Number of SL dead ‘too small’ to be war crimes – Gothabaya

Sri Lankan defence secretary Gothabaya Rajapakse has told a conference on reconciliation in Colombo that the number of civilians killed during the final phase of the military conflict was far too small to be classed as war crimes or genocide. The brother of the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse, also revealed that the government was in the final stages of completing a census on the number of killed during the war. "As a result of the census, we already know that the real number of the dead and missing is far too small to provide any substance to absurd allegations of genocide and war...

Navy attempts to quash Remembrance Day events in Kaarainagar

Reports have emerged that the Sri Lankan Navy has explicitly banned Hindu temples in Kaarainagar from tolling their bells, in the week leading up to Remembrance Day on 27th November. Orders to prohibiting the lighting of any lamps and the use of microphones have also been issued by the Navy. Many Hindu priests have been threatened and intimidated. Despite opposition by the Divisional Board Chairman of Kaarainagar, the Sri Lankan military's suffocating presence in the North-East makes any open dissent or protest extremely dangerous.

Expropriations concern foreign investors – EIU

The Economist Intelligence Unit has stated in a report that Sri Lanka’s latest expropriation laws would only serve to further harm the economy and scare off any potential investors. It comes as the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse announced plans to acquire 37,000 acres of land from plantation companies and redistribute them among certain farmer families in the country. The report said that even though Sri Lanka assured investors this would be a one-off move, it “undermines the predictability of policymaking” and would “raise significant concerns amongst foreign investors”. Comparing...

Rajapaksa warns against 'cover of human rights'

Mahinda Rajapaksa warned that "terrorists" were using the "cover of human rights" to attack Sri Lanka, when addressing the graduation ceremony at the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (KDU) at Temple Trees on Tuesday. Rajapaksa said, " Terrorists who attacked us once hiding in the civil society, attack us in the cover of human rights today ." “If this was a personal attack, it would have been easy for me to tolerate. But this is not so. These attacks are against the motherland . You need to understand that it is a threat posed to national securit y." “It is the duty of all of us to work towards taking the country to a top position in the world. After the liberation of the country we did not forget our war heroes . We love them respect them and trust them forever ”. According to the Sri Lankan government's official news portal, Rajapaksa added ,

Army escort South African and Chinese delegation around Vanni

The Sri Lankan army escorted a South African and Chinese delegation around Vanni on Friday. Major General Perera, Commander of Sri Lanka's Army, met with Mr Ebrahim Ebrahim , South Africa’s Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, and Ms Yang Suping , Ambassador from the People’s Republic of China. According to the Sri Lankan Army's statement, using the military's newly established base in Vanni as the 'Security Forces Headquarters', Perara explained the "humanitarian operations against terrorism" undertaken by the armed forces. The statement reported that delegates were...

Rajapakse receives LLRC report

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse received the long-awaited Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Committee report today, but it is still unclear when it will be made available to the public. Bandula Jayasekara, the president’s director general of media, said , “The final report was handed over to the president by its chairman. The president will now study the report”. According to the Sunday Times , while the 400-page report acknowledges that while “there appears to be a prima facie case based on the information the commissioners have received”, they have neither named any specific...

MSF’s 'ugly compromises' in Sri Lanka

One of the world’s best known aid agencies, Médecins sans Frontières, has released a collection of essays which has revealed some of the controversial policies that they undertook when negotiating with governments during their work. Amongst those examined was their work in Sri Lanka where after being accused of being pro-LTTE, the agency found itself working within a government "pacification policy that had settled the ethnic question in Sri Lanka by bombings and military surveillance". Looking at other operations in Somalia, Burma, Pakistan and Gaza, the book explores the argument that...

UK Foreign Office Minister calls for release of LLRC report

Alistair Burt, British Foreign Office minister has today called on Sri Lanka to release the report on the findings of the controversial Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. “Many hope this report will mark a significant milestone in Sri Lanka’s recovery from conflict, and I call on the Government of Sri Lanka to seize this important opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to national reconciliation and accountability . "Making the report public at the earliest opportunity is a vital part of this commitment and I look forward to the Government of Sri Lanka setting out the steps it...

The Figment of ‘Post-Conflict’ Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s present political predicament is already somewhat hastily being described as ‘post-conflict’ by both international and local actors, for example by both the Government of Sri Lanka and the IMF. However, there are very good reasons for remaining sceptical about the use of this terminology, not just because of the nebulousness of definitions of conflict (and a simplistically assumed opposition with peace), and its injudicious past use in places like Afghanistan, but also due to present dynamics in Sri Lanka which are being deliberately papered over and viewed through a skewed lens. Indeed, ‘post-conflict’ is a misnomer that flows from the predominance of a particular international common sense knowledge and the way it understands the power dynamics in the interface of the global and local that we find in Sri Lanka.

2012 budget fosters militarisation

Sri Lanka's 2012 budget reveals further proposals to aid security forces and encourage the expansion of their families. The reading of the budget, by Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday to parliament, was interrupted by an altercation between MPs . UNP MPs holding placards criticising the proposals were assaulted by government MPs. Measures aimed at the military included a one-off cash grant of 100,000 rupees, to any military or police officer who parented a third child. Arguing that Sri Lanka's military work towards fostering democracy and must be rewards, Rajapaksa defended the proposal as a mark...

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