November 2015

PM Cameron plays politics in Sri Lanka – NO Political package to Tamils as promised.

30th November 2015 // 0 Comments

British Prime Minister David Cameron held talks with President Maithripala Sirisena  at the Commonwealth Summit in Malta on 27 November 2015, and announced a significant increase in UK support for reconciliation and human rights. The Government will provide £6.6 million to Sri Lanka, spread over 3 years, to support reconciliation, military reform and to help people who were forced from their towns and villages during the civil war to return home. A non-resident defence attaché will also be appointed and access provided to UK military training courses to help support Sri Lankan military reform. Speaking at CHOGM, Prime Minister David Cameron said: Building on the pivotal role played by the UK in promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka since CHOGM 2013 and the Prime […]

Vasu urges to release all Tamil political prisoners

30th November 2015 // 0 Comments

DLF leader, MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara says he is not against the release of Tamil detainees considered as pro-LTTE. He was speaking at a media briefing this morning (30) organized by several leftist parties. The leftist parties are of the stance that there is nothing wrong in freeing LTTE detainees, said Nanayakkara. However, after their release, they should be closely monitored by the government, he stressed. Answering a question, he admitted leftist parties were having a conflict of opinion with the joint opposition which has been opposing LTTE detainees being given bail. However, we are of the same stance against imperialism, he said. The DLF leader also said he was happy that the TNA has abandoned its demand for a separate state, but said there was […]

UK to give Military Training to Sri Lankan forces, NO Political package for Tamils.

30th November 2015 // 0 Comments

The British Government has decided to appoint a non-resident defence attaché and access provided to UK military training courses to help support Sri Lankan military reform. The British Government however also said that it is clear that credible investigations into alleged war crimes during Sri Lanka’s civil war are vital. “We are already playing a key role in encouraging progress on this, including through the UNHRC resolution which set Sri Lanka on a new path towards reconciliation and a more prosperous and inclusive future,” a UK Government statement said. Last week UK Prime Minister David Cameron held bilateral talks with President Sirisena at the Commonwealth Summit in Malta, and announced a significant increase in UK support for reconciliation and human rights, recognising the considerable progress Sri Lanka has made […]

Widen Dialogue & Act Faster To Meet Imperatives Of Reconciliation

30th November 2015 // 0 Comments

By Jehan Perera – The last week of November has generally been a difficult time in Sri Lanka for the past two or more decades. During the long period of war, the LTTE used to commemorate its fallen cadre with Martyrs’ Day ceremonies on November 26-27. There was a combination in varying degrees of events meant to mobilize and sustain support for their cause. There were march pasts by LTTE cadre, including the Black Tiger suicide squads. There were also memorial services at the LTTE cemeteries. There were also heightened attacks on enemy targets intended to reaffirm the military prowess of the LTTE and strike fear in the larger society. After the military defeat of the LTTE in 2009 these public events came to a […]

Northern Issues Threaten Non-Recurrence

30th November 2015 // 0 Comments

The inability to pay back loans, unemployment and the political prisoner issue has gripped the North ahead of the New Year. National Dialogue Minister Mano Ganesan, under who the subject of non-recurrence falls, told The Sunday Leader that the issues in the North could pose a threat to non-recurrence. Among the issues, a serious ‘debt culture’ is beginning to take shape in the North with people borrowing money but unable to pay back. Following the end of the war several banks rushed to the North, particularly to former LTTE controlled areas, and people took loans, some in large amounts. Most of the people in those areas either pawned their jewelry to obtain loans when the LTTE controlled the area or managed with what they had. […]

Nine Army Generals Meet President Sirisena in Hush Hush Meeting at Negombo Hotel to “Explain Their Role” in Final Phase of War

30th November 2015 // 0 Comments

A top-level meeting President Maithripala Sirisena held with a group of senior Army officers has ruffled feathers in the defence and security establishment. Neither Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiaratchchi nor Army Commander Lt. Gen. Chrisanthe de Silva had prior knowledge of the meeting. Most of the nine senior officers who met President Sirisena at a hotel in Negombo, while he was on a visit there, played a pivotal role in the final stages of the battle to defeat militarily the Tiger guerrillas in May 2009. The officers, some of whom are due for retirement reaching 55 years, are learnt to have explained the roles they played during the military operation. The explanations come in the wake of the UN Human Rights Council resolution in Geneva. Sri […]

Transitional Justice: Genuine move or red herring?

30th November 2015 // 0 Comments

J S Tissainayagam.                                                                Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera met with civil society organisations (CSOs) on October 29 to discuss public consultations for setting up a transitional justice project to deal with the mass atrocities committed during the country’s civil war. Despite this seemingly democratic practice, questions remain as to whether in its implementation this project is going to shortchange the worst affected – the war’s victims. Sri Lanka’s civil war between the majority Sinhalese and numerically smaller Tamils killed over 100,000 people. It came to an end in May 2009 with the military […]

Sri Lankan government could account for its own human rights abuses is laughable.

