February 2015

Sri Lanka wins delay over UN war crimes report

17th February 2015 // 0 Comments

(Reuters) – Sri Lanka’s new government won a six-month delay on Monday in the publication of a report on alleged war crimes, after the U.N. human rights chief praised its willingness to open the country up to scrutiny. Sri Lankan government forces have been accused of widespread human rights violations in the final stages of the civil war that ended in May 2009, including most of about 40,000 killings of Tamil civilians in the final weeks of the conflict. The U.N. Human Rights Council voted last March to investigate war crimes in Sri Lanka, saying then President Mahinda Rajapaksa had failed to do so properly. The U.N. inquiry, advised by three experts led by former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, was due to report back next […]

UK notes establishing truth key

17th February 2015 // 0 Comments

The British Government says establishing the truth over the events which allegedly took place in Sri Lanka during the war is a key step towards reconciliation. British Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire said that while the UN Human Rights Council has agreed to delay publishing the report based on the investigations on Sri Lanka, the British Government remains firmly behind publishing it in September. Meanwhile the London based Amnesty International said that the decision by the UN Human Rights Council to delay, until September, the release of a key report into widespread human rights violations during the conflict in Sri Lanka must not allow the perpetrators of horrific crimes during the country’s armed conflict to escape punishment. “Sri Lankan victims of human rights violations deserve truth and justice. […]

LTTE suspects held without evidence will be released – Rajitha

17th February 2015 // 0 Comments

1,800 persons including wives, relations issued DPL passports Bribery and Corruption cases to be referred to Courts Northern lands on which some military officers had built mansions and hotels would be returned to their rightful owners, Senaratne added. The government says that Tamil prisoners against whom there is no concrete evidence will be released. Cabinet Spokesman and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that many Tamils had been detained on suspicion and on the premise that investigations were continuing. Such a situation should not exist nearly six years after the war had ended, the Minister observed. The authorities would be told to either file indictment or release the detainees, he said, adding that it was not fair by the inmates if the inquiries conducted had failed […]

Sri Lanka’s main Tamil party puts conditions to join unity govt

17th February 2015 // 0 Comments

Sri Lanka’s main minority Tamil political party on Monday said they will consider joining a national unity government in Sri Lanka only if Tamil issues are addressed.The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has been consistently calling for a political solution following the end of a 30-year war between Tamil Tiger rebels and the Sri Lankan military in May 2009. Previous governments had failed to finalize a political solution and the new government led by President Maithripala Sirisena, which came into power last month, is now considering forming a national unity government following parliamentary polls scheduled to be held after April. “If the government invites us, we will first have to reach an agreement on various issues, including the human rights concerns. Only if the government can […]

TNA joins hands with SLMC to run EPC

17th February 2015 // 0 Comments

By Mirudhula Thambiah The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has agreed join hands with the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) to form a national unity government in the Eastern PC and has decided to accept ministerial portfolios. However, TNA and SLMC have not as yet agreed on what… .. portfolios the TNA will receive. Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) Opposition Leader Singaravelu Thandayuthapani (TNA ) told Ceylon Today that his Party would join the SLMC to form a government at provincial level to serve the people and solve their grievances. “Our party leader appointed a five-member committee to discuss joining the provincial government and we had two rounds of meetings in Colombo. We agreed to extend our support to the SLMC after the discussions. We are yet […]

”Updated release of No Fire Zone project” needs minimum of £10,000 pledge before Feb 22, 2015

17th February 2015 // 0 Comments

Brampton Tamil Association Dear Sir / Madam: As you may already know, currently, Mr. Callum Macrae is looking for support from Human Rights supporters around the world for his second updated release of No Fire Zone project. His previous project in 2013 helped to get world attention and played a critical role in pushing the UN to launch investigation on Sri Lanka’s crimes against humanity. UN investigation report is expected to be presented in the next UN Human Rights Council meeting at the end of March this year. The call for justice need to be loud and clear and we believe this project will remind the world again the need for justice. Therefore, this project is critical as indicated in the project web site; “It […]

Britisher behind Drug dealing in Sri Lanka

17th February 2015 // 0 Comments

By Madura Ranwala and Norman Palihawadana The Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB) yesterday afternoon raided a warehouse in Kelaniya, from where international drug trafficker Gampola Vidanalage Samantha Kumara aka Wele Suda is alleged to have carried out distribution operations. The police had recovered 26 gear boxes of tractors alleged to have been used to smuggle heroin into the country in large quantities, Police Spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said last night. The SSP told The Island that the storeroom located at No. 875, Biyagama Road, Sinharamulla, Kelaniya had been one of the distributing centres used by the drug lord and it had been rented by Britisher named Jerome Douglas for Rs. 185,000 per month and he had employed two Pakistanis called Ikram and Imran there. Asked whether those […]

