SL army chief meets high brass of US army

The Sri Lankan Army Commander Daya Ratnayake attended the 60th annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) in Washington earlier this week. Ratnayake met “several top-ranking military leaders” at the event, according to the DailyMirror , including the heads of the British and US armies. Ratnayake was on active duty during the last years of the armed conflict and was appointed “Commissioner General Rehabilitation” after May 2009, responsible for the ‘rehabilitation’ of 12,000 LTTE fighters, according to the Daily News . Amnesty International has reported of ‘...

Channel 4 questions director of Commonwealth Secretary General's office

Unable to establish correspondence with the Commonwealth Secretary General, Kamalesh Sharma, Channel 4 news anchor, Jon Snow, questioned the director of the Secretary General’s office, Simon Gimson, on the purpose of holding Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka.

Suu Kyi agrees with Cameron on engagement with Sri Lanka

The Burmese opposition leader and human rights activist Aung San Suu Kyi has said that David Cameron should engage with all parties in Sri Lanka, after increasing pressure on the prime minister not to attend the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting on the island. Suu Kyi said that if he goes to Sri Lanka he should “engage with all those who are involved, all other stakeholders and not just the government”, while meeting him in London, according to the Colombo Gazette . She said she was often asked whether people should visit Burma when the military ruled the country. “I have...

Resort to prostitution a result of militarisation - Ananthy Sasitharan

Recently elected Northern Provincial Councillor and civil society activist Ananthy Sasitharan has criticised many claims in an IRIN article on why more and more women are turning to sex work in the Northeast. Ananthy criticised the article for trivialising Tamil women turning to prostitution as purely finance-driven, arguing instead that in reality militarisation in the Northeast has created a culture where abuse, harassment and rape of Tamil women at the hands of the Sri Lankan Army has become commonplace. Writing on (in Tamil) Ananthy blamed the regime in Colombo and its associates for repeatedly “dragging through the mud” the women trying to recover from the horrors of Mullivaaykkal. Ananthy disputed the IRIN article’s reasoning that seasonal demand has encouraged the increase in Tamil women turning to sex work. Instead, Ananthy says that the resort to prostitution is not a last resort decision based on financial desperation, but one that vulnerable Tamil women are in the end reduced to, after widespread experience of abuse at the hands of the Sri Lankan army.

Jaffna hospital remembers IPKF massacre

Staff at Jaffna Teaching Hospital held a remembrance event for the massacre of over 60 doctors, staff and patients committed by Indian Peacekeeping Forces (IPKF) in 1987. The memorial event was also attended by survivors of the attack as well as friends and relatives of the victims. TamilNet reports that Indian government donors requested that the administration take down the memorial site within the hospital dedicated to those killed in the massacre, but that this request was refused. See TamilNet’s video of the remembrance event below.

LTTE not entitled to cemeteries - SL commander

Responding to resolutions taken by various Pradeshiya Sabais earlier in the week to restore Maveerar Thuyilum Illangal - martyr cemeteries - in Kilinochchi, Jaffna Security Forces Commander Mahinda Hathurasinghe said that a 'banned terrorist organisation' like the LTTE could not lay claims to tombs or monuments. According to Tamilwin , the security around the Thuyilum Illam lands was intensified overnight after the decision, including by barbed wire and increased troop presence.

Tamil Nadu spurns Cameron's decision on CHOGM

Photos: Traders in Tamil Nadu held a protest agaist Britain earlier this week, following British Prime Minister David Cameron reaffirming that the UK would be attending CHOGM in Colombo next month. [ more ]

Anti-Halal protest prayer

A Buddhist organisation in Sri Lanka is reinvigorating their campaign against halal meet by holding protest prayers, reported ColomboPage . The Bodu Bala Sena is holding the prayer meeting outside a temple in Kandy which houses a tooth relic, purportedly belonging to the Buddha. The BBS said it is restarting their anti-halal campaign as the government has not taken sufficient action to address their concerns.

Tamil asylum seekers face significant harm - Australian Human Rights Commission

The Australian Human Rights Commission found today that asylum seekers were at the risk of being returned to harmful situations in Sri Lanka, under the current government’s ‘enhanced screening process’. The Commission president, Professor Gillian Triggs, further noted, in their latest report, that Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers and refugees did not meet international standards of law. The report concluded , “The Commission is concerned that the enhanced screening process may not contain sufficient safeguards to protect people from being removed to a country where they face a real...

Casino controversy

An Australian gambling tycoon’s plans to build a $400 million resort in Sri Lanka have been delayed after protests by Buddhist leaders and some political parties, reports Reuters . The Sri Lankan government announced on Tuesday that it will be altering the tax concessions initially granted to James Packer’s Crown Ltd both because politicians opposed special tax concessions, which local entrepreneurs did not receive, and also because Buddhist leaders complained that the inclusion of a casino in the plans would be detrimental to Sri Lankan culture. Speaking on behalf of Tamil Refugee Council,...