January 2016

Govt. launches two pronged diplomatic offensive ahead of UN Rights chiefs visit

24th January 2016 // 0 Comments

Confident compromise mechanism to investigate war crimes can be worked out Minority communities’ human rights to be protected Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein by Zacki  Jabbar In the run up to the UN Human Rights Commissioner Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein’s scheduled visit to Sri Lanka prior to the June deadline that  his organization has set for Sri Lanka  to  establish an independent domestic mechanism to investigate war crimes allegations, the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government has launched a diplomatic offensive aimed at both the local and international community. The local initiative came in the form of President Maithripala Sirisena’s comments to the BBC last Thursday that he was apposed to foreign interference in his administration’s preparations to conduct an independent domestic probe into accusations of serious human rights violations against the […]

SL on track for GSP Plus but a long way to go: EU Envoy

24th January 2016 // 0 Comments

Sri Lanka has not yet made a formal application for the GSP Plus trade facility and “there is still a lot that has to be done” before it can be considered, said Ambassador and Head of Delegation to the European Union (EU) to Sri Lanka David Daly. Similarly the country has made advances on governance, human rights and reconciliation, but there remains “an awful lot” to do in transforming “the many excellent commitments” made over the past few months to progress on the ground. “If you look at significant things like the commitments made in Geneva, the commitments made in the joint resolution co-sponsored by Sri Lanka, which is a major step forward, there you see the sort of things we mean,” he said in […]

Sampanthan declared ‘living hero’, funds for Sampur resettlement announced

23rd January 2016 // 0 Comments

by Shamindra Ferdinando An influential Canadian Diaspora organization which had been proscribed by the previous Sri Lankan government for being an LTTE front has provided funds for resettlement of the war displaced at Sampur in the Trincomalee district. The Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) had recently raised over $ 110,000 for Sampur resettlement project, diaspora sources told The Island. Sources said the CTC had raised nearly $ 300,000 over the six previous years for the benefit of Canadian charities. The influential CTC had been among the eight diaspora groups which were cleared by the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government on Nov. 20, 2015. In addition to the groups, the government cleared 267 individuals of terrorism charges. The previous government blacklisted 16 groups and 424 individuals in March 2014. The […]

Monsignor Rayappu Joseph: “Controversial” Catholic Bishop Emeritus of Mannar Diocese

23rd January 2016 // 0 Comments

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, from the pastoral care of the Diocese of Mannar, in Sri Lanka, in accordance with canon 401 § 1 of the Code of Canon Law and has appointed Mosignor. Kingsley Swampillai retired bishop of Trincomalee, […]

Land Grab In Mullaitivu

23rd January 2016 // 0 Comments

Spolight On Navy…. by Hafsa Sabry The armed forces occupied many properties in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of the country during and after the civil war. The former government with its powerful politicians, allegedly encouraged the process of illegally ‘grabbing’ land in the North and East during its tenure. The issue of encroaching into public lands has still not been addressed by the relevant authorities, even after the change of government last year. One of the election pledges by the government of good governance was to release properties forcibly occupied by the forces. Some people affected by the war live in refugee camps. The Ministry of Defence and the Sri Lankan Navy are now accused of attempting to construct a ‘navy camp’ in the […]

Fishermen decides not to participate in church festival

23rd January 2016 // 0 Comments

The fishermen from here today decided to boycott the two-day festival at Anthony’s church to Katchatheevu to protest against Sri Lanka not releasing 67 boats belonging to them. As per an Indo-Sri Lankan agreement, Indian fishermen have right to fish near Katchatheevu, dry their fishing nets there and offer worship at the church, Fishermen’s Association leaders Devadoss and S Emiret said. While the Sri Lankan government was allowing worship, they were harassing the fishermen who put out sea in the Palk strait, they said. The fishermen also decided not to provide boats for those who wanted to visit the Katchatheevu for the festival. The fishermen also protested against the new regulation brought out by Sri Lanka to levy a fine up to Rs five lakh […]

Prez, govt. urged to speak with one voice on accountability process

23rd January 2016 // 0 Comments

*Ex-officer alleges contradictory statements cause turmoil   by Shamindra Ferdinando Alleging that President Maithripala Sirisena and the UNP-led government had simultaneously issued vastly contradictory statements in respect of accountability issues and the role of the international community in the process, National Front to Protect Security Forces yesterday urged the government to speak with one voice. Addressing the media in Colombo, retired Maj and attorney-at-law Ajith Prasanna convenor of the front said people shouldn’t be deceived as regards the understanding between the government and Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Referring to a joint statement issued by the Foreign Ministry and the European Union on Thursday night, the Maj., formerly of the Sinha regiment said that the two parties had reiterated commitment to the full […]

