SRI LANKA NEWS

‘More Questions Than Answers’ – Suren Surendiran

27th July 2014 // 0 Comments

While the Government feels it has achieved something more by expanding the mandate of the Missing Persons Commission to investigate war crimes and appointing three foreign experts to oversee the probe, the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) feels it is not enough. GTF spokesman Suren Surendiran says more questions than answers have surfaced following the Government announcement. He also notes that historically such Sri Lankan commissions have failed to meet the expectations of the families of the victims and the international community. Excerpts of the interview: By Easwaran Rutnam Q: What does the GTF think about the new mandate given to the missing person’s commission? A: The view remains the same that only an impartial independent international investigation can establish the truth and serve justice. The predicament […]

Losing diplomatic war

27th July 2014 // 0 Comments

In marked contrast to the hysterical screeching by Government leaders that there shall be no domestic or international inquiry into the last days of the military campaign to defeat the LTTE in May of 2009, we are now faced with both. The silence by these same leaders to last week’s decision to hold a domestic inquiry is deafening in comparison. There has been no official statement by the Government up to date on the Gazette that was issued on July 15 expanding the scope of the Commission on Disappearances to encompass a mandate to investigate allegations of International Humanitarian Law violations (read ‘war crimes’). One can understand the Government’s embarrassment at the volte-face but it has only itself to blame and some explaining to do […]

‘There Is Definitely Hope For Tamils’ – Maxwell Paranagama

27th July 2014 // 0 Comments

According to the Chairman of the Missing Persons Commission Maxwell Paranagama, the Commission, under its new mandate, despite the doubts of some Tamil political parties, is quite confident of handling investigations effectively on both missing persons and allegations of civilians killed during the war. Maxwell Paranagama told The Sunday Leaderthat the Commission is answerable only to the President but to no one else, and it is beyond their mandate to share any information or work with the UN led commission.   Excerpts of the interview: By Waruni Karunarathne Q: Can the Presidential Commission on Missing Persons under its new mandate handle investigation into both missing persons and civilians’ death? A: According to the new mandate, we are to investigate whether armed forces or the LTTE had violated the International Humanitarian Law and […]

India told Sri Lanka to resolve Tamil issue for better trade, says Seshadri Chari

27th July 2014 // 0 Comments

SINGAPORE: India has told Sri Lanka that it needs to resolve the Tamil issue for making progress in bilateral trade and commerce, a senior BJP leader has said. “We have told them (Sri Lanka) that you should resolve the Tamil issue if you want trade and commerce between Colombo and New Delhi (to progress),” Seshadri Chari, National Convener of Foreign Policy Cell of the Bharatiya Janata Party, told PTI. He made the remarks after addressing a Singapore forum on “Prime Minist ..  Read more at: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/39053806.cms?&utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

Solheim Ready To Testify

27th July 2014 // 0 Comments

Former peace envoy willing to share information with Government Commission By Easwaran Rutnam Former Norwegian peace envoy, Erik Solheim, says he is ready to testify before the Government Commission of Inquiry tasked to investigate the war. Speaking to The Sunday Leader, Solheim said that he has nothing to hide and is willing to share whatever he knows with the Government Commission. Earlier, Solhiem had offered to testify before the UN led investigation which has already commenced investigations into the war. Now that the domestic Commission on Mission Persons has been asked to investigate the war, Solheim says he will come forward and share information if required. “The information I may be able to provide is for sure also available to the domestic probe and the […]

Govt. busted millions in lobbying

27th July 2014 // 0 Comments

BY SULOCHANA RAMIAH MOHAN The Government has gone after several US based lobbying firms squandering over USD 100 million in order to defend its status in the global arena, especially the US.It is said that the administration of President Mahinda Rajapaksa currently pays four US lobbying firms to defend the country and four are under contract or active accounts in the US. The latest additions with the Foreign Agents Registration Act contracts in the US are the Madison Group and Beltway Government Strategies. Besides these two firms Thompson Advisory Group LLC (TAG), whose contract ended on 15 March 2014 was paid Rs 100 million, approximately US$ 800,000, at the rate of US$ 66,600 per month for its services till March 2014. Another lobbying expense of US$ 348,000 was […]

