March 2017

SECOND ‘Fast to Death’ hunger strike called off by MP Wimal

31st March 2017 // 0 Comments

Stunt man MP Wimal Weerawansa called off the ”Sefp Publicity” eight day SECOND ‘Fast to Death’ hunger strike he was engaged in amidst the chanting of pirith a short while ago, National Freedom Front (NFF) sources said. The MP had decided to give up his fast after requests made by fellow politicians, it is learnt. It is understood that the government of Maithiri and Ranil had secretly assured him that no action will be taken against him for misusing 40 state vehicles belonging to the State Engineering Corporation causing a loss of Rs. 90 million  . He ended the fast by drinking a cup of milk. The parliamentarian commenced a hunger strike on March 22 against alleged political revenge perpetrated by the government against him. He was […]

Tamil journalists threatened by Sri Lankan soldiers

31st March 2017 // 0 Comments

Three Tamil journalists were harassed and threatened by Sri Lankan soldiers on the 21st March while reporting on an ongoing protest by families of the disappeared in Maruthankerny. The journalists were photographed en route to the protest, were threatened and made to leave by soldiers from the protest itself and then were followed and harassed on their way home. One of the journalists recounted the incident to Tamil Guardian: “Three of us from Jaffna and Chavakachcheri went to this protest. On the way soldiers took photos of us, but we thought that just happens all the time anyway. We finished our work and when we were going back we saw soldiers engaged in construction work at a site near the protest. So we took photos […]

GTF calls on Sri Lanka and the International Community to ensure the UNHRC Resolution is fully implemented in a faithful and timely manner

30th March 2017 // 0 Comments

PRESS STATEMENT 30 March 2017, London GTF calls on Sri Lanka and the International Community to ensure the UNHRC Resolution is fully implemented in a faithful and timely manner The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) cautiously welcomes the unanimous adoption of the resolution ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’ (34/L.1) at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). This resolution, in effect, reaffirms the full implementation of the Resolution 30/1 of 2015. The fact that the resolution was sponsored by forty seven   countries and twenty seven countries spoke at the Interactive Dialogue on Sri Lanka is reflective of the strong commitment of the international community to peace, accountability, justice and reconciliation for all the peoples of Sri Lanka. We are grateful to every one […]

Too Clever By Half: Has Sri Lanka Trapped Itself In Geneva?

29th March 2017 // 0 Comments

By Sanja De Silva Jayatilleka – Sanja De Silva Jayatilleka It’s been 8 years since the war, and Sri Lanka just signed off in Geneva on a resolution that said Zaid al Hussain, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights should play a strengthened role in Sri Lanka. He might as well sit in Cabinet!  The new resolution, having praised Sri Lanka for its ‘positive engagement’ with the Office of the High Commissioner, which then should sit back with a sigh of relief and let this cooperative government do its obedient thing, actually adds a paragraph, specifically for the purpose of instructing Zaid to strengthen his advice and technical assistance. Usually when a country is ‘in compliance’ as they say, no further strengthening is included […]

Trump Takes Time, It’s Not UNHRC Is Giving Sri Lanka More Time

29th March 2017 // 0 Comments

by N. Sathiya Moorthy Sampanthan needs to be congratulated and thanked for drawing the Tamils away over that distinction in the post-war, post-LTTE era, and thus proving a point It’s becoming increasingly clear that the entire UNHRC process, or the UNHRC-like institutions are the America-led West’s own way to take issues away from the UN Minister of Defence and State Councilor of the People’s Republic of China, General Chang Wanquan with President Maithripala Sirisena in Colombo and Donald Trump Whoever is in power, Sri Lanka could not have asked for more. A non-politician, Donald Trump as the US President needs time to study America and American policies overseas. So, Sri Lanka has got two more years at the UNHRC, as the incumbent Government in Colombo […]

Weerasekera And Tamil Diaspora Go Head To Head

29th March 2017 // 0 Comments

by Easwaran Rutnam Former head of the Civil Defence Force, Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara and the Tamil diaspora went head to head in Geneva last week Earlier, at a side event, the TGTE called for the arrest of Weerasekara An investigation was later launched into alleged intimidation of members of Sri Lankan civil society in the Palais des Nations in Geneva A member of the TGTE laughs while Sarath Weerasekera delivers a speech at the UNHRC Former head of the Civil Defence Force, Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara and the Tamil diaspora went head to head in Geneva last week as both sides looked to counter the resolution on Sri Lanka which was eventually adopted at the UN Human Rights Council. The tense feeling between both […]

Anandasangaree demands Sambanthan’s resignation

29th March 2017 // 0 Comments

The Secretary General of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), V. Anandasangaree in a letter to Leader of the Opposition, R. Sampanthan, has asked that Sampanthan submit his letter of resignation from the position of Opposition Leader, if the government fails to deliver on its promises to the Tamil people within a period of two weeks. “The Tamils have reached their limit of tolerance, but not now, it happened long ago. They are now forced to come to a decision to demand your resignation from the office of the Leader of the opposition, which office you had been using to defend the Government, much against the wishes of the people, not only the Tamils but people of all ethnic groups,” stated the letter released to […]

Whither human rights in Sri Lanka?