Why Eelaventhan Should Not Be Deported To Sri Lanka

23rd January 2016 // 0 Comments

By Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah – With his application for asylum in Canada denied and all appeals against his deportation order exhausted, except for a pre-removal risk assessment process and possibly an application for a “National Interest” exemption, I share here the major concerns I have why former TNA MP, M K Eelaventhan should not be deported to Sri Lanka. Earlier in April 2014, in an application for judicial review of the findings made by the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), the Federal Court agreed with IRB that Mr. Eelaventhan was inadmissible under 34/1 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. 34. (1) provided that: A permanent resident or a foreign national is inadmissible on security grounds for (a) engaging in an act of espionage or […]

DO NOT GO TO SRI LANKA – The journalist was Invited and was arrested in Katunayake

23rd January 2016 // 0 Comments

The journalist P. Sasikaran who was in self exile and who was arrested last 20th at the Katunayake airport upon his arrival has been released under very strict bail conditions. Following his submission in courts yesterday he was released on Rs. 10,000 bail and two 100,000 surety bails. A court order has been enforced preventing him to leave the country and the courts have possessed his passport. The court order further restricted that Sasikaran should appear in the Katunayake police on the first Sunday of each month. Due to the threat and intimidation enforced by the former regime Sasikaran who was a Tamil journalist and a social activist left the country in stealth to Australia. Following the Good Governance coming to power exile journalists were […]

EU reiterates need to fully implement resolution

23rd January 2016 // 0 Comments

The EU trade delegation currently visiting Sri Lanka in a Joint Press Release following the first meeting of the working group on Governance, Rule of Law and Human Rights under the European Union-Sri Lanka Joint Commission, held on 21 January 2016 reiterated the need for country to fully implement the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution. The staement read: The Working Group on Governance, Rule of Law and Human Rights under the European Union-Sri Lanka Joint Commission concluded its first meeting in Colombo on 21 January 2016. The meeting was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombo with the participation of senior officials from Sri Lanka and the European Union. The delegation of the European Union was led by Ms. Paola Pampaloni, Head of […]

President Sirisena Rejects UN Human Rights Council Demand For Foreign Involvement in Mechanism Investigating War Crimes

23rd January 2016 // 0 Comments

By P.K.Balachandran Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has rejected the UN Human Rights Council’s demand for foreign involvement in the judicial mechanism to be set up to investigate and try war crimes charges against the Lankan armed forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). “I will never agree to international involvement in this matter. We have more than enough specialists, experts and knowledgeable people in our country to solve our internal issues,” Sirisena told the Sinhalese service of the BBC on Thursday. “This investigation should be internal and indigenous, without violating the laws of the country,” he explained. Asked when the court might be set up, he said: “These things cannot be done instantly or in a hurried manner. We will certainly reach […]

Former North and East Chief Minister considers federalism best solution

23rd January 2016 // 0 Comments

by Jehan Haniff Federalism is the best solution to Sri Lanka’s ethnic problem, former North-East Chief Minister Vartharaja Perumal says. “Federalism will become a reality when the Tamils trust the Sinhalese and vice versa. It is not possible at present. If the new Constitution provides for a devolution model that will pave the way for federalism in time to come that will be enough.” Political changes of that nature could not happen overnight, Perumal said “It must evolve with even the Sinhalese fighting for federalism. This will come about when they learn that federalism is not exclusively for the North and East or the Tamils.” The former CM said that he was prepared to work with the President, the Prime Minister and former President Chandrika […]

President Sirisena Agrees To Negotiate With ‘Sinhala Racist’ To Avoid SLFP Split

22nd January 2016 // 0 Comments

In an attempt to save the Sri Lanka Freedom Party from splitting into two, President Maithripala Sirisena gave his consent to have discussions with the ‘Joint Opposition’ leaders and resolve differences. In a meeting held at his residence late last evening, Sirisena and the SLFP Ministers, Deputy Ministers and State Ministers agreed that the differences should be resolved by discussions. This came after some acrimonious verbal attacks and counter attacks during the last few days between the SLFP group supporting Sirisena and some ‘Joint Opposition’ leaders, who support former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Several SLFP Sirisena camp stalwarts publicly accused several non-SLFP leaders of the ‘Joint Opposition’ of trying to split the party. At a recent press conference, Athauda Seneviratne accused Dinesh Gunawardena, Wimal Weerawansa and […]

