January 2015

Ban hopes Lanka works with UN

31st January 2015 // 0 Comments

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon hopes Sri Lanka works with the UN on the investigations over the war despite launching a new domestic investigation. Ban’s spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said that the UN is trying to verify how Sri Lanka will cooperate with the UN on the investigation. The Government had yesterday announced it will launch a domestic investigation into the war and obtain the assistance of foreign experts if required. “We’ve seen those reports.  Obviously, we’re trying to figure out what it means in terms of cooperation with the UN human rights investigation.  And we hope that there is positive movement in the cooperation between Sri Lanka and the UN system on the investigation of what happened,” Stéphane Dujarric said when asked about the Government announcement. (Colombo Gazette)

Sri Lankan military must be removed from North, Wigneswaran tells UK minister

31st January 2015 // 0 Comments

The removal of the Sri Lankan military from the Tamil areas is the most important issue at present, the chief minister of the Northern Province, C V Wigneswaran told the UK’s Minister for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hugo Swire during a visit to Jaffna on Thursday. Speaking to reporters afterwards about his meeting with Mr Swire, Mr Wigneswaran said he had also warned of the change in the ethnic demography of the Tamil areas due to state sponsored resettlement of Sinhala people. Asked by the visiting UK delegation what change the Northern Province had experienced since the new government, Mr Wigneswaran said: “I told them the new government appears to be giving us some benefits [such as] the changing of the governor [to the […]

Sri Lanka to Free Tamils and Return Their Land

31st January 2015 // 0 Comments

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — The Sri Lankan government pledged Thursday to free hundreds of minority Tamil detainees and return much of the Tamil land in the north and east that the military seized and continues to hold years after the end of the country’s bitter civil war. The promises represent the most significant efforts yet announced by the new government of President Maithripala Sirisena to heal the still-festering wounds of a decades-long civil war that ended in 2009. This month, Mr. Sirisena defeated the incumbent, Mahinda Rajapaksa, in what many analysts said was a surprising upset. Thousands of civilians were killed in the final weeks of the war, waged by separatist Tamil rebels who had long felt marginalized by the dominant ethnic Sinhalese group. Continue […]

TNA has no faith in a local probe

31st January 2015 // 0 Comments

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) says it has no faith in a domestic probe on the war and wants the outcome of the UN investigations to be made public. Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne had said that the Government will look at a domestic mechanism to investigate the war and obtain foreign expertise if required. However TNA MP Suresh Premachandran said that past experiences had shown that a domestic probe had not gone far and so the Tamil community will await the outcome of the UN led investigation. Premachandran said that there was an attempt to delay the report on the UN investigations on Sri Lanka from being submitted to the UN Human Rights Council in March. He said that the United States and the United Nations […]

Tamils have no trust in local inquiry by Sri Lankan govt says TNA spokesperson

31st January 2015 // 0 Comments

The spokesperson of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) said the Tamil people have no trust in a local inquiry process by the Sri Lankan government into mass atrocities committed against the Tamils at the end of the armed conflict, rejecting the new government’s pledge to launch another domestic commission to investigate the allegations. Stating that the UN inquiry, which is underway and due to publish its findings at the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva next month, was “trustworthy and acceptable to all”, the spokesperson, Suresh Premachandran, said the “the current Sri Lankan government must firstly accept that report [by the UN inquiry]” and cooperate with future steps by the council. Speaking to local journalists on Wednesday, Mr Premachandran said: “Everyone in Sri Lanka […]

Way To Prosecute US Citizen Gotabaya

31st January 2015 // 0 Comments

By Ryan Goodman – One Way Sri Lanka Can Shield its ex-Defence Secretary from a U.S. Criminal Prosecution Last week, Sri Lanka’s Justice Deputy Minister responded to an Op-Ed that I published in the New York Times, in which I described reasons that the United States can and should pursue a criminal investigation of U.S. citizen and Sri Lanka’s ex-Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa. In this post, I respond tothe Deputy Minister’s statement that his administration would protect Mr. Rajapaksa from a criminal trial by the United States, if it ever came to that. Here are the key parts of the Deputy Minister’s remarks, published in the state-owned newspaper Daily News: “It is true according to the said U.S. war crimes statute enacted in 1996, that nationality requirement is easily satisfied in terms of […]

Sri Lanka to re-apply for EU trade concession

31st January 2015 // 0 Comments

COLOMBO – The Sri Lankan government on Friday said it will seek to obtain trade concession from the European Union which was withdrawn under the previous government. The EU Trade concession known as GSP plus was withdrawn as the previous government headed by Mahinda Rajapakse failed to comply with certain human rights related regulations. “We will send a high level delegation for discussions with the EU members but right now we are looking at the various alternatives,” Deputy Economic Development Minister Dr. Harsha De Silva told Xinhua. The EU withdrew the trade concession for Sri Lanka in 2010 and the move caused widespread panic in the economic and garment sectors with many garment factories being forced to shut down, raising the island’s unemployment levels. The […]

