11th March 2017

Sri Lanka risks censure as president falters on war legacy

11th March 2017 // 0 Comments

Colombo (AFP) – President Maithripala Sirisena came to power in Sri Lanka promising justice for war crimes, breaking from his hawkish predecessor and presenting the island with its first real shot at a lasting peace. But that optimism has been sorely tested as Sirisena, having missed a two-year deadline to investigate war-era abuses, declared he would never prosecute his soldiers, rejecting outright fresh UN calls for an international trial. “I am not going to allow non-governmental organisations to dictate how to run my government,” he said a day after the UN criticised Sri Lanka’s “worrying slow” progress in facing its wartime past. “I will not listen to their calls to prosecute my troops.” His defiant tone marked a sharp shift from the conciliatory approach that […]

CID DIGS SKELETONS

11th March 2017 // 0 Comments

Trincomalee student killings Karuna’s UK criminal conviction for fake diplomatic passport The CID is actively investigating several violent crimes and other serious offences that were not pursued by the police under the former regime, the Nation reliably learns. While public attention has been focused on the investigations into attacks on media personnel following the surprise arrests of five army spies last month for the abduction and torture of former Nation Deputy Editor Keith Noyahr, court records reveal that the investigations include a probe into the use of a false passport by former LTTE deputy leader Karuna Amman to travel to the United Kingdom in 2007. The CID informed court last month that Karuna travelled to the UK using a false diplomatic passport, and that officials […]

On her own two feet, after Sri Lanka’s crippling war

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Selvanayagi lost her arms in Sri Lanka’s war 27 years ago Few students in Vadamarachchi, part of Sri Lanka’s northern peninsula, had heard of Visual Basic until Sebastian Selvanayagi started offering a course in it at her modest computer centre. “Even basic programming languages haven’t come to our village in a big way,” she said, entering a small room in her home, in Vetrilaikeni in Vadamarachchi East, where five desktop computers are kept. As her office assistant switched one of the systems on, Ms. Selvanayagi sat down and quickly typed the password with her toes. That is how she has been typing for more than 20 years now — placing the keyboard under the table — after she lost both her arms in intense shelling […]

The battle after the war

11th March 2017 // 0 Comments

Life continues to be a struggle for 45-year-old Kathir, a former Tamil Tiger combatant, and his family. Kathir was one of the 12,000 Tiger cadres who underwent a rehabilitation process soon after the end of the war. Kathir was lucky to be released after a year of rehabilitation. “I was disabled due to the war and therefore my time at rehabilitation centres was just one year,” he said. However, getting back to normal life was not as easy as Kathir had thought. “The people accepted me back into society. I never felt alienated by the people. But life was not the same,” he said. Describing his first year after being rehabilitated, Kathir says it was the most traumatizing part of his life. “It was a […]

Spiraling incidents of military intimidation in the North: Ruki Fernando

11th March 2017 // 0 Comments

There have been increased incidents of military intimidation in the last couple of weeks in areas like Pilakudiyirippu (near Keppapulavu), Paravipaanchan in Kilinochchi, and Puthukkudiyiruppu – former military held lands which have been released to former residents after sustained protests, human rights activist Ruki Fernando said. This culminated in the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) questioning Fernando during a visit to Pilakudiyirippu on March 9, he added. “I was talking to a few of the residents when two people in civilian clothing came up to me. They asked me who I was and why I had come. When I in turn asked them who they were, they informed me that they were from the air force camp next to the village,” Fernando said. He added […]

Sri Lanka’s Future With A ‘Karuna’ In Politics

11th March 2017 // 0 Comments

Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman for his latest move in forming a new political party, the Tamil United Independent Front -Thamilar Aikkiya Suthanthira Munnani. According to Karuna Amman, the purpose of forming a new party is to provide livelihood opportunities to former LTTE cadres and to assist widows of LTTE cadres and war victims. The party will be based in the East –Batticaloa- and be more focused on issues pertaining to the North and Eastern parts of the country and the people living therein. However, some sections of society believe people like Karuna Amman, who worked against the democratic process and particularly against the sovereignty of the country should not be part and parcel of a political party. Lacille de Silva – Former Secretary to […]

GTF wants UN rights body to closely monitor Sri Lanka

11th March 2017 // 0 Comments

The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) today welcomed the report on Sri Lanka by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights backed the observation that ‘stronger, tangible results needed to be forthcoming without further delay to prevent any further dissipation of hard-earned trust.’ While acknowledging the Sri Lankan Government’s constructive engagement with United Nations’ human rights mechanisms; visible progress on constitutional reform process; positive developments on the broader human rights agenda; and commendable efforts on consultations towards establishing transitional justice measures, the report was emphatic that the ‘fulfilment of transitional justice commitments has been worryingly slow and the structures set up and measures taken were inadequate to ensure real progress.’  The report was categorical that the Government has not moved fast enough with tangible measures – […]

