Sri Lanka will be discussed at Commonwealth - Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will bring the issue of Sri Lanka to be discussed at the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth this month, assured his office, as Canada continues to press Sri Lanka on human rights violations. Harper's associate director of communications, Andrew MacDougall told reporters in an interview, " We do expect a discussion at the Commonwealth on this and the prime minister will make his position clear." See report from Montreal Gazette here . Prime Minister Harper has already made clear that he will boycott the 2013 CHOGM, scheduled to be...

Sri Lanka signs oil deal with Vietnam

Sri Lanka and Vietnam have signed agreements to share expertise in oil and gas explorations and for the purchase of oil from a Vietnamese state-run company. A total of eight agreements were signed during a visit by Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang to Sri Lanka, including a deal on machinery manufacturing , greater defence cooperation and bilateral cooperation in public finance management . The deal comes two days after the visit of the Vietnamese President to India, where he signed agreements with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The agreements included a security pact between India...

Sri lanka a raw nerve for Fox

Former Defence Secretary Liam Fox in 2010 threatened to sue a Labour MP over comments she made about his trips to Sri Lanka, Sky News reports . Dr Fox's complaints arose from a campaign email Siobhain McDonagh sent to members of the Tamil community in her constituency ahead of the 2010 General Election. The email contrasted Foreign Secretary David Miliband's visit to Sri Lanka, in which he challenged the government on their human rights record, with a number of visits made by Dr Fox, funded by the Sri Lankan Government and a mysterious organisation called the Sri Lanka Development Trust...

Fox asked powerful donors to fund Werrity’s company

The Guardian reports on Saturday: Those who had paid money to Adam Werrity's company, Pargav Ltd, included a corporate intelligence company with alleged close links to Sri Lanka, a property investor who lobbies for Israel and a venture capitalist. The money, according to the donors, was supposed to help foster peace initiatives. In the process, it paid for five-star hotels and first-class travel for Werritty, a self-styled ‘advisor’ and close friend of Liam Fox, who resigned as Defence Secretary Friday. Following this week's media storm surrounding Fox, the donors to Pargav may now be ruing...

'Liam Fox is gone, Sri Lanka’s lost a friend'

From UK media on the resignation Friday of UK Defence Secretary Liam Fox: " Even though [Dr. Fox] has resigned, there are questions yet to be answered about his links to the Sri Lankan government . We have to make sure this sort of thing doesn’t happen again." - Emma Reynolds MP (Labour) "For Britain's Defence Secretary to have repeatedly visited Sri Lanka, at the regime's expense, and in the company of Werritty, a known lobbyist, sends completely the wrong signal about the need to investigate atrocities which took place there." - Alan Keenan , International Crisis Group See their comments to...

Whose waters and whose fish?

Indian and Sri Lankan navies are reportedly contemplating joint patrolling along the international maritime boundary in order to prevent any violence against fishermen. The possibility was discussed by the Indian foreign secretary, Ranjai Mathai, during his three-day visit to Sri Lanka. The suggestion comes amidst further Sri Lankan navy attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen. According to reports, the Sri Lankan navy are also employing paramilitary agents to engage in these mid-sea attacks. Indian officials have also hinted that forming a supervisory committee comprising members of both the navies...

Twist to mystery over Fox’s Sri Lanka Development Trust …

The mystery over the ‘development’ trust that former UK Defence Secretary Liam Fox set up to channel funds to Sri Lanka deepened this weekend when the Central Bank governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal claimed Friday the trust “did not materialize.” Mr. Cabraal’s claims are contradicted by the results of investigations by several leading UK newspapers. The 'Sri Lanka Development Trust' is reported to have funded at least three of Dr. Fox’s visits to Colombo, reports said. And Lord Bell, a friend of Dr. Fox for 30 years, says that Dr. Fox – whilst Defence Secretary – had discussions last summer with...

You scratch my back...

The Chinese Army has promised Sri Lanka assistance with military training, with Sri Lanka responding with their own offer of military courses for Chinese soldiers. A high level delegation from the People’s Liberation Army were received by war crimes accused Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya on Thursday.

Seized “state land” to be sold commercially

Sri Lanka has announced that all state owned land in the North-East, part of the former war zone, will now be up for grabs, as the government looks to sell them commercially. Urban Development Authority Rohan Fernando told a forum on property development at the Central Bank, "Now we are making arrangements to provide lands from Mankulam, Kilinochchi and Jaffna." "So these lands will also come in to the market very soon for investment." The Urban Development Authority is under the Ministry of Defence, overseen by the President’s brother Gothbaya Rajapakse. Much of this acquired land has been...

4 international rights groups submit report on torture to UN committee

Four international human rights groups, working against the use of torture, submitted a joint report to the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) to rival the committee's customary third periodic report of Sri Lanka, due to be discussed next month. The 22 page report was compiled by Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) based in Hong Kong, REDRESS Trust in London, Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims (RCT) in Denmark and Action des chrétiens pour l'abolition de la torture (ACAT France) in France . The report condemns the widespread torture practised in Sri Lanka, the government's failure to adequately investigate such allegations and the "inadequate legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures taken to prevent acts of torture in territory under Sri Lanka’s jurisdiction". The groups urged the UN to act, in order to ensure accounability and justice, given Sri Lanka's ongoing failure to make any meaningful progress on the issue. "Should Sri Lanka continue to fail to take the requisite measures despite the availability of credible evidence of torture and ill-treatment, it is the responsibility of the United Nations and its organs, as well as the treaty bodies, to do their utmost to ensure accountability and justice for the victims of these violations. " "It is now the next logical step to call for a full implementation of the Panel’s recommendations. " This could build on previous precedents where UN bodies have urged the Secretary-General to call for the establishment of an international accountability mechanism , namely the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. "Conversely, a failure to take action would compound the climate of impunity in Sri Lanka and would constitute a betrayal of the Convention against Torture , which was adopted ‘to make more effective the struggle against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment throughout the world’."

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