30th November 2015 // 0 Comments

No country that emerges from civil war can truly heal until the dead have been accounted for and steps toward reconciliation have been made. Sri Lanka is no exception. Nearly three decades of civil war ended in 2009, when the Sri Lankan military launched a final offensive against rebels known as the Tamil Tigers, who ruled a separatist enclave for years. Today, the war is over but the peace has yet to begin. More than 146,000 people remain unaccounted for. The Sri Lankan military continues to occupy the land that belongs to Tamils. Tamils, who accuse the Sri Lankan government of war crimes, have begged the United Nations to establish an international tribunal. The Sri Lankan government, which accuses the rebels of using women and […]

Avant Garde is an illegal company

30th November 2015 // 0 Comments

Avant Garde company is an illegal company and taking it over by the SL Navy is a correct move says minister of former Rajapaksa government Vasudeva Nanayakkara. He says the SL Navy lost Rs.1000 million annually due to handing over affairs carried out by the Navy to Avant Garde. “Even when we were in the government we said handing over affairs of the Navy to Avant Garde was wrong. Avant Garde was handed over to Rakna Lanka against our advice. The whole affair was carried out secretly,” said Mr. Nanayakkara. Video: Avant Garde is an illegal company Leaked audio tapes intensify Avant Garde scandal 18th November 2015 // 0 Comments By Dharisha Bastians Explosive revelations about the ongoing Avant Garde controversy continue to shake the ruling […]

Foreign judges for war crimes tribunals:

29th November 2015 // 0 Comments

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) yesterday took a non-committal stand on the issue of foreign judges sitting on war crimes tribunals expected to be set up soon. It stated that these must inspire the confidence of “stakeholders” and be within the country’s Constitution, a position the Government has also taken. A statement issued by the BASL admitted that Sri Lanka’s existing judicial and prosecutorial systems have “not met the confidence of many concerned”. Having considered the UN Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka, along with the reports of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Paranagama and Udalagama Commission reports, the BASL states they point to the need for further inquiries into crimes that allegedly occurred during the ‘war years’. The […]

High-powered UN mission due early next year

29th November 2015 // 0 Comments

A definite turn in Sri Lanka – UN ties: by Chathuri Dissanayake A visit by a high-powered UN mission is scheduled for early next year, the Sunday Observer learns. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and UNHRC Commissioner Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein are scheduled to visit the country in February next year. The visit has been on the cards since August this year. It was originally scheduled to take place before the UNHCR sessions in September but was postponed at the last minute due to various reasons. The visit marks a definite turn in the relationship between Sri Lanka and the UN which was soured during the latter stages of the Rajapaksa government. Efforts by UNHRC team of investigators led by Al Hussein to visit […]

President holds fruitful talks with Premiers of Australia and Canada

29th November 2015 // 0 Comments

President Maithripala Sirisena met Prime Ministers of Canada and Australia on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta today (November 28). President Sirisena congratulated Justin Trudeau and Malcolm Turnbull for their electoral victories in Canada and Australia respectively. During his meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau, President Sirisena recalled the excellent bilateral relations that the two countries enjoyed during the tenure of Mr Trudeau’s father, the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and that they should work together to restore the relationship. During his separate meetings with two Prime Ministers, the President explained in detail the initiatives of the government to bring about reconciliation among the different ethnic communities and said that bringing normalcy to the people of the North and East who […]

A’Power’-ful message

29th November 2015 // 0 Comments

A’Power’-ful message US: Cautious,vigilant but engaged : by Dilrukshi Handunnetti Sri Lanka needs to urgently address several outstanding issues in the North – including demilitarization, release of military-held lands to civilians, end impunity and introduce fast-paced development in the pursuit of peace and reconciliation, US Permanent Representative to the United Nations and US Representative to the UN Security Council, Samantha Power, told the Sunday Observer. Pic: US Embassy Colombo Power who concluded a three- day visit of Sri Lanka last Monday (24) urged the Sri Lankan Government to ‘not be too late’ thereby missing a ‘strategic political opportunity’ to ensure truth, justice and reconciliation. “Sri Lanka deserves this opportunity and the world would like to see that happen,” she said. Listed as the 63rd most […]

Singer Mathangi “M.I.A.” Arulpragasam Releases Self-directed Video “Borders” on Refugee issues in Europe

29th November 2015 // 0 Comments

by Harriet Gibsone Most artists would be incapable of approaching a subject as serious as the refugee crisis in song. Not MIA, however, whose new album is on course to politicise pop once again. “The world I talked about 10 years ago is still the same,” she recently posted on Twitter. “That’s why it’s hard for me to say it again on a new LP.” Today, the British artist of Sri Lankan descent premiered Borders, a track that proves she remains unique in her ability to implement ideas about pop culture and important global topics. With it comes a self-directed video, which makes a compelling statement on the continuing migration crisis, chastising the response of European politicians and lamenting the arrival of border fences to […]

Mystery out as to how Ranil lost presidency in 2005 to Mahinda!

