Sri Lanka scrambles for US support ahead of UN meeting

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has stated that he wants to send a delegation to the United States of America in order to gain support before the UN Human Rights Council meeting in March. The Daily Mirror reported that as the US has already announced it would back a resolution against Sri Lanka at the upcoming session, Rajapaksa insisted that engagement with the Americans was important. He reportedly told a cabinet meeting, “It is important for us to brief them about measures we have taken, and plans for the future.” However, the statement did not go down well with all the ministers,...

British MPs urge action on Sri Lanka

At a recent debate in the House of Commons, British MPs urged the British government to ‘speak out loudly’ and raise human rights issues in Sri Lanka with the UN and other organisations. Labour MP Kerry McCarthy called for a debate in the House of Commons about the controversial LLRC report. “We have recently had the report published by the LLRC. I hope that, at some point over the next few weeks, we will find time for a full debate on that in the House, because there are many question marks over the report, in relation to the terms of reference of the commission and its recommendations.”...

Boycott blues

Dismissing the recent boycott of Sri Lankan goods but activists in Tamil Nadu, an official of Sri Lanka's Deputy High Commission to India, drew attention to the lack of an apology from Tamil Nadu state government. The official added, This is not even noteworthy when compared to the magnitude of trade in India. The authorities of this company brought the matter to our notice. The total value of our products was Rs.4,000. We raised the issue with the state government of Tamil Nadu. We also informed our mission in New Delhi" Only a certain group is involved. We hope it will not be repeated,”

Only Parliamentary Select Committee will decide on devolution - Rajapaksa

Any decision of system of devolution will only be determined by a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) said Sri Lanka's president, Mahinda Rajapaksa: “I had told Krishna that I had no objection to going beyond the 13th Amendment, and that I had said so earlier too. However, I added that I could not take a decision on the matter arbitrarily." "The PSC, in which all parties in parliament would be represented, was the best forum to discuss and take a decision on the matter.” “I cannot reveal it. If I say anything on it, people will say, I am biased. Let parliament decide. I’ll accept its...

HRW urges UNHRC to act on Sri Lanka during March session

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged the UN Human Rights Council to act against the continued lack of accountability for abuses committed in Sri Lanka. In a letter , addressed to council members, HRW called on the council to undertake credible measures towards accountability, as the Sri Lankan Government is still continuing to ignore calls for an independent accountability mechanism, nearly 3 years after the end of the armed conflict. "The Human Rights Council is uniquely positioned to ensure that the deaths and injuries of tens of thousands of civilians in the last months of Sri Lanka's...

Sri Lankan stock exchange ‘second worst in the world’

The Colombo stock exchange, the best-performing stock market of 2009, has slumped to become the second-worst, only just ahead of Bangladesh. The table, compiled by Bespoke Investment Group , looks at year to date stock market returns for 78 countries. Sri Lanka’s bourse saw the second biggest loss of -7.94% compared to last year, placing them 77th on the list. The Island blames the slump on over regulation and quoted brokers as saying that a lack of foreign inflows is also to blame for the lack of growth.

Time to put principles into action at UN Human Rights Council

Louise Arbour, President and CEO of the International Crisis Group and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, writes a piece entitled “Tamils await their peace dividend” , for the Globe and Mail. Extracts have been reproduced below. See the full piece here . “For Tamils, the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war has brought no peace dividend; for Tamil women, peace has brought with it a continuation – and in some cases an intensification – of violence and insecurity.” “There is, however, an opportunity to address Sri Lanka’s entrenched culture of denial and impunity – including for crimes...

Sri Lanka’s killing fields are ‘beyond the boundary’

Ahead of the English Cricket team’s planned tour of Sri Lanka in March, former Member of European Parliament Robert Evans has written in the Tribune Magazine, calling on the tour to be cancelled and for a full independent international investigation into war crimes. See the full piece here . Extracts have been reproduced below. "The reality is somewhat different and in truth, there is probably no worse or more dangerous time for an England team to travel to this troubled and divided nation. " "The case to cancel the tour is augmented in the light of Jon Snow’s ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ " "Despite being faced with the ‘evidence’ in this video, authenticated by the UN, the Sri Lankan Government has dismissed the tapes as fabricated and refuses to initiate a proper investigation or take any action against the accused soldiers. " "But neither the international community nor the International Cricket Council should accept this position... An England cricket team should not tour a country where the Government stands accused of such appalling atrocities and refuses to investigate them. " "Apologists for apartheid claimed then that politics and sport were completely separate, and that the internal politics of South Africa were nothing to do with cricket. Nelson Mandela being imprisoned for 27 years because for the colour of his skin was not for some, a reason to isolate South Africa from international cricket. " "Fast forward forty years and there are few people who will argue that Mike Gatting, Graham Gooch and their rebel tours helped the cause. Likewise those who condone apartheid today are silent, dangerous and very few in number. " "In the light of this international condemnation, it would be naive and provocative at the very least, for Andrew Strauss or anyone else to lead an England team to play tests in Colombo and Galle. With perhaps as many as six of the possible England team being South African born, the politics and sport arguments will be familiar to them. "

Never promised 13+ says Rajapaksa

Sri Lanka's president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has flatly denied that he ever told India's external affairs secretary, SM Krishna, that he would go beyond the 13th Amendment in the constitution. When asking by a journalist Monday, Rajapaksa reportedly said, "Oh, No! How can I make promises like that? I have referred the issue to Parliament. I have nominated government representatives to the PSC. But unfortunately, neither the UNP nor the JVP has nominated theirs. It is the same with the Tamil National Alliance as well." "We can use our parliamentary majority to do that, but I won’t. The...

Sri Lanka to host England on ‘sub-standard’ cricket pitch

The venue of the first test match of England’s upcoming tour of Sri Lanka is currently without water or electricity. The stadium’s curator, Jayananda Warnaweera, said that supplies were cut off after bills were left unpaid by the Sri Lankan cricket board (SLC), which is under severe financial pressure. "Yes there has been an issue due to the financial crisis faced by the SLC. We discussed it with the SLC and I hope it will be settled by Tuesday," he told the BBC Sinhala service. Warnaweera insisted the pitch will be ready before the first test and hit out at criticism. “They only point the...

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