Canadian Tamil MP was trying to embarrass SL govt says High Commission

Sri Lanka's High Commission in Ottawa has said that the Canadian Tamil MP, Rathika Sitsabaiesan's claim of political intimidation during a recent visit to Sri Lanka, was an attempt to " unfairly embarrass the Sri Lankan government ", in a statement published on Wednesday. Stating that the reports of political intimidation were "erroneous", Sri Lanka's High Commission instead argued that she had misinterpreted events due to her own political activities. The statement said, "this stated position could be indicative of her seeking to engage in political activity, and being unable to do so in the interest of abiding by Sri Lanka’s immigration laws and regulations, seems to have been interpreted by her as political intimidation ." It added, " The reference in the same statement on defending principles of human rights further demonstrates a self appointed role to pass judgment baselessly on a sovereign State ."

US confirms Sri Lankan army shelling of civilians in 2009

Updated 11:45 GMT Continuing his visit to the island, the US Ambassador at large for War Crimes, Stephen J. Rapp, is visiting the North-East today, along side the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Michele Sison. A tweet by the US Embassy in Colombo caused controversy after it stated that hundreds of families were killed by army shelling in January 2009, with questions raised on twitter whether this represented the official stance of the US government. BBC journalist Charles Haviland later tweeted that a US embassy official has confirmed to the BBC that the tweet represented the "official government...

Mahinda Rajapaksa is a great leader - Israeli president

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa with Israeli President Shimon Peres (@PresRajapaksa) The Israeli president Shimon Peres has received Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa at his residence today, a day after Premier Benjamin Netanyahu held talks with Rajapaksa. Peres hailed the president as a "great leader" who has brought peace, reconciliation and restoration to his people “which is not a small achievement”, reported Colombo Gazette . “You have come here as a leader with an impressive record. You have invested your heart and mind and days and nights in peace, and you are seeing the fruits. You have come to a region still in search of peace and reconciliation. Israel is determined to make peace,” Peres said. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa with Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu (defence.lk)

Sinhala nationalists protest outside US Embassy

Photo: @AzzamAmeen on Twitter Hundreds of Sinhalese protestors gathered outside the US Embassy in Colombo earlier today, protesting against the visit of US Ambassador at large for War Crimes, Stephen J. Rapp. Traffic was closed in one direction as hundreds of supporters brandished placards in English and Sinhalese stating the allegations of war crimes were “unfair”. Other placards depicted the visiting US Ambassador with fangs and blood streaming from his mouth, labelling Rapp as a “threat to world peace”.

'We urgently need an international investigation' - Bishop of Mannar

The Bishop of Mannar, Mgr. Rayappu Joseph, has reiterated the need for an international investigation into war crimes on the island, stating that the Tamil people have no faith in domestic commissions. In a note written to Fides , the Bishop stated, " We urgently need an international investigation to ascertain the truth about alleged war crimes, given that most of the Tamils in the north and east of the country no longer have confidence in an internal process. This will contribute to reconciliation" "Thousands of cases of human rights violations, sexual abuse, murder, disappearances, extrajudicial killings remain unpunished." Describing the current situation in the Tamil homeland, the Bishop went on to say that, " The people of the North and East still live in fear. The women live in fear of being raped. Others live in fear that the military seize their lands. Many who are in prison live in fear of being tortured. The common people fear the high level of military presence. And all those who criticize the government, including representatives of many churches, live in fear and insecurity."

Sri Lanka ready for March resolution

Sri Lanka’s Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella has said that the government is ready to face any US-sponsored resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in March. Rambukwella said the government was aware of the US collecting information on Sri Lanka and how this is being done, reported the Colombo Gazette . “Win or lose we must face it. We had won once at the UNHRC and we lost once as well,” he said, adding that the government had a responsibility towards the Sri Lankan public and no one else.

TID interferes in funeral of detainee's 15 year old son

The father of a 15 year old boy that passed away on the 4 th of January, Sivasubramaniyam Veeralingam, was stopped from performing religious rituals at his son’s funeral by the Terrorist Investigation Department (TID) today. Veeralingam, who has been held, without trial, in Sri Lankan state custody since 2009 for alleged links to the LTTE, was prevented from performing funeral rights and taken away at gunpoint from his son’s funeral by TID officers, reported the Uthayan . His 15 year old son, who provided income for the family after the detention of his father, passed away after unexplainably...

US to lead on calls for international investigation into war crimes in Sri Lanka at UNHRC

The United States will move a resolution seeking an international investigation into the alleged rights abuses in the final months of Sri Lanka’s war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), outlined the US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, Stephen J Rapp, on his visit to the North-East. Rapp visited Tamil National Alliance representatives and members of the Tamil civil society in the North-East today. This is the third time Rapp has visited the island ahead of the United Nations Human Rights Council sessions, where the US have already lead on two resolutions urging Sri...

Farmers in Vanni on brink of suicide

Many farmers in Vanni are on the brink of suicide, as they struggle to maintain their livelihoods, reported the Uthayan . The farmers, who faced displacement during the final stages of the armed conflict, and have only just been resettled, are now faced with numerous debts to banks, as well as drought and a poor harvest. On New Year's Day, S. Ajaman, a farmer from Manthai East committed suicide in desperation, reported the paper.

Ban halal meat completely – BBS

The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), an influential group of Buddhist monks, close to the defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has demanded a complete ban on halal meat products in Sri Lanka. General Secretary Galabodaththe Gnanasara said that the organisation will launch an agitation campaign to push for a complete ban, a day after the main muslim organisation on the island, the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU), declared that halal certification will now be issued by a new company, after they stopped issuing certificates with the end of 2013. The BBS has pressured Muslim organisations in the recent...

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