Diaspora Can Make Submissions

27th July 2014 // 0 Comments

By Waruni Karunarathne The Sri Lankan Diaspora will be able to make submissions to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on Missing Persons which has now been asked to investigate the war. Chairman of the Presidential Commission, Maxwell Paranagama told The Sunday Leader that the Commission on Missing Persons will publish a notice inviting the public to make submissions. “Even the Diaspora is allowed make submissions to the Commission and testify before the Commission,” he said. However, he also said he was not able to say exactly when the Commission will complete the hearings and compile its report. “I cannot tell exactly when we will be able to finish our work under the new mandate. We have to hear each and every case individually,” Paranagama said. […]

GL contradicts his ministry

27th July 2014 // 0 Comments

The Tamil Diaspora in the UK protested against President Mahinda Rajapaksa when he was visiting the country on the invitation of Queen Elizabeth, two years ago. This protest forced Mahinda to return to Sri Lanka with his group of supporters which included Army commanders involved in killing more than 40,000 Tamil Civilians in Month of May 2009 in Mullivaikkal. President Mahinda and his Army are also accused of killing more than 1000 LTTE Leaders and their family members who surrendered with white flag after UN negotiated the surrender. This UN negotiated surrender and killing of surrendered LTTE Leaders by Sri Lankan Army after the surrender has made UN negotiations worthless in future to other conflicting parties around the world as UN officials involved in negotiation have gone silent, who are believed to […]

Over 10,000 fishermen go on indefinite strike

26th July 2014 // 0 Comments

Over 10,000 coastal fishermen in Pudukottai and Ramanathapuram districts began an indefinite strike on Friday, demanding the release of all the 43 fishermen languishing in Sri Lanka prisons, and their mechanised boats. The fishermen stayed away from routine operations, their representatives told The Hindu . “We will continue the strike till the Central and State governments intervene and find an early solution,” said N. Kuttiandi, president of the Jegadapattinam Mechanised Boat Owners Association. Both Jegadapattinam and Kottaipattinam coastal tracts in Pudukottai district were known for yielding large-sized crabs which are exported. The strike could thus hit exports, the sources said. In Rameswaram, a 4000-strong contingent of fishermen struck work, angered at their fishing season which began only recently, getting sullied by the actions of the Sri Lankan […]

Wimal the Joker and his friend Mahinda.

26th July 2014 // 0 Comments

Wimal’s move on gazette unlikely to make headway The days of cult and clan in politics By Shamindra Ferdinando The National Freedom Front (NFF) yesterday acknowledged that it would have no alternative but to quit the SLFP-led coalition unless the government amended a controversial special gazette notification meant to broaden the scope of a local investigation by appointing a three-member International Advisory Panel (IAP). The local investigation is headed by retired High Court judge Maxwell Parakrama Paranagama. The three-member presidential commission appointed in August 2013 includes Mrs. Suranjana Vidyaratne and Mrs. Mano Ramanathan. In February of this year, President Rajapaksa extended the mandate of the Commission by six months to August 12, 2014. Sir Desmond de Silva has been named Chairman of the three-member panel […]

British Govt. Calls Upon Sri Lanka Again To Sign UN Declaration Of Commitment To End Sexual Violence In Conflict

26th July 2014 // 0 Comments

The British Government has expressed grave concerns over the culture of impunity prevailing in Sri Lanka forrape and sexual violence and has once again called upon the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) to sign up to the UN Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. These calls are made just days after a group of Naval officers attached to the Karainagar Navy camp accused of raping a 11 year-old for 11 days were released on personal bail earlier this week.The South Asia Department of Foreign and Commonwealth Office in UK in a letter to theTransnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) yesterday has expressed concerns over the reports of a culture of impunity for rape and sexual violence and a lack of support for victims in Sri Lanka both during […]

