Refugees in Australia driven to attempt suicide

There has been an increase in suicide attempts by refugees in Australia’s detention centres, The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Tuesday. The concerned refugees are all stuck in a legal limbo, due to them being deemed security threats by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). A total of 47 refugees have been given adverse security assessments by the ASIO, which makes it impossible for them to be released or resettled in Australia. These refugees are not permitted to see evidence against them or to know the criteria used to assess them. Two Tamils have attempted suicide in...

Presidential instructions

Photograph Colombopage Meeting the heads of private and state owned media institutions on Tuesday, Mahinda Rajapaksa instructed Sri Lanka's media not to use the media to 'incite communal hisharmony' and to act with a 'sense of responsbility'. Expressing appreciation towards the media institutions that he said had 'acted responsibly' during the UN Human Rights Council, Rajapaksa commended them for 'considering the well-being of the country' and stressed that media reporting on 'highly sensitive issues' should 'create reconciliation rather than emotional tension'.

Rajapaksa lauded for 'not giving in' to international pressure

In a book called 'Gota's War', Mahinda Rajapaksa was praised for refusing to consider a ceasefire at the behest of the international community, whilst India was blamed for the rise of armed resistance during the 1980s. The book, written by the Sinhala journalist working at the pro-government newspaper The Island, praised the determination by the Rajapaksa brothers to end the armed conflict through military means. As characterised by the title, the book pays particular attention to the role of Gotabhaya in steering the campaign. Speaking at the launch of the book, the Presidential Secretary,...

Sri Lanka plans massive Victory Day parade

File photo: Sri Lankan troops in Colombo. Preparations for the annual Victory Day Parade in Colombo are in full swing, with rehearsals for the event causing the closure of roads around the Galle Face Green. The parade will be held on May 19 under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapakse. Media on the island report sources in the Defence Ministry as saying the parade this year will consist of 852 officers and 12, 828 other rankers from the tri-forces, the police, and Civil Defence Force. The parade will be commanded by Maj. Gen. Jagath Rambukpotha, who was the commander of the 56th...

Peiris sets off to meet Hiliary Clinton

Sri Lanka's External Affairs Minister, G.L. Peiris, will be leaving for the United States on Monday, to attend his meeting with US Secretary of State Hiliary Clinton on May 18th in order to discuss implementation of the recommendations of the LLRC. Implentation of specific recommendations contained within was an integral part of a US resolution adopted by the UN Human Rights Council earlier this year. Peiris is said to be accompanied by the Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga, MP Sajin Vas Gunawardena and the Environment Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa.

Rajapakse’s planned UK visit criticised

President Mahinda Rajapakse has been invited to take part in the celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee. Mr Rajapakse will travel to the UK on June 3 for a four-day visit, but according to sources in the British High Commission in Colombo it will not be a state visit and no meetings with British government officials have yet been confirmed. British Tamils have expressed regret the decision to invite the president to the UK. Speaking to TamilNet , Arujuna Sivananthan of the British Tamil Conservatives said, “Her Majesty has led an exemplary life binding together various...

Ranil offers to mediate government-TNA talks

Ranil and Sampanthan at May Day rally The leader of the opposition, Ranil Wickremasinghe offered to mediate talks between the government and the TNA at a meeting with Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday. Discuss the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) the UNP leader said that the PSC "would not be meaningful" without the TNA and gave his assurance that he would bring the TNA to the PSC discussions if the government was willing to implement the LLRC recommendations. The meeting comes shortly after Sumanthiran of the TNA slammed the government for its failure to make meaningful progress on...

State banks write off billions of rupees of debt

Two state-run banks have written of billions of rupees of debt, after years of loans granted by the state not being repaid. It was announced in the Sri Lankan Parliament on Friday that the Bank of Ceylon has written off Rs.116.5 billion whilst the People's Bank has written off Rs.85.7 billion. It was further stated that in 2011 the People's Bank had written off Rs.788 million; Rs.316 million in 2010; Rs.157 million in 2009 and Rs.787 million in 2008. A letter sent by the Additional General Manager Bank of Ceylon also noted that the Bank of Ceylon had written off Rs. 11.3 billion in 2011,...

Sri Lanka promises to comply with fishing rules after UK complaint

Sri Lanka managed to avoid a ban on exporting its fish to the European Union, after pledging to comply with industry regulations, following complaints from the United Kingdom reported the Sunday Times . At the 16th session of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) held in Australia, the British Indian Overseas Territory complained that Sri Lankan fishermen were involved in illegal poaching. The complaint was also put forward by the UK, who according to Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, attempted to “ban our entire fleet of fisheries vessels for fishing in international waters”. They went on to...

Sumanthiran slams government, reiterates need for international investigation

Tamil National Alliance MP M A Sumanthiran has hit out at the government’s insincerity in addressing accountability issues. In a speech to the Sri Lankan parliament on Friday, Mr Sumanthiran said that only an independent international investigation can break the cycle of impunity and prevent the return of violence. “You talk so much about reconciliation. If you’re serious about reconciliation, your concern will be that of the victims. If victims are to recover from their trauma, justice and accountability are a necessary part of that. That is so, because to bring closure to a collective and...

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