January 2016

Last Opportunity To Defeat Extremist Forces: Friday Forum

27th January 2016 // 0 Comments

“This may be a last opportunity to defeat divisive and extremist forces in different parts of our country, and work towards a just society and a sustainable environment of peace, security and prosperity for all our people.” says the Friday Forum. Issuing a statment last night the Friday Forum said; “While discussions on a political solution have focused on devolution and power sharing with the provinces, our statement puts forward for our fellow citizens and parliamentarians some principles and ideas that we think are fundamental to address the structural problems that have undermined the body politic of our state and society since independence, and have created an environment for conflict and tension among communities.” We publish below the statement in full; PRIORITIES IN WORKING TOWARDS […]

Sri Lanka: New Government Makes Significant Progress?

27th January 2016 // 0 Comments

(New York) – Sri Lanka’s government, elected in January 2015, ended the pervasive culture of surveillance and censorship and embarked on reforms aimed to undo years of increasingly authoritarian rule, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2016. While it opened dialogues both domestically and abroad, the government still faces key concerns, including wartime accountability and prolonged detention without trial. EXPAND Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena at the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan, New York on September 27, 2015. In the 659-page World Report 2016, its 26th edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries. In his introductory essay, Executive DirectorKenneth Roth writes that the spread of terrorist attacks beyond the Middle East and the huge flows of […]

Lanka Missing Persons Panel Seeks An Year’s Extension

27th January 2016 // 0 Comments

COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan Missing Persons’ Commission headed by retired Justice Maxwell Paranagama, has requested the government to extend its term by a year from February 15, 2016 as it still has thousands of cases to investigate. Justice Paranagama told Express on Tuesday, that out of the 14,000-odd representations from civilians before it, interviews have been conducted only in 5,000-odd cases so far. “And we haven’t even touched the 5600 representations from the families of disappeared Security Forces personnel,” he pointed out. The commission was set up during the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime on August 15, 2013, and its term has since been extended more than once. In September 2015 the UN human rights chief, Prince Zeid, threw a bombshell by asking the government to wind it up […]

Six-year-old Tamil boy brutally raped and killed in Sri Lanka by Navy

27th January 2016 // 0 Comments

Six years after the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war, Tamil lands, particularly in the north of the island, remain under military occupation. The 26-year conflict, which claimed the lives of some 200,000 people, concluded in 2009 when the Sri Lankan armed forces launched a bloody offensive to destroy the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which had led the Tamil national liberation movement for several decades. The final push claimed the lives of tens of thousands, and has been widely-condemned as an act of genocide in which unspeakable acts of cruelty were carried out on a largely defenceless population. According to the government, the end of the war ushered in a new peace across the country and has been pivotal to Sri Lanka uniting as […]

UN urged to ensure foreign judges’ participation in war crimes investigation

27th January 2016 // 0 Comments

President’s position on UNHRC resolution By Shamindra Ferdinando Alleging that President Maithripala Sirisena has recently undermined a US-led Geneva Resolution co-sponsored by the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL), the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) has requested foreign governments to pressure the President to fully implement the proposals. In addition to western powers, the European Union, too, endorsed the Resolution. UK based GTF spokesperson Suren Surendiran yesterday told The Island that they expected all those who had backed the Resolution 30/1 to ensure that the GoSL fulfilled its obligations. The 47-member United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) unanimously adopted the Resolution on Oct. 1, 2015. The GTF spokesman was responding to President Maithripala Sirisena’s recent declaration that the proposed inquiry would be wholly a domestic investigation and […]

Arrest warrant for Lakmal Cooray terror man behind Facebook.

27th January 2016 // 0 Comments

By Ishara Ratnakara The CID yesterday informed the Colombo Chief Magistrate in Court that the mastermind behind the Facebook racket in which lakhs…… of rupees have been collected after threatening exposure of nude photographs of young males has been led by a man who is abroad. Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya yesterday ordered the Director General of the Department of Immigration and Emigration to arrest the chief suspect in the case, Danuka Lakmal Cooray, a 31-year-old resident of Kalutara on his return to the country. The CID also informed Court that further investigations had revealed the suspect had masterminded his illegal operation from overseas by way of the internet and that he has also received the support of a group based in Sri Lanka that maintains […]

