March 2018

The State of Emergency should have been imposed before says Mahinda

7th March 2018 // 0 Comments

Former President and MP Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday rejected the reports of Digana violence stemming from a political conspiracy and said the incident reflects the inaction of the UNP. “This is not a political conspiracy. It reflects the inaction of the UNP. They are not keen on resolving the matter and the government has deviated from its responsibilities. There is no one to turn to,” Mr. Rajapaksa responded to journalists outside his residence in Nugegoda yesterday. Party leaders of the Joint Opposition met a group of Islamic community leaders at Mr. Rajapaksa’s residence last evening. Speaking to media following the meeting, the former president said they discussed about the latest incidents and that immediate measures should be taken to prevent tense situation from aggravating. “We request […]

Demo against vandalism of Hindu temples

5th March 2018 // 0 Comments

A mass demonstration was held yesterday in protest against the attacks carried out on Hindu places of worship in various parts in the Northern Province. Several Hindu organizations, Hindu religious leaders and representatives of various temples had participated in the demonstration, carrying the Nanthi (Bull) flag, the symbol of Hinduism. Hundreds of Hindus chanted slogans against the attacks on Hindu places of worship and called upon the government to prevent such attacks. According to the organizers several Hindu places of worship in the Northern Province, particularly in the Mannar District, have come under attack in recent months. The attackers have destroyed the statues of the deities placed inside the inner shrine rooms of the temples in the isolated areas of several villages in the Northern […]

Sexual Violence – Namal Rajapaksa must teach his father Mahinda

5th March 2018 // 0 Comments

Namal Rajapaksa attends Commonwealth conference on preventing sexual violence Sri Lankan parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa was a controversial participant at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Forum in London this week, taking part in discussions around conflict resolution and preventing sexual violence despite his continued denial of human rights abuses committed by Sri Lankan troops. His attendance raised criticism amongst Tamil diaspora groups and human rights organisations, which comes despite Mr Rajapaksa’s support for a Sri Lankan military offensive which concluded in 2009 and saw the deaths of tens of thousands of Tamil civilians. In London, Mr Rajapaksa attended the session on ending sexual violence chaired by Baroness Nicholson, claiming that Sri Lanka has been “always empathetic toward this area of discussion” and that it was the “end of […]

OMP and Enforced Disappearances Bill: Promise of justice for an invisible crime?

5th March 2018 // 0 Comments

The Government moved to appoint commissioners to a permanent Office on Missing Persons this week, empowered to investigate and trace tens of thousands of cases of persons forcibly disappeared during two insurgencies and a 26 year civil war. The OMP mechanism and the Enforced Disappearances Bill that will criminalize the act of forcibly disappearing persons in Sri Lanka for the first time offers the best chance in a long time to help thousands of families find answers and to say, as one nation, “never again” The untimely loss of a loved one can be unbearable. But the experience is even more horrific to those whose kith and kin have simply disappeared without a trace, perhaps never to return. While many families have languished in their […]

Statement by eyewitness of final battle to be sent to UNHRC

4th March 2018 // 0 Comments

A statement made by a Northern Provincial Council (NPC) member, who was an eyewitness to the final stages of the war, is to be sent to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). NPC member S. Kugadas had made his maiden speech at the Northern Provincial Council last week. In his speech he made references to the final stages of the war. Northern Province Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran had then requested that the speech be sent to the UNHRC which is currently meeting in Geneva. The Northern Provincial Council agreed to the request. The NPC member said that he had witnessed firsthand the brutal effects of the final stages of the war. He alleged that hundreds of civilians were killed during the battle, including those […]

Lankan Tamil film finally gets good screens

4th March 2018 // 0 Comments

Due to the non-availability of theatres for small films, Anand could release it only in a solitary screen a couple of months back. M.S. Anand, a filmmaker from Australia who has also won few awards for his shorts, tried his hand in making a commercial Tamil cinema and debuted with the movie Yazh, which is an ancient musical instrument. Yazh-Paanam in Sri Lanka acquired its name for the same root as it is where the Tamil art and culture flourished during those times. Talking to DC, Anand says, “The film narrates in real time in a non-linear fashion three interwoven stories of six main characters who are torn apart by the looming Lankan war. The plight and struggle with the choices of these interconnected characters […]

Sri Lanka’s unsettled land question

4th March 2018 // 0 Comments

One year is a long time to sustain a street protest. Taking turns, a group of people from Keppapilavu in Sri Lanka’s northern Mullaitivu district has stayed put under a roadside tent, asking the government to return their land which is under military occupation. “We are determined to continue our struggle until there is justice,” said S. Chandraleela, one of the protesters, at a recent meeting held on the 365th day of their agitation. To them, a year is no more than a marker of time. Getting back to their land is the only milestone that matters. Mostly women, the protesters spend hours together on the site, cooking for the entire group there, managing their toddlers in the sweltering heat and waiting with hope. The […]

