Military stops journalist from visiting IDPs

An Uthayan journalist who attempted to visit the Tamil families 'resettled' into the Suriyapuram forests on Friday, was stopped by the Sri Lankan army soldiers, reported the newspaper. Despite showing his press pass, the journalist was told by the soldiers, that they had orders from above instructing them not to allow any more media personnel into the area. Uthayan reports, that a source from within the military says the instructions came from Major General Mark.

UNHCR - 'still people displaced'

The UN Refugee Agency expressed concern on Thursday, about the families who have been relocated from Menik Farm. Despite seeing the closure of Menik Farm as a "significant step towards ending displacement", the UNHCR's representative in Sri Lanka Michael Zwack pointed out, "but there are still people displaced in different situations who need to find a solution." On their website, UN Refugee Agency wrote , 'When it [Menik Farm] was shut down on Monday, there were just 346 people left. But this last group of people was not allowed to return to their homes in the Kepapilavu area of north-...

Ruling party politician behind killings

A UPFA Pradeshiya Sabha member has been arrested over a series of rapes and murders of women in Kahawatta. Lokugamhewage Dharmasiri, who is a former secretary of a cabinet minister, was arrested after in February after a 52-year old woman and her 19-year old daughter. Police said that the politician ordered further killings to prove his innocence and convince authorities that a serial killer was on the loose. Four other women were killed, some of whom were also raped. Several police officers have been deployed in the town to arrest five further suspects. The Office-In-Charge however was...

Kilinochci protestors demand an end to military occupation

Tamil protestors in Kilinochchi on Thursday demanded an end to the Sri Lankan military occupation of the Tamil homeland and called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to take action, reported TamilNet. More than 400 protestors were reported to be at the protest organised by the TNA, TNPF and DPF. TNA leaders, Mavai Senathiraja, S. Sritharan and Vino Noakraathalingam, as well as DPF leader Mano Ganesan and Selvaraja Kajendren, the general secretary of the TNPF, addressed the protest. Demonstrators carried placards and photos of their missing relatives, and put forward demands calling...

Keppapulavu IDPs 'resettled' into forests

Photographs Tamilwin Tamil IDPs from Keppapulavu, supposedly 'resettled' by the Sri Lankan government earlier this week, were moved to the Suriyapuram forests by Nandikadal Lagoon, reports Uthayan and Tamilwin . See here for coverage, including an interview, on TamilNet. Dumped in little more than a clearing in the woods, families - many of whom headed by widows - have no access to drinking water, adequate shelter or food. According to Tamilwin, the families were moved by the Sri Lankan military from the Cheddikulam IDP camp to Vattrapalai school on Monday where they were told that they could return to their own homes. However, on Tuesday when the families demanded that they be allowed to return, the Sri Lankan military took them to the forests.

Sri Lanka to open embassy in Bahrain

Following the proposed closure of European embassies " that serve no purpose ", Sri Lanka has announced its latest diplomatic relocation, with a new embassy to open in Manama, Bahrain. The Bahraini foreign minister, Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, said : "The embassy in Manama will help foster diplomatic relations and coordination in various areas and will also serve the interests of the Sri Lankan community in Bahrain."

TNA invited to New Delhi for talks

The Indian government has invited Tamil National Alliance (TNA) delegates to participate in talks with the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other delegates on 10th October. This invitation comes after President Mahinda Rajapaksa recently met with Manmohan Singh and Pranab Mukjherjee along side India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna on his recent visit to India that received critical views from the main parties of Tamil Nadu. Speaking to Ceylon Today , TNA MP from Jaffna district Suresh Premachandran said they have received the invitation and expected the meeting to focus on...

Concern over Sri Lanka’s internet freedom

A report by Freedom House has named Sri Lanka as one of seven countries at risk of facing further restrictions on internet freedom. The ‘Freedom On The Net 2012’ report details how some governments have restricted freedom on the internet and are finding different ways to impose restrictions. “The findings clearly show that threats to internet freedom are becoming more diverse. "As authoritarian rulers see that blocked websites and high-profile arrests draw local and international condemnation, they are turning to murkier—but no less dangerous—methods for controlling online conversations,”...

‘Give us back our hijacked lands’ – protesters in Kilinochchi

Demonstrators led by the TNA gathered in Kilinochchi on Thursday to protest the ongoing military occupation of Tamil homelands and to demand the establishment of Tamils’ right to life. Convening outside the Kilinochchi Divisional Secretariat, protesters chanted: “Army! Leave Tamil lands now!” “Are Tamil lands High Security Zones?” “Let us live freely in our lands!” “Free Tamil political prisoners!” Along with TNA MPs and Councillors, prominent participants included leader of the Democratic People’s Front Mano Ganesan, Colombo Municipal Councillor Baskara, and former MP and current secretary-...

Sri Lanka's isolation only way forward

Nivard Cabraal’s bold claim , that events like the T20 Cricket World Cup will make the war crimes issue ‘fade away’, clearly shows that the international community’s continuation of ‘normal’ relations with Sri Lanka are critically undermining the possibility of creating a lasting peace, based on accountability and justice. The Central Bank governor’s conviction that war crimes can be made to disappear behind a facade of cultural and sporting festivity is shared by the rest of the Sri Lankan government. The continuation of normal international relations makes it unnecessary for Sri Lanka to take any meaningful steps in addressing the issues that are now central to international and Tamil demands. Sri Lanka will not need to pay any heed to repeated calls for meaningful accountability if it continues to enjoy a normal range of diplomatic contacts and indeed is even rewarded by being allowed to hold major sporting and political events.