Sri Lanka’s debt burden is higher than Ethiopia, Uganda & Ghana

12th April 2018 // 0 Comments

Sri Lanka’s government revenue as a share of GDP is lower than many peers, while the government debt-to-GDP ratio is much higher, Moody’s Investors Service said in a statement. Debt-to-GDP ratio in Ethiopia, Uganda and Ghana among other countries is lower than Sri Lanka even though revenue-to-GDP ratio in these countries higher than Sri Lanka. Moody’s Investors Service said Sri Lanka’s very large debt burden and weak debt affordability weighing on country’s sovereign credit profile. Moody’s Investors Service, however, said new Inland Revenue Act which took effect on 1 April, will rationalize the existing income tax structure and help broaden the income tax base by removing exemptions, a credit positive. The government expects the removal of tax exemptions and the introduction of new taxes, including […]

EU Parliamentarians meet Sampanthan

6th April 2018 // 0 Comments

A six-member European Union (EU) Parliamentary group met Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan at his office in Parliament yesterday. He, briefing the delegation on the present political situation in the country and pointed out that compared to the previous regime, the present regime was conducive to minorities. However, Sampanthan, urging the support of the International Community from the delegation, mentioned that the present regime has to go a long way to fulfil the political aspirations of Tamils and solve their humanitarian issues in the North and East. He also outlined the delays in implementing the Geneva Resolution which was co-sponsored by the Lankan Government, addressing the issue of Tamil PTA detainees and the issue of missing persons. The investigations into alleged war crimes were also brought […]

It is hilarious to claim Donald Trump has tightened the HR conditions on Lanka!

4th April 2018 // 0 Comments

It is vitally necessary to understand the role of UNHRC in the modern global context. There is a tendency among the young left oriented atavists to classify every international institute, formed under the influence of UN, as reactionary and a new instrument of exploitation. In their analysis, the factor of international labour and its intervention is not taken into consideration. It is futile to classify UNHRC and other international organisations as instruments of global capital and imperialism, and neglect the power of organised labour however conservative it appears. In the modern world side by side of global capital, international labour plays a massive role in the fight for human rights and other social rights. On the other hand, it is hilarious to claim Donald Trump […]

UNHRC Cannot Rely On Sri Lanka To Prosecute Its Armed Forces

3rd April 2018 // 0 Comments

By Usha S Sri-Skanda Rajah – Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah – As the search for justice for victims of the Tamil genocide continues. – While the application of ‘universal jurisdiction’ by individual states to prosecute war criminals must be pursued rigorously, the way forward for member states of the UN Human Rights Council is to lobby the UN Security Council for an ICC referral or for the  establishment of an international special criminal tribunal for Sri Lanka. UNHRC’s Prolonged Reliance on Sri Lanka to Prosecute Its Army Cannot be Sustained: The 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council ended with no firm action taken against Sri Lanka, despite its continued failure to establish a hybrid court – member states missing the opportunity yet again to apply the necessary pressure […]


3rd April 2018 // 0 Comments

A reputed Tamil Canadian lawyer, human rights activist and currently Member of Parliament representing his constituency Scarborough, Toronto in the House of Commons, Gary Anandasangaree speaks to Ceylon Today on the lack of interest shown by the Sri Lankan Government in implementing the UN resolution and constitutional reforms. “Inaction by the Government to form a mechanism to address this issue, and in absence of anything happening, this is what the government should be expecting. This sort of thing will be escalating from outside within the international community. It is expected to derive its own justice and ultimately someone is going to get caught under Universal Jurisdiction if Sri Lanka fails to act.” The unity government is today at a crossroads with its own share of […]

After Lanka’s diplomatic battle, EU relists LTTE as terror outfit

1st April 2018 // 0 Comments

The Council of the European Union has relisted the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as a terrorist organisation. The decision came into effect on March 21, 2018, continuing the “specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities with a view to combating terrorism”. The LTTE is among 20 organisations named. The relisting is the result of a protracted diplomatic battle that involved Sri Lanka’s mission in Brussels, where the EU has its headquarters. The President, the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and the Secretaries of Foreign Affairs and Defence were involved in the diplomatic move, sources said. The LTTE was first listed as a terrorist movement in 2006 and has remained on the list ever since. But, while the LTTE did not challenge its […]

UNHRC presents two tough choices to Sri Lanka

26th March 2018 // 0 Comments

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan The warning from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is simple and stark. Institute “a special court to check on the alleged war crimes or face universal jurisdiction.” The terse warning issued in Geneva at the periodic review of progress with regard to alleged human rights violations in Sri Lanka means that this country has to begin a legal process of trying people who are alleged to have committed war crimes during the separatist war or open the country’s people to arrest and prosecution in other countries. How it works is like this. If a Sri Lankan, who has been involved in the war as a military officer or a politician, can be arrested and tried in a country that […]

