Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court hears petition by Jaffna University lecturer appealing practice ban

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court began hearing a Fundamental Rights Petition filed by Jaffna University senior lecturer Dr Kumaravadivel Guruparan, challenging the decision of the University Grants Commission and University of Jaffna to bar him from legal practice. Last year, the senior law lecturer and prominent civil society representative was barred from engaging in private practice following pressure from the Sri Lankan military, after he took up a public interest habeas corpus case into the 1996 disappearance of more than two dozen Tamil youth. The ban drew outrage from around the world, with...

Core Group reiterate 'profound disappointment' over Sri Lanka's withdrawal from UN resolution

Canada, Germany and the UK reiterated their "profound disappointment" over Sri Lanka's withdrawl of co-sponsorship from United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolutions promoting accountability, reconciliation and human rights.

Sri Lankan police arrest 30 Tamil youth alleged to be part of ‘Aava gang’

Sri Lankan security forces arrested at least 30 Tamil youths earlier this month, claiming that they were members of the ‘Aava gang’ responsible for various acts of violence in the region. The youth were reportedly gathered in Kilinochchi to celebrate the birthday of gang leader ‘Sanna’ who is currently residing in France. Following the celebrations, Sri Lankan police arrested at least 30 people after they received information about the gathering. At least two of the youth arrested are reported to be under 16 years old. Earlier this year, authorities claim to have arrested other ‘Aava gang’...

Pompeo discusses ‘democracy, human rights and transparency’ with Sri Lankan foreign minister

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena this week, where the two reportedly discussed “shared democratic traditions, respect for human rights, and the importance of transparency for the long-term stability and prosperity of our people”. The call between the two leaders came as the United States continued its COVID-19 assistance to Sri Lanka, which totals almost $6 million to date. The support comes despite Sri Lanka’s coronavirus task force being led by army commander Shavendra Silva, who is currently barred from travel to the US over his...

Accused Sri Lankan war criminal oversees vehicle shipment for UN mission

Sri Lankan army commander and accused war criminal Shavendra Silva inspected a consignment of locally produced armoured personnel carriers set to be used for a UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, despite Colombo’s record of human rights abuses. Silva, who is currently barred from entering the US due to his role in overseeing war crimes, proceeded over a ceremonious handover of the vehicles to Rahileen Booram, line manager for the Ben Line Shipping Agencies company for ongoing shipment to Mali. The vehicles, nine ‘Unibuffels’ and one recovery vehicle, are to be used by 243 Sri Lankan combat...

Sri Lanka claims Easter bombings investigations in ‘final stages’ despite unanswered questions

Sri Lanka’s security forces claimed their investigations into the April 2019 Easter Sunday bombings are now in its “final stages” and said they had traced two “foreign organisations” that funded the bombers, as questions remain over how the attacks took place despite several international warnings last year. Sri Lank’s Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Jaliya Senaratne told The Hindu that the security forces “have nearly established the network within Sri Lanka”. “Once that is completed, we may seek INTERPOL’s support to look into the two foreign organisations that we suspect funded the suicide bombers,” he added.

Torture survivors disproportionately affected by COVID-19 says ITJP

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected torture survivors disproportionately “while exposing the fragility of a flawed welfare and asylum system in the UK” the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) said in their new report. The report, ‘Coping with COVID-19: The Experience of Torture Survivors in the United Kingdom', highlights the ways in which the pandemic has exacerbated problems faced by Tamils who survived detention, torture and sexual violence in Sri Lanka and are now seeking asylum in the UK. “They are refugees or asylum seekers in the United Kingdom. Most do not speak English. For...

Pakistan's prime minister seeks closer ties with Sri Lanka

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan congratulated Sri Lanka on its efforts to fight COVID-19 in a telephone conversation with Gotabaya Rajapaksa last week, where the two leaders discussed a range of issues including debt relief and the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. According to a statement from Khan’s office , he “commended” Sri Lanka’s efforts at containing the coronavirus pandemic. The Sri Lankan military has led Colombo’s response, with thousands of people having been detained in ‘coronavirus detention centres’ and the task force overseen by accused war criminal Shavendra Silva. Khan...

Mahinda Rajapaksa warns against 'minor distractions' of Karuna and urges focus on 'foreign conspirators'

Sri Lankan Prime Minister and war criminal, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has given a speech warning people not to be distracted by comments made by Karuna Amman and to focus on what is “politically important” to defeat “foreign conspirators” who prevailed in the 2015 elections. Rajapaksa further stated that “Karuna may have given up murdering people, but the yahapalana cabal has not given up trying to divide the country”. “[If] people cast their votes on the basis of various minor distractions, we will lose everything, our country, our nationhood, our religion, our culture and the future of unborn...

Defunding and demilitarising in Sri Lanka

Over a decade on since the end of Sri Lanka’s armed conflict in 2009, the occupying Sri Lankan state police and military forces in the North-East continue to carry out ongoing human rights violations, surveillance, intimidation, police brutality and extensive militarisation against Tamils and Muslims, under the semblance of national security concerns.

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