Sri Lanka faces questions over ongoing torture in UPR advance submission

Member states of the United Nations Human Rights Council questioned Sri Lanka on ongoing torture, militarisation and its failure to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act in an advanced submission to the Universal Periodic Review Process. Expressing concern with recent reports of torture Norway, Germany, the US, asked Sri Lanka when the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act will be repealed, and expressed concern at Sri Lanka’s failure to hold security forces and government officials accountable for human rights violations. Noting the lack of accountability for violations of international...

Sri Lankan president - army camps will not be removed from North to affect national security

Sri Lanka’s president Maithripala Sirisena attempted to assure the military that army camps in the North “have not been removed or will not be removed in a way which will weaken the national security or have an impact on the security forces but lands acquitted by the armed forces during the war will be released to people,” Colombo Page reported. Speaking to officers at an event at the army hospital in Narahenpita, Mr Sirisena added, “the government has taken steps to release the lands, which were acquired during the war period for army camps.” “The lands not needed for the three armed forces...

Sumanthiran promises grassroots discussions on interim report on constitution

The spokesperson of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), M A Sumanthiran assured there would be ‘extensive discussions’ at a grassroots level on the interim report by the constitutional steering committee, Ceylon Today reported. His comments followed a meeting in Vavuniya yesterday by ITAK’s Central Committee, which took place amid increasing turmoil within the TNA after one of its constituent parties, EPRLF announced it would contesting the upcoming elections on its own. “The meetings, throughout the Northern and Eastern Provinces between the ITAK members and local bodies, led by the party,...

Sri Lanka's state minister says 'would not allow anyone to threaten national security'

Sri Lanka’s state minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene asserted he “would not allow anyone to threaten national security”, Adaderana reported on Monday. "The present government has taken every measure in this regard," Mr Wijewardene said. The comments were made at an event in Gampaha, the paper reported.

Detainee dies in Jaffna prison

A Tamil detainee in a Jaffna prison has died in custody. A. Tharmalingam of Chavakachcheri, held on court order in relation to criminal charges, died of a heart attack on Saturday according to Jaffna police. However Mr Tharmalingam’s family have accused prison officials of neglecting to treat the cardiac arrest with urgency and have demanded an inquiry.

Northern Province-wide police operation results in 250 arrests in one day

Over 250 Tamils were arrested in a province-wide police operation conducted in the North on Saturday. Led by the Deputy Inspector General of Police for the Northern Province, over 2000 police officers across the Jaffna, KKS, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya, Mullaitivu and Mannar forces conducted search and arrest operations, with over 3500 individual searches and checks being reported. As well as the 250 arrests for charges ranging from antisocial behaviour, drug trafficking and black-market alcohol trading, traffic police ticketed around 220 motorists. Local civil society activists expressed concern...

Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to Canada rejects allegation of army abuses

Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to Canada, Ahmed A Jawad rejected allegations that the Sri Lankan military has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity against Tamils. His comments were in response to an article written by the Canadian MP, Gary Anandasangaree entitled 'Sri Lanka's military aren't ready to be peacekeepers', which highlighted the lack of justice for crimes committed by the military against Tamils, as well as against civilians in Haiti whilst the military was deployed as UN peacekeepers. This week the Associated Press published an extensive feature detailing reports of...

LTTE cemeteries in the East cleared before Maaveerar Naal

Tamils in the East have been clearing destroyed LTTE cemeteries in preparation for Maaveerar Naal.

4500 Sri Lanka military personnel attend lecture on compassion at Palaly base

Sri Lankan military forces attended a lecture on 'compassion' which took place at the Palaly army camp on Thursday.

Joint opposition - budget 'panders to IMF'

Sri Lanka's joint opposition criticised the government's 2018 budget which was detailed on Friday, stating that it "panders" to International Monetary Fund. The MP Bandula Gunawardene said the "budget was sure to fail as in it the government was trying to increase foreign investments by relaxing laws for foreigners and imposing excessive taxes on the people." "[The] budget panders to the IMF's whims and fancies", the Daily Mirror quoted the Joint Opposition as saying. “This is a more liberal budget which would not offer any benefits to the people,” Mr Gunawardene said. “According to the...

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