US to keep Sri Lanka on HR agenda beyond March 2019

25th March 2018 // 0 Comments

The United States is to keep Sri Lanka on the human rights agenda beyond March 2019, sources told the Colombo Gazette.  Alice G. Wells, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs at the US State Department has told a Tamil National Alliance and Global Tamil Forum delegation last week that the US will look to keep Sri Lanka on the agenda after next March, the Colombo Gazette learns. The move comes after the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) last week expressed “much regret” over the slow progress in establishing transitional justice mechanisms in Sri Lanka. Kate Gilmore, the United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights told the UN Human Rights Council last week that in the absence […]

Sri Lanka: continued Human Rights Council scrutiny needed until justice commitments met in full

23rd March 2018 // 0 Comments

In this Council, we often talk about the importance of implementation. We can pass all the resolutions we like, but none of it matters if it doesn’t translate into actual progress for people on the ground. Sri Lanka’s co-sponsorship of resolution 30/1 in October 2015 represented a moment of hope, of opportunity, the prospect of justice and accountability for the tens of thousands of victims of the country’s brutal civil war. In that resolution, Sri Lanka pledged to set up four transitional justice mechanisms to promote “justice, reconciliation and human rights” in the country. These included an accountability mechanism involving international judges, prosecutors, and investigators; a truth and reconciliation mechanism; an office of missing persons; and an office for reparations. Thus far only the Office […]

Mahinda or Ranil as the PM?

23rd March 2018 // 0 Comments

As indicated in these pages previously, after a lull of several weeks when the country was pre-occupied with the ethnic unrest in the Central Province and Ampara and curfews and a State of Emergency was clamped down in a bid to quell the violence, it is now back to ‘politics as usual’. The focus has again reverted to the motion of no-confidence against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that is being sponsored primarily by the Joint Opposition (JO) but now has the active backing of certain stalwarts of the mainstream Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) who are also seeking the endorsement of President Maithripala Sirisena. Moves to oust Prime Minister Wickremesinghe began soon after the results of the February 10 local government elections were announced. It […]

Sri Lanka’s Only Solid Boast Before UNHRC 2018 – The RTI!

23rd March 2018 // 0 Comments

The only concrete action that the Government of Sri Lanka relied on during its statement to the United Nations Human Rights Council at its 37th session yesterday (21st March 2018) in Geneva was that Sri Lanka’s globally praised Right to Information Act was in full implementation mode and that the Right to Information Commission was functioning effectively and ‘disposing of a large number of appeals’!  Marapana Reading out the Statement, Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana otherwise, only pointed to a long list of “promises”, hopeful assurances that the recently established Office of Missing Persons will “discharge its mandate effectively.”  Minister Marapana also repeated that Legislation to give effect to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance was passed by the Parliament on 7 March. Activists currently participating in the […]

A delegation from the main Tamil party TNA & diaspora organisation GTF visit the US at a critical juncture for Sri Lanka

23rd March 2018 // 0 Comments

PRESS STATEMENT  22 March 2018, New York A delegation from the main Tamil party TNA & diaspora organisation GTF visit the US at a critical juncture for Sri Lanka A joint delegation of TNA and GTF visited the United States of America at the time when Sri Lanka has been under scrutiny at the UN in Geneva, with appointments secured from the relevant highest levels of authority at the UN, US Administration and Government and the Norwegian Government. This visit at this critical juncture was based on TNA’s and GTF’s continued engagement with the Government of Sri Lanka to encourage to implement their 2015 manifesto commitments and commitments made to all Sri Lankans and the international community. This visit was significant especially considering that the […]

Mid-term Report Card on Sri Lanka’s Implementation of its Commitments to UN Human Rights Council: TGTE

21st March 2018 // 0 Comments

TGTE has chosen to do an assessment of the level to which those 25 commitments undertaken by Sri Lanka have been implemented. Five grading system has been used GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, March 20, 2018 / — HERE IS THE LINK TO THE REPORT CARD: In September 2015, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) passed by consensus Resolution No.30/1 co-sponsored by Sri Lanka itself, and giving 2 years for Sri Lanka to implement the 25 commitments it undertook to address grave charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity by State forces. In 2017, Sri Lanka and the UNHRC reaffirmed those commitments in Resolution No. 34/1 and Sri Lanka was given an extension of further 2 years to fulfill international expectations. One year has now passed. Transnational […]

Sri Lanka’s Problematic Past with Commissions of Inquiry: Are We Repeating Mistakes?