Healing The Wounds: Working With The Diaspora

26th July 2014 // 0 Comments

By Rajiva Wijesinha –  31 years after the tragic events of July 1983, there has still been no serious attempt to heal the wounds. They were grave wounds, and the effect they had still bedevils this country. Though many explanations are offered, some in an effort to justify what occurred, we must recognize that, as BishopLakshman Wickremesinghe put it, ‘The facts however cannot be denied. Thousand of Tamils, old and young, and even little children were assaulted; robbed, killed, bereaved and made refugees. They saw their homes, possessions, vehicles, shops and factories plundered, burnt or destroyed. These people were humiliated, made to live in fear and rendered helpless’ This brutality led to the strengthening of the LTTE. Though we must all be glad that the terrorism the LTTE engaged in is […]

The Vijaya Kumaratunge Assassination

26th July 2014 // 0 Comments

By Rajan Hoole – Political Murders, the Commissions and the Unfinished Task – 8 A presidential commission comprising Supreme Court Judges P. Ramanathan and S.N. Silva (who subsequently became Attorney General and then Chief Justice), and High Court Judge D. Jayawickrema heard evidence on the assassination of Vijaya Kumaratunge (VK), a rising political star. He was assassinated on 16th February 1988, early during the JVP insurgency. In the findings, a prima facie case was said to lie against President Premadasa on the grounds that the former President was implicated by evidence of a motive for the assassination, and by circumstantial evidence of the suppression of the investigation. UNP Minister Ranjan Wijeratne was implicated by the Commissioners on the grounds that he illegally and improperly interfered in the conduct of […]

Sri Lanka Has Fallen Prey To Israel Traps

26th July 2014 // 0 Comments

Sri Lanka has fallen prey to Zionist forces of Israel and by way has given leeway for extremist Tamil forces to rise and the Western powers to undermine the war victory, former diplomat Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka has stated at a meeting held in solidarity with the Palestenian people of Gaza. Dr. Jayatilleka addressing the meeting held on Tuesday, had stated that the recent media release issued by the foreign ministry on the Israel- Palestine conflict is exemplary of the Rajapaksa regime’s mistaken stance on the situation in Gaza. “The statement issued by the External Affairs Ministry contains major flaws; it does not mention Palestine or Palestinians, there is no condemnation of the bombings carried out by Israel or of its illegal occupation of Palestine, it does not […]

‘Maaru Thadam’ screening banned in Jaffna

25th July 2014 // 0 Comments

Sri Lankan Police has ordered a ban on a special screening of ‘Maaru Thadam’ a Tamil  film made in Switzerland at ‘Raja’ cinema, one of the oldest cinema halls in Jaffna. Directed by Sri Lankan born Tamil S.K. Ramanatas who presently lives in Switzerland, the film ‘Maaru Thadam’ has a cast consisting of youths living in Jaffna. The two-and-a-half-hour film has been approved for screening by the State Film Corporation, and Jaffna Municipal Council permission too, has been obtained but the Jaffna police stopped it being screened. A Tamil who came to watch the film said thjat ”This is the live we live in, Jaffna which is run by Sri Lankan Military”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpMBrrNmBXc&list=HL1370413347

