Forced cremations of COVID-19 victims defy WHO guidelines and disregard minorities’ rights – Amnesty

Global Human Rights Group, Amnesty International, released a press statement in response to Sri Lanka cremating their coronavirus (COVID-19) victims, stating the authorities “must respect the right of religious minorities to carry out the final rites of their relatives in accordance with their own traditions unless they can show that restrictions are needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.” Sri Lanka has forcibly cremated the bodies of two of the early COVID-19 victims, on instructions from the authorities, despite the World Health Organization (WHO) suggesting it was not essential to do so.

Sri Lanka appeals to expatriates for foreign currency inflows to help tackle coronavirus

Sri Lankan financial authorities appealed to Sri Lankan expatriates to consider depositing their foreign currency savings into the Sri Lankan banking system to help tackle coronavirus. In a statement, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka called for support to "safeguard the people from coronavirus, to bring its spread under control and to provide healthcare and social security to the people." "Such remittances would go a long way to promote people's welfare during the current period of still spread COVID-19, and economic revival in the immediate aftermath," the statement added. See more from Colombo...

Sri Lanka warns military is on ‘high alert for re-grouping of certain elements’

Sri Lanka’s defence secretary warned that the military was still “are kept on high alert on other security threats” throughout the COVID-19 pandemic including the “re-grouping of certain elements”, as a military enforced curfew engulfed much of the island. “Sri Lanka’s Tri-Forces, Police and other security agencies are kept on high alert on other security threats while they have been tasked to support the Government’s mechanism to control the spreading of COVID-19,” said Kamal Gunaratne, who stands accused of overseeing war crimes committed by the military against Tamil civilians over a...

Pardon of Sri Lankan soldier is ‘slap in face’ for UNHRC - ICET

Sri Lanka’s presidential pardon of a soldier convicted of massacring Tamils is “a slap in the face to the member countries” of the UN Human Rights Council, said the International Council of Eelam Tamils in a statement this week, as they reiterated calls for Sri Lanka to be referred to the International Criminal Court. The release of Stag Sgt Sunil Rathnayke, who was convicted for the Mirusuvil massacre, “does not surprise the Tamils who have seen too many Sinhalese criminals walk free,” said the Tamil diaspora group. “Despite overwhelming evidence against all of the accused army men, Sunil...

Tamils in North East struggle with curfew hardships due to state negligence

Tamils across the North East are finding it increasingly difficult, to cope with the hardships incurred from the curfews, that have been imposed across the country to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19). A lack of support from the Sri Lankan government during the curfews has particularly affected Tamils from small villages, the elderly and those from low-income families, prompting the Tamil diaspora and local volunteers to help out instead.

HRCSL ‘expresses deep concern’ over pardon of Sri Lankan soldier

The Human Rights Commissions of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) expressed “deep concern” over the pardon granted to a soldier who was convicted of massacring Tamil civilians, in a statement released this week. Staff Sergeant Sunil Rathnayake, who a Sri Lankan court found guilty of the Mirusuvil massacre, was pardoned by Gotabaya Rajapaksa last week. “We are deeply concerned due both to the serious nature of the charges brought by the Hon. Attorney General against Mr. Ratnayaka, which included the killing of three children, and the strength of the Supreme Court judgment which upheld the conviction,” said...

1,015 arrested within 24 hours in Sri Lanka for breaking curfew

Sri Lankan police have arrested 1,015 people within the last 24 hours for breaking a police-imposed island-wide curfew which was intended to curb the spread of the coronavirus The Colombo Page reports that 254 vehicles have also been seized. The total number arrested since the initial start of the curfew on 20 March has risen to 9,466 with the police seizing 2,332 vehicles. Read more from the Colombo Page.

Sri Lankan soldiers attack Tamils for allegedly breaking curfew

Sri Lankan soldiers attacked Tamil villagers in the North this week, for allegedly breaking a military enforced curfew in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak on the island. Armed Sri Lankan soldiers were seen patrolling the villages of Tellippalai, Vasavilan and Palaly this week, with reports that troops have attacked Tamils who they accused of breaking the curfew. Some of the Tamil villagers have been farmers, who depend on the agricultural industry for their livelihood, and have been badly impacted by the curfew.

UNICEF and ADB to supply emergency medical equipment to Sri Lanka

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has provided Sri Lanka a grant of $100,000 through which emergency medical equipment has been purchased through the United Nationals Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to respond to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Colombo Page has reported that this has enabled for the purchase of “4 suction machines, 4 suction apparatus, 10 infusion pumps, 12 syringe pumps, 7 multipara monitors, 11 laryngoscopes, and 1 point of care analyser”. Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Health has stated that this equipment will be given to 14 COVID-19 isolation units across the island. The ADB had...

TISL demands presidential office to "proactively disclose" pardon documents

Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) has urged the Sri Lanka Presidential Secretariat to publicise the documents pertaining to presidential pardon of Sunil Rathnayake for the Mirusuvil Massacre of Tamils in December 2000. TISL insisted it was compulsory that the Presidential Secretariat and/or the Secretary to the President Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, immediately disclosed the; Report of the Trial Judge, Advice of the Attorney General and the Recommendation of the Justice Minister, in line with the provisions of the constitution and the RTI Act.

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