Sri Lanka’s emerging economic crisis

From AFP (see full text here ): Sri Lanka's president Mahinda Rajapaksa began his second term vowing an economic miracle after decades of conflict, but the post-war boom is already fraying. Sri Lankan economist and former central bank deputy governor W. A. Wijewardena believes the economy is in trouble despite an official 7.2 percent growth forecast for 2012. He says the balance of payments problem will have a knock-on effect on Sri Lanka's ability to service its large commercially raised foreign debt, the value of the local currency and domestic prices . The country needs to borrow heavily...

Sri Lanka to stop importing Iran oil

Sri Lanka will stop importing oil from Iran at the end of March, ahead of the US sanctions deadline of June 29, the island’s Sunday Times newspaper said. Sri Lanka has depended almost entirely on Iran for its crude oil supplies, getting 93 percent from there. Sri Lanka has started purchasing Saudi Arabian oil, and Iraq is offering to supply “substantial quantities” of fuel, the paper said. The Times says Sri Lanka’s only refinery at Sapugaskanda is able to process only Iranian crude - though AFP says the refinery, built with Italian technology in 1968, can also handle Saudi light crude. India...

Just as Dutugemunu said!

What is India’s ambition in Sri Lanka? According to the Sunday Times editorial today, “to carve out a powerful autonomous Northern Province which it can use as its base on Sri Lankan soil through its proxy - the Tamil National Alliance.”

Shavendra Silva shunned again in New York

Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Palita Kohona, has boycotted a Commonwealth Day Reception hosted by the UK mission, after his controversial deputy, Major General Shavendra Silva, was refused an invitation, according to the Sunday Times . The latest incident points to further isolation of Silva, who was recently expelled from a UN Peacekeeping Advisory Panel after his appointment was deemed “not appropriate”. Sri Lanka responded angrily to the humiliation, liking it to a "public lynching without trial". Silva is at the focus of controversy at the UN due to his...

Tamil war widows ‘forced into prostitution to feed children’

Women who have lost male members of their households during the war are being forced to turn to prostitution, according to women’s rights activists in Colombo. Geetha Lakmini of World Fisherfolk Solidarity Movement told reporters that, " One village in Madhu area is infamous for prostitution because they have no male family members, no jobs and there is no other way of survival. " " The only way to feed their children is to sell their body. " Speaking after a conference organised by the Women's Movement for Social Justice, the executive director of Viluthu Centre for Human Resource...

UK Tamil protest for independent international investigation

Photograph Tamilnet Gathering outside the the US embassy in London on Friday, Tamils called for an independent international investigation into the allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity, as the first concrete step towards accounting for the genocide that took place. See here for full report on Tamilnet.

Britain calls for support at UN Human Rights Council

Following the screening of Channel 4’s latest documentary, the British Foreign Office has called on the UN Human Rights Council to pass a proposed resolution on Sri Lanka. Commenting on the documentary, Minister for South Asia Alistair Burt said, "Once again, Channel 4 has brought to international attention important and disturbing evidence to support allegations of grave abuses in Sri Lanka." “Since the end of the conflict, the international community has called for an independent, credible and thorough investigation into alleged war crimes on both sides of the conflict. Channel 4’s...

England cricket captain says decision to tour Sri Lanka lies with the government

Speaking as the English cricket team began their tour of Sri Lanka, England’s cricket captain Andrew Strauss stated that it was up to the British government to decide whether or not to tour the island. As Sri Lanka comes under increasing pressure regarding allegations of war crimes and the airing of Channel 4's documentary on British television on Wednesday night, Strauss was questioned on whether the English team was comfortable playing cricket against Sri Lanka. He commented , "It's a bit of a tricky one. All round us, we see atrocities taking place all over the world and in war a lot of unsavoury things happen on both sides. I personally think the political issues are best dealt with by the politicians and administrators." " But that doesn't mean we should stick our heads in the sand. If the government feel there is cases to answer to a great enough extent that the England team shouldn't be touring somewhere then that is a call they need to make. Until that is the case, it would be wrong for us to focus on anything other than the cricket." "You must be careful that if you are investigating anything, you investigate it very thoroughly because otherwise there's nothing worse than a little bit of knowledge. When asked by the BBC if Strauss or any other members of them team had wanted to find out more on Sri Lanka’s human rights violations, he responded , “ I think it’s something that you keep an eye out for when you see it in the news... But ultimately there are people that are paid to look into these things, and they’re mainly in the government. They need to do their job and we need to do ours. ” See our earlier posts: ‘Should England’s cricket team tour Sri Lanka?’ (10 March 2012)

Australian Greens push for SL High Commissioner to be recalled

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon has called upon the Australian Government to send back Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to Australia Admiral TSG Samarasinghe, until an independent international investigation into war crimes on the island has commenced. In a statement released by the Australian Greens, Senator Lee Rhiannon said, "It is not enough for Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to Australia Admiral TSG Samarasinghe to claim Sri Lanka is conducting its own investigation into the later stage of the civil war.” "It is becoming more widely recognised that claims claim that Sri Lanka makes about...

HRW baffled by Sri Lanka's 'strident opposition'

A spokeperson for the international human rights organisation, Human Rights Watch, expressed confusion and disbelief at the Sri Lankan government's indignant opposition to the resolution tabled at the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council. "The Rajapaksa government's strident opposition to this is hard to understand ," "These are the expectations from any responsible government that must examine allegations of violations against its own people ," Drawing attention to the government's default position that anyone calling for accounability is "somehow linked to the LTTE", the spokesperson...

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