10th March 2015

Jeyakumari Released

10th March 2015 // 0 Comments

Human rights defender Balendran Jeyakumari has been released on bail by the Colombo Magistrate Court a short while ago. When she was granted bail, the Magistrate had imposed strict conditions, which included a ban on foreign travels and has been ordered to report to the Police each month. It was just a few weeks ago that Jeyakumari’s daughter Vibhooshika wrote to President Sirisena pleading for her mother’s release. Colombo Telegraph reported earlier this week that the government is considering her release to coincide with the Indian premier’s visit by the end of the week. Jeyakumari (50) who was an avid human rights defender, was arrested last year in March under charges of harboring Gobi – an individual whom the previous government claimed was attempting to […]

New war crimes campaign backed by some British MPs gets underway

10th March 2015 // 0 Comments

Sinhala version of No Fire Zone to be launched today at UK Parliament From Shamindra Ferdinando in London A new campaign meant to pressure Sri Lanka over accountability issues will get underway today (March 10) with the launch of a new Sinhala version of feature documentary No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka, at the House of Commons. The launch will take place at 10.00 am. Among those scheduled to attend the launch are Director Callum Macrae, Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh, Conservative MP Lee Scott. The meeting will also be addressed by a Sri Lankan in exile, Bashana Abeywardana. The House of Commons event will coincide with British Prime Minister David Cameron meeting visiting Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena at No 10, Downing […]

ITAK condemns attacks on TNA leaders

10th March 2015 // 0 Comments

By Ananth Palakidnar The Illankai Tamil Arasu Katchchi (ITAK) leader and the General Secretary of the Tamil National Alliance Mavai S. Senathiraja while criticizing the burning of the effigies of TNA Parliamentarians Sumanthiran and Sampanthan has said that it was a highly irresponsible act at this political juncture by certain misguided elements. He also said that the TNA was not at all manipulated by the Tamil Diaspora abroad and the majority of the Tamils living abroad agree on the stance taken by the TNA towards handling the North and East in the Island. Excerpts of the interview with Ceylon Today: Q: The effigies of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian M.A.Sumanthiran and the TNA leader R.Sampanthan were set on fire in Jaffna and in several countries […]

British School in Colombo accused of discrimination

10th March 2015 // 0 Comments

The British School in Colombo has been accused of engaging in unethical educational practices by trying to force some students to sit for their International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) examination as private candidates rather than from the school. The students concerned had reportedly underperformed at the recently held ‘mock examinations’ and it is alleged that the school is trying to force these students to sit as private candidates due to fears that it will hurt the goal of obtaining a 100% pass rate at the IGCSE examination. A letter to this newspaper’s Editor, written by a ‘Concerned British School Parent’ also alleges that the school has asked some students from its Special Educational Needs (SEN) Department to sit for the examination as private […]

Exclusive: Cameron on his meeting with Maithripala

10th March 2015 // 0 Comments

Following is the Op-ed piece by British Prime Minister David Cameron exclusively for the Daily Mirror on his scheduled meeting with visiting President Maithripala Sirisena today. Prime Minister David Cameron article for Daily Mirror: Ever since my visit to Sri Lanka in 2013 I have been determined to help address the issues of Sri Lanka’s past and put the country on the path to a brighter, peaceful and prosperous future. Since my visit, a UN led investigation into alleged war crimes by all sides in the conflict has got underway. And the people of Sri Lanka have elected a new President who has made clear that he is fully committed to reconciliation and reform. The new Sri Lankan government has a real opportunity to unlock […]

Mangala, UK FM discuss reforms

10th March 2015 // 0 Comments

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond met in London and discussed the proposed reforms of the new Sri Lankan Government and human rights related issues. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said that Samaraweera and Hammond also spoke on reinvigorating the UK-Sri Lanka relationship, and how the UK could support the new Sri Lankan Government’s reforms and to deliver on its commitments to the UN Human Rights Council. “I am pleased to be able to welcome President Sirisena and Foreign Minister Samaraweera to the UK, in what is a clear expression of the renewed friendship between our two countries. We have long and lasting ties with Sri Lanka, including through the Commonwealth, and can now reinvigorate this partnership and improve our links including in areas of […]

“Don’t look at Sri Lanka through Tamil prism”