29th March 2017 // 0 Comments

The singular focus on international rights intervention is killing a once-vibrant local rights movement From the time Sri Lanka’s civil war ended in 2009, international actors have infused narratives of the war with stories of human rights abuses. Eight years since, it has only become clear how irrelevant current human rights campaigns are to the war-torn people and their struggles. This is not for the lack of inhuman wrongs done by the state and others — there are plenty of them in Sri Lanka as in the rest of the world. Rather, it is the singular focus on international human rights intervention that is killing a once-vibrant local human rights movement in the country.  Notes from Geneva Sri Lanka was again in the limelight at […]

Tamils have valid claim for homeland Prof. Pathmanathan

29th March 2017 // 0 Comments

Emeritus Professor of History S. Pathmanathan, in an interview with Dailymirror, discusses the origins of settlements in Sri Lanka and argues for the Tamil Homeland concept from a historian’s point of view. Prof. Pathmanathan, who is also the Chancellor of Jaffna University, said both the Sinhalese and the Tamils have a common identity. Q – How do you analyse the origin of Tamil settlements in the north? There are many unfounded impressions about the people of the country as a whole that were created during the 19th century. Europeans described the Sinhalese people as of Indo-Aryan origin on the basis of language they speak, and the Tamils as of Dravidian origin. In fact, these had cultural connotations, they were not racial terms. In contemporary times, […]

A van suspected to have been used to abduct Keith Noyahr found

29th March 2017 // 0 Comments

A van suspected to have been used for several crimes including the abduction of journalist Keith Noyahr in 2008 was found from a house at Piliyandala, police spokesman Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Priyantha Jayakody said. The van was found by officers of the Crime Investigation Division (CID) from a house of a woman who was suspected being mistress of Army Major Bulathwatta. Police suspects this van may have been used for the murder of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge and several other crimes. CID Tells Courts “The Sunday Leader” Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge was Killed by Army Intelligence Officers. Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickramatunge was shot dead by Army intelligence officers, CID Inspector Nishantha Silva told Mount Lavinia Magistrate Mohammad Sahabdeen today. He said […]

I will not allow any soldier to be tried on war crime (even if they had done it?) President

29th March 2017 // 0 Comments

President Maithripala Sirisena  opened the newly constructed three-storeyed building at the Defence Services School in Kurunegala. The President presented ‘Virisara’ beneficial cards to war heroes and assured them he is not prepared to make any government soldier a suspect in the war crime charges leveled against the armed forces and the government on the alleged violations of human rights during the war against LTTE and killing of more than 40,000 Tamil civilians in May 2009. More than 1000 LTTE Leaders and their family members who surrendered with White Flag after UN negociated the surrender were killed by the Sri Lankan forces leaving the UN embarrassed and damaging the image of the UN and its values. The President, pointing out that it is the responsibility and duty […]

Sri Lanka President signals green light for Gothas arrest?

29th March 2017 // 0 Comments

ECONOMYNEXT – President Maithripala Sirisena Wednesday drew a clear distinction between war heroes and those who used national security as a cover to target journalists and personal rivals and cleared the way for VVIP arrests. In an address to war veterans, the president said he will stand by the military which crushed the Tamil Tigers and ended the decades-long ethnic war, but he will not protect those who attacked journalists and sportsmen. His remarks were a thinly veiled reference to the January 2009 assassination of Lasantha Wickrematunga and the May 2012 murder of rugby star Wasim Thajudeen. Both cases were brushed under the carpet during the Rajapaksa regime. However, in both case, fresh evidence has shown that the Judicial Medical Officers colluded with corrupt police […]

Tamils lived in N/E before Buddhistic era – CM Wigneswaran

26th March 2017 // 0 Comments

Northern Province Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran responded to Dr. Sooriya Gunasekara, Chairman of a registered political party called “Sinhaladipa Jathika Peramuna” who called the CM for a debate, on his interview that appeared in Ceylon Today of 19 February. Dr. Gunasekara, a retired civil servant, requested the CM to come for a debate on the topic, and the CM responded, “I am always available for talks. In fact I like to talk to the most diehard Sinhala chauvinists.” Dr. Gunasekara sent a mail to the CM, through Ceylon Today Journalist Sulochana Ramiah Mohan stating that he would like to have, either face to face talks or a dialogue in the print media, with Chief Minister Wigneswaran, regarding the views expressed by the CM at […]

GTF team along with CTC, USTPAC and BTF also had a joint high level meeting yesterday with the Swiss, US, UK and German missions in Geneva on Tuesday

25th March 2017 // 0 Comments

Canadian Tamil Congress meets with United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights  Zeid R’aad Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) President Raj Thavaratnasingham along with members of Global Tamil Forum (GTF), USTPAC and British Tamil Forum (BTF) met with United Nations High Commissioner Zeid R’aad in Geneva yesterday morning just before the High Commissioner’s oral presentation. The UN Commissioner was accompanied by Mr Thomas Hunecke, Deputy Chief of the Asia/Pacific Division of OHCHR, and Ms Mona Rishmawi, Chief of the Rule of law, Equality and Non-Discrimination Branch and Mr Anton Nikiforov of the HC’s cabinet. CTC  thanked the High Commissioner and the OHCHR staff for their work on Sri Lanka that brought about 7 important reports and recalled the hope it instilled on the victims for justice. We brought to his […]

Indians supported the killing of Tamils.