29th November 2015 // 0 Comments

Finance minister Ravi Karunanayake and a group of UNP backbenchers have asked prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to immediately investigate as to whether money had been given to the LTTE to change the public opinion in the northern province at the 2005 presidential election, where Mahinda Rajapaksa and Ranil Wickremesinghe were involved in a tight contest.  PM Wickremesinghe has agreed to hold an investigation. At that election, Rajapaksa won with a majority of only 186,000 votes. Nearly 300,000 voters in Jaffna, Wanni and the eastern province abstained as a result of the LTTE’s boycott call. This has had a decisive impact on the election outcome, and had the voters been allowed to vote in freedom, the final result would have changed. Sripathi Sooriyarachchi The late MP […]

MDMK, Vaiko celebrate Prabha’s birth anniversary

28th November 2015 // 0 Comments

South Indian regional party Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) celebrated the 61st birth anniversary of slain Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) founder Vellupillai Prabhakaran on Thursday, 26 November. Prabhakaran was born into a middle class family in the coastal town of Velvettiturai in northern Sri Lanka in 1954. The architect of Asia’s longest-running civil war had vowed never to be taken alive, but Sri Lankan army soldiers killed the island’s most wanted and most elusive man in 2009. For 37 years, LTTE Chief Prabhakaran had done one thing better than anything else on his fearsome resume: avoid capture. But on May 19, 2009, there was little doubt about the elusive Tiger chief’s whereabouts, even though an LTTE official denied he was dead. The MDMK […]

Supreme Court of Canada – Has ruled that federal immigration laws denying entry to human smugglers are unconstitutional.

28th November 2015 // 0 Comments

In two cases involving ships carrying Tamil refugees to Canada’s shores, the Supreme Court has ruled that federal immigration laws denying entry to human smugglers are unconstitutional. Those laws could be used to bar from Canada or prosecute anyone who performs a humanitarian act, including passengers helping one another or family members giving aid to their relatives, the court said in unanimous rulings written by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin. And that is out of step with the laws’ stated purposes and Canada’s international obligations for refugee protection, she said. One of the laws criminalized aiding people coming to Canada without valid documentation. The other law banned people smuggling in the context of transnational crime. Under the former Conservative government’s interpretation of the immigration laws, “a […]

Premechandran urges general amnesty for Tamil detainees

28th November 2015 // 0 Comments

“I don’t see any difference between the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) – both were armed militants. Both organisations wanted to liberate their people,” stresses Leader of the Eelam People’s Revolutionary Front and member of Tamil National Alliance Suresh Premechandran.  “If a general amnesty was granted to the JVP, why can’t the Government do the same with Tamil detainees? After all both groups were involved in an armed intrusion,” Premechandran pointed out. “How do you separate these two parties?” he queries, adding, “The JVP wanted to liberate  Sri Lanka for the Sinhala people. The LTTE wanted to liberate the Tamil people and therefore wanted a separate State. Both were armed militants. You can brand the LTTE as terrorists but […]

Awaiting Justice ForTrinco Five

28th November 2015 // 0 Comments

By James Ross The bright white sandy beach in Sri Lankan’s northeastern town of Trincomalee is as beautiful as any urban seafront anywhere. It was midday in October, with the sun too high and hot for tourists and local residents alike. A young Sri Lankan raised in New Zealand told me she had bravedthe undertow for a swim, unaware nor having any reason to be aware of the cold-blooded murders there nearly 10 years ago.  On the evening of January two, 2006, while many people celebrated the New Year on the beach, five ethnic Tamil students were fatally shot at point-blank range near the road running parallel to the shore. Two others were seriously wounded.The local authorities quickly claimed the victims were Liberation Tigers of […]

David Cameron meets President Sirisensa at the Commonwealth summit in Malta

28th November 2015 // 0 Comments

Britain will give Sri Lanka £6.6m over three years to help the battle-scarred country continue its recovery from a long civil war. The money will be backed up by a non-resident defence attache and access to British armed forces training to help with military reform. The aid will also help people displaced from their towns and villages during the bloodshed to return home. READ MORE Tamils call for Sri Lankan President to be tried for war crimes Tamil leads Sri Lanka opposition for first time in 32 years Four Sri Lankan soldiers held in connection with missing journalist The rebel Tamil Tigers were defeated six years ago after decades of war, but there have been serious concerns over alleged human rights abuses. The new President, […]

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