Outrage grows over Mahinda visit to India

Mahinda Rajapakse's upcoming visit to India is becoming the political headache for Delhi it was predicted to be. A 26-year old male has self-immolated in Tamil Nadu against the proposed visit and is said to be in a critical condition with 95% burns and the Union territory of Puducheri was completely shut down, in protest at Rajapakse's visit to Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh later this week. MDMK leader Vaiko slammed Madhya Pradesh's BJP government and said he will go ahead with a planned protest in Sanchi, while talking to Headlines Today . “It’s atrocious that BJP-led Madhya Pradesh government has invited Rajapakse, who was responsible for the genocide of thousands of Tamils. “He is coming with the blood-stained hands and he cannot be forgive..It’s the Sinhala regime that destroyed nearly 2,000 Hindu temples in Sri Lanka.

6% rise in sexual offences in Sri Lanka

Abuse and sexual assaults on children and women in Sri Lanka has risen by 6%, Uthayan reports . The incident of child abuse and rape in Sri Lanka has consistently come under national and international attention, culminating with the recent warning by the UK FCO of sexual offences on the island.

UN names SL as one of 16 that cracks down on government critics

The United Nations listed Sri Lankan among 16 nations where governments are believed to be cracking down on critics with impunity, reports the Associated Press. Addressing a special session of the Human Rights Council, the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said that the 16 nations had been “ far from sufficient ” in preventing intimidation and attacks by government members on various activists. Along with Sri Lanka , the other named nations were Algeria, Bahrain, Belarus, China, Colombia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malawi, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Uzbekistan and Venezuela . Ms Pillay further said: “Reprisals and intimidation against individuals continue to be reported. People may be threatened or harassed by government officials, including through public statements by high-level authorities. Associations and NGOs may see their activities monitored or restricted. Smear campaigns against those who cooperate with the U.N. may be organized. Threats may be made via phone calls, text messages or even direct contacts. People may also be arrested, beaten or tortured and even killed.” “[There has also been a] lack of accountability in relation to the majority of reported cases of reprisals.”

TNA councillors go into hiding after threats

Five councillors from the Tamil National Alliance have fled from the Eastern province following threats to support the government and are now in hiding in Colombo. TNA leader R Sampanthan stated that unidentified persons threatened the councillors to support the ruling UPFA, reports Colombo Page. TamilNet previously reported that each councillor was offered 50 million rupees in cash as well as a vehicle and house in Colombo. Sampanthan confirmed that the councillors have fled from the Eastern province and gone into hiding in Colombo. See our TGView on the Eastern Province elections here .

Indian General admits training of Sri Lankan Army

The Indian Army’s Southern Command chief, Lt Gen A.K. Singh has admitted that the Sri Lankan Army takes part in a ‘diverse’ training programme with Indian security forces. Speaking after a passing out ceremony of new cadets in Chennai, Lt Gen Singh said that the Sri Lankan army’s ‘expertise' is due to the training provided by India. “With the Sri Lankan Army, we have an ongoing training programme. It is very diverse.” said Lt Gen Singh when a reporter questioned him about training provided to Sri Lanka. “I think the Sri Lankan Army acknowledges that their expertise in various fields is...

TNA hold talks with SLMC

The TNA and the SLMC held talks on Sunday reported the Jaffna newspaper Uthayan. Speaking on Sunday, the TNA leader R. Sampanthan, confirmed that the TNA is currently in discussion with the SLMC and his counterpart, Rauf Hakeem, regarding the establishment of a minority government in the Eastern Province. Sampanthan said, the TNA was prepared to appoint a Tamil speaking Muslim as Chief Minister in the East, but he could not comment on the SLMC's discussions with the UPFA, nor what their final decision would be.

Premadasa threatened war with India

President Premadasa threatened to go to war with India in 1989 if the Indian military did not withdraw its troops, revealed the former Indian High Commissioner to Colombo, Lakhan Lal Mehrotra. According to Mehrotra if India did not withdraw, Premadasa threatened that he would claim on state TV that Sri Lankan forces had captured the North-East, saying, “and then if the IPKF (Indian Peace Keeping Force) resented, there would be hostility and war,” Mehrotra is said to have replied, “Excellency, I have come here to discuss peace with you, but if you want war you will have it.” Commenting on that...

Sri Lanka’s excuses at UN Panel Discussion

Speaking at the 21st session of the UN Human Rights Council earlier this week, Sri Lanka delivered revealingly weak excuses at a Panel Discussion on Intimidation & Reprisals. Discussing the topic of intimidation and reprisals against individuals and groups who cooperate or have cooperated with the UN in the field of human rights, a field of infamous expertise for Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan delegate told the council, “One must not lose sight that rights can bear fruit only when it is exercised with sensitivity to the accompanying duties” “In this context Sri Lanka is concerned that the council has increasingly witnessed the disturbing strength of unsubstantiated and uncorroborated allegations being used for political purposes by certain sections of the international community and NGOs to seek to name and shame specific countries. ” With its notorious reputation for freedom of expression, Sri Lanka also said, “States cannot at the same time be held responsible for any comments and references made in the independent media against such persons or entities, which would be tantamount to an interference with the freedom of expression.” They must have conveniently failed to recall an article published on The Official Government News Portal of Sri Lanka on the 17th of March 2012, naming several human rights activists and accusing them of “working with the LTTE rumps to conspire against their own motherland.” See Sri Lankan NGO activists work with LTTE rumps in Geneva - The Official Government News Portal of Sri Lanka (17 Mar 2012) See Sri Lanka’s statement at 2 hours 19 minutes. Meanwhile Lawyers Rights Watch also gave a statement at the discussion, with Ms Vani Selvarajah telling the council, “Unfortunately, despite several calls for action, a number of states continue to engage in reprisals against human rights defenders- among these countries are Bahrain, Malawi, Sri Lanka and Sudan.”

UN team briefed on Sri Lanka’s post conflict ‘progress’

The visiting United Nations office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) that arrived in Sri Lanka on Friday was briefed about the post-conflict ‘progress’ on human rights in Sri Lanka. Upon their arrival, the United Nations team met Sri Lanka’s Minister of Economic development, Basil Rajapaksa, who issued the usual Sri Lankan government discourse on post conflict development. Minister Rajapaksa also stressed that the government is now focused on “winning the hearts and minds,” of the minority community, and described the recent ruling party victory at the Provincial Elections as a...

Sri Lankan banks in the North stop issuing loans

A sudden decision by Sri Lankan public and private sector banks in the north to stop issuing loans has left the Tamil business community in a precarious situation. The banks subsequently increased the rate of interest on existing loans by 4 percent, reported TamilNet . As a result of being unable to repay the new interest on their existing loans, several Tamil traders have had to close their businesses. The president of the Jaffna Chamber of Commerce, Mr.R Jayasekaram, stressed that the sudden termination of issuing loans to businesses was the starting point for an economic crisis for the...