UNP makes light of UPFA question on Tamil Diaspora using internet to spread racism

11th March 2017 // 0 Comments

By Saman Indrajith Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said in Parliament that a group of Joint Opposition (JO) members had joined hands with LTTE cadres to stage a protest against him while he was in Australia when the Deakin University conferred an honorary degree on him. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said that the JO activists and LTTE extremists had protested against him and they were together shouting at him using public address systems. The Prime Minister said so while responding to a question raised by UPFA MP Padma Udayashantha Gunasekera, who demanded to know what action the government would take against those who spread racism and promoted ethnic disharmony via the Internet. The MP said that there were propaganda campaigns aimed at spreading racism in violation […]

What Mangala Said (And Didn’t Say) At The UNHRC

11th March 2017 // 0 Comments

Last week, during the 34th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), and a full 17 months since Sri Lanka’s co-signing of Resolution 30/1, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera delivered a speech at a high-level segment in Geneva. Kicking off on an uncharacteristically sombre note, Samaraweera said: “Those of different faiths and beliefs, across gender, caste and creed, that constitute our country, worked together to gain Independence for our nation in 1948. That achieved, we failed to forge the perfect nation of individuals who all hold equal rights, working as one to achieve the heights our nation could attain.” “As a result, for 69 long years, we journeyed through pain, violence, loss of life and precious human resources, ruining chances of socio-economic progress. This […]

Tamil’s Have Come To The Very End Of Their Frustration

11th March 2017 // 0 Comments

By R. Sampanthan – R. Sampanthan I raised this question, because our people have come to the very end of their frustration. Today, in the blazing sun, in the rain when it is rainingand in the night when there is dew, they are protesting with their families. Their wives, their children, their infants are all joining in the protest and it is unbearable. This situation cannot continue. It must be brought to an end and we want the Government to realize and take very early action to bring this situation to an end. The Speech made by Leader of the Opposition and the Tamil National Alliance, R. Sampanthan on the 8th of March 2017: ආරක්ෂක හමුදා සන්තකව පවතින ඉඩම් මුල් අයිතිකරුවන් වෙත නිදහස් කිරීම படையினரின் வசமுள்ள […]

Kashmir Resolution & Colombo

11th March 2017 // 0 Comments

If the first shot to destablise Sri Lanka was fired after the re-election of Indira Gandhi in January 1980, ipso facto with disastrous consequences to the island, then the second shot may well be fired if the international community insists upon international jurists sitting in judgement over the island. This is in respect of Colombo’s war against Tamil terrorism, more specifically against LTTE terrorism, post-July 1987, where, in July ’87, all other Tamil terrorist groups, with the exception of the LTTE, laid down their arms, under the controversial Indo-Lanka Peace Accord. Currently, the international community, wearing the self righteous mantle of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), is sitting in judgement, not least over Sri Lanka, at its headquarters in Geneva over allegations of war […]

Sri Lanka faces international censure over police inaction

11th March 2017 // 0 Comments

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has come under renewed international criticism over police failures to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of what it calls “emblematic cases,” including the assassination of Lasantha Wickrematunga. The UN Human Rights Council received a report outlining systematic failure of Sri Lanka’s police to prosecute suspects in 11 high profile cases it considers emblematic of the culture of impunity even after the end of a decades-long war. The report buttressed its demand for international judges to try war criminals in Sri Lanka by pointing to police failures to investigate even the high profile cases. “A State’s capacity or willingness to address impunity for gross violations and abuses of international human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law can, in part, be […]

Sri Lanka clinches continued C’Wealth trade support in London

11th March 2017 // 0 Comments

Sri Lanka has clinched continued support for its international trade work from the Commonwealth. Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen is representing Sri Lanka at the inaugural Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting (CTMM) that opened in London on 9th March.  Sri Lanka’s Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama and many other Trade Ministers from the Commonwealth joined the meeting. “I am pleased that talks with the Rt. Hon Patricia Scotland, Secretary-General of Commonwealth on March 9th in London were successful. We are set to receive continued positive support from the Commonwealth to our international trade work as a result”, the minister said and added: “Sri Lanka’s historic relations with the Commonwealth stands further enhanced with this pioneering London event. Especially the “Agenda […]