Britain expresses concern over anti-Muslim sentiment in Sri Lanka

Speaking in parliament, Nigel Adams, Minister for Asia at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development, expressed concern over anti-Muslim sentiment in Sri Lanka. This was during a discussion on attacks on religious freedom during the COVID-19 pandemic, Adams stated: “We are also concerned by the rise of anti-Muslim sentiment and the decision by the Sri Lankan Government to mandate cremations for all those deceased due to COVID—Lord Ahmad has raised that issue with the high commissioner. Ministers and officials at the high commission in Colombo continue to...

11 killed by Sri Lankan prison guards

11 prisoners were killed and over 100 injured when Sri Lankan prison guards opened fire at Mahara prison, near Colombo, during unrest on 29 November. Inmates were demanded to be freed after at least a thousand inmates, out of an estimated 30,000 inmates, tested positive. Police spokesman, DIG Ajith Rohana, claimed guards were instructed to use force in order to bring under control the unrest. Activists have been calling for prisoners to be released due to concern over the coronavirus and Sri Lanka’s government has stated that they will consider releasing thousands on bail. Meera Srinivasan...

British High Court hears Sri Lankan brigadier's appeal against conviction for threatening Tamil protestors

The British High Court heard Sri Lanka's Brigadier Priyanka Fernando's appeal against his conviction of violating the Public Order Act, after he motioned death threats to Tamil protesters in London in 2018. During the hearing which took place remotely on December 2, Fernando's counsel argued to overturn the conviction by stressing that he enjoyed diplomatic immunity when the incident occurred and when the summons were served. The High Court judges have reserved judgement and the publication of the judgement is expected, but not guaranteed, before Christmas. The outcome of the case is likely...

Sri Lankan Supreme Court dismisses petitions filed against forced cremations

The Supreme Court dismissed all petitions filed against Sri Lanka's forced cremation policy of Muslim COVID-19 victims, according to the Daily FT . Several petitions were filed after the Sri Lankan government made cremations complusory for all coronavirus victims, disregarding advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and going against Islamic tradition as racist false rumours against the island's Muslim community continue to circulate. Last month, UN Resident Coordinator, Hanaa Singer appealed to Colombo reconsider the forced cremation policy. "I fear that not allowing burials is...

Petition calls for rejection of 'Génocidaire' as Sri Lankan Ambassador to Canada 

Petition on Change.org An online petition created by Tamil Canadians calls for Canada to “reject the appointment of the Génocidaire, Sumangala Dias, as the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Canada.” The petition labels credibly accused war criminal Air Marshal Dias a Génocidaire or “perpetrator of [the] Tamil genocide," due to his various high ranking roles within the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) during the Tamil genocide. The petition addressed to Canada’s Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of Canada, David Lametti, has two major requests: (1) Reject the appointment of Genocidaire...

Cyclone Burevi makes landfall across the North-East

Following Cyclone Nivar last week , Cyclone Burevi is expected to make landfall late on Wednesday with winds up to 56mph. Tens and thousands of people have had to leave their homes as rainfall of up to 200mm is predicted in some areas, which will lead to flash floods. The cyclone is likely to damage coastal buildings and power lines and unleash flash floods. The district of Trincomalee is expected to be hit hardest, though Mullaitivu and Jaffna are in the cyclones path. Schools across the North-East have decided to close until Friday, by thursday the cyclones path will carry it northwest...

Trilateral National Security Adviser meeting led by accused Sri Lankan war criminals

The fourth trilateral National Security was held in Colombo on the 28 November and led by Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister, Dinesh Gunawardena, as well as accused war criminals, Kamal Gunaratne, now Defence Secretary, and Shavendra Silva, head of Sri Lanka’s army. The trilateral National Security Adviser meeting discussed issues of Maritime Security Cooperation between India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, whilst also inviting observers from the Seychelles and Mauritius. During the Kamal Gunaratne met with Ajit Doval, National Security Advisor for India, and Mariya Didi, Minister for defence for the...

Sri Lanka’s archaeology department acquires ‘ancient monastery site’ in Jaffna

Sri Lanka’s archaeology department has issued a gazette acquiring an acre of land in Neduntheevu (Delft island) in Jaffna, claiming that it contains a ruined Buddhist monastery complex. According to a report in the Sunday Times , the land was declared an “archaeological reserve” under the Antiquities Ordinance Act. The latest move comes as Sri Lanka’s archaeology department continues in its attempts to seize land across the North-East, under the guise of discovering Sinhala Buddhist heritage sites. Last week, Sri Lanka’s president Gotabaya Rajapaksa ordered the distribution of over 700 Buddha...

UK ‘firmly believes’ UN resolutions on Sri Lanka ‘remain the best framework’

Britain’s minister of state at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said his government maintains that UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolutions on Sri Lanka “remain the best framework for establishing truth and achieving justice and lasting reconciliation following the conflict in Sri Lanka”. Responding to a question from parliamentarian Wes Streeting on steps the UK's Mission in Geneva is taking to prepare for a new UN Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka, Nigel Adams said “the UK has long supported efforts to promote peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, including in...

British police order removal of Tamil Eelam flag and LTTE leader's picture in London

British police have reportedly ordered the removal of the Tamil Eelam national flag and a photograph of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran from a supermarket in Wembley, London. On Monday 23 November, four British police officers were in attendance at Malar Cash and Carry in Wembley and reported that they had received a complaint that the flag of a banned organisation had been flown in the area. They then went on to order that the Tamil Eelam national flag, which had been flown outside the store, be removed. Despite the shopkeepers stating that the...

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