13th September 2015

TNA and GTF to attend discussion on Lanka

13th September 2015 // 0 Comments

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) will be attending a discussion in Switzerland on Sri Lanka next week. The discussion, organized by the KOFF Centre for Peacebuilding, is taking place as the UN Human Rights Council meets in Geneva with Sri Lanka also on the agenda. Titled “The Current Context in Sri Lanka:  Opportunities & Challenges Ahead”, the discussion in Bern will see the participation of TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran, GTF spokesman Suren Surenthiran and also Asanga Welikala, Senior Researcher of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA). Organizers said that the parliamentary elections in August 2015 confirmed that Sri Lanka is undergoing a process of dramatic changes since the election of President Sirisena in January 2015 and the subsequent formation […]

There Is No Significant Difference Of Opinion Within The TNA – Dharmalingam Siddharthan

13th September 2015 // 0 Comments

Despite securing a key position in parliament as the opposition, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is seen going through a rough patch trying to get their act together. However, PLOTE leader and TNA MP Dharmalingam Siddharthan told The Sunday Leader that there is no significant difference of opinion within the TNA and all four parties of the TNA are in support of an international inquiry. However, he admitted that the all four parties of the TNA coalition have not yet come to one table to discuss the matters recently – therefore they have already requested for a meeting with the party leadership. Following are excerpts of the interview: By Waruni Karunarathne Q: There are differences of opinion within the TNA on having an international investigation into […]

Callum Ready To Discuss Evidence

13th September 2015 // 0 Comments

By Easwaran Rutnam The director of a controversial film No Fire Zone says he is ready to discuss the evidence he has with the Sri Lankan government in Geneva. No Fire Zone Director Callum Macrae was in New York and five Latin American countries last week promoting a new film, also on Sri Lanka which seeks support for an international mechanism to address alleged war crimes. “I would be delighted to meet with the new Sri Lankan government in Geneva.  I will be there from September 16 and would welcome the opportunity to meet them and talk to them about the evidence in my film No Fire Zone and also in the half hour film Sri Lanka: The Search for Justice which can be seen by […]

New Sri Lankan envoy in Canada promises ‘all inclusive’ approach (unlike in the past?)

13th September 2015 // 0 Comments

AUDIO – Sri Lanka’s new High Commissioner to Canada Ahmed Jawad speaks to lankareporter.com Sri Lanka’s new High Commissioner to Canada Ahmed Jawad has promised an ‘all inclusive’ approach to the diaspora living in Canada. Mr. Jawad, a career diplomat presented his credentials to the Governor General of Canada David Johnston in Ottawa. “The new vision of the government led by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe is to follow an all inclusive approach,” High Commissioner Jawad told Lanka Reporter at Rideau Hall, the official residence of the Governor General of Canada. “We are all entitled to have our faiths and our ethnic identities, at the end of the day we are all Sri Lankans,” he added. Earlier, Governor General David Johnston said […]

Sri Lanka’s Geneva Month in a Europe awash with Syrian Refugees

13th September 2015 // 0 Comments

by Rajan Philips September has become Sri Lanka’s Geneva month. The 30th Annual Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) which begins tomorrow in Geneva is expected to be congenial to the new Sri Lankan government unlike the previous sessions that were decisively hostile to the now defeated Rajapaksa regime. But the broader European context to the 2015 UNHRC Session in Geneva, Switzerland, is the Syrian refugee crisis that is tearing apart the rest of Europe. Geneva and Switzerland once again stand isolated from yet another periodical European turmoil. The UNHRC session will go on, but the crisis in the rest of Europe illustrates the failure of half-hearted and opportunistic international interventions, as well as the absence of principled and effective interventions. The […]

Pistols and 1,000 T56 guns given to paramilitary group by Rajapaksha

13th September 2015 // 0 Comments

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has uncovered information regarding a large number of T56 rifles and pistols given to a paramilitary group by the previous government. CID sources said, a former paramilitary leader who later took to politics has come under CID investigation and surveillance after details of this huge weapons transfer had surfaced. Top officials of the former regime had authorized the transfer of nearly 1,000 T56 rifles in addition to pistols to this paramilitary group, the source added. The CID has commenced investigations to ascertain for what these weapons were used by the paramilitary group and why they were given to them. Investigations will also verify whetherthese weapons were used in the crime spree that prevailed during the tenure of the previous administration. […]

