Ranil to present Reparations Office bill to Parliament despite civil society concerns

The Sri Lankan Prime Minister is to present a bill to establish an Office for Reparations in Parliament on Tuesday, despite concerns raised by civil society. While the international community has urged for speedier progress in establishing a reparations mechanism, civil society members have pointed out that the government is trying to push through a bill in which the Office would have no direct policy-making power and would not be politically independent. The Bill, which was gazetted last month, is supposed to provide for the provision of individual and collective reparations for aggrieved...

Sri Lanka PM says police investigating Chinese funds to Rajapaksa

Sri Lanka's prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe said police were investigating almost 1.4 billion rupees paid by China Harbour Engineering Company to the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa prior to the last election. Eighty-two cheques were drawn out in the names of members of the Presidential Secretariat in the run up to Rajapaksa's election defeat, Mr Wickremesinghe told fellow UNP members. “Cheques issued by China Harbour Engineering Company are also included in this,” he was wuored by Economy Next as saying. China Harbour Engineering Company has rejected the reports. “The speculation by...

Mother of the disappeared explain their OMP boycott

In a letter to the Office on Missing Persons, mothers of the disappeared who have been holding demonstrations against the OMP process, outlined their reasons for losing faith in the process. The letter, which lists 8 points, comes after two days of protests outside the OMP hearings in Jaffna and Kilinochchi. Read full statement here . Extract published below: "There is no transparency adopted in the selection of the Commissioners for the OMP. Selections were made by the Constitutional Council in which Sinhala Politicians are also members, who repeatedly said that they will not allow any...

Former SL external affairs minister urges resolution to be withdrawn

Sri Lanka's former external affairs minister, G L Peiris, who is currently the chairman of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) said he would be writing to the newly appointment UK foreign secretary to urge him to withdraw the co-sponsored UN Human Rights Council resolution. “It has now come to light that the basis for this resolution is entirely flawed and based on facts which are untrue,” Mr Peiris told the Daily Mirror. “It is way off the mark,” he added. See here for more.

UK govt concerned about Sri Lanka's slow delivery of human rights commitments - FCO report

2017 saw limited progress in the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, a UK government report has said, citing particular concerns around inter-communal tensions and the slow delivery of key human rights and reconciliation commitments, including delays in replacing the Prevention of Terrorism Act and operationalising the Office of Missing Persons. In its report on Human Rights and Democracy in 2017, the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office refers to ongoing allegations of torture by Sri Lankan security forces and said, “work continued on a draft Counter Terrorism Act, intended to replace the...

Sri Lankan army may have illegally raised wild leopard, reveals autopsy reports

The Sri Lankan military is accused of illegally raising a wild leopard, which went on to injure several Tamil villagers in Kilinochchi last month, according to a report in the Sunday Observer. The leopard, which injured at least seven people near a local school, was eventually killed by villagers, after Wildlife Department officers arrived and then abandoned the area after the animal had begun injuring more people. Sri Lankan police were at the scene throughout the episode. Autopsy reports on the leopard now reveal that it may have been a domesticated animal, adding weight to the villagers’...

Sri Lankan army chief speaks at UN on ‘continued vigilance’ against ‘changing face of terrorism’

The Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Army addressed a United Nations conference on counter-terrorism last month, telling delegates the “Sri Lanka continues to be vigilant” against the “changing face of terrorism”. Speaking at the first ever United Nations High-Level Conference of Heads of Counter Terrorism Agencies of Member States at the UN headquarters in New York, Major General W.B.D.P. Fernando said, “As a country that once suffered under the yoke of terrorism for nearly thirty years, and successfully defeated this threat in 2009, Sri Lanka is acutely aware of the need for sharing...

Nigerian military delegation visits Jaffna

A military delegation from Nigeria was taken on a tour of Jaffna earlier this year, where they held discussion with Sri Lankan security forces stationed in the peninsula. During their visit, the deleagation met with female soldiers serving the 7 Sri Lanka Army Women's Corps (SLAWC).

EU, UK and Canada send joint letter to Sri Lanka opposing death penalty reinstatement

The heads of embassies of several Western states have written to Sri Lanka’s president expressing their opposition to the reported resumption of capital punishment on the island. The Delegation of the European Union, the missions of the EU Member States in Sri Lanka as well as the diplomatic missions of the Governments of Canada and Norway in Sri Lanka all signed a joint letter to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, in which they wanted to “verify the worrying information in the public domain about the intention of the Sri Lankan government to resume implementing the death penalty...

Chavakachcheri residents confront soldiers illegally digging up local tourist spot

Residents of Chavakachcheri confronted Sri Lankan soldiers attempting to dig up grass and soil for their camp from the banks of a lagoon, in an area designated as a public leisure space. The incident took place yesterday in Kovitkudiyiruppu, with angered locals demanding soldiers stop digging up the grasses and soil in an area designated as a public leisure and tourism spot by the Chavakachcheri Urban Council. The village officer (Grama sevakar) was called to the incident and requested the soldiers to not dig the soil as this would disrupt the tree roots growing around. The soldiers are...

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