“Rajapaksa Govt’s Post-conflict Years Seriously Marred by Oppression of the Tamil Population” – Human Rights Watch

30th January 2015 // 0 Comments

(New York, January 29, 2015) – The Sri Lankan government stepped up pressure in 2014 on human rights activists and journalists, particularly those urging justice for past war crimes, Human Rights Watch said in its World Report 2015 released today. A new government, elected in January 2015, should order investigations into arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, and killings since the final military operations in 2009. In the 656-page world report, its 25th edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries. In his introductory essay, Executive Director Kenneth Roth urges governments to recognize that human rights offer an effective moral guide in turbulent times, and that violating rights can spark or aggravate serious security challenges. The short-term gains of undermining core values […]

‘Why did the Australian government refuse to listen to us?’

30th January 2015 // 0 Comments

Kathmandu: Nine Sri Lankans repatriated by Australian authorities last year after their boat was intercepted off Christmas Island have been recognised as refugees by the United Nations in Nepal. Hemantha Kuruppu, 41, says he was overwhelmed with relief when he received news on January 1 that the UN Refugee Agency had finally granted formal refugee status to him, his wife and three children. “Since I made the decision to leave Sri Lanka, I have been through so many hardships,” Mr Kuruppu, a former Sri Lankan public service officer, told Fairfax Media this week. “Why did the Australian government refuse to listen to us? Mr Kuruppu (seen here in purple shirt) with his family and the families of Janaka Athukorala (in background with beard) and Sujeewa […]

Enables The People To Cast Their Votes

30th January 2015 // 0 Comments

Timely Action By EC By Nirmala Kannangara Timely action taken by the Elections Commissioner’s Department was able to prevent election violations by creating a fear psychosis amongst the voters in the Jaffna Peninsula and in Trincomalee district on the elections day, Leader of the Akhila Ilankai Tamil Mahasabha and former MP Dr. K Vigneswaran said. Hailing the Elections Commissioner (EC) Mahinda Deshapriya and his officials for taking quick action to ensure the voters their safety in casting their votes in Jaffna peninsula and in the Trincomalee district, Dr. Vigneswaran described how the previous regime tried to stop the Tamils from voting at the presidential election. “Knowing that most of the Tamils wanted a change of regime as the government did not deliver what they promised […]

Dual citizenship potentially available to all Lankans

30th January 2015 // 0 Comments

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake presenting the interim budget 2015 today said that the option of dual citizenship would be available to all persons of Sri Lankan origin and granted after due evaluation. A payment of Rs. 500,000 will have to precede each individual request. Furthermore, provision will be made for foreigners seeking resident status in Sri Lanka who are in a position to invest US$ 10 million in the country. All such applications would be subject to the approval of Defence Ministry, and would need to be renewed every 5 years. The visa fee for such persons will be Rs. 2.5 million. – See more at: http://www.dailymirror.lk/62519/dual-citizenship-potentially-available-to-all-lankans#sthash.Cog1ukwu.dpuf

Sri Lanka says military ‘sabotaging’ post-war reconciliation

30th January 2015 // 0 Comments

The government says it is investigating allegations that two senior military officers are training 400 troops to provoke unrest in Jaffna COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka’s new government on Thursday, January 29, accused the military of trying to sow unrest to sabotage its efforts to bring about ethnic reconciliation in the war-ravaged north of the country. VOTER’S CHOICE. Sri Lanka’s joint opposition and Democratic National Alliance presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena casts his vote at the presidential elections in Polonnaruwa, some 240 km east of Colombo, Sri Lanka, 08 January 2015, Sri Lanka, 08 January 2015. Photo by EPA Sri Lanka has promised to give greater autonomy to the mainly Tamil northern peninsula, which was worst hit by the decades-long civil war, and remained heavily […]

APPG for Tamils video message from Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP

30th January 2015 // 0 Comments

Please find attached a download link for the video http://we.tl/2bg6VMqKwG The transcript in English is as below: First of all I want to celebrate the contribution of British Tamils to our country.  Across every walk of life from the arts to business to the economy you make an extraordinary contribution. I am proud of the Labour Party’s relationship with the British Tamils and I am proud of the contribution that British Tamils make to our country. Secondly, I wanted to say something about the ongoing situation in Sri Lanka where clearly there is new leadership with President Sirisena who I hope can lead Sri Lanka to a brighter future.  I urge the President to fully cooperate with the ongoing investigation into human rights abuses being conducted by […]

