Amnesty ‘outraged’ at Commonwealth inaction on Sri Lanka

International human rights group, Amnesty International, slammed the Commonwealth for failing a "critical moral challenge" through its inaction on Sri Lanka at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth last week. Amnesty's National Director, Claire Mallinson, said, “It is an absolute disgrace that Commonwealth leaders have agreed to hold their next meeting in Sri Lanka in spite of its appalling human rights record .” “ They are allowing war crimes to go uninvestigated, unpunished and unaccounted for. " The Australian Government as host and other members of the Commonwealth have...

Despite continued abuses, Sri Lanka pursues trade with Canada

Sri Lanka has been aiming to boost its trade with Canada, with a delegation meeting with businessmen in Toronto earlier this week, despite Canada’s continued concern regarding Sri Lanka’s war-time abuses committed against the Tamil people. The ten-member delegation visited the country after a gap of almost three years, attempting to enhance trade links between the two. The visit though comes at a time when Canada is lobbying for Sri Lanka to be held accountable for violations of international humanitarian law. See report by Inter Press Service here . Canada had attempted to raise the issue of...

LLRC report ready but ‘will not be published’

Sri Lanka’s controversial reconciliation commission has completed its report and will present it to President Mahinda Rajapakse in the second week of November. The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission was set up by the President and was supposed to look into the conflict with the Tamil Tigers, but it has been slammed by human rights organisations and foreign officials as a farce. The spokesman for the LLRC, Lakshman Wickramasinghe told reporters, that it is not in the commission’s hand to make it public. "Our mandate limits us to handing it over to the President. Making it public or...

Gillard ‘double-crossed’ by Rajapakse over Games bid

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard was allegedly double crossed by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse over speeches made regarding their respective Commonwealth Games bid, at a sports breakfast at the sidelines of the 2011 CHOGM. The breakfast, hosted by Gillard, was attended by senior officials from across the Commonwealth as well as members of the 71 Commonwealth Games associations will vote towards who will host the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Australia’s Gold Coast or Rajapakse’s hometown of Hambantota. Both leaders had agreed, through the Commonwealth Games Federation, to make a “casual speech” and not to overtly promote their nation’s bid. Ms Gillard welcomed everyone present and briefly mentioned that Australia would put on an “outstanding games” if given the opportunity. Rajapakse, however, used his whole 10-minute speech to make a rigorous pitch for Sri Lanka saying that it “would be a life-changing event in our history." See the report from the Sydney Morning Herald here .

Army expands intelligence units

The ever-growing Sri Lankan Army has announced that it will more than triple the number of intelligence battalions it has in order to counter future “internal and external threats”. Defence Secretary Gothbaya Rajapakse said that, “Because of these concerns, Military Intelligence Corps had to be increased to six battalions from the original one to two battalions. The surveillance therefore has to be sustained at all times. ” Military spokesman Brigadier Nihal Hapuarachchi also commented that, “We have placed these battalions in Security Forces Headquarters that we have covering the country. ”...

Cameron warns Sri Lanka of CHOGM boycotts

British Prime Minister David Cameron has spoken to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and warned him that he must show progress on human rights in order to have countries attending the 2013 CHOGM and once again called for an independent investigation into war crimes. Speaking at the 2011 CHOGM in Perth, Cameron aligned himself with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper who has threatened to boycott the next meeting in Perth, unless war human rights law violations were addressed. Speaking to reporters, Cameron revealed that he had met with the Canadian delegation to discuss Sri Lanka. "I'...

Harper 'skeptical' of Rajapaksa’s promises

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed last month that he would not attend the 2013 Commonwealth summit to be held in Sri Lanka, unless Colombo agreed to independent investigations into war crimes committed by its forces. On Monday, British Premier David Cameron said his government’s position was ‘similar’ to Canada’s. Both leaders told reporters they had stressed the point to Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa this weekend. Speaking to reporters later about his conversation with Rajapaksa, Harper said: “I think it's fair to say that the general tone of the president of Sri Lanka...

Attacks by SL navy on Indian fisherman must stop: LK Advani

The leader of the BJP, India’s main opposition party, has demanded an immediate stop to the attacks perpetrated by the Sri Lankan Navy on Tamil Nadu’s fishermen. "Sri Lanka must be told firmly that the repeated attacks on Indian fishermen must end," he told reporters in Madurai. "It should not be regarded as a local matter as it does not relate to Tamil Nadu only. It must be regarded as a part of the national strategy and the government must evolve a plan on how to deal with it," he said. "The repeated attacks on Tamil fishermen by Sri Lankan navy and security forces is deeply reprehensible...

Toronto Star on Sri Lanka and Commonwealth …

“[Canadian] Prime Minister Stephen Harper deserves credit for making Sri Lanka an issue at the Commonwealth summit in Australia this week. “There are other human rights offenders in the [Commonwealth], to be sure. But Sri Lanka is in a class of its own .” See the full text of the editorial here .

Tamils protest at Commonwealth summit

Hundreds of Australian Tamils joined others protesting outside the Commonwealth summit in Perth on Friday. See TamilNet 's report on the Perth protests here . Also, see the Daily Mail ’s report, with several photographs, on the Commonwealth summit, and the protests outside, here .

Pages