TNA Refutes Wigneswaran’s Charge of Giving Up Right to Self Determination

22nd January 2016 // 0 Comments

COLOMBO: The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has refuted Northern Province Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran’s contention that it has reneged in its commitment to secure for the Tamils of Sri Lanka the right to self determination. Wigneswaran had told TNA members in the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) earlier this week, that the TNA had pledged itself to securing for the Tamils self determination in its manifesto for the 2013 NPC elections, but it had not mentioned it in its manifesto for the August 2015 Lankan parliamentary elections. He was insinuating that the TNA’s leadership had struck a cozy relationship with the Sinhalese leaders in Colombo to the detriment of the Tamils. Refuting this contention at a meeting of members of the TNA in the Northern and Eastern […]

Government accused of rolling back on commitment in Geneva

22nd January 2016 // 0 Comments

The International Truth and Justice Project is deeply concerned that Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena appears to be rolling back on his commitment in Geneva to include international involvement in a future judicial mechanism. In an interview with the BBC yesterday, the President reportedly stated, “I will never agree to international involvement in this matter”. This flies in the face of the recommendation of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights that Sri Lankan establish “an ad hoc hybrid special court, integrating international judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators”. High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, who is due to visit Sri Lanka shortly, has been very clear about the “total failure of domestic mechanisms to conduct credible investigations” in Sri Lanka. “The High Commissioner is right: […]

Switzerland misleads, terminology counts: Prof Boyle

22nd January 2016 // 0 Comments

[TamilNet, Thursday, 21 January 2016, 09:25 GMT] “The Swiss have no credibility whatsoever when it comes to Tamil Eelam and the Eelam Tamils. Under the circumstances of ongoing GOSL genocide, ‘terminology’ means everything if we want to survive,” responded Professor Francis Boyle to the current Switzerland involved ‘deliberations’ that have taken place in Jaffna earlier this week. “At the end of the day, the Swiss will sell us out to the GOSL once again,” Professor Boyle, who is an expert in International Law and who teaches at the University of Illinois College of Law, warned Eezham Tamils. He also noted the Swiss history of supporting Sri Lanka’s crimes, especially pointing out that the Swiss sponsored a UN resolution which “congratulated” Sri Lanka as the State […]

Exiled Tamil journalist invited by the NEW government is ARRESTED on return to Sri Lanka

22nd January 2016 // 0 Comments

Reports emerged on Wednesday night that an exiled Tamil journalist from the North-East had been arrested on arrival at Sri Lanka earlier during the day. The journalist, who reportedly returned after being invited by the new government, was arrested at Katunayake airport. It is not clear what the alleged offence is. He is expected to be produced before Negombo Magistrate Court on Thursday morning.

Sushma Swaraj here on Feb. 5

22nd January 2016 // 0 Comments

Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka on February 5 for a two-day visit. She will attend the Sri Lanka-India Joint Commission in Colombo. The Indian Foreign Minister will meet President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan, and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera during her stay in the country.

13th Amendment back in the limelight in Sri Lanka

22nd January 2016 // 0 Comments

Even as Sri Lanka is preparing to come up with a new Constitution with devolution as one of the key issues, the 13{+t}{+h}Amendment, which created provincial councils in the country, is again in the limelight. While former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has argued that the proposed scheme of devolution should not exceed the terms of the amendment, with no to any merger of provinces and the transfer of land and police powers to provincial councils, Leader of House in Parliament Lakshman Kiriella has gone on record stating that the amendment is the basis for the resolution of the national question. The amendment was an outcome of an agreement reached between India and Sri Lanka in 1987. K. Vigneswaran, former secretary of the merged North-East province (which […]

TNA MPs and TNA PC members hold key meeting

21st January 2016 // 0 Comments

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Members of Parliament and TNA Provincial Council members held a key meeting today. TNA Provincial Council members from the North and East attended the meeting headed by TNA leader R. Sampanthan. Issues related to the TNA, the policy of the party and a political solution were among the matters discussed at the meeting held in Kilinochchi. The proposed new Constitution was also discussed at the day long meeting. (Colombo Gazette)

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