June 2016

Sri Lankan Prime Minister tells UK to stay in the EU

15th June 2016 // 0 Comments

In brief Sri Lanka ‘very concerned’ about the probable impact of a British exit from the EU The decision voters of the UK must make on 23 June is a momentous one As a politician who was first elected to Government in 1977, I have closely observed key political developments in the global landscape over the past 40 years or so. To name a few: the Chinese economic reforms initiated by Deng Xiaoping in 1978, which gradually integrated China into the world economy; the economic reforms in India of Prime Minister Narasimha Rao which led to India becoming an impressive regional power; and the establishment of a European single market. Global stability is of vital importance to us The outcome of these initiatives was the […]

Army says it will remain in the North

14th June 2016 // 0 Comments

The army will remain in the North and look after the Tamils, a senior army officer has said, virtually rejecting Northern Province Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran’s demand of withdrawal of military. “We are here to look after you, we will attend to all your needs,” military chief in the north Mahes Senanayake said, according to the Press Trust of India. He said that his job as the security forces commander in the north is to prevent a recurrence of conflict by looking after the Tamil community. Senanayake said that there will never ever be a separatist war in Sri Lanka’s north. His comments came as Wigneswaran last week demanded the withdrawal of the military from the north. “Even after seven years of ending the war, […]

Sampanthan Wants All Lands Held By Military In North-East Immediately Returned To Civilians

14th June 2016 // 0 Comments

Leader of the Opposition and Tamil National Alliance, R. Sampanthan has demanded that the government immediately return lands held by the military in the North and the East back to civilians. Sampanthan In an adjournment motion moved in Parliament on June 10, 2016, Sampanthan said that even though seven years have elapsed since the end of the armed conflict in the country, several hundred thousands of Tamils and others continue to be displaced from their original places of residence in the North and the East during the period of the said armed conflict. “Unambiguous assurances were given by His Excellency the President and others that displaced people would be resettled in their original places. This was stated to be the definite policy of the new […]

Leading Tamil diaspora groups in the US slam Sumanthiran

14th June 2016 // 0 Comments

Tamil diaspora groups in the US have slammed Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarian M A Sumanthiran alleging he is visiting Washington DC to support the Sri Lankan Government. Tamils for Obama and American Tamil Forum said Sumanthiran is going to speak at a non- official body at the US Congress along with Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the US Prasad Kariyawasam. “If history is of any guide, instead of speaking up for the Tamils, Mr. Sumanthiran is going to play a second fiddle to the Sri Lankan Ambassador and as usual will be a cheer leader for the Sri Lankan Government. He will do some lip-service on Tamil issues to show his Tamil credentials. It is believed that Mr. Sumanthiran was very active in the current Prime Minister’s political […]

Jayalalithaa meets Modi, discusses concerns of Sri Lankan Tamils

14th June 2016 // 0 Comments

On her first visit after her second consecutive election victory, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and submitted a memorandum demanding among other things strong action on Sri Lanka. During the meeting at the Race Course residence of the Prime Minister, she presented a memorandum which noted the Sri Lankan Tamils issue and several other matters related to Tamil Nadu. Jayalalithaa, in her memorandum, urged the Centre to consider dual citizenship for the Sri Lankan Tamils residing in Tamil Nadu as refugees. “Tamil Nadu Government urges the Government of India to permit such refugees to hold dual citizenship of both India and Sri Lanka so that they could take up employment and business in India without any hindrance,” she said in […]

Zeid calls for inclusive and meaningful engagement in Sri Lanka

14th June 2016 // 0 Comments

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein says there needs to be inclusive and meaningful engagement of all Sri Lankans when implementing the resolution on Sri Lanka adopted by the UN Human Rights Council last year. Speaking during the opening of the 32nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva today, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said that in Sri Lanka, the Government’s efforts to implement its commitments in Resolution 30/1 will require a comprehensive strategy on transitional justice that enables it to pursue different processes in a coordinated, integrated and appropriately sequenced manner. “This will require the inclusive and meaningful engagement of all Sri Lankans. I will present an oral update later in the session,” he added. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein is to […]

Wigneswaran Denies Relying On Jayalalithaa To Solve Tamil Problem

13th June 2016 // 0 Comments

COLOMBO: The Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province, C.V.Wigneswaran, has denied that he is relying on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa to solve the Tamil problem in his country. “When did I call upon her to find a solution to our problems? I congratulated her and called for closer collaboration. She responded positively. So what about it? If anyone is giving hidden meanings to mere courtesies, what I am supposed to do?” Wigneswaran asked in an interview to Lanka’s state-owned Sunday Observer. “We rely on ourselves not on others to solve our problems. But the globe is now shrunk, everything and everybody are inter-related,” he said and pointed out that the present Lankan rulers had “relied on foreign powers to get rid of the […]