10th March 2015 // 0 Comments

India should see Sri Lanka as a whole and stop focussing just on the island’s Tamil-majority Northern Province, Sri Lankan Cabinet Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said in an interview to The Hindu on Monday. The Power and Energy Minister said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pragmatic approach to Sri Lanka could enhance trade, technological and political partnerships, paving the way for a “win-win situation” for the neighbouring countries. “That India is a guarantor of the northern Tamil people’s rights should now be a thing of the past,” he said in an apparent reference to India’s push for devolution of powers in Sri Lanka as per the 13th Amendment, consequent to the Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987. “The Sri Lankan Tamils have to cooperate with the existing government […]

A saint and an island beloved by two countries

10th March 2015 // 0 Comments

St. Anthony’s Shrine at the Kachchathivu Island celebrated its annual feast of the patron-saint of seafarers last Sunday (march 01) attended by thousands of devotees. The whole event as usual was assisted by the Sri Lanka Navy. The devotees from Rameshwaram were not only the fisher folk, but from several other professions. Sri Lankans who attended the event also represented all the professions and almost all religions. Festive High Mass was offered by Bishop of Jaffna Diocese Most Rev. Dr. Thomas Savundranayagam with the participation of clergy from both countries. As the only event which visa or passports are not necessary to cross the borders, most devotees were from the South India; especially Rameshwaram. They have paid different amounts to participate at the holy feast […]

‘Death threats kept me away’

10th March 2015 // 0 Comments

by Dhaneshi Yatawara “The Former Secretary of Defence threatened and criticised me over my training lecture even as I was returning from that lecture in Katana”, recalled former Police spokesman Prashantha Jayakody who recently returned from Australia, where he fled during the previous regime. On his return, Jayakody said that his concern was to see justice in the society. “Being a police officer if I had to face this much of agony what could have been the fate of a normal citizen? I’m looking forward to see a just society where all are equal before the law,” he said in an interview with the Sunday Observer. Q: What do you intend to do now? What are the possibilities for you to get back to the […]

India flays Sri Lanka PM for justifying firing on fishermen

10th March 2015 // 0 Comments

New Delhi, March 9 (IANS) India on Monday criticised Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for justifying the firing on fishermen from India and sought a “permanent solution” to the dragging row. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told parliament that she was in Colombo when Wickremesinghe made the controversial remarks, days ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Sri Lanka. “He said two things… one, that the Tamil fishermen released by the (Sri Lankan) president, he compared them with Italian marines (who shot dead two Indian fishermen). And the second, he justified the killing of Indian fishermen,” she said. “My meeting with Wickremesinghe was already fixed, so I raised these two issues strongly with him. “I told him the two cases you have […]

Maithri: I belong to all

10th March 2015 // 0 Comments

From Sandun A Jayasekera in London Forming a national government in Sri Lanka was not an easy task as we aspired because our political culture was such that political parties always attempted to undermine and weaken the other, President Maithripala Sirisena said in London today. He made these remarks when he met a delegation from a ‘Maithri Support Group in UK’ affiliated to the UK branch of the UNP at his hotel, Park Lane Hilton. “I am the common candidate and I am common and belong to all. I can’t treat any one more or less and discriminate any one against others. This is not an easy task. But we must always try to do the difficult things for success. But the problem is that […]

Tamil Diaspora Is Becoming Part Of Larger Sri Lankan Community

10th March 2015 // 0 Comments

By Jehan Perera – President Maithripala Sirisena is reported to be seeking to build relations with the Tamil Diaspora while in London to participate in the Commonwealth Day celebrations as chair of the Commonwealth. Along with Foreign MinisterMangala Samaraweera, the president is expected to meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron to explore ways and means of securing the support of the Diaspora groups. This signals a paradigm shift in the approach of the government towards a group that is important to Sri Lanka’s future wellbeing. The Tamil Diaspora is generally portrayed in Sri Lanka as being hostile to the country and seeking its division.   During the war funding and weaponry came to the LTTE from abroad which contributed to their becoming a formidable military […]

