Canada demands 'decisive action' now that LLRC report released

Highlighting the Sri Lankan government's "lack of both accountability and meaningful attempts at reconciliation ", Canada's foreign affairs minister, John Baird, urged Sri Lanka to take " decisive action " following the release of the LLRC report and " demonstrate the principles of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law ." In a statement published Wednesday, Baird expressed concern that, " the report does not fully address the grave accusations of serious human rights violations " and noted that " many of the allegations outlined by the UN Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka have not been adequately addressed ". " We continue to call for an independent investigation into the credible and serious allegations raised by the UN Secretary-General’s Panel that international humanitarian law and human rights were violated by both sides in the conflict," Baird urged. Baird had raised concerns regarding accountability for war crimes , with his Sri Lankan counterpart, GL Peiris, September last year, and criticised the UN's inaction on the issue. Wednesday's statement adds to the on-going calls from a number of Canadian MPs and prime minister, for a credible, independent investigation into the allegations.

Criminalising a nation

Warning that there continued to be a "threat", Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary, speaking at a lecture on ‘Future Challenges of National Security in Sri Lanka’ on Tuesday, said, “LTTE front organisations can encourage and facilitate ex LTTE cadres and those who escaped from the military during the war and pave way for a re-emergence. Those who did not surrender are probably following the ideology of the LTTE. Even though 11,000 of them were rehabilitated there must be cadres who are not 100 per cent rehabilitated ." “We cannot forget everything just because we defeated them militarily. Still the threat is there. There are lots of enemies in the international front taking active steps to derail the path the government is taking to achieve economic development.” Despite renewed calls for Sri Lanka to curtail its ever increasing militarisation of the North-East, the Defence Secretary justified the military's sweeping reach, saying, “That is why we still maintain a strong military and that is why a considerable portion of the budget is given to the military. Still it is only two and a half years after defeating the LTTE militarily." “ To establish a camp anywhere in Sri Lanka is a decision and concern of the country as it is a sovereign state."

‘Sri Lanka's woeful January way-points’ - CPJ

“In 2011, Sri Lanka ranked fourth worst in the world in terms of allowing murders of journalists to go unpunished, according to our global Impunity Index. As we noted in our report, " President Mahinda Rajapaksa has presided over a dark era of targeted media killings and complete law-enforcement failure in addressing the crimes. All nine journalist murders in the past decade have gone unsolved, leaving persistent questions as to whether authorities have been complicit in some of the crimes. " “The result of all this mayhem is that Sri Lanka's independent media has been largely restrained,...

Government intelligence has ‘unearthed’ campaign

The Sri Lankan government’s “Intelligence Units” have managed to uncover a campaign from “foreign soils” that they say has threatened to deface the country. What is this sinister threat? A petition. The Department of Government Information declared that the Free Media Movement, has been writing to the European Union attempting to terminate the GSP + concessions to Sri Lanka. They reported 700 petitions have been sent so far. To add to the conspiracy, an opposition UNP politician is also alleged to be involved in the plot. The GSP+ tariff had already been suspended in August 2010, after Sri...

Haitian sexual abuse troops remain unpunished

Sri Lankan troops who were expelled from Haiti, after allegations that they sexually abused Haitian minors in 2007, may still remain unpunished after the UN said the onus was on Sri Lanka to prosecute them. 111 soldiers and 3 officers were repatriated back to Sri Lanka after being part of UN mission in Haiti and were accused of a string of sexual assaults, including rape of children as young as 7 years old. Responding to questions from Inner City Press , UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky, could not say if any of the soldiers had been prosecuted stating , "As you also...

Army opens yet another holiday resort in Jaffna

The Sri Lankan Army once again stepped into the realm of civilian life, by opening up a new holiday resort in Chundilkulam, in the Jaffna peninsula. The new resort is located by Chundikulam Bird Sanctuary and was opened by Commander Security Forces Jaffna Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe, with its inauguration being announced on the Sri Lankan Army website . The Army currently runs another resort in the Jaffna peninsula, the “ Thalasevana Holiday Resort ” located inside the Valikamam North High Security Zone, the largest in Jaffna having been established in 1987. See our earlier post: Army...

‘Banning its roti and eating it too’

Sri Lanka’s war on "wheat terrorism” is part of a "bi-polar" strategy that is set out to appeal to the ruling SLFP's traditional electorate and neglect others, commented the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice. Responding to Prime Minister Jayaratne’s comments last month where he called to “make bread unaffordable”, Fred Carver from the Sri Lanka Campaign spoke to Radio Netherlands Worldwide and said, “Sri Lanka is already engaging in these very protectionist attitudes. But it has a very Bi-polar investment strategy. They are attracting foreign investments and protecting internal markets...

Paramilitaries monopolise Jaffna cable TV through violent intimidation

Paramilitary groups are threatening private cable TV operators in Jaffna, into surrendering their businesses to a paramilitary monopoly - MBL Cable Network, reported Tamilnet. Citing "government permission" the paramilitary groups have told private cable TV operators that their businesses were now illegal and they must now buy channels from the paramilitary network. The network is backed by 'the Sri Lankan establishment through the forces aligned with Douglas Devananda and Selvarasa Pathmanathan alias KP', Tamilnet reports. Alexkumar Balasundaram, a cable provider from Kokkuvil, is alleged to...

'Will not allow any sharing' of fishing waters with India

Sri Lanka will refuse to share territorial waters with India, said the Fisheries Minister, Rajitha Senaratne, on Tuesday. India had proposed such an arrangement in an attempt to avoid disputes over fishing. Senaratne said, “On several occasions, Sri Lankan fishermen had been arrested by the Indian coast guards. We will oppose the idea of the sharing the territorial waters by Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen. We cannot allow any sharing because in such a case, Sri Lanka will always be placed at a disadvantageous position ." See related articles: Sri Lankan Navy pelts Tamil fishermen with stones...

Reuters – Sri Lanka ‘completely reliant on Iranian oil’

As the European Union agreed to broaden sanctions imposed on Iran, latest figures have revealed Turkey, South Africa and Sri Lanka rely most heavily on Iranian oil as a percentage of their imports. Sri Lanka, which imported 39,000 barrels per day in the first half of 2011, is “completely reliant” on Iranian oil, reported Reuters . In response to the threat of an oil embargo , in which case Iran would lose big customers such as Italy, Greece and Spain, the International Director of the National Iranian Oil Co, M. Qamsari commented last week, "We could very easily replace these customers.” Iran...

Pages