25th March 2017 // 0 Comments

The Government of India felt anguish and pain over the Sri Lankan military’s alleged war crimes against unarmed Tamils in the 2009 war, said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in an unusually strong observation on the Sri Lanka’s human rights record. Ms. Swaraj said India was committed to the protection of the rights of the Tamils in Sri Lanka, even as the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) appeared set to take up a crucial resolution on the issue on Friday. “The anguish with which the members have raised the issue [of crimes committed during the war of 2009], the government associates itself with the same pain,” Ms Swaraj said. “Our aim is to protect the interests of Tamils in Sri Lanka. You can achieve this […]

OHCHR needs $362,000 to implement Sri Lanka resolution

25th March 2017 // 0 Comments

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) would require $362,000 to implement the new resolution on Sri Lanka. The Secretary of the Human Rights Council said that in order to implement the requests contained in draft resolution A/HRC/34/L.1, one-time resources would be required between 2018-2019.  Under the draft resolution six missions will need to be undertaken to Colombo of 14 days each by OHCHR Geneva-based staff with expertise in various thematic areas, including transitional justice and rule of law issues, in order to support the assessment of progress on the implementation of OHCHR’s recommendations and other relevant processes related to reconciliation, accountability and human rights. The related provisions have not been included under the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2018-2019. Accordingly the related additional […]

Sri Lanka: Hybrid Mechanism in Domestic Judiciary!

25th March 2017 // 0 Comments

by Shamindra Ferdinando ( March 22, 2017, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Finally, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has acknowledged that, in terms of the Constitution foreign judges couldn’t participate in proposed domestic accountability mechanism in accordance with Geneva Resolution 30/1. Samaraweera hadn’t said anything to that effect since Sri Lanka co-sponsored the resolution in Oct 2015. Twice Foreign Minister Samaraweera made the declaration at the Foreign Ministry on the afternoon of March 16, 2017. Samaraweera held the foreign ministry portfolio at the onset of the eelam war IV, in Aug, 2006 till he switched his allegiance to the UNP, in early 2007 On the day, before the media briefing, Samaraweera, referring to the Geneva Resolution, co-sponsored by the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration said: “Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, especially […]

UK calls for meaningful devolution in Sri Lanka

25th March 2017 // 0 Comments

The British Government today encouraged Sri Lanka to deliver meaningful devolution through constitutional reform, establish credible transitional justice mechanisms, return all remaining military-held private land and replace the Prevention of Terrorism Act with human rights compliant legislation. A statement by the British High Commission in Colombo said that the UK welcomes the co-sponsorship of the new UN Human Rights Council resolution by the Government of Sri Lanka, which reaffirms commitments made in resolution 30/1 in October 2015, for the next two years. “By co-sponsoring a new resolution the Government of Sri Lanka has demonstrated its commitment to human rights, accountability and reconciliation, as important elements of a lasting political settlement for all Sri Lanka’s communities,” the UK High Commission said. The UK says as the […]

Human Rights Council gives Sri Lanka two more years

25th March 2017 // 0 Comments

Resolution adopted without a vote at UNHRC in Geneva  US says Lanka’s cosponsorship testament to Sirisena Govt.’s international engagement, commitment to reconciliation Harsha thanks member states for understanding and support  OHCHR needs $ 362,000 to implement Lanka resolution in 2018-2019 Deputy Foreign Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva at UNHRC sessions yesterday   By Dharisha Bastians in Geneva The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on Sri Lanka for the fifth time yesterday, but the Government will claim a diplomatic victory after it won a two-year extended timeline to establish mechanisms that will deliver justice to thousands of victims and reconcile a country torn apart by a civil war that spanned three decades. UNHRC Resolution 34/1 titled Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka was […]

Sri Lankan opposition to foreign judges worries US; UK stresses devolution

25th March 2017 // 0 Comments

COLOMBO: At the on-going session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) at Geneva on Wednesday, the US expressed concern over the Sri Lankan government’s statements against having foreign judges in the judicial mechanism it is to set up to try war crimes cases. But the UK laid stress on the importance of devolving power to the Tamils to bring about post-war reconciliation. William J. Mozdzierz, the US representative said that the government’s statements against international participation in any future Sri Lankan judicial mechanism “raise understandable concerns among victims and families about the integrity of any judicial process.” Reminding Colombo about its commitment to have foreign judges as per the resolution it co-sponsored at the September 2015 session of the UNHRC, the US delegate said: […]

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