India for domestic inquiry into accountability

13th September 2015 // 0 Comments

Sri Lanka is undertaking two major initiatives ahead of the presentation of a war crimes report during the ongoing Geneva human rights sessions. The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government wants the Geneva-based United Nations. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to back US-led proposal to enable the country to launch a comprehensive domestic inquiry into accountability issues. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s three-day visit to India will commence tomorrow (Sept.14). The government is confident of India throwing its weight behind the US led initiative. On the eve of his departure for Geneva, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera expressed confidence of securing international support for the transformation of the country. “I will be addressing the Human Rights Council in Geneva to convey to the international community the great strides Sri Lanka has made […]

UNHRC report: No names but strong indictments

13th September 2015 // 0 Comments

The biggest international challenge for Sri Lanka will unfold in the coming week as the UN Human Rights Council receives the findings of the probe into alleged war crimes by troops and Tiger guerrillas. A copy of the report, which has already been provided to the Government of Sri Lanka, is being kept a close secret until it is formally placed on the UNHRC’s official website anytime next week. However, diplomatic sources say the probe team has made strong indictments against both the troops and the guerrillas over purported war crimes. Though no politicians or those who were in combat have been named, these sources said, identification of those involved was not difficult since reference was being made in the findings to the chain of […]

Abuse of Russian Diplomat Mangala orders tough Police action

13th September 2015 // 0 Comments

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera Tuesday (8) ordered tough police action against a man identified as Manjula Wijekoon who has been discovered as being responsible for abusing a Russian diplomat and his family at the Arpico Super Centre car park at Hyde Park Corner in Colombo on 4 September. Police have traced a video posted on Facebook that shows a man, driving a BMW vehicle, blocking the diplomat’s car at the car park of the Arpico Supermarket at Hyde Park Corner in Colombo, and verbally abusing him. The video then shows the offender parking his vehicle at an unauthorized location, getting out of it and shoving the diplomat and his wife and two children after verbally abusing him in obscene language in broken English. The video […]

Strong, small Govt. team for Geneva

13th September 2015 // 0 Comments

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and Eastern Province Governor Austin Fernando left for Geneva on Friday night to engage in crucial lobbying and advocacy prior to the UNHRC session that begins tomorrow, September 14 in the Swiss city. In contrast to the small, high capacity team that went on Friday for this year’s sessions, in 2012, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government sent a delegation of 71 members to Geneva ahead of that year’s Human Rights Council session when Sri Lanka faced a US initiative that pushed for an international probe. Despite the 71-member delegation, Sri Lanka lost to the US sponsored resolution that year with a margin of nine votes. Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to Geneva, Ravinatha Aryasinha, a seasoned campaigner on […]

Sri Lanka sees the end of international probes

13th September 2015 // 0 Comments

ECONOMYNEXT – The United Nations Human Rights council has finalised its war crimes report formally ending international investigation against Sri Lanka, official sources said today. The UN authorities shared two water-marked copies of the final report with the government of Sri Lanka on Friday on the eve of Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s visit to Geneva for the opening of the Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions. “The government has about five days to respond to the report,” a government source said asking not to be named. “Sri Lanka’s observations will also be included in the final version of the document that will be presented to the Council.” The contents of the report or Colombo’s response were not immediately clear, but it is believed to contain a […]

TNA in turmoil as Vanni protest gathers steam

13th September 2015 // 0 Comments

TNA in turmoil as Vanni protest gathers steam The Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) yesterday alleged that the on-going protest campaign in the Vanni demanding an international war crimes probe was aimed at undermining the national reconciliation process. EPDP spokesperson Nelson Edirisinghe said that an influential section of the four-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA) was behind the campaign. The grouping comprises the Illankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) and three former militant groups namely the TELO, PLOTE and EPRLF. The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government shouldn’t be lulled into a false sense of complacency, Edirisinghe said, asserting that the TNA was pursuing a strategy inimical to the national interest……………..  read more TNA To Send Lawyers’ Team To UNHRC COLOMBO: The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) will be sending a lawyers’ […]