100,000 War Widows in Lanka’s Northern Province, Says Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran

17th February 2015 // 0 Comments

COLOMBO: The Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, C.V.Wigneswaran, said in Jaffna on Monday, that there are “almost a lakh war widows” in his province. He was addressing a meeting of the Special Coordinating Committee for the Northern Province, which was presided over the Central Public Administration and Good Governance Minister, Karu Jayasuriya. Delineating the problems confronting his  war-devastated province, Wigneswaran said that there are 20,000 “immobile patients” whose vertebral columns were injured during the war. Besides that, the Northern Province has a number of children orphaned during the war. Many are suffering from psychosomatic disorders. These need to be given psychiatric help, the Chief Minister said. He charged that during the regime of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, there was “ bad governance, closed administration and […]

No-surprise postponement of OISL report gives time and space to culprits

17th February 2015 // 0 Comments

[TamilNet, Monday, 16 February 2015, 16:53 GMT] As anticipated by the ‘regime change’ in Colombo, engineered by Washington and New Delhi, who also designed and remotely directed the genocidal war against the nation of Eezham Tamils in the island, the release of the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) report mandated by the UNHRC on the war crimes and the crimes against humanity in the island, has been postponed to September. One of the citations of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Raad al-Hussein, for the postponement of the report is the “possibility that new information will become available,” besides “signals of broad cooperation [from the Government of Sri Lanka],” according to a news report by the Reuters on Monday. “My request is […]

15 Overseas Tamil Groups Write to UN Human Rights Chief Endorsing Chief Minister Wigneswaran’s “Genocide of Tamils” Resolution

17th February 2015 // 0 Comments

By Shamindra Ferdinando Sri Lanka’s efforts to delay the presentation of a controversial report on accountability issues have suffered a serious setback with 16 Tamil groups based in Europe, America, Australia and South Africa demanding that the on-going external investigative process should go ahead as scheduled regardless of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s defeat at Jan. 2015 poll. They want the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein to present the report at the next Geneva session in March, 2015 as his predecessor Navaneetham Pillay promised in June last year. President of US Tamil Political Action Council (USTPAC) Dr. Karunyan Arulanantham, in a letter dated Feb 14, 2015, addressed to Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has emphasized that the on-going process shouldn’t be halted […]

TNA Assigns Committee To Take Decision On EPC Ministries

17th February 2015 // 0 Comments

Tamil National Alliance has appointed a four member committee to take a decision on whether it should accept Ministerial portfolios in the Eastern Provincial Council. UPFA held power in the Eastern Provincial Council before defections by some of its members during the presidential election period. TNA has 11 seats while Sri Lanka Muslim Congress has just 7 seats. However, SLMC was given the Chief Ministerial post recently after weeks of speculation as to who will receive the post. SLMC invited TNA and UNP to join it in the government. UNP has 4 seats in the Eastern Provincial Council which has a total membership of 37.

Charity begins at home: Pope returns huge cheque to Cardinal Malcolm

17th February 2015 // 0 Comments

The gift of a cash donation of more than Rs. 8.7 million given by the Catholic Bishops to Pope Francis was given back to Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith by the Pontiff, the Archdiocesan Monthly Bulletin ‘Koinonia’ reported. It said the donation which was given to the Pope’s Charity Fund amounted to Rs. 8,760,690.25. The contribution from the Archdiocese of Colombo was Rs.6,323,490. In his monthly letter to the clergy, the Cardinal said just before emplaning to Manila, Pope Francis gave the cheque back to him and requested him to help the poor with it and report back to the Pope. In view of this the Bishops have decided to distribute the money among the dioceses asking each bishop to use it to help the poor in […]

UNHRC Chief Grants ‘One-Time Only’ Deferral Of Sri Lanka War Report

16th February 2015 // 0 Comments

UN HRC Chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has recommended the Council to delay the tabling of the long-awaited OISL (OHCHR investigation on Sri Lanka) report on the investigation into the final phases of the war in Sri Lanka,for six months until September. Explaining his decision, the High Commissioner has said that it is a ‘one-time only’ deferral and has added that it has been a difficult decision for him. “There are good arguments for sticking to the original timetable and there are also strong arguments for deferring the report’s consideration a bit longer, given the changing context in Sri Lanka,” the Human Rights Chief has stated. Speaking further he has added that since he has received a clear commitment from the new government on its […]

“More a home-grown model than the TRC”