The agony of Sri Lanka’s carapace of peace

27th January 2016 // 0 Comments

The agony of Sri Lanka’s carapace of peace Six years after the Sri Lankan civil war – @jonsnowc4 visits the site of some of its worst horrors. Our return to Sri Lanka’s killing fields has managed to coincide with two major developments – the first is the President’s announcement that there will be no “international component” in any “investigation” of the civil war, or the alleged war crimes committed therein, which seem to be evidenced by the multiple videos sent to this programme in the wake of the war’s aftermath. The second is that the Prime Minister chose a Hindu Festival in Jaffna last week to state bluntly that if people are missing – and there are still so many thousands of them – then […]

THE NEW WAVE OF TERROR AND RAJAPAKSHA

27th January 2016 // 0 Comments

Mayhem as monks go on the rampage Pandemonium reigned at the Homagama Magistrate’s Court premises with three Buddhist monks threatening to self-immolate in protest against the arrest of Bodu Bala Sena General Secretary Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera. Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera arrested on the charges of contempt of court, obstructing Court proceedings and intimidating a public servant was yesterday ordered to be remanded till February 9 after being produced before the Homagama Magistrate’s Court. A large group of Buddhists monks surrounded the Homagama Magistrate’s Court, protesting against the decision to remand Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera. Ven Gnanasara Thera was taken to the prisons at around 5. 30 p.m. from Homagama court premises under the tight security of Special Task Force…………….. read all […]

The 13th Amendment gave the Provincial Councils rights over Land and police

27th January 2016 // 0 Comments

By Kamalika pieris The 13th Amendment gave the Provincial Councils rights over “Land, land tenure, transfer and alienation of land, land use, land settlement and land improvement.” It specifically says “Land shall be a Provincial Council subject to certain limitations.” Land is not on the concurrent list either. It was therefore assumed that “Land” was the exclusive preserve of the Provincial Councils. If a Provincial Council needed any state land, the government has to hand it over, no questions asked. It was further assumed that central government on the other hand, could only use state land with the approval of the Provincial Councils. Cabinet approved the provision of 15,000 acres of state land for a banana cultivation project in Kantale areas to be followed by […]

University College London students withhold £250,000 rent money in accommodation row

25th January 2016 // 0 Comments

Students at a top London university are withholding around £250,000 of rent in a row over spiralling living costs. More than 150 students at University College London (UCL) announced today they would hold off payment until demands for a 40 per cent cut in rents are met. Protesters claim the average rent for a person at UCL has gone up by more than half since 2009, making even the cheapest rooms more expensive than student loan payments. The student union claimed the increases were “tuition fees by stealth” which ratchet up the stress and debt of their membership. One of the buildings affected, Ramsey Hall, has rooms that cost from £159 to £262 per week, while the cheaper Max Rayne House, which also has rent strikers, […]

Alarmed at President Sirisena’s recent comments regarding International Involvement on Accountability Mechanism – Global Tamil Forum

25th January 2016 // 0 Comments

Issued for immediate release PRESS STATEMENT 25 January 2016 Alarmed at President Sirisena’s recent Comments regarding International Involvement on Accountability Mechanism – Global Tamil Forum Global Tamil Forum (GTF) is deeply concerned and disappointed by the recent comments of Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena (BBC, January 21, 2016) concerning his opposition to international involvement in ensuring  justice for war crimes and human rights abuses committed by both parties to the conflict in Sri Lanka. President Sirisena downplayed the serious findings of war crimes and Human Rights abuses by the Sri Lankan military outlined in the Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL report – released on 28 September 2015), on the basis that no […]

Zeid urged to push Sri Lanka to stick to UN commitment

25th January 2016 // 0 Comments

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid, has been urged to ensure that Sri Lanka will stick to its promise and fully implements all aspects of the UN Resolution on Sri Lanka without any exceptions. The Global Tamil Forum (GTF), a leading Tamil diaspora group, said it was deeply concerned and disappointed by the recent comments of President Maithripala Sirisena (BBC, January 21, 2016) concerning his opposition to international involvement in ensuring justice for war crimes and human rights abuses committed by both parties to the conflict in Sri Lanka. President Sirisena downplayed the serious findings of war crimes and Human Rights abuses by the Sri Lankan military outlined in the Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights […]

Lankan man in UK found guilty of assaulting ex wife

25th January 2016 // 0 Comments

A Sri Lankan man in the UK has been found guilty of assaulting his estranged wife and was handed a 12 months’ community order with a rehabilitation activity requirement for up to 40 days and 100 hours of unpaid work. The taxi driver burned his wedding photos after accusing his estranged wife of having an affair, a court heard. Suresh Chaminada De Alwis cast aspersions after looking at Facebook messages on Lisa Fisher’s phone, Bristol Crown Court heard. bristolpost.co.uk reported. He went on to assault her and make threats. Judge Michael Longman told him that, as they were living separate lives albeit in the same home, the messages were none of his business. De Alwis, 41, formerly of Abbey Court in St Annes Park but now living in Dalrymple […]

