SRI LANKA NEWS

Sri Lankan President set NOT to attend Glasgow 2014 after fears of Protest by Tamils

14th May 2014 // 0 Comments

A potentially harmful diplomatic challenge for Glasgow 2014 is likely to be avoided due to the fact Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is not planning to attend the Commonwealth Games this summer, insidethegames has learned.  This comes after two letters were sent to British Foreign Secretary William Hague voicing concerns the presence of the controversial leader would mean the Games are overshadowed by questions relating to genocide and human rights abuse.  The first was sent by Hague’s opposition counterpart in the Labour Party, shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander last Friday (May 9), demanding to know exactly how the Government plans to ensure the event is not hit by controversy. It cites how police have already warned there could be protests on the streets of Glasgow if he does attend, before […]

I WAS TORTURED IN SRI LANKA FOR HARBOURING TAMILS

14th May 2014 // 0 Comments

Last week, the Australian government decided not to co-sponsor a UN inquiry into human rights abuses in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan government praised its “bold” decision, and defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa posed for a celebratory shot with Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison as the former handed the latter a premium box of Dilmah tea. The deal – which is essentially the Australian government turning a blind-eye to the torture of Sri Lankan citizens, among other abuses – has been criticised as placing Australia “on the same team as China, Russia and the Congo in opposing the investigation”. The agreement is apparently based on the excellent relations between the two countries, which – of course – doesn’t justify it in any shape or form. The news comes a few […]

Why The LTTE Was Defeated

14th May 2014 // 0 Comments

By Kumar David – It is natural that many reasons are ascribed for the defeat of the LTTE; none is exclusively true, they are interconnected and some more significant than others. After five years it is timely to invite Colombo Telegraph readers to separate the wheat from the chaff and enter into a thoughtful (not polemical) discussion so as to gain some maturity of perspective in these post-Geneva-2014 days. Most oft proclaimed in the South is that a determination of leadership (funding, unflagging political support, military strategy, and resisting foreign pressure to compromise) decided the issue; but this is only partly true. A second argument, popular with Tamil liberals, is that the LTTE lost the moral high ground by espousing terrorism against Sinhalese civilians and Tamil leaders, and that internally […]

Should Sri Lanka panic about international war crimes prosecutions yet?

14th May 2014 // 0 Comments

BY NAYANTHA WIJESUNDARA   LL.M (Colombo); Ph.D in Conflict and Peace Studies (Colombo); LL.B (London); Attorney-at-Law  I have observed with amazement the current discourse in Sri Lanka about the possibility of an international war crimes prosecution with regard to the Sri Lankan war. The discourse is largely incomplete, biased and often misleading. Hence, I felt it opportune to write a succinct piece on this issue just to put the matter into perspective for the layman who has no expertise on the workings of international criminal justice. I will not discuss whether the Sri Lankan war requires dissection before the international criminal justice system as that is an evaluation of the merits of the matter which falls beyond the scope of this modest piece of writing.  Is it possible that the […]

The Truth About Justice in Sri Lanka

14th May 2014 // 0 Comments

It is time to be realistic about the chances of achieving accountability on human rights in Sri Lanka Five years ago – in May 2009 – Sri Lanka’s brutal civil war finally ended. Regrettably, there is ample evidence to suggest that violations of international humanitarian and human rights law were committed by both the Sri Lankan military and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). In spite of significant international criticism, the Sri Lankan government has refused to conduct a proper inquiry into what transpired at the end of the war and human rights violations in the country have continued unabated since that time. Indeed it is the nexus between past atrocities that remain unaccounted for and the ongoing human rights violations – which are rarely dealt with […]

Most people in northern Sri Lanka are hesitating to speak fearing surveillance

14th May 2014 // 0 Comments

The Jaffna University Science Teachers’ Association has condemned the closure of the university between May 16 and 20, pointing to intimidation and repression of free discussion on campus. It said that some university professors and student leaders received death threats warning them against holding any commemoration for those who lost their lives during the war, alleging that they were trying to revive the LTTE. Earlier this month, the registrar of the university had sent out a circular announcing that the university and its hostels will remain closed from May 16 to 20, which coincides with the days that the country’s ethnic conflict ended. “Why should Tamils speaking of the war be such an explosive issue five years after it ended, a war in which neither […]

Pro-government forces issue death threats against Jaffna university teachers and students

14th May 2014 // 0 Comments

University of Jaffna teachers in military-occupied northern Sri Lanka held a silent protest last Friday at noon, condemning death threats issued against them and student leaders by suspected military-backed thugs. Teachers marched around the university premises and picketed at the entrance. They held placards with slogans such as: “Are extra-judicial killings of teachers and the threatening of professors and students a wonder of Asia?” Other placards asked: “Is a university an academic field or a killing field?” “Does student education mean arbitrarily closing the university?” and “Are threats or intimidation not terrorism?” Threatening notices were dumped on the university premises on Tuesday last week, headed: “Terrorism will not be allowed to rise again.” They were issued anonymously under a false name: “Student Force to Defend […]

Yasmin Sooka’s evidence based on sound legal grounds will no doubt play a vital role in the final report by the UN OHCHR.

