March 2016

Sri Lanka PM seeks probe into ‘missing’ wartime gold

10th March 2016 // 0 Comments

About half the 150 kilograms of gold recovered by the military during the war is still in its hands. Colombo: Sri Lanka’s prime minister on Wednesday called for a probe into the whereabouts of vast quantities of gold held by the army, years after it was recovered from the island’s former warzone. The army seized jewellery left behind by some 300,000 minority Tamil citizens who were driven out of their homes in the final stages of Sri Lanka’s separatist war, which ended in 2009. About half the 150 kilograms (330 pounds) of gold recovered by the military during the war is still in its hands, while some has been deposited with the central bank, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told parliament. But around 40 kilos were […]

Sri Lanka ready for peace, says Erik Solheim

10th March 2016 // 0 Comments

Former Norwegian peace envoy defends overtures to LTTE, praises islands democratic processes Erik Solheim (left) in conversation with former Governor of West Bengal Gopalkrishna Gandhi (right) at a panel discussion at the Asian College of Journalism in Chennai on Tuesday,while author Mark Salter looks on.— Photo: K. Pichumani With President Maithripala Sirisena at the helm in Sri Lanka, this is the best opportunity to bring about a lasting solution to the country’s ethnic question, Norway’s former special peace envoy Erik Solheim said on Tuesday. “The strength of Sri Lankan democracy is such that it has removed Mahinda Rajapaksa from the President’s chair. While he assured an inclusive approach post-war to settle the ethnic question, he never acted on the promise of reaching out to Tamils,” […]

How Can You Justify Holding Persons Under The PTA Any Longer

10th March 2016 // 0 Comments

By R. Sampanthan – This is what the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs said. I quote; “Review and repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act and replace it with anti-terrorism legislation in line with contemporary international best practices.” “Review and repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act”. That was what you said to the UN Human Rights Council, on the 14th of September, 2015 in your opening speech, Hon. Minister. Today we are five months down the road. How can you hold persons in custody continuously under that Act which you have agreed to repeal? The only evidence against most of these people are their extracted confessions; most of them are being charged on the basis of extracted confessions. I am told some of the senior police officers, […]

Can’t the Good Governance search our children’s?

10th March 2016 // 0 Comments

A protest was staged today 9th opposite the fort railway station urging the government to return their children abducted by the navy. The parents alleged the Navy for abducting their children’s many years ago who still remain disappears. The parents also alleged that the navy demanded extortions and following paying the extortions too they did not return their children. They said they are suffering like this for the last eight years in search of their children and said the current president would hear their grievances and the injustice happened to them by the previous regime and dispense justice for them. The protesters said in an impulsive voice although one year has been elapsed still they could find a clue about what happened to their children. […]

Sri Lankan deportee arrested at the airport

10th March 2016 // 0 Comments

A Sri Lankan who has illegally migrated to Australia was arrested by Crime Investigation Department upon his arrival at Bandaranaike International Airport yesterday, Police Media Unit told Ceylon Today Online. The suspect is a 31-year-old resident of Valvettithurai area. He will be produced before Negambo Magistrate today and Katunayake unit of Crime Investigations Department is conducting investigations.

Sri Lanka torture allegations continue as war crimes inquiry remains distant prospect

10th March 2016 // 0 Comments

Amid a tense political situation and ongoing allegations of torture, a promised inquiry into Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war appears no closer. Sri Lanka’s new government had vowed to convene an internationally supervised probe into atrocities, allegedly committed by both government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels during the decades-long conflict, which ended in 2009. Key points: Rights groups allege abuses are continuing Freedom from Torture says their organisation has been referred eight separate allegations of torture since the National Unity Government of Maithripala Sirisena took office last year Frustration at Australia’s policy of turning back asylum seekers potentially facing torture However, with a worsening deficit and vocal opposition from nationalists to prosecutions, the coalition government indicated it will not be rushing to set up any […]

Gotabaya Rajapaksa Clarifies; The International Efforts To Rescue The Tiger Leaders In 2009

9th March 2016 // 0 Comments

By Michael Roberts – I am deeply entangled in drafting an article entitled Saving Talaivar Prabhakaran, an effort that has involved several revisions and is now subject to further embellishments in the light of Mark Salter’s presentation of the Norwegian spin on events in the last stages of Eelam War IV.[1] A chance inquiry from a friend put me in touch with the former Defence Minister, Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Skype telephone on Monday 7th March (yesterday). I was in pursuit of a specific piece of information relating to the Norwegian-cum-American exploration of pathways that could extricate the Tiger leaders from Sri Lanka,[2] while saving the Tamil civilians in danger. Salter tells us that in late February the Co-Chairs in Colombo mulled over the possibility of mounting […]