GTF News Update – 24th July 2014

25th July 2014 // 0 Comments

THE ISLAND **COMMENTS CAN BE POSTED** MR shuns C’wealth event in UK due to ‘security concerns’ <http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=107277>   CEYLON TODAY  **COMMENTS CAN BE POSTED** Exec. Presidency cause of all evil – Sobhitha Thera  <http://www.ceylontoday.lk/51-68879-news-detail-exec-presidency-cause-of-all-evil-sobhitha-thera.html>   THE NATION  **COMMENTS CAN BE POSTED** NSC wants an impartial investigation over Aluthgama incident <http://www.nation.lk/edition/latest-top-stories/item/31572-nsc-wants-an-impartial-investigation-over-aluthgama-incident.html#sthash.z2BUkPsn.dpuf>   COLOMBO GAZETTE  **COMMENTS CAN BE POSTED** SC says no to ban on Muslim dress <http://colombogazette.com/2014/07/24/sc-says-no-to-ban-on-muslim-dress-2/>   COLOMBO GAZETTE  **COMMENTS CAN BE POSTED** MRIA earned only Rs. 16,000 for May <http://colombogazette.com/2014/07/23/mria-earned-only-rs-16000-for-may/>   BBC NEWS ‘Grave concerns’ over Australia asylum centre – top rights official <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-28457953>   –STATEMENTS/LETTERS/REPORTS–   MINISTRY OF FINANCE AND PLANNING Notice to all Government officials, civil society groups and general public <https://www.colombotelegraph.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Be-alert-Notice-by-ERD-Final-English.pdf>   EUROPEAN UNION Joint local statement on Restrictions on Non-Governmental […]

Jayalalithaa urges Modi to give Visa to UN Human Rights Team

25th July 2014 // 0 Comments

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/Jayalalithaa-asks-Modi-to-ensure-visas-for-UN-probe-team-to-Lanka/articleshow/38984624.cms CHENNAI: Expressing surprise over reports indicating denial of visa by the Centre to a United Nations team probing human rights violations in Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to grant them visa to enable them to hold a fair probe. In a letter to the Prime Minister yesterday which was released to the media today, Jayalalithaa said, “if the media reports are true, this would be a bitter disappointment to the people of Tamil Nadu who are .. Read more at: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/38981200.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/j-jayalalithaa-urges-pm-narendra-modi-to-give-visa-to-un-team/articleshow/38981200.cms CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa on Thursday expressed surprise over media reports that suggested that India denied visas to the United Nations Investigation Committee looking into human rights violations in Sri Lanka and requested Prime […]

PMK flays “denial” of visa to UN team

25th July 2014 // 0 Comments

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/pmk-flays-denial-of-visa-to-un-team-114072301506_1.html NDA ally PMK today slammed the Centre for its reported refusal to grant visa to a UN team probing alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka, saying if it was true, it will become “dark pages” in the history of human rights. Citing reports, party founder leader S Ramadoss said Prathiba Mahanamahewa, Commissioner of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission had confirmed this besides saying that the refusal of visas was a very significant gesture by India. “If such reports are true, then it will create a big dent in the history of Indian human rights. Once upon a time, the first voices against human rights violations in any part of the world came from India,” he said in a statement. India creating of a ‘roadblock’ in the UN probe […]

Sectarian violence in south declared off-limits for media – Reporters Without Borders

25th July 2014 // 0 Comments

The Sri Lankan authorities asked the local media not to cover the clashes between Buddhists and Moslems that erupted in the southern region of Aluthgama on the night of 15 June. A curfew was also imposed in an attempt to contain a situation described by the government as “tense.” Although the media have been asked not to report the truth about these and other events of late, coverage of the clashes in Aluthgama has been posted on websites that are blocked in Sri Lanka but are accessible outside the country. Journalists were harassed and attacked and their equipment was smashed when they went to cover the clashes, in which dozens of people were injured and several were killed. Those attacked included Sunday Leader reporter Binoy Suriarachi, who was […]

Al Jazeera has produced documentary film on Tamil refugees who arrived on the Sun Sea and Ocean Lady to Canada.

24th July 2014 // 0 Comments

You can also watch it online via this link: http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/peopleandpower/2014/07/people-smugglers-20147239276629601.html The people smugglers Is the tough application of Canada’s immigration laws justified? Earlier this year the UN released a striking statistic: For the first time since World War II over 50 million people are now living as refugees around the world. As a result rich nations face higher flows of refugee claimants causing many to opt for ever stricter border controls. But those who are fleeing war and persecution are adopting new tactics, too. Increasingly they are opting to place themselves into the hands of networks of people smugglers who, for a fee, promise to take them to their destination. This episode of People & Power follows the arrival of two boats with Tamil refugees in Canada and […]

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