Sri Lanka: Fulfill Rights Council Call for Justice

25th January 2016 // 0 Comments

(New York) – The Sri Lankan government should fulfill its commitments to the United Nations Human Rights Council by ensuring that foreign judges and prosecutors play a significant role in the mandated accountability mechanism for wartime abuses, Human Rights Watch said today. On January 21, 2016, President Maithripala Sirisena told the BBC, contrary to Sri Lanka’s council commitments, that he will “never agree to international involvement,” saying “[w]e have more than enough specialists, experts and knowledgeable people in our country to solve our internal issues.” EXPAND Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena at the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan, New York on September 27, 2015. © 2015 Reuters Human Rights Council member and observer countries that backed the consensus October 2015 resolution, should make clear that foreign […]

Arrest warrant on Gnanasara Thera

25th January 2016 // 0 Comments

The Homagama Magistrate today issued an arrest warrant on Bodu Bala Sena Secretary General, Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara on charges of contempt of court and the disruption of court proceedings. The Thera who was present in Court during the proceedings in the Prageeth  Eknaligoda case is said to have insulted the court, disrupted its proceedings and bad-mouthed court officials. (Muditha Dayananda) – See more at: http://www.dailymirror.lk/104069/arrest-warrant-on-gnanasarathera#sthash.hHmsc8eY.dpuf

Pungudutheevu A Decaying Land

25th January 2016 // 0 Comments

Pungudutheevu A Decaying Land Documentary Film Screening & Discussion Date: 25th January 2016 Time: 2 pm Place: Theatre Studio, The Academy of Theatre Art Jaffna, No. 66, Uyarappulam, Anaiccoddai, Jaffna.

Are you safe to go back to Sri Lanka? Answer ”NO”

25th January 2016 // 0 Comments

Invited back to Sri Lanka to send behind bars ? It is unnecessary to remind again how bad the period of the former Rajapaksa regime had been for journalists. Other than those who had sold their souls for the cutlets, rolls given at the Temple Trees ‘Dansela’ and other gratifications and written according to the wishes of the royal family, journalists who appeared for the truth had to engage in their profession like in a tightrope walk. At a time when white vans came in search of those who had written against the terror, corruption and repression of the then regime, and Sivaram alias Tharaki was abducted and killed, the daylight murder of Lasantha Wickramatunga, enforced disappearance of Prageeth Ekneligoda and attacks on Sanath Balasuriya, […]

A new narrative for the Tamil people in Sri Lanka

24th January 2016 // 0 Comments

A new narrative for the Tamil people in Sri Lanka by Dr. K. Mukunthan Sri Lanka appears to be a country in transition. Some amongst us question the sincerity of the government or the impact these purported changes will have on the Tamil community. How far and deep these changes are to address the long-standing Tamil national question? Considering the historic trust deficit the Tamil community has on the governments or even the State of Sri Lanka, such questions appear reasonable. But an objective analysis of the present reality in Sri Lanka shows that the nucleus of change, or even the mindset driving them, cannot simply be ignored. Equally important, the perception of the international community has markedly changed, and it has embarked upon high-level […]

I am called a controversial Bishop because there are ‘controversial’ issues taking place

24th January 2016 // 0 Comments

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj.                                                                    A news report from the Vatican Information Service(VIS)  datelined January 14th 2016 stated that  His Holiness Pope Francis has  accepted the resignation presented by Bishop Rayappu Joseph upon reaching the age limit,  from the pastoral care of the diocese of Mannar, Sri Lanka.The VIS report further said that Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Joseph Kingsley Swampillai, Bishop emeritus of Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, as apostolic administrator of the  Mannar diocese. On the same day the Vatican Radio announced that the Holy Father has accepted the resignation presented by Monsignor Rayappu Joseph, […]

Find our loved ones – People urge TNA

24th January 2016 // 0 Comments

Find our loved ones – People urge TNA BY Mirudhula Thambiah A statement made by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at a Thai Pongal event in Jaffna recently, seems to have enraged the relatives and friends of missing persons, and motivated them to agitate more towards pressurizing the government to find their loved ones. The Prime Minister said the majority of the missing persons should be considered deceased. There was widespread condemnation of the remark by the relatives, and they turned their anger towards the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which received the majority of the Tamil votes in the North and East in the elections that brought the present government to power. They demanded that the TNA should take the responsibility to check the veracity of […]

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