Presents for the privileged

Sri Lanka's president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, presented members of the military with new houses on Saturday. The ceremony, held in Kalutara, is the seventh phase of the 'Api Venuven Api' housing project aimed at giving Sri Lanka's military families houses. Construction work has been undertaken by the army itself. Floods add to IDP woes in Vanni (21 Dec 2011) 2012 budget fosters militarisation (21 Nov 2011) ‘Resettlement’ in Sri Lanka – what the figures show and conceal (29 Oct 2011) India to rebuild Vanni schools, but promised houses yet to materialise (10 Oct 2011) So much for ‘resettlement...

LLRC recommendations ignored already

A huge project to develop the Sri Lankan capital Colombo is going to be implemented by the Sri Lankan military, in an attempt to minimise costs to the government. "The construction work will be entrusted to the engineering services divisions of the Sri Lanka Army, Navy and Air Force so that construction costs would be kept to the minimum," Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said on Thursday. Several parts of Colombo are marked for modernisation, including several markets and bus stand complex. Referring to the recommendations in the recent LLRC, which suggested the removal of the military from...

International investigation is the 'right policy for US' – House of Representatives member

An independent international investigation is the “right policy for the US”, said New York’s member in the US House of Representatives Michael Grimm, writing in Capitol Hill’s Roll Call newspaper. A former FBI agent and US Marine, Grimm commented that President Mahinda Rajapakse had “callously squandered” chances for peace and instead had worsened tensions on the island. “A prime and alarming example of this is the attempts by Rajapaksa's regime to whitewash horrible actions by the government in the final stages of Sri Lanka's civil war, where 10,000 to 40,000 ethnic Tamils were slaughtered...

‘Responsibility now falls on the international community’ – ICG

Commenting on Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), the International Crisis Group stated the conclusions were ‘untenable’ and called on the international community to lead efforts to bring about an international independent investigation into war crimes on the island. Noting that Sri Lanka is ‘ neither willing nor able to carry out impartial and effective investigations ’ as the recommendations of the LLRC stated, the ICG stated the report, “fails in a crucial task – providing the thorough and independent investigation of alleged violations of international...

Sri Lanka to prosecute LLRC critics

The Sri Lankan Ministry of External Affairs has announced it will take legal action against organisations that have criticised the LLRC, ColomboPage reported on Friday. Deputy Minister of External Affairs, Neomal Peiris said that certain human rights organisations have made false allegations about the LLRC report to the international community. He expressed his regrets over the behaviour of those organisations. The final LLRC report has been criticised by several organisations, including the Tamil National Alliance , the Tamil National People’s Front , the US State Department , a cross-party...

Army set up military check points at Jaffna University

The Sri Lankan Army set up military check points at the two main entrances to the University of Jaffna on Thursday, reported Tamilnet . Deploying extra soldiers to the areas, all students were checked on entering and leaving. Students at the Jaffna University Student Union were forced to leave in order to end the questioning by the Sri Lankan army. See related articles: Jaffna uni students detail their defiant act of remembrance (29 Nov 2011) Jaffna Students: Sri Lankan Government responsible for assault (17 Oct 2011) President of Student Union attacked in Jaffna (16 Oct 2011) Jaffna Uni...

Sri Lankan financial system risk warning

Sri Lanka is among the highest-risk financial systems in Asia’s emerging markets, said a report by a credit ratings agency, citing the rapid growth in credit. "Hong Kong and China were joined by Indonesia and Sri Lanka in the December 2011 assessment [of high-risk financial systems], although Vietnam dropped out as credit growth eased," said a report by Fitch Ratings. The higher credit leveraging by banks and growing asset prices were cited as reasons for the revised risk warning. Though Fitch upgraded Sri Lanka’s credit rating in July 2011, the agency ended the year warning that “foreign direct investment has been surprisingly slow to recover after the end of the country’s long civil war in 2009.” Fitch also expressed concern about the devaluation of the Sri Lankan rupee in November 2011.

LLRC report falls short - cross-party UK MPs

The LLRC report " falls short of addressing the evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity " said the British All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPG-T), adding, "it is important now that the international community holds Sri Lanka to their obligations under international law to allow for an international independent investigation ". Read the statement, released Thursday, here in full. Extracts reproduced below. "The Government of Sri Lanka has long deflected calls for an international independent investigation into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity stating...

Rajapaksa denounces ‘treacherous’ Tamil calls for international investigation

Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa has slammed the Tamil National Alliance for criticising the LLRC report and calling for an international investigation. Talking to reporters on Tuesday morning, the president accused the TNA for still harbouring an ‘LTTE mentality’ and denounced the call for an international investigation as ‘treacherous’ and harmful to the country. "They think and act like the LTTE. The LTTE behaved similarly. They came to talks (with the government), put conditions and withdrew," Rajapaksa said.

Floods add to IDP woes in Vanni

Over 6500 families have been badly affected by floods in the Vanni, as irrigation tanks overflowed and villages were inundated with flood water. Government officials confirmed that over 3000 families in Mullaitivu alone have sought out temporary accommodation so far, but that there were still vast areas that they have been unable to reach, leaving the true figure of affected people unknown. The main roads linking Mullaitivu to Jaffna and Paranthan to Pudukudirrippu have been closed due to the heavy flooding. Many of the families in the Vanni have been living in makeshift shelters since being...

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