UNP deputy leader and dissidents to form new organisation

The UNP's deputy leader, Sajith Premadasa, is reported to be working with UNP dissidents towards forming a new organisation, with the group's first meeting held in Kandy Upcountry Union recently. The rumours come amidst reports that the US Assistant Secretary of State, Robert Blake, felt it unnecessary to meet with the UNP's current leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, during his recent visit to Sri Lanka.

Unreasonable to expect action on LLRC recommendations - Peiris

Ahead of the UNHRC March session, starting next week, Sri Lanka's minister of foreign affairs suggested it was unreasonable to expect implementation of the LLRC recommendations already. Peiris said, “The report was presented in Parliament on December 17, 2011. Then, we had the festive period. I was notified on January 25, 2012 that there would be a resolution against us. Is it reasonable for anyone to expect us to implement these recommendations within a span of four weeks? In comparable situations in other countries, it has sometimes taken ten years,” “A great deal of work has already been...

Womens groups in Mannar protest against militarisation

Civil society groups, formed by resettled Tamil women in Mannar, protested against the construction of a Sri Lankan military cantonment, reported Tamilnet, Sunday. The militarisation has increasingly encroached on residential areas, including access paths to basic needs such as water. See here for full report on Tamilnet.

Sri Lanka asks Goldman Sachs for new loan

Sri Lanka is seeking to borrow US$ 1 billion from global investment bank Goldman Sachs to meet soaring fuel costs and fund the poorly performing and publicly owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, The Island newspaper reported Monday. Colombo faces significantly higher fuel costs for two reasons. Firstly, the majority of its oil supply comes from Iran, soon to be subject to a US and EU punitive sanctions regime over Tehran's nuclear weapons program. Secondly, Sri Lanka was also recently forced by the IMF to allow its currency to depreciate, leading to an immediate rise in fuel prices. See our...

SL rejects international intervention

The official news portal of the Sri Lankan Government quoted Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the Unit, Dr Palitha Kohona, as saying the government will not favour any external intervention in, what it says are, ‘domestic issues’. According to Dr Kohona, domestic processes must be ‘exhausted’, before resorting to externalisation. Dr Kohona outlined the key features and recommendations of the controversial LLRC report, a week ahead of the start of the 19th UN Human Rights Council Session in Geneva. He claimed Sri Lanka would take legal action if human rights abuses are proven to have...

Pressure piles on Ban over Silva appointment

The decision to appoint Major General Shavendra Silva of the Sri Lankan Army to the UN Special Advisory Group on Peace Keeping Operations has come under fire, as pressure increases on the UN to review the appointment. The US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice was earlier quoted as saying , "It's very concerning that someone with his background would be selected to serve on this advisory group. We have conveyed this to member states, as well as to the Secretariat. There are a lot of efforts underway to address [this], probably best not to be discussed publicly." UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon...

Murder and rape leads to fall in British tourists

The influx of British tourists into Sri Lanka has fallen following the murder of a British tourist and the rape of his girlfriends at a holiday resort in the South of the island, according to official figures. Statistics from Sri Lanka’s Tourist Board show whilst tourist numbers from Western Europe had increased, there was a 14.2% decline in the number of British tourists in January compared to last year. Visitors from Western Europe still made up the bulk of tourists to Sri Lanka, accounting for 42% in total. There have been growing number of incidents of rape and sexual abuse of tourists,...

India tries to charm its neighbours

Extracts from The Economist article on India's strategy in the region and China's role: Memories in Sri Lanka of India’s troubled role in the long and bitter civil war appear to be fading. Meanwhile, India, officially, does not worry about signs of its neighbour’s dalliance with China. That is despite the news last month that Chinese investors took 85% control of the project extending Colombo’s main commercial port, which handles goods traded almost entirely with India. “Sri Lanka is sensitive to the security concerns of India,” says the foreign minister, reassured. But regardless, Mr Krishna...

Sri Lanka dismisses HRW statement as 'propaganda'

The Director General of the Media Centre for National Security, Lakshman Hulugalle, dismissed the statement made by Human Rights Watch as "part of promoting pro-LTTE propaganda". Hulugalle added, “Even when the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) was established to look in to these allegations, they had a negative approach and criticised it.” HRW denounced the Sri Lankan army’s own inquiry into alleged rights violations as yet another delaying tactic, aimed at stalling international pressure and action.

NGOs call on US to estabalish international accountability mechanism at UNHRC

In a joint statement released Friday, 14 non-governmental organisation have called on the US to "press for action" at the UN Human Rights Council's March session. The organisations include, Amnesty International, Human Rights Program at The Carter Center, Citizens for Global Solutions, Democracy Coalition Project, Enough Project, Feminist Majority Foundation, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch, Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights, Leadership Council for Human Rights, Open Society Foundations, Physicians for Human Rights, United to End Genocide and the U.S. Campaign...

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