Office on Missing Persons Provides ‘Audacity Of Hope’ to Sri Lanka

4th March 2018 // 0 Comments

2018-03-03  – http://www.dailymirror.lk/ article/Office-on-Missing- Persons-Provides-Audacity-Of- Hope-to-Sri-Lanka-146720.html By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Extract from the article – Four Main Functions Of OMP In a public statement issued earlier in August, the Foreign Minister explained basic details about the envisaged Office of Missing Persons Bill. In that statement he said: “The Bill outlines four main functions for the OMP — (i) Searching and tracing of missing persons; (ii) Clarifying the circumstances in which such persons went missing and their fate; (iii) Making recommendations to relevant authorities to reduce such incidents of missing and disappeared persons and (iv) Identifying proper avenues of redress. As such, it is not a law-enforcement or judicial agency but a truth-seeking investigative agency..” Mangala Samaraweera went on to say: “The Office on Missing Persons is a […]

STP and NAFSO said SL Military Threatens Livelihood of Tamils & Al Jazeera Reports on Continuing Torture

3rd March 2018 // 0 Comments

A new report launched by the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) and the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO) in Mullaitivu. stated that the Sri Lankan military’s continued occupation of land in the Vanni is threatening traditional livelihoods in local communities. While the people are protesting land-grabs, the military budget is on the rise to finance the militarisation of the Tamil Homeland.http://www.tamilguardian.com/content/sri-lanka%E2%80%99s-occupation-vanni-threatens-local-communities-%E2%80%93-stp-reportSri Lankan security forces have continued to use torture against Tamils on the island, reports Al Jazeera, which has uncovered allegations and evidence of torture. A support group in London has helped at least 76 Tamils with rehabilitation activities, all of whom say they were tortured within the last three years, since the current Sri Lankan government came into power. This is the good governance our Tamil leaders […]

Global Tamil Forum calls on the international community to use all its leverage to ensure accountability and reconciliation has not reached a dead-end in Sri Lanka

3rd March 2018 // 0 Comments

PRESS STATEMENT  03 March 2018, London  Global Tamil Forum calls on the international community to use all its leverage to ensure accountability and reconciliation has not reached a dead-end in Sri Lanka  The warning signs are all there.  Almost nine years after the end of the war and two and a half years after co-sponsoring a UNHRC resolution calling for comprehensive transitional justice measures, the Government of Sri Lanka has not taken meaningful steps to inspire confidence of its commitments and intentions. The Office of Missing Persons (OMP), the only transitional justice process Sri Lanka has contemplated to-date, has not been operationalised more than a year and a half after it was legislated. The constitutional reform process appeared to be in a standstill. The recent Local […]

UK expects adding further input to UN Interim Report on SL

3rd March 2018 // 0 Comments

The UK Government said it was anticipating further representations on the UN Interim Report on the implementation of UN Resolution on Sri Lanka, at the ongoing UNHRC Sessions in Geneva. In response to a question by Opposition Whip Vicky Foxcroft in House of Commons on Tuesday, Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field said the UK was closely monitoring the delivery of the commitments made by Sri Lanka under UN Resolution 34/1. “In collaboration with the UN, international partners, Sri Lankan Government and civil society, we are closely monitoring the delivery of these commitments. The UK continues to support the Sri Lankan Government in its efforts to promote reconciliation and human rights,” he said. He said the UK is also providing Sri […]

Attacks against Muslims in Sri Lanka

3rd March 2018 // 0 Comments

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) expressed deep concerns at the reports of the heavily tense situation after a mosque, several hotels and vehicles belonging to Muslims in Ampara were attacked by mobs leading to major tensions in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. While expressing its concern, the OIC stresses the need to protect the rights of the Muslim minority, foremost of which is the right to observe their religious practices without harassment or any direct or indirect breaches and to earn their livelihoods and conduct their business under full protection of the law. In this context, the OIC Secretary General called on the Government of Sri Lanka to proceed expeditiously with an investigation of such abuses and to ensure the safety and […]

Torture of Tamils continues in Sri Lanka – Al Jazeera

3rd March 2018 // 0 Comments

Sri Lankan security forces have continued to use torture against Tamils on the island, reports Al Jazeera, who has uncovered allegations and evidence of torture. In a piece by Barnaby Phillips, Al Jazeera interviewed Tamils who had been beaten, burnt with cigarettes and raped. A support group in London has helped at least 76 Tamils with rehabilitation activities, all of whom say they were tortured within the last three years, since the current Sri Lankan government came into power. “You see a very systematic pattern of violations across the country,” said Frances Harrison, a human rights activist with the International truth and Justice Project. “Cleary this is very systematic within the security forces, police and army still”, she added. Families of disappeared report increased surveillance […]

UK assures trade agreement with SL post-Brexit

3rd March 2018 // 0 Comments

The UK Government said it intends to provide continuity and stability to Sri Lanka’s current trade agreements with the EU, even after the Brexit comes into affect. Minister of State for Trade and Investment Greg Hands said Sri Lanka’s exports to the UK are made under the EU’s unilateral trade arrangement, the Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) at present. “The Government intends to provide continuity and stability whilst leaving the EU, which includes maintaining the effects of our trading relationships as we leave. This includes the EU’s GSP scheme, and our trading terms with Sri Lanka, including human rights. When the UK has left the EU, we can look to improve on those trading agreements,” he said as responding to questions raised in the House […]