Sirisena Says Message Of Reconciliation Should Target Sinhalese First

13th June 2016 // 0 Comments

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has said that the message of ethnic reconciliation should be conveyed to the majority Sinhalese community first. “The message of the importance of reconciliation should be delivered to the Sinhala Buddhists in the South, than to those living in the North,” the President told The Sunday Times. The Sinhalese live predominantly in South Lanka and the Tamils live largely in the North. Referring to the importance given to “war victory” by Sinhalese Buddhists in South Lanka, Sirisena said that they should now turn their attention to reconciliation to prevent another war. “ In victory we should taken into consideration the reasons which led to the war. If the youth in the North take up arms again, it is a defeat […]

Rajapaksa Regime Gave Millions Worth Free Rides To Militant Buddhist Monks And Journalists

13th June 2016 // 0 Comments

Abusing tax payer money the former Urban Development Minister Wimal Weerawansa gave millions of rupees worth of free rides to both militant Buddhist monks and Journalists. Iththakande Saddhatissa Balaya | Photo courtesy Ishara Kodikara The convener of the militant Buddhist monk brigade Ravana Balaya Iththakande Saddhatissahad been given three vehicles a month amounting to almost Rs 2 million a year, whilst prominent Irida Lankadeepa journalist Prasanna Sanjeewa Thennakoon of the Wijeya Group’s vehicle cost was over Rs 800,000. These figures only for 2014. These facts were revealed by Minister of Telecommunications and Digital InfrastructureHarin Fernando when the no confidence motion against Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake was been debated in parliament yesterday. The militant Budhhist monk’s three vehicles were rented at a monthly cost of Rs […]

Exiled Tamil Victims Of War Crimes Ready To Testify To Special Sri Lankan Court Only If International Judges Are Involved

13th June 2016 // 0 Comments

Exiled Tamil victims of war crimes and torture say they would testify by video to a special court in Sri Lanka only if international judges were involved and their identities protected,” the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) said in a new report titled ‘Forgotten: Sri Lanka’s exiled victims’. Yasmin Sooka – Executive Director – International Truth & Justice Project – Sri Lanka This comes as Sri Lanka is under scrutiny at the Human Rights Council in Geneva next week for its progress in implementing a transitional justice programme it outlined nine months ago and agreed to in a consensus UN resolution. “To our knowledge this is only the third time – after Sierra Leone and Liberia – that victims outside a country have been […]

Ex-LTTE exiles willing to testify: Survey

12th June 2016 // 0 Comments

Many former members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), now in exile in Europe, are willing to participate in the proposed transitional justice mechanism in Sri Lanka relating to the alleged violations of human rights during the final phase of the civil war, provided their safety and anonymity are guaranteed. This is among the findings of a survey undertaken by the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP), Sri Lanka, which is affiliated to the Foundation for Human Rights in South Africa. ‘Impossible to survive’ The survey covered 75 Tamils, including 54 ex-cadres of the LTTE, living in four European countries. Women constituted 26 per cent of the entire group. Almost all the interviewees had fled Sri Lanka for Europe after the end of […]

David Cameron and Sadiq Khan for the ‘Remain In’ campaign in London.

12th June 2016 // 0 Comments

Dr Sarah Wollaston defects from Vote Leave to remain campaign Corbyn urges voters in Scotland to show solidarity with people across EU When the Guardian invited young women to focus groups in Brighton this week, we asked them to bring an object that summed up the EU referendum campaign. One turned up with a loudhailer: “I feel like both sides are just shouting!” she told us. These focus groups – which we will write more about soon – are part of an attempt to understand as much as we can about how voters are thinking about the huge decision we will make on 23 June. The woman’s reaction echoes the mood of many voters, who feel pummelled by conflicting statistics and, after weeks of high-volume […]

Wasim Thajudeen murder: Former OIC makes confidential statement in camera

12th June 2016 // 0 Comments

Former Narahenpita Crimes OIC Sumith Champika Perera arrested for allegedly covering up evidence in connection with the murder of Wasim Thajudeen made a confidential statement in camera before Additional Magistrate Nishantha Peiris yesterday over the incident. Narahenpita former Crimes OIC Sumith Champika Perera the first suspect in the Thajudeen murder case was produced before Court around 9 am by prison authorities. The suspect was allowed to enter Magistrate’s chamber at 12.05 pm and returned at 2.10 pm. His confidential statement was recorded for more than two hours. This statement was recorded in accordance with the section 127 of the Code of the Criminal Procedure Act. On June 9, the Additional Magistrate allowed the suspect to make a confession before the Magistrate after taking into consideration […]

