Sri Lanka tries to woo Central and South America

Amidst increasing international criticism of Sri Lanka and allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity against Tamils, the country's Deputy Minister of External Affairs, Neomal Perara, has been dispatched to Central and South America on a very important mission. Perara, who has so far visited Mexico , Peru and the Dominican Republic , has been entrusted to present his respective counterparts with three special gifts - a copy of Sri Lanka's 'Humanitarian Operation Factual Analysis July 2006- May 2009', a CD of the Sri Lanka's 'Lies agreed upon' and a no doubt well-rehearsed spiel as...

UK Conservatives support accountability in Sri Lanka

At a packed event at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, the party warned that it will push Sri Lanka for accountability and support a UN report if progress isn’t seen from the LLRC. Conservative MP and former diplomat Richard Graham spoke at the event and said, “ministers have made it clear to the Sri Lankan government that if the LLRC does turn out to be a whitewash and finds no real culpability at the top, you can be absolutely sure we will push hard for a formal UN report. ” See the report from Freedom from Torture here . The event, follows on from last week’s ‘Tamils for Labour’ event at the Labour Party Conference , where Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander said that the Labour party's entire front bench agreed that Sri Lanka’s LLRC, is not capable of holding an independent inquiry and called for an international investigation into war crimes. Human rights organisations such as Amnesty International have also said the LLRC is “ flawed at every level ” along with the Tamil National Alliance who also slammed it as “flawed” with “limited mandate”. He also stated it was “ critical for the moral authority of the UK that there is an absolutely transparent report into what happened”, given allegations of Britain’s complicity in those alleged war crimes.

To protect and serve … Sinhalese

When a mob of Sinhalese, angered by the death of man in policy custody, stormed a police station in Dompe, southern Sri Lanka, on Sunday, damaging sixteen vehicles, the police responded by arresting five police officers. However in August, when Tamils in Jaffna angered by police providing sanctuary to ‘grease devils’ – night prowlers who attack women – fleeing after being identified, the response, predictably, was quite different. Having driven off the demonstrators, the military raided their homes the following day. Many of the houses were destroyed and hundreds of youth and children were...

Natural gas found in Mannar basin

Cairn Lanka has discovered a natural gas field off the coast of Mannar in the Northern Province, the first time that deposits have been found on the island. President Mahinda Rajapakse was reportedly “ elated ” at the news, and said, "With more luck and blessings we hope we can find oil". Cairn was more cautious in its statement saying , "Further drilling will be required to establish the commerciality of the discovery". The discovery comes in the Mannar basin after Sri Lanka sold a block each to Cairn, India and China in 2007. The latter two have yet to commence drilling and are reported to...

US: political reconciliation prerequisite for economic development

Speaking at the AmCham's (American Chamber of Commerce) annual general meeting on Sri Lanka's economic outlook, US ambassador to Sri Lanka, Patricia Butenis urged 'full political reconciliation', stressing the need for economic development and political reconciliation to go 'hand in hand', and highlighting the unquestionable 'reservoir of skills and financial resources' of the Diaspora. See full speech here . Extracts reproduced below: " I think that most would agree that in Sri Lanka economic development and political reconciliation must go hand in hand ." "I think about what more could be achieved with full political reconciliation, where every Sri Lankan feels that they have a full stake in the country and where potential foreign investors have confidence in the continued political stability of the country . The overseas Diaspora has a tremendous reservoir of skills and financial resources that could contribute so much to rebuilding Sri Lanka." " It is not just the money, it’s also the people. Their skills and overseas connections are just as important, and they can help propel Sri Lanka to the new level of development we all want."

Free to serve Sri Lanka, not free to go home

Parents of the 1800 alleged LTTE members, detained without charge by the Sri Lankan government and supposedly released last Friday, have informed BBC Tamil service , that they are yet to be united with their loved ones. According to the report, none of the 1800 detainees have been given permission by Sri Lankan authorities to go back to their parent's homes. See 'Rajapakse's self-congratulation' The supposed release of the 1800 detainees was marked with much pomp and ceremony. The event was attended by ambassadors from the US, India, UK and Australia. See 'Anger at Australian envoys role at...

Britain’s Labour Party backs international inquiry into Sri Lanka

Britain’s main opposition Labour Party has unequivocally called for an international commission to be set up to investigate the allegations of war crimes in Sri Lanka. Speaking at a 'Tamils for Labour' event on the sidelines of the Labour Party conference last week, Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander said the party's entire front bench was united on the view that Sri Lanka’s own inquiry, the LLRC, is not capable of holding an independent inquiry. Mr Alexander expressed the Labour Party’s disappointment with the UN Human Rights Council and the continued delay in addressing...

US court summons issued for Mahinda Rajapaksa

Mahinda Rajapaksa was served a US court summons on Friday, under the US Torture Victim's Protection Act for extrajudicial killings - a civil suit. The case was brought by three plaintiffs who allege that Rajapaksa held command responsibility for extrajudicial killings of Ragihar Manoharan, the son of plaintiff Dr. Kasippillai Manoharan; of Premas Anandarajah, a humanitarian aid worker for Action Against Hunger and the husband of plaintiff Kalaiselvi Lavan and four members of the Tevarajah family, all relatives of plaintiff Jeyakumar Aiyathurai. Rajapaksa has so far evaded a accepting a legal summons, by simply refusing or instructing his government officials, including the Minister for Justice, to refuse any official summons. In an unprecedented attempt to overcome this obstacle, US constituitional lawyer, Bruce Fein, has issued the summons via over 100 media outlets in Sri Lanka, social networking sites and the internet - so that it becomes impossible for Rajapaksa to plead ignorance of the summons issued for him. At the same time as issuing the summons, Fein, filed a motion in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, requesting Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly to authorise the novel method by which it has been issued.

Anger at Australian envoys role at Sri Lankan ceremony

The Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka has been criticised after handing out certificates to alleged Tamil rebels who went through two years of military led rehabilitation, The Age reports. Kathy Klugman took part in a much publicised ceremony, celebrating, what was termed as, the reintegration of 1800 former rebels, along with US ambassador Patricia Butenis, British High Commissioner John Rankin and Indian High Commissioner Ashok Kantha. The President of the International Commission of Jurists in Australia, John Dowd has slammed the move, accusing the Australian government of lending...

Government forestalls talks with TNA

Talks scheduled for Monday, between the TNA (Tamil National Alliance) and the Sri Lankan government, have once again been postponed, as government officials were reportedly too busy with local elections due to take place on the 8th October. The current round of talks resumed on the 16th September after several months of stalling. Internationally, these talks are considered crucial to addressing the legitimate grievances of Eelam Tamils. The United States in particular, have over the past two years reiterated to the Sri Lankan government that talks with the TNA on devolution are a crucial part...

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