‘Sri Lanka has a long history of failing to provide justice and redress to victims of human rights violations’ – HRW

Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at Human Rights Watch has condemned the police killing and injuries of protestors which occurred last week and called for an impartial investigation. Those responsible for abuses should be disciplined or prosecuted as appropriate. Sri Lanka has a long history of failing to provide justice and redress to victims of human rights violations, the statement noted. The use of live ammunition by Sri Lankan police against demonstrators at Rambukkana on April 19 appears to be a flagrant misuse of lethal force,” said Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at...

World Bank provides up to $600m as IMF stresses Sri Lanka needs a ‘coherent strategy’

As negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) continue, Sri Lanka’s finance minister, Ali Sabry, announced that the country would receive $300 to $600 million from the World Bank over the next four months to buy medicine and other essential goods. In a video conference, the minister announced that discussions with the IMF would take time and that the World Bank would assist in addressing immediate needs. A spokesperson for the World Bank told reporters that the institution would leverage existing bank-financed projects and repurpose funds to quickly provide medicines, meals for...

‘It’s time Sinhalese people understand their leaders lied about federalism’ – Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam

Speaking in parliament Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, leader of the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF), stressed that the removal of the executive presidency is not sufficient, instead a total reform of the state on federal lines is needed. “For the first time, Sinhalese people are questioning their own leaders,” Ponnambalam told parliament. They are calling into “question 74 years of leadership and the very system”. “It is the same thing that Tamils have said for the last 74 years that this system is a failure. It is a system that is exclusivist, that will side-line people, that will create...

Colombo’s Archbishop alleges grand conspiracy behind Easter Sunday attacks

Speaking at St. Anthony’s Shrine, Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, raised the possibility that the Easter Sunday attacks were part of a ploy to stoke ethnic divisions and security concerns ahead of the 2019 Presidential elections. Quoting the parliamentary select committees report he notes: “The PSC makes a very serious finding in terms of the status of the state intelligence apparatus, where intelligence information known to a few was not shared with relevant parties. The PSC also observes that further investigations will be needed to understand whether those with vested...

Civil society organisations demand regime change and state structure reform amidst political and economic crisis

Protesters in Jaffna demanding self-determination this week Civil society organisations in the North-East and South have called on protesters that are demanding the Rajapaksa regime to change, to also include calls for the structural change of the state that recognises the Tamil right to self-determination. In a joint statement, a collection of 31 civil society and grassroot groups highlighted that the protests taking place predominantly in the South have “created space for us to realise the absolute necessity to oppose both the corrupt regime and the racist state structure.” “For the Tamils...

Shavendra Silva tells ‘intelligent’ Sri Lankans to support armed forces like ‘war on terror’

The war crimes-accused head of Sri Lanka’s army released a statement yesterday, calling on “intelligent” Sri Lankans to back the armed forces and “co-operate” as they had done when the military launched an offensive that killed tens of thousands of Tamils in 2009. In a video released by the Sri Lankan army, Silva speaks to a camera in Sinhala only and claims the military has “not to-date caused any hindrance to such peaceful protests”. “Let me earnestly appeal to all intelligent Sri Lankans to support our forces and the Police in the same way you all cooperated with the armed forces in the...

Anniversary of Easter Sunday attacks marked in Jaffna and Mannar

Commemoration events were held across the Tamil homeland on Thursday, to mark 3 years since the devastating Easter Sunday attacks, in which more than 250 people were killed. Local Tamils and Muslims came together to pay tribute to the victims of the attack alongside other remembrance events that took place on the island. At the University of Jaffna, students also organised a tribute to the victims as they laid flowers and lit candles at the campus.

Why Sri Lanka’s protestors must topple the statue of Bandaranaike in Colombo

A monument to a man who oversaw two anti-Tamil pogroms and the architect behind one of the most racist pieces of legislation on the island’s history overlooks the Galle Face protests. If these protests are to be inclusive of all in Sri Lanka, that statue must go.

More Eelam refugees land in Tamil Nadu as crisis in Sri Lanka worsens

At least 18 more Eelam Tamil refugees landed in Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu last night, as Tamils continued to flee Sri Lanka amidst an economic crisis, which has worsened conditions for many given its history of repression and blighted human rights record. The 18 Eelam Tamils, including a 4-month pregnant woman and a one-and-half-year-old child, reported arrived in Rameswaram in two groups. 13 people came from Mannar and another 5 from Jaffna. Indian police officials reportedly detained the Tamils, who will be sent to the Mandapam refugee camp. The latest arrivals come as at 60 Eelam Tamils...

Sri Lanka meets with US and IMF heads as talks over bailout continue

Sri Lanka’s finance ministry confirmed that it had met with officials from the US State Department, USAID and senior International Monetary Fund (IMF) figures, with talks continuing over an emergency bailout loan for Colombo as anti-government protests rumble on. Sri Lankan minister of Finance Ali Sabry alongside Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made requests for emergency financial assistance in an effort to combat Sri Lanka’s debt crisis. However the IMF has reportedly made clear that any bailout deal would require "adequate assurances" that the country's debt could be put on a...

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