Sri Lanka’s finance minister condemns Sinhala Buddhist attack on Rohingya

Sri Lankan Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera released a statement condemning an attack on Rohingya refugees in Colombo by Sinhala Buddhist monks, stating that the attackers were “a group of thugs in robes”. His statement comes as Rajitha Senaratne, a Sri Lankan cabinet spokesman, branded the attackers “animals”, adding “this is not what the Buddha taught”. In a statement released on the Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, Mr Samaraweera also said he condemned the attack “as a Buddhist”. He went on to reiterate how the Sri Lankan navy had rescued Rohingya asylum seekers in...

Tamil schoolchildren escorted on tour of Palaly airport

Tamil schoolchildren from Vavuniya were taken on a tour of Palali airport by the Sri Lankan military last week.

Global Fund finances project implemented by Sri Lankan military in North-East

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) financed a project carried out by the Sri Lankan military to build health facilities in the Tamil North-East this month.

Sri Lanka in talks with Chinese companies for $3 billion oil refinery

Sri Lanka has entered talks with two Chinese companies over proposals to invest US $3 billion to build a new refinery at the Chinese controlled Hambantota port, reports Reuters. Sri Lanka’s director at the Board of Investment, Mangala Yapa said the companies had put forward a joint venture proposal for a refinery that could produce up to 5 million tonnes of refined oil per year. Sri Lanka currently has one state run oil refinery, which was originally configured to run on Iranian crude oil until US sanctions led it to stop imports from Iran.

UNHCR 'alarmed' by attack against Rohingya refugees in Sri Lanka

The UN Refugee Agency expressed alarm and concern at an attack against 31 Rohingya refugees in Sri Lanka by a Sinhala monk led mob. "The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is alarmed and concerned by yesterday's incident at a refugee shelter housing mostly women and children on the outskirts of Colombo," the UNHCR said in a statement on Wednesday. "UNHCR is equally concerned for the safety and security of our partner's staff present during the incident who were providing humanitarian assistance to the refugees." According to AFP, the mob "broke down gates and entered the...

Terrorism Investigation Department summon Mannar civil society leader over planned protest

The Terrorism Investigation Department has summoned a Mannar civil society leader for questioning in Colombo. V. S. Sivakaran, who heads the Federation of Community Organisations in Mannar was served the summons in relation to a letter he had sent to the Sri Lankan president criticising the president’s plans to attend the opening of an illegally constructed vihara in the environs of Thiruketheeswaram Kovil. In the letter Mr Sivakaran had warned that if the President chose to ignore local concerns and attend the opening, Mannar locals would protest his visit. While the opening of the vihara is...

Seven sentenced to death for rape and murder of Punguduthivu schoolgirl

A tribunal has sentenced seven people accused of raping and murdering Punguduthivu schoolgirl Vithya to death on Wednesday. Out of nine charged and investigated at the trial-at-bar, suspects 1 and 7 were cleared of wrongdoing. Suspects 2, 3, 5 and 6 - Poobalasingham Jeyakumar, Poobalasingham Thavakumar, Thillainathan Chandrahasan and Sivathevan Dushanth aka Periyammni - were found guilty of rape and murder and handed death sentences and 30 years imprisonment. Each was fine 40,000 Rs and each ordered to pay 1 million rupees compensation to the family of Vithya. Mother of Vithya speaks to press...

Sinhala MPs express concern over Rohingya refugees in Sri Lanka

Several Sinhala MPs expressed concern in parliament today about the presence of Rohingya refugees in Sri Lanka, the Daily Mirror reported. One opposition MP, Jayantha Samaraweera said a camp for Rohingya refugees had been set up near Mirihana, adding “social media has reported on this and it is indeed a reality." "We would like to know what actions the government would take in regard to Extradition Laws," he asked. MP Wimal Weerawansa said, "the matter had become a serious issue as some of these people who were in the camp had got out of it and living in private residences." “Some of the...

Rohingya refugees transferred to Boosa detention centre

A group of 31 Rohingya refugees who had been sheltering at a UN safe house, were yesterday transferred to Boosa detention facility by Sri Lankan police, who claimed it was for their safety. The refugees were detained by police after a mob led by Sinhala Buddhist monks stormed the building, which is located in Mount Lavinia. According to AFP, the mob "broke down gates and entered the walled multi-storied compound as frightened refugees huddled together in upstairs rooms". See more here . Sinhala Buddhist monks have demonstrated over recent weeks in support of their Myanmar counterparts,...

US visa has been rejected three times says former Sri Lankan army commander

The former head of the Sri Lankan army said visa applications to travel to the United States have been rejected three times over reports of war crimes committed by the military. Speaking to the Daily Mirror Sarath Fonseka denied being dropped from a Sri Lankan delegation visiting New York for the UN General Assembly, and instead said visa issues prevented him from travelling. “I could’ t go to the US because my visa was rejected,” he said. “This was the third time that my US visa got rejected this year. I was not granted Visa to attend my daughter’s graduation as well.” “My green card was...

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