UK minister cites ‘other stakeholders’ in furthering Geneva investigations

29th January 2015 // 0 Comments

The visiting British Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hugo Swire in Jaffna said that there was no change in British position on proceeding with Geneva-based war crimes investigations. But, there are also other stakeholders behind the Geneva discourse, the visiting British minister told the Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran. In the meantime, Conservative and Labour MPs who debated the developments in the island of Sri Lanka on Wednesday that took place in British parliament have recognised the crime against Tamil civilians as genocide and have called for continuation of Geneva-based investigations as a necessary step for reconciliation. Yet, the British politicians’ framework continues to harp on ‘unitary Sri Lanka’ and ‘minority Tamils’, British Tamil activists lamented. Full story >> Latest Reports: Jan 29 20:35 […]

TNA seeks exclusive body to solve problems faced by Tamils

29th January 2015 // 0 Comments

By Mirudhula Thambiah The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has made a request to President Maithripala Sirisena to appoint an exclusive body to solve the problems of the Tamil speaking people in the North and East. TNA Leader R. Sampanthan said that he will be emphasizing on an exclusive body, to solve the problems of Tamil speaking people when he meets Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe next week. Sampanthan added that the party emphasized that the lands in the high security zones should be handed over to the people immediately. Also it was recommended that the new government remove all army camps from the private lands of the people. “Resettlement activities have been dragging on for years. People from Valikamam-North and Sampur should be resettled immediately. These […]

Sri Lanka’s new government plans fresh war crimes probe

29th January 2015 // 0 Comments

(Reuters) – Sri Lanka is planning an investigation into accusations of human rights abuses in the final stages of a 26-year civil war amid international frustration at the failure to look into numerous civilian deaths, a government spokesman said late on Wednesday. Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was ousted in a surprise election defeat this month, had refused to cooperate with any U.N. investigation into claims the army committed atrocities in the war that ended in 2009.Without some accountability for civilian deaths, the United Nations argues there will be no lasting reconciliation to allow Sri Lanka to move on from the war that dragged on for decades as ethnic Tamil rebels battled for autonomy in the island’s north and east. “We are thinking of having […]

Political change at provincial level needed – Devananda

29th January 2015 // 0 Comments

Political change at provincial level needed – Devananda By Pranavesh Sivakumar Parliamentarian and Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) leader Douglas Devananda said the Tamil people should make a change in Provincial politics similar to that at National level, where they showed interest in the last presidential election. “Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) Leader Mavai Senathirajah said that a specific time frame has been given to the new government to solve the issue of the Tamil People. But that is just an eye wash to cheat the people,” he said. Devananda added that if there is no proper solution for the problems faced by the Tamil people, Senthirajah had emphasized that a non-violent struggle would be launched by the ITAK. But the situation had changed and […]

Wigi, Swire discuss situ in Jaffna

29th January 2015 // 0 Comments

Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran and British Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire met in Jaffna today and discussed the situation in the north. Wigneswaran said that at the meeting, the issue over the military presence in the north including on private land being occupied by the army, was discussed. At the meeting Wigneswaran had said that the Tamils were concerned over comments made by the new Government that the army will not be immediately withdrawn from the north. Wigneswaran and Swire had also discussed the March session of the UN Human Rights Council where a report on Sri Lanka is to be submitted. Swire, who arrived in Sri Lanka yesterday, is paying a second visit to Sri Lanka which comes shortly after the formation of a new government. […]

Sri Lanka’s Tamil party rejects domestic probe

29th January 2015 // 0 Comments

Colombo, Jan 29 (IANS) Sri Lanka’s main Tamil party Thursday said it would oppose any domestic inquiry into the alleged human rights violations during the final stages of the country’s civil war and reiterated its call for an international probe. Tamil National Alliance (TNA) spokesperson Suresh Premachandran told reporters that the Tamil minorities in the island nation had no faith or trust in a domestic inquiry, noting that numerous domestic commissions were futile in the past. “We categorically oppose any domestic inquiry. Tamils have no faith or trust in a domestic investigation and we reiterate our call for a UN-backed international probe,” Xinhua news agency quoted Premachandran as saying. He also urged the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to table a report on Sri […]

Government is to make a promise

29th January 2015 // 0 Comments

The Government is to make a special statement during the 67th Independence Day Celebrations to be held on 4th February, 2015 where is will assure the public that a situation similar to that which occurred during the war will not take place in future. The Cabinet of Ministers approved the joint proposal made by the Acting Foreign Minister Ajith P. Perera and the Minister of Home Affairs and Fisheries Joseph Michael Perera to make the statement on Peace at the 67th Independence Day Celebrations. The statement will be made taking into consideration the recommendations that have been made in chapters 9.284 and 9.285 of the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) to express sympathy and cooperation with all those who were subjected to the war situation […]

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