Sri Lanka, a cautionary tale about over-reliance on China: OBG

3rd March 2018 // 0 Comments

Mar 02, 2018 (LBO) – Sri Lanka, perhaps, provides the most cautionary tale from their Asia-Pacific markets about over-reliance on China-backed infrastructure development, a research firm said. In a blog post about Asia-Pacific’s road to economic prosperity, Asia Regional Editor of Oxford Business Group, Patrick Cooke said Chinese acquisitions from other countries make emerging nations in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) crosshairs nervous. At the close of last year, Sri Lanka formally handed over 70 percent control of Hambantota Port to Chinese interests on a 99-year lease. “It is a result of being unable to service the loans from Chinese state-controlled entities it acquired to build the 1.3 billion dollars maritime complex,” Cooke said. “Chinese acquisition of equity in strategic assets from countries unable to […]

Lasantha case: Ex-OIC, ex-DIG further remanded

3rd March 2018 // 0 Comments

Mount Lavinia Magistrate today ordered to re-remanded former Mount Lavinia Crimes OIC Tissa Sugathapala and former DIG Prasanna Nanayakkara till March 15, in connection with the killing of Sunday Leader’s former editor Lasantha Wickramatunga and the concealing of evidence. Anil Silva PC appearing for Mr. Nanayakkara requested bail for his client on the basis the charges filed by the CID was a bailable offense and that his client was suffering from a cardiac ailment. However, Mount Lavinia Chief Magistrate Mohammed Mihail rejected the bail application. The CID in its report informed Court that Mr. Nanayakkara had planned to destroy and conceal the evidence in the case. “Even though former Mount Lavinia Crimes OIC Tissa Sugathapala wanted to continue the investigations in a proper manner he […]

Army officer arrested over grenade explosion in Diyatalawa bus

3rd March 2018 // 0 Comments

A Sergeant Major of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) has been arrested in connection with the recent grenade explosion inside a bus at Diyatalawa. Police Spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekara said that the army officer was ordered remanded until March 15 after being produced at Bandarawela Magistrate’s Court. The Sergeant Major attached to the Sri Lanka Army’s 6th Electrical & Mechanical Engineering Regiment was allegedly responsible for carrying the grenade which exploded inside the bus, in which several Army, Air Force personnel and civilians were seriously injured. Following investigations into the incident, the army officer was arrested while receiving treatment at the Diyatalawa Hospital. The explosion occurred in a private passenger bus travelling from Jaffna to Diyatalawa caused injuries to 19 passengers on February 21 around […]

Twists and turns in the Jaliya Wickramasuriya case

3rd March 2018 // 0 Comments

Wickramasuriya was arrested for misappropriation of public funds while serving as the Sri Lankan Ambassador to the USA from 2008 to 2013 Wickramasuriya was residing in the US and engaging in the business of Tea Export, at the time he was appointed as the Consular General to the Sri Lankan mission in Los Angeles in 2005 According to the ‘B’ Report (B 21/2016) submitted to the Fort Magistrate’s Court by the FCID, the former Diplomat is accused of having pocketed US$ 322,027.35 Through the e-mail, a request had been made from Wickramasuriya’s Counsel to treat the sensitive information provided as confidential. However, it has found its way to the Rajapaksas B report page In a new twist in the saga of Sri Lanka’s former Ambassador to […]

”70% of Tamil Women don’t know to write or read” says World Bank

3rd March 2018 // 0 Comments

Northern Province 70% of women don’t write Lack of reading, writing and numeracy skills affect female employment in N&E BY Paneetha Ameresekere Women in the Northern and Eastern Provinces have poorer self reported writing skills, the World Bank (WB), in a recent report, said. “We see that much more women in the Northern and Eastern Provinces (70 and 65 per cent respectively) report to have never used writing skills in the previous 12 months, compared to 42 and 55 per cent of women in the Western Province (WP) and other Provinces, respectively,” it said. Although this percentage is also the same for men in the Eastern Province (EP), writing skills are often critical in many occupations and not having these skills may be an automatic barrier for entry into these occupations, for a […]

MP Rahuman calls on Govt. to root out extremist elements

3rd March 2018 // 0 Comments

UNP Colombo District MP Mujibur Rahuman called on the Yahapalana Government to make good on its promises to root out extremist elements, adding that continuing impunity will pave the way for continued violence. Addressing a press briefing in Colombo, Rahuman added that continuing impunity coupled with the lack of political will serve as incubators for continued violence. “It doesn’t matter if these acts of violence are perpetrated against Muslims, Tamils or Sinhalese, what matters is action being taken on the part of law enforcement authorities, a probe that will see perpetrators being brought to book and political will to ensure it doesn’t happen again,” he said. He added that if there isn’t political will to tackle the root cause of the issues, a regime change […]

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