Buddhist monks attack Bangladeshi embassy in Colombo

Buddhist monks threw stones and damaged windows of the Bangladeshi embassy in Sri Lanka on Thursday, as they protested against attacks on Buddhist temples and businesses in Bangladesh. A police officer and a monk inspect the damage (Daily Mirror) Bangladesh High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Sulfur Rahman, said about 900 protesters, mostly Buddhists monks, threw water bottles and brickbats at the high commission, causing damage to the windows and property. Buddhist monk Gakagoda Gnenesaara said in the statement that, “We were tolerant, but day by day we notice great injustice caused to Buddhists by Islamic extremists, we can no longer be patient.” The protest was organised by a Buddhist organisation called Bodu Bala Sena. A leaflet was distributed some days before the protest, which called on protestors to “strike down extremists as they flee” .

Sri Lanka's policy towards witnesses is revenge, not reconciliation - Frances Harrison

Writing on the online site OpenDemocracy.net, Frances Harrison argues that the government's treatment of witness is "short-sighted" and "will hamper any kind of reconciliation or understanding between the different ethnic groups". See here for full article. Extracts reproduced below:

Monks advise the ministry

The chief Buddhist monks from Asgiriya and Malwatte have met with Sri Lanka’s Higher Education minister, to advise him on how to handle the country’s striking university academics. The monks used their expertise to reportedly asked to Minister to be more “flexible” and to “work cooperatively” with all parties in a meeting in Kandy. See our earlier posts: Keep monks out of politics - monk urges politician (15 Jan 2012) Power behind the throne (08 May 2012) ‘Buddhists behaving badly’ (03 August 2012)

UNHCR operations to be phased down

The "operational role of the UNHCR in Sri Lanka would be phased down" said the UN Hugh Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres on Wednesday, despite the ongoing displacement of 'resettled' Tamil IDPs. Guterres added : "UNHCR will continue to be committed to supporting voluntary repatriation of some of the refugees of Sri Lanka from India, as well as with the resettlement of the remainder of the internally displaced in their places of origin". Guterres cited "many of the reasons that were elaborated upon in the Ambassador's [Ravinatha Aryasinha] statement" as to why the operations were...

Website editor’s premises stormed by intruders

The premises of an online journalist were ransacked in broad daylight today, reported the Sri Lanka Mirror. The board room of the editor of yukthiya.com, Krishantha Rajapakse, was stormed by three persons claiming to be the police. The journalist was forced to answer questions by the intruders, who brandished a letter that had the police logo and the words Anti-Terrorism Act clearly written on the heading. Whilst vandalising the journalist’s room, the intruders asked if the journalist had any connections with the Northern Province, Tamil Nadu or Meena Kandasamy. The intruders forced...

Sri Lanka “firm” on continuing training military in India - Basil

The Minister for Economic Development, Basil Rajapakse, has reiterated Sri Lanka’s commitment to continue training its personnel in India. Talking to Indian reporters, the president’s brother conceded that recent protests against Sri Lankans had “hurt” their feelings, reported the DailyMirror . When questioned whether Sri Lanka was reconsidering the training programmes in India and maybe move to other countries like China or Pakistan, he dismissed the thought. "No. We have never (thought about it) because in our long history since the days when we moved from British shoulders all training (to...

Resettlement and rehabilitation 'most important' says Manmohan Singh

The resettlement and rehabilitation of Tamils in the North-East "have been of the highest and most important priority " for the Indian government, said Manmohan Singh in a reply to a letter by DMK leader Karunanidhi. Singh added, "We have also conveyed to the Government of Sri Lanka the need for taking forward dialogue with the political representatives of the Sri Lankan Tamils on devolution of power . In this context, we remain engaged with the Government of Sri Lanka for the achievement of a future for the Tamil community in Sri Lanka that is marked by equality, dignity, justice and self-...

Ban Ki-Moon pushes for political solution

During a meeting with External Affairs Minister GL Peiris, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stressed that a political solution must be found “without further delay” . Talking to Peiris on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the Secretary General “noted the Government’s latest efforts to implement the recommendations of its Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) as well as the steady progress and remaining tasks on resettlement efforts in the North,” according to a UN statement. See here for Sri Lanka’s “steady progress” on resettlement. Peiris meanwhile criticised the UN...

Peiris' politicking at the UN

Addressing the UN General Assembly, Sri Lanka's External Affairs Minister, GL Peiris explained what Sri Lanka had been doing over the past three years... See here for full address, extract produced below. Emphasis TG's. "Three years ago, our Government ended the terrorist challenge largely through its own efforts . Sri Lanka is firmly committed to redressing the grievances of all parties affected by the internal conflict. Sri Lanka exemplifies the challenges faced by a society emerging from the shadow of a sustained conflict which spanned three decades, and entering upon an era of peace and stability . The gradual diminution of these challenges and the brevity of the period which has elapsed since the end of the conflict, leave no room for doubt as to the degree of success achieved by the Government of Sri Lanka in respect of a wide range of issues relating to development and reconciliation . It is only about three years since the conflict ended. Prioritisation was a central feature of the government's plan of action. The progress on the ground during the last three years with regard to the resettlement of internally displaced persons, ( all internally displaced persons have been resettled ), the re-integration into society of thousands of ex-combatants after exposure to programmes of livelihood skills training which equipped them to earn their living with dignity and independence, the rapid completion of the demining process , and the unprecedented focus on infrastructure development leading to very visible invigoration of the economy of the Island as a whole, and the Northern Province in particular, is quite apparent. The experience of Sri Lanka demonstrates that, given the quality of dynamic leadership and unwavering commitment which His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa provided, an effective political and military strategy and strong rapport with all sections of the public , it is possible to prevail against the most ruthless forces of terror. No one has greater commitment to reconciliation in an all-inclusive spirit than the government .

Sri Lanka looks to further regulate ICT technology to prevent ‘abuse’

Speaking at the 12th Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa called for strategists and regulators in telecommunications and ICT to “think of ways to prevent this great technology being used to sow hatred.” Conveying the importance of upholding ‘tolerance and humanity’ in Sri Lanka, President Rajapaksa opened his address stating, “ICT must not be a tool of societies that pay homage to material values and pay no tolerance and humanity”. The manner in which tolerance and humanity is upheld in Sri Lanka was...