14th May 2014 // 0 Comments

  Must Watch VIDEO: Canadian Senator Mobina Jaffer interviews Yasmin Sooka on May of 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdtf-R_qo7Q In the light of Sri Lanka’s dismissal of the international investigation and their refusal to cooperate, Yasmin Sooka’s evidence based on sound legal grounds will no doubt play a vital role in the final report by the UN OHCHR.  An UN report with such damning legal evidence cannot be dismissed easily by the UN Security Council and the ICC.  That will be the next stage in the road to accountability and justice.         What is more remarkable in this video is her dedication to the cause of human rights.  Whether it be South Africa her own country, Sierra Leone, or Sri Lanka, she brings an unparalleled […]

Mapping 12 years of Sri Lankan opinion

13th May 2014 // 0 Comments

Perspectives of Sri Lankans over the last decade or so makes for fascinating reading five years after the end of the war. This infographic is only a snapshot of the hope, frustration, changes and divides between communities in Sri Lanka since 2001. Looking at this makes us wonder what the future holds. Will cycles of hope and frustration continue? Will there be a lasting peace? Or will another war mark the beginning of a new timeline of violence? The data for this infographic was taken from the Peace Confidence Index, an island wide public opinion poll which was conducted continuously from 2001 – 2008 and Democracy in Post War Sri Lanka survey, which has been conducted island wide annually since 2011 by Social Indicator, the survey research unit of the Centre for […]

UK not happy with ban by Sri Lanka

13th May 2014 // 0 Comments

Britain says it is concerned at reports that the Sri Lankan government has proscribed a number of individuals and Tamil organisations operating outside Sri Lanka. UK Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth office Hugo Swire said that while UK respects the right of the Sri Lankan government to take appropriate action against individuals and groups where there is clear evidence of their involvement in terrorist activities, the British high commissioner to Sri Lanka has made clear to the Sri Lankan government that the proscription should not be used to prevent or stifle the right to freedom of speech, particularly at a time when Sri Lanka’s human rights record is under international scrutiny. “We believe that this development is not conducive to a successful […]

Bathiudeen re-settling people in forest reserves: environmentalists

13th May 2014 // 0 Comments

Four leading environmental associations today charged that Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen had illegally cleared 18,000 acres of forest land belonging to leading wildlife parks in three districts.The Center for Environmental justice, the Environment Conservation Trust, the Sri Lanka Environment Congress and the Buddhist Collective for Nature said the Minister had cut down trees in forest reserves at 14 locations in the districts of Mannar, Vavuniya and Mullaitivu.Center for Environmental Justice Executive Director Hemantha Vithanage said the forests have been cleared violating the Environmental Act. He charged that the Minister is currently inflicting undue influence on the authorities to release some more land in the Madhu area for the resettlement of people.Mr. Vithnage said the resettlement of internally displaced persons was completed in 2012 […]

Jaffna University: In the Shadow Of War And Peace On A War-Footing

13th May 2014 // 0 Comments

Jaffna University professors are threatened and the University is closed without giving any explanation. “Early in the week beginning on 5th May, events bearing on the anniversary of the end of the war on 18th May followed in quick succession. The Registrar sent out letters announcing the closure of the University from 16th to 20th May with no explanation. On the 7th leaflets were posted on the University premises making death threats against professors who are allegedly guiding students to support terrorism and student leaders of just the Arts and Science faculties and the leader of the University Student’s Union. The academics threatened are Prof. Sivanathan, Dean of Arts, and Mr. Rasakumaran, Head of the English Language Teaching Centre, and the leader of the University Teachers’ Association. The same day, […]

Honouring the war dead and killing of 40,000 Tamil Civilians by the Army in North.

13th May 2014 // 0 Comments

Governor of the Northern Province, G.A. Chandrasiri, along with Mayor of Jaffna, pro government agent Mrs Yogeswarai Patkunarajah and several senior service personnel attended the National War Heroes’ Day celebration held in the Mullaitivu District recently, where the three decades of war came to an end by killing of more than 40,000 Tamil Civilians by Sri Lankan Sinhala Army.  Governor Chandrasiri, who led the event, paid floral tributes with Mrs Patkunarajah and senior service personnel in attendance.  Family members of the security forces personnel, who were killed in action in Mullaitivu, also participated at the event. The Governor presented the family members of the fallen soldiers with gifts. Tamil Students from schools were forced to take part in the event and forced to honour the Security Forces personnel by […]