Families demand release of fishermen detained in Lanka

9th March 2016 // 0 Comments

Families and relatives of the 20 fishermen from Thoothukudi, who were arrested by Sri Lankan navy personnel on a charge of trespassing into the waters of the island nation on Saturday, thronged the Collectorate here on Monday, seeking the intervention of the district administration to help secure the early release of the fishermen and their boats. They said that their livelihood would be at stake until the 20 fishermen were released from custody in Sri Lanka. P. Santhya Pacheik, owner of one of three confiscated boats, said that residents of Threspuram – a majority of them country boat fishermen – were deeply saddened by their detention. The detained fishermen were lodged in a prison at ‘Neer Colombo’ in Sri Lanka. Both Central and State government […]

Political prisoners reject TNA request and continue protest

9th March 2016 // 0 Comments

Tamil political prisoners today reject a request by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to suspend a fast and continued their protest for a 15th day. The TNA requested the political prisoners to suspend the fast after assuring them that the issue will be discussed in Parliament tomorrow (Tuesday). However 14 political prisoners on hunger strike rejected the request and continued with the protest today. The prisoners, some who have been in jail for years without being charged, are demanding that their cases be expedited. Most of those arrested were detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) over suspected links with the LTTE. (Colombo Gazette)

Sampanthan urges prisoners to abort hunger strike

9th March 2016 // 0 Comments

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Leader R. Sambanthan yesterday urged the political prisoners engaged in a hunger strike to have faith in the TNA and abandon the action. He said that he would request the Attorney General (AG) to produce all LTTE suspects who are being held, before courts and release them. A TNA delegation met the AG last week and is scheduled to meet again today to discuss the possibility of expediting the release of political prisoners. The TNA claims that there are no sufficient charges to file action against close to 200 LTTE suspects currently being held in prisons. “The TNA will also bring in an adjournment motion on the matter in Parliament today. The motion will draw attention to political prisoners and missing […]

Families of Tamil political prisoners launch hunger strike in Jaffna demanding their release

9th March 2016 // 0 Comments

Families of Tamil political prisoners detained by the Sri Lankan security services held a hunger strike on Monday by the Muniyappar temple in Jaffna, calling for their immediate release. Families of those who are missing also joined the protest. The protest is the latest in a series of demonstrations by families in the North-East calling on the government to release Tamil political prisoners. 

Government reiterates foreign judges won’t be acceptable

9th March 2016 // 0 Comments

By Shamindra Ferdinando Skills Development and Vocational Training Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe yesterday stressed that foreign participation in a judicial inquiry into alleged accountability issues during eelam war IV would be contrary to the Constitution. Therefore, there was absolutely no likelihood of foreign participation in the proposed judicial process scheduled to be launched in accordance with a resolution adopted unanimously in Geneva last October. Minister Samarasinghe was responding to a query by The Island at a media briefing at the Information Department yesterday. Former Human Rights Minister Samarasinghe said UN Human Rights Chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein had expressed satisfaction at the progress made by Sri Lanka since the January 2015 presidential polls. Hussein was here in February. Hussein succeeded Navi Pillay in Sept. 2014. Minister […]

Noose Tightens Around Thajudeen Killers

9th March 2016 // 0 Comments

The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) is due to arrest a former Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) who allegedly had a direct hand in closing down the police investigation into the mysterious death of Havelock Sports Club Rugby player and Vice Captain of the Sri Lanka Rugby Team Wasim Thajudeen. Police sources who wish to remain anonymous said two other police officers who were attached to the Kirulapone and Narahenpita police stations too are to be arrested for aiding and abetting in this regard. “Though they did not have a direct involvement in the murder, the two police officers acted on the instructions of the then DIG. The DIG is accused of clearing the ‘accident’ site within a few hours which is strictly prohibited, and […]

Azath Salley quits as UNP PC member

9th March 2016 // 0 Comments

Azath Salley yesterday said, he had informed the Central Provincial Council that he has decided to resign from the PC as a United National Party (UNP) member. Salley told Daily News that he had also informed the UNP about his decision. Salley who contested the 2013 Provincial Council polls from the Kandy district, came first in the UNP list whilst securing 55,385 preferential votes. When queried about his decision to quit, Salley said that it was to reorganize his own party, the National United Front (NUF). Salley, the NUF leader said, he would be going around the country to reorganize and strengthen his party machinery. When queried whether he was quitting in disappointment, Salley in a light hearted manner replied “no, absolutely not; however this may […]

