Resurgence of ‘white van’ abductions

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has called for investigations into the disappearances of two activists, who helped organise a protest in Jaffna drawing attention to the plights of missing people on the island. The disappearances are just the latest in a string of abductions, which have seen a marked rise in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. The two missing men, Lalith Kumar Weeraraj and Kugan Muruganathan, were last seen in Avaragal near Jaffna, as they were making their way to the protest on Friday. Both men were involved in organising a series of protests against disappearances,...

Chinese military delegation arrives in Sri Lanka

A high-level delegation of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has arrived in Sri Lanka for talks. The group, led by General Hixiaotian, the Deputy Chief-of-Staff of the PLA, will meet with Army Commander and war crimes accused Jagath Jayasuriya to discuss training, exercises and further provision of military assistance to Sri Lanka. The delegation will also explore possibilities to increase the number of Sri Lankan trainee officers at Chinese military academies. The Daily Mirror reports .

Grateful subjects

Mahinda Rajapaksa's ears must have been burning yesterday, as ministers took turns to confess their gratitude to the President during the parliamentary session . "We must be grateful to him" urged UPFA member VK Indika, lauding the "numerous benefits" Rajapaksa is said to have been bestowed upon the fisheries sector. "We must thank President Rajapaksa for eliminating terrorism" echoed UPFA's Suriapperuma. Meanwhile UPFA MP Azwer took things one step further - Rajapaksa deserves a peace prize. Lamenting what he described as the West's misguided view of a peace, Azwer urged the Norwegian Nobel...

Lankan Navy attacks again

Fishermen from India were reported to have been attacked again by the Sri Lankan Navy on Sunday, after a 12-day strike in protest of the recent wave of assaults. 750 fishing boats were surrounded by the Sri Lankan Navy who then proceeded to pelt stones and beer bottles at the fishermen. A few of the fishermen also had their catch thrown away, before being threatened with arrest. The fishermen went on strike after Sri Lankan authorities arrested 5 Indian fishermen on what they claim are fabricated drug smuggling charges. Talks with the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commissioner to secure their...

More equal than others

Sri Lanka's Buddhist monks, charged with crimes, are to have their court cases tried in a "separate court" said Prime Minister Jayaratne on Friday. According to Jayaratne, the decision - currently a draft bill sitting with cabinet, was made in order to ease an overwhelming backlog of court cases involving monks. Sri Lanka's Buddhist monks have undoubtedly had a busy few months of late (see below). However, Sri Lanka's inherent failure to investigate and prosecute crimes perpetrated by members of the Buddhist clergy, makes the government's reasoning an all the more ludricious attempt to...

Tamils protest in Jaffna against disappearances

Relatives of missing hold up pictures (Pictures: TamilNet) Relatives of people that had disappeared during and after the war in Vanni staged a protest in Jaffna on Human Rights Day on Friday. Hundreds of soldiers and policemen across the peninsula harassed civilians in an attempt to intimidate and block the protest from going ahead, TamilNet reported. The protest is the latest sign of simmering anger and injustice felt by Tamils in the North-East. However, the growing defiance and peaceful protests staged by the Tamil people, continue to be repressed by the Sri Lankan government and ignored by the Sinhala press.

Protest against NATO in Colombo

Photograph Pakistan Today A protest was held in Colombo on Friday condemning the United States and NATO, after airstrikes on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border killed 12 Pakistani soldiers. Speakers at the event went on to praise the Sri Lankan government’s war effort, calling it a justified approach and accused Channel 4 of being funded by the LTTE, whilst also being supported by the United States. Several government ministers attended the protest, including leader of the “National Freedom Front”, Wimal Weerawansa, and Governor Western Province Hon Alvi Maulana and Minister Mervin De Silva...

Asia Society forum on Sri Lanka

At a discussion hosted by the Asia Society on December 6, 2011, documentary filmmaker Callum Macrae , Malinda Seneviratne , Editor-in-Chief of Sri Lanka's The Nation, and Bob Templer of the International Crisis Group present and assess both the Sri Lankan government and international community's perspectives on that country's decades-long sectarian conflict. Tunku Varadarajan , editor of Newsweek International, moderates the discussion. (1 hr, 16 min.) See also Asia Society's related blog post here .

Navi Pillay defers Sri Lanka visit

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillai, has deferred a planned visit to Sri Lanka. Speaking to reporters in New York on Friday she said there should be accountability for the crimes committed during the war on the island. Commenting on the invitation she received from the Sri Lankan government to visit the country, she said she will not visit until Sri Lanka’s report by the LLRC (Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission) is first made public by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Ms Pillay also said she hopes the LLRC report will be discussed at the Human Rights Council session...

Devananda set to take over Elephant Pass saltern

The Sri Lankan cabinet has approved an application by EPDP leader Douglas Devananda to restore and commence salt manufacturing at the Elephant Pass saltern, in the Jaffna peninsula. Devananda, who is head of the paramilitary group and also Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development, submitted the proposal on behalf of a new state owned corporation. Another EPDP run company the ‘Maheswari Foundation’ is already involved in the illegal excavation of sand Vadamaraadchi, also in Jaffna. See reports from TamilNet here and here . Devananda and his group have been accused of...

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