June 2016

Brexit makes Lanka move faster towards economic tie up with India

28th June 2016 // 0 Comments

COLOMBO: Britain’s decision to leave the European Union (EU),much to the disappointment of Sri Lanka, has forced the Lankan government to seek closer economic ties with India, China and the rest of Asia. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe announced in Galle on Sunday, that the Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade, Malik Samarawickrama, would be going to New Delhi next week for talks on the proposed Indo-Lanka Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA). The Prime Minister said that with the British leaving the EU, the EU  might be considerably weakened. This in turn would adversely affect Lanka because the EU presently accounts for 40 per cent of Lanka’s exports. It is therefore imperative that Lanka enters into Free Trade Agreements or strengthens existing FTAs and […]

‘Visiting Sri Lanka will prove costly for British tourists in Brexit aftermath’

28th June 2016 // 0 Comments

By Hiran H.Senewiratne “Sri Lanka now is much more exposed to international markets than in 2008 and,therefore, would face impacts through this channel because the sterling pound has depreciated against the US dollar by 8 percent, after Brexit, and this would have a direct impact on the Sri Lanka tourism sector. Visting Sri Lanka would be more expensive for British tourists, top economist Dr Indrajith Coomaraswamy, said. Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Harsha de Silva said: “Sri Lanka will lose the duty free benefit with the UK exiting from European Union. Then we could renegotiate a FTA with the UK, but they will have to do a whole series of FTAs with European nations and others before they get to us. “The immediate […]

Have to renegotiate GSP plus terms -– Eran

28th June 2016 // 0 Comments

By Shaahidah Riza The terms of GSP plus will have to be renegotiated, since the United Kingdom has pulled out from the European Union (EU), said Deputy Minister for State Enterprise Development Eran Wickremeratne. Last Friday (23), the EU referendum in the UK revealed that 51.9 per cent chose to leave the EU whilst 48.1 per cent chose to remain. He said there will be no other long-term repercussions to Sri Lanka caused by Brexit and that it was too early to comment … on the current situation. “We will have to renegotiate trade with the remaining countries of the EU, and the UK, if the UK exits the EU,” he added. He further noted that Sri Lanka’s non-aligned foreign policy will not change if Britain […]

UK jobs for Sri Lankan nurses

28th June 2016 // 0 Comments

Sri Lankan nurses will be provided training at the British Council and found jobs in the UK, Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said. Dr. Senaratne said arrangements have also been made to provide jobs for nurses in UKthrough a private nursing faculty. A nursing faculty will be established in Sri Lanka at a cost of Rs. 12,500 million, the minister said after laying the foundation stone for a new medical and surgical ward complex to be built at Nagoda Hospital at a cost of Rs. 3,500 million. Minister Senaratne said Rs. 11,547 million is to be spent to develop the Nagoda General Hospital. The Colombo National Hospital is to be fully developed with the assistance of the Chinese government. The project has already been launched. […]

UNHRC Chief releases mixed report on SL’s reconciliation efforts

28th June 2016 // 0 Comments

Zeid to note ‘complexity of party politics’ within coalition Govt. in oral report Notes ‘mixed messaging’ on accountability within GoSL High Commissioner for HR to call for probe into allegations of cluster bomb usage during the war Zeid to address UNHRC 32nd Session to present Lanka report tomorrow  By Dharisha Bastians The full promise of governance reform, transitional justice and economic revival is yet to be delivered by the ruling National Unity Government in Sri Lanka, and risks stalling or dissipating., the UN’s top envoy for Human Rights, Zeid Al Ra’ad Al Hussein will tell the 47-member Human Rights Council in Geneva tomorrow (29 June). According to an advance copy released late last night by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) of Zeid’s first report […]

No Political package only development says Ambassador Kari

28th June 2016 // 0 Comments

Constitution no bar to foreign judges in war crimes court – TNA Sumanthiran reveals tripartite GoSL, US, Tamils agreement on hybrid mechanism By Shamindra Ferdinando The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has claimed to have reached a tripartite consensus in respect of foreign judges, defence attorneys, investigators etc., in a Sri Lankan judicial mechanism to probe war crimes before the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) unanimously adopted a resolution to pave the way for inquiry. On behalf of the TNA, its spokesperson and Jaffna District parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran has told a recent ‘Congressional Caucus for Ethnic and Religious Freedom in Sri Lanka’ in Washington that the government of Sri Lanka, the TNA and the US had been involved in the negotiations leading to the agreement. The declaration was […]

BREXIT and Sinhala Only Limits of popular mandate

28th June 2016 // 0 Comments

ommentators of South Asian politics tend to view the voting habits in the region with a degree of condescension. They indeed have a point. In every election, India, the world’s largest democracy, habitually sends a mindboggling number of remanded crooks, film stars, feudal heirs and many other worse salubrious individuals to their regional and central assemblies. In Bangladesh, two feuding widows have hijacked the destiny of the people, and that is being accomplished through the hotly contested elections. And, in our country, millions of opposition voters favoured rabblerousing opportunists of the Joint Opposition over more principled members of the same party during the previous election. However, that is not our problem alone. When the Egyptians voted in their first free and fair election after the […]