Interview with Prof. Abhaya Induruwa, Father of Internet in Sri Lanka

13th May 2014 // 0 Comments

When Prof. Willie Mendis invited you to start the first Computer Science department in Sri Lanka at the University of Moratuwa, how did you take on the task? I had just returned from my post-graduate studies and I was still in the Electrical Engineering Department. So computer science or computing was quite new to us. Quite fortunately we had the opportunity to use theIEEE Computer Society model curriculum for Computer Science & Engineering that they had just released in 1983.  That gave us the framework that we used to develop the Computer Science & Engineering curriculum at the University of Moratuwa. What were the challenges you faced? In terms of establishing the department, I think the main challenge was recruiting enough staff. We didn’t have any […]

Erasing Identities: Tracing Sri Lanka’s Post-war Journey through the Changing Realities of Trincomalee

13th May 2014 // 0 Comments

Introduction When I went to Trincomalee last November with a few university friends I noticed a distinct unfriendliness in the air. While growing up, I often visited Trincomalee, because my cousins lived there. Now the Trincomalee I knew and loved from my childhood was no more. Something else had taken its place. Trincomalee today is a place where the collective existence of minorities are increasingly under threat. What follows is my attempt at unpacking the key trends of the Government’s ongoing political project of transforming Trincomalee into a Sinhalese-Buddhist town. An analysis of the new Trincomalee captures the very essence of the general trajectory of Sri Lanka’s post-war journey. An Exploration: Makings of the New Trincomalee 1. Rewriting of History and Rebranding of Trincomalee as […]

Test players to get specialized training in England

13th May 2014 // 0 Comments

Opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne could be one of the players travelling to England early. by Rex Clementine Lead up to the national cricket team’s tour of England, the team management had lined up intense training as preparation for the tour. The Sri Lankans trained with the Dukes balls used in England, left grass on the wickets and started training early when the moisture was still on the wickets. Now there’s a move to get the Test specialists early to England to go through specialized training. Accordingly about six players who are likely to feature in the Test series will leave for England during this week. They will be based in Hove and will train in Sussex’s Cricket Facilities before joining the national team ahead of […]

The Search for a Political Solution Five Years after the War which President Promised

13th May 2014 // 0 Comments

“The sovereignty of Sri Lanka is very much intact. And we want it to remain intact. We are Sri Lankans… And we don’t want Sri Lanka’s sovereignty to be impacted upon.” R. Sampanthan (Leader of the TNA), Al-Jazeera, 26 March 2014 Sri Lanka’s post-war politics has come to be defined by her inability to address two distinct, but inter-related, issues concerning its constituent peoples, especially the Tamil people. The first is that of accountability; the second, and the more enduring one, being that of a political solution to the national question. These are two issues that can make or break Sri Lanka. Accountability The question of accountability which is a pressing and controversial one is a question that the present government is both unwilling and […]

Zakir Hussain was planning to attack targets in India, Sri Lanka and Maldives

13th May 2014 // 0 Comments

On 19 June 2009, the US State Department reported to India, according to Wiki Leaks, that Pakistan based Lashker-e- Taiba (LeT) had established a facilitation centre in Sri Lanka. September 2010, Indian intelligence leaked to the media that the Maharashtra bakery bomber, Himayat Baig had claimed while in Indian police custody that he was trained in Colombo.  On 8 July 2013, bombs exploding in the world renowned Mahabodhi in Buddha-Gaya, India’s National Security Advisor Shiv Shanker Menon, told top authorities here that the bombs had been planted by Muslim extremists On 22 August 2013, leaked message to media claimed that Indian intelligence had been received that LeT was preparing for an attack on South India from Jaffna. Former Muslim parliamentarian M. M. Zuhair, PC, yesterday […]

No Wise Country Celebrates Killing of it’s 40,000 Minority Civilians

12th May 2014 // 0 Comments

 No Wise Country Celebrates Killing of it’s 40,000 Minority Civilians, but Sri Lanka is ruled by Rajapaksha Family. No wise country celebrates war victory after a civil war. The American Civil War is not celebrated as the victory of the North versus the South where 600,000 Americans died.  After the battle of Gettysburg President Abraham Lincoln made his famous Gettysburg address.  He went out of the way to show that it was a common victory.  Unfortunately in Sri Lanka, the political leadership indulged and continues to indulge in triumphalism celebrating the victory over the LTTE.” says the National Peace Council. Issuing a statement NPC today calls for religious observances islandwide in memory of all those who lost their lives during the war and restoration of normality for war-affected displaced […]

JVP condemns ban on commemoration of Killing of Tamil Civilians by Army

12th May 2014 // 0 Comments

 The military is planning a parade on May 18 in Matara to commemorate the victory over the rebels and killing of more than 40,000 Tamil Civilians. The Frontline Socialist Party (FLSP) has condemned the closure of the Jaffna University for a week starting from today and the government’s alleged ban on any programmes to commemorate the LTTE cadres killed during the North East conflict. The politburo of the FLSP, in a statement released to the media yesterday, said that banning of commemorations had been effected on the grounds that such programmes would be detrimental to the ethnic harmony and would promote separatism. However, the move had deprived the Tamil people of their right to commemorate the loss of their loved ones, it said. “Hundreds of […]

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