Political rights "Not Free" in Sri Lanka - Freedom House

In their annual survey on political rights and civil liberties, Freedom House ranked Sri Lanka as “Not Free”, downgrading them significantly. The report, entitled “ Freedom in the World 2013 ”, stated that Sri Lanka suffered one of the biggest declines this year, losing 9 points from 2009. The group cited “increasing corruption and an attempt to impeach the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court” as reasons for the country’s decline. Sri Lanka’s press has already been deemed “not free” by the US-basad group.

British Airways ‘unethical’ for promoting Sri Lanka – MP

The choice of Sri Lanka as British Airways’ top recommendation for travel in 2013 has been criticised as irresponsible and unethical by Labour MP Simon Danczuk. Mr Danczuk discouraged travel to Sri Lanka in his blog for the Huffington Post , citing the denial of justice to his constituent Khuram Sheikh, who was murdered in 2011, and international concern over human rights violations. See extracts below: He was shot and stabbed by a gang of drunken thugs at a hotel overlooking white sands and an azure sea shimmering under the sun. Fringed by palm trees with a warm sea breeze coming off the...

ICG calls for assertive action against Sri Lanka

The International Crisis Group has today released a report , accusing the Sri Lankan state of dismantling of its "independent judiciary system" and leaving "Sri Lanka's battered democracy on life support." The report also noted that Sri Lanka's insistence of investigating its own shortcomings and war crime allegations, were made implausible as one of the last 'independent' institutions, the court, is dismantled. See here for the TG view of Sri Lanka's previously 'functioning' independent judiciary system. Highlighting Sri Lanka's violations of basic Commonwealth principles, the report asserted that member states should call on the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) to put Sri Lanka on the agenda, whilst shifting the location of the next Commonwealth heads of government meeting, which is currently set to take place in Sri Lanka.

78 year old found dead was murdered

The post mortem examination of the dead body of an elderly Tamil woman reveals that she was murdered before her body was dumped. The body, found in a well in Jaffna, was indentified as that of 78 year old Pushpam by her children.

Kindergarten to be operated by Sri Lankan Air Force

The Sri Lankan Air Force has opened a kindergarten for Tamil children in Batticaloa. A report on the Defence Ministry’s website says that the pre-school will be run by “qualified personnel of the SLAF who have undergone specialised training in language and Pre-School teaching”.

Mannar residents receive some flood relief

Members of the Tamil National People's Front (TNPF) provided flood relief to residents affected by the heavy rains and floods in Mannar. Members, including Selvarajah Kajendran, Sathiyaseelan, Sivapaatham Kajendrakumar, Krishnagopal and Benedict, distributed the flood relief items comprising of donations by an Oslo based Tamil diaspora organisation.

Canadian politicians send Pongal greetings

Several Canadian MPs have extended their Pongal wishes to the Tamil community in Canada. Minister Jason Kennedy, the leader of the opposition Tom Mulcair, NDP MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan and Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak were amongst those who sent their wishes. See below for statements and extracts. Leader of the NDP Tom Mulcair Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kennedy “This day of gratitude is celebrated by all those in the Tamil community around the world in the company of friends and family. For all Canadians, Thai Pongal provides an opportunity to reflect on the contributions that Canada’s Tamil community has made to our country’s rich and diverse heritage. I offer my best wishes to all those celebrating Thai Pongal.”

US: impeachment will impact on foreign investment

Commenting on the impeachment of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, the spokesperson for the US State Department, Victoria Nuland, said: "We are deeply concerned about the impeachment of Sri Lankan Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake. The impeachment proceedings against her were conducted, as you know, in defiance of the Supreme Court order. And from our perspective, this impeachment raises serious questions about the separation of powers in Sri Lanka, which is a fundamental tenet of a healthy democracy. Throughout these proceedings, we’ve repeatedly conveyed to the Government of Sri Lanka...

Newborn taken away from refugee mother detained in Australia

A Tamil refugee, who was deemed to be a national security risk, had her newly born son taken away from her as she faced prolonged detention at the Villawood Detention Centre in Australia. Speaking to CNN, the woman's husband, identified only as Ganesh, described how Baby Paari was taken away from his wife Ranjini a few hours after he was born on Tuesday. Ranjini was granted refugee status by Australia in 2011 along with her two boys aged 6 and 9. In May 2012 however, the family was summoned to a meeting with immigration officials and were told that Australia's security intelligence...

More army resorts opened in Jaffna

The head of the Sri Lankan Army Jagath Jayasuriya, escorted by Sinhalese tribal dancers in Jaffna (Pic courtesy army.lk) The Sri Lankan Army has opened two further holiday resorts for its troops, according to the army's website . The chief of the army, Lt Gen Jagath Jayasuriya, opened the resorts on the Jaffna peninsula. One of the resorts is funded by the Sri Lanka Armoured Corps (SLAC) and the other by the Army Troop.