India to support UNHRC on war crimes

India has stated that it will back the United Nations Human Rights Committee when they visit Sri Lanka to investigate allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity during the final phase of the armed conflict in 2009. According to Union Minister of State for PMO V Narayanasamy, India would give its full backing to the UN, and he further reportedly stated that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would not allow human rights violations to take place in any part of the world. Frontier India quoted Narayanasamy as saying , “Not only in Sri Lanka, if war crimes and human rights violations...

US Colombo embassy to close early due to protests

The US embassy in Colombo has announced it will be closed from 9:30am on Monday due to anticipated protests against the anti-Islam movie that has sparked protests worldwide and led to the deaths of US embassy officials in Libya. The embassy urged US citizens to avoid travelling near the embassy on Monday and to be cautious around protestors. "While no protest-related violence has been directed at foreigners, we remind U.S. citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn violent. U.S. citizens should avoid large crowds and monitor media coverage of local events. If you...

Australia removes family reunion concessions

The Australian government announced that the family reunion concessions for asylum seekers arriving by boat, will be removed. The minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris said in a statement: “These changes will remove the incentive for people to travel to Australia by boat with the intention of bringing out their families on humanitarian visas,” “We don’t want people risking their lives at sea on dangerous boat journeys and together with the implementation of all the other panel recommendations this measure provides clear evidence of the Government’s determination to break the people...

No more IDPs proclaims SL

The Sri Lankan military - in charge of resettlement - announced that there would be no further IDPs as all Tamils had been 'resettled', on Sunday. The Security Forces Commander Boniface Perera said, "A total of 1,186 people from 361 families -the last of a group of more than 300,000 displaced during the war in the north - will leave the Vavuniya Manik Farm to their original places of residence in the Mullaitivu district today,” “There will be no more IDPs in the country from today.” “The resettlement in the northern region was delayed because of de-mining in these areas. We have to make sure...

Documentary highlights human rights abuses in Sri Lanka

A new documentary has underlined the state of human rights abuses faced by Tamils in Sri Lanka demonstrating the persecution they are fleeing from on the island, reported Australia’s current affairs programme Lateline. Talking to the programme, former TamilNet correspondent A. Lokeesan, who managed to escape from Sri Lanka and journalist B Abeywardane stated that the documentary “Silenced Voices”, had assembled evidence of war crimes. Both men also stated that since the war ended, the violations have continued unabated. Abeywardane told Lateline, “I think the situation has actually worsened...

Finalise road map with TNA, India tells SL

India has urged Colombo to discuss and finalise a credible road map for the devolution of power with the TNA, during the Sri Lankan President's visit to the country. Asserting that such a move would send a 'positive signal' ahead of the UN Human Rights Council in March, the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stressed the importance of converting past discussions into firm action. According reports, Rajapaksa said the issue had to be decided by the Parliamentary Select Committee. See here and here .

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister tells SL to treat Tamils equally

Amidst protests against President’s Mahinda Rajapasa’s visit to Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, said it was expected that Sri Lanka treated Tamils equally to clear doubts in the minds of people in both nations. During a brief interaction with President Rajapaksa, Chouhan acknowledged the strong relations between India and Sri Lanka, and stressed that “It was expected from the island nation to treat Tamils with equality and that the President should highlight the work being undertaken by his government in this regard”, official sources said. Fulfilling the Sri Lankan...

TNA complains about continued discrimination to UN officials

The visiting delegation from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights was told of continuing discrimination at the hand of Sri Lankan authorities during a meeting with the TNA on Friday. In a statement the TNA said they discussed disappearances, accountability and resettlement issues with Hanny Megally, the head of the Asia, Pacific, Middle East and Africa branch of the OHCHR. The TNA said it also said it raised concerns about colonisation and changes in the demographics of the northeast. "Amongst the matters discussed were land issues relating to security zones where the...

Tamil protesters in Vanni intimidated by SL military

Photograph posted on Twitter by @rkguruparan Hundreds of Tamil protestors who had gathered outside the district secretariat in Mullaitheevu, demanding resettlement in their village of Keappa-pulavu on Thursday, were faced with intimidation by the Sri Lankan military. Protesting for over one and a half hours the demonstrators demanded for the occupying military to leave their homeland. Shouting, “We want our homeland, let the military quit our homeland”, the demonstrators held banners reading, "Keappa-pulavu is our village, SL army quite today! Let us go back and resettle." As the protest got underway, the civil society activist, Guruparan Kumaravidvel, reported via Twitter , that there was a heavy Sri Lankan Army intelligence presence. Shortly afterwards, he reported that the TNPF's General Secretary's car had been attacked whilst returning from the protest on Ottuchuttan Road, and the vehicle carrying the TNPF leader Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam was also attacked near Theravil on the way back from Mullaitheevu. Photograph posted on Twitter by @rkguruparan

TNA meet UN Human Rights officials

The visiting delegation from the UN Office of the Human Rights Commissioner today met with members of the TNA reports Uthayan . Discussions were held with reference to high security zones in Valikamam and Sampur, where resettlement has been impeded, and Tamils are restricted from accessing their places of worship due to military land-grabs. Concern was expressed about state sponsored settlement of Sinhalese, under the guise of development schemes, which are in fact changing the demographics of the North-East. Concerns were also raised about reaching an acceptable political solution and on...

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