‘No progress towards justice’

Human Rights Watch has stated that Sri Lanka has made “no progress” towards accountability and justice for war crimes committed during the civil war, and that the government has “ deepened repression of basic freedoms”, in its World Report 2012. The New York-based NGO went on to note that the government has “continued to stall on accountability for abuses by the security forces” with Asia director Brad Adams, commenting , “In 2011, accountability remained a dead issue, the media faced increasing censorship, and the long-standing grievances which led to the conflict were not seriously...

Repression continues under military's 'watchful eye'

Those imprisoned, for alleged being LTTE cadres, continue to face military repression long after they are released, said Velvettithurai's urban councillor, MK Sivajilingam. He added, "These former LTTE cadres are now forced to live under the watchful eye of military intelligence . Some of them are told to report to the military once a week and others are told to come once a month," " They are told that they will face death if they get involved in anti government politics ." In 2009, Sri Lanka's military arrested and detained tens of thousands of young Tamil men and women for allegedly being...

Another tourist sexually abused in Matara

Details have emerged of a 25-year old Dutch woman holidaying in Sri Lankahaving been allegdly sexually assaulted by a hotel owner in Matara earlier this year. The incident prompted Netherlands Embassy First Secretary Jaco Beerends to comment , “The sexual abuse of a female Dutch national at a guest house in Matara can be considered a ‘terrible’ incident and the authorities must act upon any incident that concerns the safety of tourists arriving in the country.” The victim, who lodged a complaint with the Matara police, could not follow up the case however, as she left the island. The accused...

JHU: 'India is trying to exploit Sri Lanka's vulnerable position’

Responding to reports that the 13th Amendment was to be implemented in Sri Lanka, the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) has slammed India for attempting to ‘exploit’ Sri Lanka. Deputy General Secretary of the JHU and Western Provincial Council Minister Udaya Gammanpila criticised the implementation of the 13th amendment, stating that no country could force Sri Lanka into implementing any laws. Commenting that even after the loss of 1,118 Indian soldiers, during the infamous IPKF intervention, it could not be enforced, the Minister said , “India has not been able to get the 13th Amendment implemented...

Headteacher suspended after students mock Mahinda Rajapaksa

The headteacher of a school in Galle, E.K. Premasiri, was served an interdiction last week by none other than the Ministry of Education, after it emerged students at the school had performed a short school play with a comical portrayal of Sri Lanka's president, Mahinda Rajapaksa. Premasiri however, has protested his innocence, stating that he was the one who sensing imminent danger to the reputation and character of the president, not only intervened, bring the play to an abrupt end, but also reported the incident to the police. Premasiri explained, “Since the teachers were busy correcting...

‘Lotus Tower’ construction commences in the Buddhist kingdom

Construction of the Chinese funded ‘Lotus Tower’ began Friday, as the foundation stone was laid in Colombo. A Chinese conglomerate comprising of the China National Electronics Import and Export Corporation (CEIEC) and Aerospace Long-March International Trade Co. Ltd (ALIT) will be undertaking the construction project, which is set to be the tallest tower in South Asia. The project is also being funded by the EXIM Bank of China who is providing a $100 million loan. The President’s brother, Economic Minister Basil Rajapakse laid the foundation stone for the tower in Colombo. A leaked 2007 US...

US congressman urges independent, international action

US congressman, Howard Berman, of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, urged Sri Lanka to " allow for an independent international mechanism to investigate alleged war crimes and violations of international human rights law ", in order to ensure accountability. In a statement made Friday, Berman said, “I welcome the public release of the report of Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), and I urge the Government of Sri Lanka to expeditiously implement the Commission’s recommendations on a wide range of issues, including on devolution of power,...

Army to form construction company

Further ignoring the recommendations of the LLRC, the Sri Lankan Army has announced that they will be forming a company in order to carry out construction and development projects across the country. Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya has said the President Mahinda Rajapakse had already given the Army the directions to being forming a separate company. He told the Daily Mirror , “A committee has been set up to come up with proposals in establishing an institution of this sort.” See our earlier posts: LLRC recommendations ignored already (23 Dec 2011) Also see: Army opens yet...

US investors wary of human rights

The United States have said that American investors are concerned about the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, during a round table discussion with journalists in Colombo on Wednesday. US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, Holly Vineyard, said that whilst concerns persist over human rights in the island, it may not impact trade between the countries majorly. Sri Lanka is still awaiting the result of a hearing on the 24th of January, which will decide whether they will receive the GSP tariff from the US. A petition was filed against Sri Lanka...

Satiated by hot air, Krishna leaves

Concluding his four day visit to Sri Lanka, India's foreign affairs minister, SM Krishna reiterated the need to "devolve powers" in a "very visible manner" and expressed confidence in the ruling regime's commitment towards this. Speaking to reporters on his way home to New Delhi, Krishna said, "On the whole I have a sense of satisfaction that all the programmes that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced are being pursued vigorously in Sri Lanka." "I think it goes without saying that Article 13 plus (should) be implemented in a very visible manner. So, till then, naturally we will keep...

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