Army set up military check points at Jaffna University

The Sri Lankan Army set up military check points at the two main entrances to the University of Jaffna on Thursday, reported Tamilnet . Deploying extra soldiers to the areas, all students were checked on entering and leaving. Students at the Jaffna University Student Union were forced to leave in order to end the questioning by the Sri Lankan army. See related articles: Jaffna uni students detail their defiant act of remembrance (29 Nov 2011) Jaffna Students: Sri Lankan Government responsible for assault (17 Oct 2011) President of Student Union attacked in Jaffna (16 Oct 2011) Jaffna Uni...

Sri Lankan financial system risk warning

Sri Lanka is among the highest-risk financial systems in Asia’s emerging markets, said a report by a credit ratings agency, citing the rapid growth in credit. "Hong Kong and China were joined by Indonesia and Sri Lanka in the December 2011 assessment [of high-risk financial systems], although Vietnam dropped out as credit growth eased," said a report by Fitch Ratings. The higher credit leveraging by banks and growing asset prices were cited as reasons for the revised risk warning. Though Fitch upgraded Sri Lanka’s credit rating in July 2011, the agency ended the year warning that “foreign direct investment has been surprisingly slow to recover after the end of the country’s long civil war in 2009.” Fitch also expressed concern about the devaluation of the Sri Lankan rupee in November 2011.

LLRC report falls short - cross-party UK MPs

The LLRC report " falls short of addressing the evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity " said the British All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPG-T), adding, "it is important now that the international community holds Sri Lanka to their obligations under international law to allow for an international independent investigation ". Read the statement, released Thursday, here in full. Extracts reproduced below. "The Government of Sri Lanka has long deflected calls for an international independent investigation into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity stating...

Rajapaksa denounces ‘treacherous’ Tamil calls for international investigation

Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa has slammed the Tamil National Alliance for criticising the LLRC report and calling for an international investigation. Talking to reporters on Tuesday morning, the president accused the TNA for still harbouring an ‘LTTE mentality’ and denounced the call for an international investigation as ‘treacherous’ and harmful to the country. "They think and act like the LTTE. The LTTE behaved similarly. They came to talks (with the government), put conditions and withdrew," Rajapaksa said.

Floods add to IDP woes in Vanni

Over 6500 families have been badly affected by floods in the Vanni, as irrigation tanks overflowed and villages were inundated with flood water. Government officials confirmed that over 3000 families in Mullaitivu alone have sought out temporary accommodation so far, but that there were still vast areas that they have been unable to reach, leaving the true figure of affected people unknown. The main roads linking Mullaitivu to Jaffna and Paranthan to Pudukudirrippu have been closed due to the heavy flooding. Many of the families in the Vanni have been living in makeshift shelters since being...

UK parliamentarians impede justice

The Sri Lankan high commissioner to the United Kingdom, Chris Nonis, has presented Sri Lanka’s controversial LLRC report to selected British Parliamentarians at the houses of parliament on Tuesday. According to the official government news portal, www.news.lk , Chris Nonis explained ‘that the holistic approach of the LLRC is entirely consistent with restorative justice embedded with accountability.’ Several MPs and Lords attended the meeting, but unlike the US state department and human rights organisation like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, no criticism of the LLRC was reported. An official statement by the British foreign office regarding the LLRC is yet to be made, however parliamentarians and others who spoke at the event, displayed incredible ignorance about Sri Lanka and its history of inquiries into itself.

TNPF demand international investigation into genocide

The Tamil National People Front (TNPF) - stated there was an " urgent need " for an international, independent investigation , and urged international action of the continuing " genocide " of the Tamil nation, reported Tamilnet on Tuesday. During a press briefing in Jaffna, Vice President of the TNPF, Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam said, "The report places the blame on the LTTE and other tamil groups. We can no longer remain patient . There is urgent need for the International Community to conduct an independent investigation. What happened is genocide. While the war ended two and a half years ago, structural genocide against Tamil people is continuing , and International community should not hesitate to raise its voices." "While Colombo regards any independent investigation into war crimes as a threat its sovereignty, we demand that all dastardly crimes and instruments of oppression carried out against the Tamil people from 1948 , the year of independence, need to be presented as evidence before an independent panel, and perpetrators of the crimes should be brought to justice ."

US has ‘concerns’ over LLRC

In a briefing with the press, US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland has stated that the US has “concerns” over Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission and alleged that there were “gaps” in the report. Speaking on Monday, Nuland told reporters, “While we’re still studying the full report, I do have to say that we have concerns that the report, nonetheless, does not fully address all the allegations of serious human rights violations that occurred in the final phase of the conflict. So this leaves questions about accountability and – for those allegations, and so we...

ICG - militarised North-East leading to women's insecurity

Detailing the "lack of security" faced by Tamil women across the North-East, in the aftermath of the armed conflict, International Crisis Group (ICG) detailed how " the heavily militarised and centralised control of the north and east – with almost exclusively male, Sinhalese security forces " raises problems for Tamil women in terms of their "safety, sense of security and ability to access assistance", in a report published Tuesday. See here for report - Sri Lanka: Women’s Insecurity in the North and East - in full. Extracts reproduced below: "Women in Sri Lanka’s predominantly Tamil-speaking north and east are facing a desperate lack of security in the aftermath of the long civil war." "Today many still live in fear of violence from various sources. Those who fall victim to it have little means of redress. Women’s economic security is precarious, and their physical mobility is limited. The heavily militarised and centralised control of the north and east – with almost exclusively male, Sinhalese security forces – raises particular problems for women there in terms of their safety, sense of security and ability to access assistance ." "They have little control over their lives and no reliable institutions to turn to. The government has mostly dismissed women’s security issues and exacerbated fears , especially in the north and east. The international community has failed to appreciate and respond effectively to the challenges faced by women and girls in the former war zone . A concerted and immediate effort to empower and protect them is needed." " The fact that women must rely on the military for everyday needs not only puts them at greater risk of gender-based violence, but also prevents them from building their own capacity within communities ."

A common wealth of incompetence aids impunity

The Commonwealth Secretary General, Kamalesh Sharma, said on Tuesday that he hoped the LLRC report would "advance the cause of accountability", adding, "It is for the government and people of Sri Lanka to chart their country''s way forward after the military defeat of the forces of terrorism," "The Commonwealth, as a partner of Sri Lanka, which is a founder member of the modern Commonwealth, remains ready to assist the government in dealing with the challenges of building a harmonious and sustainable peace."

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