Brexit: the Not-So-United Kingdom

28th June 2016 // 0 Comments

by Kithmina Hewage, Chantal Sirisena, Suwendrani Jayaratne On June 23rd Britain became the first country to vote to leave the EU, following a tense referendum and fierce campaigning on both sides. The final result saw the ‘Leave’ campaign win by a small majority: 51.9% to 48.1% and hours later, the UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation from office by October 2016. . What follows will be significant political and economic upheaval. After 59 years of the bloc’s history, this is a watershed moment and much uncertainty remains over what form the break up will take and the implications for not only the UK, but also its many trading partners, including the rest of Europe. A tragic split The EU referendum came about as […]

Sri Lanka’s ongoing battle against torture

28th June 2016 // 0 Comments

It all started when Malaka* and Rohan* (names changed to protect identity) went to meet relations in Wattegama. Returning from the visit, they saw two policemen making off with their motorcycles, which they had parked on the main road. They confronted the officers, who began assaulting the two men with iron rods. Malaka and Rohan were taken to the Wattegama police station, where they were assaulted once again. When Rohan was admitted to hospital, his leg was broken in 5 places. Fearing he might lose his life, the doctors transferred Rohan to the Peradeniya hospital, where he remained for around 9 months, during which time he underwent 5 surgeries. The two policemen also promptly admitted themselves to hospital and filed charges against Rohan, resulting in […]

Brexit: Are The UK Universities & The Research Sector The Biggest Casualty?

27th June 2016 // 0 Comments

By W.A Wijewardena – Dr W.A Wijewardena British voters choosing for leaving EU In the recently-held referendum, the British people decided by 52 to 48 that Britain should leave the European Union. In popular jargon, this was a choice in favour of Brexit or Britain’s Exit from EU. However, Brexit was fought on emotional grounds rather than on hard core economics or political realities. Given the track record of British voters in the past, many had expected that they would go for a rational choice. That rational choice required them to compare the costs and benefits of Brexit before making their choice. The material placed before the voters by campaigners for remaining in EU too had urged them to make their choice considering the enormous […]

UNHCR Resolution: Tamil Civil Society Forum Wants International Community To Be Wary Of Sri Lankan Government

27th June 2016 // 0 Comments

The Tamil Civil Society Forum today warned the international community that the ‘unwarranted praise and promotion’ of the Sri Lankan Government from certain powerful sections of the International Community, can result in the Government withdrawing from its obligations under the UNHCR resolution. TCSF Convener – Bishop of Mannar, Dr. Rayappu Joseph In a statement issued today, the Tamil Civil Society also claimed that the Sri Lankan Government believes that if it successfully handles and appeases the interests of different sections of the International Community, it can escape from the obligations laid out in the UNHRC resolution. “We hope that the High Commissioner will unequivocally identify the fundamental transgressions in the approach of the Government to the resolution thus far and further appropriately advice member-states of […]

Sri Lanka’s Brexit Hour Still To Come

27th June 2016 // 0 Comments

By Jehan Perera – Jehan Perera The Sri Lankan government goes into the current session of the UN Human Rights Council with several accomplishments to show. These are primarily at the level of change of spirit and less as concrete changes that can be quantified. It is difficult to quantify the impact of the lifting of fear of agents of the state and their associates acting with impunity, of white vans into which people disappear and the attitude of confrontation. But these have transformed life in the country. The passage of the Right to Information lawin Parliament unanimously, without a vote and therefore without division, is an indication that there is broad acceptance in the polity, to which the government gives leadership, that good governance […]

Sri Lanka predicts uncertain economic situation for next 2 years

27th June 2016 // 0 Comments

COLOMBO, June 27 (Xinhua)– Sri Lankan Central Bank on Monday predicts uncertain economic situation caused by Brexit will last for at least two years in Sri Lanka. The latest report submitted to Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said it would take at least two years for the UK to leave the EU as per section 50 of the Lisbon Agreement and, therefore, the global economic crisis that had already begun would last for two years. As 40 percent of Sri Lanka’s exports to Europe go to the UK, with the fall of the pound sterling, Sri Lanka would definitely be affected, the report said. According to the report, Sri Lanka would not get the expected advantages from the Generalized System of Preference (GSP) plus […]

