An Update on Security Sector Reform in Sri Lanka
Thursday, September 6, 2018
3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
2360 Rayburn House Office Building
Kara Bue, Founding Partner, Armitage International
Anjali Manivannan, Legal Researcher, People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL)
Petition in Solidarity with Protesting Tamil Families of the Disappeared from the North-East
Locals push back bid to erect Buddha statue in Tamil area
At least two Buddhist monks arriving in a convoy at Kumulamunai on Tuesday (4) with a group of strangers gave rise to a tense situation when they attempted to carry the statue to a nearby archaeological site atop Kurunthoor Malai. Villagers later assisted by local politicians and a member of parliament stopped the group from carrying out the act – JDS.
UN writes to Sri Lanka over failure to meet deadline on torture report
The United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) has written to Sri Lanka, after the government failed to respond to a report, which called for information on the “establishment of a judicial mechanism” to investigate torture and information on the role of a former Criminal Investigations Department head – Tamil Guardian.
New constitution a fundamental necessity – TNA
A new Sri Lankan constitution is a “fundamental necessity” the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) spokesperson, M A Sumanthiran said whilst speaking at the 7th meeting on constitutional reform, held in in Galle this week.. “All the problems of the Tamil people won’t be solved by a new constitution, but a new constitution is fundamental,” he said. “Without this, no issue can be addressed.” – Tamil Guardian..
Interim report of the Office of Missing Persons
See the full report here.
President tries to block courts investigating military crimes
Sri Lanka’s president, Maithripala Sirisena attempted to block courts from investigating crimes committed by the armed forces by ordering that information on the armed forces should not be submitted to court. According to the Sinhala weekly, Anidda, Sirisena issued an order at a meeting on August 28, attended by the country’s defence secretary, chief of defence staff and senior police and defence officials – Tamil Guardian.
TID seeks to interview 3 Jaffna editors over Tamil homeland display
The Terrorism Investigation Division sought permission from Jaffna magistrate court to interview the editors of three Jaffna based newspapers, the Uthayan, Valumpuri and Thinakkural. Justice Kanagaratnam Kesavan however today refused the application on the grounds it was only written in Sinhala – Tamil Guardian.
Rajapaksa leads Sri Lanka protests, calls for government change
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa – who suffered a surprise defeat in the presidential election three years ago – is leading the protest. President Sirisena’s government was viewed as an opportunity for a fresh start in the South Asian nation, but the protesters say that it is weak and has failed to fulfil its promises – Al Jazeera (Video).
New Chinese loan may further plunge Sri Lanka into debt trap
The Central Bank of Sri Lanka is working with its Chinese counterpart, People’s Bank of China, to issue the equivalent of $250 million worth of yuan-denominated Panda bonds. China is already the largest lender to the island nation. Sri Lanka retains fondness for Chinese loans — rather than international sovereign bonds — despite high rate of interest – Economic Times.
SACLS criticises Sirisena’s ‘political interference’
The South Asian Centre for Legal Studies (SACLS) today criticised the Sri Lankan president’s attempt to block information regarding the armed forces being submitted to the court – Tamil Guardian.
NGOs call for action on violence against women in Jaffna
Condemning the increased violence, demonstrators demanded that the situation be brought under control and submitted a petition to the Sri Lankan president and prime minister – Tamil Guardian.
Militarisation: Sri Lankan army at Tamil child care centre in PTK
Despite persistent calls for demilitarisation the Sri Lankan army distributed food at a care centre for Tamil children in Puthukkudiyiruppu last week, continuing to exert its presence across the North-East – Tamil Guardian.
Continued military occupation preventing redevelopment of Vali North
The Sri Lankan army’s continued occupation of divisional council-owned properties in Valikamam North is preventing resettlement and rehabilitation of the division, a council-member said. The chair of Vali North divisional council (prathesa sabai) said that among several state properties and schools, seven council-owned properties were still being held by the army – Tamil Guardian.Sri Lankan navy takes part in German golf tournament despite human rights concerns
Members of the Sri Lankan navy are currently in Germany, as they participate in the 12th World Military Golf Championship, despite concerns of human rights abuses committed by Sri Lankan troops – Tamil Guardian.
COLUMNS, FEATURES & REPORTS
The Tiger in Tamilakam
“Think of tigers and Tamils, what comes to our mind is the recent past of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam’s cadres in Sri Lanka, who were called “Tamil Tigers”. That is what Google would also throw up when searched with the words “Tiger” and “Tamils”. But what Google doesn’t reveal is the unique place the tiger occupies in the psyche and ethical consciousness of Tamils.” – NVK Ahsraf for DownToEarth.
Tea workers still fighting for land rights in Sri Lanka
Tea plantation worker Loganathan Saraswathy, 47, has been fighting for her rights and living in slave-like conditions for years, a common problem in Sri Lanka over a century and a half after the estates were set up. Saraswathy, who has no land deeds and lives in cramped conditions at an estate in Loolkandura of Kandy district, joined her co-workers in August in marching for their rights to raise awareness of their grievances – UCANEWS.
Adayaalam Centre for Policy Research (ACPR) Situation Brief No.2 – Surveillance, Harassment and Intimidation of Disappearances’ Activists in the North-East
The increase in security threat is parallel to the incumbent Government’s publicly articulated desire to give the security apparatus a free hand over matters of national security. This brief has sought to provide a short outline of this situation and highlights that pervasive surveillance has increasingly been accompanied by physical violence against families of the disappeared and linked civil society activists. The Sri Lankan state’s intelligence apparatus is a sophisticated machine that is capable of many different forms of intimidation and harassment of disappearances activists.50 It is clear that despite improvements in the functioning of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, there is still no credible domestic mechanism that can hold Sri Lankan intelligence structures accountable and prevent recurrence of violations – Adayaalam Centre for Policy Research.