbances which are now increasing in frequency, were first started several years ago to destabilize the Rajapaksa government and that the reason why the present Government never appointed a Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the incidents that began in 2012 and culminated in the Aluthgama disturbances 2014, is because all the perpetrators are among the founders of the present Government,” Peiris said in a statement. “A section of the international media has been helping the Government in its propaganda effort. Recently, the London based Guardian in an article on the Kandy incidents quoted Alan Keenan of the International Crisis group who said that this violence can be related to ‘the growing strength of the Rajapaksa led opposition’ and that these clashes were being motivated by ‘a need to look for new enemies to unite the Sinhalese and to win votes’. Despite the efforts of various interested parties, nobody in this country, particularly the Muslim community believes these stories anymore,”Peiris said.Peiris said the position of the SLPP on the incidents that have been occurring from time to time over the past several years is firstly that that all those responsible for the violence should be brought to book, and secondly that a Presidential Commission of Inquiry should be appointed to inquire into all such incidents going back to 2012. (Colombo Gazette) The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna says it wants a Presidential Commission of Inquiry to investigate several incidents which had taken place since 2012.Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Chairman Professor G.L.Peiris said that sections of the international media have continued to amplify and broadcast the Sri Lanka Government’s propaganda that the Joint Opposition or the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna was responsible for the recent Sinhala-Muslim disturbances in Kandy. He said despite this the Government keeps trying to pin the blame for the incidents on the SLPP, in the hope that they will be able to motivate the Muslim people to vote en masse with the present Government as they did in January 2015.