British Tamil ‘tortured and detained’ during Sri Lanka wedding trip

11th June 2016 // 0 Comments

Velauthapillai Renukaruban travelled to Jaffna to get married and was beaten and imprisoned on false charges, his family say   Velauthapillai Renukaruban was located several days after his arrival in Sri Lanka with injuries consistent with torture, lawyers said.  A British man has been detained and tortured in Sri Lanka after travelling to the south Asian country to get married, his family and human rights lawyers have claimed. Velauthapillai Renukaruban, 36, who lives in Ealing, arrived in the country of his birth on 1 June to marry Thajeepa Vinayagamoorthy, 27. The marriage had been arranged by the couple’s families and they had got to know each other by speaking on the phone over a period of months. Sri Lanka accused of allowing continuing human rights abuses […]

Missing persons: Sharp difference in numbers quoted by govt and Presidential Commission Govt claim even higher than NGO’s

11th June 2016 // 0 Comments

Missing persons: Sharp difference in numbers quoted by govt and Presidential Commission Govt claim even higher than NGO’s Paranagama by Shamindra Ferdinando Retired High Court Judge Maxwell Paranagama, Chairman, Presidential Commission to Investigate Complaints Regarding Missing Persons yesterday told The Island that the Commission had received approximately 19,000 complaints in respect of disappeared civilians during sittings held in various parts of the country. The Commission dealt with missing persons cases since 1983. Paranagama declined to comment on the sharp discrepancy in data available with his Commission and recent government declaration that various presidential commissions had received over 65,000 complaints regarding missing persons. According to the Foreign Ministry, over 65,000 missing persons cases had been received since 1994. The government acknowledged: “Sri Lanka has one of […]

UK ready to send experts in support of FCID, CIABOC

11th June 2016 // 0 Comments

by Shamindra Ferdinando The UK has offered to position a team of experts in Colombo to work with the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) and specialised police including the Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID). The offer has been made during a recent meeting between a British and CIABOC delegations at the latter’s office. Asked whether the UK and GoSL had reached an agreement on ‘deploying’ British investigators here, a spokesperson for the British HC told The Island: “Officers from the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in the UK have been training investigators in Sri Lanka for some time. The training included enhancing investigators’ capability to engage in international cases, thorough legal advice, exchanges and English language training.” Responding to another query, the […]

51 MP’s who support Mahinda are wasting their time says MP Gammanpila.

11th June 2016 // 0 Comments

Former President did not want to waste his time Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa did not take part in the vote of No Confidence Motion against Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake because it was not worth his valuable time, Pivithuru Hela Urumaya Leader Udaya Gammanpila said. The government is cock-a-hoop about defeating Thursday’s no-faith motion against Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake. It mustered 145 votes against the motion while the proponents thereof had to settle for only 51. Twenty eight MPs were absent including former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the TNA Parliamentarians. He was responding to a question by a journalist at a press conference at the parliamentary complex yesterday. In Parliament Former President Rajapaksa’s vote is only another one vote, but he is a great personality and […]

British citizen beaten and arbitrarily detained in Sri Lanka. What is the British government doing?

11th June 2016 // 0 Comments

Reports of the arbitrary detention and beating of a British Tamil citizen that arrived in Sri Lanka to visit his mother have emerged. Mr Velauthapilai Renugaruban was beaten and forcefully arrested by two men who entered his family home in Jaffna on 2nd of June. The men informed the family that they had come to arrest Mr Renugaruban on suspicion of assisting LTTE activities in the UK. Neither an arrest warrant nor identification was provided by the two men, who dragged him out of the house and took him away in a van. Though an official torture plea has not been extracted from Mr Renugaruban, the detainee’s family and representative lawyer in Colombo claim he has been tortured in custody.A day after Mr Renugaruban was […]

TNA demands release of Tamils arrested under Prevention of Terrorism Act

11th June 2016 // 0 Comments

The Tamil Natioal Alliance (TNA) today reiterated a demand to release Tamils arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). Speaking in Parliament today, TNA leader R. Sampanthan said that the new Government had assured that all political prisoners will be set free. However he said only a few were released while many others arrested under the draconian law continue to remain in custody. Sampanthan also said that the Tamils in the North and East are yet to see real reconciliation, seven years after the war ended. “Reconciliation in the proper sense is not yet visible,” he added. Sampanthan also slammed the Government over its failure to release all the civilian owned land still occupied by the military in the North and East. “One cannot understand […]

Salawa catastrophe and military presence in N&E

11th June 2016 // 0 Comments

By Manekshaw The huge explosion at one of the major arsenals in the country located at Salawa Army camp in the Kosgama area last Sunday (5) had highlighted the extent of the storage of heavy weaponry and indicating the extensively militarized state the country remained for nearly three decades in the past. All sorts of arms and ammunitions stored in the Salawa arsenal exploded and destroyed all buildings in the campsite which was established in 1994. Following the end of the civil war in the country in 2009, the civilians, directly affected by the civil war in the North and the East, have been agitating constantly to reduce the military presence and withdraw the military installations from the two provinces. However, the last Sunday’s Salawa […]

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