Sirisena in fresh bid to checkmate Mahinda

27th June 2016 // 0 Comments

By Shamindra Ferdinando In a desperate bid to thwart the formation of a new party led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa- in the run-up to forthcoming local government polls, the SLFP yesterday assured Rajapaksa loyalists nominations. Vast majority of members of dissolved local government bodies have called for the formation of a new alliance under former President Rajapaksa’s leadership. Urging Rajapaksa loyalists to reach an understanding with President Maithripala Sirisena, Irrigation and Water Management Minister Gamini Vijith Vijithamuni Zoysa yesterday said that those who had challenged the new leadership wouldn’t be deprived of nominations. Minister Zoysa said that even an understanding was possible with those facing disciplinary action over various matters.The Moneragala district MP was responding to a query at the weekly media briefing held […]

Sri Lanka to take consent of TNA and war crimes victims on judicial mechanism

27th June 2016 // 0 Comments

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has said that the nature and structure of the Judicial Mechanism meant to try cases of war crimes will be decided only after consultations with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the organizations representing the victims. Speaking at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs in Oslo, Samaraweera said: “ There is a certain degree of controversy on how it should be set up and the level of international participation. That will be decided after the consultations are over but all I can say now is whatever we decide upon, we will and must have the approval of the victims. This is not an exercise to please ourselves. So the final contours of the architecture of the courts we […]

‘Tamils in Lanka need a federal solution’

27th June 2016 // 0 Comments

Northern province CM says would not be satisfied with any accountability mechanism that does not contain foreign judges The grievances of minority Tamils in Sri Lanka can only be addressed through a federal system of governance and the merger of north and eastern provinces, Northern province Chief Minister CV Wignewswaran has said. Wigneswaran said he had conveyed this to the Colombo-based ambassadors including those from the European Union during his recent engagements with them. The Tamil issue should not be seen by the government from the view point of the nationalist extremists in the south, Wigneswaran said in Jaffna. Wigneswaran said that the only solution to the ethnic problem of Tamils is to merge the north and the east and establish a federal government system. […]

‘Blaming Rajapaksa demons for lack of progress is a false pretence’ – GTF spokesperson

27th June 2016 // 0 Comments

The Sri Lankan government cannot continue to blame members of the former regime for the lack of progress in furthering accountability said the Global Tamil Forum’s spokesperson Suren Surendiran, in a piece published in Colombo Telegraph on Saturday. “Barely four months since [the] Government of Sri Lanka internationally committing by co-sponsoring Resolution A/HRC/30/L.29 in Geneva, the U-turn came in spectacular fashion from the highest authority in the country, the President himself,” said Mr Surendiran. “As if there wasn’t enough trust deficit between communities in Sri Lanka, this major let down, haemorrhaged the trust of Tamils in the new President and in his new coalition government.” The GTF spokesperson went on to state that there was a “lack of political will and courage demonstrated by the […]

Sri Lanka wants the world to forget about justice for war victims. Please don’t

27th June 2016 // 0 Comments

Sri Lanka wants the world to forget about justice for war victims. Please don’t Nirmanusan Balasundaram In October 2015 the government of Sri Lanka co-sponsored, along with the US, a resolution on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka, which was adopted at the 30th session of the UN Human Rights Council. However, this very same government has since been backsliding from implementing its own commitments, promises and obligations made at the UNHRC. In contradiction to the adopted resolution, which called for international involvement, including that of international judges to investigate wartime atrocities during the final stages of the war, Sri Lanka has instead insisted on setting up a domestic-only mechanism. Sri Lanka’s prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has explicitly ruled outpossibilities for international […]

Lankan among 45 wanted individuals arrested in the US

25th June 2016 // 0 Comments

A Sri Lankan is among 45 foreign fugitives – all subjects of active Interpol notices for individuals wanted in connection with criminal activity – who were arrested across the United States this week by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) and the U.S. Marshals Service. Arrests occurred nationwide during the three-day enforcement operation June 21 to 23, the US Department of Homeland Security said today. Pothuvilage Ushan Bernard Karunaratne, 38, of Sri Lanka was arrested on June 21 in Fort Worth, Texas. An Interpol red notice has been issued on him from Sri Lanka for fraud. “Project Red II” targeted individuals with Interpol red notices and others wanted for serious crimes within Interpol member countries. A red notice serves as […]

Lankan Tamil Press Loses Faith In UNHRC’s Commitment to Rendering Justice

25th June 2016 // 0 Comments

Samantha Power, US envoy to UN, visits office of Uthayan daily in Jaffna. (EPS) COLOMBO: The Tamil press in Sri Lanka, which was very hopeful that the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) would render justice to Tamil victims of Eelam War IV, has now lost faith in the international body’s commitment to the goals it had set for itself in the resolution it passed in  September-October 2015. Despite strong and continued interest in securing international support for the Lankan Tamil cause,  the Tamil press showed “little optimism” that the on-going 32nd session of the UNHRC will yield tangible positive outcomes, says Verite Research in its bulletin on local media coverage of prominent Lankan issues in the past week. “Low expectations were also reflected in Tamil […]

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