‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ to be screened at EU

Amnesty International, International Crisis Group and Human Rights Watch, along with five MEP’s have organised the screening of Channel 4’s documentary “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields” at the EU Parliament next Wednesday (12.10.11). A letter was sent out by the organisations inviting delegates to the screening. The letter further states: "Commissioned and first aired by British broadcaster Channel 4 Television in June, "Sri Lanka's Killing Fields" features devastating video evidence of apparent war crimes, crimes against humanity committed by Sri Lanka Government forces and the LTTE. The...

Veritable questions

Photo The Sunday Leader , Sep 2009. He visited Sri Lanka in 2009 with Britain’s Defence Secretary Liam Fox (then shadow defence secretary). His business cards describe him as an advisor’ to Dr. Fox. He’s visited Dr. Fox at Ministry of Defence offices 14 times in the past 16 months. But the MoD says he’s just “a friend.” So who exactly is Mr. Adam Werritty - and what was he doing in Sri Lanka? See reports by The Guardian , the Daily Mail , and Channel 4 . When Dr Fox was shadow defence secretary, Mr Werritty was a director of a company called Security Futures and accompanied him to meetings in...

Sri Lanka to track foreigners’ movements

Sri Lanka is developing a system to track and monitor foreign nationals as they enter and travel around the country, after a new online travel approval system is fully operational, LBO reports . Sri Lanka is starting at electronic travel authorization program from January 01, and is to scrap free visa-on-arrival to 78 countries. Controller general of Sri Lanka's immigration office, Chulananda Perera told reporters at a recent media briefing that the state also planned to monitor and track foreigners as they went around the country . "Each hotel and guest house will be given a machine," he...

Britain reiterates call for progress by end of the year

The House of Lords on Wednesday, saw Britain reaffirm its commitment for a thorough investigation into allegations of war crimes in Sri Lanka, as Lords debated the holding of the 2013 CHOGM in Sri Lanka. During question time Lord Kennedy of Southwark submitted a question to the House and said the British Government should state "it would be wrong for Sri Lanka to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2013". Lord Wallace of Saltaire responded, “We, together with other Commonwealth members, urge Sri Lanka, as host, to demonstrate its commitment to upholding the Commonwealth...

The usual theatrics: more committees from Sri Lanka

In an effort to relieve some of the international pressure being exerted upon Sri Lanka regarding allegations of war crimes, the country's human rights envoy, Mahinda Samarasinghe, proclaimed a five-year action plan for human rights protection. The plan is to be presented at the UN Human Rights Council session in March next year. Details of the plan were not disclosed, but a government statement said it would largely involve setting up committees to monitor implementation of existing laws and to ensure better understanding and respect for civil rights. (See AFP's report here ). Samarasinghe,...

Scottish training for Sri Lankan Police

The Scottish Police College is in the process of training 98 Assistant Superintendants of the Sri Lankan police force in community policing. British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka John Rankin handed out certificates to the first batch of 26 officers who completed the course. Inspecter General Ilangakoon thanked the British High Commissioner and the Scottish trainers for providing this ‘important service to the public.’ Sri Lanka’s police force has been accused of torture and brutality for decades . More recently they have been accused of complicity in the ‘ grease devil’ attacks on Tamil...

Northern Province assistance faces over $200 million shortfall - UN

The Joint Plan of Assistance, a program which includes the Sri Lankan Government and the UN is facing a deficit of over $200 million according to a UN report. Of the $289 million needed, only $76.5 million had been raised so far, with further indications from UN officials that the full amount would not be met by the end of this year. See report from IRIN here . Speaking to IRIN, a UN World Food Programme (WFP) official said, " Over 60 percent of households in the Northern Province are food-insecure , and lack the income generation and food-production capacity to secure basic needs." The WFP...

Sri Lanka: calling all hangmen

The Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prisons Reforms plans to advertise for two hangmen, to execute upto 800 inmates on death row. Desanayake, the Ministry's secretary, explained, "There are two vacancies for the hangman position after one person who held the position got a promotion, and the other retired," "We are planing to advertise the vacancy calling for applications by next week as we cannot keep the position vacant." "At least 800 people convicted of murder and drugs offences could potentially be executed" The president must sign off on any judicial execution. The last execution occurred in 1976, following which death sentences were invariably commuted to life imprisonment.

Sri Lanka tries to woo Central and South America

Amidst increasing international criticism of Sri Lanka and allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity against Tamils, the country's Deputy Minister of External Affairs, Neomal Perara, has been dispatched to Central and South America on a very important mission. Perara, who has so far visited Mexico , Peru and the Dominican Republic , has been entrusted to present his respective counterparts with three special gifts - a copy of Sri Lanka's 'Humanitarian Operation Factual Analysis July 2006- May 2009', a CD of the Sri Lanka's 'Lies agreed upon' and a no doubt well-rehearsed spiel as...

UK Conservatives support accountability in Sri Lanka

At a packed event at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, the party warned that it will push Sri Lanka for accountability and support a UN report if progress isn’t seen from the LLRC. Conservative MP and former diplomat Richard Graham spoke at the event and said, “ministers have made it clear to the Sri Lankan government that if the LLRC does turn out to be a whitewash and finds no real culpability at the top, you can be absolutely sure we will push hard for a formal UN report. ” See the report from Freedom from Torture here . The event, follows on from last week’s ‘Tamils for Labour’ event at the Labour Party Conference , where Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander said that the Labour party's entire front bench agreed that Sri Lanka’s LLRC, is not capable of holding an independent inquiry and called for an international investigation into war crimes. Human rights organisations such as Amnesty International have also said the LLRC is “ flawed at every level ” along with the Tamil National Alliance who also slammed it as “flawed” with “limited mandate”. He also stated it was “ critical for the moral authority of the UK that there is an absolutely transparent report into what happened”, given allegations of Britain’s complicity in those alleged war crimes.

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