Sri Lanka calls for int’l aid for war-torn region

9th March 2016 // 0 Comments

The Sri Lankan government on Tuesday said it would call for international investments and assistance to develop former war torn areas in the north and east. Niroshan Perera, State Minister of National Policy and Economic Development, said the government would convene a donor conference this year to seek technical and financial assistance for the north and east and had requested Japan to take the lead. “When the prime minister visited Japan, he requested the Japanese government to take the lead. They have been organizing that. Hopefully we will have it in the middle of the year,” Perera said. “It will be to call for technical assistance plus financial assistance for the north and east.” Perera said the north was one of the key areas that […]

Govt will be toppled within next two years: Gampaha district UPFA MP Prasanna

9th March 2016 // 0 Comments

Gampaha district UPFA MP Prasanna Ranatunga said the anti-government campaign cannot be blunted by his removal from the party organiser post in Minuwangoda because the government would be definitely toppled within the next two years. Addressing a meeting of the Minuwangoda SLFP Balamandalaya at his Udugampola house, he said he would never shelve his people-friendly political campaign however much he was removed from party posts or positions. Ranatunga said he would join hands with Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Common Opposition and give leadership to topple the government within the next two years. Ranatunga said he joined his late father in village politics when his other siblings were resident in Colombo. He said he also told former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga that he would never aspire to […]

Thajudeen murder Updates

9th March 2016 // 0 Comments

Friends reveal vital information in Thajudeen killing Vital information, hitherto unexposed, with regard to the killing of ruggerite Wasim Thajudeen came to light when two of his closest friends, Jeyapragash and Toufique, gave statements to the CID last week, say police headquarters sources. Checks of their mobile phone bills show that they still have contact with a young politician and military officers suspected to be linked to the killing. The CID has decided to again question the senior police officers and the judicial medical officer who had inquired into Thajudeen’s killing on 17 May 2012, but reported it was due to an accident. Courts have now declared it to be murder. The CID is again going through the statements given by the HQI as well […]

Indian High Commissioner to be removed?

9th March 2016 // 0 Comments

Indian HC’s remarks: Opposition, govt. blamed for pusillanimity Federation of National Organisations Chairman Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera yesterday flayed the government for being meek and submissive vis-a-vis Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Y. K.Sinha’s disparaging remarks about former Foreign Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris……………..   READ MORE Gammanpila says Indian High Commissioner should be removed Opposition MP and Pivithuru Hela Urumaya general secretary, Udaya Gammanpila yesterday asked President Maithripala Sirisena to request the Indian government to recall its High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Y.K. Sinha, for what he called ‘interference in domestic affairs.’ – See more at: http://www.dailymirror.lk/106456/Gammanpila-says-Indian-High-Commissioner-should-be-removed#sthash.FMQKC7B2.dpuf Indian envoy takes on Sri Lankan Opposition over economy pact India’s High Commissioner Y.K. Sinha has taken on former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Joint Opposition, an […]

Government says it has backing of all UNHRC member countries

7th March 2016 // 0 Comments

The Government says it has the backing of all UN Hyman Rights Council (UNHRC) member countries including those who opposed Sri Lanka when the former Government was in power. State Minister of Finance Mahinda Samarasinghe said that Sri Lanka cannot go forward by having close links only with a few countries. He said Sri Lanka’s international relations have improved after January 8 last year when the new Government took office. The State Minister said that under President Maithripala Sirisena, Sri Lanka has been able to obtain assistance from several countries, including the US and India. He said that Sri Lanka will not forget the assistance given by China in the past but the Government feels Sri Lanka cannot move forward only with the backing of […]

Government says it has backing of all UNHRC member countries

6th March 2016 // 0 Comments

The Government says it has the backing of all UN Hyman Rights Council (UNHRC) member countries including those who opposed Sri Lanka when the former Government was in power. State Minister of Finance Mahinda Samarasinghe said that Sri Lanka cannot go forward by having close links only with a few countries. He said Sri Lanka’s international relations have improved after January 8 last year when the new Government took office. The State Minister said that under President Maithripala Sirisena, Sri Lanka has been able to obtain assistance from several countries, including the US and India. He said that Sri Lanka will not forget the assistance given by China in the past but the Government feels Sri Lanka cannot move forward only with the backing of […]

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