Permanent People’s Tribunal on Sri Lanka’s genocide underway in Bremen

The Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT), an international body based in Rome, is currently underway in Bremen, Germany. The tribunal, headed by Secretary General Gianni Tognoni, is hearing the case for genocide against the Tamil nation by the Sri Lankan state. “Like in the first session, a respected panel of judges consisting of experts in Genocide studies, former UN-officials, experts in international law and renowned peace and human rights activists will hear the evidence that is presented and make a determination,” Tognoni said in a press release published ahead of the tribunal. Follow...

IMF warns SL against self-sufficiency moves

The International Monetary Fund has warned Sri Lanka that its move towards self-sufficiency, through import substitutions and other trade restrictions may damage the country’s economy. Sri Lanka's 2014 budget has seen several tax rises on imports, for example, on boats, allowing local boat makers to target fishermen with impunity and earn rents, but also pharmaceutical firms who target the sick and the old, said LBO . Export taxes were also imposed on primary goods makers such as rubber and cinnamon, in effect penalising efficient producers who are exporting at less than global market prices. The body’s representative in Colombo Koshy Mathai told reporters that economic autarky has consistently failed elsewhere. "It is not a matter of opinion. It is not a matter of IMF doctrine," Mathai said. "It is simply a matter of fact. So I think we have to be very careful when it comes to import tariffs meant to protect a whole number of different industries. The increase in export and import taxes, we think will go against the direction of trade liberalisation and competitiveness,

Diaspora to blame for Sri Lanka’s CHOGM disaster – Minister

Sri Lanka’s Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne complained that the ‘LTTE diaspora’ misled some of the country delegates in attendance at last month’s Commonwealth summit in the country. "Sri Lanka hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) recently and a large number of Government Heads around the world participated. Most of them did not have a correct idea about the present situation in Sri Lanka before they arrived. They identified Sri Lanka as a country which does not have a suitable environment to live in peace and harmony ," he said. " But...

Major General Dias refused Australian visa over war crimes allegations

Major General Jagath Dias of the Sri Lankan Army has been refused a visa to Australia, media reports said. He had applied to participate in an International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) project being held there this month. According to The Island newspaper, the decision was due to allegations of war crimes and the Australian High Commission had attempted to persuade the general to withdraw his application. A senior military official said the refusal was due to the allegations raised by video footage in the Channel 4 documentary, 'Sri Lanka's Killing Fields', the paper reported. See our...

British Tamils discuss international inquiry on war crimes and genocide with Shadow Foreign Secretary

British Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander met Friday with a delegation from various UK-based Tamil organisations, including Global Tamil Forum, Tamils Against Genocide, Tamils for Labour, Tamil Information Centre, and the Tamil National Alliance (UK). The Tamil delegates outlined the various aspects of the ongoing genocide of the Tamil nation and stressed the need for the UK to ensure demands for an international investigation included considerations of genocide. Speaking to Tamil Guardian, Jan Jananayagam from Tamils against Genocide (TAG), reflected on the meeting, stating, "TAG welcomes this reiteration of a commitment to an international investigation into crimes against humanity by the Shadow Foreign Secretary" " We were happy to have the opportunity to discuss systemic issues of ethnic cleansing via forced demographic change and the impact of systematic gender-based violence in destroying Tamil communities in Sri Lanka, the militarisation of the economy in the Tamil North and East that is depriving local communities of livelihood, all of these being elements in the state sponsored destruction of the Tamil people on the island." "We have agreed to continue our positive engagement on these issues." Alexander argued that British Premier David Cameron should start calls immediately for an international independent investigation and that he expected no credible progress from the Sri Lankan government before March.

New hospital opened in Palai with US support

A new hospital, built with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has been inaugurated by a US official in Palai, Jaffna district. USAID Mission Director Sherry Carlin and with Dr. P. Sathiyalingan, Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine for the Northern Provincial Council, openend the $525,000 facility on Tuesday.

India should not train SL security forces says Union Minister

Speaking at a public event in Chennai on Thursday, India's Union Shipping Minister, G.K. Vasan said that India should avoid training Sri Lankan security forces. "The Centre should avoid from taking such policy decision. I think," he said, stating that he had told the Defence Minister A.K. Anthony of his opposition to such joint training ventures. Reiterating India's commitment to exerting pressure on the Sri Lankan government to implement the 13th Amendment, Mr Vasan stressed that it would continue, "so as to ensure that Tamils in Sri Lanka get equal rights on par with local Sinhalese. There...

SL army reconciles Tamil women

45 Tamil women that have been enlisted into the Sri Lankan army were taken on tour of ‘key’ places in the south of Sri Lanka. The Defence Ministry described the process of introducing the Tamil women to ‘key places’ as part of reconciliation with the Tamil community. The Sri Lankan army headquarters in Vanni, arranged for the Tamil women to visit sites in the south such as Kathirgamam, Thissamaharama, Mahakampura International Conference Centre, the Manhinda Rajapaksa harbour and the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Airport.

Patience with Sri Lanka could wear thin - US Secretary of State for South Asia

The United States Secretary of State for South Asia, Nisha Biswal, today warned that patience within the international community would wear thin if the Sri Lankan government failed to take credible steps to address the issue of human rights, accountability and reconciliation. Speaking to reporters she said , “The United States and all of our friends across the international community have underscored the need for Sri Lanka to make progress on issues of reconciliation, on issues of accountability and on issues of human rights - ongoing concerns about the political space and human rights in the...

Sri Lanka rejects ACF accusations

The Sri Lankan government has rejected accusations by Action Contre la Faim (ACF) that the military was responsible for the massacre of 17 aid workers in Muttur. In a statement, released by the army , the government questioned the motives behind ACF’s report, asking why the organisation had withheld evidence from the government. "This is another instance of a pattern which has emerged since the end of the conflict where certain organizations level allegations against the GoSL without providing sufficient details to enable an investigation. These accusations are then repeated in several other documents, by different agencies, thereby contributing to forming an opinion which is then propagated, without substantiation. A report by the US embassy concluded that members of Sri Lanka's Special Task Force, and the Muslim Home Guard, were the likely perpetrators.