Amnesty reiterates call for international investigation

Amnesty International has repeated their call for an international independent investigation into human rights abuses in Sri Lanka, in a statement welcoming a report released by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Released ahead of the upcoming United Nations Human Rights Council session, where a resolution on Sri Lanka is set to be brought forward, Amnesty International said, "As the OHCHR report emphasizes, continuing reports of extrajudicial killings, abductions and enforced disappearance underscore the urgent need to end impunity in Sri Lanka. But there has really been no progress in...

Britain could send clear message through action on CHOGM – Washington Post

An editorial in today’s Washington Post has accused Sri Lanka of “squandering opportunities” to heal the “ethnic rift” on the island. Detailing the “retrograde” measures Rajapakse has taken, in spite of global condemnation, the editorial argues that threats to boycott or move the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo by the UK, Canada and Australia could send a “clear message” that the country’s policies are unacceptable to other democratic nations. See extracts below: "Having acquired a two-thirds parliamentary majority by inducing the defection of opposition representatives, the ruling party rewrote the constitution to eliminate a two-term limit on the president. Government critics in the press, civil society organizations and the judiciary have been threatened and sometimes attacked by pro-government thugs. According to Human Rights Watch, several thousand people are detained without charge, and state security forces have continued to abuse Tamil activists, including through torture and sexual assault.

GSP+ removal woes continue

The Sri Lankan General Secretary of the Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees’ Union (FTZ & GSEU), Anton Marcus, announced that the loss the European Union’s Generalised System of Preference Plus (GSP+) concessions to Sri Lanka has forced over 186 garment factories to close. The trade union leader said that the number of factories had reduced from 835 to 500, resulting in the number of employees in the industry falling from 1 million to 283,000. The European Union suspended the GSP+ tariff in 2010, due to the Sri Lankan state’s failure to adhere with the fundamental human rights...

UNHRC should launch inquiry - HRW

In a statement published on Tuesday, Human Rights Watch urged the UN Human Rights Council to dismiss the "tactics" of the Sri Lankan government and launch an independent, international investigation. See here . Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said: “Over the past year the Sri Lankan government has alternated between threatening activists who seek justice and making small, cynical gestures to keep the international community at bay,” “ The Human Rights Council should dismiss these tactics, end the delays and authorize an independent, international investigation into the...

US remains 'deeply concerned' about Sri Lanka

The spokesperson of the US State Department Victoria Nuland has said the US continues to be “deeply concerned” about allegations of human rights violations in Sri Lanka. Nuland said during the State Department's Daily Press Briefing that the US welcomes the report on Sri Lanka by the UN High Commissioner Navi Pillay and supports “a full accounting for all who are engaged in acts of violated international humanitarian law”. The spokesperson, responding to a question about the killing of Velupillai Prabhakaran’s son by the Sri Lankan Army, said: "We continue to be deeply concerned by...

Proof of Prabhakaran son's execution

Balachandran Prabhakaran (The Independent) Pictures obtained by documentary makers have shown the 12 year old son of Velupillai Prabhakaran, Balachandran Prabhakaran, alive and apparently in army custody. Balachandran can be seen sitting with a snack in his hand, sitting on a bench surrounded by sandbags, in what looks like a fortified army position. Another picture shows him dead, with 5 bullet wounds to his body. Digital analysis of both pictures shows that they were taken by the same camera, only a couple of hours apart, according to Callum Macrae, director of the documentary called “No...

Clergy fears destruction of Tamil identity

The clergy of the North-East have written to the UN Human Rights Council, calling for stronger action against Sri Lanka and also pointing out the systematic destruction of the Tamil nation by the government. The letter, signed by 133 priests, is the first of its kind to be signed by so many of the clergy. See here for the full letter. Extracts reproduced below: " In the last year, those criticising and challenging the government in peaceful ways including by engagement with the UN, have been assaulted, questioned, arrested, threatened, discredited and intimidated by government ministers,...

Sri Lanka to build links with Estonia

The Sri Lankan government has reached out to Estonia in an attempt to strengthen trade, tourism and investments between the countries, reported ColomboPage . The announcement comes after a high-level 24-member business delegation from Estonia toured Sri Lanka last week, the first visit of its kind. Meeting with Sri Lankan Minister for Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa, Estonia's Foreign Minister said, "Estonia's strategically favourable location and the modern infrastructure and technology in our ports would allow Sri Lankan entrepreneurs to arrange transit more effectively here than in...

Army camps get 'permanent structures'

Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa visited Jaffna earlier this month, to observe how new "permanent structures" were being put in place, according to the Sri Lankan Army website . The upgrading of the Jaffna army complex will cost 52 million rupees according to the Army, with the website stating that the renovations were so that, " Battle-fatigued troops serving the Security Force Headquarters - Jaffna (SFHQ-J) would hereafter be able to rest and relax freely ". Some of the facilities offered at the military camp for the soldiers included, "a state-of-the-art air-conditioned...

Britain sells over £3m of weapons to Sri Lanka in 2012

Photo: Sri Lankan troops parade their weapons at the country's Independence Day celebrations in the Tamil town of Trincomalee, earlier this month.

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