21st March 2018 // 0 Comments

On March 21, 2018 the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights will provide an oral update to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka and the status on the commitments contained in UNHRC Resolution 30/1 which was adopted in October 2015 and extended by Resolution 34/1 in March 2017. While some progress has been made on these commitments, including the recent operationalisation of the OMP; the enactment of domestic legislation criminalising enforced disappearances; and some limited land releases, many commitments are yet to be fully implemented or even initiated including many on accountability. The update comes at a time when there are considerable security issues on the ground following the recent spate of violence targeting the Muslim […]

Geneva debacle: Negligence on the part of war winning govt.

21st March 2018 // 0 Comments

Global Sri Lanka Forum protest in Geneva on March 18. Former navy Chief of Staff Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera and Nalaka Godahewa are among those present (pic courtesy GSLF) By Shamindra Ferdinando Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) meets thrice every year in regular sessions – in Feb.-March, June, and Sept. The ongoing 37th Session of the Council convened on Feb 26 will conclude on March 23. Having considered the implementation of Resolution 30/1 of 1 Oct. 2015 co-sponsored by the government of Sri Lanka (GoSL), the Council, at its 34th Session (27 Feb – 24 March 2017) adopted Resolution 34/1 on 23 March 2017. By this Resolution, the Council requested the Office of the High Commissioner to continue to assess progress on implementation […]


19th March 2018 // 0 Comments

A high-level Sri Lankan delegation heads to Geneva tomorrow, where it will attempt to show progress on its human rights commitments, amid mounting calls for more political will to implement reconciliation and accountability measures set out in UNHRC Resolution 30/1 that the country co-sponsored in September 2015. In Geneva, Sri Lanka will unveil a host of measures taken over the past year to reckon with a violent past in line with its UN Human Rights Council commitments, including the operationalisation of the Office off Missing Persons, the enactment of the Enforced Disappearances Act, ongoing discussions on the draft counter-terrorism legislation to replace the Prevention of Terrorism Act and a bill to set up the Reparations Office recently approved by Cabinet. Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana will […]

No Doubt Sri Lanka Is At Crossroads: GTF

19th March 2018 // 0 Comments

“Sri Lanka agreeing to a well-defined, time-bound action plan for simultaneous operation of all transitional justice processes should be the top priority for the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC),” says the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) “As Sri Lankan issues will be taken up at the UNHRC next week, the GTF would like to highlight the following for the careful considerations of the key countries at the UNHR,” the GTF has said in a statement today. We publish below the statement in full: The confidence level among the Tamil community that Sri Lanka will fully implement its commitments under the resolution 30/1 in a faithful and timely manner is presently at its lowest. The outcomes of the local council elections, the recent anti-Muslim violence, and the fact that the present coalition government […]

Sri Lanka: Impunity Risks Creating Further and Further Violence: Former US War Crimes Amb. Stephen Rapp at UN Side Event !

16th March 2018 // 0 Comments

by • ENGLISH NEWS At a Side event held at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Former United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes issues Ambassador Stephen Rapp said that: “When we look at the events over the last week, the attacks on Muslims [in Sri Lanka] by extremist Buddhist elements […], we certainly see the real dangers of a situation of impunity. The failure to prosecute effectively crimes of mass atrocity leads to a contempt for these norms; a perception by those who take up arms and commit heinous acts against their fellow human beings that they can get away with it. And, conversely, it’s been my observation that in the world where governments courageously prosecute people who are political alleys – the armed services and […]

Sri Lanka: The Human Rights Crisis In The Tamil North & East – An Appeal For International Intervention

16th March 2018 // 0 Comments

By Brian Senewiratne – Dr. Brian Senewiratne I am a Sinhalese from the majority community in Sri Lanka. I have campaigned for the past 70 years for the Tamil people to live with equality, dignity, safety and without discrimination. I cannot think of any time in the past seven decades that the outlook for the Tamil people has been more disastrous than it is today. Sri Lankan (Sinhalese) politicians are simply incapable of addressing the major human rights problems faced by the Tamil people. They do not have the ability, integrity or honesty to see that what has been done to the Tamil people in the North and East is unacceptable. This publication is being written for circulation at the 37th Sessions of the Human Rights Council […]

Getting away with killing Muslims is not easy as killing Tamils.

15th March 2018 // 0 Comments

There is a potential threat of domestic terrorism of a new type. The excellent choice for Minister of Law and Order, Ranjith Madduma Bandara, and the Defence authorities under President Sirisena and Ruwan Wijewardene must coordinate to face this new, existential threat. It was on March 3rd, after Ampara but just before Teldeniya, that an impressive young Sri Lankan scholar, Dr. Sara Dissanayake, warned that the State had not recognized right-wing extremism and far right hate crimes as a national security threat (“Why the Government Needs to Overcome the Fear of Labelling”). She has proven spectacularly correct. Her analysis came a few weeks after security scholar Prof. Rohan Gunaratne accurately identified ‘Sinhala Only’ as the beginning of the country’s slide into chronic cycles of conflict. […]

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