China to lend Sri Lanka a billion dollars

Sri Lanka President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, has reportedly agreed to a billion-dollar loan from China despite owing 4.8 billion dollars this year. Rajapaksa has borrowed from China twice in the past two months in pursuit of a bailout as the country’s foreign reserve shrank to $7.2 billion in April. He has stated one of his key objectives is to attract foreign investment into the country. In response to the outbreak of the coronavirus, China lent $500 million to Sri Lanka in terms of an urgent loan in April. This was followed by a further decision last week to borrow $80 million from the China...

Sri Lanka’s new president is putting soldiers in charge of everything – The Economist

Despite the on-going damage to national reconciliation, Gotabaya Rajapaksa is insistent on the normalisation of “military’s influence in the civilian sphere”, warns the Economist. The normalisation of the military The Economist notes that Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s rise to the presidency was based on the support of former officers, soldiers and his own “band of brothers”. After the civil war ended in 2009, the army and intelligence sectors played an increasing role in Sri Lanka’s public life, as well as the disappearance of government critics. Gotabaya’s ascendance to presidency did not so much...

Sri Lankan police continue to intimidate Jaffna Uni students at remembrance events

Jaffna University students commemorated the Kumuthini massacre and the Mullivaikkal genocide before being disrupted by Sri Lankan police officers. the students lit lamps in tribute to the Tamils who were massacred by Sri Lankan navy officers aboard the Kumuthini boat in 1985 and the tens of thousands of lives lost in the Mullivaikkal genocide in 2009. 20 armed Kopay police officers took down the names of the students and took photographs of them. This is the second event at Jaffna University where police have attempted to intimidate students who are paying their respects at commemoration...

Sri Lanka requests rapid financial support from IMF

Sri Lanka has issued a request for rapid financial support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) following growing economic concern as the country responds to the coronavirus pandemic. The IMF has issued approximately 18 billion USD to support developing countries to support their economies. Fifty countries, including Sri Lanka are to be assessed for receiving this rapid financial facility and a further fifty country have been granted approval. Gerry Rice, a spokesman for the IMF’s executive board, has stated that the aid provided will not come with the usual conditionality. Furthermore...

IBAHRI urges due process in the case of Heejaz Hizbullah

The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute has called upon Sri Lanka’s Minister of Justice, Nimal Siripala de Silva, to ensure that the government due process in handlining the case of Former state counsel and prominent lawyer, Heejaz Hizbullah. Hizbullah was detained on 14 April, along with five others, under the much-criticised Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). He was arrested under alleged involvement in the 2019 Easter Sunday Bombings. Despite being detained, a detention order was not served, and he was denied confidential access to a lawyer. Hizbullah was one of a few...

35 years since Kumuthini boat massacre by Sri Lankan Navy

Today marks 35 years since 36 Tamils were massacred by Sri Lankan Navy officers on board the Kumuthini boat on May 15, 1985. File photograph Eye witnesses reported seeing six plain clothed Navy officers boarding the Kumuthini boat and pointing a gunat passengers before ordering them to come up to the main deck one by one and shout their name and destination. The names of those who lost their lives in the Kumuthini boat massacre Each passenger was then hacked to death. Witnesses reported seeing hacked body parts and blood across the deck. Amnesty International identified 23 of the victims and...

Sri Lanka’s TID attempt to arrest Tamil activists and send them to COVID-19 'detention centres'

Sri Lanka’s Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) has attempted to detain and arrest activists with the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF), as the party began a series of events to commemorate the Mullivaikkal genocide this week. The TNPF tweeted that its Mullaitivu District organizer T Kinthujan was visited by TID attempting to arrest and detain him, having previous faced threats of detention from Sri Lankan security forces. Then on Thursday morning, Trincomalee police visited the TNPF office in the district to search for attendees of commemoration events, where they threatened to “send...

Reflections from Mullivaikkal: Remembering What was Lost Part 2

I am 22 years old. My right hand was amputated during the end of the war in Valainjarmadam. I was 10 years old at the time and I became disabled. I am right-handed. It was very difficult to learn to write with the left hand after I lost my right hand. At the beginning no matter how much I tried, my writing didn’t come out well. However, now I am able to use my left hand to do everything I need to do. I sat for Ordinary Level exams twice and now I have passed the A / L exam as well.

Tamil genocide commemorated at school bombed by Sri Lankan airforce

The third day of Tamil genocide remembrance week was marked in Jaffna today, at the site of a school that was bombed by the Sri Lankan air force in 1995. Members of the Tamil National People's Front (TNPF) lit flames at the Nagarkovil school this morning, as part of commemorative events taking place this week. The school, Nagarkovil Maha Vidyalayam, was bombed by the Sri Lankan air force on September 22 1995, while children were crammed in the playground for their lunch break. 40 were killed in the attack including 26 students. The TNPF paid tribute to those killed in the bombing, as well as...

Jaffna Uni students commemorate Tamil genocide despite Sri Lankan police intimidation

Jaffna University students held a memorial yesterday, as part of Tamil Genocide Remembrance week despite intimidation by Sri Lankan police. The students lit lamps in remembrance of the many lives lost at Mullivaikkal 11 years ago. Jaffna Police arrived at the memorial and asked for the names of the students who organised the event.

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