England cricket fans fume over “foreigner” ticket prices

English cricket fans have been outraged by a decision taken by the cash-strapped Sri Lankan Cricket board to charge “foreigners” higher prices for tickets than for locals, with prices up to ten times higher than those charged to Australian fans, just seven months ago. Representatives from England’s Barmy Army, the unofficial supporters group of the English Cricket team, were livid at the controversial two-tier policy and began drawing up petitions as well as meeting with Sri Lankan Cricket officials. Some have also commented that they feel “exploited” , after having personally donated to Sri...

Reconciliation and accountability necessary for peace - Clinton

Welcoming the UN resolution passed at the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday, the US Secretary of State, Hiliary Clinton said, "The United States, together with the international community, sent a strong signal that Sri Lanka will only achieve lasting peace through real reconciliation and accountability ," "And the international community stands ready to help," "Implement the constructive recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and take the necessary measures to address accountability ," "We are committed to working with the...

Sri Lanka remains stubbornly defiant after UN resolution

State backed media and government politicians have rallied together to condemn a resolution passed at the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday, vowing to remain defiant. Labelling the resolution “misconceived, unwarranted and ill-timed”, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, who led the Sri Lankan delegation in Geneva, slammed the resolution, and called out the United States, declaring , “Those who live in glass houses are best advised to exercise caution before throwing stones”. The President's brother and Minister Basil Rajapakse stated earlier that the country was unfazed by the resolution and was...

The Hindu, on Geneva and India …

Extracts from the editorial Friday of The Hindu , which has hisotircally been a vocal supporter of President Rajapaksa’s regime and its predecessors: “The wording of the resolution was tweaked by India to say the implementation assistance the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights will provide must be with Sri Lanka's 'concurrence'. “ Yet, Colombo must not misread this concession . “ Thursday's resolution is the first real sign that the world will no more let itself be guided solely by Sri Lankan claims that it has the will to carry out its own probe. “ It also means that gentle...

HRW hails ‘important first step’, calls for close monitoring

Comments by Juliette De Rivero, advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, on the UN Human Rights Council’s resolution on Sri Lanka on Thursday: “The Human Rights Council's vote demonstrates broad international dissatisfaction with Sri Lanka's accountability efforts in the three years since the end of the war. “Many countries have recognized that this resolution is an important first step toward serious action to investigate the many abuses by both sides during the conflict. “In its failed efforts to block the council resolution, the Sri Lankan government saw fit to put its own citizens at risk...

“I will break your limbs in public!” – Minister threat to human rights activists

Sri Lankan Minister Mervyn Silva has threatened human rights activists who attended the 19th UN Human Rights Council Session in Geneva, where a resolution about Sri Lanka was adopted yesterday. Speaking at a protest against the resolution on Friday, Silva singled out activists Sunila Abeysekara, Nimalka Fernando and Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu and journalists Sunanda Deshapriya and Poddala Jayantha for betraying Sri Lanka and threatened them with violence. “I am the one who chased Poddala Jayantha from Sri Lanka,” he said, referring to the journalist who fled the country due to threats...

US eases restrictions on defence sales to Sri Lanka

The US state department has eased restrictions on defence exports to Sri Lanka on Thursday, the same day as the passing of a resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council, AP reports. Tensions between the countries are high, as Sri Lanka rejected the US-sponsored resolution and condemned the interference into what it says are internal matters. The state department said that the move to lift some restrictions, namely the exports of equipment for aerial and maritime equipment, is unrelated to the resolution. The easing of the restrictions, which have been in place since the early 1980s...

Aid for flood hit areas misappropriated - UNP MP

Dayashri Jayasekara, an MP with Sri Lanka’s main opposition United National Party (UNP), told parliament that Rs. 6.35 million sent as aid to areas highly affected by floods in the East of Sri Lanka in 2011 had been misappropriated. Jayasekara stated during a debate that several officials involved with the bank had been involved with embezzlement. The allegations have been denied by Deputy Finance Minister Geethanjana Gunawardena, who claims that the money had been used to provide relief to close to 6,000 families in the Eastern Province and tabled documents to support his claims. At the time...

Former UK Foreign Secretaries urge states to back resolution

Writing in The Guardian on Tuesday, UK MPs, including former UK foreign secretaries, Douglas Alexander MP, David Miliband MP, Jack Straw MP and Margaret Beckett MP, urged member states to back a resolution tabled at the UNHRC. Extracts reproduced below: "Establishment of military, rather than independent, courts of inquiry to investigate some army and navy actions suggests true accountability will not be forthcoming from within Sri Lanka." "In November 2011 the UN Committee Against Torture published a damning report on Sri Lanka, revealing the extent of allegations of human rights violations...

New evidence on killing of Colonel Ramesh in custody

New evidence has emerged detailing the sequence of events that led to the killing of the senior LTTE commander, Colonel Ramesh, after in the custody of the Sri Lankan army, The Global Mail reports. "Of the mass of available evidence, the most compelling trail is that of Colonel Ramesh. His death provides a crack of light that illuminates the deaths of thousands of others, and the motives of the probable perpetrators ." "The Global Mail has examined these images with lawyers and senior police investigators. In the words of one investigator, a former police officer, these images leave "no doubt...

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