15th February 2015 // 0 Comments

BY SULOCHANA RAMIAH MOHAN The South African model of Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), a sound, but bit more of a home-grown process, where the reconciliation and healing can be addressed, has been proposed and it’s on the agenda of the Maithri Government. Last week, the government announced that South Africa Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is due to visit Sri Lanka with his delegation. The previous UPFA Government which avoided the UN call on war crime probe announced it was backing the South African model on reconciliation (TRC) and thereafter had been ‘studying’ the TRC initiative by way of sending delegations to visit South Africa and in turn, Ramaphosa and his teams visit to Sri Lanka ultimately made no impact to spell it out the […]

Sri Lanka, India release detained fishing boats

15th February 2015 // 0 Comments

COLOMBO – Sri Lanka and India have decided to release fishing boats taken into custody from both countries ahead of the visit of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena to India on Sunday, a government minister said in Colombo. Sri Lanka’s State Minister of Fisheries Dilip Wedaarachchi said that the Sri Lankan government has already taken measures to release 86 Indian boats in its custody. The boats were seized when Indian fishermen were arrested on several occasions in Sri Lankan waters. The fishermen had already been freed and Wedaarachchi said that the government had now decided to free the boats as a goodwill measure to mark Sirisena’s first visit to India since taking oaths as president last month. He also said that 24 Sri Lankan boats […]

Sri Lanka must ensure justice, accountability: Amnesty

15th February 2015 // 0 Comments

New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s ambitious plans for reform and reconciliation should lay special emphasis on ensuring justice, accountability and the rule of law, Amnesty International India said Sunday. Sirisena arrives here Sunday on a three-day official visit during which he will meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for bilateral talks. “Sirisena has an extraordinary opportunity to improve relations between communities in Sri Lanka, and usher in an era of true reconciliation based on justice, equality, freedom and dignity,” said Shemeer Babu, Programmes Director at Amnesty International India. “The new government’s 100-day reform plan has generated a lot of optimism. Sirisena has taken important steps to restore the independence of the judiciary and other important institutions. “It is crucial that […]

Mangala’s U.S. talks “successful”

15th February 2015 // 0 Comments

The Government says the just concluded visit to the United States by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, was successful. Samaraweera was in the US to brief US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon on the efforts being taken by the new Government to address human rights concerns. The Minister also sought to mend ties with the US, which had been strained after the former Government refused to work with the US on the human rights issue. The External Affairs Ministry said that the visit by Samaraweera, which was his first to the US capital since assuming office as the Minister of Foreign Affairs followed the visit of US Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal to Colombo earlier this month and coincided […]

Four former military officials who are Political appointees, have been allowed to stay on!

15th February 2015 // 0 Comments

Thirty six political appointees in Sri Lanka Missions abroad, below the level of Head of Mission, have been informed that their tours of duty end with effect from March 10 this year, and have been instructed to return home. These include relatives of politicians and of public officials closely connected to those in the former regime. However, four former military officials who are also political appointees, have been allowed to stay on till their terms end. Those recalled are First Secretary- Brussels, Dharshie Lokuge, daughter of former Minister Gamini Lokuge, Second Secretary- Tokyo, J.M.S.L. Bandara, brother of MP Janaka Bandara, Second Secretary- UN, New York, Ms C.J. Rambukwella, daughter of former Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, Second Secretary- Washington, Janathri Nanayakkara, niece of MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Third […]

TRC cannot be replicated – SA Envoy

15th February 2015 // 0 Comments

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan Sri Lanka should adopt a home-grown solution to the ethnic issue, as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of South Africa cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world,… …South African High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, Geoff Doidge, told Ceylon Today. Sri Lanka, in an attempt to restore goodwill of the US, which saw a decline during the Rajapaksa regime, has decided to consider two processes to address the issue of war crimes probe and a reconciliation and healing mechanism. The government has shown interest in a two-pronged approach to deal with the issue of war crimes and the ongoing UN inquiry. Minister of External Affairs, Mangala Samaraweera, said in the US last week that the South African model of reconciliation, […]

New administration hasn’t solved key issues of the Tamil people

15th February 2015 // 0 Comments

Sri Lanka’s minorities especially, TNA and SLMC, have voted for a change in a bid to solve their problems. Has the new government done enough to solve these issues? At present the focus is on how far the government has progressed in the 100 day program. We see and hear news relating to many corruption charges, highlighted by the media. We rarely get to hear news relating to the progress of the 100 day program. It is important that if there are serious corruption charges those culprits should be brought to book. But merely attacking individuals through unauthenticated allegations will not serve the purpose. If there is prudent and sufficient evidence, then why hesitate? These types of allegations will only slowdown the implementing of the […]

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