No place for politics in crimes against humanity

“Last week Attorney-General Robert McClelland halted the possibility of the arrest and charging of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and in my view undermined similar ''citizens arrests'' of individuals against whom it could be said there is a prima facie case of crimes against humanity.” "McClelland took less than 24 hours to refuse to allow charges to be filed against Rajapaksa despite the fact that the person laying the charges was Jegan Waran, a 63-year-old man who claimed to have direct evidence of war crimes being committed against the Tamil people during the country's recent civil...

Tamil on death row dreams of Eelam

One of the suspects on death row in Tamil Nadu for his alleged role in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi still dreams of an independent country for Eelam Tamils. 39 year old Perarivalan, also known as Arivu, was convicted for assisting the alleged killers of Rajiv Gandhi by providing them with batteries in 1991. He has been on death row for the past 20 years, but a huge campaign has been ongoing in Tamil Nadu to stop the death sentence in his case and the case of the other two individuals on death row for the killing. Responding to a question by a reporter from The Hindu newspaper about the...

When Dutugemunu met the Queen...

Sri Lanka blocked access to the anti-government website Lanka-e-news this week, drawing criticism from the US . Perhaps this is the story that prompted the move: 'doctored photographs' .

Peiris belittles TNA's mandate

Sri Lankan foreign minister, GL Peiris, attempted to denigrate the TNA (Tamil National Alliance) as the a TNA delegation met US state department officials in Washington , as well as the UN Secretary General in New York. Asserting that the TNA was not the sole representative of the Tamils in the North-East, Peiris lamented Sri Lanka's inability to dictate to the UN whom they should meet. “There are many political parties, some of who are in [the Sri Lankan] parliament, that represent the Tamils. So it would be a fundamental fallacy to look upon the point of view of the TNA as the one which...

Thanthai Chelva statue in Trinco beheaded

Reports have emerged that a statue of S. J. V. Chelvanayagam, affectionately known by Eelam Tamils as “Thanthai Chelva”, has been vandalised in Trincomalee. The statue of the Tamil leader, which is garlanded annually in his remembrance, was found beheaded after vandals had cut through the wire fencing guarding it. It is not yet known who the perpetrators are. The original statue before it was vandalised. See a video of the damage below. Last year, TamilNet reported that a gang of Sinhalese who stormed into Jaffna Public Library also vandalised a statue of Chelvanayagam in Jaffna. Memorials of...

US ‘deeply concerned’ over Lanka’s media freedom

The United States says it is 'deeply concerned' by Sri Lanka’s latest move in stifling press freedom, by blocking anti-government website Lanka-e-News. The statement, released by the US Embassy in Colombo said, “While the Embassy does not endorse the views of any particular media outlet, the United States believes that a free and independent media is vital to ensuring the health and continuation of any democracy. Freedom of expression, including unfettered access to Internet news websites, is a basic right which must be respected. ” In 2007, Tamil news website TamilNet was blocked by Sri...

Sri Lankan foreign minister slams Canadian boycott threat

Slamming Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper's threat to boycott the next Commonwealth meeting, which is to be held in Sri Lanka, if there is not satisfactory progress on war crimes investigation, Sri Lankan foreign minister, G.L. Peiris, claimed that such views did not reflect Canadian foreign policy towards Sri Lanka. 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. Harper is reported to have walked out of the CHOGM summit when Rajapaksa...

Sri Lankan Government to 'takeover 36 private companies'

A new bill, allowing the takeover of 36 private companies is due to be presented in parliament on the 9th of November, the Daily Mirror reports . The bill, called ‘The Revival of Underperforming Enterprises and Underutilized Assets’, will allow the state to take over the companies and their assets. The institutions marked for takeovers, include Sevanagala Sugar Industries Ltd, a company owned by Ampara district UNP organizer Daya Gamage, says the Daily Mirror. The government will also gain powers to appoint a new board to manage the institutions. An unnamed UNP MP has criticised the bill,...

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...

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