London: Hundreds Of Tamils Protest Against Srisena

10th March 2015 // 0 Comments

After Saturday’s unsuccessful protest at Heathrow airport against President Maithripala Sirisena, today a few hundred protesters gathered in front of Westminster Abbey, London. Tamil protesters shouted “War Criminal Sirisena”. The Tamil Coordinating Committee and the British Tamil Forum jointly organised the protest. Angry Tamil diaspora activists also condemned TNA MPM.A. Sumanthiran for his video call to halt the protest. Sumanthiran said; “Tamil community’s vote up and down the country, particularly in the North, East had primary contribution in bringing Maithripala Sirisena to power as the new President. The same Tamil people also welcomed the President in his recent visit to the North and East. Not a single demonstration/protest was held against him when he came to these areas. “Respecting that vote and our people’s wish […]

India working with Sri Lanka to repatriate thousands of Tamils

10th March 2015 // 0 Comments

NEW DELHI: India said Monday it was working with Sri Lanka’s new government to repatriate thousands of ethnic minority Tamils who fled the island during nearly four decades of separatist war. Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said discussions were ongoing for the return of 100,000 refugees from the southern state of Tamil Nadu, which is separated from Sri Lanka by a narrow stretch of sea. “We had agreed when Sri Lanka’s foreign minister was here (India) in January to find ways by which these refugees could go back with honor, dignity (and) safety,” Jaishankar told reporters. “We’ve already had one meeting on the bilateral side on January 30 to discuss the issue.” The comments come as India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepares to visit Sri […]

T I D has no evidence against Jeyakumari – CHR

10th March 2015 // 0 Comments

BY Kavindya Chris Thomas Center for Human Rights and Research (CHR) stated that the Terrorism Investigation Department (TID) has no proper evidence against Balendran Jeyakumari who has been detained for almost one year. Speaking to Ceylon Today Executive Director of CHR Rajithe Keerthi Tennakoon stated that during the court hearing last Friday (6) the TID had reported that the Attorney General’s Department had not informed them on how to proceed with the case. An appeal for the release of Jeyakumari and her 13-year-old daughter was made by her family members, relatives, lawyers, civil and human rights activists during the court proceedings. She was arrested last year alleging that she harbored LTTE activists. However, according to Tennakoon, for almost 355 days the TID has not charged […]

UK govt. urged to take up ban on Diaspora groups with SL

10th March 2015 // 0 Comments

GTF writes to Secy of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Philip Hammond From Shamindra Ferdinando in London The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) has requested the British government to persuade the new Sri Lankan administration to lift the ban on Tamil groups imposed by the previous governmnet. The GTF is among those groups included in the list of proscribed organisations. GTF President Rev. Dr S. J. Emmanuel has requested the ruling coalition’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Philip Hammond, MP, to take up the issue with the visiting Sri Lankan delegation. Rev. Dr. Emmanuel, too, has been designated as a terrorist. President Maithripala Sirisena is leading the delegation. The President and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera are scheduled to meet British Prime Minister […]

TNA wants equal treatment, not division of country – Sajith

10th March 2015 // 0 Comments

Housing and Samurdhi Minister Sajith Premadasa says that the LTTE groups in the West are now protesting against TNA leaders and burning their effigies as TNA has agreed that unitary status of Sri Lanka should be preserved. Addressing a ceremony at Mathuwakanda in Mulkirigala to lay the foundation stone for a new chaitya at Handugala Sri Vijayarama Vihara last week (04), Minister Premadasa said the Opposition alleged that TNA had supported Maithripala Sirisena during the presidential election as part of a strategy to divide the country. “Now it has been proved otherwise. The LTTE activists in London are burning the effigies of TNA MPs Sampanthan and Sumanthiran. These protests by the LTTEers in the West have silenced those who clamoured here that the votes given […]

Wimal Weerawansa’s ”White Van” freedom & ”abduction and killing” unit operated by Navy

10th March 2015 // 0 Comments

Wimal Weerawansa has warned that we are now ‘losing our hard-earned freedom’. In a public rally held in Kandy on Friday to campaign for the prime-ministerial candidacy of Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Rajapaksa confidante asked people to get behind the ex-president to win their freedom back. I have been wondering as to what ‘freedom’ Mr. Weerawansa has been talking about. Finally, I managed to jot down some of those potential ‘freedoms’ he could have meant. Of course, there may be omissions and Mr Weerawansa is welcomed to let me know anything that is missing. There was ‘freedom’ of abduction and extra-judicial killings under the previous regime. Some disturbing details of white van abductions in the past are now being revealed.  An abduction ring that operated under […]