Sinhala organisation files police complaint against TNA spokesperson

A pro-Rajapaksa Sinhala organisation which had previously filed court petitions seeking Sri Lanka’s withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council resolution, filed a complaint against TNA spokesperson and MP M A Sumanthiran for allegedly rejecting the concept of a unitary state. The organisation called the ‘Truth Seekers Movement’ filed the complaint at the Sri Lankan police headquarters claiming that Sumanthiran was ‘unfit’ to serve as a member of parliament and as an attorney-at-law, due to his rejection of the unitary state. The group made the claims after five Tamil political parties signed...

Slain Tamil journalist Nimalarajan remembered

A memorial for the slain Tamil journalist, Mylvaganam Nimalarajan, was held in Vavuniya, Batticaloa and Jaffna, on the 19th anniversary of his death. Attendees held a candlelight vigil and strung a necklace of flowers across his photo, to remember his sacrifice. This memorial was attended by the families of the disappeared who have continued their protests across the north and east. Read more here: ‘Help us find our babies’ - Tamil families of the disappeared protests across North-East Nimalarajan was a senior journalist who contributed to the BBC Tamil and Sinhala services, the Tamil daily...

Sri Lanka argues for diplomatic immunity for Brigadier Fernando

In response to the retrial of Brigadier Priyanka Fernando, which will be adjourned by the 19 November, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry has defended the Brigadier, maintaining that under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961, he is entitled to diplomatic immunity. In a statement they said "The Government of the UK has been requested to honour this obligation, which is reciprocal," Brigadier Fernando was initially found guilty under the Public Order Act of causing “harassment, alarm and distress” towards three complainants when he was shown to have made a slit-throat gesture...

Families of disappeared slam Gotabaya’s disappearances denial

Families of the disappeared in Vavuniya protested on Wednesday, condemning presidential candidate and former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s denial of hundreds of cases of disappearances of surrendered Tamils from the end of the war. Staging a rally at their roadside spot in Vavuniya town where they have been for over 970 days, families of the disappeared slammed the “various opinions that have been expressed with the aim of sabotaging [our] struggle in the run-up to the presidential election”. “We are not asking about the children who were killed by the Sri Lankan army’s bombings,”...

Mangala calls for ‘restoring honour’ of military and warns of universal jurisdiction

Mangala Samaraweera, Sri Lanka’s finance minister and leading UNP member, called on Sri Lankan voters to reject Gotabaya Rajapaksa and warned that Sri Lankan soldiers may face prosecutions abroad through universal jurisdiction cases if “a Sri Lankan judicial mechanism” is not enacted. “It is my duty to remind the citizens of our country about the history of how, during the Rajapaksa-era, we erred in dealing with our conflict-ridden past, isolating our country on the international stage and how we regained our stature following the January 2015 Presidential Election by reasserting our...

Human rights must be at the heart of next presidency says Amnesty

Amnesty International calls on Sri Lanka’s next president to put human rights at the heart of their policies. The human rights organisation has urged the Presidential candidates to protect key human rights issues, repeal repressive laws such as the notorious Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), protect civic space, abolish the death penalty and protect religious and sexual minorities. “The families of the disappeared, the victims of torture and sexual violence, the people forced off their land, and others who have suffered grave human rights violations must not be forgotten. The suspected...

Ranil pledges normalcy in Jaffna within five years

Sri Lankan Prime Minster, Ranil Wickremesinghe, says Jaffna will return to normalcy and become an economic hub within five years. Speaking at the opening ceremony of Jaffna International Airport yesterday, the Prime Minster said opening the airport was just the first step and several other steps are to follow. Once the runway is extended, “flights from the Middle East, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand will be available to Jaffna.” “There is no doubt that in the next five years Jaffna will return to its original status and become and economic centre,” he added. His comments come more than 20...

Jaffna International Airport officially open

President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe declared Jaffna International Airport open yesterday. The airport, formerly known as Palaly airport, landed its inaugural flight from Chennai, Tamil Nadu at its opening ceremony. Alliance Air will operate seven flights a week from Chennai to Palaly. Daily air operations will begin in November. The Sri Lankan military occupied the airport and was used as an air force base for its fleets of jets which were extensively used in bombing raids throughout the armed conflict. While the military has allowed for commercial flights,...

First massacre by Indian troops remembered in Jaffna

The Pirampadi massacre in Kokkuvil, when over fifty Tamil civilians were shot dead or crushed with an armoured vehicle by Indian Peacekeeping Forces (IPKF) was remembered in the village on Saturday, 32 years after the massacre. The massacre is claimed to be the first of many by Indian troops during their occupation of the Tamil homeland in the late eighties.

Brigadier Priyanka Fernando to face new trial

Brigadier Priyanka Fernando, former Sri Lankan Defence Attaché to the United Kingdom, will face a new trial tomorrow at the Westminster Magistrates Court for motioning a death threat to Tamils in London, protesting Sri Lanka's celebration of Independence Day last year. A private prosecution was brought against the Sri Lankan soldier who was filmed motioning a death threat to Tamils in London last year, running his finger across his neck whilst dressed in full military uniform. He was attending a celebration at the Sri Lankan High Commission in the UK to mark ‘Independence Day’ at the time,...

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