UNP blames govt for UNHRC resolution

Sri Lanka's opposition party, the UNP, which has been largely quiet over recent events at the UN Human Rights Council, blamed the government for resolution 22/L1. Speaking at a media briefing on Friday along with the JHU, and Sri Lanka's Minister for Youth Affairs, the UNP parliamentarian Lakshman Kiriella backed the call for demonstrations against the resolution, but urged that they be redirected to opposite Temple Trees, and not embassies . Kiriella said : “This entire resolution consists of the promises made by Sri Lanka to the international community and to this country during the past...

SL media points the finger at GTF-TNA for Botswana's abstention

In a column - ‘Acting’ President Priyankara on cloud nine - the SundayTimes.lk has asked if the GTF and the TNA were responsible for Botswana's vote of abstention. Publishing a photograph of representatives from the TNA and GTF meeting with the Botswana Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Minister Phandu Skelemani, as well as officials of the South African government, the SundayTimes.lk wrote: 'Did the Britain-based Tamil Global Forum (GTF) and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in Sri Lanka jointly lobby Botswana to abstain from voting when the US resolution against Sri Lanka was...

New report on torture furthers calls for CHOGM boycott

A new investigation has found that the torture of Tamil political prisoners is increasingly rife in Sri Lanka, with notable deaths in custody after prolonged abuse. A report by the London-based Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice, outlined that the Sri Lankan government has habitually defied laws and discredited post-conflict promises of reconciliation, by systematic abuse of prisoners, many of whom had no links to the war. The Sri Lanka Campaign report outlined that the treatment of Tamil prisoners along with other human rights violations, had been unnoticed by an outside world eager to...

Samarasinghe: resolution's agenda is not human rights

In an email interview with the Sunday Observer, Sri Lanka's Special Envoy to Geneva on Human Rights, Mahinda Samarasinghe asserted that the UNHRC and the resolution seemed "to be pursuing other agendas [not human rights] bordering on the political," and went on to forewarn that "we will expose time and again and resist with all our efforts". Reiterating the efforts made by Sri Lanka to present itself in a positive light, Samarasinghe said, "remnants of the defeated LTTE remain and wield influence in many countries". He added, "They are highly motivated, well-funded and are working against any success in reconciliation in Sri Lanka. They do exercise some influence in countries in which they have taken up domicile. They influence the domestic agenda in these countries." Extracts of the interview are reproduced below. See here for full transcript on the Sri Lankan military's website.

Sumanthiran's thoughts on the UNHRC resolution..

MA Sumanthiran of the TNA, spoke to the Sunday Leader on the resolution recently adopted by the UNHRC: Q: What impact do you think the adoption of the latest US backed resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC would have on the country? A: That will be determined by how the Government reacts to this. If it acts responsibly at least at this stage and engages constructively with the international community, we can do ourselves a favour and deal with all outstanding issues that hinder genuine reconciliation with the help and assistance of the international community. Q: Do you believe that the...

HRW: Australia and India weakened UNHRC criticism of Sri Lanka

Human Rights Watch blamed Australia and India for the final watering down of the UNHRC resolution, thus easing the pressure on the Sri Lankan government, by putting domestic political concerns ahead of human rights, The Weekend Australian reported. Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth said the original UN resolution had been watered down at the insistence of India, which had been seeking a consensus resolution that would garner Sri Lanka's co-operation. (Sri Lanka anyway rejected outright the weakened resolution.) Roth added Australia's "belated" support for the weakened...

Law, politics and diplomacy

A heated exchange took place between visiting Canadian Senator Hugh Segal and External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L Peiris over Sri Lanka’s impeachment of the Chief Justice, the Daily Mirror reported. Segal was being hosted by Peiris in delivering a guest at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute, when in response to a journalist question, he criticised the impeachment. Pointing to how the Canadian Federal Court and the Supreme Court had given many rulings against the Canadian Government, Segal said: “We [the government] have suffered as a matter from our courts but we didn’t impeach the Chief...

TNPF: 'local investigatory process has to be rejected outright'

Photograph Tamilwin Speaking at a press conference in Jaffna on Friday, the leader of the Tamil National People's Front (TNPF), Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam expressed "grave disappointment" on the UNHRC resolution 22/1, and asserted that the call for a "local investigatory process has to be outright rejected". Commenting on the resolution, he went on to say that the TNPF wished to "unreservedly distance" itself from it, citing three reasons: the call to use local mechanisms in order to carry out investigations, the resolution's emphasis on the LLRC, and the inclusion of the government's pledge to hold Northern provincial council elections. See here for audio clip on TamilNet. Transcribed verbatim below:

Mahinda Rajapaksa defiant

Rejecting the UNHRC Resolution 22/1, Mahinda Rajapaksa said , " This attack would not surprise us at all. These attacks would not subdue us either, nor would they defeat or intimidate us in any way ," Speaking from military headquarters in Kurunegala, Rajapaksa claimed that he was expecting such attacks from the 'pro-LTTE diaspora' and the 'anti-Sri Lankan elements', and dismissed any allegations as "false accusations with ulterior motives". Referring to the Norwegian led ceasefire, he added: "A section of this country before 2009 was identified as an Eelam (Tamil separate state) region. The...

'Annual ritual to humiliate SL at UNHRC' - SL HC to India

Defending bilateral ties between India and Sri Lanka, the High Commissioner of Sri Lank to India, Prasad Kariyawasam, said told The Week that the resolution was brought about by " LTTE lobbies from the west ". He added : “There is no dispute between India and Sri Lanka. Our bilateral ties are not at all affected,” “The resolution of the United Nations Human Rights Council was uncalled for as it does not take into account all the progress that Sri Lanka has made since the end of the war,” “ This is becoming an annual ritual to humiliate Sri Lanka and play great games around Lanka and the...

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