Gotabaya rules out federal solution to ethnic conflict

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa ruled out a federal solution to the ethnic conflict, The Island reported. Speaking to editors and senior representatives of electronic media at the Presidential Secretariat, Gotabaya told them "there was no point wasting time on solutions that couldn’t be implemented," The Island wrote. Instead, Gotabaya claims that development of the North-East in the form of employment, education and health facilities will bring peace to the island. His comments come just a week after families of the disappeared rallied across the North-East, demanding Sri Lanka's new...

Sri Lanka’s gender gaps widens - World Economic Forum

In a report released by the World Economic Forum on the Global Gender Gap, Sri Lanka saw its gap in gender parity continue to grow. Over the last year, the island’s gender equality ranking declined from 100 to 102 out of 153 countries. A country once in the top quartile of nations for gender equality in the early 2000s has progressively declined from closing 72 percent of the gender gap in 2010 to 68 percent this year. The gender gap widened in the category of women in parliament placing Sri Lanka disappointingly 145th out of the 153 countries. The makeup of Gotabya Rajapaksa’s cabinet has...

UN peacekeepers in Haiti ‘fathered hundreds of babies’ with young girls with violence and coercion

United Nations peacekeepers deployed in Haiti, including Sri Lankan soldiers, have fathered hundreds of babies with young mothers - sometimes through sexual violence - before abandoning them, reports a new study published this week. The study, published today on The Conversation , says that “girls as young as 11 were sexually abused and impregnated by peacekeepers and . . . ‘left in misery’ to raise their children alone”. That includes Sri Lankan peacekeepers linked to a paedophilic sex ring in Haiti, where at least 134 soldiers exploited nine children from 2004 to 2006. The Sri Lankan military repatriated 114 of the soldiers after a group of children identified them as paedophiles, but none have ever been prosecuted.

Attacks on media in Sri Lanka ‘extremely alarming’ - CPJ

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) expressed alarm following a recent wave of harassment and attacks on journalists in Sri Lanka, following the election of Gotabaya Rajapaksa. With the intensifying attacks against local media, including harassment and interrogation by police forces, the CPJ has called on authorities to "hold those responsible to account, and ensure that journalists can report freely in the country". In some instances, those who assaulted media personnel have been identified as belonging to pro-Rajapaksa groups, such as in the attack on Maduka Thaksala Fernando, a...

Buddhist monk lashes out at Boris Johnson after message thanking Tamils

Senior Sinhala Buddhist monk Omalpe Sobitha has called for Sri Lanka to withdraw from the Commonwealth in retaliation to the newly elected British Prime Minister’s call for reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka. Speaking at a press conference, the monk reacted to a video released by Boris Johnson on the eve of Britain's general election, by saying “he ends the speech by thanking in Tamils". "We are not sure if he was elected as PM of Britain or of Sri Lanka," said the monk. "We need to condemn this statement and withdraw from the Commonwealth,” The monk’s statement follows similar...

Tamil man reported missing in Mannar

A Tamil man from Mannar has been reported missing by his family this week. Thirty-year-old Antonis Nimal who is employed as an outreach officer at the Nanattan divisional council was last seen leaving for work on Saturday morning. His wife reported him missing to Murungan police on Saturday night as he had not come home by 11pm, and family members say he had still not returned two days later. Police said they had no information about any suspicious incidents or personal problems but that the missing man’s details had been circulated among police stations across the North.

‘Sri Lanka’s reputation is at stake’ warns Switzerland

The Swiss government has criticised Sri Lanka for a lack of due process following the arrest of one of its embassy employees in Colombo, after she claimed to have been abducted in the southern capital last month. “Switzerland wishes to emphasise that in this high-profile case Sri Lanka's reputation as a country that upholds the rule of law is at stake,” said a Swiss government statement. Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) said it was “concerned” about the arrest and said it “has repeatedly called for due process to be followed”. “In particular, the FDFA has criticised...

Sri Lankan president tells Swiss ambassador that abduction is ‘total fabrication’

Sri Lanka’s president Gotabaya Rajapaksa met with Switzerland’s ambassador to Colombo this week, where he told him that the alleged abduction of a Swiss embassy employee last month was “a total fabrication”. In a meeting with Hanspeter Mock, Rajapaksa reportedly said “the Embassy official must have been compelled by some interested parties to bring myself and my government in to disrepute”. Sri Lanka’s official President's Media Division quoted Ambassador Mock as telling Rajapaksa that, “We wish to work together for the benefit of both countries”. “Also we need to overcome this situation of...

Sinhala nationalists demand Wigneswaran is arrested by Sri Lankan CID

The head of a Sinhala nationalist organisation has demanded that former Chief Minister of the Northern Province C V Wigneswaran is arrested by Sri Lankan police after he said it was wrong to call Sri Lankan a Buddhist country last week. Dan Priyasad, head of the Nawa Sinhale National Movement, filed an official complaint at Sri Lanka’s Police Headquarters and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) demanding the senior Tamil politician be arrested. On Saturday, Wigneswaran had said in an interview that it is “wrong to say Sri Lanka is a Buddhist Country”. “The Northern and Eastern...

Tamil culture showcased in Jaffna street paintings

Streets in Jaffna were decorated with street art this week, showcasing various aspects of the city’s Eelam Tamil culture. Walls in streets through the city centre were emblazoned with images depicting the history of the city.

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