Sri Lankan president denies reports of secret detention centres

Sri Lanka's president, Maithripala Sirisena on Friday once against rejected reports of secret detention centres on the island. Meeting with families of the disappeared, Mr Sirisena said , "there is no such secret detention centers for the present government and no one is held in custody". Mr Sirisena also pledged to "provide swift solutions for the issuses faced by the family members of the missing persons". However, the families remained critical of the government's emtpy promises and failure to take any meaningful action on the issue. Families told the Sri Lankan president that they are “...

Families of disappeared 'deeply frustrated by continued inaction' by Sri Lanka

Tamil families of the disappeared told the Sri Lankan president that they are “deeply frustrated” and had been “let down repeatedly by broken promises”, as they called on the government to ensure lists of surrendees, detainees under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), and all other indefinite detainees, be released within 20 days. Meeting Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena for the third time since their protest began 270 days ago, relatives of the disappeared said the president had not fulfilled promises made in a meeting in June of this year. “In Kilinochchi alone, five mothers...

10 Tamil Nadu fishermen arrested by Sri Lankan navy

Ten fishermen from Tamil Nadu were arrested by Sri Lankan navy personnel on Thursday for allegedly fishing off the coast of Neduntheevu, The Hindu reported. The men from Akkarapettai, Nagapattinam, were taken to Kankesanthurai by the navy. The arrest is the latest in the ongoing issue of Tamil Nadu fishermen being arrested by Sri Lankan navy personnel. Last month the chief minister of Tamil Nadu wrote to the Indian premier, Narendra Modi, urging him to intervene and secure the release of dozens of fishermen currently detained in Sri Lanka.

India will take up removal of Thondaman's name with Sri Lanka - Swaraj

India's external affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj assured Tamil Nadu politicians that she would take up the removal of Thondaman's name from government institutions in Sri Lanka with Colombo, PTI reported. Savumiamoorthy Thondaman was the leader of the Ceylon Workers' Congress and Tamil of Indian origin in Sri Lanka. The leader of the DMK, Stalin expressed his objection to the Sri Lankan government's removal of Mr Thondaman's name in a letter to Ms Swaraj, accusing Colombo of acting against the Indian Tamil population on the island. He also tweeted: "Requested the MEA @SushmaSwaraj to raise...

Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary denies reports of recent rape and torture

Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary on Tuesday denied reports published this month by the Associated Press of recent rape and torture of Tamils by security forces, calling the allegations "baseless and unfounded". "The government of Sri Lanka is for zero tolerance with regard to sexual abuse and so on," Kapila Waidyaratne was quoted by The Associated Press as saying. "The investigations that have been carried out have been concluded and closed," Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary added. The reports published by AP stem from interviews with 20 Tamil men and a review of 32 psychological reports, whose...

UN member states push for time bound implementation of Sri Lanka's UNHRC commitments, call for ratification of Rome Statute

More to follow. Sri Lanka faced pressure to deliver a time bound benchmarked action plan on full implementation of its commitments in United Nations Human Rights Council resolution 30/1 on reconciliation, accountability and human rights during its Universal Periodic Review. Making interventions during the interactive dialogue of Sri Lanka’s Universal Periodic Review, UN member states including Macedonia, Austria, USA, UK, Germany, Canada, Finland and Denmark called on the Sri Lanka to “produce an unambiguous timeline” detailing “adequate resources” for the full implementation of the...

Sri Lanka blames internal opposition for slow progress at Universal Periodic Review

The Sri Lankan government has blamed opponents who accuse them of inviting foreign interference for its slow progress on improving human rights. “Unfortunately, each step taken to reconcile the nation and acknowledge the legacies of our difficult past is contested,” Sri Lanka’s Deputy Minister of National Policies and Economic affairs said at the UNited Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. Speaking at Sri Lanka’s third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review, Minister Harsha de Silva said: “Our efforts to protect and promote human rights are often attacked by opponents as inviting foreign...

Sri Lanka's ports minister opposes 'liberalisation' of shipping sector

Sri Lanka's minister of ports and shipping, Mahinda Samarasinghe criticised proposed changes to the shipping sector outlined in the 2018 budget released last week as a move towards liberalisation. He condemnded the proposed plans to allow 100% foreign ownership in the sector as "completely wrong", the FT reported. "I am totally against this. I cannot allow the local industry to be destroyed. This is the SLFP’s stand. This therefore needs to be discussed with proper information," Mr Samarasinghe was quoted by the paper as saying. "I believe Minister Mangala Samaraweera will see our point and...

Timeline for action needed in Sri Lanka - HRW

Human Rights Watch called on UN member states to "press Sri Lanka for a time-bound action plan on reforms" during the country's third Universal Periodic Review, which commences today. "Successive Sri Lankan governments, including under President Maithripala Sirisena, have failed to ensure accountability for serious rights violations and other important commitments," HRW said in a statement . "The Sirisena government made key pledges at the Human Rights Council in October 2015 to ensure justice, accountability, and security sector reform,” HRW's Geneva director, John Fisher said. “The failure...

Sri Lankan soldier caught smuggling cannabis on Trinco-bound bus

A Sri Lankan soldier was arrested for smuggling cannabis by Vavuniya police on Sunday. Puliyankulam police station’s officer-in-charge said the solider was arrested in the early hours of Sunday morning on a night bus from Jaffna to Trincomalee. The 24-year-old soldier who is based in a camp in Jaffna was in possession of around 2kg of Kerala ganja. The increase in drug smuggling in the Northern Province has been due to the protection and patronage of Sri Lanka military forces and police authorities, the TNA MP S. Sritharan said.

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